Among other things, the opinions of a former member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police force. My take on the world in general and one thing in particular - a commentary on the current situation in Zimbabwe. I am not a journalist, nor a political activist, but I am a man with a conscience. Hence, this page is my civic responsibility. The more people that hear about the devastating rule in Zimbabwe and the problems therein, the better!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday, 27th January 2013

Howzit

In Derby we have had 5 inches of snow, then it all began to clear, then it snowed again, but last night there was rain and most of the snow has gone. I am not sad to see it go as I live in fear of slipping and smashing my arm again…

(EDIT - I am sorry - I couldn't resist this...)

 

Anyway - let’s have a look at a certain Southern African country’s affairs…

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This I thought was particularly sad as Makumbe had said that he was interested in entering politics - and he was hugely educated in African politics…

Outspoken political analyst and highly respected academic, John Makumbe, has died.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa that Makumbe, who was a key member of his party, died at Arcadia Medical Centre in Harare on Sunday morning after suffering a suspected heart attack.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia, and five children.

Late last year, the University of Zimbabwe professor announced he was going to take a break from teaching to contest in the forthcoming general elections as an MDC-T candidate for Buhera West constituency in Manicaland province.

He told SW Radio Africa, shortly after his announcement last November, that he had been, “doing a lot of talking and now it is time to show that I can also walk the walk.”

Makumbe said: “There are various ways of emancipating Zimbabwe from the tyrannical system of government we have endured under ZANU PF. You can either make noise from your white castle or you can put on your boots and overalls and fight for the emancipation of the country.”

Mwonzora said Makumbe was a “hero of the democratic struggle” in Zimbabwe and the MDC-T owes the success of the constitution making process to his wisdom as he was the technical adviser for the party.

Tributes are pouring in for the man who many have described as “a rare voice of sanity” in Zimbabwe.

Journalist Farai Sevenzo said: “Makumbe was a rare act - a walking talking thinking advert against prejudice and tyranny.

He had a forensic analytical mind that came with charm and a disarming sense of humour, which made the task of interviewing him never boring. A big loss.

Zimbabwean Glen Mpani said, “Professor’s commitment to a free Zimbabwe was unquestionable. His untimely death before achieving what he dedicated his life for, should spur those who remain to make his dream a reality.”

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights director Irene Petras said: “The white man from Buhera has gone too soon.”

“He was one of the few outspoken voices of conscience remaining in the academic community and a much loved member of the civil society. His wit, intellect and humour ensured that he and those around him were able to survive troubled times and remain resolute to the struggle for a better Zimbabwe.”


Another political mind has gone and I do wonder how they will replace him…

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Distinctly better news. Mugabe has no need for a fleet of helicopters. Zimbabwe is not at war and has need for more armaments…

A South African court on Friday granted an interim interdict to halt the delivery of a fleet of helicopters to Zimbabwe, amid fears of another violent election there this year.

The entire fleet of French built Alouette III helicopters and spare parts have been set aside as a ‘donation’ by the South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) to the Zimbabwe Defence Force.

But South African civil rights group AfriForum applied for the interdict on Friday, arguing that Zimbabwe’s human rights record, and the role that the country’s military has played in previous elections, support fears of future violence during the next poll.

“Indications are that the Zimbabwean Defence Force is increasing its visibility, mobility and presence all over Zimbabwe ahead of the national elections scheduled for later this year. The Zimbabwean Defence Force stepped in to back President Robert Mugabe in the 2008 presidential run-off and that military operation involved a systematic, brutal crackdown on MDC supporters,” AfriForum said.

Last week, AfriForum’s legal representatives wrote to the South Africa Minister of Defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as well as Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, (who chairs the National Conventional Arms Control Committee, the NCACC) about speculation that the SANDF had decided to donate its Alouette fleet to Zimbabwe.

The ministers were given seven days to respond to the letter, but AfriForum did not receive any answer or explanation. Instead spokespeople for both ministers confirmed to the Mail & Guardian newspaper that the donation was finalised and that delivery of the helicopters was imminent.

According to AfriForum’s legal representative, Willie Spies, the group’s reasons for seeking an interdict are primarily to do with Zimbabwe’s human rights record. He explained that in terms of South African law, the NCACC “must consider certain principles before a transaction for the disposal of military equipment to another country is authorised.” He said these principles include, amongst others, the human rights-record of the country in question.

“We all know the human rights history of Zimbabwe and what happened in the 2008 elections. There are so many reports of military helicopters being used to provide transport for militia groups, to intimidate people, to unleash terror. It cannot be right for it to happen again and South Africa cannot be an accomplice to this,” Spies said.

He explained that the donation is also considered by many to be a “circumvention of a European Union arms embargo against Zimbabwe,” as a result of the South African government’s disposal of French imported spare parts to Zimbabwe.

The interim order granted Friday will remain until the main application is finalised by 19 February 2013.


How is it that Jacob Zuma is quite happy to further arm Mugabe as the country heads towards a general election? Has he not worked out yet that Mugabe doesn’t want to serve the people – he wants to dictate to them – and is not afraid of using any kind of weapon to get his own way?

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In typical Mugabe style, he is having the theft of the diamonds ‘investigated’ by his own party…!

Here is an urgent need to enact a Diamond Act to curb massive looting of gems by the country’s political elite, Transparency International-Zimbabwe (TI-Z) has said.

Preliminary findings of the study by TI-Z titled, State of Corruption in the Mining Sector - The Case of Gold, Diamond and Platinum Mining in Kwekwe, Gwanda, Marange and Mhondoro-Ngezi, noted that some areas where there is illegal gold or diamond mining were not raided by the police because they were “protected” by influential politicians.

“The absence of a Diamond Act has promoted a free-for-all scenario in diamond trade where the power elites have literally acted in a liassez faire fashion to enrich themselves from diamond mining,” the study said.

The findings have been released at a time when there has been a lot of acrimony within the inclusive government and protest by civil society over the lack of transparency on how the country’s diamond revenues were being used.

Finance minister Tendai Biti has in the past accused senior Zanu PF officials and members of the security forces of looting diamonds from Marange fields with little sale proceeds trickling into Treasury.

However, Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Obert Mpofu has previously attributed the lack of transparency to attempts by the European Union and United States to stifle the trading of Zimbabwe’s diamonds.

The study said politicians were influencing the awarding of diamond mining contracts for companies extracting gems in Marange.

“Currently there is no transparent and accountable process in which concessions to mine diamonds in Zimbabwe are awarded,” reads the study. “Basing on evidence prevailing on the ground, the study found out that all the companies that have been given mining rights to mine diamonds in Zimbabwe are those with close links to senior politicians in government and the military.”

It says failure by diamonds mining firms to remit their contributions directly to the Ministry of Finance further created a veil of secrecy already shrouding diamond mining in the country.

The study said while there has been little remittances to Treasury, “the unexplained accumulation of wealth by senior government ministers and the top military brass with close links to diamond mining in Marange is a clear indication of abuse of position, authority and influence for self-enrichment at the expense of the majority who have to make with poorly equipped hospitals, clinics and schools”.

The paper notes that power elites prejudiced the country of revenues that were supposed to ensure that schools, hospitals and clinics and roads were maintained.

The TI-Z study says senior politicians had formed syndicates with police officers and illegal gold panners to engage in organised corruption at Sherwood Block in Kwekwe.

As a result, the gold that is mined there was not sold to the central bank.

“So entrenched is the corruption that whenever there are impending raids, the gold panners seem to be well-informed of the raids, their timing and how they will be carried out,” says the study. “This clearly shows that the politicians in cohort with the police as well as the illegal miners are working to deprive the country of gold and attendant revenues which should contribute to the national fiscus.”

The TI-Z study recommends the broadening of players involved in the granting of mining rights and mining deals to ensure transparency and accountability.

Recommendation

The study also recommended that all government officials including politicians and bureaucrats should be made to compulsorily declare their wealth upon taking office.

“Such a measure can be buttressed by a name and shame policy where those public officials who acquire wealth through the abuse of office are named and shamed in public without fear or favour,” says the study.


‘Without fear of favour’? Dream on! Mugabe and his crowd look after their own and they know where the bodies are buried to prove it.

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The people that Mugabe could name are very thin on the ground - so he may be using that as a deliberate reason for delaying the nomination - that, and the excuse that he would have to call a special meeting...

President Mugabe may call for an emergency congress to elect a replacement for the late Vice President and national hero Landa John Nkomo before the party’s Sixth National People’s Congress set for December next year.

The Zanu-PF presidium made up of the President, two Vice-Presidents and national chairperson, is elected through congress.

The party holds its national people’s congress after every five years.

The last congress was held in December 2009 where President Mugabe was re-elected as First Secretary with his two Vice-Presidents Joice Mujuru and the late Nkomo.

Simon Khaya Moyo was elected national chairperson at the same congress.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said it was not yet clear which criteria the party would use in coming up with a replacement.

“That decision is usually a preserve of the congress where appointments are made,” he said.

“On this one, we cannot tell yet what criteria will be used. It is the prerogative of the President and the Presidium to decide whether we wait for the congress.

“But in the absence of Congress, the President may call an emergency congress to decide but we don’t know yet whether that will be the procedure.”

Gumbo said the party’s Politburo would be guided by the recommendations of the Presidium.

Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said the revolutionary party would not rush to replace Nkomo since he had just passed on.

“However, that is a matter that should be referred to the Politburo for discussion.

“The issue is not yet on the agenda of the Politburo. It couldn’t be on the agenda so soon after Vice President Nkomo passed on. Besides, the congress is only two years away so we may wait,” said Cde Mutasa.

It is the first time that the Vice President’s post has fallen vacant when the congress is not supposed to be held that year.

When Vice President Joshua Nkomo died in July 1999, the late Vice President Cde Joseph Msika was elected at the party congress in December that same year.

After Msika died in August 2009, Cde Nkomo succeeded him in December of the same year after being elected at the congress.

Following the signing of the Unity Accord between Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu in 1987, it was agreed that the other post of Vice President would be reserved senior former PF-Zapu members while the other post would be filled by a former Zanu-PF member.

While it has not been clarified whether the national chairman’s post was also a former PF-Zapu preserve, it has been the trend over the years that it has been occupied by former PF-Zapu cadre.

When Cde Joshua Nkomo was Vice President, Msika was Zanu-PF national chairperson.

When the late Vice-President Msika was elevated  John Nkomo succeeded him.

John Nkomo’s elevation to the Vice- President’s position saw Simon Khaya Moyo succeed him.

However, there were challenges during nominations ahead of the congress in 2009 when some senior Zanu-PF officials who were not former PF-Zapu argued that the chairman’s post was not set aside for former PF-Zapu members.

The three Matabeleland provinces (Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South) nominated Khaya Moyo.

The other four provinces nominated him as well but Manicaland and Mashonaland Central initially nominated Mutasa but the latter then settled for Khaya Moyo.

Masvingo province first went for Politburo member Kembo Mohadi who is a former PF-Zapu member but the Home Affairs Co-Minister advised the province to withdraw the nomination and instead throw their weight behind Khaya Moyo who had been nominated by his home province Matabeleland South.


Mugabe has no shortage of friends - but most of them are at the ZANU PF burial ground, Heroes Acre.

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Why am I not surprised the Mugabe ‘dictated’ the new draft? He is, after all. A dictator…

The contents of the new draft constitution were dictated by President Robert Mugabe, Zanu (PF) negotiator to Copac Paul Mangwana told journalists at an informal discussion last Friday. He said Mugabe did not want the views of the people to prevail as they were detrimental to the party. The journalists had gathered for a press conference on the hero status of late Vice President John Nkomo.

Discussing Copac issues with predominantly state-owned media reporters in the 14th floor board room of the party’s HQ, Mangwana said: “As Zanu (PF) we got our way regarding the constitution making. ‘Mudhara’ (Mugabe) warned us against compromising on the most important aspects of the constitution.

“Regarding the running mates issue we had to be cleverer than MDC. Mugabe made it very clear that this issue would further divide and destroy Zanu (PF). The fact that he would be forced to nominate running mates would also isolate him from the people, as he was likely to choose running mates out of favour with remaining party supporters.”

Mangwana emphasised that Mugabe made it abundantly clear that: “Whatever you agree at Copac should never result in immediate implementation of the running mate clause. You must outwit MDC and have the running mate clause take effect after 10 years - as something will have happened by then.”

Mangwana said in order to outwit MDC Zanu (PF) had to tactfully acknowledge that the running mate clause was a brilliant idea - but not for now. On the fate of incumbent Zanu (PF) vice presidents, Mangwana said their offices would be disempowered as the authority they hold would be transferred to the national chairperson’s office. He said the arrangement that the Attorney General would now sit in cabinet while the Prosecutor General would be responsible for all prosecutions, was a good set up for Zanu (PF).

“Also remember the Supreme Court would be the constitutional court for the next 10 years if the draft constitution gets the people’s approval at the referendum. Your guess on what will happen there is as good as mine,” said Mangwana with a smile.

Asked by this reporter if the constitution breakthrough suited Zanu (PF), Mangwana said: “At face value people would think MDC won the constitution-making deal. Remember, Zanu (PF) controls institutions of power. At the end of the day, the head of state who is supposed to sign the constitution Act into law is Zanu (PF). There was no way the constitution process would have progressed without our nod.” Mangwana said Zanu (PF) panicked last week when MDC negotiators told Mugabe’s party to go to hell if it did not want to compromise on outstanding issues. “We caught a cold when negotiators from MDC formations showed us the exit door if we were not prepared to give in to their demands. We lost sleep and had to engage their secretary generals for a breakthrough.

“Consensus was only reached an hour before we briefed leaders of the three parties on progress. The breakthrough was also made hastily out of fear that our (negotiators’) credibility would be questioned by the GNU principals,” he said.

The breakthrough has activated political activity around the country, with political parties increasing regularity of party meetings. Zimbabwe is back into the tense election mood. As MDC-T is conducting countrywide debriefing meetings about the status of the constitution and the way forward, the Zanu (PF) commissariat is frantically revisiting the party membership register to take audit of party structures from cell to provincial level.


Mugabe has a way of making the wheels of Zimbabwean politics turn, but in reality they only turn when he says they must, and then only at a snail’s pace.

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Take care.

‘debvhu

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