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!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Monday, 4th February 2013

Howzit

It is windy and cold here in Derby. I just got back from running an early morning errand and found myself being blown off track often. It is quite unreal and it has been blowing hard since last evening.

Who is the comedian that calls this ‘global warming’? I feel nothing ‘warming’ at all!

-o00o-

We have always wondered about Mugabe’s first election win. In fact, we have wondered about all of Mugabe’s election wins over the decades. But, be that as it may, we cannot change the past – but we need to be aware that there were certain factors in play in 1980 that changed the political landscape of Zimbabwe.

ZAPU president Dumiso Dabengwa has blamed the British government and apartheid ruled South Africa for rigging the first ever elections under universal suffrage in 1980 to favour President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

Dabengwa said the British Conservative party connived with other Western countries and the South Africans to award poll victory to Zanu PF as a strategy to reward a party they viewed as able to safeguard their interests.

ZAPU won 20 seats against Zanu PF’s 57 in the maiden polls supervised by the British government.

“Those elections were rigged in Zanu PF’s favour and were not free or fair.
 

They were marred by violence and threats because Zanu PF created no-go areas where no other party could campaign.

“The British taught Zanu PF that if the party was to win any elections they have to resort to violence. That has now become the party’s culture since then,” Dabengwa told journalists at a press meeting in Bulawayo on Friday.

Dabengwa said Zapu could have created its own no-go area in a vast swathe of land it dominated during the war for independence but the late Joshua Nkomo’s magnanimity in persuading his Zapu colleagues to accept the poll results saved Zimbabwe from plunging into civil war on the basis of rigged elections.

He said two decades of intransigence by Mugabe and his ruling elite compelled him to quit the party and respond to his former Zapu colleagues’ pleas to revive Zapu as its leader.


Of course, Dabengwa’s allegations are very hard to investigate 33 years later, but we have to give it some serious thought. Where did Mugabe get the idea that violence was the method to gaining the voter ‘support’ required for an election win?

-o00o-

Not everything in Zimbabwe can be fixed by Mugabe’s scribbled signature on a piece of paper…

President Robert Mugabe’s son Chatunga Bellarmine is now “home schooling” after he was expelled from St George’s College for indiscipline, a newspaper reported on Friday.

The 16-year-old, the last born of Mugabe’s three children with wife, Grace, “was on a last warning and has been sent packing for gross indiscipline and insubordination”, The Daily News reported, citing school sources.

Chatunga, named after Mugabe’s grandfather, was reportedly suspended for a week last year after falling foul of strict rules at the Catholic-run school which is barely a kilometre from Mugabe’s Borrowdale residence.

It is claimed that school authorities finally decided to expel him after a fresh round of “clashes”, although the official line is that it was a “voluntary withdrawal”.

We were unable to independently verify The Daily News report, with school authorities refusing to take questions.

Lawrence Kamwi, the First Family’s spokesman, is reported as telling the newspaper: “Very well, let your sources confirm that he was expelled from the school.”

President Mugabe, a former teacher, is a stickler for discipline and if reports of his son being expelled from school are true, he would be doubly disappointed after Chatunga’s brother, Robert Jnr, failed his 'A’ Levels at Kutama College in 2011.

Mugabe publicly expressed his disappointment with the 19-year-old’s grades.
 

He revealed: “‘How are you doing,’ we would ask him. ‘The papers were not hard,’ he would say.

“We expected he would get through, but no, he became an undertaker! ‘U’s! That is why they call them undertakers! The whole group were all undertakers; about six of them.”

Mugabe has spoken glowingly of his 24-year-old daughter, Bona, who graduated with a degree in accounting from City University in Hong Kong.

He said of Bona: “The girl was not like that [Robert Junior]. We are with her for now. She wants to be a chartered accountant. We are very happy for her.

“She will be wanting to get married in a year or two, perhaps. They don’t wait. She is a home girl though, not as outgoing as her brother.”

Both Mugabe's sons are keen CAPS United fans. They attended over half-a-dozen football matches last year, including national team games.


Mugabe may have all manner of degrees – some he worked for whilst in prison, and others were bestowed upon him by foreign universities as honourary, but his male children do not seem to have taken after their father.

And do I care? Not at all!

-o00o-

In this world of political correctness, it is deemed that the death penalty is wrong – but there are some states in America that still have the death penalty.

Zimbabwe has the death penalty and that is done be hanging the offender. They haven’t had a hangman for a few years, but now that position is filled. I wonder whether Mugabe will sign the execution order for those awaiting their fate in his disgusting prisons…

Zimbabwe has finally hired a hangman after seven years of
searching, but he has not yet executed any of the 76 people on death row, a top prisons official has said.

"Indeed, we now have a hangman," Prison Service Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi was quoted as saying in Saturday's edition of The Herald, Zimbabwe's state-controlled daily.

The post was filled last year by a candidate the paper speculated was of Malawian origin. The previous executioner retired in 2005.

The government had repeatedly advertised the job in the press, but it took a long time to find takers.

Of the 16,902 criminals being held in Zimbabwe's jails, 76 of them are awaiting the hangman's noose, Zimondi said.

"These people are still to be executed. In fact no one has been executed in the past 12 years," he said.

Some death row inmates were convicted more than 14 years ago but were still appealing their cases when the previous hangman retired.

Two death row prisoners are women, who may be spared the noose if a new constitution is adopted in a referendum sometime this year.

Zimbabwe's new draft constitution exempts women and anyone under 21 or above 70 from the death penalty.


Mugabe may see the convicted killers as people that he would prefer dead, but will ZANU PF steal their identities to bolster their flagging voter base? I wouldn’t put it past them!

-o00o-

Mugabe won’t do anything to stop the armed forces, prisons and the police from being political in their endeavours. He may listen to people’s complaints that the officers are motivated by ZANU PF, but he will just see it as a litmus paper test, aware that the doings of the soldiers and police are working to destabilise the MDC

President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have been urged to rein-in senior officers in the police, the army and the air force ahead of crucial elections that are expected to be called some time this year to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed that characterized the 2008 poll.

The call comes from the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) which has tabulated instances in which senior officers have been making statements the ZDI say can inflame the political situation in the country.

This follows reports that Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri recently urged the wives of senior officers to "remain patriotic and vote Zanu-PF" in the coming polls.

Zanu-PF officials, led by administration secretary Didymus Mutasa, have supported the involvement of the security forces in politics saying they belong to the party since the majority of them are war veterans.

Multiple Zanu-PF sources told VOA that an unprecedented number of serving senior army and retired officers, police and air force and the central intelligence operatives, are seeking to run for parliamentary seats and will be going through the party’s primary elections scheduled for February.

It is not clear if the serving officers will resign from active service. But Assistant Police Commissioner Everisto Pfumvuti, commanding the Support Unit, has confirmed that he has intentions to participate in the Zanu-PF primary elections in Mutoko, Mashonaland East.

There are reports that he is also forcing police and ZNA officers in Mutoko South to register to vote.

Pfumvuti has, however, dismissed the allegations as the work of his enemies.
 

Director Pedzisayi Ruhannya of the ZDI says partisan remarks by Chihuri are disturbing and show security sector reform has failed.


Mugabe does nothing for the people as he now believes he and ZANU PF are appointed by God and that cannot be changed – therefore, the support of the people is no longer a priority – and the soldiers and police will ensure that if the people don’t want to vote ZANU PF then they will vote for them.

-o00o-

I know Renco Mine quite well, it being within the Chiredzi sales area when I worked for Field Technical Sales in the very late 1980s. And I played golf on the wonderful course there more than a few times…

Zimbabwe's RioZim Limited has gone to the High Court to fight off seizure of a gold mine by allies of President Robert Mugabe, who accuse it of flouting a black empowerment law, the company said on Friday.

RioZim said two lawmakers, including tourism minister Walter Mzembi from Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, took control of its Renco gold mine, 300 km (200 miles) south of Harare, two weeks ago.

"Minister Mzembi arrived at the mine... He called a public meeting and announced that RioZim had not complied with the indigenisation obligations of the country and hence they were taking over Renco," RioZim said in a statement.

People not employed by the mine blockaded it, resulting in daily production losses of $150000, said RioZim.

It said the minister had appointed a local member of parliament as general manager and directed all staff to work under him.

The MP was now using threats and intimidation to bar RioZim directors and management from the mine while denying them access to the company's gold bullion, the firm added.

Mzembi furiously denied RioZim's accusations, saying he only became involved with the mine when Renco workers lobbied him as their local MP to intervene in a pay dispute.

"That's political slander. I'm surprised by their statement, which seeks to politicise what is a dispute between them and their workers," he told Reuters.

"I have no interest in the mine's shareholders except to say they must comply with the laws of this country. I have never taken an ounce of gold from Renco, nor do I intend to, but my people are crying for justice."

Renco - formed in 2004 when Rio Tinto Plc sold off most of its Zimbabwe assets - produced 11000 ounces of gold in the first half of 2012, when it resumed operations after shutting down at the height of Zimbabwe's hyperinflation crisis in 2008.

RioZim was saddled with $50 million of debt and on the verge of collapse in 2012 but was saved when New York-based private equity fund Global Emerging Markets took a 25 percent stake.

Major mining firms in Zimbabwe, including leading platinum producers Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum, have been forced to surrender majority stakes to local investors under the Mugabe-led black empowerment drive.

Saviour Kasukuwere, the minister in charge of the process, was not available to comment on the RioZim seizure, but has been quoted in local media describing the move as "irrational".

"We want law and order in this country and we don't want indigenisation to be dragged into the mud," he was quoted as saying in private newspaper NewsDay.


Whoa there cowboy! Indigenisation is one thing and there is the law saying that foreign firms must cede 51% of there ownership to locals, but is it right that a ZANU PF minister takes over the mine just because he believes he can?

Are we heading for a firm grab similar to the farm grab?

How many people will be killed if that happens – and how many people will be render destitute if the forcible seizures are permitted?

Surely Mugabe sees the problem and know that the right thing to do is to intervene?

-o00o-

I like this article as it brings the whole crisis into some perspective…

Zimbabwe would be shut down if it were a private company, the finance minister has declared, days after joking that it only had $217 (£138) in the bank account.

Tendai Biti warned executives in Harare on Thursday that Zimbabwe is in a permanent economic crisis. He told a meeting of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries that it was "unacceptable that Zimbabwe continued to be trapped in a cycle of permanent depression or permanent crisis punctuated by periods of growth".

Mr Biti added: "It is not sustainable. If Zimbabwe was a private company it would have closed down."

Earlier this week Mr Biti joked with the media that they had more money in their bank accounts than Zimbabwe, which only had $217 (£138) in the treasury on Tuesday although hours later the balance improved by about $30 million.

Zimbabwe is battling to emerge from a decade-long economic crisis after President Robert Mugabe destroyed the agriculture-based economy by evicting about 4,000 white commercial farmers.

Mr Biti slammed commercial banks, most of them foreign owned, for refusing to back treasury bills issued late last year. "They only offered a pathetic amount," he said.

Mr Biti and others in his Movement for Democratic Change party say fears of "indigenisation" stops much potential new investment.

Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF brought in a law that says all foreign companies must sell 51 per cent of shares to black Zimbabweans. So far most large international mining companies have complied with the law, but no locals have been able to afford to buy the majority shares.
The MDC is in an uncomfortable four-year-old inclusive government with Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF party, which ends when Zimbabweans vote in fresh elections later this year.


And to think that at independence in April 1980, the local currency was trading about 2 to the British pound and was stronger than the greenback…

-o00o-

So ZANU PF agree on reforms – and then, having done nothing about it for years, now say that they are not going to do anything about it.

What is the purpose of negotiating with ZANU PF if they are just going to use the negotiations to delay any agreement, and then, when an agreement is reached, they still do nothing?

Fresh from cobbling together an agreement on the constitution after incessant bickering for nearly four years, Zimbabwe’s major political parties appear to be heading on another collision course after Zanu PF rejected the MDCs’ demands for further reforms before elections can be held.

Zanu PF negotiator and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said there would be no more reforms as stipulated by the Global Political Agreement - precursor to the Government of National Unity - and Sadc roadmap to elections.

“We agreed that the completion of the constitution is the only stumbling block towards the holding of elections,” said Chinamasa in an interview. “The renewed calls for reforms by the MDCs are an agenda to try and avoid elections.”

Chinamasa said the issue of reforms was never raised at Tuesday’s meeting with the Sadc facilitation team comprising President Jacob Zuma’s international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu and political adviser Charles Nqakula.

“We met them (Zuma’s team) and gave them an update with regards to the constitution and referendum. The team was happy with our efforts and achievements as the country prepares for elections.”

Chinamasa then rubbished the MDCs’ calls for media reforms.

“What reforms are they talking about now?” asked Chinamasa. “We agreed with them to complete the constitution and prepare for elections, but they go out there and say they want reforms. The MDCs have failed and they are likely to lose the elections.

“They thought we were not going to agree on the constitution and now they are hiding behind reforms in order to avoid elections,” claimed Chinamasa.

MDC-T secretary-general and Finance minister Tendai Biti told a media briefing on Tuesday that his party would continue pressing for major reforms before elections are held to ensure there is no repeat of the violence which engulfed Zimbabwe in the 2008 elections after Zanu PF was defeated by the MDC.

“We can have elections tomorrow but if there are no reforms it will be one step forward and 20 steps backwards and we will have a similar situation like we had in 2008,” said Biti, whose party demands reforms to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission among other measures in its Conditions for a Sustainable Election in Zimbabwe document launched last year.


The MDC is not hiding behind anything. ZANU PF, on the other hand, are just a bunch of liars who have driven the county into the ground – and now want the accolades for the job that they have done.

Unreal!

-o00o-

Oh dear. Methinks that the war veterans will not be amused by this. Chiwenga made a promise and has broken it at the first hurdle.

Mmmmm – and even if he appeals to Mugabe to intervene, the country has no money…

Veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation war had their hopes of a US$2000 monthly windfall dashed after government failed to pay them the money despite promises made by Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) chief General Constantine Chiwenga late last year.

Chiwenga reportedly promised war veterans payments of US$18000 each to be paid in monthly instalments of US$2000 for nine months at a meeting at One Brigade Headquarters in Bulawayo in November 2012.

Chiwenga said the money would come from diamond mining in Marange and investment in the Lupane gas project in which the ZDF partnered Russian investors.

The expectant war veterans were disappointed to find no deposits into their bank accounts on their pay day on Monday.

Instead they got the usual amounts of between US$160 and US$170.

Disgruntled war veterans told this paper it was disheartening that Chiwenga and Zanu PF were engaging in cheap politicking by making false promises.

“They owe us the money because we were never paid in full when we got Z$50000 in 1997,” said one irate war veteran. “The most distressing thing is that nobody bothered to explain anything to us. Members need to re-group to decide on the appropriate response if nothing materialises in the coming months.”

War veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda confirmed they had not received the promised money but referred all questions to Chiwenga since he made the promises.

“All l know is that war veterans never received any money,” said Sibanda.

“People have been asking me what happened to the money promised by Chiwenga but they should be asking Chiwenga. I wasn’t there in Bulawayo because l wasn’t even invited to the meeting. You should ask Chiwenga because l don’t know his programme and how he is operating,” Sibanda said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association secretary-general Shadreck Makombe confirmed last month that the association was having meetings with the government over compensation for liberating the country from colonial rule.

“We negotiated for Z$150000 per individual which was equivalent to US$20000 and we only received Z$50000 (US$2000) in 1997; as such there is need for our patron (President Robert Mugabe) to release the remaining US$18000,” Makombe said.

However, Sibanda appeared to contradict Makombe when he said the immediate priority is to ensure that Zanu PF wins elections and the money issue will be discussed later.

“We are not in a rush to get the money because right now our priority is to ensure Mugabe wins the elections. Only then will we start talking about the money issue. In any case we don’t get our money from Chiwenga because we are not in the army,” said Sibanda.


Sibanda is younger than me – and I was too young to fight in the bush war in the 1970s. How can he be a ‘war veteran’?

The fact that so many people pretend to be something they are not speaks volumes to me.

And the war veterans are Mugabe’s work horses when it comes to the seizure of land – and, I would assume, errant companies that have ignored the indigenisation legislation…

-o00o-

Take care.

‘debvhu

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