Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe before the elections (13)


The EU has lifted sanctions against six government ministers, 26 other individuals and one company. Those against Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). which manages the controversial Marange diamond operations, will be lifted a month elections, if these are seen to be "peaceful, transparent, credible and fair.(1) Zanu-PF's reaction was to call the concessions "outrageous and preposterous".(2) [HYPERLINK: http://www.zimeye.org/] In 2008 some 200 individuals were killed, as the army "cleared" Chiawadza of the then 30 000 Zimbabwe diamond diggers and handing the area to the army, with the stones diverted from the Reserve Bank to army officers. The MP Kate Hoey said that Marange diamond companies were "suspected of directing millions of dollars to corrupt and violent interests associated with Zanu-PF." Old Mutual, a UK FTSE company has a stake in one of the Marange firms.(3) The demand by `War Vets'. that President Robert Mugabe should award them new gratuities of US$1 billion and grant them Marange diamond concessions similar to those of the armed forces, appears to confirm that the President controls the diamond fields.(4) The EU deal is seen by critics as sidelining human rights because of its interest in Zimbabwe's diamonds. Moreover, diamond money will continue to flow to the military, which dominate Mugabe's party and `The Economist' thinks will not give up power.(5)

The President, celebrating his 89th birthday on February 21 claimed he was "God appointed". He confirmed the referendum date of March 16 (6), when he launched the Masvingo Community Share Ownership Scheme and expressed his conviction of winning the 2013 elections.(7) A November survey conducted by the Harare based Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) gave Zanu-PF a slight edge over MDC.(8) He further suggested at a meeting with Msvingo chiefs that the new constitution could be changed, if his party won the elections.(9)

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) was concerned about the forthcoming referendum and elections dates, while the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has begun court procedure for a referendum postponement.(10) This may happen in any event, because if lack of funding, despite UN promises. Efforts are made to borrow the money from local companies.(11)

Mugabe's plan to appoint Supreme Court Judge Rita Makarau to replace Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe as acting head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been rejected by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.(12) Mutambanengwe's sudden resignation was reported as forced upon him by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamano, as Zanu-PF hardliners are believed to fear his outspokenness. ZEC's co-chairperson remains the pro Zanu-PF Joyce Kazembe. ZEC is still staffed by the personnel which stalled the announcement of election results for five weeks, allowing time for vote rigging.(13). A ZEC spokesperson admitted former military and CIO members worked for the organisation. (14)

Similarly, the idea of appointing the lawyer Jacob Mudenda to replace Red Austin, who resigned last month as head of the Human Rights Commission, is subjet to negotiations.(15) The proposed appointment met with criticism, as Mudenda was Zanu-PF Governor of Matabeleland during the Fifth Brigades' murderous actions in the province.(16)

In Mbare, the Chipangano gang close to Zanu-PF, which has seized control of the lucrative market stalls and other business conduits, is seeking votes for its leader Jim Kunaka, seeking the Zanu-PF candidacy for the area, by doling out stalls.(17)

Vote rigging may have begun this time round with voters' registration, which is in shambles. Civic society and MDC-T officials report that in Manicaland, Mashonaland Central and Matabeleland, voters have been stopped from registering if their political affiliation was unacceptable by ZEC officials.(18) In Bulawayo registration of voters was stopped last month. It further transpired that civilians were prevented from registering, while in Bulawayo and Harare security forces personnel and their families were bussed in to register forcibly.(19) Chiefs are to lead a "yes" campaign for the constitutional referendum.(20)

Instead of open violence, Zanu-PF appears to have adopted more subtle methods of persuasion, namely intimidation and harassment, as reported by Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Masvingo and Manicaland.(21) Doubts regarding free and fair elections continue. Thus outgoing Constitutional Minister Eric Matinenga said a constitution was no guarantee of free and fair elections, as Zimbabwe lacked a culture of constitutionalism.(22) Botswana's Ian Khama said he had only seen efforts to ensure that Zanu-PF would be the winner.(23) In an interview with Business Day, he commented that potential of a repeat of 2008 existed.

President Jacob Zuma, SADC's point man on Zimbabwe, said in his Speech to the Nation, that he looked forward to concluding the political dialogue with both Zimbabwe and Madagascar.(24)

The US Ambassador Bruce Wharton accused the police of selective policing, which could lead to "counterproductive cycle of instability"(25) Thus a woman who undressed in front of the US ambassador to protest against sanctions was not arrested. However, a woman was detained for 4 days, after staging a similar protest against the beating of peaceful WOZA demonstrators. Around 190 women were temporarily held for Valentine Day protests.(26)

The police spokeswoman Charity Charamba claimed raids on NGOs were legal, as these disseminated "subversive" reports to discredit Zanu-PF.(27) In all seven civic groups have suffered police raids within two months, despite politicians, including Mugabe, calling for peaceful campaigns. As a result, the Crisis in Zimbabwe, umbrella group of some 350 NGOS, met Rugare Gumbo, ZANU-PF Information official to implore him to stop these persecutions and violence by Zanu-PF supporters, according to the Zimbabean (UK) of February 21st. The home of a former MDC-N MP, as well as that of a MDC-T MP, were searched for "subversive material", that of ZESN was searched twice. Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) was accused of espionage. (28) Two officials of the grassroot non-profitmaking Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) spent a weekend in goal, after being arrested in Chegutu, Mashonaland West. A priest arrested at the same time, was released earlier.(29) ZimRights' Leo Chamahwinya was granted US$1,000 bail after two months in prison. (30) To top this, the police have banned 'specially designed radios not compatible with state owned stations'.This was seen as an effort to frustrate broadcasts by foreign stations. The Co-Home Affairs Ministers have declared the seizure of radios illegal and have so informed the Police Commissioner.(31) A Daily News reporter who tried to lodge a complaint against former Zanu-PF provincial youth leader Tawanda Mukodza, was detained for 2 days because Mukodza had accused him of insulting him.(32)

Such measures make the appeal by Prime Minister Morgan Tvangirai for media reform seem pointless.(33)

Scandal has engulfed the indigenisation programme (how could it be otherwise?), with questions due to be asked of the Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kusukuwere: the Daily News revealed that select firms were verbally awarded lucrative consultancy contracts by the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) and Indigenisation ministry, without going through any tender system or consultations with others affected, such as the Ministry of Mines or the Reserve Bank. Thus Brainworks Capital (Brainworks) fronted by former banker George Manyere, which holds a clutch of such contracts is set to earn some US$45m from the Zimplats deal alone.(34) Prime Minister Tsvangirai as well as Finance Minister Tendai Biti has called for scrutiny of indigenisation deals.(35)The process was said to be open to corruption.(36)

Kasukuwere has clashed with Reserve Bank Governor over the indigenisation of banks. Gono's alternative indigenisation scheme aimed at wealth creation was not approved. Former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo scathingly referred to Gono as a "house nigger" for denigrating the indigenisation scheme.(37) Economist Tony Hawkins has said that the billion indigenisation schemes so far concluded meant that the government and selected penniless investors have mortgaged GDP of the country.(38)

Hawkins also pointed out five issues to be addressed, before the economy could be revived: the country's unsustainable national budget, adverse balance of payments, external debt, imbalance between consumption and savings, and infrastructure deficits.(39)

  1. Reuter 18.2 SW Radio Africa 18.2
  2. http://www.zimeye.org
  3. Observer 17.2
  4. Daily News 19.2, Herald 19.2
  5. SW Radio 20.2, The Economist 23.2
  6. SAPA AP 16.2, SW Radio Africa 21.2
  7. VOA Zimbabwe 15.2
  8. New Zimbabwe 19.2
  9. New Zimbabwe 18.2
  10. SW Radio Africa 18.2, 19.2
  11. http://uk.news.yahoo.com
  12. SW Radio Africa 19.2m Nehands Radio 21.2
  13. Zim. Independent 15.2, The Zimbabwean UK 16.2
  14. Daily News 20.2)
  15. Nehanda Radio 19.2, 21.2
  16. SW Radio Africa 19.2
  17. Daily News 18.2, SW Radio 21.2
  18. Zim.Independent 15.2 Daily News 17.2
  19. Zim. Independent 15.2,MDC-T website, The Zimbabwean UK 16.2
  20. Daily News 15.2
  21. New Zimbabwe 18.2
  22. Radio VOP 15.2
  23. New Zimbabwe 14.2
  24. VOA Zimbabwe 15.2
  25. New Zimbabwe 15.2
  26. SW Radio Africa 15.2, WOZA press reslease 19.2
  27. http://www.timeslive.co.za
  28. The Zimbabwean 17.2, SW Radio Africa 19.2, 21.2
  29. SW Radio Africa 18.2
  30. SW Radio Africa 18.2
  31. SW Radio Africa 20.2, VOA Zimbabwe 20.2
  32. SW Radio Africa 19.2, SW Radio Africa 20.2
  33. SW Radio Africa 18.2
  34. Daily News 15.2, Nehanda Radio 15.2
  35. SW Radio Africa 15.2,Zimbabwe Mail 19.2
  36. Zim. Independent 15.2)
  37. New Zimbabwe 14.2, 16.2
  38. Zim Independent 15.2
  39. Zim Independent 15.2

Letzte Änderung: Thursday, 07-Mar-2013 11:11:11 CET
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22.2.2013 Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe vor der Wahl (13)