Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe before the elections (19)


Election monitors

So there we have it: Zanu-PF, stubborn as ever, has rejected a UN Assessment Mission visit, which would have preceded election funding, on Justice Minister Patrick Chinmasa's say-so. The Minister said the country had proved over the years and the recent referendum that it held free and fair elections (where, one wonders, was he in 2008?) and his party would not permit probes of its political, legal, social, economic structures.(1) Information Ministry's permanent secretary George Charamba threatened to bar foreign journalists from covering the elections, a statement contradicted by Deputy Information Minister Murisi Zvizwai.(2)


The lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa's arrest, which caused protests by a host of international organisations and prominent individuals, has placed Zimbabwe in the spotlight. As a result, demands for reforms before the election have escalated. Mtetwa's case was remanded to April 8th.(3) The eminent lawyer said nothing had changed since 2006, with one party controlling everything, as her arrest proved. (4)

The vilification and plot to sack the respected Judge Charles Hungwe continued, to the concern of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and others. Hungwe's ruling for Mtetwa's instant release following her arrest, had been ignored by police. He had also issued a warrant for Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission's (ZACC) probe into the affairs of three ministers, activities subsequently barred by another court ruling. The judge was suspended on April 4th, after having twice been called before the Chief Justice. His persecution is seen as Zanu-PF's determination that the Bench should follow its interests. President Robert Mugabe had said ZACC should not be interfered with.(5)

Civil society organizations requesting a meeting with Global Political Agreement (GPA) leaders on the issue of human rights, met all except Mugabe (6).

Political unrest

Police harassment continued, with 6 MDC-T officials arrested in the Midlands for holding an allegedly illegal meeting. In Mashonaland West a MDC-T activist was set upon and beaten by Zanu-PF youths.(7) There is concern that oppression of Zanu-PF opponents will increase. The Zanu-PF Chipangano thugs have stepped up intimidation in Harare's Mbare.(8) Following a week's visit, members of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights deplored "a lack of compliance with the Global Political Agreement, as well as increased systematic intimidation, threats, violence and arbitrary detention of human rights activists and civil society leaders." (9) The police claimed that the independent media blows up reports of political violence, reporting common assault and beerhall squabbles as political.(10)

Two men who had been arrested on March 13th after a failed attempt to knife Finance Minister Tendai Biti during a rally, gave allegedly been dropped by Zanu-PF.(11)

Fears of vote rigging increased with an unnamed minister stating that soldiers would be involved in the vote counting process. Allegedly a command post had been set up by the army working closely with Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, which is to co-ordinate counting and also be on hand if results cause unrest.(12)

Zimbabwe has yet to respond to the African Commission on Human and People's Rights ruling, that the diaspora is entitled to vote in the elections.(13)

Election date

Premier Morgan Tsvangirai triumphed over the election date, with Mugabe omitting the mention of a general election date in a case before the courts concerning delayed by-elections, due to be decided on April 6th.(14) Others, including Welshman Ncube leader of the smaller MDC concurred with Tsvangirai that a June date was too soon. They insist on reforms before elections including that of the shambolic voters' roll, partisan security sector, anti-democratic laws and ending political violence.(15) Tsvangirai pinned his hoped for a fair election on South Africa's President Jacob Zuma. (16) A row broke out over amendments to the constitution by members of COPAC, which would allow the election to be deferred after June 29. No amendments can be effected without Parliament as a whole and accepted by the President.(17)

Party divisions

The Zanu-PF trench deepened between the factions led respectively by Vice President Joice Mujuru and Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. Observers think this may affect the party's election chances. Two anonymous characters, Amai Jukwa and Baba Jukwa, emerged, which cast stones at different important Zanu-PF leaders, Amai as a "Herald" columnist, Baba using Wikileaks cables.(18) A Politburo meeting on the forthcoming primaries was postponed to "fine-tune" the procedure, according to spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, because of squabbles between different groups, according to the media.(19)

MDC, who was also divided over the selection of candidates, has approved 1000 for the primaries.(20)


Two murder suspects in a 2001 farm murder case, in which a 72year old woman had been shot, a year after her son's murder. The suspects, who had been identified by one of the farm workers, whom they had kidnapped the day before the murder, had been bailed and the case dragged out until now. The verdict was of concern to the Commercial Farmers Union's chairman, who feared the atrocities during the land invasion period were being "swept under the carpet".(21)


A Zimbabwean Investment Conference aimed at South African investor was held in Johannesburg.(22)

Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono warned that industry could not revive, unless imports from South Africa are reduced. In 20012 Zimbabwe imported goods worth $3.2bn from South Africa, while exports accounted for $2.7bn (23)

Barclays Bank, one of four banks due to render indigenisation plans by June, has submitted a suitable plan, yet to be accepted by the government. This would provide a precedent for Standard Charter, MBCA (owned by Nedbank) and Stanbic Bank.(24)

The ethanol factory at Chisumbanje which had closed in February last year, is due to re-open. 51% will be owned by and 49% by the controversial pro-Mugabe businessman Billy Rautenbach.(25)

The indigenisation law is under review, according to Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister Dr Tapiwa Mashakada.(26)

Ugandan detainees

A Uganda Human Rights group has claimed that almost 6 000 Ugandans are languishing in South African and Zimbabwean gaols, 5 000 in Zimbabwe. The majority were not criminals but individuals drawn by false promises of employment. The Zimbabwean prison authorities disputed the numbers.(27)

  1. Voice of America Zimbabwe 29.3
  2. Daily News 2.4
  3. Standard 31.3, SW Radio Africa 3.4
  4. Financial Gazette 3.4
  5. Nehanda Radio 2.4, 4.4, SW Radio Africa 2.4, 4.4, Zim. Mail 4.4, Daily News 31.3
  6. Financial Gazette 3.4
  7. Daily News 2.4
  8. SW Radio Africa 3.4, AP 4.4
  9. Voice of America Zim. 3.4
  10. Herald 3.4
  11. The Zimbabwean UK 3.4
  12. Nehanda Radio 2.4
  13. SW Radio Africa 3.4
  14. SW Radio Africa 3.4m 4.4
  15. SW Radio Africa 28.3, Standard 31.3
  16. Daily News 3.4
  17. Herald 1.4, SW Radio Africa 2.4
  18. Standard 31.3
  19. Daily News 4..4
  20. Standard 31.3, SW Radio 3.4, 4., VOA Zim. 3.4
  21. SW Radio Africa 2.4
  22. Voice of America Zim. 3.4
  23. http://www.bdlive.co.za/ 4.4
  24. http://www.bdlive.co.za/ 4.4
  25. Standard 31.3
  26. Mining Weekly 3.4
  27. New Zimbabwe 29.3, http://www.newvision.co.ug/ 29.3

Letzte Änderung: Friday, 05-Apr-2013 10:27:26 CEST
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5.4.2013 Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe vor der Wahl (19)