Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe before the elections (22)



The chances are that the elections will be free and fair: SADC's troika on security and defence wants reforms in place before giving the green light for elections. This emerged unofficially from a meeting of the coalition government's representative and South Africa's President Jacob Zuma's facilitation team. The mediation team's stance is in contradiction with the ruling African National Congress' pledge to assist Zanu-PF. Allegedly ANC officials are helping Zanu-PF preparing to "rig" the forthcoming elections.(1) SADCC wants to ensure the SADC representatives their appointed place on the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic), contrary to Zanu-PF wishes.

President Robert Mugabe and Premier Morgan Tsvangirai acceded to SADC's request to include MDC Welshman Ncube in their deliberations. Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara, who had been replaced 2012 by Ncube in the smaller MDC faction, had established an election roadmap committee.(2) The latter will ow be drawn up by an enlarged committee.(3)

Zau-PF negative attitude towards security sector and media reforms has annoyed the South African President Jacob Zuma's mediation team and could lead to a showdown between SADC and the party.(4) The Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) claimed the security sector establishment was still in charge despite the existence of a civilian authority.(5) Other observers fear the security chiefs cannot be reined in by the new constitution, (6) MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has repeated there would be no election without reforms.(7) MDC has called for the removal of pro-Zanu-PF Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri.(8) The police continued its harassment of MDC-T officials, with the arrest of a student leader ad two house-to-house canvassers.(9)

Election funding has divided the coalition parties.(10) Zanu-PF, which had resisted an UN assessment before funding elections, apparently wanted to avoid any UN probe into the security situation. The UN team had intended to visit the provinces, including areas which had been engulfed by political violence in 2008. The party desires no scrutiny before, during or post elections.(11)) The unconditional US$100m South African loan, which Biti said South Africa had approved, is still unconfirmed, with South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance demanding an explanation.(12)

Voters Registration

While security personnel registered easily, ordinary voters had a harder time. The Registrar-Generals office was said to be in disarray, allowing only 20 registrations a day and turning away hundreds of voters, especially in MDC areas.

Following a meeting of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) with all political parties in response to MDC-T complaints concerning ZEC's pro-Zanu-PF bias, the government embarked on measures to ease and speed up registration.(13) MC-T had demanded that parties other than Zanu-PF should be included on election bodies such as ZEC, the accreditation committee and the national logistics committee. (14) The complainants had called for the dismissal of pro-Zanu-PF Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede.(15) Zanu-PF accused MDC-T of fiddling with the voters' roll, which the party denied.(16) Other parties complained ZEC made impossible demands of voters which slowed down the process.(17)

Subsequently MDC-T Co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone, flanked by acting Home Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnanagagwa announced that cabinet directed ZEC to unblock registration bottle necks. The Registrar-General is to issue ID cards to thousands of young would-be voters to enable them to register as voters, provide replacement IDs free of charge. Aliens can now swap their alien ID cards for Zimbabwean IDs.(18). Observers such as Pedzisai Ruhanya, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute Director, however, expressed doubts that the new ZEC head, Supreme Court Judge Rita Makarau, can oppose the militarized ZEC secretariat, which had supervised the brutal 2008 election.(19)

The Treasury released US$8m for the registration exercise.(20)

Voters are complaining of the cost of obtaining copies of the voters roll, with US$15 per ward. As there are 1 958 wards, it means almost US$30 000 for the complete roll.(21)

Party squabbles

The infighting continued within both Zanu-PF and MDC-T. Zanu-PF factions led respectively by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President Joice Mujuru are in turn challenged by the "young Turks" around Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kusukwere. The probe currently conducted by a Politburo team find the going hard, with aspiring Mugabe-successors anxious to position their men within the ten provincial councils. The latter would nominate presidential candidates if/when Mugabe retires.(22)

In Manicaland, two top Zanu-PF officials, Zanu PF Manicaland chairman Mike Madiro and deputy Dorothy Mabika, appeared in Court charged with stock theft with both claiming the charge is political, based on differences with Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa.(23)

Zanu-PF's battle over the Vice President post in Matabeleland also intensified, as the frailty of the party's presidential candidate became evident during the Independence celebrations, when Mugabe was visibly unsure of his steps.(24)

MDC-T is said to be at sixes ad seventh. National Chairman and Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo, called for tolerance in Bulawayo, following reports of infighting over candidature in primary elections to come.(25)

Human Rights

Diamond companies' guards continue to abuse illegal diggers, according to the Centre for Research and Development (CRD), which monitored the areas' human rights situation over years.(26)

The Bar Council of England and Wales pledged support for Zimbabwe lawyers.(27)

Local Government

Local Government Minister Ignatious Chombo fired suspended Mutare mayor Brian James, despite a High Court case challenging the suspension, which has been pending for a year.(28)

Foreign Relations

The US Policy towards Zimbabwe is changing. Two banks have been removed from the US sanction list, with further changed to come.(29)


Kasukuwere has denied reports than indigenisation is to get tougher, in line with the wishes of President Robert Mugabe.(30) It was reported that a draft law was in preparation to enable the government to seize control of foreign companies without payment. This would overrule the agreements already arrived at with mining companies, such as the US$971 million Zimplats deal.(31)

The government announced its intention to acquire the agro-industrial group CFI Holdings, which will be the third company in recent months to be targeted.(32)


China insists on Zimbabwe paying its debts before releasing new funds, according to Finance Minister Tendai Biti. Zimbabwe paid some US$76.5m to service external loans between January and March, of which US$50m was due to China.(33) Biti wants Zimbabwe Farmer Development Company (ZFDC) owned by Farmer's World and government, to explain why Chinese loans made around 2006 for farming equipment were not repaid.(34)

Platinum output increased in February 2013, recording 1 219,61 kg from 1 007,59 kg in January, according to the Chamber of Mines.(35)

The Centre for Natural Resource and Governance (CNRG) wants diamond companies to publish its agreement with government and other authorities.(36)

The African Development Bank (ADB) reported that Zimbabwes grain reserves were badly depleted (37) and that the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) had reserved its 92,000 tonnes of maize for the grain loan scheme. Millers require 150 000 tonnes to meet the consumer demand before the new harvest lands on the market. Grain prices are pushed upwards due to shortages caused by drought. Imports are usually made from Zambia, Malawi. South Africa and Zambia, but Zambia has currently banned exports.(38) Zanu-PF has highjacked the scheme in droughtstricken provinces, including Matabeleland South, forcing villagers to buy Zanu-PF cards. The scheme is increasingly politicized with Zanu-PF influencing chiefs to favour Zau-PF recipients.(39)

Tourism is affected by the system of roadblocks, according to the Tourism authorities, with travellers harassed by police.(40)

A South African nonprofit organisation People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty said Zimbabweans living in South Africa repatriated $847-million in 2011. Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono had previously said that remittances were a major source of income.(41)

  1. The Zimbabwean UK 19.4
  2. Independent 19.4, Daily News 19.4
  3. Voice of America Zim. 23.4
  4. Zim. Mail 24.4
  5. Daily News 24.4
  6. The Zimbabwean UK 24.4) while Aljizeera reports intimidation of the media. Aljezeera 24.4
  7. SW Radio Africa 25.4, New Zimbabwe 25.4
  8. Voice of America Zim.19.4
  9. SW Radio Africa 25.4
  10. Financial Gazette 25.4
  11. Independent 19.4
  12. SW Radio Africa 19.4, Tines UK 19.4
  13. Daily News 24.4
  14. SW Radio Africa 22.4, Daily News 23.4
  15. Daily News 22.4
  16. SW Radio Africa 24.4
  17. New Zimbabwe 23.4, http://www.africareview.com/ 23.4
  18. SW Radio Africa 24.4, Daily News 24.4
  19. http://www.theafricareport.com/ 23.4
  20. Herald 25.4
  21. Independent 19.4
  22. Financial Gazette 19.4
  23. Voice of America Zim 23.4, New Zimbabwe 23.4
  24. Independent 19.4
  25. SW Radio Africa 24.4
  26. SW Radio Africa 19.4
  27. http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/ 23.4
  28. SW Radio Africa 19.4
  29. SW Radio Africa 25.4, New Zimbabwe 25.4
  30. New Zimbabwe 23.4
  31. Bloomberg News 22.4; SW Radio Africa 23.4, New Zimbabwe 23.4
  32. SW Radio Africa 24.4
  33. Independent 19.4
  34. Standard 21.4
  35. Independent 19.4
  36. Standard 21.4
  37. AP 25.4
  38. The Zimbabwean UK 20.4, 22.4
  39. Daily News 22.4 SW Radio Africa 23.4, 24.4
  40. Standard 21.4
  41. Mail and Guardian 19.4

Letzte Änderung: Friday, 26-Apr-2013 14:02:58 CEST
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19.4.2013 Ruth Weiss: Zimbabwe before the elections (21)