Monday, 11 December 2017

Zimbabwe; Where are our Human Rights?

Today [10th December 2017] is International Human Rights Day. Zimbabwe is on record for being one of the countries that violate human rights to settle political scores. Very little is done to educate Zimbabwean citizens on Human Rights with some ignorantly professing that Human Rights is a western concept.
Linda Looking for real Independence

Human rights are claims that every human being is entitled to in order to live a dignified life. In Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it states that, "ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE BORN FREE AND EQUAL IN DIGNITY AND RIGHTS."

Every Zimbabwean has the right to a dignified life, should have equal access to resources, opportunities and services essential for an adequate standard of living. It's rather unfortunate that most in Zimbabwe, a large percentage of the population lives in poverty and social deprivation which has led to many people normalizing the abnormal and accepting violation of rights as a way of life.
Economic, Social and cultural rights are human rights and should ensure pro-poor, inclusive and sustainable development. These rights were not considered at all in the preparation of the 2019 budget which was presented on Friday. The budget was more of a market economy with very little connotations to social justice.

The very few Zimbabweans still employed deserve a living wage and decent working conditions. In the budget statement it was stated that, technically insolvent parastatals will be closed. What happens when the parastatals are closed as there was no budget presented for their packages. Two years down the line Zuva judgement victims are still wrong for their terminal benefits and retirement packages with most of them now living in abject poverty. Former workers of the same parastatals who had their contract of employment terminated by the infamous zuva judgement are struggling to make ends meet. There are no jobs and those who had resorted to vending to sustain their livelihoods are being chased off the streets which has made life generally unbearable and miserable for the unemployed.
The African Charter on Human and People's Rights safeguards the following rights;

  1. Right to work (article 15)
  2. Right to health (Article 16)
  3. Right to Education (Article 17)

Zimbabwe signed this charter on 28 February 1986 and ratified it on 30 August 1986.
The right to health care is essential for one to fully enjoy their right to health. Healthcare must be accessible, available, acceptable and of good quality. Zimbabwe has failed to provide adequate healthcare for the past twenty years in public hospitals which is a gross violation of human rights and their obligation in relation to Article 1 of the African Charter which requires State parties to "recognize" the rights, duties and freedoms enshrined in the charter.

Hundreds die prematurely in our government hospitals due to shortage of critical drugs, shortage of blood, malfunctioning machinery and poor Healthcare. It is our responsibility as active citizens to continue demanding accountability until every Zimbabwean enjoys the right to quality healthcare.
The right to education is a Human Rights on its own. It is a guarantee of being entitled to education that us accessible, affordable and available to everyone. The right to education as enshrined in section 75 of the constitution of Zimbabwe is a fundamental human right necessary for every person to know and be able to demand and assert other human rights. Section 75 further states that in clause 1(a) every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to a basic state funded education, including adult basic education...

Government must pay for basic education and efforts should be made to ensure that all the children gallivanting in the streets are afforded the opportunity to go to school. All children who have been sent away from school should go back to school and those who are engaged in child prostitution and drug abuse should be rehabilitated and taken back to school.
These provisions in the constitution show some of the commitments made by government when if accepted these Human rights instruments such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.

In conclusion, our right to health is greatly compromised by the dirty, filthy and condemned water that comes out our taps which is a violation of our right to safe, clean and potable water as enshrined in section 77 of the constitution of Zimbabwe. Water is very important for a healthy life. No one can exercise other rights if they do not have right to water. Every Zimbabwean must access clean and safe drinking water and sanitation.

The United Nations also passed a resolution in 2010 recognizing that water and sanitation is a Human right. The government of Zimbabwe has an obligation to provide clean, safe and portable water to every Zimbabwean and must respect the right to water, protect the right to water and the central government and local authorities have a duty to provide clean and portable water in Zimbabwe. Our duty as Zimbabweans is to demand basic human rights to be adhered to. First things first the right to water.

Let us be active citizens and demand our fundamental human rights to be respected and protected.

Linda Tsungirirai Masarira
Human Rights Defender, Aspiring MP Harare Central, Political Activist and Founder & National Coordinator of Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Is Zimbabwe to become a Democracy?

All Zimbabweans are optimistic that we are heading for a new beginning. So now that we are sober after celebrating Mugabe’s departure, should we now say we are in a new Zimbabwe?
Military Rule looks to remain

What normally guides a new beginning is the prescription provided by the new comers in their manifesto. The manifesto then becomes a yardstick of measuring the progress. Here we do not have that luxury, so far,  we are guessing aided by the new president’s inauguration speech, press releases and announcements.

However we must point out that Emmerson Mnanagwa’s coronation has come at a very high cost for the nation. That of shredding the constitution, that which guides a nation,

Was the constitution shredded so that we can get a fresh start
before the elections?

The Zimbabweans aspirations after the success of the forceful removal of Robert Mugabe is to establish a completely new leadership and a new political system that is entirely based on the constitution, open, free and fair elections. So far there is no script that is Consistent with these new expectations other than the fact that the elections will go ahead as scheduled.

Whilst it is important that elections are held as per scheduled, it now seems to be the only way of pushing the armed forces out of the political scene. The 2018 elections could thus expedite the return of the soldiers to their barracks. The armed forces should focus on defending the country. In addition, moving forward with the elections would allow the elected government to address the social and economic crisis.

After independence, the military was made up of the ex Rhodesian Front soldiers, and ZANU and ZAPU military wings -ZANLA and ZIPRA - which created a professional Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). For many, the ZNA had a professional image which at the time was rare in Africa. It was seen to possess professionalism rare in African armies and was not likely to interfere in politics accept in upholding the Zimbabwean constitution. It argued that it is this professionalism that prompted the Zanu PF regime to create the fifth brigade whose unrestrained approach to Gukurahundi left many people dead.

Unlike the army, it was the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Central Intelligent Organisation (CIO) who were the political instruments of ZANU PF.

Far from it, since Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980, the whole of the security sector, particularly the ZNA, has waded into the country’s political affairs, shredding their constitutional mandate to pieces and turning themselves into kingmakers.

Therefore this transitional process will benefit Zanu-PF leaving the MDC out in the cold at the expense of democracy. This is an issue of concern because we do not have a national framework guiding our nation right now.

Zimbabwe’s supreme law as well as the Defence Forces Act prohibit the ZNA from participating in partisan politics or interfering in electoral affairs.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (ZHRO) notes with concern that this aspect of the constitution makes the army’s involvement counter the democratic principle that it is meant to uphold.

The shredding of the 2013 constitution - which was strongly endorsed by the people of Zimbabwe - will have terrible, if not horrific consequences for all of us. 

The guiding ideology that shapes the Zimbabwe military is that of nationalism dating back to the time of the liberation struggle. Within the patriotic history, liberation war credentials become the source and qualification for anyone to occupy political office in Zimbabwe. The current situation cascades from this liberation war tradition, thereby the glorification of Mnanagwa as the leader of the state, who is also the commander in chief of the armed forces is inculcated on the military.

“Let bygones be bygones” said Mnangagwa - yet we cannot afford to forget that the Zimbabwean military has played an active role in violent post colonial practices. What emerges poignantly from this coup is that within the top leadership of the military, there is a deliberate conflation of loyalty to Zanu PF and individuals loyalty to President Mnangagwa.

Zimbabwe’s laws including the Defence Forces Act and the Constitution prohibit the military from participating in politics and from partisan interference in electoral affairs. The mission statement and objectives of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces clearly spell out what the army and other forces seek to achieve, which includes ensuring the protection and security of Zimbabwe’s territorial integrity and independence.

Notwithstanding the legal and formal prohibition of partisan political conduct by the army, the military leadership is openly partisan towards ZANU- PF and has dabbled in politics on several occasions thereby straining relations with civilians.

The civil society and military relations were eroded to being non-existent in 2002 when the military chiefs purported to set the criteria for persons who can be presidential candidates. Since 2002, the military has consistently threatened to veto any poll result that goes against its then preferred candidate -Robert Mugabe.

At this week’s ZHRO Wednesday Vigil, members waves placards - pushing for a Diaspora vote - Electoral reforms - explanation on the whereabouts of the missing activists and calling on the new president to show commitment on at least apologise and name all the Gukurahundi victims.

All Zimbabweans are optimistic that we are heading for a new beginning. So now that we are sober after celebrating Mugabe’s departure, should we now say we are in a new Zimbabwe?

What normally guides a new beginning is the prescription provided by the new comers in their manifesto. The manifesto then becomes a yardstick of measuring the progress. Here we do not have that luxury, so far,  we are guessing aided by the new president’s inauguration speech, press releases and announcements.

However we must point out that Emmerson Mnanagwa’s coronation has come at a very high cost for the nation. That of shredding the constitution, that which guides a nation,

Was the constitution shredded so that we can get a fresh start
before the elections?

The Zimbabweans aspirations after the success of the forceful removal of Robert Mugabe is to establish a completely new leadership and a new political system that is entirely based on the constitution, open, free and fair elections. So far there is no script that is Consistent with these new expectations other than the fact that the elections will go ahead as scheduled.

Whilst it is important that elections are held as per scheduled, it now seems to be the only way of pushing the armed forces out of the political scene. The 2018 elections could thus expedite the return of the soldiers to their barracks. The armed forces should focus on defending the country. In addition, moving forward with the elections would allow the elected government to address the social and economic crisis.

After independence, the military was made up of the ex Rhodesian Front soldiers, and ZANU and ZAPU military wings -ZANLA and ZIPRA - which created a professional Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA). For many, the ZNA had a professional image which at the time was rare in Africa. It was seen to possess professionalism rare in African armies and was not likely to interfere in politics accept in upholding the Zimbabwean constitution. It argued that it is this professionalism that prompted the Zanu PF regime to create the fifth brigade whose unrestrained approach to Gukurahundi left many people dead.

Unlike the army, it was the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Central Intelligent Organisation (CIO) who were the political instruments of ZANU PF.

Far from it, since Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980, the whole of the security sector, particularly the ZNA, has waded into the country’s political affairs, shredding their constitutional mandate to pieces and turning themselves into kingmakers.

Therefore this transitional process will benefit Zanu-PF leaving the MDC out in the cold at the expense of democracy. This is an issue of concern because we do not have a national framework guiding our nation right now.

Zimbabwe’s supreme law as well as the Defence Forces Act prohibit the ZNA from participating in partisan politics or interfering in electoral affairs.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (ZHRO) notes with concern that this aspect of the constitution makes the army’s involvement counter the democratic principle that it is meant to uphold.

The shredding of the 2013 constitution - which was strongly endorsed by the people of Zimbabwe - will have terrible, if not horrific consequences for all of us. 

“We have not been singing - ‘Mugabe must go’- meaning Mugabe the person - but we want the whole ZANU-PF system whose leadership was Mugabe and his cronies to go - In as far as we are concerned only Mugabe the person has gone but the whole ZANU-PF system is still intact and is now being led by the one who was deputy dictator - Emmerson (The crocodile) Mnangagwa - who has been Mugabe's right hand man for more than 50 years. The whole system must go” - said one protester

The guiding ideology that shapes the Zimbabwe military is that of nationalism dating back to the time of the liberation struggle. Within the patriotic history, liberation war credentials become the source and qualification for anyone to occupy political office in Zimbabwe. The current situation cascades from this liberation war tradition, thereby the glorification of Mnanagwa as the leader of the state, who is also the commander in chief of the armed forces is inculcated on the military.

“Let bygones be bygones” said Mnangagwa - yet we cannot afford to forget that the Zimbabwean military has played an active role in violent post colonial practices. What emerges poignantly from this coup is that within the top leadership of the military, there is a deliberate conflation of loyalty to Zanu PF and individuals loyalty to President Mnangagwa.

Zimbabwe’s laws including the Defence Forces Act and the Constitution prohibit the military from participating in politics and from partisan interference in electoral affairs. The mission statement and objectives of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces clearly spell out what the army and other forces seek to achieve, which includes ensuring the protection and security of Zimbabwe’s territorial integrity and independence.

Notwithstanding the legal and formal prohibition of partisan political conduct by the army, the military leadership is openly partisan towards ZANU- PF and has dabbled in politics on several occasions thereby straining relations with civilians.

The civil society and military relations were eroded to being non-existent in 2002 when the military chiefs purported to set the criteria for persons who can be presidential candidates. Since 2002, the military has consistently threatened to veto any poll result that goes against its then preferred candidate -Robert Mugabe.

At this week’s ZHRO Wednesday Vigil, members waves placards - pushing for a Diaspora vote - Electoral reforms - explanation on the whereabouts of the missing activists and calling on the new president to show commitment on at least apologise and name all the Gukurahundi victims.

These extremely partisan political statements by the military are a subversion of the will of the people and a vitiation of elections as an expression of democratic choice. Defence Forces Commander, Constantine Chiwenga, in a manner that could unduly influence elections, has publicly predicted resounding electoral victory for ZANU-PF presidential candidate, Robert Mugabe in the past.

If Zimbabwe - under the Presidency of Mnanagwa - is to genuinely prepare for open elections that are free and fair, and where violence or intimidation play no part, then reform and transformation of the ZNA, and other security sector branches is of paramount importance.

ZHRO urges the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to urgently engage the ZNA with a view to restore professionalism, independence and non partisanship to the military and to completely divorce the military from all political interference.

These extremely partisan political statements by the military are a subversion of the will of the people and a vitiation of elections as an expression of democratic choice. Defence Forces Commander, Constantine Chiwenga, in a manner that could unduly influence elections, has publicly predicted resounding electoral victory for ZANU-PF presidential candidate, Robert Mugabe in the past.

If Zimbabwe - under the Presidency of Mnanagwa - is to genuinely prepare for open elections that are free and fair, and where violence or intimidation play no part, then reform and transformation of the ZNA, and other security sector branches is of paramount importance.

ZHRO urges the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to urgently engage the ZNA with a view to restore professionalism, independence and non partisanship to the military and to completely divorce the military from all political interference.

Mnangagwa will always be associated with all the darkest times of Zimbabwean history - especially Gukurahundi and the 2002 and 2008 Electoral violence

Monday, 30 October 2017

The poor State of Health in Zimbabwe's Hospitals

By Vimbai Chambara

The World Health Organization announced that Robert Mugabe would be the organisation's Goodwill Ambassador , a role reserved to those who have made much contribution to their communities and have the respect of those the people they will represent. I am curious that after much debate the honour was stripped from Mugabe however, how was this honour bestowed on him in the first place?  His regime have continuously creamed the vulnerable and in their hour of need push them into further despair as they watch loved one die due to raising costs of health care provision in Zimbabwe.

 Surely, Mugabe cannot ignore his governments’ failings to meet the health needs of his people. The regime boasts that Zimbabwe’s public health system provides health care services which are complemented by Mission hospitals and health care services supported by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). However, in recent years, economic decline and political instability have led to a reduction in health-care budgets, affecting provision at all levels.  The country’s health care sector has faced a shortage of professional staff, poor equipped hospitals, lack of medication and an erosion of the infrastructure of hospital infrastructure. Humanitarian crisis including HIV, cholera and measles epidemics, as well as poor services for children have exacerbated the breakdown of the medical response to the nation’s needs.
The state of Zimbabwe's Hospitals is very poor

Government run Harare, Mpilo and Parirenyatwa Hospital all face this dilemma brought about by political instability and chaos in the management of the health care system under Mugabe's watch. Vulnerable Zimbabweans  have witnessed services deteriorate further as the government failed to provide much needed substantial financial support to the health care system and introduced user fees for health care.

Health care services at public and private hospitals are a biased lottery system where those with money can afford treatment. These fees varying from provider to provider, a financial burden  and barrier for the most vulnerable citizens of Zimbabwe to access the most basic health services. A shocking example is that giving birth at a government hospital can cost up to USD 50 and 39 % of women are option to take risks and have their child at home without medical provision. Examining the current state and crisis of the health care services in Zimbabwe, how does the WHO insult vulnerable people in Zimbabwe by recognising Mugabe as a leader in promoting health? A man when employs poor strategies, inadequate polices and management putting every Zimbabwe at risk of imminent death due poor health care provision.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

What is Activsm?

ac·tiv·ism  (ăk′tə-vĭz′əm)
noun.
The use of direct, often confrontational action, such as a demonstration or strike, in opposition to or support of a cause.

activism (ˈæktɪˌvɪzəm)
noun
(Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a policy of taking direct and often militant action to achieve an end, esp a political or social one
ˈactivist - noun
Lest we forget what activism is about, a couple of dictionary definitions of ACTIVISM.

Zimbabweans entering theior own Embassy to protest
For those in Zimbabwe few are happy with the state of affairs in the economy, or for any form of opposition to the dictates on an illegal "Government" [ a Zanu PF regime masquerading as a Government when they are in fact a military junta, whose sole purpose is to remain in power so they can continue to loot every facet of the wealth of Zimbabwe].

For those who have been forced to flee Zimbabwe, activism is one method to secure change. For those in Zimbabwe Activism can be a death sentence - those who tread this path do so very carefully.

The illegal Government of Zimbabwe has recently appointed a failed Finance Minister to head a Cyber Security, Threat Detection, and Mitigation Ministry.

Law expert, Alex Magaisa, said this week that “But more ominously creating a standalone Ministry to monitor cyberspace also shows Mugabe's penchant for expanding instruments of coercion as opposed to protection of fundamental freedoms. Chinamasa's new role should send alarm bells ringing in both civil society and the opposition. The hand of state repression is only getting stronger and Chinamasa will try to justify the relevance of his new role..”

“People have been making jokes about this ministry but I see serious threat to freedom of expression, access to information and the right to privacy,” said Chris Musodza, an ICT expert based in Harare. “We now have a ministry dedicated to surveillance and monitoring of the cyberspace.”
Clearly the 'state apparatus' will do its utmost to stamp out opposition, or the means of communication - which will subvert their own domination of 'traditional' media channels.

“People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” Alan Moore
This should be the state of affairs for all Governments, but alas most will fail this test, and those like Zimbabwe are working from the other end of this scale [of natural justice]. So for a band of Zimbabweans to walk into their own embassy to challenge the the evil regime and its state apparatus IS activism, it is a symbolic act. - To change perception, to challenge a nation so cowed by a dictator, that the removal of his portrait from the wall of the Embassy is actually seen as treason - ironically and most telling, tragically the same dictator responsible [but as yet unpunished] for the genocide known as Gukurahundi, but also torture, rape, abductions, murder to the present day. 

Their motto has to be "voters need to be afraid of what we will do if you do not vote Zanu PF back into their comfort zone of looting and elitism"
The Zanu PF junta rules Zimbabwe, with an iron fist in an iron glove, and with iron Jack Boots. Their position as a purported "democratically elected Government" [sic] has to be challenged, not just by Zimbabweans, but by the rest of the World. Zanu PF are a criminal cabal, with much more in common with a terrorist organisation than the rest of the World should tolerate.





Saturday, 16 September 2017

Do We Celebrate International Day of Democracy in Zimbabwe?

By Pythias Makonese

Friday 15th September 2017 is International Day of Democracy whereby we should be found promoting the need to strengthen democratic means world-wide including Zimbabwe. This would promote peace and stability.

It’s a shame we have never celebrated this day for the past 10 years in Zimbabwe just maybe we know we are not a democratic nation.

Various activities and events are held around  the world to promote democracy on this day. These events could include key speakers such as political leaders heavily involved in supporting and endorsing democratic governments and communities.

The United Nations (UN) general assembly decided on November 8, 2007, to mark 15th as the annual  date to observe the International Day of Democracy and this was first celebrated in 2008.
The main goal and belief is that human rights and the rule of law are best protected in democratic societies backed by the product of a strong active and vocal civil society.

In its simplest terms democracy is the belief in freedom and equality between people, or a system of government based on this belief, in which power is either held by elected representatives or directly by the people themselves.

Is this what we having in Zimbabwe?.

General elections are  a way of showing that a country is democratic one.  Although we have elections in Zimbabwe we are not yet a democratic country. We hide behind a finger. We cannot talk confidently when we have had the same President for the past 37 years suffering from corruption which paralyzed our economy and have severely tarnished our international reputation.Citizens have been made to disappear for being critical to the government, some have lost their lives and many others have scars of violence.

To be honest Zimbabwe is an undemocratic country ruled by a 93 year old autocratic   president - who still want to contest for another term in office in the forth coming 2018 elections. He gives lip service to the wishes of the people who are forced to elect him. If he loses, elections results go unannounced for some time like those of 2008 where later  people were asked whom they had voted for and if suspected to belong to the opposition were victimised.

We live under a regime which qualifies to be described as authoritarian, oppressive and undemocratic. The majority of the citizens are not enjoying the benefits of good governance.

Are we not envying Mauritius which was awarded full democracy status and a quiet achiever with strong rule of law?


Freedom House, in its 2016 Freedom in the World report named Nigeria, Liberia and Ivory Coast among the countries with the biggest improvements in political rights and civil liberties. History was made in Nigeria in 2015 when an opposition party gained power through elections. How far are we from that in Zimbabwe when we have army commanders  who vow not to work under an opposition leader if he wins. Also threats of going back to war are uttered by our leaders.

Botswana, Ghana, Cape Verde and Benin have also been lauded as democratic examples.
Many African countries - almost 20 including Zimbabwe are holding presidential elections but this does not automatically lead to truly representative governments portraying the will of the people.
In Zimbabwe  and other parts of Africa, we have authoritarian leadership which has maintained an iron grip on power either by amending  laws so as to extend their terms of office, hosting rubber stamp elections or repressing opposition and civil society.

How can we enjoy democracy when we have someone who has been in office for almost four decades and as if it's not enough is busy preparing for the wife to take over.

If  our First Lady, Grace Mugabe, can follow suit Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who became Africa’s first democratically elected female head of state - no one  will complain. Also the likes of  Joyce Banda, in Malawi Ameenah Gurib -Fakin in Mauritius are good examples. Let's also learn lessons from Tanzania’s Benjamin Mkapa who called for a new, homegrown democracy. He blamed colonialists that they did not prepare Africans for self -democratic rule. Shall we blame the British for that in our case?

At the moment people are encouraged to go and register in preparations for elections. This can be the first point as proof of democracy. But how many times have we been voting in Zimbabwe producing results which keeps the same leader in power. Is it truly a reflection of our will - choosing a system of government that respects the separation of powers, fundamental freedoms of thought, religion, expression, association and assembly?

Above all do we have Rule of Law?

In Zimbabwe, ZANU-PF leadership has long back lost its democratic legitimacy since they are not able to meet the people’s will/needs such as basic services which should be provided to the citizens who are purported  to have elected the ruling party. Citizens, after elections, should be rendered good governance as a safety measure and rule of law should prevail - participation by citizens and respect for human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development should be major targets.
It is surprising in Zimbabwe when we had a landslide victory for 2013 but no good returns for the majority of the people who are said to have voted the government in power. Could we say that this was a sign of a country freely giving a vote of approval to a popular leader, or a sign of coercion? Companies were closed and many become jobless and unemployment is more than 80%.

Lack of democracy is usually followed by incumbent leaders who feel threatened by opponents and incite protests.On record Kenya had a case of electoral violence in 2007 which left 1 133 people dead, 600 000 people displaced and involved a wave of sexual violence.

In conclusion I would like to say that a very strong opposition is a very good recipe for existence of a healthy democracy and there cannot be true democracy without reform of the electoral system. As we move towards our 2018 elections this should mark the next step in Zimbabwe’s progress towards democracy.

I strongly therefore urge the incoming 2018 government to uphold all principles of democracy as it should take part in celebrating this day - International Day of Democracy and in addition together with International Day of Peace.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

In Support of the 105 km Walk

By Pythias Makonese

"I do hereby support the 105 km walk having in mind that Zimbabwe is infested with corruption."

The distance covered converted to mm is more than the wrongs committed by Robert Mugabe & his ZANU-PF regime to the Zimbabwean citizens and the outside world at large. Just to mention a few examples are the following:-

  • 2014 Mega salaries saga where the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) was paying more than US$1.1 million per month to 14 of its Executives
  • Marange-Chiadzwa diamond looting.
  • The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) “salarygate” scandal implicated the top management in mega salaries and packages.
  • Public officials demanding bribes for basic services like installing an electric metre, approving a house plan to facilitate investment.
  • Police roadblocks - money is taken from motorists for fake crimes.
  • Most corrupt institutions are the police, local councils, the vehicle inspection department - issuing driving licenses and the education department.

"This walk should raise awareness of the damaging effects of corruption."

Endemic corruption is one reason foreign companies are hesitant to invest in the country. The government lacks accountability and transparency derive from the failure of the state to prosecute and incarcerate the people involved.
Pythias an Activist

The Prevention Corruption Act (PCA) criminalizes active and passive bribery, extortion, money laundering in the public and private sectors but this seems to be selective to Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF regime.

Among state - owned enterprises, corruption is rife and senior executives award themselves exorbitant salaries. Irregular payments or bribes in connection with awarding of public contracts or licences are common, favouritism in the decision of of government officials are common and public funds are often diverted.

Across all sectors, corruption is a very high risk for companies operating in Zimbabwe. Investors face both high level corruption in the form of nepotism, patronage and abuse of power, as well as petty bribery and extortion.

"This walk must be a resounding warning as it brings signals to the end of the despotic regime."

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

TO ALL PEACE LOVING ZIMBABWEANS

By Ebson Chigwedere

The only way we'll get freedom for ourselves is to identify ourselves with:

  • Every oppressed soul in Zimbabwe.
  • Every progressive and peace loving Zimbabwean and
  • the long suffering and voiceless Zimbabweans.

There is no freedom of speech and expression, freedom of assembly and association. If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. I cry for freedom from fear in Zimbabwe. It always seems impossible until it’s done. We shall see real freedom in Zimbabwe. For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.


When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes my duty. 

Each time I stand up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, I send forth a tiny ripple of hope...building a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance in Zimbabwe. 

Zimbabwe, with its institutions, belongs to her people. Whenever we grow weary of the government, we should not be denied to exercise our constitutional right. We demand a fair electoral field before and during the 2018 harmonised elections in Zimbabwe. 

Someone should tell President Mugabe that the vast of Zimbabweans want free and fair elections. I am making these statements because of my love for democracy and my love for Zimbabwe. I am making a stand for human rights in Zimbabwe. The Human Rights Act protects ordinary people’s freedom, safety and dignity, and helps us hold authorities to account when things go wrong. But now it's under threat in Zimbabwe. I am standing up for the Human Rights Act.

I call for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. 


“Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all." 
 "It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”
To be patriotic is to be able to question government policy in times of crisis. To be patriotic is to stand up for Human Rights and the Constitution in times of uncertainty and insecurity. To be patriotic is to speak up against the powerful in defence of the weak and the voiceless. To be patriotic is to be willing to pay the price to preserve our freedoms, dignity, and rights. To be patriotic is to challenge the abuses

105Km SPONSORED WALK

Almost every Zimbabwean leaving abroad wishes to be in the homeland of Zimbabwe. Our country Zimbabwe is really in tatters.

  • The Economy has dropped drastically.
  • There is no rule of law. 
  • Police and Army brutality is the order of the day.
  • The health system has crumbled drastically.
  • Corruption is the norm day in day out.
  • Education is at its lowest and yet the Zimbabwean government is on a spree closing down good schools.

(the list is painfully endless)

Diaspora life isn’t all roses, everyone yearns to be home. We are all crying for our beloved country.
Being part of the team, doing the sponsored walk feels like #Walking to Freedom.

Let us raise funds to help those who are being persecuted and those who have been persecuted. The money will help those whose rights have been violated and assisting them to stand on their feet. Together we can make life better for some Zimbabweans

Edward Murota

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Why would I walk 105km in August 18-19th?

Since I signed up to do the ZHRO 105km Walk I have been asking myself what it is I’m walking for, what it is that I’m fighting for and this verse from the bible gave me clarity.

Isaiah 10.1-2
“Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.”

So I am walking to raise awareness on the unjust laws in Zimbabwe that oppress the citizens and favour those in power. The awareness isn’t just Mugabe and his regime doing bad things but mostly about the product of oppressive laws and political systems. And this walk symbolises the citizens are raising against this filthy, rotten system.
Looking out over the Path I need to tread

  • I am walking for freedom
  • I am walking to speak out against the torture and brutality met by  activists in Zimbabwe while at the same time addressing concerns of the missing activists like Itai Dzamara.
  • I am walking for human rights
  • I am waking for independence.
  • I am walking to abolish poverty, corruption one step at a time
  • I am walking to raise awareness and make a stance against the lack of basic human rights in
    Zimbabwe.
  • I am walking for the Charity ZHRO
  • I am doing a #WalkForFreedom 

Tsungirirai Kahiya
#EnoughIsEnough #ThisFlag #Take2Zimbabwe  #WalkForFreedom

Guilty until proven Innocent – my detention experience

A personal Account by Olive Ruzvidzo

A loud bang on the door during a raid ….a sudden deprivation of liberty at a reporting centre…..DETENTION.

Unless you’ve experienced this, you’ll never really know the true face of UK Immigration.
For me, detention presented confusion, fear and anxiety. It opened a psychological wound which will take a long time to heal.

One minute I was an upstanding individual in a community that I was trying to adjust to; waiting for the response from what I thought was a mutually satisfactory dialogue between myself and the Home Office…. the next minute I was an “illegal immigrant” with a prisoner number and no rights!

The interrogation, finger prints, check-in process to the detention centre left me with questions that no one could answer. Had I become “illegal” 2 minutes after a refusal letter was served to me? And did that letter emasculate me to the point where I deserved to be caged?

I saw myself in Yarlswood, with over 250 other women who looked just as confused and concerned as I was. Suddenly, I had to queue up for my meals which were determined by a prison system, the number of blankets I could cover myself with became limited to 2 thin towel like fabrics which many other people had slept in. I was subjected to a register twice a day. I became a reference number. I was given a basic cell phone with no data or recording access at all. All my movements were monitored via CCTV and even when I slept, I felt like someone was watching.

For me detention was a form of torture. I didn’t sleep much (and still cannot sleep even though I’m out), I lost weight because the food was time tabled and less than what I was used to eating. Obviously because of the stress and change in diet my immune system was compromised so whatever minor ailments I had manifested themselves and became more serious by the day; but then of course that was perceived as attention seeking, seeing as I was a “deceitful illegal immigrant” desperate to get stay in UK at all costs, no matter how immoral! Medication therefore was ordered from outside and took a couple of days to get to me.

According to Vocabulary.com, torture is defined as follows:
  1.  The deliberate, systematic, or wanton infliction of physical or mental suffering by one or more persons in an attempt to force another person to yield information or to make a confession or for any other reason
  2. the act of distorting something so it seems to mean something it was not intended to mean.

The booklet called “Reporting on Torture – A handbook for journalists covering torture” authored by various organisations in Libya, Nepal, Peru, London (Redress) and Kenya, supported by the European Union defines torture as

 “ any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third party has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or  third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiesce of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

My understanding of detention was a situation that has been created to make sure I was frightened and uncomfortable enough to volunteer to return to my country of origin. So technically, all I went through in Yarlswood was torture.

Is the current United Kingdom very different from the German Nazis of the early 1900 centrury? Are these immigration ideologies not based on the Nazism views of Jews as “parasitic vermin worthy only of eradication?”

Regardless of your case and its merits, the United Kingdom immigration department has taken it upon themselves to eradicate immigrants and would rather place the much-needed pound in detention centres rather than save the sinking NHS.

My view is that the immigration assessment process should not be based on a target number of deportations/forced removals but on who can be regularised to benefit the United Kingdom. Assess my conduct, my history and my potential to contribute to the economy and not just how ‘removable’ I am. A lot of money will be saved if a more objective and less accusatory strategy is applied.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Police Brutality On Journalists

Police Brutality On Journalists: An Attack on Freedom of Expression, The Media and The Constitution!

The brutal and subsequent illegal arrest of Obey Manayiti and other journalists by the ZRP for doing their work is intolerable, retrogressive, unconstitutional and a clear violation of the journalists' rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the media, in short it is a clear indictment on Sections 61 and 62 of the Constitution!
Obey Manayiti

We strongly condemn the police without any equivocation or ambiguity for harassing, terrorising, clobbering and wantonly brutalising journalists -State terrorism at its worst. It is sad that in this country journalists unlike in other democratic jurisdictions, face viscious violent attacks from state security apparatus particularly the police who are supposed to uphold and respect both journalists and fundamental human rights as they are sacredly enshrined in the country's Constitution!

This attack on the members of the fourth estate clearly shows the regretful reality that in so called independent Zimbabwe, members of the media just like during the brutal Smith dictatorship  are terrorised, tortured and beaten for doing their jobs. Today's police brutality actually indicate that the sad reality that besides having adopted a new constitution with a brilliant Bill of Rights, the zanu led government is deliberately failing to develop a democratic political and constitutional culture imbued with basic principles of constitutionalism and the rule of law.

As citizens we urgently demand that the police who brutalised Manayiti and his colleagues be removed from the police force and in turn be arrested and convicted for human rights violations and  crimes against journalists and humanity at large!

#PoliceBrutalityMustStop
#RespectJournalists

Linda T. Masarira
Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Unending Attrocities - Robert Mugabe Has No Heart

by SIPHILISIWE MUKARATI

Zimbabwe became independent in 1980 with Robert Mugabe as the new Prime Minister. In his Independence Day speech in April 1980, he said:
“If yesterday I fought as an enemy, today you have become a friend and ally with the same national interest, loyalty, rights and duties as myself….”  
Despite his reassuring words, he initiated the Gukurahundi Massacres just three years after independence.

Gukurahundi, a Shona word which means "the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains", refers to massacres carried out by Mugabe’s North Korean-trained 5th Brigade between 1983 and 1987 in the predominantly Ndebele regions of Zimbabwe. 

About 20,000 people in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces died or disappeared.  I being a Ndebele from Matabeleland had one of my uncles asked to dig his own grave and was buried alive by the Fifth brigade.

Leaving a widow, a 3 year old son and a 6 month old girl. Life was not easy for my cousins as they grew up without a father. The pain of losing a loved one is unexplainable.  Not only was my father's brother a victim, but his children to date are victims of the heartless Robert Gabriel Mugabe. 

After losing ones breadwinner and struggling to grow up in the marginalised Matabeleland region where the infrastrure development is brought by well wishers and donors in little ice drops my cousins  grew up anywhere they could. Mugabe's regime lives on; now they suffer to get employment, they suffer to make a decent normal living and we are all too scared to speak out and  make him hear our voices.

Because whenwe do, we will be beaten, tortured and killed. My heart pains.  For peace and reconciliation to be possible, Robert Mugabe must show Contrition, display a sincere penitence and remorse.  Contrition is very important,  it requires sincere thoughts of conscience to recall the many ways and errors, that occurred when destoying human life. Contrition is a major factor when preparing for forgiveness and reconciliation.

When the past is never the past, but you have to live in agony forever you wonder if peace and reconciliation is what you want or rather be otherwise. Robert Mugabe is heartless and that  rules my beloved country.

With his own mouth he must;

Confess. He must stop sweeping it all under the carpet and blaming the West. Confession reveals the truth and shows that one takes full responsibility of their actions. 

We the people of Matebeland require Satisfaction from him [Mugabe] where he will practise the penance.

The penance is when it assists what has been confessed, to make a situation better, such as return of stolen goods, paying for damage which was caused, or even a hug, or an apology to someone who has been hurt. Is Robert Mugabe willing to do this ever?

He more than 2 years later continues to kill the people in Matabeleland this time silently killing and torturing them if they ever stand up for their right and exercise their human freedoms.

Yes silent because the state media will not report it, if you are known or seen standing up for your rights, his militias will pounce on you, kill you and no one will know. Oh once a victim always a victim in Zimbabwe.

To some Gukurahundi ended, to me it never ended what the ears and eyes that care to see are blurred. The voices that speak are just shut and we continue to suffer. Robert Mugabe has no heart at all.

Should I be sorry for being Ndebele and later on for being Zimbabwean? Was it by my choice, but it was God created. A breath was left in me so I will stop at nothing but will voice my concerns.

Friday, 7 July 2017

LOVE FOR MONEY, SEX AND GREED KILLING SPIRIT OF ACTIVISM IN THE UK.

By Silvanos Mudzvova

My article published earlier this year on the 16th of May titled, “Lack of participation in national politics by U.K. Zimbabweans,” received a lot of feedback from you the readers. Most Zimbabweans raised valid points of why they don’t want to get involved. I must admit to some extent, I was wrong and today I will tackle the issues they raised.
On the 18th of April 2017 (Zimbabwe Independence Day) after a demonstration at the Zimbabwean Embassy in London, I was confronted by a very angry lady. She interrogated me, mainly with the question of, “Why I was ungrateful to the extent of failing just to say thank you.”
I couldn’t understand her at all, to say the least I was speechless as I couldn’t figure out why such a public outburst was warranted. Hiding my anger towards her actions, I politely asked, “Why are you so angry?”

18th April 2017 #Take2Zimbabwe Protest
Her answer through me back, I was shocked.

 She said, “I donated £40.00 towards your hospital fees and so did many others. We raised in total £327.00. The least you can do is say, Thank you!” She went on to explain what happened during the period I was in hospital back in Zimbabwe, as a result of the torture I endured at the hands of the ZANU PF regime. She went on stating that during the 17th of September 2016 Vigil at the Zimbabwean Embassy in London, Zimbabweans contributed towards my hospital fees.

In my horror, I couldn’t get my head round the fact that, I was in hospital in so much pain and my family was struggling to find alternative accommodation. The hospital bill was being covered by a local NGO, yet someone was pocketing £327.00 raised in my name.

Straight away, I asked who collected it and the name Ephraim Tapa and Rose Benton come up. I HAD NEVER MET OR SPOKEN WITH THESE TWO CHARACTERS AT THE TIME OF THIS DISCUSSION WITH THIS LADY. I asked for their numbers from those at the demonstration and called Ephraim Tapa immediately and advised him he was on a loud speaker. I asked him on 18th April 2017 at 1530hrs about the issues and he didn’t have a response. Tapa promised to get back to me within 30 minutes and that was the end. I tried calling him and Rose to clear this issue as predicted their phones were switched off and they have never returned my calls.

It opened a can of worms, the amount of times people have contributed to assist the struggle by supporting activists back in Zimbabwe, yet the donations end up in the pockets of a few leaders. This is a major contributing factor leading to the reason why Zimbabwean’s have lost interest in participating in demonstrations that promote democracy and human rights for Zimbabwe. Now it's just simply assumed that most Zimbabweans participate in activism in order address their immigration issues and once sorted its good bye until its renewal time, all resulting from the experiences that these Zimbabweans have had to endure at the hands of these corrupt leaders.

Leaders of political parties and civic society organisations are demanding money in order to support genuine activists get papers and as long as one has money their cases are supported. Let's not forget, whilst these people are going through the immigration process they are forbidden from working, so relatives and friends assist in raising these funds.

“Who is pocketing these monies ranging from £300 to £1300 being paid to these leaders?”

I bet my last dollar this money is not reaching political parties and receipts are not issued. This is killing activism and participation in political parties’ organised demonstrations and meetings. The leaders have become so greedy building mansions back in Zimbabwe at the expense of suffering Zimbabweans.

Most female activists who can’t afford these high “fees” end up giving their bodies to these good for nothing morons in return for a letter and their testimony in courts as they deserve since they genuinely participated in demonstrations etc. Most Zimbabwean political parties and civic society leaders in the UK have become mini-gods who are being worshipped just to facilitate a letter and testimony. They have destroyed families by demanding sexual favours to facilitate for a letter the female activists is in titled to for standing up to the ZANU PF regime.

One Zimbabwean said to me, “My money will get me papers without going to demonstrations!.”

“Surely, Mugabe wacho anoenda sei?” I ask myself.

Most activist leaders in the UK are worse than Mugabe. “Whats the difference between them and ZANU PF, I wonder?,” They are as greedy as ZANU PF or even worse.

I need make this very clear, “I am speaking from an informed point of view kana pane ane nharo ngaati nyo tione.”

It should be noted that the struggle to free Zimbabwe is not owned by individuals as is portrayed by what has become of the Saturday Vigil held outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in London.

Ephraim Tapa and Rose Benton stop lying to uninformed desperate Zimbabweans,  you are manipulating. You don’t own the vigil.  It’s history of Free Zimbabwe vigil can be traced back to 1978 being fronted by people like Didymus Mutasa, muri vana please sit down.

That vigil of yours is destroying the spirit of activism and Zimbabwean oneness required to fight for a free Zimbabwe by those in the diaspora. I am shocked you are even talking of a coalition by the political opposition parties back home yet a few Zimbabweans in the UK  cannot exist and do demonstrations together because of your love for money.

Leaders of opposition political parties and civic society stop this nonsense. Your love for money and sex with desperate Zimbabweans is killing our push for a change in Zimbabwe.

As I sign off I need my donated £327 sent to activists doing amazing work in very difficult conditions in Zimbabwe. To all those who condone corruption and want to see a free Zimbabwe don’t pay them a penny. If they refuse to sign your papers demanding money and sexual favours, I am willing to help you expose them .

We want Mugabe gone not the enrichment of individuals, yamakadya yakwana.


Thursday, 6 July 2017

HOLDING OF FAKE ELECTIONS IN ZIMBABWE

By Linda Tsungirirai Masarira of;
Zimbabwe Women In Politics Alliance and ZHRO
Linda Masarira

1. The role played by the ruling party ZANU – PF

2. The complicity of the opposition parties

There have never been free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe since 2000 particularly in the rural areas where the majority of voters live (about 70 %) accounting for 143 contestable constituencies out of 210. Voters are coerced to vote for ZANU PF against their will through violence and intimidation and this has always assured ZANU PF of predetermined and illegitimate election outcomes in their favour.

The ZANU PF and Mugabe’s strategy of forcing the electorate to vote against their will involves the following:

1. ZANU PF forces rural voters to attend their political meetings/rallies against their will where they are told how to vote for ZANU PF. Those that attend opposition rallies are identified, denounced and later punished.

2. On voting day, voters are marshalled and frogmarched to polling stations by village heads and queue in a predetermined order with the village head at the back ordering everyone to vote for ZANU PF.

3. Literate voters such as teachers, civil servants (In some cases ZEC polling officers) and known opposition party supporters are also intimidated and forced to feign illiteracy so that they are assisted to vote.

4. There was widespread violence in the 2002 and 2008 presidential elections, Many people were assaulted, murdered and property was looted or destroyed. Women were also raped. ZANU PF succeeds in using this as a reference point to intimidate the electorate to vote against their will and the voters have nowhere to turn to for help.

5. Violence during elections is state sponsored. Known perpetrators are not arrested. Polling day in Zimbabwe is made peaceful in order to hoodwink election observers into believing that elections are free and fair.

This strategy of forcing voters to vote for ZANU PF against their will using violence, intimidation, coercion, destruction of property and abuse of traditional leaders started on a large scale during the by-elections held in the following constituencies:

Marondera West in 2000

Bikita, Bindura, Makoni West, Chikomba in 2001

Presidential elections and Insiza by election in 2002.

The strategy was perfected and employed on a greater scale in June 2008 Presidential elections run off. It usually focuses on coercing defenceless rural voters to vote for ZANU PF against their will. However in the 2008 Presidential elections run off, the strategy was used in urban high density areas as well.

In 2013 there was no widespread violence used but intimidation was rampant with war veterans and ZANU PF youths and officials threatening villagers with a repetition of 2008 atrocities if the rural voters disobeyed orders to vote for ZANU PF against their will.

WHY HAS THE STRATEGY WORKED

ZANU PF has been able to use the strategy of coercing people to vote against their will since 2000 with impunity due to the following:

No opposition party has ever fully exposed the ZANU PF strategy of coercing people to vote against their will. Instead the opposition dwells on minor, peripheral and sometimes fictitious issues. This is a diversion which takes away focus from the core issue of the ZANU PF strategy of coercing voters to vote against their will.

Examples Of Diversionary Issues And Tactics Used By Opposition Political Parties To Protect The Strategy

a) They loudly accuse ZANU PF of using a defective voters roll to rig elections. However, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCPJ) in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) report notes that a voter’s roll can never be perfect in any country .A perfect voters roll cannot stop ZANU PF from coercing people to vote against their will.

b) They call for the amendment, repeal and realignment of the country’s electoral laws. But it should be noted that ZANU PF and the state violate The Zimbabwean Constitution, local laws, regional and international laws in an effort to coerce voters to vote for ZANU PF against their will. Therefore adding more laws whilst existing ones are not being respected cannot solve the current problem.

c) A shadowy Israeli organization named NIKUV which opposition parties have accused of manipulating election results in favour of ZANU PF is a creation of a discredited Facebook character Baba Jukwa, in 2013, yet coercion of rural voters has happened since 2000. Thus this NIKUV fiction came when we already had our problem.

d) The ZEC Report on the 2013 Harmonized Elections and the findings of an investigation into Mliswa’s Complaint in the 2015 Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) Report, clearly highlighted the ZANU PF strategy of coercing voters to vote against their will as the major rigging mechanism. These reports were tabled in Parliament. However, opposition parties looked the other way and never discussed them.

e) The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission in its pre-election press statement of 29 July 2013 reiterated that “we are ready to receive complaints about any possible election related human rights violations and any other general human rights violations…We will take appropriate action where necessary including, but not limited to, directing the Commissioner General of police to investigate cases of suspected criminal violations of human rights as constitutionally mandated.” However, opposition political parties have failed to work with and take advantage of well-meaning constitutionally constituted state institutions to deal with electoral state sponsored violence.

f) In 2013 there were 9670 polling stations in the country. There is no evidence that a single opposition party identified the problem of forcing voters to vote for ZANU PF. Yet almost all election observers picked it.

g) In the March 2008 Harmonized Elections ZANU PF relaxed the strategy of forcing voters to vote against their will. This was due to the intervention of SADC. Results were displayed at all polling stations and they were signed by party polling agents. This meant that each party could come up with its own results for councillors, Members of Parliament and the Presidential candidate. In April 2008, a recount was done in 23 constituencies. A verification process was conducted at the Sheraton Hotel at which every political party was required by SADC to produce its own results. The MDC – T failed to produce their own Presidential candidate’s election results. They could therefore not contest the results announced by ZEC. This failure possibly prejudiced the MDC candidate and the people of Zimbabwe of a great victory.

h) Opposition parties now believe that massive voter registration is the panacea for all our electoral problems. The message being relayed is that voters should gather courage and defy ZANU PF orders by refusing to vote against their will. Elections are not meant for brave voters. In the first place they must never be coerced to vote against their will. Opposition political parties and civil society organizations should therefore advocate, canvass and lobby for an end to the coercion of voters to vote against their will and not canvass for bravery. The brave ones are usually abducted and killed and voters have experienced this.

EVIDENCE OF COERCION OF VOTERS BY ZANU PF

The following observations demonstrate the lack of “one man, one vote” in the 2013 elections and how voters were coerced to vote for ZANU PF against their will:

1. In its 2013 Report, The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) adopted various election observer missions that concluded that the 2013 Harmonized Elections did not meet the criteria of free, fair and credible elections. The Catholic Commission For Justice and Peace Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) observed pre- election, election and post – election environment where all of the above irregularities were rampant and observed that :

Between 2011 and 2013, a War Veteran leader, Mr. Jabulani Sibanda, moved around the country, threatening people with death should his political party, ZANU PF, lose the ‘next elections’ Masvingo Province: Between July 2011 – January 2012; July 2013 he worked with traditional leaders to organize Ward meetings for example in Bikita, Gutu, Chiredzi, Nyika, Mukaro, Chivi, Mwenezi and Masvingo Districts. Told people during ward/village meetings that if ZANU PF looses the next elections, ‘hell will break loose’ as all people will be killed. At some meetings, he said if ZANU PF loses elections, he would slaughter everyone and roast their livers.

Polling Stations Incidents

a) Harare (Mashonaland East Province) Mutoko East constituency, Ward 17 at Chipfiko Primary Polling Station. One woman was forced to have her vote cast by a known person (as an assisted vote). This was done because the woman was known to have been an MDC supporter/sympathizer so she was forced to be assisted by a ZANU PF member

b) Mutoko district, Mutoko East Ward 18, Bwanya Primary Polling Station.There was a man who assisted someone else to vote. When he then wanted to vote, he was told he also needed to be assisted.

c) Masvingo Mutikizizi Primary school, Bikita South. Generally, the number of assisted voters across the diocese was high with some well-known teachers, nurses and other literate people being assisted to cast their votes. Since the observers were local, they could distinguish between those who genuinely needed assistance and those manipulated into being assisted. At Mutikizizi primary school in Bikita South the observer was a teacher and witnessed his former ‘O’ Level student being assisted to vote not by his relative but by the chairperson of a political party.

d) Gokwe (Midlands/ Matebeleland Provinces) - St. Hughs Polling Station and Mutukanyi Primary Polling Stations: 145 voters were assisted by political party agents. At Mutukanyi Primary Polling Station, a political agent assisted 63 voters. Kwayedza School Polling Station 52 people were allowed to vote on behalf of others Chitsa Polling Station 12 people were assisted to vote as they claimed to be blind. When the presiding officer was asked by an observer why the number of blind voters was that high at the polling station, the presiding officer told the observer that he was not an optician.Chomuuyu, Gunguwe Shingai, Mhumha and Chimhamhari Polling Stations. People known to be highly literate, and even many youths were seeking assistance to vote. At Shingai and Mhumha Polling stations, a political agent voted for 53 and 61 people respectively.Mtanki SDA Primary School Polling Station (Gokwe South) – 32 people were assisted to vote.

Incident Summary Of Assisted Voters

The CCJPZ observed intimidation and coercion, especially by some traditional leaders through “group/village voting”. This involved instances where voters were instructed to take turns to vote under the watchful scrutiny of their Village Heads. There were also several incidents that involved traditional leaders lining up villagers, making a note of their ID numbers and sending them to specific polling stations to vote. This was particularly common in Bikita, Mwenezi, Gutu, Gokwe and Mutoko. In some cases, voters were given a voting number which some of the traditional leaders claimed they could use to trace whom the voter voted for. The following cases are examples of how assisted voting was forced:

a) Case 1: Justifying voting without assistance. On 31st July 2013 Mrs. China was asked by a local political activist why she voted without assistance as she was supposed to be assisted during voting. Mrs China said she was not illiterate that is why she voted on her own. Mrs. China reported the case to a Police Officer outside the polling room. The Police Officer announced to the queuing voters to stop such ‘bad crimes.’ However the Police Officer didn’t probe the matter any further. The political activist is still at his home. The Police Officer did not take any effective action.

b) Case 2: How somebody was assisted to vote. It was just a day after the election and I visited Mrs. Phiri, one of the assisted voters. As an observer l asked her why she was assisted to vote and she told me that as she went to the polling station and was about 150m away from the station she met five people standing on the road. Mrs. Phiri was instructed to stop by the group and one lady, who seems to be the leaders said: “you have told us that you no longer support any other political party except ZANU PF so to be clear and honest to us today you are illiterate / unable to read and write and you should be assisted to vote by any one of us. If you disagree nothing is going to be given to you like maize and you may be at risk soon after the elections.” Mrs. Phiri told me that she was warned not to say that she was forced to pretend illiteracy, but to say she was illiterate. Out of fear Mrs. Phiri complied and went with one of the ladies to assist her in voting. This method was conducted in the whole ward. In each and every way to the polling station ZANU PF deployed its members to threaten people so that they vote for ZANU PF.

2. In 2015 The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission ( ZHRC ) investigated complaints of human rights violations by an Independent Candidate (Temba Mliswa) in the June 10 Hurungwe West By – Elections in Mashonaland West Province of Zimbabwe and found that :

a) ZANU PF violated Constitutinal Rights Section 67,The Electoral Act (Chapter 2 : 13),Criminal law ( Codification and reform) Act [Chapter 9: 23],International Law on Human Rights, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, SADC Principles and Guidelines governing democratic Elections.

b) Hon. Ignatius Chombo, the current Home Affairs Minister in Zimbabwe, threatened opposition supporters with violence and not to allow Mliswa’s rallies in the constituency.

c) In the case between Mliswa’s Personal Assistant, Goodwill Zinyama and others, File Number HHRE/CI/333/15, the ZHRC report stated that state sponsored violence was meted out to Mliswa’s workers and opposition supporters at Mliswa’s farm.

d) At Murereshi business centre in ward 26 residents stated that they were being forced to attend ZANU PF rallies and that at one rally they were told that if Mr Keith Guzah loses, the ruling party would deal with them.

e) Village heads connived and worked with ZANU PF against the Independent candidate. There was total disregard of the law as 3 village heads were unprocedurally “dethroned “at a public meeting by ZANU PF.

f) Many other independent election observers in the country have also unearthed similar incidents of electoral irregularities. An example is the Heal Zimbabwe Trust report on the recently held Bikita West By- Election on 21 January 2017 where it was noted that :

i) Actors in the Pre-Election Day Violations

 Heal Zimbabwe established that most of the violations committed in Bikita West were largely meant to harvest fear for electoral victory. Members of the Executive arm of the government, Members of Parliament, ZANU PF leaders and supporters as well as Traditional leaders were the major actors in perpetrating human rights violations and inciting violence. Members of Parliament and the Executive who incited violence and perpetuated human rights violations in Bikita West include; the Masvingo Resident Minister, Hon Shuvai Mahofa, Josiah Hungwe (Minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education Vocational Training), Joseph Chinotimba (Buhera South MP) Jeppy Jaboon (Bikita South MP) Webster Shamu (Chegutu East MP). Most of these government officials incited violence through their speeches at rallies as well as perpetuating human rights violations by acts of commission and omission. ZANU PF leaders and supporters participated in perpetuating intimidation and partisan distribution of food aid and farming inputs mostly. Traditional leaders perpetuated human rights violations by accepting to be used as political commissars who mobilised villagers to political rallies. They also commanded people to vote for a specific political party instead of maintaining neutrality as prescribed by law. For example Chief Mupakwa called for a meeting at his homestead on the 7th of January 2017 and commanded all people in attendance to vote for ZANU PF failure of which one would be expelled from the village. Chief Marozva also ordered Village Heads under his jurisdiction on the 3rd of January where he implored them to mobilise people to attend a rally scheduled for the 4th of January 2017. The constitution prohibits traditional leaders from campaigning or aligning to any political party or grouping for the purposes of maintaining neutrality and objectivity in their work. Section 281 (2a-b) states that traditional leaders must not “be members of any political party or in any way participate in partisan politics” and “act in a partisan manner.”

ii) Polling Day Environment

 There were incidences of human rights violations with intimidation recording 88% and forced attendance to a political meeting after voting recording 12%. Heal Zimbabwe visited 46 polling stations and within all the polling stations cases of intimidation were noted within the 100 metre radius where polling agents and ZANU PF youth were writing down people's names after voting.

iii) Forced attendances

 Some villagers in Bikita West constituency were also forced to attend political gatherings and meetings. This violation recorded 12% of the total violations observed from the 1st of January 2017. Forced attendance was done through force-marching people, using traditional leaders to call for meetings and through door to door visits. The constitution in section 67(2a) specifies that every citizen has the right “to form, to join and to participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of their choice” yet in Bikita people were threatened with violence if they did not attend rallies. They were told that if they did not attend, they will have their names written down and become targets of violence, face unspecified action or denied food aid.

CONCLUSIONS

1) It can be said that the people of Zimbabwe have not yet achieved what they fought for, ie One Man One Vote. The Rhodesia Front leader Ian Smith was quoted to have said “I don’t believe in black majority rule ever in Rhodesia – not in a thousand years. “ On the other hand ZANU PF quoted in the ZEC 2013 Report told people at their rallies that “There will be war if people do not vote for ZANU PF. If people want peace ,vote for ZANU PF,War is bad but you can avoid it by voting for ZANU PF,This country will not be ruled by any other political party just because of an X “.

2) The ZANU PF strategy of coercing voters to vote against their will is simple, basic and blatant. It has existed since the 2000 by – elections to present because the opposition political parties have chosen to look the other way and continue to sing the now familiar and hollow chorus that “Elections have been rigged.“ It is time the civic society, churches and all responsible Zimbabweans begin to advise the urban electorate, the Southern African Development Commission (SADC), The African Union (AU) and other international bodies that rural voters are forced to vote for ZANU PF against their will in all elections.

Linda Tsungirirai Masarira

Zimbabwe Women In Politics Alliance

Sunday, 2 July 2017

WHY SHOULD DR. TSVANGIRAI SUBJECT HIMSELF TO A COALITION PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION. (Part 2 of 3)

In the second of a 3 part series, the respected Mr Fungai Chiposi asks some questions concerning some of the 'conventional wisdoms' in Zimbabwean politics.

WHY SHOULD DR. TSVANGIRAI SUBJECT HIMSELF TO A COALITION PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION? (Part 2 of 3)


Indeed, Dr Tsvangirai must subject himself to a coalition presidential primary election. Anyone seeking to lead the coalition must be prepared to subject him or herself to that process. Past history is not proof that anyone is a magic bullet against Zanu PF, especially when the said Zanu PF is still gallivanting about looting and robbing at will. In Shona, there is a saying that goes, ‘matakadya kare haanyaradze mwana.’ Literally, it simply means no one eats history. It is the here and now that is of concern to the majority of Zimbabweans.

1. MDC-T democratic norms are not nationwide norms
This is a fact that many hardcore MDC-T supporters fail to see clearly. Whatever democratic norms have been observed by the MDC-T in nominating its leadership, are not adequate to nominate coalition leadership at national level. The MDC-T support base does not represent the totality of opposition support in Zimbabwe. The coalition is now a gathering of other different parties, drawing from an even wider circle of Zimbabweans, with different needs and perceptions.

By virtue of being the largest party, the MDC-T cannot impose itself upon every Zimbabwean supporting any other opposition party and expect to get allegiance. This becomes a classic case of ‘kugara nhaka’ even if the wife does not want; a situation recently corrected by our legal system. These other opposition supporters must have an opportunity to select a leader they want. They must express themselves. If eventually Dr Tsvangirai is chosen, these supporters will at least have heart in him, instead of derision.

2. Zimbabweans are tired of bedroom deals
The people are fed up with bedroom deals that do not seem to have them at heart. Dr Tsvangirai and his friends must show that they have the people at heart by participating in a transparent process that will earn the respect of all Zimbabweans wherever they are. Even bystanders will be encouraged by such a process to come and vote in 2018. And those hardcore supporters will find the public more accepting of their leader.

3. Coalition President must be nominated for ideas
There is talk around town for young leaders. In the Zimbabwean matrix, anyone under 60 is young. What is needed is for prospective leaders to let us know their ideas and plans for Zimbabwe from 2018 to 2023. What are you going to do? Do you have the resources? How will you do it? How will it benefit the people of Zimbabwe? The people must not imagine that and bedroom lots will not communicate that. This is why Western democracies are strong. How do we hold you to account when you nominate yourselves?

4. Coalition President popularity will guide us on 2018
The primaries will give us a good indicator of the strength of the opposition in Zimbabwe as well as the popularity of leaders in the pot. It is most likely that Zanu PF will draw 1,5million plus votes in 2018. Is the opposition likely to do better? If not, what strategies do we need now to boost support? Which areas are suffering more from voter apathy? The primaries will give a great guide to succeeding in 2018.

5. Primaries are a guide to how coalition will persevere
The coalition will bring together various parties and egos. How can we be sure that all these different parts will hold till 2023 and perform as per mandate? The primaries are a trying period where relationships will be strained. If these parties and presidents can last through the primaries, there is hope that the coalition can march past 2018 elections. Otherwise, this may be task beyond the sensibilities of our opposition leaders in Zimbabwe.

I am aware that many more have other reasons over and above what I have listed above. A good friend, Advocate Sitha Ngwenya, is fond of saying, “Democracy must be seen to be done.” Indeed, democracy must be seen to be done. Politicians must show they value the mandate of the people. Otherwise why bother with the lies when you do not even want to consult the people. And if the people fail to choose you, then your ideas are not strong enough. Surely, Dr Tsvangirai and his friends, still have a few good ideas in them, to excite the people of Zimbabwe.

By Fungai Chiposi, Mr.
A citizen and Community Development Activist

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Is an Election the right solution?

By Georginah Jerah

Mnagagwa and Moyo using Zimbabwean resources as family possession to fight their grudges. This does not surprise me at all for the culprit is obviously using them like chess pieces to fulfil his selfish agenda. Be careful when a leader shows favouritism among his followers. This is a common trait found in an abuser, dictator and even an oppressor.

A dictator must not be voted out but must be imprisoned and that is the only solution. There are so many unexplained deaths for a dictator/abuser/oppressor to be innocent. In dictators' history book, there is no one who resigned but they were forced out.
Why then wait for elections when there is so much evidence to imprison while wasting money that is scarce on elections?

What is the purpose of an election?
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. ... Elections fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the executive and judiciary, and for regional and local government: election -(Dictionary)

What are the criteria of choosing a leader?
When considering a program, make sure they focus on the main skills you'll need to be successful, including the ones highlighted below.
  • Writing and Research Skills. ...
  • Public Speaking and Presentation Skills. ...
  • Knowledge of Social Media. ...
  • Understanding Your Audience. ...
  • Crisis Management and Problem Solving Functions of elections?( Theory also extract)
Why then wait for elections when there is so much evidence to imprison and why waste money that is not available on elections. They do not deserve that kind of respect. Listening to most of the speeches by Zanu PF ministers you wonder what criteria was used to decide them to run their respective office.

What is the purpose of campaigning for office?
A political campaign is an organized effort which seeks to influence the decision making process within a specific group. In democracies, political campaigns often refer to electoral campaigns, by which representatives are chosen or referendums are decided.
However if a candidate does not get elected they will not take the position campaigned for.

The question then is why has opposition parties not won for 37 years? If all a leader or a party need to do is influence audience. Have we done enough to influence those who matters most.? Let's be honest, have we given them maybe reasonable reasons to vote against in defiance against manipulations, lies or they have received completely nothing apart from that which is the source of all misery, Zanu PF

How then does one influence a group of people who suffered injustice and oppression for 37 years to win the next election?
In Zimbabwe there was a time when elections were done but the results were withheld until the whole world was tired of waiting and Zanu PF claimed victory. Yet still the same that failed before is expected to change the dynamics of both Zimbabwe and culprit- Zanu PF even when recorded speeches are showing us nothing has changed but have actually become worse because there is now too much arrogance mixed with stupidity.

Elections are reasonable way of showing who has much support when dealing with civilised opponents. However, in Zimbabwe this has failed because of deep rooted corruptions. We also know the manipulations, intimidation and restrictions imposed on the majority living under poor conditions who either willing or unwilling sell their votes for a one single meal. Let's be fair, if we were all in that predicament would we not do the same.

However, there is so much that can be done to change this dynamics if we give thoughts to this predicament. I think the problem is we are using outdated strategies on Zanu PF leaders who now can see for who they really are, barbaric, (gandanga) ruthless and old school. They are like Smith regime even though he looks like he was better now because of time and less populations and will not relinquish power because we asked them to or demonstrated enough. Where in the history of Mugabe's 37 year regime have we seen him change his mind because people demonstrated. I am not belittling this effort because it's better than doing nothing but we are dealing with a dictator beyond the norm. If we are demonstrating against other nations supporting Mugabe regime, yes that will work but that man has never been moved by any demonstrations. If at all he changed strategy after demolitions it was because he felt and see it as his advantage. That's the man we are dealing with. The better we see it as a reality the better it is for us to have any form of victory.

My worry is if we continue doing the same and expect that to change the situation, some vital people might burn out as a result of frustrations.

This is 21 century! Let's put on our thinking caps on and do the maths.