Corruption & Graft


The Institute for Democratic Alternative of Zimbabwe that is reportedly funding Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s press and research department has opened investigations into the alleged abuse of donor funds by the Premier’s office.

The Herald is reliably informed that Idazim is funding the PM’s press and research office but senior officials have been siphoning funds for personal use.

An administrator is said to have fled to the United Kingdom after Idazim launched the investigations.

Sources say Idazim pays rentals for number 14 Bath Road in Avondale, which houses offices for the PM’s press and research team. The press team is responsible for the production of the Prime Minister’s Newsletter.

The non-governmental organisation also pays salaries for employees in the press and research department.

The employees in the PM’s press department earn between US$1 200 and US$1 700 net salaries depending on grades.

According to sources, the office cost US$750 in rentals a month but senior officials from the PM’s press team have been claiming US$1 500 for the past two years.

“The officials were also in a tendency of hiring and firing employees. They would go for months pocketing the dismissed employees’ salaries without notifying Idazim, which is responsible for the salaries. As a result the NGO lost thousands of dollars in salaries for the ghost workers,” a source that declined to be named said.

“As we speak the administrator (name supplied) in the PM’s office responsible for all activities at 14 Bath Road offices — from rentals to the disbursement of salaries — has since fled to the UK following investigations by Idazim.”

The funding of the PM’s press and research team has confirmed the existence of parallel structures in the inclusive Government and interference by Western funded donors.

Yesterday Idazim tried to distance itself from the PM’s Office when contacted for comment.

“There is some data which is missing in your story,” said its director Mr Joy Mabenge, in a telephone interview with The Herald from South Africa.

He professed ignorance about Idazim’s investigations into abuse of funds by the PM’s Office.

“There are no investigations taking place but an institution has many people, some of the things that happen are beyond my knowledge,” Mr Mabenge said.

Mr Mabenge promised to call The Herald after verifying facts later. He claimed the administrator was in the UK on holiday.

Idazim works closely with the United States Agency for International Development in Zimbabwe, Royal Netherlands embassy in Zimbabwe, German International Services Zimbabwe Office, Research Triangle International and the United Nations Development Programme Zimbabwe.

Registered in South Africa in February 2008, Idazim claims to be a think-tank and high-level facilitation platform whose mission is to deepen the search “for a democratic alternative to social exclusion and political repression”.

The NGO works with what it terms “a network of pro-democracy institutions and actors”.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Mr Jameson Timba could not comment on the matter as he was attending meetings yesterday. He promised to phone, but his phone later went unanswered.

(Source)

A leading diamond trade watchdog says £1.25 billion in diamonds has been stolen from Zimbabwe’s eastern diamond fields by president Robert Mugabe’s ruling circle and international gem dealers.

Partnership Africa Canada – a member of the Kimberley Process, the world regulatory body on the diamond trade – said alleges Zimbabwe’s gems have been plundered by the Mugabe regime.

Its report said vast earnings from Zimbabwe’s eastern Marange fields – one of the world’s biggest diamond deposits – have not reached the state treasury.

The PAC report, released to coincide with the Zimbabwe government’s conference on the diamond trade, cast a shadow over the Mugabe regime’s effort to win international respectability for its gem trade.

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has put himself on a collision course with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, who accuse him of sabotaging the MDC-T and council projects to de-popularise the party ahead of elections.

Party insiders have argued that Chombo’s actions were meant to ensure the MDC-T and its councillors were viewed as non-performers by the electorate.

This came as Chombo last week instructed council to stop a 3 000-unit housing project in Budiriro, ordered an investigation into how the tenders were awarded by council and threatened to fire over 30 MDC-T councillors on graft allegations.

“As soon as I get information on those corrupt councillors, I will act. My hands are itching to act. We have written to the Prime Minister (Tsvangirai) to seek his report on councillors, but we have not been answered,” Chombo said.

However, his deputy Sessel Zvidzai yesterday said Chombo should “stop politicking”.

“The Budiriro project is a public-private partnership between council, (financial institutions) Old Mutual and CABS and anyone who tries to stop such projects will be mischievous. There is demand for housing in this country and 3 000 houses would have gone a long way to assist the homeless. He (Chombo) is just being political and denying people an opportunity to be house owners,” Zvidzai said.

“On the threats to fire 30 councillors, the party’s secretary-general Tendai Biti wrote to him telling him of our position on the 12 councillors. What else does he want? We gave him the names of corrupt councillors in Chitungwiza, but he has done nothing on them. He must apply the first-in first-out principle and deal with those in Chitungwiza first.”

Masunda, however, said he had nothing to hide hence the probe must go ahead.

“I welcome the probe as I have nothing to fear because I have never been in the business of keeping any skeletons in my cupboard. I certainly don’t intend to start doing so now. By the way, the chairman of CABS is Leonard Tsumba, the former Reserve Bank governor. I am the chairman of Old Mutual Life Assurance Company Zimbabwe,” Masunda said.

“It would appear to me that it’s all about electioneering and jockeying for his (Zanu PF) party’s position in the urban electorate within Greater Harare in view of the elections that are looming on the horizon.”

Documents gleaned by NewsDay showed that Zanu PF was now “afraid” of MDC-T council projects as they would “de-popularise the party ahead of elections”.

Fired Harare Zanu PF member Joshua Gore, who is appealing his expulsion to party national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, exposed the Zanu PF plot saying he was being persecuted for “siding with the enemy and making the enemy popular at the expense of Zanu PF”.

“Charges against Gore (are that he) de-popularised the party and strengthened the enemy by failing to promote party interests by siding with a person (businessman Alex Mashamhanda) whose intention was to de-popularise the party through proceeding in a development where he knew fully well that it is not in the interest of Zanu PF as objections had been lodged to that effect,” read Gore’s letter of expulsion.

(Source)

In a move likely to cause fresh fissures in the wobbly inclusive government, President Robert Mugabe has snubbed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai by making key government appointments without consulting his coalition government partner.

The Global Political Agreement (GPA), signed between Mugabe (on behalf of Zanu PF), Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara (for the MDCs) in September 2008, stipulates that Mugabe should consult his partners when making key government appointments.

But last Thursday, Mugabe unilaterally appointed Justice Anne-Mary Gowora and Justice Yunus Omerjee to the Supreme Court bench while Advocate Happias Zhou joined the High Court.

This has raised tempers and highlights what observers have described as Mugabe’s intransigence and how he continues to undermine the power-sharing agreement.

Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Obert Gutu also said he was not consulted on the key judiciary appointments, neither was he invited to the swearing-in ceremony of the judges at State House.

“We were hearing from the grapevine within the legal fraternity since last week of the appointment of the three judges. But I was not informed or consulted as the Deputy Minister of Justice and a senior legal practitioner in the fraternity. The invitation was never extended to my office as should have happened,” Gutu said.

Tsvangirai was not present at the occasion, which was attended by Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa, High Court and Supreme Court judges and senior members from the legal fraternity.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the party was unhappy that Mugabe had snubbed Tsvangirai over the appointments.

“Although the GPA is clear on what must happen before key appointments, President Mugabe has reneged from that GPA position and has resorted to making unilateral appointments as our (party) president was not consulted,” Mwonzora said.

According to the State media: “The appointments were done following consultation with the Judicial Service Commission as prescribed by the law.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (Mugabe) made the appointments in terms of Section 84 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba yesterday admitted Tsvangirai was not consulted, but said Mugabe was exercising his constitutional powers by appointing service chiefs.

“Yes, it’s not in the spirit of GPA, but it’s in the spirit of the law. That’s all what matters,” Charamba said.

In February this year, Mugabe unilaterally extended the terms of office of Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and four other service chiefs — Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Lieutenant General Philip Valerio Sibanda (Zimbabwe National Army), Air Marshal Perence Shiri (Air Force of Zimbabwe) and Retired Major General Paradzai Zimondi (Commissioner of Prisons) – without consulting the Premier.

The appointments came at a time the MDC-T is angry over reports that Zanu PF had roped in service chiefs as its political commissars to contain factionalism as rifts from the recently-held district co-ordinating committee elections continue to haunt the party.

Sources said last Sunday at Marymount Teachers’ College, service chiefs from Mutare attended the party provincial co-ordinating committee meeting where they were tasked to spearhead the Zanu PF election campaign.

But Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro said: “I cannot comment on matters we discussed in that meeting because it was a closed one. I don’t know what has happened to those indisciplined comrades who chose to divulge what we discussed. I chaired the meeting and declared that it was a closed one, therefore I cannot go against my word.”

Service chiefs reported to have been assigned Zanu PF duties include Police Deputy Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Major General Martin Chedondo, Air Vice-Marshal Shebba Brighton Shumbayaonda, Brigadier-General Herbert Chingono, Brigadier-General Mike Sango and 3 Brigade Commander Brigadier-General Herbert Bandama.

MDC-T secretary for defence, intelligence and security Giles Mutsekwa said it was regrettable that Zanu PF had chosen to abuse service chiefs.

“As the MDC, we are so worried about the developments that military and police officers are being deployed as political commissars of Zanu PF,” said Mutsekwa, himself a former army officer.

“The development that serving service chiefs have been tasked to resuscitate the waning popularity of the former ruling party makes sad reading for the MDC and Zimbabwe in general. In our view, what the security forces should concentrate on at the moment is to demonstrate to all Zimbabweans that they are bound by the supreme law of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

“Our experience has shown that wherever the military involve themselves in party political campaigns, there has been massive violence as we witnessed in 2008.We hope that Jomic (Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee) is following these developments and that they are taking necessary steps to curb genocide.”

Involvement of service chiefs in active party politics has remained one of the issues hanging over the coalition government.

(Source)

War veterans, collaborators and former political detainees resolved here at the weekend that MDC-T President, Morgan Tsvangirai, should be denied political space as he was against the people’s revolution, the land “reform” programme and black empowerment initiatives by Zanu (PF).

The resolution was agreed upon by some 2000 Zanu (PF) delegates attending the National Ex-Political Detainees and War Collaborators’ Congress.

“It is our national duty to deny Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC party room to practice their anti-revolutionary politics. Tsvangirai will never rule in his life-time. Robert Mugabe will be the country’s president for life,” said speaker after speaker.

The delegates also demanded that government pay them “without delay” gratuities and monthly allowances as it did for war veterans in the 1990s.

Many expressed anger at Mugabe’s failure to address them. “We feel betrayed by the President’s unexpected absence of He should take note of our concerns and address them before elections while he is still in office. We cannot afford to wait for a new government to be in place as the future is unpredictable,” said a disgruntled delegate who only identified himself as Jena from Plumtree.

Some of the delegates returned to their homes even before the congress started, complaining of hunger and lack of decent accommodation.

(Source)

The pews are often virtually empty on Sunday mornings at Harare’s St Mary’s and All Saints Anglican cathedrals, but this is Bishop Nolbert Kunonga’s “throne” and he is prepared to defend it with violence.

After a service attended by a few followers last Sunday, Kunonga, the priest who has divided the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe and set disciples on rival clergymen, stood in front of his pulpit and raved against gays and Rowan Williams, the visiting archbishop of Canterbury. “This is my throne,” he declared. “I am in charge. He [Williams] cannot come here.”

Kunonga regards the cathedral as a prized asset among hundreds of church properties he has taken over in a fight that has demonstrated the impunity enjoyed by President Robert Mugabe’s allies.

Excommunicated in 2007, Kunonga is fighting for control of the Anglican Church, seizing assets and barring worshippers from churches. A dossier on the dispute presented to Mugabe this week claimed that at least one parishioner, Jessica Mandeya, might have been killed in attacks by Kunonga’s followers.

Also last Sunday, 15000 members of the rival faction led by Bishop Chad Gandiya were attending a mass held by Williams in a sports arena. Kunonga rustled up a crowd of women, who marched outside the cathedral where he was preaching to denounce Williams. One placard read: “Homosexuals must die.”

It is Kunonga’s central claim: the church is at risk of being overrun by homosexuals and he alone stands in its defence.

“Williams is the reason why the Anglican Church all over the world is divided. He has not taken a position on homosexuality,” he has said.

But his critics see this as a cover for his campaign for power. Parishioners have left him, to worship in parks and rented halls, but he has insisted: “It is not about who has the majority or the minority. It is about who is right.”

Kunonga was elected bishop in 2001, beating Tim Neill, a rabidly anti-Mugabe priest. At a time when the church — including Mugabe’s own Catholic Church — was growing increasingly critical of his rule, Mugabe found an ally in Kunonga among the hostile clergy.

At Mugabe’s inauguration in 2002 Kunonga described his victory, which came after a violent campaign, as “God’s will”. He has also described Mugabe as “a prophet of God who was sent to deliver the people of Zimbabwe from bondage”.

A church tribunal accused Kunonga of plotting the murder of rival priests and misusing church funds, but the trial was abandoned after a judge hearing the case stepped down.

In 2007 he formed a splinter church, claiming it was in protest at the Anglican Church’s tolerance for homosexuality. He began seizing church assets, at one time moving out of his suburban home to sleep in the cathedral to ensure that his rivals stayed out.

Over recent months Kunonga has grabbed churches, schools, hospitals and orphanages, evicting priests and staff and locking out worshippers.

He has also seized the church’s most sacred shrine, which honours one of Africa’s earliest martyrs, Bernard Mizeki.

On Monday Williams handed Mugabe a dossier giving details of Kunonga’s campaign. It said that police had “disrupted church services and used tear gas and batons to drive people out of church buildings”.

“As a consequence most churches lie empty each Sunday, except where a handful of Dr Kunonga’s priests and their families are able to occupy them,” the dossier stated.

Priests and deacons were arrested without charge and many of the arrests were deliberately made on Fridays to keep priests from church, said the dossier.

“Parishioners are not only denied access to their churches, but increasingly are threatened with punishment if they worship at all, or attempt to carry out their ministry to the community.”

Kunonga’s followers barred Williams from entering churches in Mutare on Monday.

At church hospitals, his loyalists have also been denying health care to members of the rival faction and turning away drugs and equipment donated by aid agencies.

Kunonga denied the dossier’s charges and said he would continue the fight “as long as the archbishop of Canterbury remains homosexual”.

The large crowd attending Williams’s mass contrasted sharply with Kunonga’s small congregation, but he remained defiant.

“Williams’s coming here will not make them get in the church buildings. We are the ones here in the cathedral; they are meeting at the sports centre.

“I am the owner of all this. Gandiya is showing off with a white man and I do not care. This is not the end of Kunonga.”

The troubles that have gripped Zimbabwe’s Anglican Church have further exposed the country’s feeble human rights record, even as it mounted a bold defence during the United Nations Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review this week.

In Geneva, Switzerland, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa said Western-imposed sanctions — in place since 2003 — contributed to the suffering of Zimbabweans and were “the greatest violation” of human rights.

Zimbabwe’s attorney general, Johannes Tomana, has threatened to take legal action against the European Union over the sanctions.

The debate on Zimbabwe’s human rights coincided with a visit from the global Anglican Church leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams.

A report presented to the UN council by a coalition of 27 civil society organisations from Zimbabwe challenged the government’s glossy report on the human rights situation in the country. Dewa Mavhinga, regional co-ordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe, said: “We want the world to know the real situation in the country. It is not ready for elections next year. There is still just a lot to be done on the human rights front.”

Effie Ncube, a political analyst, said: “ZANU PF’s denial of the atrocities and human rights violations of the past 31 years is a demonstration of the severe moral deficiency in the party.”

South Africa demanded an investigation of the ­killings that occurred during the presidential run-off elections in June 2008. The United States, Australia and Pretoria have all expressed their deep concern over the killings and said those responsible in the army, police and secret service had to be punished.

Zimbabwe’s dark human rights past has hogged the international limelight with several high-profile cases, such as the Gukurahundi massacres during the 1980s, the controversial Murambatsvina clean-up exercise in Harare in 2005, the killings by the military at the Chiadzwa diamond fields in October 2008 and the violent presidential run-off elections in June that same year.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have estimated that nearly 300 Movement for Democratic Change supporters were murdered during the run-off elections by ZANU PF members.

But a rare triumph of justice has occurred in the past month when a court sentenced ZANU PF militia base commander Gilbert Mavhenyengwa (55) to 20 years in jail for the rape of the wife of an MDC supporter during those elections.

(Source)

Zimbabwe’s top Anglican bishop says a breakaway church leader close to the country’s president has taken over an orphanage home to 80 children.

Bishop Chad Gandiya, leader of the mainstream Anglican group, says the breakaway leader also has seized mission schools and priests’ homes.

On Tuesday, Gandiya visited nuns and priests evicted from the church facilities near the provincial town of Murewa, 50 miles (85 kilometers) from Harare. Gandiya says he is worried about the fate of the 80 children left at the orphanage.

Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, the breakaway church leader who insists he split from the Anglican church because it recognized gay marriage, has protection of police loyal to President Robert Mugabe.

(Source)

The Foreign ministry said it had declared Ambassador Taher Elmagrahi, in Libya’s Harare embassy ‘persona non grata’ and ordered him and his family to leave Zimbabwe.

Diplomatic sources said Elmagrahi argued against the decision, saying this would send him and his wife to a country in civil war.

Foreign ministry permanent secretary Joey Bimha said the ambassador no longer had any business in Harare because he has broken ranks with the man who sent him here.

Harare opposed military intervention in Libya and NATO’s air raid on Gaddafi’s forces, and has steadfastly stood with Gaddafi, who has helped prop up President Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

Zimbabwe has flatly refused to recognize the legitimacy of Libya’s rebel council.

On Wednesday, Libya’s ambassador in Zimbabwe joined his fellow countrymen to burn the effigy of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and hoisted the flag of the rebels that have seized power in Tripoli.

“From today, August 24, we follow the Libyan majority, the Libyan people, through our National Transitional Authority,” Ambassador Taher Elmagrahi told reporters outside the embassy in down town Harare. “We are here representing the Libyan people and not Gaddafi. I am not Gaddafi’s ambassador. I represent the Libyan people.”

Embassy staff and Libyan nationals sang freedom songs while others honked car horns while burning Gaddafi’s green flag at the offices just next to the Financial Gazette’s office.

Locals also joined in chanting down the “dictator” Gaddafi. The hoisting of the red, black and green independence flag was met with wild applause and cheers.

The celebration came a day after rebels stormed Gaddafi’s compound and looted his palace in Tripoli. The transitional authority has received widespread backing.

(Source)

While the controversy over whether Gen Solomon Mujuru’s death in a fire at his home last week was accidental or foul play rages on, Zimbabwe’s political parties are reassessing their strategies now that the Zanu-PF kingmaker has gone.

With President Robert Mugabe (87) nearing the end of his political career, the stage is set for a fierce clash between two Zanu-PF factions, one led by the general’s widow, senior vice-president Joice Mujuru , the other headed by defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

On the face of it, Mujuru is the big loser. Without Gen Mujuru, deputy-commander of the Zanu liberation army during the civil war in the 1970s and the first black head of the Zimbabwe National Army, her faction has lost its brand. He was always the real power in the faction of which she is titular head. Few analysts see her as the effective, decisive leader that her late husband certainly was.

For months now there has been talk of a possible alliance between prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai (59) and the Mujuru faction against Mugabe, with some in Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change fearing their party could be co-opted and swallowed in the same way that Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu was absorbed by Mugabe’s Zanu-PF two years ago.

After the general’s death, this is a much less attractive option for Tsvangirai but a more promising one for the general’s widow. Though as the senior vice- president she is the heir presumptive to the Mugabe throne, especially as the other vice-president, John Nkomo, 20 years older than her and reportedly unwell, is not a player in the succession stakes. Mugabe himself prefers Mnangagwa.

The vastly experienced Mnangagwa (65) has been in government since independence in 1980, holding many senior cabinet portfolios, including defence, finance, justice and state security, as well as serving a spell as speaker of parliament. Those who worked with him in the finance and justice ministries, including senior judges subsequently dismissed by Mugabe, describe him as a competent administrator who listens to his officials.

Joice Mujuru (56) has no such track record as an administrator and owes her prominence in the party more to her late husband’s powerbroker activities than her own ability.

On paper, who succeeds Mugabe could turn out to be largely academic because opinion polls, such as they are, suggest an easy win for Tsvangirai, assuming that the elections are even remotely free and fair. Those who support a Tsvangirai-Mujuru ticket — which includes many businesspeople — argue that this would continue the inclusive government of national unity while marginalising extremists within Zanu-PF, such as the Mnangagwa faction and political hotheads like indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere .

Kasukuwere hit the headlines again last week with his threat to cancel the business licences of 13 multinationals which have so far, he says, failed to comply with Zimbabwe’s localisation law requiring foreign-owned firms to dispose of 51% of their shares to black Zimbabweans. Kasukuwere gave the multinationals, including Barclays and Standard Chartered banks, Impala Platinum , Aquarius, Rio Tinto, Nestlé, British American Tobacco , Cargill and Canada’s Caledonia Mining, 14 days to submit their proposals for localisation, which should be completed within five years.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono responded angrily, seeking to reassure depositors who were reported to have withdrawn their money from the two international banks that he was the only person with the authority to withdraw banking licences and that he had no intention of doing so.

Kasukuwere promptly hit back, telling Gono that if he did not want to implement government policy, he should resign or “we kick him out”.

Lurking in the wings is the military. Gen Constantine Chiwenga (55), is often named as a possible starter in the race to succeed Mugabe, though this seems unlikely. More important is which faction the top brass will back when the time comes to choose a new Zanu-PF leader. Only last month a senior military officer told a foreign visitor that however the succession struggle played out within Zanu-PF, the party would remain in government. “No other party would be allowed to win,” he said.

Just how much of this was bluster and bravado is impossible to assess. Like so many leaders in Zimbabwe today from all parties, regardless of whether they are discussing politics, the economy, the country’s mineral wealth or its external debt, there is a disconcerting disconnect with reality. Ministers, officials and soldiers are prone to wild claims, devoid of any realism but resonant of the leadership deficit that is clear in Zimbabwe in 2011.

Mujuru’s death and Mugabe’s impending retirement will leave a vacuum that none of the pretenders to the throne seems competent to fill.

(Source)

In a desperate bid to meet the three million signatures, the former ruling party, ZANU PF has allegedly taken the anti-sanctions petition to the army barracks and police stations here where it is forcing all officers to sign it.

In Harare state journalists have been forced to do the same.

Junior officers here have expressed disgruntlement after they were allegedly forced by their chefs to sign the petition under their supervision as the former liberation movement party continues to abuse members of the security forces politically.

Police officers from the province’s seven districts have been ferried to the provincial headquarters, Masvingo central police station, since Monday and forced to put their signatures on the petition that was launched by President Robert Mugabe a fortnight ago.

Investigations by Radio VOP after observing winding queues of junior officers outside the police headquarters since Monday revealed that ZANU PF had ordered the Police top brass to force all their subordinates to sign the petition to increase the number of signatures on the petition.

The same operation is also said to be going on in all army barracks in the country as junior soldiers are being forced to sign the petition under the watchful eyes of the generals who are loyal to President Mugabe’s party.

A Police officer who preferred anonymity said they received an order from their bosses and were also threatened with unspecified action if they refused to sign the petition.

“We had no choice but to sign because the order came from the bosses and they made it clear that those who refuse would be dealt with effectively although they did not specify the kind of action they will take. All police officers commanding the seven districts of Masvingo have been summoned to bring their juniors since Monday as you can see them in queues waiting for their chance to put their signatures,” he said.

He added that the exercise will be ending on Saturday as every district has its own day to report at the police headquarters.

A soldier at four brigade said they were told by their generals that any military men who refuse to sign would be confirming his sympathy for the Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement for Democratic Change and will be punished for that. He, however, said the situation was similar to that of elections were they are forced to vote for ZANU PF in front of their bosses in the military camps.

“We are always being abused by this party. They are forcing us to sign the petition just like they do during elections when they make us vote for ZANU PF in front of our generals who shower us with all kinds of threats including death and dismissal from work. Right now all soldiers from the army barracks in the province are reporting to the headquarters where they are putting their signatures,” said a junior soldier who declined to be named.

Journalists and employees from state owned media houses were also this week forced to sign anti-sanctions campaign forms which are meant to push the United State and the European Union member countries to remove targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his close associates.

Mugabe was slapped with sanctions by the US and the EU after the violent 2002 presidential elections which was condemned world wide. Mugabe then said sanctions or NO sanctions he will continue to rule over the country. But this year he made a u-turn with his party and embarked on the anti-sanctions campaign to push for the removal of the embargo.

The anti-sanctions campaign was snubbed by Tsvangirai and his senior government ministers and officials as well as the smaller formation of the MDC.

A reporter with the state-controlled Herald newspaper told Radio VOP that senior editors and managers in different departments announced on Monday that everyone under the Zimpapers stable, the parent company which owns state newspaper must append their signatures for sanctions on Mugabe and his cronies to be removed.

“Our editors told us on Monday that we must sign anti-sanctions campaign forms for the sanctions to be removed. The announcement was done in a soft way, they were saying it is voluntary but we know it is mandatory,” said the reporter.

The Herald reporter said journalists and staff at the state owned and sole country broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) were also forced to sign the forms. ZBH is the parent owner of the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) which has two television stations and four radio stations under its management.

The state media has been accused of supporting Mugabe ZANU PF party and reporting propaganda and lies.

Herald assistant editor, Ceasar Zvayi, ZBC chief correpondent Reuben Barwe, diplomatic correspondent, Judith Makwanya and former ZBC reoporter Musorowegomo Mukosi are on the US sanctions list. The three are accused of fanning violence, hatred and churning lies in support of ZANU PF and Mugabe who are accused of human rights abuses.

The EU and US renewed sanctions on Mugabe and his top ZANU PF officials with another year saying they are yet to implement key reforms in the country for free and fair polls to be held.

Mugabe last year said he will not compromise in implementing key reforms in the inclusive government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. He said he will only accept to implement reforms once the sanctions are removed on him.

The EU said its policy on Mugabe and ZANU PF is planned by Brussels and the 27 member block will not be moved by the ZANU PF petition.

(Source)

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