Current Crisis


President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF is allegedly mounting a smear plot to ‘damage’ Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s presidential chances ahead of elections, the Daily News has gathered.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is accused of complicity in the plot, which involves the mass production of a video dubbed “Passion for Zimbabwe”.

In the same vein, Zanu PF is allegedly coaxing Locadia Karimatsenga to mount damages claims for emotional distress after Tsvangirai refused to marry her and opted for Elizabeth Macheka.

The Harare businesswoman begged Tsvangirai not to end their relationship last November.

She later suffered a miscarriage.

Sources said the damages plot, engineered by a top Zanu PF women’s league official, contains text messages and other damning details of the PM’s short liaison with Karimatsenga.

Simultaneously, the campaign video will centre on Mugabe as a man with passionate support for his country, and Tsvangirai as a fake and crooked sell-out.

Intelligence sources call it a “media hatchet job”.

The plot to discredit Mugabe’s long-time rival which involves a video that will made available to State TV and distributed for free on VCD comes as Mugabe is expected to launch his party’s election campaign.

While Mugabe’s Zanu PF prepares its campaign, the MDC is also expected to unveil its new policy documents the “New Zimbabwe blue print” and a jobs and investment plan to counter Zanu PF’s empowerment drive.

Mugabe, who accuses the British and US governments of sponsoring the MDC, hammers this point in the video, which shows his Zanu PF party “burying” the MDC.

The video juxtaposes Tsvangirai and Mugabe, and portrays the PM as a clown. It contains footage of Tsvangirai receiving a cheque from white farmers in Macheke, concocted voice-overs by Tsvangirai backing gay rights. There is perfect matching of Tsvangirai’s voice in the video.

Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s sole ruler since the southern African country’s independence from Britain in 1980, is portrayed in the video as a victim of Western foes hell-bent on sabotaging the economy and wanting to oust him over the empowerment of his people through his land seizures and expropriation of foreign firms.

The video is lacerated with convincing footage, and looks authentic. It portrays Mugabe as a hero, and contains his UN speeches and other ground-breaking speeches where he got standing ovations.

Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson said the PM was aware of the “CIO plot.”

“The PM is aware of the plot,” Tamborinyoka told our correspondent.

“The good thing is where four people gather to conspire, three of them will tell the Prime Minister. We are aware of the sting operation and the other thing is that the good people of Zimbabwe are not stupid.”

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo professed ignorance of the plot.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Gumbo said.

A former MDC official who crossed floors to Zanu PF and a Politburo member (names withheld on legal advice) have been named as “instrumental” in the  production of the video.

The two are reportedly orchestrating the smear campaign against Tsvangirai.

The video will reportedly anchor Zanu PF’s campaign, and will be deliberately circulated to damage Mugabe’s main rival.

Sources said Zanu PF’s election strategy was to play-up Tsvangirai’s morality and alleged bed-hopping.

The blitz will also centre on little Ethan, Tsvangirai’s love child in Bulawayo, who he said a fortnight ago he has been providing for and paying alimony for despite claims to the contrary.

(Source)

President Robert Mugabe yesterday poked fun at Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara saying had it not been that Zimbabwe has a good education system, the former University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student leader would have remained “a mad man” he was back then.

Addressing delegates at the launch of the Science Technology and Innovation Policy in Harare yesterday, Mugabe said Mutambara used to behave like a “mad man” during his student activism days, but had transformed into an intellectual of note.

“Ten years ago we were here. In between lots of things happened, lots of technology and people have become much more sophisticated,” he said. “I don’t know what Professor Mutambara was doing then in 2002. He used to be a mad man at University (of Zimbabwe),” Mugabe said. “That education has its effects on persons. It gives them that essence of dignity. It makes an individual that would have been just a lump of flesh get to an intellectual level much more advanced than he was born with.”

In reference to Mutambara, Mugabe said: “It adapts you and you become mature, more polished, more loveable, and more handsome. There you are, but remember how you used to behave during your university days.” Mugabe also said: “While we are very happy with the linkages that we have with friendly countries around the world, we are aware that some countries are hostile to our interests as manifested in the abrupt cutting of collaboration linkages in the past. I remain hopeful that our continued negotiations with the international community will result in the total removal of illegal sanctions.”

Earlier Mutambara urged Mugabe to dump the Zanu PF party slogan “Land is the Economy and the Economy is Land” and adopt “Science and Technology is the Economy and the Economy is Science and Technology.”

Mutambara led several violent protests at the UZ when he was a student leader between 1989 and the early 1990s leading to his arrest and imprisonment.

The launch was attended by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, DPM Thokozani Khupe, several ministers from all the political parties and MPs, among other guests.

(Source)

Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone at the weekend called on the military and police to arrest Zimbabwe National Army Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba and charge him with attempting to incite a mutiny in the country.

“Nyikayaramba should be charged with inciting mutiny in the army. He wanted the army to mutiny against the will of the people as expressed through a democratic election by saying the soldiers should not salute a President without liberation war credentials,” said Makone.

She, however, said she took solace in the fact that Nyikayaramba – who has courted controversy by making political statements and calling MDC president, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a security threat – was not the army.

“Nyikayaramba is not the army and does not command the army, but it is clear that he violated the constitutional Act which creates the army and mandates it to protect national sovereignty and not to dabble in politics as correctly said by (Commander of Defence Forces General Constantine) Chiwenga. We, therefore, wait to see if Chiwenga meant his words,” Makone said.

The minister also pledged to defend the electorate ahead of the next general elections which are likely to be held next year.

“As Home Affairs minister, I want to assure you that we will work around the clock to defend you during election time,” she said.

Addressing over 3000 people at the same rally at Mbizo Stadium, Tsvangirai accused ZANU PF of abusing “men in uniform” as spokespersons in a bid to defend what he described as a now-defunct party.

“ZANU PF is now defunct and bankrupt in ideas, instead it’s being replaced by soldiers, police and CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) to defend them. This is where we have a dispute with ZANU PF,” he said.

The Premier told supporters unless there was a realignment of the security sector to become truly national institutions, the three political partners in the inclusive government would not reach consensus in the ongoing negotiations over an election roadmap. President Robert Mugabe has defended.

(Source)

A senior Zimbabwean police officer has been fired after he was allegedly found in possession of music produced by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Four journalists who tried to cover his eviction from a police camp where he was staying were also briefly detained on Friday but they were released without charge.

Inspector Tedius Chisango was accused of trying to incite police recruits to revolt against President Robert Mugabe.

He was allegedly caught by his superiors in May while playing the MDC song on his mobile phone in front of police recruits.

A further search at his lodgings allegedly uncovered more MDC songs.

One of the songs that were found is titled “Saddam Hussein is gone, Bob is next.”

He was brought before a disciplinary board that recommended his immediate dismissal.

Last month another police officer was jailed for 10 days after he allegedly used a toilet reserved for President Mugabe.

Police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri and other service chiefs have refused to salute Tsvangirai saying he is a puppet of the West.

(Source)

Health workers at the country’s biggest referral hospital, Harare Central Hospital, were on Monday forced to attend to patients using candles after a  power outage.

The incident occurred on Monday night after a Zesa Holdings (Zesa) unannounced power outage.

The power failure affected the hospital’s main building which houses the main female and male wards.

The wards which accommodate the bulk of patients at the hospital are usually serviced by a standby generator which automatically picks up whenever there is a power outage.

However, the generator failed on Monday night leaving the wards in the dark.

Although the situation appeared back to normal on Tuesday morning when the Daily News visited the hospital, some health workers expressed concern over the increasing constant power cuts saying the situation is affecting their ability to provide necessary medical care.

One junior doctor who wanted to remain anonymous said the problem could turn catastrophic.

“Nurses and doctors had to do their rounds using candles which was bad as the lighting is poor especially when there are patients with wounds that need checking,” he said.

In an interview,  Harare Hospital Operations Director Victor Gwata played down the effect of the Monday night power cut, saying it was addressed in reasonable time.

“We have three generators at the hospital that sustain us in the event that there is load-shedding or a blackout however, yesterday when the hospital experienced a power outage, one of our generators that feeds into the adult general ward failed to work,” said Gwata.

“The reason for the failure is yet to be known as the city council’s public works department is in charge of that,” he said.

(Source)

Four judges of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal have said the decision by the SADC summit to ‘dissolve’ the Tribunal was illegal and in bad faith, notes a Business Day report. It says that in a scathing letter to SADC’s executive secretary, the judges said a ‘close reading’ of the communiqué from the SADC summit of heads of state last month in fact showed ‘beyond doubt’ that the Tribunal had not just been suspended but ‘also dissolved altogether’. The decision was a ‘drastic action taken on political grounds’ – to avoid having to take action against Zimbabwe for refusing to enforce the Tribunal’s judgments, they said. According to the report, the Tribunal came under intense pressure after it gave judgments against the government of Zimbabwe on its land redistribution process. Zimbabwe refused to enforce the Tribunal’s orders and challenged its legality. In their letter, the judges said the original decision to suspend the operation of the Tribunal applied only to new cases. But last month’s communiqué ‘reiterated’ a moratorium on the Tribunal hearing both new and pending cases. These were ‘weasel words’, the judges wrote. The communiqué actually amounted to a dissolution of the Tribunal. SW Radio reports that the judges also questioned why the SADC council of Justice Ministers expressed concern about the role and jurisdiction of the Tribunal, instead of deciding the appropriate action to take against Zimbabwe for non-compliance with the Tribunal’s judgments. The SADC Tribunal Rights Watch group has since endorsed the judges’ statement, echoing their concerns that the move sends ‘the worst possible signal not only to the SADC region but also to potential investors, donors and the international community at large: that the highest authorities of SADC at best pay only lip service to the principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law and do not scrupulously adhere to them’.

Full Business Day report

Full SW Radio report

 

Legal commentator Carmel Rickard takes up the astonishing decision on her blog, A Free State of Mind. Quoting from a letter to the SADC secretariat, Rickard says the judges speak of the ‘illegal and arbitrary decisions’ taken ‘in bad faith’ by the SADC Council of Ministers and by the summit of heads of states and government last month. The judges, including the former president of the court, say the decisions were clearly illegal and ultra vires. Rickard points out that the judges make it clear that they believe the unprecedented action taken against them resulted from the Tribunal’s ruling in the Campbell cases against the Zimbabwe Government. ‘We never expected … the Minister of Justice/Attorneys-General or the Council or Summit in 2011 to take, at long last, appropriate action against Zimbabwe for non-compliance with the judgments of the Tribunal of 2008 and 2010 for the simple reason that, every time the issue has been discussed, a stratagem has always been devised to defer consideration of the matter. But still, we did not expect or foresee this time the new drastic action taken on political grounds which at a stroke does away with the intractable problem of taking action against Zimbabwe: the complete dissolution of the Tribunal in its present form, with its current jurisdiction and membership…’

(Source: by email)

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party rejected accusations by an army brigadier general that he is a threat to the southern African nation’s security.

Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba said Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, takes orders from “Western leaders,” the state-controlled Herald said today. It quoted him as saying the security forces “would die” to keep President Robert Mugabe, 87, in power and that Tsvangirai would never rule.

“The only threat to Zimbabwe comes from the military, which is interfering in politics,” MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said today by phone from the capital, Harare. “The MDC won the March 2008 election and by any measure, the army should respect that.”

Nyikayaramba’s comments followed statements by Tsvangirai urging officials in the security services to quit their posts and enter politics instead of using their positions to back Mugabe. Tsvangirai’s MDC and Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party agreed to share power after disputed elections in 2008 that the MDC narrowly won.

The MDC insists that Zimbabwe’s security sector be reformed before a new vote is held.

“I don’t see that happening fast because the security sector is Mugabe’s guarantee of power,” political analyst Alois Masepe said in a telephone interview from Harare. Zanu-PF “equates security reform with defeat.”

Under the terms of the power-sharing agreement, Zimbabwe must vote on a new constitution before fresh elections can be held. Mugabe has repeatedly said a vote should be held this year, while the MDC insists no election can take place until at least 2012.

Zimbabwe’s army and Zanu-PF are “inseparable,” the Herald today quoted Nyikayaramba as saying.

“It shows how government is being perverted by a politicized security sector,” Mwonzora said.

(Source)

President Robert Mugabe is tired of office and would have retired were it not for the mess in which his party is, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has revealed.

The MDC-T leader told thousands of his supporters at Mkoba Stadium in Gweru on Sunday Mugabe had confided in him that his heart was telling him to go but he was afraid if he did, Zanu PF would disintegrate.

The Prime Minister also hinted the President told him other than the fear factionalism would tear his party apart if he retired, the old leader was being held to ransom to remain in office.

Tsvangirai said the President was in dire need of help, adding that age was catching up with him as exposed by the gaffes he made at the Sadc summit in Johannesburg on June 12.

“I warned him and he wants out,” Tsvangirai said.

“I don’t know whether it is fear, but he is old. He needs help from young people like me. He is just old,” said Tsvangirai.

“President Mugabe was asked to present at the Sadc Summit and said he wanted to thank (former South African President Nelson) Mandela (instead of President Jacob Zuma). He is just old,” said Tsvangirai.

President Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba could not be reached for comment, but Zanu PF officials dismissed Tsvangirai’s statements as a figment of the Premier’s imagination.

“I think it’s from his head,” said Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo.

“I have not heard anything of that sort, and in fact, the President has always ably led us. Although it was supposed to be a conversation between two people, as far as the party is concerned it’s hogwash.”

Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said President Mugabe would never confide in Tsvangirai, adding that his boss was still fit.

“When did Tsvangirai become the President’s spokesperson?” Mutasa asked. “Only Charamba, his spokesman, Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesman, or myself can speak about the President,” said Mutasa.

“There is nothing like that (Mugabe wanting to rest), if there was he would have told us. He is in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) as we are talking now. Is that the behaviour of a tired person?”

(Source)

Economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe said the problems at Lobels have been the main factor in the bread shortage affecting Harare in recent days.

Shortages of bread have developed in Harare, Zimbabwe, following the closure of Lobels Bakery, once the country’s leading baker, due to heavy debts and equipment woes.

Sources said Lobels owes millions to creditors ranging from the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

They said some Lobels equipment has been attached by creditors.

Lobels Resident Director David Chiweza, a retired brigadier general, confirmed that the Lobels Harare plant has closed. But he declined to provide further information.

Sources said the parent company, Lobels Holdings, was taken over by a consortium of indigenous business men including retired army officers and has experienced serious problems amid allegations of misuse of funds by the previous management.

But other Zimbabwean bakeries are also facing problems, in particular flour shortages. Harare bread production is said to have fallen from 600,00 to 150,000 loaves a day.

National Bakers Association President Cydwell Chitewe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that bakeries need long-term recapitalization at affordable interest rates.

But economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe said the problems at Lobels have been the leading factor in the bread shortage affecting Harare residents in recent days.

(Source)

President Robert Mugabe’s promise to double civil servants’ salaries this month appeared to crumble yesterday as it emerged no such arrangement was in place.

Yesterday, the Apex Council met the government’s negotiating team over civil servants’ salaries in Harare, but the team indicated they were still carrying out consultations.

As a result of the breakdown of negotiations, civil servants’ organisations have threatened to strike over unfulfilled promises.

The Apex Council consists of the Public Service Association, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association, Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe and College Lecturers’ Association of Zimbabwe.

Apex Council chairperson Tendai Chikowore yesterday confirmed the government had failed to offer them anything, adding the civil servants’ union leaders had pressed the team to act fast “to ensure that there is industrial harmony”.

The militant PTUZ said they were shocked by the government’s stance and were considering industrial action.

“There was no offer from government. The government team gave us a progress update and indicated that they are carrying out consultations but the approval would come from Cabinet,” said Chikowore.

“…there was no time frame as to when the consultations would finish, but we impressed upon them that people have been waiting for June and it’s important that they come back to us as soon as possible so that there is industrial harmony.”

PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said the government had shown that it was not serious about the plight of its workers.

“The government showed it is very arrogant and uncaring,” said Zhou.

“Contrary to what (President) Mugabe had said, that the civil servants’ salaries would be increased in June, it would seem that the government is miles away from meeting that commitment. Firstly, on the salary increment, the government made it clear that there was nothing on offer for civil servants. They failed to even give us a time frame for meeting the commitment. The same applies to non-monetary benefits, such as medical aid, housing and car loans – there was nothing on offer.”

Zhou said it seemed the government wanted to push its workers to a strike, adding that his union was considering the option.

President Mugabe met public service union leaders in April this year and promised to review their salaries in June. The President said the least paid worker would get at least double the $128 they are currently earning.

(Source)

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