Elections


Zimbabwe’s former Ambassador to China and top Zanu (PF) member, Chris Mutsvangwa, has acknowledged that challenging party President and First Secretary, Robert Mugabe, for his position is “perilous”.

In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean, Mutsvangwa, considered a hardline strategist, said no-one would openly challenge Mugabe without his approval.

“Anyone who challenges Mugabe for the top job does so at his own peril. Any party official who wants to succeed him will only do so with his (Mugabe’s) blessings,” stressed Mutsvangwa.

His remarks come ahead of the party’s annual conference on Tuesday, and at a time when all 10 provinces have endorsed the 89-year old leader as their candidate in next year’s presidential poll.

Observers say the “unanimous” endorsement, which in the past has been marked by muffled rebellion by some provinces, reflected recognition among those eyeing Mugabe’s post that it would be futile to challenge him.

Mutsvangwa was the Zanu (PF) candidate for the Norton House of Assembly seat in the March 2008 general elections, but lost to the MDC-T. He was recalled from China several years ago under unclear circumstances, but remains influential in the party where he is part of the think tank and has become enormously wealthy.

While his remarks make it clear that there will be no leadership renewal ahead of the conference, tension within the party was highlighted by its secretary for information, Rugare Gumbo, who said the party would die if it continued to frustrate the Young Turks.

“Obviously, the party needs re-generation, otherwise we run the danger of becoming extinct. We don’t want the party to die by keeping out young blood; the so-called Young Turks will guarantee our survival,” Gumbo told The Zimbabwean.

“We are actively encouraging the young crop to contest in primary elections and to be brave enough to challenge their older colleagues where they feel they have a chance of winning. Many have taken up the message,” added Gumbo, who was beaten by a Young Turk, Makhosini Hlongwane for the Mberengwa East seat in 2008.

He said Zanu (PF) needed “new thinking, new ideologies and new means of carrying the party forward”.

But he was careful to defend Mugabe’s stay in power, saying his recent endorsement showed that he was the most popular leader in Zanu (PF), and called for careful blending of old and new blood.

“Even if, as a senior member of the party I might want Mugabe to go, who am I to go against the will of the people? Let the people decide,” he said.

Mugabe is considered a shrewd strategist who has, over the decades, managed to pit party heavies against each other, taking advantage of the dirty history and ill-gotten wealth of his lieutenants. They are said to be wary of challenging him openly because he can expose them and cause their arrest.

Even though there was evidence of revolt, the provinces finally endorsed him as their leader yet again in 2004 and 2007. Meanwhile the Young Turks are increasing their pressure to push out the veterans in order to gain a better position on the gravy train.

Mugabe seems set to follow the trend whereby Zanu (PF) leaders die in office. High profile lieutenants and former Vice Presidents, Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika, all remained office holders until their death, despite being ill for long periods. Vice President Nkomo is critically ill in South Africa.

Mugabe has led the party since the mid-1970s when he toppled Ndabaningi Sithole in a palace coup. At the time the then Zanu, together with Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu, was fighting the Rhodesian Front government of Ian Smith that had unilaterally declared independence from Britain in 1965.

Mugabe’s strongest contender in next year’s poll, which he insists should be in March despite strong local, regional and international opposition, will be MDC-T’s Morgan Tsvangirai, who for the first time since independence in 1980 beat him in 2008 but pulled out of a run-off in protest at widespread violence and victimisation of his supporters.

Past opponents

In the past, Masvingo, Midlands, Mashonaland East and Harare provinces stood out as the dark sheep in the Zanu (PF) pen when they showed signs of opposition against Mugabe’s continued stay at the helm.

Numerous Zanu (PF) heavies, who have openly challenged Mugabe’s rule, have fallen by the wayside, either being expelled from the party or relegated to insignificant positions.

Dzikamai Mavhaire, who has now bounced back as a senior member in Masvingo, is a classic example. He spent long years in the political wilderness when, in the 1990s, he openly called on Mugabe to go.

He was reportedly fronting for the late outspoken politburo member and Lancaster House negotiator, Eddison Zvobgo, who at that time was also eyeing the party’s presidency.

On the eve of 2008 general elections, other senior members, particularly Dumiso Dabengwa and Simba Makoni, who had failed in their backroom attempts to have Mugabe step down, pulled out, later forming a loose coalition of independent candidates, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn.

Makoni, who for years was touted as an heir apparent, was reportedly convinced to pull out of the party by the late General Solomon Mujuru, who then led one of the prominent factions in the party.

Mujuru is said to have promised that he and his supporters would join Makoni – but apparently developed cold feet at the last moment, and then died in a mysterious fire.

New blood

A number of new young leaders are reportedly making frantic efforts to stamp their presence in the constituencies they are eyeing. These include former advisor to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Munyaradzi Kereke, and ZiFM head and journalist, Supa Mandiwanzira.

Among the Young Turks who have already had a taste of power are Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwawo, Mhondoro-Ngezi MP Bright Matonga, Youth and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Tourism Minister Walter Muzembi and former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.

The likes of Eddison Zvobgo Jnr, former journalist Kindness Paradza, former Zifa CEO Henrietta Rushwaya and past Masvingo Provincial Chairperson Daniel Shumba, are also reported to have thrown their hats into the ring.

They will be competing against the old guard that seems reluctant to let power go because of the massive wealth they acquired through their positions in the party.

(Source)

ZANU-PF and MDC-T are crafting economic blueprints that place emphasis on job creation, but differ on how the jobs will be created. While the indigenisation programme will buttress Zanu-PF’s blueprint, MDC-T’s would be supported by foreign investment.

The two parties are coming up with the economic blueprints ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.

Vice President and Zanu-PF’s Second Secretary Cde Joice Mujuru yesterday said the economic blueprint would be premised on sustainable job creation buttressed by the indigenisation programme.

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said theirs, to be launched next Thursday, advocates job creation backed by foreign investment.

Cde Mujuru said Zanu-PF did not believe European nations – reeling from a debt crisis – had the capacity to lead Zimbabwe’s economic growth.

She said this in a speech read on her behalf by the party’s Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo at a one-day workshop organised by Zanu-PF’s economic cluster committee to craft a blueprint that would direct the country’s economic future.

“We support the creation of an economic environment in which we develop and create our own jobs in a sustainable manner,” said Cde Mujuru.

“Transferring our natural resources and value of existing companies into the hands of indigenous Zimbabweans and providing the necessary strategic support in terms of financing and skills development will facilitate an exponential growth of our economy.

“As Zanu-PF, we will not allow the development of a culture of economic dependency on other nations and we do not believe that countries that have failed to create jobs for their own citizens should be at the forefront of our economic growth processes.

“Thus, sustainable job creation, particularly for the country’s youths, should be one of the key tenets of the blueprint.”

Cde Mujuru said it was important that Zanu-PF goes to next year’s election with an economic blueprint in light of the lack of policy unanimity among parties in the inclusive Government.

She hailed the party’s ministers in the inclusive Government.

“We are pleased to note the progress of economic ministries under the leadership of Zanu-PF ministers,” said Cde Mujuru.

“The mining sector has made a significant contribution to the development of the economy, particularly with the discovery, exploration and mining of diamonds whose revenue has boosted the national fiscus.

“We hail the successful hosting of the Diamond Conference that provided the world with an insight of diamond mining in Zimbabwe in an honest and transparent manner.”

Cde Mujuru said Zanu-PF would continue promoting the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, especially in rural areas to ensure the populace participated in the economy.

She said Community Share Ownership Schemes had gone a long way in bringing tangible development to the people.

“We take note and salute the progress the party has made and the gains scored by the people of Zimbabwe through the implementation of indigenisation and economic empowerment policies and programmes, particularly in the mining sector,” said Cde Mujuru.

Some of the projects undertaken by Community Share Ownership Trusts, she said, included the construction of Musasa and Banga Primary Schools and Chirume Dam in Zvishavane and the rehabilitation of roads in Gwanda.

Chairman of the economic cluster committee Cde Obert Mpofu said the Zanu-PF’s economic blueprint would form the basis of its election manifesto.

“This workshop will focus mainly on producing an economic blueprint by setting core objectives of the national economic blueprint, reviewing, critically analysing and thoroughly debating sector strategies and policies to employ in turning around the economic fortunes of our country in a manner that is consistent with Zanu-PF’s ideology,” he said.

“We hope to come up with a proposed Zanu-PF Economic Policy Blueprint which will be presented at the 13th National People’s Conference for adoption.”

“This is intended to form the basis of crafting a robust economically-driven 2013 election manifesto.”

The conference would be held in Gweru from December 4 to 9.

MDC-T’s economic blueprint would be titled: “Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and Environment”.

Mr Mwonzora said the the creation of jobs would be backed by foreign direct investment.

“It is our economic and social vision for Zimbabwe. Juice is not achievable at the moment, but in the event that we take over the leadership of the country,” he said.

The blueprint is a counter to Zanu-PF’s Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment programme under which foreign owned companies operating in Zimbabwe are obliged to cede at least 51 percent shareholding to indigenous people.

MDC-T is on record condemning the economic empowerment policy.

(Source)

President Robert Mugabe is using constant election talk as a ruse to prevent Zanu PF from discussing his succession, with the unintended consequence of the ploy being the scaring away of investors and sluggish economic growth, MDC leader Welshman Ncube said.

In a wide-ranging interview in which he spoke about his relationship with Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, their continued support for Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, the stalled constitution-making process and his prospects in the next  elections, Ncube said he did not anticipate polls in March as repeatedly claimed by Mugabe.

Ncube suggested Mugabe may not be serious about early polls given that he has been calling for elections “tomorrow” since 2010.

“Mugabe has said to us there will be an election every year for the last two years,” said Ncube.

“There should have been an election before the end of last year. There was supposed to be an election before the end of this year; now there is supposed to be an election no later than March next year… Look, there is a method to that madness and the method is simply to say if I’m having an election around the corner there is no issue about who is the Zanu PF candidate.”

Ncube said Mugabe’s antics had kept the country’s economy stagnant for the past three years as investors adopt a wait-and-see attitude.

“It is a damaging and selfish strategy to make sure the economy does not grow so that others do not get the credit. So you can go into an election and say all these others have also been in government with me but they also failed.”

Given outstanding processes needing completion before polls, Ncube said it is likely elections would be held around June 2012. He confirmed he would contest the presidential poll, but would not forge alliances with the MDC-T out of which his formation split in 2005 because the MDC-T reneged on an electoral pact on the eve of the 2008 harmonised elections.

Although he did not share the same values, policies and ideology with Tsvangirai, Ncube said he had a good working relationship with him in government. He had also managed to find “comfort zones” to work together with Mugabe on government business despite having a “disrespectful disagreement” over the way Mugabe had handled the principals’ issue.

Ncube insisted Mugabe and Tsvangirai were interfering in the internal affairs of his party by disregarding a High Court ruling and the Sadc Maputo resolution which declared Mutambara was not a principal.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s argument that the matter was still in court after Mutambara’s appeal to the Supreme Court does not  hold water because the High Court judgment stands until the Supreme Court rules otherwise, said Ncube.

“If they didn’t want to interfere in the internal affairs of MDC, they would accept our communication from the party that says the MDC had its congress and it elected so and so as its president…” he said.

“Read (Justice) Kamocha’s judgment;  it’s clear that the legal position is that the congress is valid unless there is a court of law which has overturned it. So what Mugabe and Tsvangirai have done is to say the congress is invalid unless and until the matter is finalised in the Supreme Court.”

Ncube also said Tsvangirai was shooting himself in the foot by siding with Mugabe, who want a dysfunctional government so he could implement very little of the Global Political Agreement.

(Source)

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has rejected President Robert Mugabe’s plan for national elections in March next year insisting the Zanu PF leader has to agree with his ruling partners first before proclaiming a date for the polls.

Mr. Tsvangirai said President Mugabe cannot unilaterally determine the timing of new polls. He was addressing a New Zimbabwe lecture series in Harare Thursday night.

“There is no March date for an election, of course our colleagues in Zanu PF wanted an election in 2011 even earlier on in 2010 but because they know that they cannot force their way of declaring an election without the agreement of the other parties they know what the GPA says,” he said.

He said: “Mugabe has no sole power to declare an election. That is a constitutional position. The president agrees with me that there is no need for ambush. Why should we ambush each other?

“We have worked together for the past four years. Why should we come up with such an ambush as if one person has the monopoly to declare date?”

The prime minister also took aim at Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa saying an unconstitutional change of government in Harare would not be tolerated by the African Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Zimbabweans.

Chinamasa and Zanu PF parliamentary chief whip Joram Gumbo recently said the military would not accept a Tsvangirai-led government if he won the country’s next presidential poll.

Mr. Tsvangirai this week called a meeting of his party’s top officials where a decision was made to take the matter up with the AU and SADC, guarantors of the Global Political Agreement that led to the formation of the unity government.

“I have news for Chinamasa that there are soldiers with our file and rank who will not join the Chinamasa coup … SADC and the African Union will not allow an unconstitutional government. The next elections should have an uncontested outcome,” he said.

Mr. Tsvangirai also said he was confident that a smooth transition would be possible in the event he won the new elections.

(Source)

Zimbabweans have in the last four years seen enough of what a dysfunctional government constitutes, President Robert Mugabe has said, urging the electorate to “vote wisely” in the elections scheduled for March next year.

The state-owned Herald online reported on Friday that the 88-year-old veteran leader told scores of people in Hwange to “ensure the country does not form another inclusive government”.

Mugabe said the coalition government he formed in 2008 with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is also leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, had failed to deliver.

He said discord and bickering in the government of national unity (GNU) had reached a level where it was now difficult to implement development programmes.

“We have seen Bulawayo’s [the country’s second largest city] economy going down. We have seen the agriculture sector go unsponsored… If you go to Finance Minister Tendai Biti, he always says there is no money, there is no money. If there is no money what are you doing to get it? You cannot think of other ways of getting it or even borrowing,” Mugabe said.

“Some people come to you and say Zanu-PF is not good. We want development and progress, but some people just want pleasure,” he said.

Freedom fighters

Mugabe said those who wanted to change the situation in the country were interested in other issues like “changing women” – seemingly making reference to Tsvangirai whose reputation has in the last days been tarnished by his alleged love affairs.

“We are going for elections and you have seen what our country should never do again.

“Please do not get us into that trouble again. That is not our way of doing things. Freedom fighters are people who want to move ahead.

“That is why you see me at this age still fighting and I will continue fighting because I cannot let down those heroes who are gone. I have a responsibility for you.”

He said land reform, indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes were at the heart of rebuilding the economy and improving the livelihood of ordinary people.

(Source)

Apparently rattled by Zanu PF’s recent coup utterances, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has moved to deal with the threats to free and fair polls and a smooth transition of power.

He called for a meeting of the MDC-T top brass on Wednesday where a decision was made to take the matter up with the regional and continental guarantors of the Global Political Agreement.

Justice minister and Zanu PF chief negotiator Patrick Chinamasa and Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo recently reportedly joined a growing list of Zanu PF and army leaders who have threatened a coup were Tsvangirai to win the forthcoming elections.

Tsvangirai also told an audience at a New Zimbabwe lecture series meeting last night that Chinamasa and Gumbo’s utterances stood as proof that Zanu PF had conceded electoral defeat and warned he would only participate in a free and fair election whose result would be respected.

“I have news for Chinamasa that there are soldiers within our file and ranks who will not join the Chinamasa coup,” Tsvangirai said.

“Zimbabwe, Sadc and the African Union (AU) will not allow an unconstitutional government. The next elections should have an uncontested outcome.”

Tsvangirai said Chinamasa and Gumbo were not elected officials, but were in office at President Robert Mugabe’s benevolence.

He said the two were simply singing for their supper which they should take “before sunset”.

He said they would be answerable for their utterances after the elections which he was sure of winning.

On Wednesday, Tsvangirai met his party’s standing committee and they resolved to take up Chinamasa’s coup threats with Sadc and the AU.
Mugabe has said he wants elections held next March, but last night Tsvangirai said no date had been set as yet.

He said the two of them needed to agree first after media, security sector and other electoral reforms.

Earlier in the day, MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the standing committee meeting on Wednesday.

“The standing committee discussed routine things, including preparations for elections and as well as utterances by Chinamasa and Zanu PF people that our victory will be disturbed by the army.

We know Zanu PF is timid and frightened so it wants to threaten people into fear. We will take this issue with Sadc and other international bodies,” said Mwonzora.

“Sadc must ensure that there are free and fair elections whose results will be respected. The MDC wants to make sure that the will of the people of Zimbabwe is respected and that results of the elections are given effect to.”

Gumbo said he predicted a chaotic situation if Tsvangirai won as the army would not stomach that.

“I can say it will be a mess, that is what I can tell you. It will be messy. We will be asking for too much from our guys (the military) to accept these people who we all know fought against them and were responsible for the deaths of many comrades,” he was quoted as saying.

Chinamasa reportedly told the British media the army would not allow Tsvangirai to rule if he wins the next elections.

“…We will not accept it. We will just not accept it. Isn’t that clear?” Tsvangirai is reported to have confronted President Robert Mugabe over that and the two are said to have agreed Chinamasa’s utterances were in bad political taste.

(Source)

The signing into law of the Electoral Act signals the disbandmentof machinery which political parties and civil society groups claim had formed the backbone of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF vote-rigging.

But with shock-troopers who reportedly include soldiers, the militia and war veterans still at Mugabe’s disposal, many fear the electoral law changes are only one step towards fully dismantling the tightly-knit machinery to enablecredible polls.

Notwithstanding that the new law deals with many contentious issues such as the role of Registrar General (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede, who is now under the control of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), violence on the ground remains a threat, stakeholders said.

But many things have also changed for the better, at least on paper.

While the voters’ roll has been a closely guarded document, kept under the hawkish control of Mudede, the new Act entitles election candidates to anelectronic constituency voters’ roll, while the national voters’ roll will be available to all in electronic formula at a reasonable price.

“Our objective is to ensure that elections are free and fair,” said Zeccommissioner and prominent law lecturer and researcher Geoff Feltoe.

“All the provisions are aimed at proper administration of the electoral process to make sure it runs smoothly, is transparent and works on the ground,” he said.

The Electoral Act, which Mugabe recently assented, brings a new complexion to the election playground, previously blighted by violence, late release of election results and electoral thuggery, stakeholders said.

Feltoe said the new law is an attempt to allay fears of electoral fraud.

“We are trying to improve the electoral process and we have in the Act a law that will ensure that we have free and fair elections. This law will make sure that the electoral process runs smooth,” said Feltoe.

Section 18 (2) of the Electoral Act provides that the RG is subject to the direction and control of Zec in registering voters. The Act also snatches the voters’ roll from Mudede’s armpit.

While it took a record 36 days to announce results of the March 2008Presidential elections amid accusations by the MDC that Zec, then led by High Court Judge President George Chiweshe was cooking up numbers, the new Act tries to plug this.

Reads section 29 (h) of the Act: “… a declaration by the chief elections officer shall be made not later than (i) five days after the polling day or last polling day, as the case may be, in the presidential election or runoff presidential election concerned.”

Section 21 (Cap.2:13) of the Act gives the electorate greater access to the voters’ roll.

Recently, a freelance journalist was arrested at the instigation of Mudede as he sought to inspect the voters’ roll.

The issue of ghost voters also seems addressed in the new Act.

While in the past, powers to remove deceased persons from the secretivevoters’ roll rested in Mudede, the Electoral Act introduces a new provision that would allow the constituency registrar to remove dead and disqualified voters from the roll on the basis of a sworn statement by a mother, father, sister, son, daughter or other direct descendent of the dead voter.

Letitia Kazembe, the Zec acting chairperson, said the law brought significant changes to the electoral environment.

“This Act will certainly have an impact on Zec operations because it changes the manner in which some of the processes are conducted,” she said.

“There are new provisions to deal with political violence and intimidation that involves other players like the courts,” said Kazembe.

Under the Electoral Act, candidates found guilty of perpetrating or promoting violence will be forced to drop out of the race.

“A court which convicts a person of an offence involving politically-motivated violence or intimidation committed during an election period, may, in addition to any other penalty it imposes on the convicted person, prohibit him or her from campaigning or taking any further part in the election,” reads a section of the Act.

Obert Gutu, an MDC senator and the deputy minister of Justice and Legal Affairs said the new law will make it difficult for electoral thieves to cook-up results.

“The new Act guarantees that polling will be ward-based as opposed to polling station-based,” Gutu said.

“This is very important, particularly in rural areas, where Zanu PF’s penchant for forcing villagers to vote for it is well-documented. It will be very difficult for village heads and other Zanu PF mandarins to literally force their subjects who to vote for and where,” said Gutu.

The MDC led by Welshman Ncube said the Act would make it difficult to rig polls but emphasised the need for a new constitution and the repealing of other repressive laws such the Public Order and Security Act (Posa).

“There are important clauses in the Act such as the demand for equal access to media and the introduction of polling station-based voting and this will certainly reduce the possibility of election rigging,” Qhubani Moyo, the party’s policy director said.

In previous elections, members of the police and army were forced to vote separately from the rest of the population and were supervised by their superiors, in a voting process which stakeholders condemned.

Each soldier or police officer was allegedly forced to vote for Mugabe under the supervision of commanders.

But under the Electoral Act, voting by police and defence forces away from their constituencies because of duty will happen in advance of the election at special polling stations established for that purpose under the control of Zec.

Feltoe, who is also a law professor at the University of Zimbabwe, said political parties can now monitor voting by members of the uniformed forces who will vote 16 days prior to the actual voting date.

The 16 days limit will allow Zec to ensure that ballots will be posted to constituencies.

Innocent Gonese, the MDC chief whip in Parliament, said the new law removed the spectre of secret voting by soldiers and the police.

“This Act will give more transparency in the collating of ballots and will also ensure that soldiers and police officers who used to vote secretly are now monitored by all political parties,” said Gonese.

However, parties say the Electoral Act is only the beginning towards implementing an election road map that would ensure truly credible elections.

“The Act alone does not guarantee that the election will be free and fair,” Gutu said.

“There is a cocktail of other measures that have to be put in place. Pieces of legislation such as Posa and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) should not be abused and misused by the police in order to ban or curtail the activities of political parties other than Zanu PF,” Gutu said.

Without giving references, Feltoe said there was need to realign some laws with the new Act to ensure transparency. Zanu PF legislator and lawyer Paul Mangwana said the Act would “certainly” improve the electoral playing field but rejected assertions that Zanu PF used to rig elections.

“The new act improves the electoral system in so many ways such as the establishment of polling station-based voting,” he said.

Asked on whether Zanu PF used to rig previous elections, Mangwana said vote stealing “has always been next to impossible” in Zimbabwe because of the use of serial numbers.

“I have participated in the electoral process since 2000 and it is not possible to rig elections,” Mangwana said.

“Every ballot can be traced to a voter because they have serial numbers. No party is able to rig elections in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mangwana, who is also a co-chairperson of the Constitution Select Committee (Copac) which is drafting a new constitution, claimed he was unaware that soldiers used to vote under supervision of commanders in previous polls.

(Source)

President Robert Mugabe was prepared to accept defeat after losing the 2008 Presidential elections and to hand over power, possibly to party stalwart Emmerson Mnangagwa, a leaked diplomatic cable released recently has claimed.

The latest cable released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks on August 30, 2011 on conversations between Mugabe and veteran Zambian politician Vernon Mwaanga, quoted former United States ambassador to Zambia Carmen M Martinez as having been told that the President was also “completely shocked” at not having won the first round of the Presidential race.

After Mwaanga met Mugabe in Harare, he then briefed Martinez in Lusaka on what had transpired giving possible scenarios of what could happen if Zanu PF lost the election.

However, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba yesterday told NewsDay that it was not his business to comment on what outsiders leaked or said about Mugabe.

“Is it really my business to answer questions and worry about what the world says about President Mugabe?” Charamba queried.

“I do not want to comment on things that do not involve Zimbabweans because that is not an opinion of a Zimbabwean, but of a Zambian.”

According to the cable, Mwaanga met Mugabe on April 14, 2008 at the behest of the outgoing African Union chairperson Jean Ping. During that meeting, Mugabe allegedly told Mwaanga he would step down within one year, and hand over the party leadership before calling for a new Presidential race.

“Mugabe told Mwaanga that he intends to accept defeat if he loses the run off election. In the event of his victory, Mugabe claims that he will step down within one year, handing over the party leadership and calling for a new Presidential race,” read the cable.

Mwaanga’s friendship with Mugabe is said to have dated back to the 1970s when he served as the Zambian Foreign minister and supported Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

“Mwaanga described Mugabe as ‘completely shocked’ at not having won the Presidential election. Mwaanga said Mugabe would not accept a government of national unity as this would entail departing from the constitutionally defined electoral process.

“Allegedly, Mugabe told Mwaanga that he will accept the election results if he loses the runoff. In the event that he wins the runoff, Mugabe explained his intention to remain in office for less than a year.

“According to Mwaanga, Mugabe means to turn over the Zanu PF party leadership, perhaps to Emmerson Mnangagwa, and prepare the way for a Zanu PF victory in an ensuing Presidential race,” the cable said.

Mnangagwa, who is currently Defence minister, allegedly leads a powerful Zanu PF faction, with Vice-President Joice Mujuru leading the other.

Mwaanga is also said to have leaked that he had spoken to MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai, secretary-general Tendai Biti and other senior MDC-T leaders who were divided internally as to whether to participate in the 2008 Presidential runoff election or not.

“Mwaanga said the MDC representatives were prepared to come to terms with Mnangagwa and that their contention was only with President Mugabe and not with the Zanu PF party,” said the cable.

(Source)

President Robert Mugabe is headed for an inevitable fall in the next elections, says Enos Nkala, a founder of Zanu PF who claims to be one of the 88-year-old’s best friends.

A “dead” Zanu PF will not stand a chance against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s “well-oiled political machine”, Nkala said in an interview with the Daily News at his Bulawayo residence this week.

He also predicted that coalition government Industry minister Welshman Ncube’s breakaway MDC party would gain more votes than it did in the 2008 election.

“In my own observation, Tsvangirai’s party can win the next election with its well-oiled machine but because of the party’s failure to show its political mettle in the GNU, the other MDC formation can spring surprises,” Nkala said.

The former finance and defence minister dismissed Zanu PF as a lifeless party which can no longer win back the support it has lost over the years.

“Zanu PF is now a dead party. Tsvangirai’s party will win the election but people of Zimbabwe will have to choose a leader with good leadership qualities though Tsvangirai lacks this.

“I can foresee the MDC getting the presidency,” said Nkala, who held a private meeting with Mugabe in May.
He described Mugabe as a close friend after the meeting.

Nkala and Mugabe formed Zanu PF in 1963 at his home in Harare’s Highfield suburb and went on to become a powerful minister after independence before resigning to escape answering charges of corruption.

“By the time we go for elections, Zanu PF will be a completely dead party even though it was formed in my house. Factionalism has affected the veins of the party,” said Nkala, a fiery character during his hey days.

He said factionalism would split votes in favour of Mugabe’s opponents, adding that all Tsvangirai needed to do now was work on his character flaws and mechanisms to ensure a smooth transfer of power.

“If Tsvangirai wins, I do not know him much to judge how he is going to run the country. That is another issue but we must have fair and peaceful elections and transfer of power because Zanu PF is now a dead party,” he said.

Tsvangirai and his party could however, fail to take over power even if they win elections as some military generals have threatened never to allow him near the presidential office.

“While our army was born and built from two liberation armies, Zipra and Zanla, they must obey the people’s wishes and accept the leader chosen should we have elections soon,” said Nkala.

Nkala said he doubted that a strong party would emerge from Matabeleland region to lead the country. He credited the region for good leadership but “the ball is taken away from them whilst they are still playing by those from the north because they claim to be the majority”.

“There is Zapu led by Dumiso Dabengwa but I am not clear if they are spread well on the ground and there are these small pieces of political parties that also have the right to be there,” he said.

(Source)

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has submitted a US$220 million budget to Treasury for both the referendum and general elections expected early next year.

ZEC deputy chairperson Mrs Joyce Kazembe said in an interview on the sidelines of a voter education workshop yesterday the body did not have any money and would wait for the allocation to start its programmes.

The submission comes as the election body says it is lobbying for autonomy from its parent ministry. Mrs Kazembe said US$104 million would cover the referendum while US$115 million would fund the general elections.

“We came up with a budget we submitted to Treasury and as long as we get the money we are ready to roll,” she said.

“We have already trained our officers.

“The referendum budget was submitted through the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs because they administer the Referendums Act, while the general elections budget was submitted to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs.”

The budget will cover voter education, voters’ roll inspection, special voting, postal ballot and the actual polling.

Zanu-PF spokesperson, Cde Rugare Gumbo, said the money for the referendum and elections should be made available once the polls are due.

“Money for elections will obviously be made available,” he said. “We have always said that Treasury should expeditiously release the funds.”

Cde Gumbo said that the delay in releasing the money would not affect the election timeframe.

MDC-T national deputy chairperson Mr Morgan Komichi, who attended the voter education workshop, said an election roadmap was more important.

“Elections cannot be held when there is no money,” he said. “What is important at the moment is to put in place necessary measures for credible elections.”

MDC vice president Mr Edwin Mushoriwa said elections should not be held next year.

“We don’t believe elections will be held next year because we need a proper roadmap for credible elections,” he said.

Mrs Kazembe said they were lobbying for ZEC to have full independence like the Judicial Service Commission.

“We want to move away from using the Executive as a conduit,” she said.

“The intention or desire is, just like the Judicial Service Commission, that we get our budget vote direct from Parliament.”

Mrs Kazembe said ZEC remained independent when discharging its constitutional duties.

“When we implement electoral processes, we don’t take orders from any political party or individual or any authority,” she said.

“We don’t report to the Ministry of Justice when administering the ZEC Act.”

ZEC, said Mrs Kazembe, was in consultation with the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs on the provisions of the Referendums Act.

She said what needed to be determined was whether or not people should be allowed to vote wherever they are during the referendum or they should vote in their constituencies.

“One problem that arises with allowing people to vote from wherever they are is that, if five million people flock to Binga, for example, on the polling day we might not have sufficient ballot papers for that area,” said Mrs Kazembe.

(Source)

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