Elections


The mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) has warned President Robert Mugabe will be embarrassed in the forthcoming elections unless if he decides not to participate.

peaking to Radio VOP on Sunday, Masvingo Provincial spokesperson for MDC-T Harrison Mudzuri who is also Zaka Central legislator said new Zambian President Michael Sata’s victory last week is a strong message to ageing dictators of Africa that the will of the people will never be ignored forever.

“We are ready to embarrass Mugabe and his Zanu-PF, this time the people will speak in one voice. The fact that our neighbours have done it is enough motivation to our supporters and also a strong message to dictators that time for democracy has come.

“The only thing that Mugabe can do today is to resign before elections to avoid humiliation,” said Mudzuri.

Mudzuri added the party has already started some rallies across the province enlightening their supporters about regional political developments.

“We have entered into a campaigning gear. Yesterday we were in Zaka West constituency preaching the same message and we are prepared to move from one constituency to another until the next election day. If Mugabe is wise, he must be seen preparing for his life after defeat,” he added.

Masvingo provincial chairman for MDC-T Wistuff Sitemere said his party is trying to lure members from the smaller MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube in order to speak with one voice in the much anticipated watershed elections scheduled for early next year.

“We shall do whatever it takes to shame Mugabe and his party come next election,” said Sitemere.

(Source)

Tourism minister Walter Mzembi believes neither Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa nor Vice President Joice Mujuru can win an election against the MDC if they replace President Robert Mugabe.

In a US diplomatic cable leaked by whistle-blower WikiLeaks, Mzembi met with the US embassy in March 2009 and said: “Neither Mnangagwa nor Mujuru can win an election against the MDC.  If Zanu PF is to win the next election, it will need to divorce itself from the past and develop new, younger leadership.”

He also added that Mugabe is aware of the divisions within the party and is afraid the party will fall apart in his absence.

“Mugabe will not step down at the Zanu PF conference in December,” Mzembi said.

“He will not support either Emmerson Mnangagwa or Joice Mujuru to succeed him but is fostering a stalemate between the two with the hope that a younger successor will emerge.”

Mnangagwa lost the parliamentary elections in 2000 but Mugabe gave him the powerful position of Speaker of Parliament. He lost again in 2005 and was appointed the minister of Rural Housing meaning he was a Mugabe favourite.

According to the leaked cable, Mzembi is considered a “young Turk” within the party.

“He is close to Mugabe, but at the same time is one of the few Zanu PF officials who was confident enough to speak openly with the embassy without fear of repercussions from hardliners,” reads part of the cable.

Zanu PF is plagued by a succession battle involving two main camps; one led by the now late General Solomon Mujuru and the other by Mnangagwa, the minister of defence.

Analysts said Mujuru’s death, in a mysterious fire at his farm in Beatrice last month, could be related to the Zanu PF succession issue, which is being debated outside the formal structures of the party.

Mujuru was reported to have wished to propel his wife to the top position in Zanu PF in the event that Mugabe decides to pass the baton but she had other contenders to beat.

Mzembi’s observations in the leaked cable are that: “If Zanu-PF is to win the next election, it will need to divorce itself from the past and develop new, younger leadership.  It is unlikely elections will take place in the next two years; Zanu-PF needs time to regroup and settle the succession issue.”

In the same cable, Mzembi also raised concern on the continuing farm invasions which he said were unfortunate and unhelpful to tourism.

He said the Ministers of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone should take the lead in forestalling invasions and arresting those who participate.

Mzembi also made remarks on Zanu PF officials, who are fixated on the lifting of sanctions: “They need to understand, however, that the lifting of sanctions will be a more complicated process than was their imposition and should focus on other issues,” he said.

(Source)

Top ZANU PF officials in Manicaland are reported to have warned President Robert Mugabe against holding elections this year as the chances of winning were very slim.

Sources within the ZANU PF provincial executive said the bigwigs openly told Mugabe that people at the grassroots were reluctant to vote for the party whose political fortunes are dwindling.

The party says it will release its primary election guidelines next week. Speaking at the Cotco Makoni District Farming Awards held at Nzvimbe in Makoni South recently ZANU PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo said “The release of the primary elections regulations is demonstrative of our intentions and preparedness to go to polls this year.”

The negotiating teams in the GPA have agreed on a timeline that postpones the poll to 2012.

Khaya Moyo insisted ZANU PF still wanted to hold elections this year. But sources said:

“When the President (Mugabe) in a previous politburo meeting announced that elections will be held this year, some top politburo members updated him (Mugabe) about the true situation on the ground. He was openly told that ZANU PF had lost the grip in Manicaland.”

The source said the politburo members told Mugabe that the 2008 elections should act as a barometer to measure his chances of winning an election in Manicaland.

But Khaya-Moyo was singing a different tune.

“Some of our officials were moving around intimidating people and lying to them in the name of the President. They were imposing people claiming that they had the blessings of the President. This time we will not allow that. This affected us in the last polls where we lost the majority of our seats to MDC.

“Let me warn these sellouts within the party to stop behaving like naughty school children. Let me be very clear to everyone that if somebody wants to represent the party, he/she must first meet the guidelines and then make sure that he/she is coming from the people and not from individual politicians,” he said.

A politburo member speaking from Harare who cannot be named for fear of victimisation said: “It will be suicidal for the party and the ZANU PF legislative and senatorial candidates.”

(Source)

An unknown Harare man has declared himself a presidential candidate in Zimbabwe’s next election.

Ignatius Masamba placed an advertisement in the state-owned Herald newspaper asking Zimbabweans to vote for him whenever the country’s next elections are held.

“Hello Zimbabweans. When you vote for President, do you vote for the name of the person or the name of the party?” asked Masamba in the newspaper advertisement accompanied by his picture.

“Do the correct thing. Be a step ahead voter: the wise one. Look for the qualification of the candidate. Because doctors understand diseases. Accountants understand the economy, the facts/figures and strategy. I am an accountant: our standards are integrity, transparency, expertise and avoiding the unethical. I declare that I shall be an independent Presidential Candidate in the next election, other factors remaining equal.”

The date of the country’s next elections remains unknown. A Southern African Development Community (SADC) facilitated roadmap towards elections is the determining factor as to when elections will be held. However the country’s political parties are still to agree on the necessary timelines and benchmarks for an election.

The regional SADC body directed the country’s political parties to agree to a new constitution, implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and create a conducive environment before elections can be held.

Masamba is the latest in a growing list of figures now considered as political fodder.

The publication of the advertisement comes as a surprise given that the newspaper refuses to carry  advertisements from anyone regarded as President Robert Mugabe’s opponent.

For instance in 2009 the Herald Newspaper refused to to publish a communiqué drafted by civil society organisations announcing the establishment of a Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism (CSMM) on the implementation of the Interparty Political Agreement (IPA) between Zanu (PF) and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The advertising executive informed the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) that the Editor was not in office and would inform ZLHR once he has made his decision to publish the advertisment. However, when the executive called later, he informed the ZLHR that the editor wanted two paragraphs removed from the communiqué for it to be carried in The Herald.

The ZLHR then refused to advertise the amended communiqué as it omitted some vital information.

Again in 2009, the same newspaper shunned a 12-page MDC supplement.

The supplement was a congratulatory advertisment on the appointment of MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

In 2008 an unknown Victoria Falls school teacher and businessman, Langton Towungana, the youngest ever electoral candidate in the history of the country, declared himself an independent presidential candidate. He tipped himself to win the elections and said he was prepared to work with anyone after winning as long as they are not criminals.

Towungana however got 0.6 percent of the vote at the end.

African National Party’s (ANP) Egypt Dzinemunhenzva is also among the politicians who emerge towards election time. He has perennially been contesting elections from his Murewha base where he runs his one man party.

(Source)

Global Political Agreement negotiators yesterday signed election roadmap timelines mandating all parties to vigorously call for the removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West, among others issues.

The negotiators last night confirmed signing the agreed timelines.

Minutes obtained by The Herald show that the parties agreed to immediately lobby for the removal of the illegal sanctions and for the re-engagement Committee to be re-activated.

“Sadc to implement its numerous resolutions on Zimbabwean sanctions, in particular the resolution from the Sadc Summit held in Windhoek in August 2010,” reads part of the minutes.

SADC will determine the timeframe.

The parties established a committee to pursue re-engagement with the West when the inclusive Government was formed in February 2009.

The committee is made up of the negotiators, but has failed to achieve positive results due to the reluctance by the West to remove the sanctions.

ZANU PF negotiator and Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed that they had signed the election roadmap timelines.

“We have signed the document and tomorrow (today) we will be submitting it to the three principals and the facilitator,” he said.”We signed the document on the agreed timeframes and we also came up with other copies that will be presented to the principals and the facilitator.

“The timelines that were set are for the issues that we are in agreement,” she said.

MDC-T representative Mr Elton Mangoma said: “We have signed.

“We have put timelines on the things we have agreed on.”

He however, refused to comment further saying he had to first brief his principal.

According to the minutes, the parties agreed that the timeframe to finalise the constitution-making process would be determined by COPEC.

They however, indicated that the draft constitution would be brought before Parliament within 60 days of the referendum.

On elections, the parties agreed that the delimitation of constituencies and gazetting of polling stations be done in terms of the constitution.

They also agreed that the Presidential proclamation of the election dates be done in consultation with the Prime Minister.

The negotiators also agreed that the enactment of agreed electoral amendments would be done within 45 days from yesterday.

Voter education and mobilisation for voter registration would be done in 30 days while voter registration and preparation of a new voters’ roll would be done in 60 days.

Inspection of the voters’ roll and production of the final voters’ roll would be done in 45 days.

On rule of law, the negotiators also agreed that: “There will be meetings of the principals with the Attorney-General, Commissioner-General of the Police, heads of other security and intelligence institutions to ensure full commitment to operate in a non-partisan manner consistent with the GPA and the timeframe is to be determined by the Principals.

“Put in place or enhance the mechanism and framework to ensure accountability of the Police Commission and the Public Service Commission and compliance with Article XIII (1) of the GPA.”

On freedom of association and assembly the principals would meet with the Commissioner-General of police to discuss the matter.

The negotiators would also meet with the Commissioner-General of police within 30 days from yesterday.

However, the negotiators failed to agree on staffing of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, security sector reforms, allegations of state-sponsored violence and the deployment of security forces in the country.

They also disagreed on the MDC formations’ call for enactment of an Act of Parliament regulating the operations of the CIO.

ZANU PF argues that: “This issue is neither a GPA one nor an election issue and is being raised as an attack on the institution.

“The issue falls to be resolved in the constitution-making process.”

ZANU PF also rejected calls by the MDC formations to amend the Public Order and Security Act, saying it was already done in 2007 by all the political parties through negotiations.

The parties also disagreed on the issue of monitors with MDC-T calling for the presence of Sadc and African monitors six months prior to and six months after the elections while the MDC calls for the implementation of the SADC Organ Troika’s resolutions made in Livingstone, Zambia, in respect of SADC-appointed officers to be deployed in Zimbabwe to work with Jomic.

ZANU PF however, says the issue should be done in accordance with agreed amendments to the Electoral Act.

(Source)

Zimbabweans could go to polls in eight months’ time to choose a new government to replace the troubled coalition of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a top official has said.

Defence Minister and top Mugabe confidante Emmerson Mnangagwa told Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper that the timing of elections depended on the completion of ongoing constitutional reforms that he said could be wrapped up by next October.

“This (timing of elections) is not set in stone but assuming that a referendum on a new constitution is held and accepted, then the time frame for elections after that is a period of four months. If we were to have a referendum in October, then we would be looking at February for an election,” said Mnangagwa.

A leading candidate to succeed Mugabe as leader of the ZANU (PF) party and possibly president of Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa is considered one of the country’s most influential political figures.

As Defence Minister he chairs the Joint Operations Command, a secretive body of powerful securocrats that is seen as virtually wielding veto power on the country’s troubled transition process.

Mnangagwa is also legal secretary of ZANU (PF) that has been pushing for elections this year and only backtracked on early polls after pressure from the Southern African Development Community that wants any future vote to take place after adoption of a new constitution and implementation of other key reforms to ensure smooth transfer of power to winners.

His prediction of a February vote could be indication of ZANU (PF)’s preferred date of elections after failing to force polls this year.

Under an election roadmap or charter ZANU (PF), Tsvangirai’s MDC and a splinter faction of the Prime Minister’s party are crafting, Parliament would need to first pass amendments to the Electoral Act and the Public Order and Security Act, while the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must clean up the chaotic voters’ roll and the country adopts a new constitution before polls can take place

The parties say they have already reached agreement on most of the issues. But analysts say the parties are likely to clash on security sector reforms, especially MDC demands to keep the military out of elections and the withdrawal of the army from the countryside where the MDC made significant gains in the March 2008 general election.

Zimbabwe’s military brass has been accused of being openly partisan in an effort to intimidate ZANU (PF) opponents to vote for the octogenarian Mugabe, the country’s sole ruler since independence from Britain in 1980.

ZANU (PF) denies the military has deployed personnel in the countryside and rejects any attempts to reform the security services.

The roadmap and the reforms to prepare the ground for free and fair elections should be ready by August when SADC hosts its annual summit.

Meanwhile Mnangagwa, who praised the unity government for stabilising Zimbabwe, told the British paper that he has no ambition to succeed Mugabe.

“I have no ambitions to be president. People speculate left right and centre but we have a structure in our party with a president and two vice-presidents. The leadership has to come out of that group, and I am not part of it. I just wish a legacy of peace, prosperity and growth for the younger generation,” he said.

But analysts say regular claims by various leaders from ZANU (PF) that they have no presidential ambitions are nothing more than attempts to curry favour with Mugabe by being seen as not too ambitious to takeover his job.

(Source)

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has promised not to commit himself to a pre-determined length of office should he ever take over from President Robert Mugabe.

According to a report in Die Burger, Tsvangirai and Kenyan Premier Raila Odinga were participating in a discussion with former UN Secretary-General Koffi Annan at the World Economic Forum on democracy in Africa and the validity of elections. Odinga and Tsvangirai have both been both victims of elections turning violent and the incumbent Presidents refusing to accept the results. Odinga said he believed a strong opposition was necessary to ensure accountability.

(Source)

Comment – Morgan Tsvangirai is not the leader of the opposition in Zimbabwe. He leads the MDC, a party that won the popular mandate to rule in Zimbabwe in 2008. Robert Mugabe, leader of ZANU PF and President of Zimbabwe (although this is disputed) is the leader of the opposition.

Zimbabwe is ruled by a coalition government made up of ZANU PF and the two factions of the MDC, an arrangement which has yet to prove workable for any political party, or the people of Zimbabwe.

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Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma yesterday said re-elected Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo would soon get back the two official vehicles seized from him following his dethronement two weeks ago.

Moyo of MDC-T retained his post in elections on Tuesday after trouncing Zanu PF candidate Simon Khaya Moyo by 12 votes.

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court nullified the MDC-T chairperson’s election as Speaker in 2008, ruling that the poll was flawed.

Soon after the ruling, Zvoma ordered Moyo to surrender his official Mercedes Benz S350 and Land Rover Discovery vehicles, saying he was no longer an official of Parliament.

Moyo was also ordered to vacate the $1800 per month house rented for him by Parliament in the plush suburb of Greystone Park in Harare.

“As Speaker of the House of Assembly he is entitled to those vehicles but he was just elected yesterday (Tuesday) and I cannot work overnight,” Zvoma said.

“He will get the vehicles whether two hours or weeks later, but that does not stop the world from moving.”

It remained unclear, however, whether Moyo had vacated the Harare house yet since he had been given up to today to leave the residence.

No comment could be obtained from Moyo yesterday as both his mobile phones went unanswered.

(Source)

The Zanu PF Clerk of Parliament, Mr Austin Zvoma has raised concern at the violation of the principle of a secret ballot by the MDC-M Secretary General, Ms Priscilla Misiharabwi-Mushonga, who announced her party’s position of siding with MDC-T in today’s elections for the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

Mr Zvoma told ZBC News that he is studying the effects of the public utterances by the MDC-M Secretary General to see if there could be an urgent action that needs to be taken as the utterances are blatant and deliberately violating the principle and ideals of a secret ballot.

He said it is unfortunate that the so-called proponents of democracy and the ones who have the guts to publicly violet the concept and ideals of a secret ballot.

Legal experts say if the election of the Speaker of Parliament is conducted after the public appearance and announcement by the MDC-M’s intentions, this will have eroded the principle of secret ballot as already the decision has been taken to the disadvantage of other contestants.

The legal sources say this is putting the Clerk of Parliament, Mr Zvoma under serious pressure and may result yet in another legal battle.

They said by publicly declaring who the MDC-M will vote for, it clearly shows violation of the confidence placed on the ideals of a secret vote, and undermines the supreme ruling in a manner which is contemptuous of the court ruling.

Experts say that the public declaration is a gross violation of the secret ballot principle as expounded by the Supreme Court.

In the absence of a retraction of these comments, the election may remain susceptible to challenge.

(Source)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe gave another public slap to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the unwieldy coalition government within which the two foes are supposed to be working together.

Mugabe arrested one of Tsvangirai’s cabinet ministers on spurious charges. And then, to pour salt in the wound, Mugabe managed to convince one of Zimbabwe’s courts to remove the speaker of the house, who is aligned with Tsvangirai, on a technicality.

These acts of provocation come on top of months of political violence in which Mugabe’s militias have attacked and tortured Tsvangirai supporters in Harare, the capital, and across the country.

Last week, for instance, 46 Zimbabweans appeared in court for allegedly plotting treason because they had gathered to watch videos of the events in Tunisia and Egypt. Many of those arrested said they were tortured by Zimbabwean authorities. The courts dismissed the charges against 39 of them and said the evidence looked weak against the remaining seven.

Tsvangirai angrily denounced Mugabe’s actions and said he wanted a “divorce” from the power-sharing government, which was designed after the 2008 elections and requires the two leaders and their parties to govern side-by-side.

Twenty-two ambassadors to Harare signed an unprecedentedly harsh letter denouncing Mugabe for the political violence. The EU spearheaded the letter, which was also signed by the ambassadors from the United States, Britain, France, Spain, Japan and most of Zimbabwe’s biggest donors.

Has Mugabe lost it? At 87 and in power for 31 years, is he an out-of-touch geriatric autocrat pushing his country toward a revolt like in Egypt or Tunisia?

Not at all. This is how Robert Mugabe campaigns for elections.

The leader controls all the levers of power in Zimbabwe and he is using the same old methods he always has for seizing victory at the polls.

Mugabe has, in the past, set up paramilitary camps across the country, in cities and in rural areas, from which his militia can intimidate and pressure opposition supporters. Mugabe has consistently pushed through dubious lawsuits against opposition leaders and has made repeated speeches in which he warns of more violence.

These are campaign tactics Mugabe used in the elections of 2000, 2002 and 2008 – and they worked. Mugabe is now using these same strategies to win yet another term.

It is not clear when Zimbabwe’s elections will be held. The accord that forced Mugabe and the opposition to form a coalition government calls for a new constitution to be drafted to prepare the grounds for elections. But when constitutional meetings were held last year, Mugabe’s thugs broke them up and beat the participants.

Mugabe announced in December that he intended to hold elections in 2011.

Harare’s townships, which have been bastions of support for the opposition, have been the victims of Mugabe-sponsored violence in recent weeks. Last week Mbare, Harare’s oldest black township, suffered a round of brutal attacks. And now posters of Mugabe adorn its market and bus terminal, according to Sky News.

Tsvangirai’s top aide and energy minister, Elton Mangoma, languishes in jail awaiting trial. Tsvangirai complains that the corruption charge against Mangoma is over a deal made by an official in his ministry and should not cause Mangoma to be jailed.

Tsvangirai further alleged that Mugabe’s cabinet and his Zanu-PF party are rife with corruption, according to the Zimbabwean. He cited the notorious Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe where he said several companies have been granted mining rights without following proper procedures. Tsvangirai charged that $313 million have vanished from the state diamond revenues, yet there has been no investigation.

“Zanu-PF corruption infests and infects every aspect of our economy and government,” said Tsvangirai, who added that his party has lodged numerous complaints of corruption but few have been taken seriously by police.

Tsvangirai said the corruption charges against his supporters are “an attempt to cloud and obscure the massive corruption in Zimbabwe. … The people of Zimbabwe are not foolish. The people of Zimbabwe are not cowards. The people of Zimbabwe will not accept this.”

But Tsvangirai, compromised by the uncomfortable coalition with Mugabe, gives conflicting signals. Recently he described his relationship with Mugabe in such optimistic and upbeat terms that he dumbfounded the Financial Times correspondent Alec Russell. British Prime Minister David Cameron was similarly left speechless when Tsvangirai spoke of Mugabe in flattering terms in Davos, Switzerland, in January, Russell wrote.

It is hard to believe that four years ago this month Tsvangirai was beaten unconcious by Zimbabwean police, along with 30 other leaders of his MDC party. Those beatings were an example Mugabe’s campaign style. And in the 2008 election, Tsvangirai nearly unseated Mugabe, winning more votes in the first round.

Tsvangirai, 59, is an appealing figure who in the 1990s forged the country’s trade unions into the most potent opposition to Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. Then, in 1999, Tsvangirai launched the MDC to directly challenge Zanu-PF. Tsvangirai has lasted longer than anyone else as Mugabe’s rival.

Now it seems Mugabe has Tsvangirai exactly where he wants him, hamstrung and ineffective in the power-sharing government in which Mugabe holds the power and Tsvangirai must share whatever is left.

Tsvangirai may rail in anger against the arrest and beatings of his supporters. He may charge corruption and call for a divorce from Mugabe. But in the end, Tsvangirai stated that he and his party would remain in the coalition.

No, Mugabe is not crazy. He is laying the groundwork for another bloody campaign to extend his rule.

Underestimate Robert Mugabe at your peril, he is one of the most ruthless and cunning politicians in Africa, indeed in the world.

(Source)

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