Opinions


The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said Robert Mugabe has conceded failure to run the government following admittance by his spokesperson, George Charamba in State media that he has resorted to handouts and donations.

Charamba lamely claimed that Mugabe donated farming inputs through donations he got from “men and women of goodwill who made available the resources to buy inputs so that the Zimbabwean farmers, after being failed by their ‘own government’ can still go back to the field”.

In a statement, the MDC said such statements show that Mugabe and his lieutenants are in agreement with the people of Zimbabwe that he has failed to run this country.

“For Mugabe who is repeatedly and monotonously referred to as the head of state and government by a schism of his bootlicking structures and state institutions to concede that the same government he is head of has failed to support its farmers is not only astonishing but a self defeating conjecture.”

“Charamba in an attempt to justify Mugabe’s controversial input scheme has not just exposed the deep rooted weaknesses of Mugabe and Zanu PF’s system of patronage but the serious ills of a system aimed at turning people into charity cases.”

“What was demonstrated by President Tsvangirai in Buhera is a clear testimony of a visionary leadership aimed at not only improving food security but also transforming and improving rural lives. The people in the rural areas do not want systems that relegate them to perpetual recipients of hand outs but real programmes that uplift them to look after themselves.”

“Furthermore, there is more to this whole Presidential Well Wishers Special Agricultural Inputs Scheme than meets the eye. What is the scheme meant to achieve? If the parastatals are not functioning at the level expected by the government, then there should be an overhaul of the system.”

“Why should tax payers’ money continue to be expended by parastatals that are not serving their purposes? If Mugabe says the farmers are “not receiving support from government institutions such as the Grain Marketing Board”, then he should deal with such a government institution since he says he is the Head of Government.”

“Mugabe must accept that he has failed. If the whole machinery, which has nationwide depots fail to support farmers, then how does he explain his capacity to distribute the same if it is not targeted at Zanu PF zealots,”?

“Thus the so called head of state and government and commander in chief of the defence forces, Robert Mugabe, is nothing but a monumental failure,” the party said

(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)

“We as principals are the ones with the final say. “Ivo vatatu vamuri kuona ava tisu takanyora Global Political Agreement”. These were the statements from an octogenarian perceived by many as a dictator. His current tenure of office has only been made possible through negotiations.

Robert Mugabe keeps forgetting that he is in office by the mercy and understanding of his other players in the GPA. His tenure is not democratically authentic and has remained questionable. He claimed victory in a one man race and wanted to impose himself as the supreme national leader to the detriment of the Zimbabwean majority. To reach that platform, he engaged the CIO and military to exercise heavy handedness that included violence and torture. Given his geriatric age, it is highly unlikely that he remembers the 2008 violence. He is only thankful that he can still travel abroad and address such important meetings like the UN or SADC. At such a compromised stance, his next

Presidency is in doubt because his policies have increasingly become unpopular and therefore he has become unelectable.

His stance demonstrates an absence of care and concern for the masses. Caught in the middle of diplomacy for the sake of peace and political progress, SADC was left with no option but to force Mugabe into teaming up with his political rivals. When SADC intervened and stripped him of his Maoist powers, Mugabe practically became a ceremonial President. Morgan Tsvangirai entry as the first Prime Minister gave Mugabe endless nightmares.

With the coalition, runaway inflation was immediately arrested. Instead of appreciating the peace and economic resurgence as brought by the GPA, the ailing President decided to expose the dictator on his mind. For another five years, no one in Zimbabwe is willing to endure any meaningful appointments by Mugabe that are characterized by the monotonous reshuffling and recycling of corrupt and tired politicians.

Zimbabweans should know the truth. Despite his bookish degrees of the 1960s obtained through correspondence, Mugabe has no single clue of how to manage a 21st century economy in a fast changing world. I am not even too sure if the President and his sheepish bunch care about technology, development studies or any contemporary topics that prepare Zimbabwe to face global challenges.

The president finally had one last opportunity ahead of crucial elections to show his true colours of dictatorship. His utterances at the recent all-stakeholders conference demonstrated that he is the same old Mugabe that conscious Zimbabweans should be wary about. His statements were meant to urge people to remain unquestioningly loyal and compliant with his party policies.

At 88, it is sad how some people still believe Mugabe can work some magic to bring change to Zimbabwe. Even the loyalists within ZANU PF are also beginning to see the light. Mudenge helplessly died in office. At that time nothing tangible in terms of policy was found on his desk to preserve as legacy for the Zimbabwean tertiary education system. Given the length of time Mudenge served in the Higher Education Ministry, many would wonder if he was that great to be irreplaceable or there was something to hide using his name.

Many will agree with me that Mugabe participated in the liberation struggle through a profit motive. He sought to enrich himself while also destroying both his enemies and the economy so that by the time he left Zimbabwe, it would be as good as useless. Today he is one of the richest men in the world. His wealth will be enjoyed up to the fifth generation from his Presidency. In the liberation struggle he should have masterminded great plans to eliminate opposition members while drafting plans for heavy looting of national assets.

In the 90s Mugabe allowed the operation of the first generation of black-owned commercial banks like Unibank under the guise of indigenization and economic empowerment. Back then fake bank notes started circulating amid widespread speculation that an indigenous banker had in fact bought a commercial money printing machine. Investigations into the allegations were swept under the carpet with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe later revoking Unibank’s license.

It is under Robert Mugabe administration that the Willowgate scandal happened and worked to demonstrate the roots of corruption in Zimbabwe. Favored friends walked away with wrist pats as the unfortunate went down. Zimbabweans were left disappointed and speechless. The late Solomon Skuza even sang “Leaking” in which he demanded answers for such gross abuse of power. At the time, the Zimbabwean dollar traded blow for blow against hard currencies as her agriculture-driven economy was blossoming. Despite clear evidence of corruption, Mugabe failed to fire his liberation war cronies and that problem still eats into national wealth today. His inability to stand head above shoulders in dealing with his wayward Ministers sealed the nation’s fate of misfortune. To this day, Mugabe has not shown any remorse for the damage he caused to Zimbabwe.

Instead, in 2003, the president authorised the printing of worthless money under what he considered short-term fiscal solutions. That sank the economy as prices dropped by the hour. Months ago, the nation was shocked to hear that the President owed over $300,000 in unpaid electricity bills. His cronies too owed similar amounts. Today the same President wants another five year term of office! How foolish can the electorate get? Besides condoning corruption and empowerment of the already empowered, why should Mugabe return to office? The childish message that any opposition win in 2013 means another colonization of Zimbabwe is a washout. That means people should be ready to cheer for ZANU PF destroying Zimbabwe assets simply because any other opposition will sell Zimbabwe to Britain?

Mugabe has been a dictator. Once a dictator, always a dictator! The only thing Mugabe can still offer Zimbabweans is more violence, more division and foolish patriotic pride where bad governance should never be questioned. On these realistic premises, the tired president is not fit to lead Zimbabwe anymore. The violence, incarceration of disgruntled voices, the corruption, plunder of national assets, abuse of uniformed forces and intimidation of voters tell a story that corroborates the fact that Mugabe does not deserve yet another term in office. He has become a burden and a liability to the nation. The land distribution and empowerment cards have gone astray and the economy is now bleeding. Mineral profits are going into army and private pockets of ZANU PF politiburo members as the country continues to suffer. Zimbabweans should not waste their time voting for such a selfish man. Now he spends more time napping at summits and important conferences. His recycled speeches have become monotonous old songs. Where does that take Zimbabwe? Mugabe indeed is tired and no longer electable. He must go!

  1. Philosopher on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 8:36 am 

Spot on Fatso.anyone who is going to vote for this old goon and his murderers bunch of i.d.i.o..t.s is a mental case

  1. papa wemba on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 8:45 am 

I said it,Fatso is has really graduated into a fine journalist.The problem with zim is that the zim child was killed before it was born and the Lancaster house agreement as the maternity ward for the zim child was not favourable to the majority but to Zato.Freedom was given by the right hand and taken by the left hand by ZAto so now its the last mile zimbos,COME 2013.

  1. JEREMY BROWN on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 8:51 am 

KIKIKIKI THESE AFRICANS ARE POLITICALLY NAIVE.IS IT THAT DICTATORS ARE SO POWERFUL THAT THEY CANT BE DISLODGED OR AFRICANS ARE NOT BRAVE TO SAY ENOUGH.Come’on Afro ,zim do it the LIBYAN style.

  1. Greyhora on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 9:29 am 

Brilliant and totally spot on! Apart from indigenization and colonization, there is nothing Mugabe and his Zanu PF ever talk about. Notice how they never talk to Zimbabweans about our natural resources like gold platinum and diamonds, which they are very busy looting in preparation for their inevitable exit from power and possible exile. They talk to the Chinese and Indians, who are masters at smuggling especially huge quantities of precious stones out of the country and re-branding them overseas, while the nation gets absolutely nothing. He has then the nerve to say that the final decision on the constitution rests with the three principals. This is clearly a “president” deluded, power-drunk and suffering early stages of senility. He is totally unelectable!!

  1. Bhodlumlilo gt on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 10:24 am 

As Zimbabweans we have a saying “chokwadi chinorwadza” my knowledge of english is crude, but in english it would sound like the truth is always painful. The truth is painful both to the perpetretors as well as the victims. The reason why Zimbabweans moved to other countries and behave like nomads was to run away from the truth. The truth that Mugabe had turned into a monster he had turned against the masses, political leaders, businessmen etc. The truth became quite evident when people could not afford a single meal and zim currency turned into toy money mari yemahumbwe. Everything became heywire. The blame game spearheaded by jonathan moyo an expert in falsehoods started in eanrst, MDC, western sponsored sanctions, chinhoyi diesel etc MDC became easy target as defensive mechanism against daylight rigging of 2008 elections. This defensive mechanism against failure makes zanu to even find alternative leadership or a reasonable justification why they think zimbabweans would opt for zanu. The only reason they think zimbabweans would for zanu is Morgan Tsvangirayi’s failed marriage to a Locadia or a sick allegation that MDC will return country to Britain. So this level of thinking will never appeal to Zimbabweans. Zanu has a child’s play hangover left by jonathan moyo and gono. CHOKWADI CHINORWADZA!!

  1. Chimukundo on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 11:23 am 

Spot on!!!

  1. Save Conservancies from Zanu PF on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 11:58 am 

What else can one say? i have printed a copy to translate and distribute it to the majority of rural folks. i printed the whole page including the comments so that my rural folks can think like everyone else normal. The abnormal can be seen through their few comments of a different view. Wagoma Mamina kutaura zvazviri.

  1. Stop-a-Thief on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 12:29 pm 

Farai, please do one of these on a regular basis, this is the untold history which needs to be out in the open.

Well done for producing such a brilliant article.

  1. Kasukuwere on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 12:55 pm 

Iwe Farai unoda kuparadza vaMugabe manje ticha dealer newe.How dare you expose and humiliate our president like that? The CIO guys are on the lookout for u and you will be tortured beyond repair. The boys are out there and varikukutsvaga ende u*******.

  1. Mai Miki on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 2:16 pm 

Mamina Farai thank you for dissecting Zimbabwe which in essence was hiding behind a finger. Behind this finger is a leadership with a whole host of theories about a western world which is after Zimbabwe’s wealth and farms. Therefore the whole world except china and friendly africans can not monitor or report on zimbabwe. The head of government Morgan Tsangirayi who won the 2008 elections, is not allowed to appear on ZBC/TV or state papers unless if it is a false report that would tarnish the image of Morgan or MDC. MDC and its officials shall only be reported upon by approved state reporters.

The majority of Zimbabweans are subjected to excessive brutality and abuse by state agents with no recourse to courts. The justice minister does not believe that the majority of zimbabweans have a right to vote and determine their destiny. The past 32 years regime has ignored the wishes of the majority and they only listened to their greediness. Zanu Pf members are now among the richest in the world while most children can not afford a pair of canvas shoes. Such is a confident regime that is seeking re-election!! Over my dead body or my fellow zimbabweans yes

  1. Jumpdaki on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 2:26 pm 

You see! You see! As long as you think and believe, conviniently believe for that matter that wrongs against the Zimbabwean populace began in 2008 you them make Jumpdaki see no reason why he should be associated with Zimbagwe beacause he saw such wrongs in higger magnitudes being comitted as early as the disarmourment of Gwayi river mine assembly point in the early 80s.

Mimina your selective memory will not make ours selective. You are a Gukuraundist trying to bury his head in the sand. You cite a 2008 child play. This proves you are die hard satanist and hutu from hutuland. You reason like *****s who would report that “We lost one member of the security forces meaning only one whyte soldier and ignoring scores of ***** soldiers who would have died. We can see through your hypocricy and therefore your article is as senseless as you are. Mamina is mucous in Kalanga. Who says whats in a name?

  1. Spinningwheel on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 3:11 pm 

There will be no progress until the stubborn and rebellious Mugabe is relieved of power. He is incapable of reasoning that he will never achieve anything tangible in what is left of his life but however stubbornly persists in his folly. He rebels against his own people whom he perports to be serving.

  1. Guvnor on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 3:14 pm 

There is no shame in the muppet admitting complete failure and retiring of his own volition. Its simply a matter of being patriotic for once and putting the country and the people first.

  1. Hutlessnomad on Tue, 30th Oct 2012 3:40 pm 

The desire to rule when one has no capacity to meaningfully rule with the approval of the citizens, and without the ability to develop the nation is a worthless whim of an addled brain.

(Source)

In real terms Zimbabweans are arguably the richest Southern Africans. Unlike South Africa, there are not many credit facilities in Zimbabwe. And the few facilities available are open only to people who are formally employed, particularly civil servants.

Unemployment in Zimbabwe is hovering above 90%. So those in the formally employed sector who can enjoy the limited credit facilities constitute only about 10% of the employable population. The civil servant body is about 235 000 strong and comprise the majority of that 10%. The highest paid civil servant takes home about US$600.

With these statistics it is hard to explain the opulence exhibited by Zimbabweans. Zimbabweans drive top of the range Mercedes, Range Rovers, Toyota Prados and Land Cruisers, Chryslers, etc. In South Africa most people drive cars on hire purchase, but Zimbabweans pay cash for their cars.

Just visit the upmarket suburbs of Borrowdale, Vainona, Greendale and Mount Pleasant and observe how people pull down good houses and replace them with mansions within weeks. The level of opulence there is obscene. And there are no mortgages here folks! The fellows pay cash for the properties. They pay lots of money to pull the houses down, and lot more money to build the mansions.

You may be saying to yourself it is diamond money. You could have a point. But how many of us have access to the diamond money? The answer is not many. So is the money coming from tobacco? Some of it yes, but certainly not most of it. So where is most of it coming from? I have just been told the secret and I have started the process so I hope the money will start to roll in as soon as I am done.

I am not selfish so I want to share the secret with all of you, so all of us can be rich. I used an old newspaper as a toilet paper in the pit latrine the last time I was in the rural areas. My eye was caught by an article in the business section of the paper, which quoted an economic analyst as suggesting that when more people get rich, aggregate demand increases, and that comes with many benefits to the economy. I don’t know if the analyst was correct, but let us just get rich together, all of us including the analyst, and see what happens.

Here is the clue. But it is not for the faint-hearted. You need to have a big heart, and you must be a believer in the power of African science. You need to have a close relative who died of diabetes. On the night of the second Saturday after the first anniversary of his/her death, kill a black tomcat and take him to the cemetery together with two bean seeds (sugar beans). This entire ritual must be performed while naked.

When you get to the cemetery, dig a hole in the grave of your relative and place the dead tomcat in that opening. Place the two bean seeds in one ear of the tomcat and cover the hole with soil to totally bury the tomcat. Urinate on the covered hole and walk back home. Don’t run and don’t look back even if you are startled.

Every night thereafter you must return to the grave, naked, with a wooden cup of water and irrigate the place where you buried the tomcat until the bean seeds have germinated. After the bean seeds have germinated, you reduce your number of visits to the grave to only once a week, to irrigate the plants. You must remember to be nude at all times when you perform the ritual, and never to run or look back.

You will do this until the plants bear fruit. Continue with the routine until the fruit is ripe, when the pods get dry, crack open and the seeds fall out. From the night you pick up the first seed, you will have to go back to the grave every night, naked, to pick up the seeds until you have picked up the last seed. Each time you bring the seeds home, you will put them in a black pouch that you will keep buried in the garden.

On the night that you pick up the last seed, count all the seeds in the black pouch, boil the seeds and eat them naked facing the direction of Great Zimbabwe. After that you will make a million US dollars each year, up to the number of the bean seeds that you will have harvested from grave.

How does that sound? A great idea to make easy money in Zimbabwe, isn’t it? After all this is the only explanation I can find for how so many are living the high life.

I will be waiting for your feedback after you start rolling in big bucks!

(Source)

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai – recently in North Carolina, USA, to attend the Democratic National Convention – sat down for a wide-ranging interview with the Voice of America’s Violet Gonda. Here is the transcript of their discussion:

MORGAN TSVANGIRAI: I was invited to participate in the National Democratic Convention as part of the International leadership forum organized by NDI so I’m part of the over 300 international leaders of various levels of government who are participating in this convention.

VIOLET GONDA: I understand that you were the highest ranking African leader to be invited by the Democratic Party to attend this convention.

TSVANGIRAI: It’s true and I am humbled by the fact that I have that recognition but I don’t think that it’s something that is significant. I’m sure that in any of their conventions they do identify which leader to come and grace their occasion.

GONDA: So what lessons did you learn from the US process?

TSVANGIRAI: Work, process and substance. Process wise, I think that there is a lot that we can learn. You know democracy is not an event. These are institutional developments that have been here for the last 200 years. So our democratic development is a baby, so there is a lot that we can learn in terms of process. How do we ensure that people are participating, how do we formulate policy, how do we increase debate because really it’s about issues it’s not about individuals, so on substance, I think one of the things that you sort of observe is the extent of ideological and policy difference between the two major parties in the United States and the way people try to convince the rest of the population to support them.

GONDA: I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read the newspapers or what’s been said about your visit to America in the state controlled media, for example, the Zanu PF party said you abandoned a critical principles meeting to attend this convention and presidential spokesman George Charamba said that this is a clear example that shows you favour foreign interests ahead of national issues. What can you say about this?

TSVANGIRAI:  Well, I don’t like to be personal to George; he has chosen to make my role in the country personal and to portray an image which has nothing to do with my objective in government, my objective in the politics of the country. Firstly the question of abandoning, well, if the same accusation were to apply, President Mugabe left for the Non Aligned Movement a week ago when the draft constitution was out and he did not even explain when we were going to meet because I told him I’ll be away for a week, he was going to be away for a week – so who has abandoned what? And as far as the second part about ‘serving foreign interests’, it will be in the same equal measure that President Mugabe in attending the Non-Aligned Movement, is he serving foreign interests? Let’s abandon that. We are all patriots, we are all trying to do our best under very difficult circumstances to push our country forward in spite of the frustrating experiences, the lack of implementation of a GPA, the lack of implementation of those reforms that are necessary and the intransigencies on the part of Zanu PF to reverse a constitutional process that they have endorsed.

GONDA: Considering that the US is in election mode, some say that this is showing allegiance and you should have stayed away because this would potentially affect relations if the Republicans were to win for example. What’s your comment on this?

TSVANGIRAI: That’s totally out. I did not come here to endorse the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. I came out here to an international forum, as invited, to experience the American political system at a convention. I have not been given a platform where I have said I’m endorsing the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, we work with both.

GONDA: How do you respond to critics who say you have managed to build some credibility by focusing your advocacy in Africa? But that by you coming to the US you are now providing ammunition to propagandists who would say this is evidence of you being a puppet of the West like what has been said by Mr. Charamba?

TSVANGIRAI: To be honest, I’ve long since taken a position that what George says does not change the direction and destiny of the country either way, it’s his personal view, he can shout and do whatever he wants, I will not even give him a moment of thought. The position is this, we as MDC would like to engage the international community and the international community includes first and foremost Africa, Europe, America, Eastern Europe, Chinese, everyone. And I’ve demonstrated over the last year the diplomatic in-roads we have made even with some of the people who thought we were enemies, we have engaged them. The idea is that Zimbabwe is not an island and that what we are attempting to do is that Zimbabwe should be part of the family of nations. What we are trying to do is to promote the best interests of Zimbabwe and if anyone would come and say that you are undermining the best interests of Zimbabwe, perhaps that would be basis for argument, but the real basis that Zimbabwe needs to be part of family of nations and that’s my objective.

GONDA: You still have others who are saying there is too much globetrotting by government leaders and couldn’t you send some of your deputies, for example, especially as there are pressing matters back home such as the constitutional crisis?

TSVANGIRAI: There’s no constitutional crisis, there is a constitutional impasse which is not the creation of the MDC. Well, every mission has got an appropriate level of delegation and I don’t go to every opportunity that arises. I go strategically to engage at the level that I think is going to be in the long term interest of the country. As for a crisis like the constitution, it will be resolved one way or the other.

GONDA: Let’s talk about this stalemate on the constitution-making-process; do you honestly think President Jacob Zuma’s mediation will work, considering he is only a facilitator?

TSVANGIRAI: At the end of the day, if the three parties agree and have endorsed a certain position, and have signed to a certain position, why should the whole country be held to ransom by one party, and I don’t think it’s fair. It’s acting in bad faith; it’s acting in the partisan interest and not in the national interest. Above all, a constitution is a national document of governance and as far as I’m concerned if there is consensus among the main actors, that should be the basis of moving forward.

GONDA: Many people believe that Zanu PF will not yield to settling with the final draft, so what are the possible scenarios here?

TSVANGIRAI: Well, the possible scenario is that… but of course you have to take into consideration that SADC will not allow a stalemate, SADC will find a way of resolving this impasse – but above all, it would have been better for Zimbabweans to find common cause which we thought we had arrived at when we signed the document after a very painstaking three and a half years of work and after so much resources were put in this exercise.

GONDA: Your party has said you will not dialogue any more on the final draft constitution, and you have stated your position. So what other options are there besides waiting for SADC or external countries?

TSVANGIRAI: Well, we have not met at principles, we want to hear what justification President Mugabe has for his party to go and overhaul the whole constitutional process that he had signed to and until such a time that he is clear about it and we have made our position clear, one cannot talk of an end. I’m sure that down the line the constitution will go to the people. They are the final arbiters on the constitution. They are the ones that made the input and they are the ones who will have the final say.

GONDA: Are you in a catch 22 situation here because, doesn’t the Global Political Agreement (GPA) say that in the event that you fail to agree on anything, either party can call an election?

TSVANGIRAI: No, there is no such thing, you have read our GPA very well, there is no clause like that. There is no clause first of all on any party to exercise veto power and secondly there is no clause in the GPA which allows a party to take unilateral action against another party. So no party has got the right to call an election, no party has got the right to single-handedly determine anything, that’s why the principals have to meet to decide the next step. If that was the case, the whole constitutional edifice upon which this GPA was built would collapse.

GONDA: You said the principals have to meet and decide on the next step, but you have been meeting for a very long time and it seems that there is no solution to this problem. Surely you… (interrupted)

TSVANGIRAI: That’s why even the disagreements, the implementation deficits that are there, we have noted them, we have brought them to the attention of SADC, and SADC has said we need full implementation. Obviously there is no way that anyone can have the leverage to force a political party to do 1,2,3 things. But as long as we are part of the GPA, we are bound by the 19th Amendment of the constitution which is the basis upon which this GPA is build, so the government has to be managed.

GONDA: Yes, but how Prime Minister? What options do you have as a party? Surely your own party should have a position on this. What is your party’s position?

TSVANGIRAI: Our position is that if there is a consensus to disagree we will disagree and then we will advise SADC on the next steps. If it means that we need now to go to say – an election – then the conditions for elections will now be the next subject of discussion but at the moment we are not talking about elections we are talking about the constitutional process, and until that deadlock is arrived at, I cannot talk of a further step beyond the current constitutional debate.

GONDA: Yes, but the emails we’re getting, the responses we’re getting from our listeners are that people are getting fed up with this long negotiation process.

TSVANGIRAI: They’ll have to be patient. Rome was not built in a day. Remember the position we are coming from, the acrimony, the polarisation and I think that the transition has helped to break down those barriers of suspicion in terms of what the national interests are and pushing forward those things. I’m quite conscious of the fact that people want to go to elections, and  we’ll go to an election if that is what it takes for the final resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis so let it be. But it cannot just be a thumb sucking exercise.

GONDA: So will you go to elections without reforms?

TSVANGIRAI: No we can’t! We are saying there are steps and benchmarks that need to be put in place before that election is conducted, or else we’ll reproduce 2008.

GONDA: At the end of the day, isn’t it a fact that reforms are not the problem here and those reforms will only remain on paper and not implemented even if you are to have the reforms.

TSVANGIRAI: No, we have implemented some of them, not all, we have agreed on the Electoral Act, we have agreed on the Human Rights Act, we have put in commission, that’s all part of the reform that are comprehensively going to help create an environment for free and fair elections.

GONDA: Isn’t there an assumption that our problems in Zimbabwe are only about policies and strengthening institutions and reforms – but isn’t it more about our political culture, that as long as there is no shift in political culture, nothing will change?

TSVANGIRAI: Well the transition was intended to achieve that, it was intended to soft line the crisis so that we have a different political culture. Now, having said that, have we achieved a totally different political culture? Certainly it is a process that is going to take time but at least we have set ourselves on a direction in which the democratic credentials of the country will be the basis upon which the future political interaction will be set.

GONDA: Let’s talk about the Freedom House survey. It indicated that public trust in the Prime Minister’s office has considerably gone down. What is your reaction to this?

TSVANGIRAI: I cannot discuss the validity or otherwise of the survey and make it the subject of discussion. I take note of the observations that they’ve made but also I take note of some of the gaps in the survey like for instance, how do you say Zimbabweans now listen to the ZBC more than any other source? How do you now say The Herald is now the most popular newspaper when we know the truth? So all I can say is that yes, we take note of some of the observations. If there is any validity, then it’s up to the MDC to take into consideration and take the corrective measures. We are not dismissing any survey that is covered by anyone, but the real survey Violet, is the people themselves when they go to a vote. You should not be scared of a sample; you should be scared about the outcome of the real national vote, that’s where it counts.

GONDA: But on this survey, if this is what people are saying, has there been a reflection in your party to see what the cause is, because it seems people are …(interrupted)

TSVANGIRAI: … If people just say your support has declined without giving reasons of which area, why and how. We, of course as a party from time to time we reflect on these issues – where is our weaknesses, we always take a strategic review of our situation. We don’t do it because there is a survey; we do it as a regular assessment of the performance of the party outside government, the performance of the party in government, in local authorities. All these matters are matters we regularly check and especially after the survey, we have to say how far true is it. We have to self-introspect and correct it.

GONDA: You say they didn’t give any examples but there are actually quite a few examples that were in this report including widespread corruption by some of your officials – as some of the issues that people had problems with.

TSVANGIRAI: But who is not corrupt? Corruption is something that has been set by Zanu PF and they have not done anything to arrest corruption. We have done something. We have gone in and fired a whole City Council in Chitungwiza; we have done an assessment of all our local authorities because we know. Our people are telling us that these issues need to be addressed so we do an evaluation of delivery in local authorities – and what we have done is to deal with those that have been identified as corrupt. The issue is not that there will be no corruption, even in the United States, anywhere in the world there will be corruption but what we need is – what are you doing about it. That is the real issue.

GONDA: So would you consider leading your party to a lifestyle audit where individuals holding public office are actually assessed in terms of what they earn and the lifestyle that they are living?

TSVANGIRAI: What lifestyle?

GONDA: The other day I interviewed your secretary for local government Sesal Zvidzai and he gave an example of the Mayor of Gweru – who you fired recently – and Mr. Zvidzai gave an example saying that a person who was like a street kid just the other day was now a Mayor, and amassed a lot of wealth including several cars, fancy houses and.. (Interrupted)

TSVANGIRAI: … that’s why we dealt with him.

GONDA: … so this is what I’m saying, that as Prime Minister are you willing to lead an audit to see who has what?

TSVANGIRAI: We are willing to evaluate the performance of ministers and everyone to ensure that we stay within the principles of the party, but we are not going to be on a witch-hunt because a witch-hunt sometimes goes into a subjective area. But as I said the issue is that where we have evaluated and we found that someone is not acting in the best interest, values and principles of the party we deal with that.

GONDA: Well, you mentioned witch-hunt and it seems that some of the people that have been fired by the party are saying that’s exactly what happened. They say they were never called to a disciplinary hearing and that they were not even consulted or interviewed by the committee that investigated the allegations.

TSVANGIRAI: No, no, no. It’s not a question of a disciplinary hearing; we do have our own internal measures. You can’t have a disciplinary hearing in the face of evidence that is  overwhelming, you wait until you have a disciplinary hearing to establish what when the facts have been properly established and the men and women themselves have admitted to that indiscretion.  What disciplinary hearing, except to make it a bureaucratic delay? We need action and we need to send a clear message that the party will not tolerate that.

GONDA: Another issue that has come up is the quality of some of your public officials, and as I mentioned, one of your deputy ministers described one of the people that was fired as someone who was a street kid before he became a councillor. So what does that say about the quality of some of your officials?

TSVANGIRAI: Look, look, look. We are a young party – popularity sometimes is not a measure of capacity. We have had to revise our standards of selection of Mayors, councillors, MP’s. We have just adopted a new principle out of experience and out of abundance of caution that we would not allow people who by chance just happen to use the popularity and ride on the popularity of the party – just to get to an office without the responsibility to discharge that responsibility. So we have set a new standard and it’s an experience. We have for the first time controlled all the 32 town councils throughout the country and the level of delivery is different from city to city and we have learned that you need to put certain standards that will allow for maturity and for responsibility to apply.

GONDA: The survey was very clear that … (interrupted)

TSVANGIRAI: … please don’t ask me about that survey…

GONDA: … I am not asking about the survey but it was saying your appetite for change in Zimbabwe, as a party, has dissipated – what do you make of that? That public confidence has eroded?

TSVANGIRAI: Let me tell you – the MDC and the people of Zimbabwe are together in a project and we have a clear road map to achieve that project. In 2006 we set out to say we will act to put pressure on Mugabe to come to the negotiating table and we have done that. We will have a transitional government, we have set that up. We will have a new constitution, that’s what we have just concluded. We will have free and fair elections. We will have a referendum. So as far as the defined strategy of the MDC, we are on course, so for people to conclude that we no longer have the appetite, when we are on course,  how else can we define the path to that change? And I want to tell you one thing, the people of Zimbabwe are resilient, they want change, they have not withdrawn from that particular objective and the MDC is the party for change.

GONDA: Some observers are saying that the tragic thing is that you took all of your lieutenants into the inclusive government and the party has now suffered because all the ‘drivers of the movement’ are now consumed in doing government business instead of doing party business.

TSVANGIRAI: Well what is government business? Government business is about delivering to the people. It’s another arena of struggle. If you say you should all confine yourselves in throwing stones without necessarily taking those strategic positions to influence policy to understand how the government works, and to help the people deliver on their needs, then I don’t know what kind of leadership that is. I did not take everyone into government, there are people who are out there who have not been a part of the government – and I want to say that for the MDC, it has been a very good learning experience which we’ll find very handy in the future. And also people must not just conclude or expect the MDC to be the only instrument of struggle, there’s the civic society. There are all these people who want change, and all we need is a strong alliance to continue to push that agenda.

GONDA: So do think that perhaps people expect too much from you and that you have too much on your plate?

TSVANGIRAI: Ohh there is even no distinction. The expectation was that MDC was going to create jobs in the coalition, MDC was going to do 1, 2, 3 things – and you know the limitation of a coalition? There’s no consensus on policy, sometimes there is policy discord, sometimes there’s sabotage of things – but let’s measure those things that the coalition government has achieved in terms of stabilizing the economy, in terms of health delivery, education, water, and in terms of general peace in the country. Yes, we may not have delivered jobs because jobs are not created like manna from heaven. Jobs are dependent on what investment you put in place, and what measures you put in place to attract foreign direct investment. So those are measures that would need even further debate.

GONDA: We received complaints, and there are some reports from such publications such as The Daily News saying that the Prime Minister himself seems to be less and less accessible to the local media and we have also been trying to get in touch with you but ever since you became Prime Minister, it’s been difficult.

TSVANGIRAI: Violet, Violet, but you are talking to me, how do you complain that I’m actually excluding you from the interview?

GONDA: But Prime Minister…

TSVANGIRAI: …at home…

GONDA: … can I answer that question because this is something that is of concern to some of us?

TSVANGIRAI: yes…

GONDA: … yes you’re talking to me now but since you became Prime Minister three or four years ago, this is the first time that I’ve actually had a chance to interview you.

TSVANGIRAI: No, no, no. Let’s be honest. You were studying therefore you were not accessible. At home I have a monthly press briefing. Studio 7 is there at all those monthly briefings.

GONDA: But that is not the same Prime Minister, because even here The Daily News is complaining about this lack of access.  Journalists are complaining about this.

TSVANGIRAI: No, no, no…

GONDA: You’ve complained that ZBC does not cover you, for example, and yet the private media is willing to give you space but we are not getting that space. That’s basically what people are complaining about.

TSVANGIRAI: I have never refused anyone an interview and that’s the truth. I’m very accessible, if there are any gatekeepers who prevent me from accessing the media, I’m hearing it for the first time. I think that to a large extend I’m out there in the field with the people, the media is there – and justifiably, I had a reason to raise that about the media and that’s the truth. I am the Prime Minister of the country and for the three and a half years I’ve never appeared on ZBC and that’s the truth. So these matters as far as access Violet, I think what we need is to follow-up and have proper arrangements – but I can tell you, and I want to assure you that I’m very accessible, and Luke my spokesman does everything to make sure we have these monthly briefings, and weekly briefings for ministers, if the ministers do not attend, it’s not the Prime Minister to blame.

GONDA: With all due respect Prime Minister yes, we understand that you hold these monthly press briefings but it’s not enough especially as they can be seen as stage managed. There are very little one to one interviews with you and this is what many journalists are complaining about.

TSVANGIRAI: Well if they are complaining about it, let me go and investigate. I would not deliberately prevent anyone from having access to me. I’m the most accessible person and that you know.

GONDA: Moving on, still on the issue of access. It’s not just people in the media who have complaining about this, one of the emails we received said: “This increasingly reclusive behaviour by the Prime Minister does not make him a man of the people and he needs to be seen more regularly and speaking of the injustices that so badly afflict the nation and the communities.” Do you think this is fair?

TSVANGIRAI: I can understand the anger but I’m not the spokesman. A Prime Minister who speaks every day is a megaphone. I have spokespersons, I have ministers and of course, where matters affect the national interests and habits of the people, I will speak.

GONDA: I guess some people, especially those who are affected, expect more. For example, I was taking to one of the family members of the group of 29 people from Glenview, who are still in custody and she was saying her daughter is still in custody and yet they don’t hear anything from the Prime Minister talking about these injustices

TSVANGIRAI: No, no, no you can’t be talking about that – you take measures. The group of 29 is an issue we are grappling with as a party. The party has spoken, the party is doing the welfare, interventions but the difficult position we face is that this is not a political detention – although we know there are political motives – it’s a criminal. And when you go to a criminal court the abuse of the criminal justice system becomes even more evident, that’s why we want to amend the Criminal Code and Evidence Act which prevents…, and we didn’t even know that there is actually a rule which says that if something happens to the police it will not even allow any bail application. That’s why the matter is before the Supreme Court. So we are doing everything, we know the plight of these 29 and unfortunately we are trapped in this legal process that we need to address. But yes, we do understand, we are intervening as a party, we are responsible for the welfare of the families but we are trapped with this legal hindrance hurdle that we need to overcome.

GONDA: Don’t you think you’ll go to another GNU, and if so, where do you stand on this?

TSVANGIRAI: There is no reason for having another GNU, there is no reason whatsoever if an election is conducted and it’s free and fair. It should produce a legitimate government which should take the country forward, whether it is MDC or Zanu PF. If it’s conducted in a free and fair manner there should be one clear winner who should be able to address the destiny of the country, address the vision of the country address the needs of the country, the future. And there is so much that needs to be done, so I don’t foresee a situation where we have another GNU, for what?

GONDA: We did talk briefly about the issue of policies but how do you respond to people who say  they don’t hear any clear expressed policies from the MDC beyond their mantra of ‘democratic change’ and ‘change for better’ and that … (interrupted)

TSVANGIRAI:… oh come on, come on…

GONDA: … they say that Zanu PF is clear on some of these issues like land, indigenisation policies but the MDC is not. How do you respond to this?

TSVANGIRAI: The problem is how do you form a party which is 13 or 14 years old without a vision, without a policy? Do you think it’s just a matter of being anti-Mugabe? No, no, no. People must go to our documentation and must be able to distinct which party policy the party is pursuing. What does it mean when they say they are not hearing? An individual stands up, I was in Japan the other day and a girl stood up and said ‘we are not hearing about your land policy’, and I said have you looked at the policies of the MDC, they are there. You decide yourselves to say there is no policy on land, but I can articulate those policies clearly because I know they are there.

GONDA: But how would you tell that to a family in the rural areas with no access … to read the policy documents online?

TSVANGIRAI: I can understand that but it also means that we go out to the people and explain our land policy to the people, explain what the party stands for, everything. It’s only those people who want to come so we tell them the policies of the MDC in the offices. We have our policies on the website and when we go out to the rural areas we explain our policies clearly. That’s why people have been with us all these years.

GONDA: Can you explain your policy on land for example?

TSVANGIRAI: We believe that land must go to the people and not the politicians. Land must go to the people who need it. We believe that land is a finite resource, then it must be used productively and in order to do that you need to entitle the land so that people can invest in the land. All that is there!

GONDA: And on indigenisation?

TSVANGIRAI: Indigenisation is a Zanu PF policy, it’s not an MDC policy, but we believe in broad based empowerment. We don’t believe in individuals – the Kasukuweres accessing all the resources of the country for themselves and their party. We believe there is a basis for a broad based empowerment policy for Zimbabweans, whether it is in business, whether it is on education, whether it is on land, we believe in a broad based theme. It is Zanu PF which is pursuing the selfish, predatory elitist positions that are not in best interests of the broad mass of Zimbabwe.

GONDA: So how does the MDC plan to address these very real issues?

TSVANGIRAI: They are not real issues unless they are raised by the Zanu PF, hey? They become real issues when they are abused by Zanu-PF for partisan political objectives and not for national interest. If we wanted to have a proper empowerment policy, we should go to the Parliament table, a green paper, people discuss it and then it is implemented by government, but if it becomes a partisan political objective of a few who just want to benefit as if mashuku ari kungo gumwa achi donha pamuti, it’s not the best way to go. So you cannot ask me to articulate a Zanu PF policy. I can only articulate what I believe is the best way to empower people in a broad way and not just an elite group.

GONDA: And what is the MDC’s position on gay rights?

TSVANGIRAI: Look, the question of gay marriages is Zanu PF propaganda, it has nothing to do with MDC. We have said that the question of sexual orientation has nothing to do with everybody. Sexual orientation is for the individual behind their closed doors – it’s got nothing to do with everybody. And if you are talking about human rights, it then becomes an infringement on somebody’s private life and that’s not upholding human rights.

GONDA: But rights’ activists say this final draft that your party has endorsed does not actually protect their rights?

TSVANGIRAI: No, it does, it says freedom of sexual orientation is an individual rights so how else do you want it to be captured?

GONDA: And before we go Mr. Tsvangirai, your wedding is in a few days so I’d like to take this time to congratulate you, Makorokoto.

TSVANGIRAI: Thank you, I thought that is what you should have started with.(laugh)

GONDA: I thought we should end on a good note. (laughs)

TSVANGIRAI: Munoita chivanhu vanhu, munoita majerasi. (laughs)

GONDA: So what have learned, reflecting on the journey you have travelled in your personal life? What are some of the things you would want to share with your supporters in your being able to select a partner for yourself?

TSVANGIRAI: No. no, no these are personal matters, but I just want to say look, I’ve had the misfortune of losing a wife in very sad circumstances and after three years I’ve found somebody I want to marry and I’m in love with and I’m happy with and I’m moving on, on that basis. I’m not the first man to go through that experience, and that’s what I’m looking forward to – to a happy marriage again.

GONDA: What can you say to your supporters who are disappointed that you married the daughter of a man who is accused of brutalising your supporters in Chitungwiza?

TSVANGIRAI: You know, I cannot answer for aMacheka’s actions, and let me tell you one thing, when you’re going out to look for a woman, you don’t ask for a political card or you don’t ask for their parents – you look at the woman and say I love this woman. The children cannot be answerable for their parents’ sins.

GONDA: I understand some of your supporters especially from Chitungwiza actually approached the party to talk about their concerns on this matter and that’s why I’m asking for your reaction.

TSVANGIRAI: Let me tell you one thing, I don’t answer for Mr. Macheka’s misdemeanors. I don’t answer for whatever he has done, it is not justified. Whatever he has done, if people are not happy with it, then they should judge Mr. Macheka and not me. I have met my future wife in totally different circumstances and I’m happy with her. How she’s going to deal with the people of Chitungwiza who are not happy with her father, that’s a different issue. But as far as I’m concerned we have people from different political affiliations who have married across the political divide – and I can tell you the Speaker of the House his wife is the daughter of Zanu PF’s Nyoni, and we can have so many of these. These are personal matters and I’m not accountable, of course, I’m sensitive to my supporters concerns but I cannot stand and start defending something I do not know about. All I know is that I’ve met a woman, I love her and I’m moving forward. If people want to make a judgement of my leadership   on that basis then we certainly cannot have that as a yard stick for measuring my leadership on that.

GONDA: You have an option of answering this question because it is your personal life as you said, but I have a duty to ask you as your public figure – given a chance to do this again or a second chance, are there things you would do differently in terms of identifying a partner and what would you avoid?

TSVANGIRAI: It doesn’t arise. I’ve found a partner. The fact that what mistakes I’ve done, whatever, life is about experience. If you were to repeat it, this is even a hypothetical question, if you were to re-live your life, there are certain things that you’d say I made a mistake here and there and you would correct – but unfortunately in life you don’t repeat life.

GONDA: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, thank you for taking time to talk to Voice of America’s Studio 7.

TSVANGIRAI: Alright, you’re welcome.

(Source)

MDC leader Welshman Ncube has disclosed that President Robert Mugabe sleeps at Sadc meetings, adding that at one time the 88-year-old Zanu PF leader had to be woken up by Zambian President Michael Sata at the just-ended regional summit in Maputo, Mozambique.

Ncube told party supporters at a campaign rally at Mbondweni shopping centre in Filabusi on Saturday that Mugabe had now become a liability to government and needed to be replaced urgently.

“The question is not about the retention of Mugabe, even at the Sadc meetings he sleeps. If you are strong and young, you sleep in a dignified way, but his whole body collapses when he sleeps,” said Ncube.

“You sleep to a point that you are woken up by an equally old Sata as early as 9am, who would tell other leaders that let us wake Mugabe he is sleeping. You think that person can rule Zimbabwe?

“We should not be talking about Zanu PF, the question is when we remove Mugabe, who we will replace him with? We need fresh leaders with power and strength who you do not have to look at and check if they are still awake.”

Turning to the contentious issue of devolution of power, Ncube said: “We do not have a constitution because they (Zanu PF) do not want devolution.

“We have spent three years on the constitution-making exercise and want to choose our leaders. There comes Mugabe and his Zanu PF who want to take power from the people.

“They (Zanu PF) have written theirs, that even if you smoke mbanje you can never come up with such a draft. If you are still dreaming, thinking you are still as strong as in the 1990s and we can give in to their demands, then that is delusion of grandeur, that will never happen,” said Ncube.

Contacted for comment, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday said: “We think it would be immature for us to respond to Ncube.

“He does not know what he wants, he has one issue, but the constitution is not made for one aspect. We do not attach any credence to his sentiments. He does not represent a majority of views in society.”

(Source)

President Robert Mugabe is one of the least popular leaders in Africa and is ranked lowly by his own people, according to a 2011 poll by the internationally esteemed Gallup World organisation.

Mugabe, Zanu (PF)’s First Secretary, is the party’s chosen candidate in the next general election, which he insists should be held this year despite strong local and international opposition. Gallup’s survey puts Mugabe third from the bottom on a list of 34 countries. Only Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and Angola’s Eduardo dos Santos, who came last, are worse than him.

Only 36% of the Zimbabwean population approves of Mugabe’s leadership, according to Gallup – a distant rating from the 81% enjoyed by Botswana’s Ian Khama, who is the most popular leader in southern Africa.

In Botswana, only 19% of the population disapproved of Khama’s leadership, while 73% gave the overall leadership the thumbs up.

“The President’s and Country Leadership ratings are the highest among surveyed countries in the SADC region, as well as being well above both the African and global average,” said Jeff Ramsay, the Botswana government spokesperson.

The annual survey, done through face-to-face interviews with citizens of the respective countries, determines popularity of national and institutional leaders of countries around the globe and sampled 142 countries.

While “the state of the local economy does have an influence on Africans’ assessments of their country’s leader, other factors are also at play” says Gallup.

In the majority of African countries, the rating of the heads of state was proportional to that of the national leadership, but, says Gallup, Zimbabwe was different.

The national leadership represented by top officials in the coalition government set up in early 2009 as a compromise between Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations, performed better than Mugabe.

Even though in Africa people tend to rate their head of state’s performance more highly than they rate that of the country’s general leadership, Zimbabwe is different, according to the survey findings.

“Zimbabwean residents give higher marks to the country’s general leadership than to the president. This suggests that they credit improvements in their lives more to the actions of the broader unity government in fighting hyperinflation than those of their head of state,’’ said Gallup.

Gallup says 43% of the adult population are unlikely to view Mugabe as a popular leader in the future, preferring the overall leadership instead, while those that would still approve him remained at 36%.

“Governance issues, such as the honesty of elections and the judicial system, seem to matter much more in the eyes of most Africans. Other factors, such as political apathy, may play a role as many may not be interested in political affairs and tacitly approve of their leader’s performance,” said Gallup.

Poll findings

Approve %

Botswana – Ian khama 81

Moz – Armando Guebuza 64

Mauritius – Navin Ramgoolam 67

Kenya – Mwai Kibaki 62

Swaziland – King Mswati III 56

Zambia – Rupiah Banda* 47

DRC – Joseph Kabila 43

Malawi – Bingu wa Mutharika* 36

Zimbabwe – Robert Mugabe 36

Senegal – Abdulaye Wade* 30

Angola – Eduardo dos Santos 16

*No longer in office

(Source)

People help the elderly and share beer, some provide transport for those who do not have their own… and the burden of living in mother Zimbabwe seems a little lighter.

This sense of community harmony is seen nowhere better than in rural communities, where families struggling to find the elusive US$ are bartering amongst themselves without fear of being cheated, which they almost certainly would be in the big towns.

Recently I met an old granny in Seke rural and we talked as long lost relatives, the warmth that the old woman exuded was so inviting that I found myself wishing she was a true blood relative. It felt good to be a Zimbabwean.

We shared lighter moments of a time in Zimbabwe when a billion dollars could not buy a loaf of bread. It was a funny discussion, where we both managed to skip the valleys in the country’s history and touched on the hills which culminated in the introduction of the US dollar.

Life she told me is now better as compared to the inflation era, when it was hard to save. Now she told me with a gallon of maize she can trade with the miller at the noisy grinding meal to have her maize ground into meal.

In order to go to school, her orphaned grandchildren work at school for the teachers and save the money for school fees.

She does not have to worry much over putting a meal on the table, for with her bare hands she has a flourishing garden where she grows vegetables that she sells in the community, the income she uses to buy the basics.

I was lulled by her frugal existence, that seems so peaceful and free of trouble, but then I recalled that it is one thing about being Zimbabwean, we take life too lightly.

(Source)

Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu yesterday castigated some sections of the media for “literally wishing President Robert Mugabe dead”.

In an interview Shamu, a journalist by profession, said he felt the media had not accorded the First Family the respect it deserves.

He said some sections of the media had also thrown away the country’s cultural norms by demonising their country, hence the warning that he would consider withdrawing licences.

“If you go all out to denigrate the person of the President, write speculative and negative stories on the President and the First Family without even verifying facts, one wonders whose interest you are serving,” he said.

“I’m not saying someone in Zanu PF or MDC can’t be wrong, but they can’t be wrong every day of their lives.

Are we saying the President can never be right? Is he always wrong? You (the private Press) always wish him dead and go on to regurgitate the same story over and over again. The hatred has been so blatant as to wish someone dead. In our culture, this not acceptable. The whole First Family is targeted, even the kids and this is not acceptable.”

Shamu, however, said: “I am passionate about the media, and I don’t want to give licences and take them away. I am, however, concerned by what is going on. As journalists you should understand that you are Zimbabweans first.

“I have no problem when public officials are criticised, but criticism should be constructive. It is the duty of journalists to highlight where officials have erred, but we should not denigrate our country and spread hate speech.”

(Source)

Zimbabweans have called on President Robert Mugabe and disputed leader of the smaller faction of the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) Arthur Mutambara to quit politics according to recent results of the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) poll.

Presenting the MPOI findings of the research held in July in five provinces, Principal Researcher, Stephen Ndoma, said when they asked respondents on what they would tell political figures if given a chance to advise them, most of the respondents said they would advise Mugabe to retire while he still commanded respect while the common message to Mutambara was to quit politics.

A Mashonaland Central male said:“I would tell him (Mugabe) that we appreciate all he did for the country since 1980 but that it is unacceptable for him to continue holding onto power. I would also ask him to follow Mandela’s (Nelson) footsteps and retire.”

A Masvingo male said: “I would tell Mutambara to quit politics because he is not representing anything or anyone. I would tell him that he is a parasite and should leave politics and ask him to become a politician first before he gets into politics.”

According to the findings, Matabeleland South described Mutambara as driven by greed and urged him to give the legitimate MDC president elected at a congress early this year, Welshman Ncube a chance to be deputy Prime Minister. Mutambara was also urged by the respondents to pursue his robotics career.

Mutambara has refused to step down as leader of the MDC party after he was ousted by Ncube at the party’s congress earlier this year, citing irregularities.

However some respondents said they were not aware of what Ncube stood for either while others said they did not know him. Others said he should join the larger faction of the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The research, whose purpose was to monitor the performance of the inclusive Government, also revealed that the common messages to Tsvangirai were that of encouragement and to develop the country.

One of the research respondents said about Tsvangirai: “If I happen to meet him, I would tell him to be strong and keep on fighting for people’s rights. He should not be afraid even if they continue intimidating him.”

On the Economic direction of the country, most respondents concurred that while things had stabilised after the formation of the Unity government, the economy was now again on a downturn agreeing that the USD the common used currency was hard to get.

One respondent noted: “Money is very difficult to get, you can go for two weeks without getting a mere rand (R1).”

Mass Public Opinion Institute is an Independent Research Institute in Zimbabwe. The research was carried out in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Masvingo, Matebeleland South and North.

(Source)

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