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France on Tuesday gave Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai a prestigious award for his efforts in fighting for democracy.

“On behalf of the President of the Republic (of France), we knight you, Commander of the Legion of Honour,” Francois Ponge, French ambassador to Zimbabwe said at the occasion to honour Tsvangirai at the French envoy’s residence in the capital Harare.

“The Legion of Honour is the highest French decoration.”

Ponge chronicled Tsvangirai’s rise from a trade union leader to his founding of the Movement for Democratic Change which has challenged President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party from 2000.

Tsvangirai went on to form a coalition government with the 88-year-old veteran leader after violence-marred 2008 elections.

“At the forefront of many struggles you have been imprisoned and you also organised the first mass ‘stay away’ in this country,” Ponge said.

“We all remember the photo that raised worldwide emotion where you were shown badly swollen leaving cells where you had been assaulted.”

“Those who assaulted you thought they would dissuade you from politics, sway you, bring you down, they forgot that by beating an iron you can forge a sword,” he added.

Police beat up Tsvangirai in 2007 for organising a pro-democracy prayer rally.

Tsvangirai dedicated the award to the people of Zimbabwe.

“This honour is not mine. I would like to dedicate this honour on those people, Zimbabweans who have struggled with us for true democracy for the objective of having freedom in this country,” he said.

The premier said Zimbabwe though independent from colonial rule in 1980, is still to enjoy full democracy.

“I give testimony to the subjection of this country to state sponsored violence, unnecessarily we have shed blood in this country. I am glad President Mugabe has stated quite openly that (there should be) no more shedding of blood,” he said.

“I believe that statement represent a very positive step of this transition.”

“I can assure you that as we move towards elections, let it be the end of acrimony, of hate speech, of reconciliation for the country.”

Ponge noted that Tsvangirai has joined individuals like Myanmar’s democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi who was decorated with France’s Legion of Honour award in recent months.

Zimbabwe is planning to hold a referendum after a draft constitution was written to allow fresh elections after deadly polls in 2008 left more than 200 MDC supporters dead due to political violence.

(Source)

Leaders of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) took a momentous decision in Maputo over the weekend – to shut the doors of the SADC Tribunal to the region’s citizens, preventing them from seeking justice and undermining the rule of law.

The shocking decision, which was taken at the annual summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in Maputo, not only left the Tribunal in limbo but also rendered it completely toothless by denying individual access to the court.

“The decision to deny the region’s inhabitants any access to the Tribunal is astounding and entirely without any lawful basis,” said Nicole Fritz, Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC). “Civil society groups were worried that SADC leaders would conspire to weaken the Tribunal but this is far worse than we had feared. SADC has destroyed it.”

The summit’s final communique explains that SADC leaders have “resolved that a new Protocol on the Tribunal should be negotiated and its mandate confined to interpretation of the SADC Treaty and Protocols relating to disputes between Member States.”

The original Tribunal Protocol made it clear that individuals also had access to the court – and all previous cases heard by the Tribunal had been brought by individuals.

“The decision flies in the face of the recommendations of both the SADC-instituted review of the Tribunal and SADC’s own Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General,” said Fritz. “It is also completely at odds with the best practice of other regional institutions and undermines the protection of human rights and hopes for future economic growth and development.”

The SADC Tribunal has been defunct for the past two years after SADC leaders demanded a review of its powers and functions, following a series of cases in which it had ruled against the Zimbabwean government.

Despite a campaign spearheaded by legal bodies, civil society organisations and individuals such as Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, SADC’s leaders decided not to the revive the Tribunal immediately and to ensure that in future it will be little more than a shell.

“Our leaders have shown their contempt for all of us in southern Africa and for the rule of law,” said Fritz. “Not only did they deny the region’s citizens access to the Tribunal but Member States almost never bring legal cases against each other so the court will be a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.”

(Source: via Skype)

MDC-T Treasurer General Roy Bennett has insisted that a controversial loan to the Robert Mugabe regime in 2008 secured the bloodstained election victory that year, also warning that a similar situation is very possible in future elections.

Bennett’s comments come as details continue to surface about the international investor behind the US$100 million dollar loan, which made headlines in 2008 after the internationally listed company behind it was accused of directly financing a dictatorship.

The story has now resurfaced after an investigation by the Mail & Guardian newspaper in South Africa discovered that a US institutional investor financed the 2008 loan.

The alarm was raised in 2008 when Anglo American Platinum ceded about a quarter of its Zimbabwean concession to the ZANU PF government, after threats and intimidation by the CIO. According to Bennett, who spoke to SW Radio Africa on Tuesday, Anglo American capitulated to the demands instead of exposing the extortion they were facing.

The ZANU PF government then awarded the platinum concessions to a group called Todal Mining, a joint venture between the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and a private company called Lefever Finance. This company in turn was owned by a shadowy group based in the British Virgin Islands and linked to controversial businessman and ZANU PF functionary Billy Rautenbach.

This all happened a week before the first round of presidential elections in 2008 in Zimbabwe, and it now appears this was part of a strategic game plan to secure ZANU PF’s hold on power. Bennett explained that the party was “up against a wall, the country was falling apart, and they did not have the money to ensure a victory.”

The elections went ahead but the results were withheld amid widespread reports that the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had won the crucial poll. ZANU PF however was busy implementing its plan and, less than two weeks after the vote, Lefever Finance was bought out by a shady outfit called the Central African Mining and Exploration Company (Camec), for about five million dollars. Camec, whose founder was reportedly allied to Rautenbach, also threw in the US$100 million dollar loan that became Mugabe’s lifeline.

The Mail &Guardian has since revealed that Camec did not actually have the money to buy out Lefever and instead issued and sold new shares. This side of the deal, which essentially financed the Mugabe regime, was kept hidden. But the Mail & Guardian has discovered that the shares were bought by the New York-based Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, founded by billionaire hedge fund manager and philanthropist Daniel Och.

The loan payment meanwhile coincided with the controversial docking of a Chinese ship filled with arms, which docked in South Africa with its deadly shipment bound for Zimbabwe. An international campaign to bar the ships progress then followed, and Camec found itself embroiled in allegations that it was involved in arms deals.

What followed in Zimbabwe was an exercise in systematic murder, torture, brutality, intimidation and harassment by ZANU PF, ahead of an election run off, which eventually went ahead with Mugabe as the single participant after Tsvangirai had no choice but to pull out of the vote.

Bennett said on Tuesday that without the loan things would have turned out very differently in Zimbabwe, saying ZANU PF did not have the finances to unleash its brutal campaign.

“You would never have been able to get the military and the militias to do what they did without money. You would never have been able to even start the ZANU PF election machinery without that money. All the heartache, pain, violence, intimidation, repression in 2008 is directly linked to that 100 million,” Bennett said.

Bennett meanwhile also warned that unless Zimbabweans “stand up and seize change,” the same scenario was likely to play out in the coming elections.

“I guarantee you the same thing is happening now. There are deals going on to fund the next elections in the same manner with same people being extorted through indigenisation. ZANU PF are masters at extorting people in a legitimate manner,” Bennett said.

(Source)

“I don’t know if it was right or if it was not right,” Mrs Tracey Mutinhiri said in an interview on SW Radio Africa recently. She was referring to the way she and her then husband Ambrose Mutinhiri took over Waltondale Farm in Marondera in 2002. That was quite a shocking admission for a woman who is not only a mother but until last year was also a Member of Parliament and the deputy Minister of Social Welfare. An inability to determine if a mob take- over of someone’s home is right or wrong paints a damning picture of Zimbabwe’s leadership.

Answering questions put to her by Lance Guma and his listeners, Mrs Mutinhiri chuckled when she explained that because the owners of the farm had resisted being evicted from their own home, her husband: “had to do it in a revolutionary way.” Mrs Mutinhiri excused this ‘revolutionary behaviour’ by saying that her ex-husband had been a soldier – as if that made mob rule right. Unfortunately Mrs Mutinhiri was not asked if it was right or wrong that the Cartwright’s furniture was thrown out of second floor windows and smashed on the ground below. Nor was Mrs Mutinhiri asked if she thought it was right or wrong that the owners of the farm never received a cent of compensation for the state’s compulsory acquisition of their home. Asked if the fact that she was still living on the seized farm put her in a difficult position now that she had become a member of the MDC since her expulsion from Zanu PF, Mrs Mutinhiri said it did not. She said that because she had been given an ‘offer letter’ by the Zanu PF government that made it alright. Mrs Mutinhiri has obviously yet to wrestle with her own conscience about the rights and wrongs of a government giving out ‘offer letters’ for other people’s private property; or the rights and wrongs of accepting such an ‘offer letter’ knowing it is for stolen property.

The more the interview went on the more Mrs Mutinhiri exposed herself. Asked if she knew about the reports of MDC activists, members and supporters being murdered and their bodies dumped in Marondera’s Wenimbi Dam between the two elections in 2008, Mrs Mutinhiri admitted that she did and that this was common knowledge in the district. Mrs Mutinhiri said you could visit any homestead in the province and hear stories of how people’s loved ones had disappeared into the depths of the dam. Mrs Mutinhiri did not explain why she had not spoken out at the time about the mass murders or of bodies being dumped; murders of people living in her own constituency. Instead she sidestepped the question saying that she feared for her own life and suggested she would have also been killed and dumped in the water if she had used the road going past Wenimbe Dam.

Mrs Mutinhiri said that after she was expelled from Zanu PF she decided to join the MDC because she “respected the core values” of the party. She did not explain why she had remained silent during all of the years when murder, torture and bloodshed have been going on all around her. Mrs Mutinhiri did not explain why she remained silent and inactive when hundreds of farm workers in her own constituency were being burned out of their homes and left unemployed and destitute in the forests and hills around Marondera. Throughout her interview with Lance Guma, Mrs Mutinhiri offered neither remorse nor acceptance of guilt, by commission or omission. And the MDC have embraced her?

(Source)

Zimbabwe Betrayed.
By Sandy Botha.

All the world leaders stood with pride,
On that day when Rhodesia died.
They congratulated themselves on a job well done,
As Zimbabwe was born with the rising sun.
And the drums beat so very loud,
As Mugabe addressed the eager crowd.
He said “we’ve won our freedom today”,
He said “I’m president and I’m here to stay”,
And he made wild promises about the way,
That Zimbabwe would change on it’s first day.
Towns were renamed and streets were too,
Every time an African leader passed through.
And the cheering of the crowd as they danced in delight,
As Mugabe lit the heroes acre light.
Mercedes were ordered they couldn’t have enough,
They knew they deserved them the fight had been tough,
The West would pay for them so they didn’t need to worry,
The aid was pouring in they had to spend it in a hurry.
Mugabe was important now, he’d even met the Queen,
And of the whole world there was little left unseen.
But still Mugabe felt ill at ease,
What if someone else his power did seize.
The Matabele leaders had to go first,
It was for their blood that Mugabe did thirst.
And the whites that remained were a thorn in his side,
What to do about them he needed to decide.
But what had actually changed in the ordinary mans lives?
As a future for their children they did strive.
Inflation had spiralled out of control,
And on these people it took its toll.

And when there was a rumbling of discontent,
It was always the army that in he sent,
He silenced the people who didn’t agree,
That he’d done a good job since Zimbabwe was free.
He had to find someone else to blame,
So he started his land seizure game,
So he’s kicked the white farmers off the land,
So many farms now idle they stand.
Farm workers jobs have all gone now,
And they wonder how they’ll make a living somehow.
And now as children starve and die,
The people of Zimbabwe hang their heads and cry.
Elections were held but what a farce,
The results were in before the first vote was cast.
And as food aid continues to pour in,
Mugabe commits the ultimate sin.
For as people get to the front of the queue,
They have to prove that to Mugabe they’re true.
For if they don’t have a ZANU PF card.
Then its empty handed that they leave the yard.
And the leaders of the world stand by and sigh,
As they see the people of Zimbabwe die.
Why can’t they admit that they made a mistake,
Why can’t they do something for Zimbabwe ‘s sake.
And I wonder what stories the old people tell,
Of the time before they were living in hell.
Of a time when work was plentiful,
And the children were happy and their bellies were full.
Of days before they lived under a dictator so cruel,
In the days before they fought for Majority Rule…

Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.

Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Tendai Biti, says his country has a mixed record in terms of economic policies during a three-year power-sharing unity government. He also warns there has been no progress in terms of preparing better elections, which in the past have been marred by widespread violence and fraud.

At the Atlantic Council think tank Thursday, Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Tendai Biti, pleaded for outside help, both in terms of improving electoral conditions before it is too late, and in helping Zimbabwe’s economy.

Economic successes he outlined included dropping the Zimbabwean dollar as the official currency, which helped tame massive hyperinflation, and removing previous government restrictions such as price controls.

“The biggest thing which we did was to restore trust in the market, because we have been predictable, we have been consistent, and I have said if there is anyone who is going to push me to carry out a measure that I do not agree with, if anyone is going to force me to retain the Zimbabwean dollar, I will quit and go back to my law firm,” Biti said.

A current power struggle concerns so-called indigenization policies, pushed forward by Zimbabwe’s black empowerment ministry.

Black Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, from President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, said earlier this month the government had taken majority ownership of all foreign-owned mining companies. But his claim was immediately disputed by Mugabe’s political rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The prime minister is the head of the Movement for Democratic Change, of which Biti is the secretary-general.

Biti said that while he understood the aim of indigenization and what he called “resource nationalism,” in order to give citizens sustainable access to the wealth of their country, he called its implementation in Zimbabwe a “disaster.”

“You are just transferring shares from a few rich, white people, to a few rich, black people so it is not democratization. It is just elite transfer. So it was not well thought out. And the true due process is not sufficiently being followed, so I think it is a program that we need to go back to the drawing board and then say genuinely how can we empower people,” Biti said.

He listed other challenges including massive debt, very little foreign direct investment and much lower diamond-mining revenues than the government was expecting.

In terms of politics, Biti warned that if the current opportunity for successful elections is not met, any economic progress Zimbabwe has made could be erased.

Elections are expected by next year, but 88-year-old President Mugabe, in power for more than three decades and once again a candidate, has said he wants to hold them as soon as possible.

Biti had harsh words for President Mugabe.

“If you have a party that is placing its hopes in somebody who is 88 years old, I think there is something wrong with that. If you are 88 years, you belong to a people’s home, you belong to a wheelchair. To place the fate of a country to an 88-year-old, with great respect, I am not a member of ZANU-PF, but with great respect, it is an insult to present generations. We need renewal in Zimbabwe,” Biti said.

Mugabe has said he is still leading Zimbabwe to correct wrongs from the brutal colonial past of what was then white-minority rule Rhodesia.

(Source)

Howzit

I am very sorry to drop this all on you… With immediate effect, posting to this site will be put on hold as I have other priorities right now. My studies are swiftly approaching the taking of numerous examinations and I need to put my head down and do the graft.

I am not withdrawing completely, but am suspending operations on this page for the time being as I need to use the time elsewhere.

Hopefully you all will understand and appreciate the decision I have made.

Take care.

‘debvhu

The documentary, “Robert Mugabe… what happened?” directed by Simon Bright and produced by Michael Auret, had its World Premiere as the Opening Night film of the Encounters South Africa International Documentary Festival in Cape Town and went on to be the most watched film at the 2011 event, with additional screenings being added to accommodate the demand.

Billed as the definitive account of Mugabe’s life, it dramatically illustrates his successful liberation and development of the country but also his ruthless and cunning retention of power at all costs.

The film moves onto the Durban International Film Festival on the 23rd July then onto the Tri-Continental Film Festival in Johannesburg in September, with a limited theatrical run in South Africa, a UK premier and various international film festivals screenings scheduled for coming months.

Experts on Zimbabwe interviewed in the documentary include Trevor Ncube, Geoff Nyarota, Lovemore Maduku, Simba Makoni and the recently deceased Edgar Tekere in what was sadly his last ever interview.

Comments from audience members after premier at Encounters

“An amazing film, quite hard hitting… the title of the film is quite apt, what exactly happened to this revolutionary? Its very difficult for many  people who grew up in the apartheid era to reconcile the man that Mugabe is today with the hero that supported the liberation movements in South Africa and other countries. It’s a powerful film, and it’s quite sad as well to see what he’s doing to his people… It’s a film that more people need to see… maybe it’ll help South Africans understand why the Zimbabweans are in our country, like we were in their country when we needed help”

Thabo Bopape, C-TV

“The filmmakers took the question that is on everybody’s mind around the world and made an entire film about it, which is something that I think a lot of people haven’t had the courage to do because to film in Zimbabwe is something where you’re risking your life just to go in there as a journalist. Throughout the film I was wondering how they got all those interviews without risking their lives although they probably did. I thought it was a really great look at the personal life of Mugabe, because you read articles about the destruction of Zimbabwe and it just doesn’t make any sense, so it was really interesting to get that inside look. I left the film with a lot more questions than I went in with, and that’s a good thing. I thought it was funny at times, really interesting, and a lot of great music”

Laura Gamse, director.

President Mugabe says the ZANU PF 12th National People’s Conference slated for Bulawayo in December is the party’s last crucial meeting before national elections.

Speaking to journalists on arrival at the Harare International Airport yesterday from a visit to the Far East, the President said the conference was just as good as the party’s national congress.

“Yes, we are organising for the conference. It is a very important conference as we organise towards national elections. After that conference we will not have another conference before elections so it is an important conference -just as good as a congress.”

At congress, the party either elects new members of the Presidium and Politburo or endorses the current leadership.

Last year ZANU PF endorsed President Mugabe as the party’s candidate for national elections that were supposed to be held this year.

At the Bulawayo conference, sources said, ZANU PF is highly likely to endorse President Mugabe’s candidature for next year’s national elections.

President Mugabe, who is also the Head of State and Government and Commander in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said he also had an opportunity to see her daughter Bona who is studying in Hong Kong during his visit to the Far East.

Asked about how he felt during the two days that he has been away President Mugabe who was I jovial mood said:

“I go away for two days, resting seeing my daughter two days and you think I have been nostalgic about having left home. East, West, home, home, home is best.”

The ZANU PF conference which is expected to be attended by 6 000 delegates is going to be held from December 6 to 10.

ZANU PF secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo yesterday said preparations for Bulawayo watershed conference were on course.

The party had come up with a conference co-ordinating committee to deal with conference preparations.

“Preparations for the conference are now at an advanced stage and we are meeting every month to discuss issues to do with the conference.

“We met last Thursday as the conference co-ordinating committee chaired by the national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo,” he said.

Cde Gumbo said the party’s information sub-committee would agree on the theme of the conference in two weeks time.

The theme, he said, would be forwarded to the conference co-ordinating committee that would in turn submit it to the Politburo for consideration or approval.

“We also discussed on logistical issues like accommodation, transport, entertainment and health.”

Cde Gumbo said they were all out to make the conference a resounding success and said liberation movements from the region were expected to attend.

Early this month, ZANU PF trained its members drawn from all the country’s provinces on protocol as part of the conference preparations. Last year the party ZANU PF successfully held its 11th National People’s Congress in Mutare.

The conference resolved to forge ahead with the indigenisation programme meant to correct historical injustices caused by colonialism.

Government has since gazetted regulations on empowerment and companies have been submitting plans on how they intend to comply with the regulations that requires that 51 percent shareholding in companies with a minimum capitalisation of US$500000 be controlled by locals.

(Source)

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