By Mandivamba Rukuni
by Mandivamba Rukuni
In a country where the Rule of Law is no longer operational and the security forces operate with impunity, every citizen is vulnerable. A chance remark in a taxi, at a pub or even at a funeral could lead to arrest and possible incarceration in one of the country’s disgracefully maintained jails. Those who stand up for their rights and join demonstrations or canvass for political parties other than ZANU-PF face possible arrest, severe beatings and torture in custody.
An analysis of events in Zimbabwe during May demonstrates that President Mugabe and Zanu-PF are gearing up for elections – which could be held later this year but will more likely take place during the first or second quarter of 2013.
The characteristic warning signs are all there, as the articles collected for the month clearly indicate.
November saw news on Zimbabwe dominated by the on-going political differences between the Zimbabwe's three main parties. More than a year after it was signed, the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which was meant to address the many crises facing Zimbabwe, has yet to be fully implemented. In amongst the many media reports discussing the persistent tensions and debates between the parties, there were other reports reflecting the unavoidable reality that Zimbabwe is still a nation in turmoil.
The document published as the successor to STERP, the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme, is the MTP, or Medium Term Plan, the Zero Draft version of which has now been released by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion.
"There is nothing in the GPA that has not been done by ZANU PF, nothing at all. We have fulfilled everything that the GPA wanted us to fulfill": Robert Mugabe, 24 October 2009
October has been a month characterised by violence, lawlessness, corruption and the complete abuse of power for partisan and personal objectives.
We've just received information that MDC employee Pascal Gwezere was abducted today by armed men driving an Isuzu twin-cab in the Mufakose area of Harare at 6.45 pm tonight. We have confirmed that this is true, but apart from those details this is all the information we have at this point.
Earlier today the MDC issued a press release describing how their security administrator, Edith Mashayire, was almost abducted by four armed men, also driving an Isuzu twin-cab. They had guns and claimed she was 'under arrest'.
Special Assignment's programme "Zimbabwe's Blood Diamonds" will be broadcast on Tuesday 27 October at 8.30 pm on SABC 3 (South Africa)
Broadcast: Special Assignment - SABC 3
The month of September began with Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu PF) announcing that Zimbabwe was withdrawing from the SADC Tribunal, and declaring that the Zimbabwe Government would not be bound by decisions made there. Chinamasa's argument justifying his decision has been widely challenged in a range of legal opinions from credible organisations. It is by now widely known that the SADC Tribunal ruled in favour of 79 white commercial farmers, finding that the government's seizure of their farms was racist, unlawful and violated their human rights.
August saw the continuation of the chaos in Zimbabwe, with ever more breaches of the GPA being recorded, the majority of which fell into the following categories:
- wanton politically motivated violence, or violence driven by politicians or petty officials,
- harassment, and deprivation of freedom, of individuals through contrived arrests on spurious charges,
- widespread corruption involving senior public and uniformed figures,
- the deprivation of the right to Freedom of Expression, and the abuse thereof,
- violent, unconstitutional, invasions and seizures of property and …
It was this time, Africa Day 25 May 2005, that Operation Murambatsvina was orchestrated by the Mugabe Government.
It was as cold then as it is today, with temperatures getting to well nigh freezing at night, when over 300,000 already impoverished Zimbabweans were thrown forcibly from their homes and forced to spend many nights out in the open.
Their homes had been razed to the ground by fire or bulldozers, their scanty property scattered in the dirt and Operation "Drive out the filth" took shape in Zimbabwe.
No one was safe from the cruel blitz: in just one week twenty …
Zimbabwe's prisoners are suffering untold horrors in Zimbabwe's jails. The State is locking them up in hell-holes, condemning them to slow starvation and possible death from nutrition-related illnesses or the vast array of other diseases they are exposed to through unhygienic conditions.
It is more than a month since the elections were held on March 29th 2008, and we are still waiting for the Presidential results.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF has embarked on a campaign of terror and intimidation in the rural areas against opposition supporters. There have been at least ten murders so far.
A report released on the 25 April 2005 by the 'Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)' details violence and torture against 62 people they have treated, over a period of the three days between April 22 to April 24.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has today called for a general strike in Zimbabwe starting tomorrow (Tuesday, 15 April 2008) after the high court refused to order the immediate release of the presidential election results. Take Action!.
(extract) A 22 year old male from Musaruro Village, Mudzi - This is what he said what happened to him: "The ZPF youth came to my shop on Friday 11 April 2008 at 9pm, broke the door down and dragged me out of the building.
Issue 20: 19 March 2008
Mugabe amends electoral laws
With Zimbabwe's crucial 29 March elections just over a week away, President Mugabe has once again backtracked on changes agreed to at the South African-brokered talks between the government opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Under the agreed electoral laws, to avoid intimidation of voters, police were not allowed within 100 metres of a polling station.
Issue 19: 11 March 2008
Observer mission selection criticised as partisan
A Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer mission comprising about 80 officials from the region was due to arrive in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare on Sunday - 19 days ahead of the March 29 elections.
SADC said it expected to have around 150 observer delegates in place before the combined presidential, parliamentary, senate and local government elections.
South Africa is due to send an observer mission with 54 members drawn from government, parliament, the …
Issue 18: 5 March 2008
March 2008 Elections - A climate of confusion and fear
News24 (SA) sums up Zimbabwe's electoral landscape with the following comments: "Voters in Zimbabwe's (forthcoming) elections ...will have to puzzle through a blur of alliances, divisions and sub-divisions among the political parties...
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the official election administrator, has now published a list of 779 candidates for the 210 seats in the lower house of assembly, and 197 aspirants for the 60 elected seats in the upper house, the senate, …
Issue 17: 25 February 2008
In an opinion piece titled "Mugabe's Rigging Nightmare", political commentator John Makumbe from the University of Zimbabwe points out he has "consistently insisted that Mugabe and Zanu PF have always rigged the elections in order to 'win' and retain power since 1985."
This has been confirmed by comprehensive reports and analyses of the regime's election rigging modus operandi compiled by civil society organisations and the opposition.
Issue 16: 28 January 2008
The announcement by President Mugabe that the elections will be held on March 29 has received widespread condemnation. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the date is a blow to current mediation efforts by South African President Thabo Mbeki to end the country's economic and political turmoil.
Eddie Cross, an economic adviser to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, writes in his weekly letter that the February 8 nomination date - which should in fact be during March - was selected very carefully by the regime and is a cunning …