The month of March, like the month of October, is historically a cause of pain to the people of Zimbabwe. Since January 2011, we have seen an intensification of vicious assaults on democracy and the people of Zimbabwe. These assaults have manifested themselves in many heinous forms, but the intention is the same; to reverse the people’s gains arising from the March 2008 election and promote total chaos and fear in the country. The fact of the matter is that Zimbabwe is in a crisis.
From January 2011 up to today, we have seen an increase in incidences of violence and assaults on the people of Zimbabwe. This has included the destruction of people’s homes and property in Mbare and the displacement of 1 200 MDC cadres. The violence in Mbare coincided with the massive deployment of soldiers to terrorise innocent civilians in the countryside. People are being force-marched to attend rallies and there has been an upsurge in cases of intimidation and State-sponsored violence in the countryside.
Every Thursday and Sunday in various parts of the country, people are being force-marched to Zanu PF meetings. In Masvingo for example, war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda, has wrecked havoc by terrorising innocent villagers. Fear and terror are gripping the people with many finding home in the mountains and the forests. In Nyanga, some villagers have crossed into neighbouring Mozambique for their safety.
Banning and Disruption of meetings
This violence, with the connivance of the police, has led to the “banning” of MDC meetings even at a time when we are preparing for our Congress. In the past three weeks, 73 meetings have either been banned or disrupted by the police. These include our own Congress preparatory meetings as well as other lawful gatherings by civic groups such as the ZCTU, WOZA, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the International Socialist Organisation.
What has happened is an informal attempt to ban the MDC, democratic groups and the people’s freedoms of assembly, movement and association. In short, this is pure and naked politicide.
Similarly, there has been massive and unbridled hate speech and propaganda in the public media. Throughout the past two months, there has been intensification on the attack of myself, the party I lead, our government ministers and civic society. The Herald and the ZBC have become the unashamed mouthpieces of a fading and expiring party. All basic norms of decent journalism have been discarded.
The provisions of the GPA and the agreement by political parties on 11 June 2008 demanding respect and fair coverage by the public media have been flouted. Political losers masquerading as commentators have been brought back to unleash venom on the people of Zimbabwe. Arrests and persecution of democratic forces. The past few months have seen calculated arrests, persecution and selective application of the rule of law.
In Mbare, the victims of violence, including councillor Gorekore whose house was destroyed, was himself and his wife arrested and are still on remand. In Budiriro one MDC activist was shot in the leg. Hon Mwonzora and 24 others are in custody even though they were victims of the violence unleashed by Hubert Nyanhongo, the same character who was behind the violence in Harare South in 2008.
In January, Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 others were arrested for watching a video and six remain languishing in Chikurubi Maximum security prison. To compound matters, there has been the unrelenting invocation of section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which has meant that even where bail has been granted, people have remained in detention.
But Zanu PF cadres and securocrats who murdered people in the run-up to the 27 June election are roaming free and no criminal charges have been pressed against the murderers of Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika and the other 200 victims of the 2008 violence.
Hon Elton Mangoma
Around 0845hrs this morning, Hon Minister Elton Mangoma, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, was picked up by plain clothes policemen at his office at Chaminuka building. His arrest is nothing but a continuation of the calculated assault on the people of Zimbabwe. The fact that a Cabinet minister can be arrested by a constable is a reflection of Zanu PF’s total disregard to the basic tenets of decency. His arrest is an assault on the GPA. Hon Mangoma, just Like Hon Mwonzora, Munyaradzi Gwisai and Hon Rodgers Tazviona, are all innocent victims of a barbaric and senseless dictatorship.
Theft and corruption
For a long time, our side of government has demanded transparency, especially on the issue of diamonds. In the past few weeks, Zimbabweans have been shocked that there have been various concessions granted to companies other than Mbada and Canadile. These include Anjin, which has been mining for more than 18 months in partnership with the police and the army and has not remitted any cent to Treasury.
It is obviously surprising how a State organ such as the ZNA could be involved in mining activities. It is also surprising how new concessions could have been granted without the scrutiny of Cabinet committees.
The public spat between the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Mines and Mining Development over the $313 million reflects the lack of transparency in respect of diamond revenues. That the Finance Minister has to ask for details of diamond sales when the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority should be at the centre of every sale reflects the opaqueness surrounding the sale of diamonds.
Indeed, Zanu PF corruption infests and infects every aspect of our economy and Government. To take example amongst hundreds, in the past year, more than three official complaints of corruption have been made to the police against Minister Ignatius Chombo and yet the police have refused to investigate these allegations.
The arrest of Minister Mangoma is an attempt to cloud and obscure the massive corruption in Zimbabwe. It is an attempt to embarrass the people’s party of excellence.
The people of Zimbabwe are not foolish.
The people of Zimbabwe are not cowards.
The people of Zimbabwe will not accept this.
Speaker of Parliament
Today, the Supreme Court handed down a judgement reversing the lawful election of Hon Lovemore Moyo as the Speaker of Parliament. The fact of the matter is that the election of the Speaker was lawful and legitimate, a fact confirmed by the election officer and Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma in his affidavit filed in court. What is common cause is that Parliament is a separate body, with its own rules and regulations and the courts should not interfere with other arms of the State namely, the Legislature.
This decision is a clear reflection of the state of affairs on the Bench. A judiciary which in the post-Dumbutshena and post-Gubbay era has largely discredited itself by becoming a willing appendage of Zanu PF. Dubious and pro-executive decisions have been made in this era.
We will not accept the decisions of some Zanu PF politicians masquerading as judges. Zanu PF is trying to use the courts to subvert and regain what it lost in an election. As far as the MDC is concerned, these blatant attacks by a partisan police Commissioner-General, some sections of the judiciary and the Attorney-General represent a clear and present danger to the continued existence of this transitional government. This agenda has the overt support of a section in Zanu PF which was behind the violence in the country in the run-up to the 27 June 2008 sham election.
Indeed the actions of this section of Zanu PF are not just to cause pain and suffering to the people of Zimbabwe, the workers, civic society and business, but are a vicious insult to President Zuma, SADC leaders and the entire people of the African continent. African people crave for peace, stability and democracy and Zanu PF represents the complete opposite of this.
If there is a breakdown in the relationship of the parties in the GPA, it is important for the parties to agree on a clean divorce. As far as we are concerned, the roadmap that President Zuma has committed himself to draw up is the only solution to this madness.
I, as Morgan Tsvangirai, and the people’s party that I lead, will remain focussed on the struggle for democratic change in the country. We will not be swayed by desperate actions by a desperate political party. No amount of lies, violence, persecution or wrongful prosecutions will deter us from the struggle to deliver real, positive change to the People of Zimbabwe.
I thank you
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The Real Change Times is the official mouthpiece of the Movement for Democratic Change.