Moyo Ouster Final Straw For MDC?

OPINION – Yesterday's nullification by the Supreme Court of the election of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo, and the arrest of Energy Minister Elton Mangoma may be the last straw that breaks the Inclusive Government

Having stuffed the Supreme Court with cronies, all that Zanu (PF) needs to do is to get its henchmen, like Jonathan Moyo, or Attorney General Johannes Tomana, to lodge a case in the courts and wait for it to be invoked as and when it was needed.

The Supreme Court action was now needed because Zanu (PF) had exhausted all its excuses for not implementing the Global Political Agreement, with South Africa now insisting on free and fair elections. So the Zanu (PF) politicians masquerading as judges have given Zanu (PF) another life.  Moyo carried aloft by colleagues after his election as Speaker of the House of Assembly.

They must also be sleeping with one eye open . It must be remembered that Zanu (PF) did not go into the agreement willingly, but only because the African Union had refused to recognise Mugabe’s inauguration after a flawed election.

Power-sharing negotions took more than a year because of Zanu (PF) stalling , and when it was finally signed it had been so watered down that most in MDC would not have accepted it, but for the sake of peace the MDC joined the government.

But despite the compromise the last two years have been anything but peaceful, with continued police harassment of the MDC officials and supporters in the villages and urban areas, beatings and arrests, denial of bail and refusal to recognise the authority of MDC Ministers.

In the meantime corruption has been going on, and has been exposed in the mining and marketing of diamonds, the economy has continued to stagnate as nobody will invest in such an uncertain economy – except crooked businessmen in partnership with Zanu (PF) who are now controlling the little economy that is there.

But no measures have been taken against the corrupt; token trials have been held and the culprits let off, while villagers have continued to be fed lies that their misery is the result of international sanctions against Zimbabwe – when they know very well that the sanctions are against the few individuals in Zanu (PF) who are known to be the worst abusers of human rights.

Removal of sanctions on them or their companies would do nothing to uplift the economy which is still at a level that is lower than what it was in the 1950s, because of Zanu (PF) corruption, a land reform that has not resulted in productive usage of land, and industrial policy that has discouraged investment.

But the MDC has all along been saying, let us create the right conditions for free and fair elections. Only when we have such elections and a legitimate government would Zimbabwe start to create the right environment for development, but Zanu (PF) has done everything in its power to put off such an eventuality.

But Zanu (PF) also put up a good pretence of wanting to legitimise itself and open up democratic space in the hope that sanctions on its most cruel leaders would be lifted. The SADC and African Union have not been helpful in this regard, doing nothing to force Mugabe to adhere to the agreement he signed three years ago and going along with his sanctions rouse.

The African Union facilitator, South Africa, however, seemed to have finally, rather late, woken up to the Zanu (PF) obfuscation and last week announced that Zimbabwe must hold internationally monitored free and fair elections.

SA’s bold statement and the announcements by the European Union and the United States that they were not going to remove the sanctions against Mugabe have combined to force Mugabe to play his final shameless card.

The purported dethronement of Speaker of the House, Lovemore Moyo and the arrest of Mr Mangoma are the last shameless acts of a desperate regime whose sole motivation is to retain power.

The two actions were tantamount to declaring war on the MDC and have rightly been described by the MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai as indicating a clear and present danger to the transitional government.

The Prime Minister noted yesterday how this month had seen an intensification of vicious assaults on democracy and the people of Zimbabwe, intended to reverse the people’s gains arising from the March 2008 election and to promote total chaos and fear in the country.

Violence

From January 2011 up to today, we have witnessed an increase in incidences of violence, including the destruction of people’s homes and property in Mbare and the displacement of 1 200 MDC cadres, massive deployment of soldiers to terrorise innocent civilians in the countryside, and people being force-marched to attend rallies.

In Masvingo for example, war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda, has wrecked havoc by terrorising innocent villagers; many gripped by fear were finding homes in the mountains and the forests and others in Nyanga had crossed into neighbouring Mozambique for their safety.

Banning and Disruption of Meetings

With the connivance of the police, MDC meetings have been banned, even at a time when the MDC is preparing for its Congress. Seventy-three meetings have either been banned or disrupted by the police in the last three weeks, including Congress preparatory meetings and other lawful gatherings by civic groups such as the ZCTU, WOZA, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the International Socialist Organisation.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai yesterday called this an informal attempt to ban the MDC and democratic groups and the people’s freedoms of assembly, movement and association.

Hate Speech

The Herald and ZBC had also seen a massive and unbridled upsurge in hate speech and propaganda and attacks on Tsvangirai, MDC government ministers and civic society, discarding all basic norms of decent journalism and flouting provisions of the GPA and the 2008 agreement by political parties demanding respect and fair coverage by the public media.

The victims of violence, including councillor Gorekore – whose house was destroyed and who was arrested and is still on remand, a Budiriro activist who was shot in the leg, House of Assembly Member Douglas Mwonzora and 24 others, are all still languishing in custody.

Last month Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 others were arrested for watching a video and charged with treason, compounded by the unrelenting invocation of section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which has meant that, even where bail has been granted, the people have remained in detention.

This is so despite that 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 brought against the known murderers of Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika and another 200 victims of the 2008 violence.

Elton Mangoma

The arrest at about 0845hrs in the morning yesterday of Minister of Energy, Elton Mangoma, by plain clothes policemen at his office at Chaminuka Building, was said by Tsvangirai to be nothing but a continuation of the calculated assault on the people of Zimbabwe, total disregard to the basic tenets of decency and an assault on the GPA.

Mangoma, just like Mwonzora, Gwisai and Rodgers Tazviona, were all innocent victims of a barbaric and senseless dictatorship, said Tsvangirai.

Theft and Corruption

For a long time, the MDC side of government had demanded transparency, especially on the issue of diamonds, but in the past few weeks, various concessions had been granted to new companies, including Anjin, which has been mining for more than 18 months in partnership with the police and the army, and which had not remitted a cent to Treasury.

How a State organ such as the army could be involved in mining activities, said Tsvangirai, was just as surprising as how new concessions could have been granted without the scrutiny of Cabinet committees. The recent public spat between the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Mines and Mining Development over the $313 million was a reflection of 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, said the PM, adding that Zanu PF corruption infested and infected every aspect of the economy and Government.

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, he said.

The arrest of Minister Mangoma was an attempt to cloud and obscure the massive corruption in Zimbabwe – an attempt to embarrass the MDC which would not be accepted by the people of Zimbabwe who are neither foolish nor cowardly, he said.

Speaker of Parliament

The Supreme Court judgment reversing the lawful election of Lovemore Moyo as the Speaker of Parliament, despite the election being confirmed by the election officer and Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, in his affidavit filed in court, was 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.

It ignored 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, and it was another in a long line of dubious pro-executive decisions made in this era.

The MDC would not accept the decisions of some Zanu PF politicians masquerading as judges, the Tsvangirai, adding that Zanu PF was 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, and 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."

He warned that if there was a breakdown in the relationship of the parties in the GPA, it was important for the parties to agree on a clean divorce.

The road-map that President Zuma has committed himself to draw up was the only solution to this madness, said Tsvangirai.

He and the MDC would 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."

International Voices

A chorus of voices from MDC activists in the UK and the US, the UK’s former UN Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, the House of Lords is sounding exasperation with the Mugabe regime.

The House of Lords noted the uncertainty about possible elections in Zimbabwe and the telltale signs that Mugabe and his cronies are "back to their old tricks" with reports of violence and civil society warnings of a bloodbath similar to that of 2008.

MDC-USA said it was appalled at the turn of events in Zimbabwe and called upon the GPA guarantors; the African Union, SADC and President Zuma in particular to prevail upon President Mugabe and his dogs of war to stop their wanton and barbaric behavior for the good of Zimbabwe and the region.

Lorna Chivandire, an executive member of the MDC South West District in the UK urged the MDC leadership to stand resolute in the fight against the forces of darkness.

Asked by John Sucker on Hard Talk whether the UN’s responsibility to protect should not be invoked in Libya, said the same should be said for Sudan, North Korea, Burma, Eastern Congo, and Zimbabwe. – Changezimbabwe