Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and first lady Grace celebrates his 83rd birthday. The country is preparing for elections in March of 2008. President Mbeki of South Africa has recently held talks with the President in Harare.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
Prospective voters have a right to inspect the voters’ roll without hindrance in terms of the law and any queries should be brought to the attention of the relevant authorities, Registrar-General Mr Tobaiwa Mudede said yesterday.
"The law is clear that any registered voter can come and inspect the voters’ roll free of charge without hindrance. We will take action against that particular (hindering) individual officer because we do not want him or her to spoil the exercise," Mr Mudede.
He said there was no secrecy about the voters’ roll and those who had alleged that the roll was in shambles had failed to prove the allegations.
Mr Mudede was briefing journalists following numerous inquiries to his office over the inspection of the voters’ roll.
This followed a consent judgment delivered by High Court judge Justice Tendai Uchena on Tuesday in which he ruled that every person in Zimbabwe was entitled to exercise the right to inspect the voters’ roll in terms of the Electoral Act.
In the court case heard in chambers, an MDC aspiring councillor for Mt Pleasant, Mr Brighton Chiwola, had filed a lawsuit against the Registrar-General of Voters, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the constituency registrar for Harare alleging that he had been hindered from inspecting the voters’ roll.
Justice Uchena ruled that an inspection that exceeds five minutes should only be done with prior consent with the respondents.
Mr Mudede, however, said since aspiring candidates took more than five minutes to inspect the voters’ roll, it was prudent for them to do so at the constituency registrar or RG’s offices.
Aspiring candidates take time because they want to ensure the names of their nominators are on the roll.
The minimum number of nominators is 10 while the maximum is 15.
Mr Mudede said in conducting the voters’ roll inspection, officers used their discretion in terms of the law.
"Some of the aspiring candidates resist the advice to go and do the inspection at the constituency registrar or RG’s offices, saying ‘it is my right and I will check it here’ while inconveniencing others."
Mr Mudede said inspection of the voters’ roll, which ends today, was going on well with thousands of prospective voters thronging the inspection centres.
The RG’s Office has established 5 000 centres in all wards in the 10 provinces for voters to inspect the roll while the ZEC has deployed voter educators to apprise people on voting.
Meanwhile, the ZEC will accept nomination papers from aspiring candidates even if their political parties are using the same names and logos.
There have been fears from some quarters that the use of similar names and logos by some political parties, like the MDC factions, would confuse voters.
Nomination courts will sit across the country tomorrow to receive nominations for presidential, parliamentary and council candidates.
The courts will sit from 10am to 4pm.
Political parties are today expected to finalise selection of their candidates ahead of nomination.
In an interview, ZEC director of public relations Mr Shupikai Mashereni said it was the duty of political parties to educate their supporters on party names and symbols, not the commission’s.
"ZEC will accept anyone who comes with his papers in order and meeting the legal requirements. Legally, we do not know about the existence of factions," said Mr Mashereni said.
"The Electoral Act explains requirements for one to con-
test an election. Once one meets those requirements, we do not look at other issues," he added.
The MDC factions are set to use the same name in next month’s harmonised presidential, Senate, House of Assembly and local government elections.
There are, however, indications from the Morgan Tsvangirai-led camp that they would use unique symbols to differentiate them from the Mutambara faction.
The faction’s spokesperson, Mr Nelson Chamisa, on Tuesday hinted on the introduction of "distinct" symbols.
"The symbols we are going to use would be different from any other political party and they would not cause any confusion. They will be distinct," Mr Chamisa said.
He said the symbols "would be unveiled at the right time".
Yesterday, spokesperson for the Arthur Mutambara-led faction Mr Gabriel Chaibva claimed their camp was the real MDC and would stick to the opposition’s party’s traditional symbol.
"We are the MDC --- the one you knew from the beginning to today. Our people will definitely know who to vote for," he said.
He admitted that the use of identical names and symbols "may regrettably" cause confusion.
Since the October 2005 split, the opposition factions have stuck to the same name and symbols, which they used in the Budiriro by-election.
Meanwhile, the Police National Election Command Committee has put in place adequate measures to deal with election fraud, impersonation, bribery, intimidation and any acts that are likely to interfere with the electoral process.
Head of the committee Senior Assistant Commissioner Faustino Mazango said this in Harare yesterday while addressing senior officers on the force’s state of preparedness ahead of the March polls.
"In guaranteeing free and fair elections, as the Zimbabwe Republic Police we should take steps to prevent election fraud, impersonation, bribery, intimidation and any acts deemed to interfere with the electoral process," Snr Asst Comm Mazango said.
He said it was important for the force to ensure that the polls are free of violence.
"Let me say as commanders our onerous challenge is to ensure the run-up to the elections is well policed. There should be strict adherence to the provisions of the Public Order and Security Act inasfar as holding of political meetings is concerned," he said.
Snr Asst Comm Mazango urged regulating authorities to make it clear to political parties on laws regarding political gatherings for the election to be violence-free.
Snr Asst Comm Mazango said there was also need to dissuade parties from clandestine pseudo rallies at nightclubs and bottle stores which might spark violence.
"May I make it unequivocally clear that there will be zero tolerance to political violence before, during and after the elections. Violence must never be allowed to formalise its existence in Zimbabwe," he said.
Snr Asst Comm Mazango also urged the commanders to closely monitor the activities of youths who are usually used as cheap cannon fodder in perpetrating violence during elections.
"To this end, indecisiveness and sloppiness on the part of operational commanders in enforcing the law and maintaining peace will not be tolerated," he said.
Accepting the call, betraying the trust
By Features and Political Writer
BEFORE their expulsion from Zanu-PF, two former Cabinet ministers Professor Jonathan Moyo and Dr Simba Makoni had unusual but much publicised long meetings with President Mugabe. The meetings, held on the eve of their expulsions, had something to do with their position and standing in Zanu-PF.
The magical meetings have been an intrigue to the media and members of the public, and the personalities in those meetings continue to fascinate the Zimbabwean political landscape.
On March 23, 2005, President Mugabe told the nation: "I, together with (Vice President) Mai Mujuru, met him (Moyo) for one-and-a-half hours trying to convince him not to stand as an independent . . . "
This was after Moyo had failed to make the Zanu-PF leadership reverse its decision that the Tsholotsho constituency be reserved for women.
President Mugabe had advised Moyo that he should not stand as an independent candidate.
The President also remarked: "No, Jonathan, you are clever, but you lack wisdom. You are educated, but do not have the wisdom."
As we now all know, not only did Moyo disregard the President’s advice and go on to contest the 2005 parliamentary elections as an independent candidate, leading to his expulsion from Zanu-PF, he also reverted to being one of President Mugabe’s major critics.
It must be remembered that Moyo won Tsholotsho on the back of the groundwork he did as a member of Zanu-PF, not what he did as an independent candidate.
Another mystical meeting between the President and former finance minister Dr Makoni, who was expelled from Zanu-PF on February 12, 2008, is alleged to have taken place on January 21 this year. The meeting took place amidst rumours, which were running riot about Makoni’s proposed breakaway from Zanu-PF, and his links to an alleged Third Force.
Two former ministers with interesting personalities, both expelled from Zanu-PF after going against the grain in the party. Is this a coincidence?
An analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity literally went to town about the two magical meetings and the two characters.
"There is a serious problem with some people whom the President puts his faith and trust in. When you look at the Moyo and Makoni cases, it is quite evident that the President has a soft spot for young and intelligent people, but they are the ones who let him down. The two made so many mistakes, which cost him and the nation in some cases, but up to the very end, it looked like he was willing to accommodate them.
"It looks like such people saw the President’s soft points, and what do they do? They manipulate and exploit them. Moyo rose from the ranks of the dust heaps of some of the most vitriolic critics of President Mugabe, but the President saw some strong and redeemable qualities in him and he was prepared to fast-track his appointments not only in Government, but also in the party. But since leaving Zanu-PF, the same Moyo has become the chief critic of President Mugabe.
"Simba Makoni has held many positions, and all those were appointments by the President. His Sadcc (forerunner to Sadc) appointment must have cost the fiscus a fortune because these positions are not given on a silver platter. The whole Government machinery was put in motion to campaign for him. We saw a repeat of that when he was running for the African Development Bank presidency.
"Maybe the former finance minister can tell the nation how much the Sadcc and the ADB campaigns cost the Zimbabwean taxpayer."
As Nathaniel Manheru pointed out last week, Makoni was always dropped and reappointed. This says so much about the person who drops and reappoints you — meaning that you must have a big place in his heart.
After the debacle at Zimpapers, there were media reports that Makoni held meetings with President Mugabe and the then Minister of Information and Communication and now Vice President, Cde Joice Mujuru, and the late Vice Presidents Cdes Joshua Nkomo and Simon Muzenda.
But Makoni now claims that he is his own man.
Is it betrayal of trust?
The following analogy is in no way trying to deify President Mugabe and denigrate Dr Makoni, but it is an analogy that exemplifies the relationship that one can deduce between the former finance minister and President Mugabe, a relationship which normally escapes the eye as people think that politics is business as usual.
When Makoni announced his intention to contest the Presidency, he referred to it as a "calling". This writer also calls upon him to read Ezekiel 28: 11-19, which is one of the major biblical texts that symbolically talks about the fall of Lucifer:
"The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl.
‘Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the Holy Mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
‘You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, Oh guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
‘Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more’."
What then went wrong, Dr Makoni?
In 2003 the President made it very clear that people in Zanu-PF were free to discuss the succession issue within the confines of the Zanu-PF structures. Makoni’s name was one of the few that was touted in the media. The silent race looked like it was progressing very smoothly, until something went wrong and Makoni talked about President Mugabe being on his way out mid last year.
On June 14, 2007 Makoni was quoted by Moneyweb as having told the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, that "Zimbabwe was on the ‘threshold’ of change."
Makoni is quoted as having said: "We are on the threshold of relaunching ourselves . . . (there) is an engagement in the whole nation that that the state of affairs . . . must be reversed."
Makoni also told the meeting that "the Mugabe succession race was gathering steam".
Two years before that, Makoni’s mood and feeling was very different from that displayed on June 14, 2007.
On June 20, 2005, The Herald carried a story entitled "Makoni thanks the State, Sadc" for the support they rendered him in his bid to become the ADB president and this is part of what he said:
"My sincere gratitude goes to President Mugabe and the entire southern Africa region who strongly supported me throughout the period of my campaign," Dr Makoni told delegates at a function held in Harare last week (2005).
Senior Government officials, ambassadors from Sadc countries and journalists attended the function.
"It was really an honour to be elected to represent my region at such a high office. First, I served as executive secretary for the Sadc region for 10 years, and now the region was backing my candidature for the ADB . . . There was an attitude of patriotism from both the public and the private media. They all supported me and I was really proud of that during my campaign."
So what went wrong, Dr Makoni?
All that some of us can say from our observer status is that it is as if you undermined the trust and confidence that we believe the President had in you.
Jonathan Moyo calls Makoni’s move bravery, because the battle for the soul of Zimbabwe is not for the "faint-hearted". However, this onlooker thinks that it is not bravery to call a Press conference two months after an event has been held.
It would have been chivalry if Makoni had objected to the President’s endorsement as the Zanu-PF candidate, whether he had or did not have the Manicaland provincial backing, at the Extraordinary Congress. Courage would have been to challenge the due process in front of the 10 000 Zanu-PF delegates at the Extraordinary Congress, who would have instantly endorsed and/or rejected him.
A fighter does not show his bravery in a hotel conference room in front of journalists whose interests are to look for a good story, and not give any political candidate the mandate to represent the people of Zimbabwe.
Brave people who want to defend the interests of Zimbabwe people do not take away the limelight from those people at the eleventh hour, and become the focus of attention themselves.
British foreign policy serves only the British
BRITISH foreign policy is designed to build a better Britain and the priorities of foreign engagement are mainly for the advancement of British goals. British foreign policy is formulated around permanent interests and as such the British have no permanent friends or enemies in the pursuit of their permanent interests.
Gordon Brown as the incumbent prime minister has clear parameters of how national interest is best served by international engagement. Therefore British international engagement is not meant to serve other nations’ interests but British interests.
The British want the world to bank on their economy. They want their culture to be universal. They want to have military might over the universe and hence their unholy alliance with their allies, the Americans.
But what disturbs Britain today is the growing number of organised terror networks against them and their allies.
One may ask why the British are the main targets of terror. Britain worries about the conflicts in the so-called failed states, treating this as a security threat because they always have a hand in all the conflicts of the world.
Britain is determined to cause regime change in these states through the use of opposition, businesses, NGO’s, faith groups and civic society.
The British boast of their soft power of ideas and harder power of economic and military incentives and interventions, which they deploy as assets to protect their permanent interests.
This confirms that the British have the propensity to destablise enemy economies, like they are doing in Zimbabwe for the sole purpose of protecting their interests, "the white minority", which is their economic conduit to Zimbabwe’s wealth, under the guise of human rights, good governance and the rule of law.
In the pursuit of its goals, Britain’s ideal international partners especially in the developing countries, are those that open up their socio-political systems to British manipulation and those that don’t have any strong and permanent interests of their own.
The British want open partners in whose countries they can identify their suitable characters of social prominence and promote them to be incorporated or for them to take over that society.
However, the reciprocal openness of Britain is the granting of the "Golden British Visa" for the foreigners to come and do dirty jobs, with a few educational or sporting scholarships as long as you have the potential to improve the British sporting and educational system. There is no way foreigners are allowed to influence British politics.
What they call international terrorism affects Britain and its allies in the US. However, the British want everybody to cooperate with them in fighting terrorism.
The ‘‘terrorists’’ are mainly from the Middle East and elsewhere in the world where the West has stirred hornets’ nests many a time.
In the eyes of the British, no other country has the right to self-determination and defence. Even nuclear activities meant for civilian purposes are forbidden by the overlords.
The biggest abuse of nuclear weapons in the history of the world so far was in 1945 when the Americans bombed innocent civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
Britain wants to be the one to determine the issues of international concern for example disease, politics, food culture, science and environmental issues.
However, in each area of international concern springs a lot of hypocrisy and suspicious interest involving the super powers, especially the HIV and Aids scourge.
At one time American pharmacists wanted to be the sole suppliers of the anti-retroviral drugs, which boils down to patenting a world killer disease that may be fought from all corners of the world.
I still see the same blasphemy coming out of climate change with the way it is being prioritised in all international discussion forums. The general public is not yet aware what underlies this emphasis.
Britain wants to be the "global" hub of ideas and any idea coming from elsewhere are not "global" in their sense. In this token they strive to give power to people, to shape their lives based on "global" institutions, "global" agreements and "global" links.
The distribution of power is such that other countries should only have just enough power to fight for British interests and any demand, by other countries for more power for themselves is to be met by British moderation so as to ensure of security amongst its citizens.
The growth of other world powers such as China, India, and Russia is always a reason for Britain to strengthen its ties with the US, EU and Nato, the reason for Britain to dominate the UN and its security council to the extent that they can break the UN Charter and attack a sovereign state for no apparent reason without a UN resolution.
This mismatch between national power and global problems means that the British will always override the national authority of any nation in which they think they want to solve a global problem. The British want to solve all world problems without involving even the local authorities of that nation.
This is why they wanted to be the sole manufacturers and suppliers of anti-retroviral drugs, why they want all governance issues to be solved in their context and why they want all the economies to be run though the IMF and the World Bank, the global institutions that they influence. Lets wait and see how climate change problems will be approached.
If a country is so eager to be the sole provider of the world’s problems the same eagerness will spill over into the wickedness of creating the same problems, this time with the scientific and economic complexity so much that no one else can solve the problems except the problem creator.
There are so many areas in which multinational corporations, including agriculture, motor industry, medicine, computer technology etc, are applying this "problem and solution" approach.
The British win the battle of ideas by clipping the wings of powerful sections of foreign societies, dividing foreign societies by promoting minority rule, by allowing westernized Arabs to violate cultural ones, but back home the United Kingdom is composed of the English who will always dominate and rule, and the disgruntled and downtrodden Irish and Scottish.
In their declaration to protect their most vital potential global partners, the minorities, the British have fomented genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity in all parts of the world as the British sponsored minorities put up unprecedented violence against ruling majorities. School-going age groups are in this case forced to leave school and join the violence in a typical scenario of the violation of elementary norms of decency.
Eventually all is lost for small states goals if poverty-ridden societies are lured by the hard power incentives to over emphasise trivialities at the expense of national agendas.
Britain and the US had nearly won the battle of ideas without clear facts and evidence, by using baseless lies that Iraq was accumulating weapons of mass destruction to hoodwink their allies to help them attack Iraq. On realising the lies the sensible countries quickly pulled out of Iraq leaving the two warmongers stuck in the oil rich Middle East country.
The failure of the US and Britain to pullout of Iraq is both a shame in that their pullout will make it clear that there was no need to attack Iraq in the first place and shamelessness in that even if they know the world is convinced the attack was not necessary they still want to find a reason to be in Iraq up to now.
The same way it is difficult for an adulterous couple to put back their clothes on after being caught in the act, until someone from the crowd helps them with a blanket.
Why is climate change so important to international security? Somebody tell me what’s really going on.
Has the switch for earthquakes, Tsunamis, thunderstorms, incessant rains, floods and droughts fallen into the wrong hands? Are we eventually going to realise that climate change problems can only be solved by the west, like it should have been with ARVs.
The British want to have leading thought in global institutions and not to share ideas as globalisation would ideally put it.
I don’t see why multilateral action is being used in Afghanistan instead of Israel. I don’t see why the Palestinian government is offered negotiations and short-term humanitarian support while fortunes are being spent on big joint operations involving Nato, 30 countries the EU and the UN in pursuit of a single Anglo-Saxon enemy, Osama Bin Laden.
The EU and the UN are now heavily investing in covering up the trail of destruction caused by the multilateral forces, in the form of development and humanitarian assistance. Meanwhile, impoverished and resource plundered nations are given frail aid packages on condition that they do not peruse their own permanent interests, but the British ones.
This is the British way of winning the battle of ideas through their influence within these organisations.
The British accept that the US is the largest economy in the world, so why don’t they humble themselves and let the US be the global economic hub?
The cunning manner in which Britain wants to manipulate world economies and resources to meet its ends is the rotten core of the British imperialistic foreign policy.
The British should concentrate on giving back what they have stolen from the colonies over the years. That is where they are most needed.