Tuesday, June 18, 2013

(STICKY) (HERALD ZW) The crime of humanising Mugabe
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:00

COMMENT - See Dali Tambo's interview with President Mugabe here on Youtube. Reason Wafawarova on the reaction to the interview in the neoliberal press. - MrK
WE live in a world of uneven wealth and conflicts of class interests; and those controlling the levers of power will make sure that the media serve the ends of dominant elites.

In the affairs of global body politic, it is those wielding economic and military power that will often use the strength of powerful media houses to pursue their own ends.

Those journalists working for such media houses operate with complex news filters carefully designed to promote elitist domination, and the domination sometimes seems to occur so naturally that media personnel are able to convince themselves that they are conducting themselves with complete goodwill and integrity — even judging themselves objective on the basis of professional news values.

There is this contextualised objectivity that is governed by filter constraints beyond the control of mere reporters and news writers, and these constraints can be so powerful that it is unimaginable to come up with alternative basis of news choices. Mugabe in particular — the quintessential scandalisation of

From the time Zimbabwe embarked on the noble-intended and highly-successful land reclamation exercise, media filters in the West and the white-controlled South African media formed only one basis to cover news related to the Zimbabwean Government in general and to President the whole endeavour, fully expounded by the unequivocal portrayal of the person of Mugabe as nothing short of a devil incarnate.

In the eyes of white imperialism, Robert Mugabe ceased to exist as a human being the day he allowed “lawless thugs” to “invade” white “owned” farms.

Not even a moment was spared to assess how colonially-grabbed land could legitimately be owned.

All that was criminalised and vilified was “the land grab” by “unskilled blacks.”

MDC was rashly fronted as the disgruntled voice of progressive blacks, and the posturing of the party’s leadership as neo-liberalists so fervently committed to the god of lawfulness was immensely promoted in the West — and Morgan Tsvangirai and his brigade gleefully kowtowed to the directives of those that funded each and every single political behaviour the party ever carried out. Fidelis Mhashu even nefariously vowed to return land to the whites.

Tsvangirai and his team sacrificed whatever popularity his party was commanding in 2000 by choosing to stand in the way of the immensely popular land reclamation programme.

Tsvangirai himself was audacious enough to be publicly filmed collecting fat cheques from dispossessed white farmers.

The farmers egocentrically declared that they were “investing in the MDC” in order to ensure the return of the farms through what they thought would be an achievable MDC government.

Zanu-PF vociferously preached unbridled egalitarianism, and the party made a good political case out of the illogical and rapacious system that allowed 6 000 white farmers to hold on to 80 percent of the country’s arable land — land now giving sustainable livelihood to no less than 300 000 resettled indigenous families.

There is no doubt that Zanu-PF escaped electoral defeat in election 2000 solely on the basis of the land reclamation programme.

Conversely, the MDC lost that election solely and specifically because of the party’s sponsored posturing against the same programme.

In the misguided ideology that says Western money bags are more important than votes, and that donor funding supersedes the dignity of sovereignty, the MDC is once again going to lose election 2013 due in six weeks — this time because of the party’s vacuous opposition to the massively popular indigenisation policy, so far immensely popularised by the 59 community shares schemes the programme has achieved.

Zanu-PF is heading for victory on the strength of the emerging successes of the land reform programme, as well as the populism of the widely embraced indigenisation policy.

There is little doubt that the rapprochement coming from the West could be deceptive or ill-intentioned, and Zanu-PF is best advised not to be carried away by the friendly overtures coming through Western emissaries — or by the inconsequential systematic gestures of partial lifting of the illegally imposed sanctions.

Most importantly, Zanu-PF must not take too seriously the arbiters of opinion polls carried out by Freedom House and Afro-Barometer.

Rather, the party must vigorously press on with the indigenisation drive — exposing to the fullest the donor-funded posturing of its political adversaries.

Lloyd Msipa sounds acutely concerned about the complacency within Zanu-PF ranks — and he recently intimated to this writer that the biggest political opposition to Zanu-PF as things stand is complacency.

After securing a rare interview with President Mugabe, South African journalist Dali Tambo says he makes no apologies for “humanising a man who has long been demonised,” according to Mail & Guardian journalist David Smith.

It appears the resolute stance taken by Dali Tambo has been regarded as a little more than a mere overstating of President Mugabe’s often derided human side. Cape Talk 567 presenter Kieno Kammies has the audacity to reduce the whole interview to a mere “public relations exercise.”

You do not humanise a demonised character whose slanderers are Western powers and expect to go undemonised yourself, and Dali Tambo comes as a classical example.

Kammies has no problem making unashamed proclamations that his views are influenced by Zimbabwe’s “land grab,” and he does not see why any sane person could ever hear or publish the positive side of such an “evil man’’ as President Mugabe, to him the land grabber-in-chief.

Dali Tambo took offence at the charges and he stated, “If you start the interview hating him, and you go in there with a closed mind, that is your problem. I present the man as he actually is, and you must take what you want from it. Those are his answers to my questions.”

Referring to the propaganda onslaught from the mainstream South African media and mainly from the Western media, Tambo noted, “You had never heard a word the guy said in consecutive conversation before.”

In 2003 Western media went hyper-hysteric euphorically reporting to the world that President Mugabe had bragged, “Let me be a Hitler tenfold.”

This was merely a slander-driven selected statement from an otherwise very reasonable response to the BBC that had compared the Zimbabwean statesman to Adolf Hitler.

This is what President Mugabe had said in full, “This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold.”

Kammies told Tambo that he saw no point of the whole interview if Mugabe was not asked about “recent human rights reports.” In short, Kammies was asking why undemonising questions should ever be used in an interview of a declared enemy of imperial supremacy.

Tambo could not understand the logic and he asked, “Why is that central to 89 years of a man’s life? A recent human rights report?”

Pointing out the domineering and patronising nature of mainstream white-owned media Tambo said to Kammies, “Don’t obsess on what you want me to obsess on.” Every journalist worthy the name in the eyes of imperialist power has to obsess with the diktats of imperial interests, seeing in very bad light whoever it is that dares to stand in the way of global political powers. Tambo had to remind Kammies that his interview was not “a trial of Robert Mugabe, as much as you would like me to do.”

In a clear admiration of British supremacy, David Smith narrated how ironically mellifluous it all sounded that Tambo interviewed President Mugabe “while lunching with his wife and children in a stately room that once hosted the Queen,” as if any African cares about where the Queen eats her next lunch.

David Smith wonders loudly why Dali Tambo did not take the opportunity to pursue the agenda of what he called “headline writers,” who have in the past slandered and vilified First Lady Grace Mugabe over unverified and unfounded allegations of profligacy.

Such questions would have made David Smith’s idea of an interview, especially with a person so loathed by the West as President Mugabe.

To many viewers hearing President Mugabe intimately and passionately talking about his love life could have been pleasing or entertaining, but David Smith was riled to see “this man pouring out his heart to the cameras.”

Like Kammies, David Smith openly justified his hatred for President Mugabe on the basis of the land reclamation programme, declaring, “His reputation rapidly crumbled with the violent seizures of white-owned farms.”

Tambo in fact asked the President about his answer to such accusations. The reply was very simple: “They will praise you only if you are doing what pleases them.”

This makes super-sense when one recalls how the Australian Prime Minister recently showered unassuming Morgan Tsvangirai with Mandela-like accolades, a joke that many people did not find funny.

Another scribe for the Mail & Guardian, Verashni Pillay, was so infuriated by the timing and scope of the Tambo-Mugabe interview that she described it all as a “sycophantic interview with the ageing tyrant,” adding that the aired episode was “notorious.”

In unequivocal wrath, Pillay charged that Tambo’s interviewing style was “sycophantic and fawning.”

This is what you get for the crime of humanising Mugabe — the monster the West would never want to be counted among humans ever again.

Pillay wondered why Tambo did not ask the Zimbabwean leader “tough questions,” and she quickly gave examples of her idea of such tough questions, reminding her readers about Dali Tambo’s “questioning around Helen Zille’s family life and how her husband had to take an expanded role in the home,” a question to Pillay certainly tougher than Mugabe being asked why he had his first child outside wedlock while his wife was living her last days.

Pillay added a tougher question that could have been an imitation of how Tambo had once asked Helen Zille “to imagine a parallel life where she joined the ANC,” perhaps inferring that President Mugabe should have been asked about his feelings about leading the MDC. The question would read more ludicrous than tough, I guess.

Pillay says she found it quite offensive that Tambo was “listening politely” to President Mugabe’s “detailed narrations,” something any decent journalist worth any semblance of Western recognition would never do.

She says it was unforgivable that Tambo did a whole documentary on President Mugabe without mentioning the MDC — more so at a time Zimbabwe is facing “a crucial election.” She described as a “doomed mission” any effort to show “Mugabe’s softer side.”

Her reasoning on this is that President Mugabe is “a man who has stayed in power since 1980, using violent and undemocratic means,” that despite the known fact that President Mugabe is the most elected leader in Africa’s democratic history, having won six consecutive elections since 1980.

Today his party is the only one calling for an election to end an unholy coalition with the MDC formations.

It is the MDC formations that are making vociferous demands for President Mugabe to keep ruling and forget about elections — ostensibly until something called “reforms” happens.

Clearly absolving the West over the ruinous effect of biting sanctions over Zimbabwe, Pillay charged that hearing President Mugabe saying how he loves his wife and children was “an act of comical horror and disregard for the suffering of millions.”

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in Sydney, Australia.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

(HERALD ZW) Chaos as MDC-T members revolt
Monday, 17 June 2013 00:45
Bulawayo Bureau

PLACARD-waving and slogan-chanting MDC-T members yesterday revolted against the party’s decision to have a re-run of primary elections in Emakhandeni constituency. Ward 10 councillor Prince Dube won the right to represent the party in the National Assembly elections beating seven other candidates in primaries held last month.

However, in what party officials described as “shameless” rigging to install Reverend Useni Sibanda, the party announced that there would be a re-run in the constituency.
A high-powered delegation that included MDC-T legislator for Harare Central, Mr Murisi Zwizwai, and former spokesman for the party’s leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, Mr James Maridadi, left Emakhandeni Hall in a huff when angry supporters started chanting in protest against the re-run.

The atmosphere was tense when Mr Zwizwai announced the purpose of his mission. Scores of party members, some of whom started gathering outside the venue as early as 10am for the 2pm meeting, shouted that democracy had become a myth in the MDC-T.

MDC-T Bulawayo organising secretary for women Ms Sanelisiwe Sibanda, who was among the candidates that lost to Clr Dube, warned the party that they would lose the seat to Zanu-PF if party leaders insisted on the “madness to have a re-run”.

“How can there be a re-run when all procedures were followed,” she said.

“If you want to lose this seat to Zanu-PF, continue with this madness. If you decide to have a re-run, let us do it quickly. However, everyone should know the reason why there should be one.”

One of the party members stood up and said there should be a re-run because there was massive rigging in the primaries as she had seen a number of voters going into Entumbane Hall through windows to illegally cast their vote.

Pandemonium ensued as other MDC-T members roundly condemned her.
Sensing danger, the delegation led by Mr Zvizwai abandoned its mission and quickly left the venue.

Party members produced placards denouncing Mr Tsvangirai and his deputy Ms Thokozani Khupe.
“Tsvangirai stop this mess. We have been infiltrated,” read one placard.

“Khupe, be careful the people’s will should not be opposed. Useni go back where you came from, we do not want you,” read another placard.

The MDC-T primaries have been riddled with factionalism, allegations of rigging and racism.



(TALKZIMBABE) Biti poisoning public discource on Zimbabwe
by Our reporter

Now that the official Southern African Development Community (Sadc) official 'communiqué is in the public domain, we know that the one issued by the MDC-T Secretary General, Tendai Biti on his Facebook page was not just a wishlist, but a blatant lie.

It was not a white lie, but Biti turned reality completely on its head, and it undermines public faith in politics. What Biti, or any leader or government employee for that matter, says on his Facebook page matters.

It matters that government should be trusted, for the health of civic society depends upon a mutual trust. We who do not spend our lives making political decisions should be able to have as our most basic understanding a belief in the integrity of those who do, and an acknowledgement that they will at least speak the truth to us. Biti and a few friends of his in the legal fraternity have ruined this, and ruined far more.

The poisoning of public discourse is never a small matter, and it infects the body politic for years.

The crucial questions emerging from Biti's outlandish, premature and trigger-happy announcement are: Why did Biti issue an incorrect document and passed it off as an official Sadc document? What does this say about Biti as a leader? What does this say about the MDC-T and its attitude towards serious institutions like Sadc? What does it say about the MDC-T's attitude towards the people of Zimbabwe, when it can blatantly lie to them on such a serious matter? Do we still have confidence in the MDC-T leadership? Can we have confidence in them to run serious affairs of government on their own? What else have they lied about?

The Sadc Communiqué is a way away from Biti's "personal communiqué" which included language that would never be used by a membership organisation like Sadc. For instance, Biti wrote in his “personal communiqué” that Sadc resolved that “Government through the Ministry of Justice is ordered and directed to make an application to the constitutional court following consultations by all political parties, seeking to move the date of the election from the 30 July 2013”.

Such language will never be used by Sadc. The principle of non-interference in internal affairs of member states, especially in legal and constitutional matters, is a very well respected one.

These are some of the knee-jerk reactions that many analysts were warning against when Biti put his "personal communiqué" in the public domain.

Now that we know the actual Communiqué bears no resemblance to the outlandish claims made by Biti, who sat in the plenary of the Maputo Summit, what do we do and how do we view the leadership we have?

Coming hot on the heels of another revelation that Biti was involved in the cobbling of a “Strategic Litigation Document” together with other lawyers in Zimbabwe, it undermines the credibility of the MDC-T and the lawyers who purport to fight for human rights in Zimbabwe.

Biti’s preposterous announcement is also tantamount to undermining the position of Sadc if a Finance Minister of a member state issues a wishlist and puts it into the public domain calling it an official Sadc Communiqué.

This takes us back to Biti's premature announcement that "Morgan Richard Tsvangirai is the next President of the Republic of Zimbabwe" in 2008. Biti did not only undermine his credibility by such a claim, but the position of an important institution in the country, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission – an institution the MDC-T may need to rely upon in future if they were to ever win an election.

The production and circulation of knowledge is very important, especially coming from a country’s leadership as it is the basis upon which they are not only judged, but on which the people are likely to make decisions that affect the nation.

While Biti may have become infamous by his provocative statements, Zimbabwe has lost a a chance for serious debate on issues of national interest. His frequent premature outbursts on serious issues and the provocation that they attract, have hampered the process of moderation in political discourse that Zimbabwe's transformation agenda badly needs, and makes the call for media reform sound hollow.

Biti is also inadvertently undermining the credibility of the MDC-T in Zimbabwe and also making the MDC-T leadership look infantile on governance matters, despite having spent five years in the inclusive Government.

Comments and suggestions to: info@talkzimbabwe.com

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(MnG SA) Labour Amplats workers end underground protest
15 Jun 2013 10:05
Reuters, Sapa

Operations at Anglo American Platinum's Thembelani mine are back to normal after a "group of employees" prevented workers from going above ground.

"The situation at the mine is normal, people came above ground yesterday evening," Amplats spokesperson Mpumi Sithole said.

The industrial action followed the dismissal of four union shop stewards for "inappropriate behaviour".

According to the company about 2400 mineworkers were being prevented from exiting the shaft on Friday.

"We confirm that this is as a result of the suspension of four shop stewards for inappropriate behaviour which is against our behavioural procedure," Sithole said at the time.

Earlier, French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that the workers were staging a sit-in strike over the suspension of four union leaders.

"They don't want to come out from underground because they want their leadership's suspension lifted," Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) official George Tyobeka was quoted as saying.

The four Amcu leaders suspended were reportedly accused of submitting fraudulent membership applications in an attempt to inflate union membership numbers.

Amcu and its rival union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), have been struggling for dominance at the mines, which has resulted in violent strikes and assassinations.

Last year, the police shot dead 34 miners at Lonmin's neighbouring mine in Marikana.

Eight NUM members were recently suspended at Lonmin for alleged union membership fraud.

The Amplats tension happened as Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was meeting union and mining companies on Friday to find a solution to the instability which has troubled the sector in the past months. – Reuters, Sapa

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Educational quantity without quality is a hollow promise
By Editor
Sat 15 June 2013, 14:00 CAT

The zeal to expand access to education in Zambia is very clear.

But the current situation begs the question of whether the current approach will ultimately have the desired outcomes. Felix Mutati says the current education system in Zambia, which is focused on quantity, does not respond to the development challenges the country is facing. And Mutati says there is need for a shift from focusing on quantity to quality. We think the focus should be on both. We need both quantity and quality. We need a quantitative and qualitative change in our education.

It cannot be denied that effort is being made to improve the education sector. Resources are being mobilised and there appears to be political will to improve the education sector in our country.

And we shouldn't forget that commitment to universal primary education was made explicit as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals. We are now more than halfway to the Millennium Development Goals date, and concerns are being voiced that progress towards achieving the goals is off-track. This has led to calls for increased investment in education. There is evidence that these calls are being met. There has been increased public spending on education since 2000. There is also evidence that the government is prioritising education spending.

However, spending more on the education sector as a whole, the government inevitably has to make a choice about what to prioritise within this sector. Unfortunately, it appears that additional spending to achieve the education Millennium Development Goal has been channelled disproportionately towards quantity, dramatically increasing enrolment, at the expense of quality. We have placed an explicit focus on increased access to education. Increasing access is being seen as a necessary prerequisite for improving quality.

We have made significant strides towards the access goal. We have boosted primary school enrolment rates dramatically. And the changes made in the secondary school system have achieved similar successes in terms of increasing enrolments.

But these successes mask some pernicious consequences of hasty efforts to boost enrolment and call into question the longer-term impact of these initiatives.

Perhaps as a result of the substantial donor presence, the Millennium Development Goals framework has come to play a significant role in how our education goals are measured and supported.
An immediate consequence of increasing enrolment has been overcrowded classrooms. While the government's plans to address this problem include building classrooms and recruiting new teachers, pupil-teacher ratios remain high. And when it comes to these ratios, there are glaring disparities between schools in urban areas and those in more remote, rural places, where teachers are often unwilling to be posted or fail to report for duty.

The significance of education for economic development is widely recognised and requires no further disquisition. However, a growing body of evidence indicates that simply spending more time in school does not necessarily lead to improved economic conditions. Rather, various studies show that educational quality - particularly in terms students' cognitive skills - is a much more significant predictor of economic growth.

Progress towards the Millennium Development Goal in education, however, is typically measured in quantitative terms - primary school completion - and thus may fail to capture the quality dimension. Indeed, the reality on the ground shows that progress towards the education Millennium Development Goal in our country has not translated into progress in terms of learning, and the majority of our youth are not reaching even minimal competence levels. And this is probably what Mutati refers to as "educated illiterates".

It seems that expanding access to education too quickly is putting learning at risk and we may not be able to deliver basic educational services effectively.

Given the significance of quality in education, it is important to develop accurate ways of monitoring and measuring it, particularly to strengthen incentives and enhance accountability. And rather than making the measurable important, a greater focus is needed on how to make the important measurable - that is, on creating incentives for quality.

We may also need to revise our goals for education because this may provide an important step in creating incentives for quality. It may be important for us to start judging progress in terms of outcomes of the educational system, or the capabilities of all children in a given cohort. In our view, assessing progress in this manner would create incentives for improving quality in education, not just quantity.

Planning and budgeting for increasing quality in education will require a fundamental shift from thinking about inputs to focusing on learning outcomes - what an "educated" person is able to do. Once we have identified our desired educational outcomes, we should then work to determine the inputs we need to achieve these outcomes. Starting from inputs - simply directing more money to the education sector - will not guarantee improved outcomes. In particular, just increasing spending on physical infrastructure and other inputs has not been shown to lead to substantial increase in children's competencies and learning achievement.

One input that flows more logically from a focus on learning outcomes is investment in teacher quality - one of the only school-related factors that consistently have been shown to influence student achievement. Our teacher-pupil ratios are very poor and we also suffer from chronic under-investment in quality teacher training and professional development. Spending more on teachers implies a longer-term view, as the benefits of such additional spending would not be realised immediately. However, it could help to ensure that the newly-constructed classrooms are not empty shells but, instead, fulfil their promise of expanding access to quality education.

There is need for us to revise our education goals in order to incorporate incentives for quality education. This, however, may pose a new set of challenges. Quality in education is a subjective concept. Even if we define "quality" in terms of certain learner capabilities - the skills and aptitudes that children develop in the education process - it is difficult to make a broad policy and budgetary prescriptions that will guarantee it. However, these challenges are worth addressing, given the significance of quality in education.

Educational quantity without quality is a hollow promise. Rather than rush to meet targets in a superficial manner, we should harness its collective imagination and devise policies and incentives that expand access in terms of both quantity and quality.

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Quality education essential to development - ZANEC

By Allan Mulenga
Sat 15 June 2013, 14:00 CAT

QUALITY education is essential to national development, says ZANEC.

Commenting on Lunte MMD member of parliament Felix Mutati's statement that the current education system in the country which is focused on quantity does not respond to the development challenges the country is facing, Zambia National Education Coalition board chairperson Hilary Chipango urged all Zambians to embrace quality education.

Chipango said continuous teacher education and adequate educational facilities were important to the realisation of quality education.

"Our concern as Zambians is to see that we develop an education system that will emphasise on quality. Quality education is cardinal and there are so many stakeholders involved in the production of quality education," he said.

"Quality education involves a lot of issues that go with that. We are talking about having quality teachers trained professionally to teach our learners and also for us to produce quality graduates. We need to have learning and teaching materials in place because these are the major factors that will enable us attain quality education as a country."

Chipango said there was need for a shift from quantity to quality education, if the nation was to develop.

"We need to shift the focus on quality of the people we are going to produce through the education system that we are providing. It is important that all Zambians should embrace the aspect of quality education," he said.

He said there was need to provide necessary educational facilities in institutions of learning.

"The government has a major role in the whole setup of ensuring that we provide quality education. Teachers should be sponsored for further studies because this will promote quality education. The government should ensure that there is proper teacher training in colleges and universities. There is need to ensure that teachers are well-equipped when they come out of training institutions," said Chipango.

Last week, Mutati said there need for the government to shift from focusing on quantity to quality education.

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UPND lacks values - ZCTU
By Abigail Chaponda in Ndola
Sat 15 June 2013, 14:00 CAT

As things stand, UPND cannot dislodge the PF and form government because it lacks certain values of an opposition party, says Zambia Congress of Trade Unions secretary general Roy Mwaba.

And Mwaba says it is stupid for people to say that the labour movement has gone to sleep and is sharing a bed and beddings with the PF government.

"They are even saying that we are job seekers because we are quiet over certain things happening in the country. It is stupid to say that, because we are fully awake and we can see what is happening," Mwaba said.

He said the opposition currently lacks certain values.

"UPND, as things stand, can't form government; they can't dislodge the PF government. UPND has no sustainability, they have no nationalism," Mwaba said. "Such values or elements are important for an opposition. Without such, an opposition can't form government. We need a sober and mature opposition in Zambia."

Mwaba said there was no constructiveness in the opposition because most opposition parties in the country, like the UPND, only criticised the government without offering solutions.
He said politicians should know that the PF government was not perfect and needed a strong, sober and mature opposition to provide checks andbalances.

Mwaba said the labour movement was not a political party that had a lifespan but was there to stay.

He said that people stepping on the movement's toes were stepping on the wrong institution.

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Traditional leaders key in development, says Chama DC
By Christopher Miti in Nyimba
Sat 15 June 2013, 14:00 CAT

CHAMA district commissioner Josphat Lombe says the government recognises the important role that traditional leaders play in national development.

Speaking when he handed over a vehicle to Senior Chief Kambombo of the Senga people of Chama on Wednesday, Lombe said the government would always partner with chiefs in the implementation of its programmes.

He said the government would continue providing necessary facilities to enable chiefs to continue providing good leadership to their subjects.

"President Michael Sata has instructed us to work hand in hand with traditional leaders in implementing government developments because traditional leaders are anchors of development," Lombe said.

He said the government was working on several roads in the area such as the Chama-Matumbo road that was not worked on in the past.

He said senior chief Kambombo thanked President for sticking to his promises of bringing development to the district.

Lombe said that the chief was grateful to the government for development projects in the area.
He said the chief pledged to continue working with the government in fostering development in the country.

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(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) ‘The rear was a big war front’
Saturday, 08 June 2013 18:30

Born on May 7 1958, Cde Tendai Kuzvidza whose Chimurenga name was Cde Hondo Mushati, joined the liberation struggle when he was 17 years old. From the early days that he joined the armed struggle, death stalked him right until the end of the war as he survived the massacres at Nyadzonia, Chimoio and the attack at Mavhonde. Cde Hondo Mushati tells our Assistant Editor Munyaradzi Huni how he survived these massacres and the attack, he explains the similarities between the war that the Chinese fought against the Japanese and Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle and gives details for the first time about the stand-by force that was left in Mozambique as the country attained independence, in case the Smith regime wanted to play its usual dirty games.

MH: How did you make the decision that at 17 years old, you wanted to join the liberation struggle?

Cde Hondo Mushati: I was at a boarding school at Mt Selinda and this was the same time that Mozambique got independence around June 1975. The news about the liberation struggle was all over and, remember, we were just a few kilometres from Mozambique. We used to go to this place called Espungabera on the Mozambican side to play football. This is the exact point that I used as I later crossed the border into Mozambique to join the struggle in July 1975. During that time, there was this wave about the liberation struggle and while at school, we spoke a lot about the struggle. On the day I left, young as I was, there was no time to say goodbye to both my parents and schoolmates. We agreed to leave the school in small groups and we left during the night. I left the school putting on three shirts and three trousers because we couldn’t carry bags. I was in Form 2. We woke up at school around 2am and walked towards Espungabera. I went straight to Mozambique together with two schoolmates, Herbert Marwa (who is now late) and I can’t remember the name of the other student. When we got to Espungabera we were taken by the Frelimo forces to a receiving camp called Machazi together with other recruits who had come from all over the country. This is when we started seeing that life had changed. The living conditions were terrible and the food was horrible. Some colleagues actually absconded and went back to their respective homes. There were no fixed meals, no blankets and we had to construct our makeshift grass-and-pole barracks. After about a month at Machazi we were then taken to a holding camp called Chibawawa where there were thousands of recruits.

MH: Who were the leaders at Chibawawa?
Cde Hondo Mushati: There was Cde Victor Rungani, whose Chimurenga name was Cde Chikudo. At Chibawawa we were put into platoons comprising about 45 people and companies comprising about 120 people for management purposes. There were no trained comrades at Chibawawa at that time except the Frelimo forces. We still had not received any training. After about three months, at Chibawawa, we decided to run away from this camp, about 20 of us, because we really wanted to find the camp where we would receive military training. We walked on foot towards Beira and when we got to Dondo, we were arrested and detained by the Frelimo forces who thought we were agents of the Smith regime. We didn’t have what we used to call a giyademarsh, which allowed recruits and comrades to move from one place to the other. We were released after a week when the Frelimo forces were convinced that we were not agents of the Smith regime. We were then taken to Nyadzonia camp in trucks.

MH: As you left school going to join the struggle, what was your impression about the liberation struggle?
Cde Hondo Mushati: The impression was that once we got to Mozambique, we would be given our weapons, come back as soon as possible, after maybe two weeks or so of training, and start fighting to liberate the country. This was not to be.

MH: So you got to Nyadzonia camp. What was the situation like when you got there?
Cde Hondo Mushati: We got to Nyadzonia, this was now early 1976. This is where most recruits who had crossed the border from St Augustine’s and Mutare were taken to. There were thousands of recruits there and later we were joined by some trained Zanla comrades. There was Cde Everesto, Cde Bhombadiari and many other trained comrades. When we got to Nyadzonia, we were excited at first because we met many recruits from all over the country and it looked like now we were a few days away from military training. Some recruits were taken to different training camps in and outside Mozambique. The comrades said I was too young so I wasn’t picked to go for training until the massacre at Nyadzonia took place.

MH: Comrade, take us through exactly what happened on this day when the massacre took place?
Cde Hondo Mushati: This was early 1976 and the massacre started in the morning just as people were going for the routine parade. Someone just blew a whistle and as recruits we knew that a whistle meant that we were supposed to rush for the parade to hear various announcement that the leaders would make. So the whistle was blown just before 9am and we rushed to the parade area, but before I got there, I heard gunshots. I could see bullets flying all over the place and at first I could not understand what was going on. I saw fellow recruits taking cover and in the confusion I followed suit. The trained comrades, who were I think less than 20, were shouting “take cover! Take cover! Take cover!” There were over 5 000 recruits and so you can imagine the pandemonium. I saw many fellow recruits falling down after being shot and only realised that we were under attack after I saw some recruits bleeding while others were dead. There was chaos. There was smoke all over the place.

MH: Did you manage to see where the gunshots were coming from?
Cde Hondo Mushati: There was no time for that. You could not see anything. Remember, we had not yet received any military training. We had been taught basic drills on how to escape in case of an attack and at that time we didn’t have guns. So defenceless recruits were being slaughtered. At Nyadzonia all the gunshots were coming from the ground force. It was terrible, I tell you, because the Rhodesian forces were using heavy weapons. So I went to the ground and started crawling towards nearby bushes. We were crawling over dead bodies, we left some badly injured recruits as we crawled to safety. We got to Pungwe River and I don’t know how exactly because I was not a good swimmer. I just went into the river and swam to the other side. We could still hear the gunshots even after running for almost 10km. Many recruits died while trying to cross this river. I saw many recruits being swept away by the river. They waved goodbye and they were gone. It was heart-rending. The water in the river turned red as injured comrades also tried to swim across. You have never seen such a thing and you will never see that again.

MH: By this time you really didn’t know what had happened? You didn’t know there was some sell-out called Morris Nyathi who had sold you out?
Cde Hondo Mushati: I didn’t know and I didn’t know Nyathi personally. It was only after we had gathered at some place near Chimoio that’s when we were told that Nyathi is the one who had sold us out to the Rhodesian forces. We were told that Nyathi had actually directed the Rhodesian forces to Nyadzonia and he was at the forefront as we were being massacred.

MH: When you look back at the Nyadzonia massacre, do you think there is anything that could have been done to prevent the massacre? I mean do you think it was ideal to have about 5 000 defenceless recruits being protected by about 20 trained comrades?
Cde Hondo Mushati: At that stage I don’t think there is anything that could have been done. No one ever anticipated that the Rhodesian forces could do such a horrible and inhuman thing. From a military point of view, it was not ideal to have 5 000 recruits being protected by about 20 comrades, but I don’t think people thought Smith could be so courageous to come in vehicles to carry out the massacre in Mozambique. Some comrades thought Smith forces would not be courageous enough to come into Mozambique because there were many trained Frelimo soldiers, but then Nyathi deceived everyone.

MH: How many people died at Nyadzonia?
Cde Hondo Mushati: As we gathered, we were told that over a thousand people had died during this massacre. We felt really bad. This is when many of us discovered that indeed the Smith regime was there to kill blacks.

MH: As recruits, after this didn’t you think you could not win the war against this ruthless regime that was armed to the teeth?
Cde Hondo Mushati: No, not at all. Remember, we were not armed. If we had our guns, I think we would have fought back and many of us regretted this. We said, “if only we had our guns” but then we had not yet received military training. If 5 000 men were armed, I don’t think Nyathi would have brought the Rhodesian forces to slaughter us. Nyathi had been to the camps and he knew exactly how the situation was like. He had all the inside information.

MH: Let’s talk about the issue about sell-outs during the liberation struggle. How prevalent was this and how did you feel seeing that a black man had orchestrated the slaughter of so many defenceless blacks?
Cde Hondo Mushati: Sell-outs have always been part of the struggle and even now we have them in different forms. The struggle was really affected by the actions of these sell-outs. By the way, it was not only Nyathi who sold out. There were many sell-outs who came with tape recorders hidden in their clothes and others who came with small cameras so that they could inform the Rhodesian forces about the whereabouts of the struggle. Nyathi was just one heartless, shameless, cheap and stupid sell-out. As we gathered at this place outside Chimoio, we spoke about what had happened. To raise our morale, we sang revolutionary songs saying we now should be trained so that we teach Smith and his forces a lesson. The massacre gave us more courage and it hardened our resolve.

MH: After the attack at Nyadzonia, where did you go?
Cde Hondo Mushati: Like I told you, we gathered at this place just outside Chimoio. After a few days, we were then taken to Chimoio at Takawira One, which was a training base. There we were trained by Cde Agnew Kambeu, Cde Chocha (now Commissioner Chihuri) and others. This training was at first about physical fitness, toyi-toyi in the morning, bayonet fighting, individual tactics for self defence, shooting using the semi-automatic rifle, then using the AK-47, the light machine guns and I was also trained on how to use a bazooka. This training took four months. I left home really looking forward to this training and after what happened at Nyadzonia, when I got my chance for training, I really went all out for it. This made me one of the best students during training. I trained with Cde Kangara, Cde Darlington Munyaradzi (who was once PA to Cde Mujuru), Cde Santana Tongai (now Cde Kaneta, who is still in the army) and many other comrades. After excelling during this training, we were selected to go for the instructors’ course so that we could become trainers. The comrades I mentioned above were part of this group of about 25 comrades who were chosen to go for the instructors’ course which lasted for about two months. After this training, we then started training some recruits at the same camp. After a short while, we were chosen to go to China at the Nanking Military Academy.

MH: Why were you now being sent to China?
Cde Hondo Mushati: We were sent to do staff officers’ course, which was basically a special training for people that had good grounding in terms of politics and military training. This was now in 1977. About 50 of us went for this course led by Cde Kenny Ridzai and his deputy was Cde Kennedy Zimondi, whose name was Cde Tapera during that time.

MH: How were you received in China and how did your training go?
Cde Hondo Mushati: The Chinese really surprised us. We were received very well. The first two weeks, there was no training. We were taken on a tour of China to give us a brief background on how China attained independence. We went to all their historical places where major battles were fought, where Mao Tse Tung used to command his troops, where Chiang Kai Shek, the great traitor in China, commandeered over one million forces to attack Mao and we went to Mao’s mausoleum. This tour gave us a picture of how the Chinese fought their struggle against the Japanese who had colonised their country. We were really inspired to continue with our struggle. The Chinese made us believe that we could defeat the enemy despite our challenges.

MH: If you are to compare the way the Chinese fought for their country and how our liberation struggle was fought, what would you say were some of the similarities and differences?
Cde Hondo Mushati: The similarities were that like us they fought a guerilla warfare which was later transformed into almost a semi-regular warfare. Their war was supported by the peasants, the common people. The other common thing was that they first mobilised the general population. They fought from the rural areas and went to attack the urban areas later. They made sure that the average person understood the reason to fight the war before they fought their war. This is how the Zimbabwean struggle was later executed.

MH: From what you saw, what you learnt and these similarities between the Chinese struggle and the Zimbabwean struggle, how would you describe the historical bond between these two countries?
Cde Hondo Mushati: The Chinese were oppressed by people from outside, the Japanese. The Japanese recruited traitors within the Chinese populace just like Smith did here. We have many lessons that we learnt from each other and we went through the same struggle. The Chinese gave us a lot of assistance materially and that bond remains strong up to this day. That’s why when things come to a head, the Chinese will always stand by us and we will do the same for them. Cde Tongogara also went to this Chinese military academy, but he went much earlier than us. We were in China for six months and we returned to Mozambique. First we went to Maputo then to Chimoio.

MH: What were you doing in Maputo?
Cde Hondo Mushati: We were taken to a place called Xai-Xai where we had to brief senior Zanu leaders about our training in China. There were members of the High Command like Cde Kenny Ridzai, Cde Agnew Kambeu and Cde Joshua Misihairambwi. After this briefing that’s when we got instructions to go to Chimoio as instructors. At Chimoio I was personally responsible for special training in individual tactics which was part of self-defence and attacking the enemy.

MH: Was Chimoio a training camp?
Cde Hondo Mushati: Chimoio was a big place. There was a training camp at Takawira Two, there was a place called Osibisa for pregnant women, we had a place for young recruits, matoto, who were too young to go for military training, there was a security place, there was the Wampua Political Training Centre and many other various places for logistics and armament. Chimoio was a vast place and I was based at Takawira Two, which was a training camp. I was an instructor with people like Cde Seven Tembazvako, Cde Santana Tongai, Cde Remigio Zimondi and others.

MH: You told me earlier on Chimoio was also attacked while you were there. Take us through what happened on this day?
Cde Hondo Mushati: Like I said, Chimoio was a vast place composed of various camps. Some of the camps were about 2km apart. On this particular day, we were busy training the recruits at Takawira Two and suddenly we saw jets hovering above. In the blink of an eye, serious bombardment started. There was no time to really understand what was going on. Bullets were flying all over and bombs falling all over. People were screaming and crying. People were running stark naked so that they could not be easy targets of the Rhodesian forces. This bombardment started well before lunch time.

MH: As an instructor, when such bombardment starts, what is your first instinct? What did you do?
Cde Hondo Mushati: We shouted to the recruits to take cover and gave them instructions to crawl to safety. Fortunately, at Takawira Two, we had many anti-air machine guns. The enemy did not manage to para-drop, to drop paratroopers. In other bases, the enemy dropped paratroopers and they shot defence-less women and children at close range. I remember at some camps, the Rhodesian forces even slept overnight executing the injured comrades and only left the next morning.

MH: The first time you were attacked at Nyadzonia you had not yet received military training and you didn’t have guns. Now you were an instructor and you had your gun, what did you do?
Cde Hondo Mushati: We were not supposed to shoot at the enemy. Remember, I said in our area, the enemy was using aircraft. We had many recruits and so the more we exposed ourselves through shooting back, the more we would put the recruits at risk. We didn’t want to do that. Our anti-air machine guns fired back while we tried to find a way to escape with all the recruits. The enemy quickly realised that around Takawira Two there were anti-air machine guns and they stopped the heavy bombardment around that area and concentrated on the camps where there were children and pregnant women. I remember very well that at Takawira Two, the casualties were not more than 50. We crawled out of the camp and escaped. However, we managed to come back to search for people who had been injured and to see those who had died. We were with Cde Mupunzarima and other members of the general staff. We walked through the area and the sight was horrific. Bullet-riddled bodies were strewn all over, body parts could be seen all over and some people were put on stretchers and taken to Gondola. The situation was just unbelievable. We could not identify who was who and the only solution was to put all these people into mass graves. As an instructor I felt really bad. Very, very, bad.

MH: Do you think there is something you could have done?
Cde Hondo Mushati: War is about people dying, people being attacked and being injured, but what happened at Chimoio cannot be described properly in words. We did the best that we could. We had learnt lessons from Nyadzonia, that’s why we had mounted anti-airs around Takawira Two where we had so many recruits. Some of the comrades who were defending the recruits with the anti-airs actually died after they were bombed.

MH: You escaped death for the second time. What do you do after this? Do you sit down and pray and thank God for saving you?
Cde Hondo Mushati: We thanked God through the spirit mediums. Remember the spirit mediums were an important part of the struggle. They even directed how to fight the war and sometimes they could even warn us to move away from a place if an attack was imminent?

MH: So why didn’t the spirit mediums warn you about the attack at Nyadzonia and Chimoio?
Cde Hondo Mushati: Some comrades still tell me that some senior people were warned about these attacks, but, like I told you, people were sort of relaxed. Some people just didn’t take advice, they didn’t respect the advice from the spirit mediums. Some bases had even been electrified and I don’t think in a serious war situation this was safe. After the attack at Chimoio that’s when we learnt never to put too many people in one place and not to hold people in one place for too long.

MH: So after the attack at Chimoio, where did you go?
Cde Hondo Mushati: After Chimoio I went to Tembwe. Training was now part of my way of living. I was called to go to several training camps to train comrades individual tactics. I trained over 5 000 comrades at Tembwe. I was at Tembwe until the end of 1978. Chimoio was attacked in 1977 and Nyadzonia in 1976.

MH: You told me that at some point you were assigned to train Cde Herbert Ushewokunze and Cde Sydney Sekeramayi. How did this come about?
Cde Hondo Mushati: Yes, I was still at Chimoio when I was assigned to train these senior party officials. I trained them in individual tactics and bayonet fighting.

MH: Comrade, these were qualified medical doctors and they were senior party officials and you were given the task to train them. Didn’t they look down upon you and did you really take them through the mill just like any other recruit?
Cde Hondo Mushati: Let me talk about the late Cde Ushewokunze. He was really excited to be trained. He was really excited to handle the gun. He was just like one of those recruits. Cde Ushewokunze we used to call him Mangurenje. He liked that a lot. He would say “Ndini mangurenje, chitima cheHwedza.” He took things easy. They all didn’t show that they were highly educated and that they were senior party officials. I won’t talk much about Cde Sekeramayi because he was, as he is today, a cool guy. They were just part of the group we were training.

MH: No special treatment?
Cde Hondo Mushati: We had been told about who they were in terms of positions in the party, but we were told to treat them like anybody else. But you know when you deal with such people, you use your discretion on how to treat them, you tone down your language a bit but still achieve the same objective. We took them through the mill. Toyi-toyi and everything. They related very well with the other comrades. During the struggle, we didn’t talk much about our education. Once you crossed the border, you assumed a new name and you became a new person. So we were all equal. Their training, where I was, took about six weeks. I also trained Retired Colonel Katsande later at Tembwe. I also trained people like the late Mike Munyati and even one of your photographers at Zimpapers, Lee Maidza. I trained thousands of people.

MH: Comrade, there are reports that you the instructors made the recruits to go through hell, ill-treating recruits during training, and that some female recruits were sexually abused. How far true are these allegations comrade?
Cde Hondo Mushati: I am not sure about ill-treatment. Life during the liberation struggle was very tough. If someone came from home as a recruit, he or she went through various processes before they were admitted for military training. They would be secluded from others for the purposes of vetting to make sure that these people have genuinely come to join the liberation struggle with no other motives. That process was necessary, but maybe one could say this was unfair treatment. This vetting was done by the security department. This was quite a rigorous process and, true, some agents of the Smith regime were caught. As for the sexual abuse of female recruits, these were isolated cases. But remember during the liberation struggle we had rules that we had to follow. It was not allowed to have sex. It was taboo during the struggle to sleep with a woman. But I cannot deny that some people broke the rules, but they were punished. The female victims of this abuse, which I said was not very prevalent, were then taken to Osibisa if they got pregnant. I know that Cde Meya Urimbo was given the responsibility to talk to those who would have engaged in such acts. He would counsel them and if the female comrade got pregnant, it was a rule that the responsible comrade was to become the husband once the country became independent.

MH: After Tembwe you said you were sent to Mavhonde camp?
Cde Hondo Mushati: Yes, I was chosen to go to Mavhonde to train some recruits there. There were thousands of recruits there also being trained and deployed to the war front. Mavhonde was very close to the border. I trained many recruits who included people like Cde Chinx and Marko Sibanda the singer. Some of the instructors there were people like Cde Seven Tembazvako, Cde Remigio Tapera and others. The training programme at Mavhonde was hectic. Mavhonde was Mavhonde.

MH: What do you mean Mavhonde was Mavhonde?
Cde Hondo Mushati: This was at the height of the struggle around 1979. The enemy was really feeling the pinch and Smith agreed to go to Lancaster for the talks. All his bravado talk that “not in a thousand years” was gone. Despite the talks, we were churning out more and more comrades to the war front.

MH: And once again, death followed you at Mavhonde. Tell us what happened.
Cde Hondo Mushati: The Rhodesians wanted to make a statement at Lancaster through the attack at Mavhonde. They came with all the heavy weapons and they wanted to really bring Mavhonde to the ground. Fortunately, experiences in the past had taught us a lesson and at Mavhonde, we were prepared for the Rhodesian forces. We were well equipped and surrounded by anti-air machine guns. That’s why I am saying Mavhonde was Mavhonde. Even the training here was rigorous.

MH: When the attack started, what were you doing?
Cde Hondo Mushati: I was busy training the recruits. The comrades who were manning the anti-air machines guns spotted the jets and they started shooting. Everyone was shouting “ndege, ndege, ndege!” Bombs, including napalm, were thrown all over. In no time the base was turned into a burning furnace. Fortunately, we had dug many trenches at Mavhonde and when the attack started, we crawled into these trenches that we used to call mahandaki. Once again the Rhodesian forces were using jets and we could not fire back using our light machine guns. The anti-air comrades took care of business. We instructed the recruits to crawl into the trenches, but unfortunately some comrades died. I remember, even now this picture still comes to my mind. I saw Cde Dhuma, who was a member of the General Staff, a dark guy in complexion, quiet and cool, I saw him lying there buried inside one of the trenches. One of the bombs had uprooted a big tree and this tree landed right on top of this comrade together with two others.

MH: Yes, Cde Chinx spoke about this incident during my recent interview with him.
Cde Hondo Mushati: These comrades were buried alive by this big tree. This was really painful. We dug up the trench and found Cde Dhuma and these comrades. No scratch, no nothing. They were dead. Mavhonde was attacked towards lunch time and the attack didn’t last that long. We were able to re-assemble after three hours. The jets were gone. It was quite a quick but fierce battle. I can’t remember the exact number of the comrades who died at Mavhonde. I was very close to Cde Dhuma and his death really affected me. Up to now I still see his image lying lifeless in the trench. There was no time to mourn except to sing our national anthem facing home to salute the fallen hero. After this we buried the comrades and the struggle continued.

MH: Why do you think the Rhodesians chose to attack Mavhonde at this time when the Lancaster talks were in progress?
Cde Hondo Mushati: What I remember very well is that the hardcore Rhodesians, including Peter Walls, were not interested in talks.
They didn’t want the war to end to the extent that they had even planned to attack comrades who were in assembly points.
At one stage during the Lancaster talks, they wanted to put comrades into three assembly points — one for Zipra, one for Zanla and one for female comrades from these two fighting forces.
The idea then was to come in and bombard these assembly points. That plan was there, mooted by Peter Walls, but it was thwarted.

MH: Let’s continue with your journey. After surviving at Mavhonde, where did you go?
Cde Hondo Mushati: We went to a place called Samakweza in Inhaminga towards the route to Malawi. Zanla established another base there.

MH: Why were you going to this new base instead of preparing to come back home after the Lancaster talks?
Cde Hondo Mushati: This is where that group that was to remain in Mozambique waiting for any eventuality during and immediately after the elections was stationed. We were given instructions that we were not going to be part of the comrades going to assembly points. We were to remain in Mozambique in case Smith was trying to play some of his dirty tricks. I was one of the battalion commanders in this group.

MH: What instructions were you given?
Cde Hondo Mushati: We were told that we were not to be part of the people who were to witness the lowering of the British flag and the hoisting of the Zimbabwean flag.
For strategic reasons, we were to remain in Mozambique. Many people were not sure what Smith would do next.
We were told to remain at Inhaminga and keep on training so that we remained fit and ready for battle. We even had some female comrades among this group.
The information about this group was only privy to very few senior leaders of Zanu.
Cde Tongogara had given the advice before and after the Lancaster talks that not all comrades were to go to the assembly points.
Even those who were at the front, not everyone went to the assembly points for strategic reasons.

MH: How big was this force and how equipped were you?
Cde Hondo Mushati: We had a big force there of between 5 000 to 8 000 comrades.
Most of the comrades in this force were those who had received training in different parts of the world.
This was like an elite force led by Cde Zvinavashe. We were very confident that if Smith and his forces had tried to do anything funny, we would overrun them.
We had the capacity to wage a serious war and we were very ready. We were armed to the teeth.
We were being updated about developments that were taking place in Zimbabwe by people like Cde Gurupira and Cde Kasikai, who would shuttle between Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

MH: How did it make you feel that you were fighting to free the country but now you were not going to see its birth?

Cde Hondo Mushati: I felt a bit discouraged because I really wanted to be there.
This event was being broadcast live on radio and we could feel that we were missing something. We followed everything on radio and the mood was just unbelievable.
We were happy. We sang and rejoiced but still on high alert.

MH: After realising that indeed Smith’s dirty games were over, how did you come into Zimbabwe? Did you sneak into the country secretly?

Cde Hondo Mushati: We came into Zimbabwe by rail through Machipanda Border Post.
We were later taken into trucks and we drove in convoys. There was nothing to hide now.
This is when the Rhodesian forces knew that we had been put on standby in case of any eventuality.

We came into Zimbabwe in June 1981. We felt so good coming to a free Zimbabwe.
I can’t even describe the mood.

MH: So, comrade, did you ever go to the war front and are you happy with the role that you played at the rear?

Cde Hondo Mushati: No, I didn’t, but the major war was in the rear. All the major battles you want to talk about during the liberation struggle, happened in the rear.
That’s where most of the people died. For people to be at the war front, it started with the training, which was my specialty.

The other thing that I want you to know is that the rear was a big war front. The most dangerous war front, where you could be attacked without any warning.
At the war front one would expect to engage in a battle any time, but not at the rear.
But Smith brought the war front to the rear through the numerous massacres, that’s why we have many people who died at the rear.

MH: When you came back you joined the army? Tell us briefly about that.
Cde Hondo Mushati: When I came back, I went to Llewellyn Barracks in Bulawayo.
I was in the army until I became a captain. While in the army, I was deployed to Mozambique in 1983 to deal with the Renamo menace and secure our fuel pipeline.
Of course I was later deployed to other army operations and I then left the army in 1992.

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(STICKY) (SUNDAY MAIL ZW) MDC’s persistent attack on masses
Saturday, 15 June 2013 14:36

COMMENT - Chatham House (RIIA)? See the lecture Land Reform In Zimbabwe Revisited: A Qualified Success? (with audio), back in January 31 2013.

“Vanokunga rurimi rwavo souta hunokanda miseve ine muchetura wemanyepo. Havamire pachokwadi munyika; nokuti vanokwira nokudzaka vechironga zvekuparadza.” (Jeremiah 9 verse 3) (Native Version)

“Asi hapana chokurwa nacho chakagadzirirwa kurwisana nemwi chinozobudirira. Ndimi nemitauro yekumupandukira pakutonga muchazvinyisa pachokwadi. Iyi iri nhaka yavakasarudzwa na Jehovha.”(Isaya 54 verse 17) (Native Version)

It is no coincidence that the founder president of modern Ghana and one of the founders of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), Dr Kwame Nkrumah, observed that African Unity and Pan-Africanism would be difficult to achieve and sustain without a Pan-African media system.

It is no coincidence that the most persistent call by the white-sponsored MDC formations against Zimbabwe has been for unlimited “media reform.”

Indeed, it is no coincidence that the demonisation of the African land reclamation movement, the vilification of Zimbabwe’s unique revolution in land tenure and peasant empowerment, has been achieved through white-sponsored media outlets, through white-sponsored media NGOs, and through the Anglo-Saxon Press. NGOs thrive on the myth of African rural poverty which they use to raise funds for themselves.

As Madzimbahwe now look forward to the end of the humiliating and dysfunctional inclusive Government and start the campaign for the election of a truly sovereign Parliament of Zimbabwe, the best way to separate organic African leaders from the foreign-funded and foreign-controlled clans of Judas is to examine closely the language they use to describe themselves, to describe the people they seek to influence and to name the conditions in which our people find themselves today. These indicators will tell the voters even more than what party manifestos may say.

The war for economic indigenisation and African empowerment is indeed as much about land, minerals, company shares and farm and factory production as it is equally a war for fashioning the lamp that precedes all our perceptions, a war over the signs and sounds that shape our orientation, a war over the sharpening and blunting of our symbolising capacity — a war over language.

And since the impending campaign for the hearts and minds of Madzimbahwe is going to be conducted mostly through images, signs and words, let us pay attention to the one thing which separates the MDC formations from the African liberation movement represented by Zanu-PF.

In a speech delivered at Zimbabwe Grounds on May 19 2013 and reported in local papers on May 20 2013, the leader of the MDC, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, said:

“We cannot build an (national) economy on peasants. Having everyone going into farming is not sustainable. We have to move people from the farms to industries rather than removing people from the industries to the farms because I don’t see that working.”

My instalment for this column on April 24 2005 was entitled “Opposition MDC vents anger on rural folk.” It documented the MDC’s attacks on the povo for taking part in the land reclamation and resettlement programme and for voting for the liberation movement in Zanu-PF in 2005.

Now, eight years later, the MDC is still attacking the same povo. Now the main cause of Tsvangirai’s anger is that it is the povo who have made Zanu-PF’s land revolution the success which the MDC, through mere words, still wants to condemn as a disaster.

Despite the overwhelming evidence from the tobacco industry in this country; despite overwhelming evidence from the recent book titled Land and Agrarian Reform in Zimbabwe: Beyond White Settler Capitalism; despite recent publicity at the University of Zimbabwe over the findings of Jeanette Manjengwa and others who have just launched another book called Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land, Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC formations continue to cling to the most backward Rhodesian perceptions of the African povo as demonstrated in that May 19 2013 outburst at Zimbabwe Grounds.

Now what did that outburst mean for Madzimbahwe who are about to go to elections?

* First, the MDC pictures the African land reclamation and agrarian revolution as a “forced removal” process similar to the forced removals of Africans during apartheid and during the enforcement of the so-called African Land Husbandry Act of the 1950s in Rhodesia.

* Second, Tsvangirai’s speech pictures the MDC formations as a white-sponsored “broom” which will sweep the 300 000 resettled peasant families from the lands they now occupy and replace them with the former white farmers whom Tsvangirai met in Bulawayo on June 7 2013 and in South Africa between June 8 and 10 2013. The sweeping away of 300 000 resettled peasant families and their replacement with the former white settlers is what Tsvangirai meant when he said the MDCs are the new brooms on May 17 2013: “We are the new brooms; we sweep the cleanest.”

* In the third place, the MDC attack on resettled peasants assumes that the 300 000 resettled African families are keen to give up the land and will be happy to be swept by the MDC-Rhodesian broom back to urban locations where the MDC-invited sanctions have decimated industry and destroyed jobs already.

* But the most surprising meaning of the attack on peasants is the gross ignorance about the Zimbabwe economy and the nature of African society in Zimbabwe today.

With improving transport, solar power, rural electrification and the fast acquisition of digital technologies, there will no longer be the binary economy which the Rhodesians wanted to make permanent. New transport networks, new growth points, new small-to-medium enterprises, new community share trusts and the 300 000 productive households already resettled on the farms — these revolutionary developments have already destroyed the old Rhodesian dualism reflected in Tsvangirai’s statement. Rural-urban migration in Zimbabwe is not the same as it may be in South Africa or Mozambique.

Kumusha in Zimbabwe will have a completely unique Zimbabwean meaning precisely because of the land revolution. One question which Tsvangirai and the MDC did not ask themselves is why the diabolic sanctions they asked for failed to stop the progress so clearly documented in Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land and in Land and Agrarian Reform in Zimbabwe: Beyond White Settler Capitalism.

The answer is that the cash earned by urban workers, the cash earned by self-employed relatives in urban SMEs, the cash sent home by those who were forced by sanctions to go and work abroad — much of this cash has been channelled to the farms to help relatives defeat the effects of illegal sanctions.

Indeed, within Zimbabwe, most of the urban workers with resettled relatives spend almost all their weekends on the farms and thereby help to boost production there; just as the banks in the cities are also financing the activities at the tobacco auction floors where the resettled farmers bring their tobacco. So the language which the MDC formations and their Rhodesian handlers use to describe Zimbabwe has always been wrong and way off the mark. That is why they are in panic over the impending elections.

Now, when we look at the liberation movement in Zanu-PF, we notice that it is not only able to take credit for the successful land reclamation and agrarian revolution; it has organic roots in the daily existence of the povo and it speaks their language.

When President Robert Mugabe and the late Cde Edgar Tekere first left Zimbabwe to join the war front in 1975, they sought and received the assistance of the Tangwena community of Nyanga, that was the assistance and support of peasants. Mugabe’s and Tekere’s safety from the Rhodesian police, army, air force and intelligence during their journey to the war front was mostly provided by peasants.

The school children who left rural mission schools at Chikore, Mount Selinda, Rusitu, Biriiri, Mutambara, Hartzel, Saint Augustine’s, Bonda, Gokomere and other places were mostly children of peasants guided by peasants on their way to join the war of liberation in Mozambique.

As Terrence Ranger documents in Peasant Consciousness and Guerilla War in Zimbabwe, as David Lan also confirms in Guns and Rain, when those children of peasants came back from their military training in China, Russia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, East Germany, Cuba, Tanzania and elsewhere — they came back to peasant communities and asked peasant leaders, madzimambo nemasvikiro, how they should apply their weapons and training in a real-life African peasant war front against the Rhodesian regime and its South African, European and North American mercenaries.

What is at stake is that we as vana vevhu have been paying for, glorifying and enforcing against ourselves an imperial and neo-colonial system of thought and power in which our very existence has been reduced to and dismissed as a “gimmick.” The values of the povo are no gimmick. Our language is no gimmick. The Herald of January 23 2012 carries a front page story called “(Bindura Magistrates’) Court okays PM’s fine.” That is a profound story.

The entrenchment of legal apartheid in Zimbabwe means that 32 years after uhuru, a mambo’s dare must take its judgment to a Eurocentric magistrates’ court for validation in English! Which is to say we are paying for the perpetuation of a neo-colonial system which daily states that a Euro-trained magistrate using Roman Dutch Law and derivatives of Anglo-American common law is closer to God than our mambo; so the mambo’s decisions have to be vetted and ratified by the magistrate in English. This is the kind of language and mentality which enables sell-outs like the MDCs to flourish.

In other words, the living relational philosophy and law of the African are inferior to the linear Eurocentric philosophy and its apartheid laws.

But before I can explain how the elevation of English as the language of record and the demotion of African languages ran parallel to the apartheid ranking of the courts; before I can explain how we got to where we are in the development of legal apartheid — it is important to answer the first question which our Euro-trained African lawyers ask: What is this African Relational Philosophy and African Relation Law you are talking about? Does it really exist or is it only in your imagination? How has that philosophy helped us to distinguish organic African leaders from impostors and sell-outs?

African relational philosophy is the value system of unhu/ubuntu which Jordan Ngubane in Ushaba called umthetho wesintu, the law of the people or the values that people live by. Unlike the narcissistic and linear philosophy represented by Rene Descartes’ dictum “I think, therefore I am,” African philosophy is summed up in “I relate, therefore I am” or “I am who I am because of who we are and who we become in and through our relationships.” So it does not matter whether in Tsvangirai’s head the peasants are seen as “mushrooms” who sprout everywhere. That is not the reality. African relational philosophy tells us otherwise.

In Ushaba, Ngubane called it “the secret weapon to xina the white man (of apartheid) . . . The African (was and) is able (under slavery, apartheid or UDI) to live within the white experience and (yet) be fulfilled by fighting (the same) out of it.”

For Africans to survive 300 years of slavery in North America; for Africans to survive 300 years of apartheid in South Africa and live to organise themselves and overthrow that apartheid; for Africans to survive Cecil John Rhodes, British South Africa Company rule and Rhodesia Front rule for a hundred years and still live to organise and wage the three Chimurengas — for Africans to do all these things under surveillance and bombardment by a comprehensive imperialism — these Africans ought to have a philosophy and a living body of law which was not Roman Dutch Law, which was not English Common Law and which was definitely not the contaminated and compromised system called African Customary Law.

That living law was and is like a sixth gear which was and is engaged outside the system which the empire believes it has installed and it controls. That sixth gear in particular has enabled Zimbabwe to survive ESAP, illegal sanctions, financial warfare, hyperinflation and a collection of MDCs supported by a globalised propaganda war. Zimbabwe engaged that gear and survived where Somalia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia and others did not.

The assumptions or principles of this African relational philosophy include but may not be limited to the following:

* The people related and relating are the law embodied. That is the meaning of the supremacy of the people.

* How people relate in community and conduct their business is an expression of law and being able to understand that conduct and those relationships constitutes knowledge of law.

* Lived, living, and remembered relationships in real time, real space and history also constitute law, so much so that 300 years of the African’s relationship as a slave in North America or under apartheid is a law which the US Constitution, the US Bill of Rights, and the constitution of South Africa’s “Rainbow Nationhood” can moderate but should never try to erase or deny. These pieces of holy paper stating good intentions and high ideals are not superior to living and lived experience in real time and space, which experience and reality contradicts them. The existence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Criminal Court do not refute the lived and living experiences of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Côte d’Ivoire, which experiences to those communities represent the real face of law as a relationship with Nato, Britain, France and the US.

* Because African law is lived and living in real communities, it is built through centuries of successful resolutions of disputes and potential conflicts without going to court. Therefore its precedents are those cases that never reached the courts. African law is not adversarial; it is consensual and relational.

Eurocentric linear law, in contrast, is an accumulation of instances, actions and judgments of failure —because it is built upon precedents recorded in court documents precisely because the litigants failed to resolve the matter in community and therefore went to a proscenium court where one adversary won and the other lost.

* A beautifully written document purporting to be law is not law until its provisions are practised, lived and experienced by real historical beings in real time and real space as well as underpinned by practical power.

In my February 10 2013 instalment, I started to show that it is the relational structure and philosophy of the African dariro which ensures the grooming and retention of organic Africa leadership both in politics and in ideas.

There I stressed the African relational concept of leadership in all forms, which comes alive in the active aesthetic verbs kuparura and kushaura, which performance verbs would not make sense without their complement, kutsinhira. The opposite concept is kupaumba, which means to make destructive and disruptive noise outside the circle and without listening to those in the circle.

The two verbs kuparura and kushaura (to call out) describe organic leadership because they generate organic resonance which is represented by kutsinhira (to respond, to affirm, to resonate, or to adjust the call if it cannot be affirmed in its present form, so that it can then be affirmed). In Zimbabwe the role of the foreign-funded opposition is kupaumba.

In his book Making History in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe: Politics, Intellectuals and the Media, Dr Blessing-Miles Tendi identified two groups of intellectuals in contemporary Zimbabwe: Those he labelled patriotic (nationalist) intellectuals and those he labelled public (opposition) intellectuals.

He went further to say that the latter group, including the late Professor Elifas Mukonoweshuro and the late Professor John Makumbe, lost the public debate during the 2001-2010 crisis because what they praised as examples of international best practice in democracy, good governance, human rights and freedom either remained vague and remote from the average person’s daily life or clearly demonstrated the opposite of what was claimed (as in the cases of the Western interventions in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan).

Apart from the faulty labels, what Blessing-Miles Tendi failed to articulate was that the first group of intellectuals spoke from within the African dariro and focused on the need for Africans in Zimbabwe to reclaim their land and own the economy, whereas the latter group was preoccupied with importing the neo-liberal linear politics of good governance, human rights, transparency and accountability without anchoring them to anything tangible and resonant. The discourse of the neo-liberal opposition intellectuals made it seem as if Madzimbahwe or vana vevhu did not belong to the international community, as if the defence of human life and human dignity were foreign inventions which Africans needed to learn and to import from their former colonisers, as if colonialism, settlerism and apartheid were the same as good governance, so that in fighting and overthrowing them the Africans were not in fact fighting to establish their own good governance.

But above everything else, the MDC’s neoliberal opposition discourse failed to resonate with the people because it was a contradiction, requiring one to practise good governance of what one does not own. Blessing-Miles Tendi reported the failure of the neo-liberal opposition intellectuals long before the on-going crisis of neo-liberalism in North America and Europe became glaring and scandalous.

Now, it is clear that the neo-liberal project has failed in its own home societies of Europe and North America. This explains why those relying on “benchmarking” Western neo-aliberalism in our midst are thoroughly confused and failing to put together a clear programme or manifesto for elections which are supposed to follow the referendum.

It is at election time that the ideological and moral chasm between the two types of “leaders” will become extreme.

This is because one set of leaders, those from the MDC formations, have not abandoned their relationship with those countries (all white) which maintain illegal sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe.

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(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) No, the suite is mine, Biti tells Tsvangirai
Sunday, 16 June 2013 00:00
Sunday Mail Reporter

There was drama in Maputo, Mozambique, on Friday last week when the MDC-T secretary-general, Mr Tendai Biti, refused to move out of the spacious presidential suite at the five-star Radisson Blu Hotel to make way for his party’s leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, who had arrived at the hotel a little late.

It is understood that repeated efforts by senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office, who had made the bookings, to persuade Mr Biti to move out of the presidential suite, proved fruitless and in the end Mr Tsvangirai had to move to another hotel after refusing “to cheapen himself” by checking into the equally spacious ambassadorial suite at the same hotel.

Reports from Maputo say Mr Biti arrived at the hotel a few hours before Mr Tsvangirai and proceeded to check himself into the presidential suite at the recently opened hotel that boasts of 154 rooms, 20 of which are luxurious suites comprising of 16 junior suites, two senior suites, one ambassadorial suite and the presidential suite.

Mr Tsvangirai and his entourage arrived at the hotel later and were shocked to hear that Mr Biti was already enjoying the comfort of the presidential suite overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Officials from the PM’s Office were then dispatched to go and persuade Mr Biti to make way for his leader, but it is understood that the secretary-general told these officials that he would not move out.

“For a few minutes they tried to reason with (Mr) Biti at the door, but he refused to move, saying he had already unpacked his belongings after taking a shower.

“Later the officials went downstairs and before talking to Mr Tsvangirai, they inquired with the hotel management on an alternative room. They were told that there was an ambassadorial suite which was equally spacious.

“After this they went to inform Mr Tsvangirai who was clearly getting restless sitting at the hotel lobby. The Prime Minister told them that he could not stay in an ambassadorial suite while his junior was in the presidential suite. We could not hear what else he was saying, but Mr Tsvangiraiwas shaking his head in clear anger.

“After noticing that they were drawing attention from the other guests, Mr Tsvangirai and his entourage left in a huff,” said a Zimbabwean businessman who was at the hotel at the time on private business.

Efforts to get a comment from both Mr Biti and Mr Tsvangirai were fruitless yeterday as they were both holed up in Maputo.

Since coming into Government through the GPA, the MDC-T leadership in general has been accused of abandoning all its promises to the people as it embarked on corrupt activities to acquire personal wealth while Mr Tsvangirai in particular has been christened the “Legend of the Seas” following his lavish lifestyle and love scandals involving several women.

The feud between Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Biti comes amid reports that another split is imminent in the MDC-T this time centred on whether or not the party should participate in the forthcoming elections. This follows a ruling by the Constitutional Court ordering that elections be held by July 31.

Concerned MDC-T sources say there are indications that the looming split could be bigger than the October 2005 one which saw Professor Welshman Ncube and other officials leaving the party.

“There are some colleagues in the party (MDC-T) who have tested power by being Parliamentarians and therefore don’t want to hear anything about boycotting the forthcoming elections as was suggested by PM Tsvangirai after the Constitutional Court ruling.

“What has also enraged the PM’s loyalists is that they think Mr Biti is behind some of the anti-Tsvangirai articles that have been appearing in most Western newspapers.

They think these stories are meant to de-campaign the PM while at the same time preparing the groundwork for what is now known in the party as the 2016 Biti project where they say Mr Biti is making himself ready to takeover the party after the PM’s defeat in the forthcoming elections,” said the MDC-T source adding that revelations by NCA chairman Professor Lovemore Madhuku confirming the existence of project 2016 has worsened the suspicion against Mr Biti.

The source said Mr Biti and his group have taken a position that the party will not boycott the forthcoming elections and this was even confirmed by reports from the Sadc Summit in Maputo yesterday where the MDC-T secretary general was overheard saying:

“There was no reason for us to come here because elections are coming and they will be held on July 31 as was ordered by the Constitutional Court.”

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Delays polls by two-weeks, SADC tells Mugabe
15/06/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter I Agencies

Elections on July 31: Mugabe

REGIONAL leaders meeting at a special summit on Zimbabwe want President Robert Mugabe to delay crucial elections set for the end of July by at least two weeks.

"The summit acknowledged the ruling of the constitutional court on the election date and it will be respected," Tomaz Salomao, Secretary General of SADC, said after the one-day meeting.

"What the summit recommended was, in recognizing that there was a need for more time, that the government of Zimbabwe engage the constitutional court to ask for more time beyond the deadline of July 31."

The Crisis Coalition, an alliance of Zimbabwean pro-democracy and rights groups in the Mozambique capital, said a summit communique was being prepared that would urge Mugabe to ask the country’s highest court to rescind a ruling ordering him to hold elections by July 31.

Mugabe was asked to seek at least a two-week extension of the ruling and hold polls not before August 14, the group said.

Commenting on the development MDC legal affairs secretary and education Minister David Colart said on Tweeter: “There are three reasons why SADC resolution is critically important; Firstly, it is a victory for the respect for the rule of law and the new Constitution;

"Secondly, it means that voter registration and roll inspection can be completed before nomination day and, thirdly, it constitutes a major political faux pas by Zanu PF hardliners and will be damaging and embarrassing.”

The official communique has not yet been formally released. No confirmation was immediately available from the secretariat of southern Africa’s political and economic bloc, known as Southern Africa Development Community, or SADC.

No comment was given by Mugabe or his delegation.

MacDonald Lewanika, the Crisis Coalition director, said in a Twitter feed from the Maputo convention centre that regional leaders agreed the election “is not time-driven but process driven” and more time was needed finalise preparations and voting reforms.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Friday that Mugabe’s unilateral proclamation of the July 31 election date breached terms of the power sharing agreement forged by regional leaders after the last violent and disputed elections in 2008. That agreement required the coalition partners to agree on policy decisions and the holding of elections, he said.

Tsvangirai, in a shaky coalition with Mugabe, said democratic reforms also demanded in a new constitution and by mediators ensuring free and fair polls cannot be completed by July.

Polls after August 14 would clash with one of the world’s largest tourism gatherings, the United Nations World Travel Organisation summit, that Zimbabwe is set to host on August 24.

South Africa President Jacob Zuma, the chief regional mediator on Zimbabwe, started closed-door talks with Mugabe, Tsvangirai and other regional leaders earlier Saturday, officials said.

Zuma said in a statement the leaders were to consider “a roadmap” to elections in Zimbabwe. But a top Mugabe party official told South African state radio Saturday the summit will only seek financial help from the region to fund polls in July.

The Crisis Coalition said at the beginning of the talks that early elections risked not being recognized regionally or by Zimbabweans themselves unless reforms are in place and political violence and intimidation are brought to an end.

“Conditions are not ripe for free and fair elections. The security situation is not good ...we want SADC to ensure that violence is stopped and the media is free to report without intimidation,” Lewanika told reporters.

A new constitution, overwhelmingly accepted in a referendum in March, has demanded reforms to sweeping media and security laws along with reforms within Mugabe’s loyalist police and military blamed for state orchestrated violence in previous polls.
None of those reforms have been completed, Tsvangirai’s party says.

Mugabe’s party insists he was abiding by a ruling of the Constitutional Court, the nation’s highest court, ordering him to hold presidential and parliamentary elections by the end of July, linked to the automatic dissolution of the Harare parliament on June 29, the end of its current five year term.

Independent lawyers’ groups say that ruling does not follow provisions in the new constitution and can only be rescinded by the same court on an application from Mugabe.

Continuing amendments to electoral laws called for in the constitution and by regional leaders were effectively blocked by Mugabe’s announcement of the poll date on Thursday, said Veritas, a legal research group.

Mozambique President Armando Guebuza, current chair of the regional grouping, said earlier Saturday that Zuma was scheduled to have presented a report to the one-day summit on Zimbabwe’s readiness for elections.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe says ‘happy’ with summit outcome
15/06/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said Saturday that he was “happy” with the outcome of SADC’s extra-ordinary summit in Maputo which urged him to seek a two-week delay to the court ruling ordering elections to be held before July 31.

Last Thursday Mugabe angered the MDC parties after declaring elections would be held at the end of the next month, arguing he was merely complying with a Constitutional Court order following an application by a Harare-based political activist.

Regional leaders however, urged him to return to the same court to seek a two week delay.
The Zanu PF leader said the resolution was a "happy outcome" for Zimbabwe adding Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa would appeal the Constitutional Court ruling.

“It is a happy outcome for Zimbabwe... the final decision was that perhaps we should appeal to the court to examine the reasons for the arguments that have been made by others for giving people a little longer time,” Mugabe said just before returning home after the meeting.

“Our Ministry of Justice is going to do that to appeal to the court and the decision of the court then will be binding on us.

"But if the Court says okay go beyond July 31st by a week or two, I hope it will satisfy the others who want a little more time.”

The MDC-T – which insists more reforms must be implemented before the elections can be held - appeared to be elated, with party secretary general and Finance Minister Tendai Biti saying Mugabe’s advisers had "embarrassed (him) before an entire SADC summit."

"SADC has saved the nation by adopting fully the recommendations made by facilitator President Jacob Zuma and therefore nullifying the proclamation. Now Zimbabweans have an opportunity for a free and fair election," told reporters.

According to SADC secretary general, Tomaz Salomao, the summit also endorsed a report presented by South Africa President Jacob Zuma, the regional grouping’s point-man on Zimbabwe, on the need for media reform and the "upholding of the rule of law and the validity of electoral regulations" and consensus on an election date ahead of voting.

However, Mugabe said accused his rivals of using the demand for reforms to mask the fact that they did not want to go for elections.

“The other parties do not want elections, they are afraid of elections; they know they are going to lose and it’s a sure case that they are going to lose,’’ he said.

“These past five years have exposed all of us and exposed us in terms of what we are. Our sense of honesty or lack of it, our purposefulness or lack of it, and naturally the serious intent with which we have to govern.’’

Chinamasa also warned the MDC formations that any further reforms must be agreed with his Zanu PF party.

“As Zanu PF we are of course contesting the idea that there is any need for reforms whether its media reforms, whether it’s Posa, whether it’s Aippa, we are contesting and we made it clear in the summit that the MDCs are accustomed to making generalised calls for reforms," he said.

“In particular I made a point that in 2011, July 2011 they were making these generalised calls and I specifically asked them to make their proposals specific and to table them with the forum of negotiators but up to now since 2011, no specific proposals to Posa or Aippa or to any of the pieces of legislation they complain about have been tabled for our consideration.

“As recent as last week, when the facilitation team was in the country, they again made those generalised calls for reform and for changes, again I asked them to make specific proposals but as I speak now, they have not done so.”

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