To gain some insight as to why that stalemate still exists, 82 news articles from the internet media were captured and catalogued during the month of May. Each article is a unique record of a breach of the terms of the GPA. By categorising articles according to the nature of breach, basic statistics can be drawn from them.
The results speak for themselves. Harassment through the courts of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters and politicians increased very significantly this month to top the list with 15 articles (18.3% of the total).
Cases of deliberate non-cooperation with GPA partners came in second at 14articles (17.1% of the total), while cases of violence, intimidation, hate speech and abductions were third with 13 articles (15.9% of the total) – of which Zanu (PF) were accountable for 92.3%. Cases of corruption came in fourth (12.2% of the total). Summarising just these four most significant categories, Zanu (PF) were accountable for 92.3% of breaches of the GPA that were recorded for those four categories. Overall, Zanu (PF) was either responsible for, or involved in, 89.0% of all breaches recorded for the GPA for the month of May.
If previously there were any pretence that Zanu (PF) was acting in co-operation with their GPA partners, analysis of the breaches of the GPA indicates the exact opposite. There can be no doubt that Zanu (PF) is acting on its own agenda, and is deliberately racking up the pressure on the MDCs in any way they can, while still denying that they are doing so. On the other hand, the MDCs seem to still believe that they can salvage something good from the GPA. The people of Zimbabwe live in hope.
This month, harassment through the courts took centre stage. Having opposition figures arrested on trivial or trumped-up charges forces the victims to waste valuable time, effort and money, defending themselves in court. However, this month, the police in their obvious haste to do Zanu (PF)s bidding made a resounding blunder. They detained Paul Madzore, an MDC-T MP, on allegations that he failed to attend court over (further) allegations that he assaulted police officers in May 2007. Police said Madzore absconded from court on May 27, 2007 after he had committed the alleged offence. To their severe embarrassment, it was revealed that the police were at the time (in 2007), in fact, holding Madzore in remand prison on separate trumped-up allegations of bombing police stations.
Still looking at legal harassment, the major story in May was the States refusal to accept Roy Bennetts acquittal on terrorism charges. Bennetts lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa was served an application by the Attorney General, saying the prosecution will contest the High Courts acquittal of Bennett. They say the Judge erred in assessing evidence, commented Mtetwa. The Attorney General initially accepted the courts decision, but after criticism by Zanu (PF) politicians, he changed his tune. Mtetwa accused the Attorney General of illegally taking Bennetts passport after discovering that one of the prosecutors had removed the passport two days before the ruling was made.
Deliberate non-cooperation with, or lack of commitment to, the terms of the GPA is another notable point. One article recorded details of a remarkable decision by Finance Minister Tendai Biti (and by default, President Mugabe) to appoint a new Board to oversee the Reserve Bank, chaired by none other than Gideon Gono. Biti said the new Board was expected to restore viability, buoyancy, credibility, legitimacy and accountability. It is unclear how the Board can restore credibility and legitimacy while being chaired by the same individual who raided private corporate foreign currency accounts to fund Zanu (PF)s repression in his infamous role as chief financier for the Joint Operations Command during the bloody 2008 elections.
In a further display of lack of commitment to the GPA, President Mugabe attacked his coalition partners, claiming the MDC are in the same camp as our enemies. This comment was apparently triggered by the MDC-Ts opposition to the governments indigenisation programme. Mugabe said MDC-T have remained stooges and bootlickers of former colonisers.
Violence this month largely centred around the run up to the constitutional outreach exercise. In Mudzi Zanu (PF) supporters are intimidating villagers, telling them not to attend meetings unless permitted by the ZANU PF chairperson. They are also being told that during the official outreach programme only representatives chosen by Zanu (PF) will be allowed to speak – under threat of death, or expulsion from villages.
The threat of a new constitution obviously has Zanu (PF) seriously worried, as war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda is reported to be forcing villagers, traditional leaders and government workers to attend campaign meetings in Manicaland ahead of the constitutional outreach programme in defence of the country.. Sibanda, has called the constitution-making process a matter of life or death, and accused chiefs and headmen of relaxing while the country is being sold outand during the process some people will die, threatened Sibanda
And, just to show how prevalent violence and torture has become in Zimbabwe, two members of gay rights group, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), were finally released on bail after five days in detention. Although the two are charged with relatively minor offences, their lawyer reported that the pair accuse the police of torture and beatings to try an! d extract information about their organisations membership.
Although corruption in Zimbabwe is almost taken for granted, Zanu (PF) and their senior supporters continuously reach for new heights. It appears that military commanders are giving permits to Chinese soldiers to work in Marange diamond fields following an understanding with Chinese authorities. Army Commander Constantine Chiwenga is believed, with President Mugabes approval, to have struck a deal with senior Chinese military officials and suppliers of military hardware like vehicles, guns and bomb materials. Because of relentless squabbles among politicians and interested parties over the diamonds, Chiwenga believes the disciplined Chinese army will be more easily controlled.
Moving on to what is probably the most controversial event of the month, Robert Mugabe unilaterally appointed a new Supreme Court judge and four High Court judges – without informing his MDC partners in government. Mugabe also promoted retired Brigadier General Chiweshe as the new High Court Judge President. Chiweshe chaired the discredited Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that kept Mugabe in power in the 2008 elections.
Lastly, defying both law and logic, police in the Inyathi area of Matabeleland have been evicting and arresting white farmers who are known to have formal written authority (from the High Court) to remain on their farms. Police arrested two farmers (one of whom is no longer resident on his farm), and drove off staff from a third farm. How the Magistrate is to override the ruling of the superior High Court remains to be seen.Post published in: Politics