Little progress in 23 months

bob_morgan_arthurHARARE - Twenty three months have elapsed since the signing of the Zimbabwean Global Political Agreement (GPA) but there is little real progress to show for the effort, the resources and the livelihoods that have been consumed in the ongoing political stalemate in Zimbabwe.

Once again we have looked to find the origins of the chaos by analysis of the facts to hand. Over the month of August, 76 news articles from the internet media were captured and catalogued through the month of August.

Each article is a unique record of a breach of the terms of the GPA.

This month saw the Constitutional Outreach program in full swing. Consequentially, a huge rise in the number of attempts to derail the national exercise has made this the top breach in our media monitoring exercise with 19 articles (25% of the total). A worrying trend that emerged here is the fact that, of all breaches recorded against the outreach exercise, 68.42% of them involved violence, intimidation, hate speech or abductions.

Summarising just these three most significant categories, Zanu (PF) were accountable for 96.7% of breaches of the GPA that were recorded for those three categories alone in the month of August. Overall, Zanu (PF) was either responsible for, or involved in, 93.4% of all breaches recorded for the GPA for the month of August. Other significant results were cases of harassment through the courts of MDC supporters and politicians, and cases of corruption, which ranked in as joint fourth with 8 articles each (10.5% of the total, each).

Campaign of intimidation

Looking out across the Zimbabwean political landscape, one could be forgiven for being somewhat confused. In the clear light of day, Zanu (PF) is waging an unrelenting campaign of intimidation and violence around the Constitutional

Outreach exercise, against their perceived “opposition” – their GPA partners. This is being clearly documented on a daily basis through the local and international press. However, the SADC are silent on such issues. The international community are also worryingly silent.

We highlight just a handful of the breaches in this summary, with full details for all breaches available at

As we noted above, attempts to derail the national Constitutional outreach exercise made it to the top spot this month, with Zanu (PF) demonstrating the brazen use of violence and intimidation in Umguza in Matabeleland North. War veterans and a Zanu (PF) councillor ordered all MDC supporters to vacate the area before 15 August or their homes would be burnt. This was to make sure that no MDC supporters will be able to attend the meeting of the Constitutional outreach team which is expected to start holding meetings to gather views for a new constitution in that area on that day.

However, not all Constitutional outreach news has been bad. In an

uncharacteristic, but laudable case of resistance during the exercise, villagers in Nyanga North constituency gave a group of axe-wielding Zanu (PF) militants a shock when they stood their ground. The seven militants attempted to disrupt an outreach meeting here, not expecting any opposition. The 500-strong crowd at the meeting easily disarmed and apprehended the men, who were handed over to Nyamaropa Police Station.

The scourge of violence continued to haunt Zimbabwe, with war vets leader Jabulani Sibanda threatening Prime Minister Tsvangirai, ‘Tsvangirai is just like a fly in a bus. The fly can sit on the driver’s seat but that does not make it the one in charge of the bus. He can be eliminated,” Sibanda ranted. Despite police claims that they had not heard the threats, video

from a mobile phone showed the war vets leader accompanied by the Officer in Charge from Mashoko Police Station.

Harassment through the courts of MDC politicians and their perceived supporters is still rife in Zimbabwe, as shown by the Attorney General’s office new appeal against the acquittal of prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama – eight months after his discharge. In the Notice of Appeal the Attorney General argued that Magistrate Fadzai Mthombeni erred in

acquitting Muchadehama. He wants Muchadehama to face a continuation of the trial.

The meaning of corruption sank to a new low in Harare this month as officers in the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) were being investigated following reports they are demanding bribes from people applying for police clearances. One woman said she had been asked for US$10 to have her papers processed the same day. An officer in the Serious Fraud Section said activities of CID at Morris Depot in Harare were being closely monitored following complaints. He also implied that some wanted criminals were being cleared of charges after giving kickbacks to corrupt detectives.

Sadly, all partners to the GPA, in a serious case of subversion of a legal process, are allowing two batches of diamonds – of contested ownership – to be sold on Wednesday. By their silence, they are either knowingly or unwittingly in contravention of a high court ruling banning their sale.

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