Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for April, 2008

Tsvangirai in Botswana – more text messages from Zimbabweans

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Thursday, April 24th, 2008 by Amanda Atwood

Earlier this week, we asked Zimbabweans what they thought of MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai basing himself in Botswana.

Here are some more of their replies:

He has to come back & instill confidence in the electorate but obviously he has to be security conscious lest he runs into a booby trap.


He should come back so that we face this war together he is our man.


Tell Tsvangirai to come back. Lets fight together they can arrest him yes but the revolution spirit will never die.


Tsvangirai should not take refuge in a foreign country. He must come back home and face the reality. He should be like a Kalilombe which sacrifices itself up to death.


What would u do if there is no one to protect you? He is right.


Morgan has no soldiers to protect him in here & he has done his part building trust of the people what is left is the people to install the president of their choice.


It’s wise he must be where he is safe and secure. If he is in here there are chances of being killed & we will lose our good leader. His safety is important.

Zimbabwe’s murky election waters

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 by Amanda Atwood

In Zimbabwe, it’s been 25 days since we voted, and we still don’t have any presidential results. In my part of Harare, it’s been five days since some electrical wires short circuited, and we still don’t have any power. Never mind Bev’s idea for a soothing Radox bath to ease my troubled mind. No power means no hot water, so my ablutions have been sorely compromised. I’m fed up. And I smell bad.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has no answers as to when power might be restored. But at least they’re not making any excuses – unlike the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The latest reason why we don’t have any presidential results is that, presumably, they’re conducting recounts in 23 constituencies. Never mind that, legally, you’re not supposed to do recounts until after the results have been announced. In which case, why are they recounting presidential ballots, as well as local government, House of Assembly, and Senate papers.

And never mind the non-transparency with which these recounts have been organised. Again, legally, a recount may be requested by a contesting party within 48 hours of when the results were announced, or it may be requested by ZEC within an unspecified time period. (Though the fact that this time period is unspecified seems to be more an error of misparagraphing by the drafters of the law, than a deliberate provision of the legislation).

There is no record of political parties having requested recounts in 23 constituencies within the stipulated 48 hour period. The state has been trying to cover up this violation by claiming that ZEC requested the recount. This claim is substantiated by ZEC’s General Notice announcing the recounts. But it has been undermined by Zanu PF’s own Pravda, The Herald newspaper, which claims that 21 of the recounts were requested by Zanu PF, and 2 by the MDC.

Oh, and never mind that these recounts are taking inordinately long – days longer than it took to count the votes in the first place. So far, they’ve only announced the results of one recount – Goromonzi West. This resulted in a whopping one vote gain for Zanu PF in the House of Assembly, and no substantive change in the party which won this seat (Zanu PF).

But hey. We’re just citizens. And it’s just legislation. Who are we to demand that it be followed? At this rate, we may as well not even have an Electoral Act, for as flagrantly as it is being violated.

Meanwhile, the delay seems to be primarily an excuse by Zanu PF to buy time, whilst they launch their campaign of retributive violence against those who had the temerity to support the MDC.

The whole thing is about as filthy and murky as my bath water will be whenever I can finally climb into the tub.

May Day – International Workers’ Day – get involved

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 by Brenda Burrell

Work! The one great sacrament of humanity from which all other things flow – security, leisure, joy, art, literature, even divinity itself. – Sean O’Casey (1884-1964)

Traditionally May Day has been left to the labour unions to commemorate in Zimbabwe. This year we ALL need to use this opportunity to protest the state of our nation post-election.

Our society is blessed with a diversity of skills and opinion – we need now more than ever to harness our efforts and ideas to bring peace and prosperity to our nation. To this end we need to be able to share information and ideas in a way that mobilises us to act positively. The weeks post-election have been filled with violence, intimidation and propaganda. We need to frame these dark realities in a motivational way, for if we don’t, we will instead spread fear, alarm and anxiety.

We would like to encourage you and your organisation/business/family/church to prepare for International Workers’ Day. Let us convert our outrage at the government’s attempts to subvert the electoral process into positive peaceful action.

Some ideas:

  • hold a special church service that celebrates our right to work
  • publish adverts that demand our right to a democratically elected government
  • circulate fliers that remind our communities that we cannot rest until our labour for change is done
  • invite friends to your home to celebrate friendship and discuss how we can continue to work for change
  • organise a gathering of women to discuss how women labour for love and a better future for our families
  • host a music concert that integrates messages of solidarity for those targeted by the regime’s agents of violence
  • participate in a sporting event that dedicates its efforts to democracy in Zimbabwe
  • hold a sponsored walk/talk/kiss-in – anything – to raise funds to assist the victims of post-election violence

Most important of all – do something that inspires you and those around you.

Our demands are just and legitimate

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 by Bev Clark

ZINASU reports the following . . .

There was mayhem in Bindura yesterday the 22nd of April 2008 when Bindura University of Science Education BUSE students joined other students at tertiary institutions countrywide in protesting against the illegal regime’s efforts to cling onto power despite losing the March 29 harmonised elections. The angry students stormed the streets at around 10am and marched from the new  to the old campus site chanting protest songs. The march was disrupted by ruthless and brutal armed soldiers who forced the students to stop the protest and assaulted several students in the melee. This led to the arrest of three student leaders who were quickly whisked away and are to appear in court today charged under the notorious Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Last week saw the opening of tertiary institutions nationwide mounted by massive protests by aggrieved students who could not take lightly the exorbitant fee hikes and the illegal delay in releasing the just ended Presidential poll results. The students vowed to continue protesting until the illegal Government of Robert Mugabe swallows its pride, accept defeat and leave office. It is the hope of the Union that if there is to be a change of Government to one that is people centered that is only when the goal of “Education to all” becomes a reality.


Great Zimbabwe University students  peacefully demonstrated on Monday 21 April 2008 against the continued illegal stay in office by military junta Robert Mugabe, and the exorbitant tuition fees being charged by the University. The peaceful protest started in the college dining hall where students were chanting “PLEASE GO, YOU ARE FINISHED” prompting the security personnel on campus with the help of riot police officers to violently thwart the peaceful demonstration. ZINASU secretary for Legal Affairs Courage Ngwarai was arrested and is due to appear in Masvingo Magistrate Courts today. Students vowed not to rest until the country retains to its legitimate leaders elected by the people, that is, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Morgan Richard Tsvangirai.

More than one way to pluck a jongwe

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 by Bev Clark

Jamela posted an impassioned comment on Amanda’s recent blog. Jamela makes a really good point and then falls short on a couple of others. First, and most importantly, Radox can do wonders to keep one’s activism at a high level. If you’re in Zimbabwe Jamela, maybe you’d like to have a Radox bath with me and we can talk this through? Clearly you have no understanding of the degree of advocacy and activism in Zimbabwe at this time.

Bubble up your nose on that one Jamela.

Zimbabweans are described as cowards on many discussion forums. This is where I also disagree with Jamela. There are a variety of expressions of bravery, and Zimbabweans are well versed in just about all of them. If your measurement of brave is a protest in Unity Square, well then you need to think again.

As far as expecting Kirsty Coventry to make a stand and boycott the Olympic Games . . . I’d give her great kudos for having the fins to do that. It would be a very powerful statement. But I disagree with the writer Amanda’s quotes when she says that “every other Zimbabwean has taken a stand“. Not true, especially within the business community.

On relying on international support to sort our crisis out, I’m with Jamela. It’s unfathomable to me that we don’t see the need for a multi-faceted approach to dealing with this dictatorship. Elections and the international community need to be complemented with strong internal pressure.

There’s more than one way to pluck a jongwe.

In their own words

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 by Bev Clark

As I’ve mentioned before one of the most invigorating aspects of working in an organization like Kubatana.net is getting to hear and read the remarkable information and ideas created by our subscribers.

We are also privileged to be able to receive information from far flung corners of the country, and share it further.

A farmer down in Chiredzi sent this through yesterday:

Dangerously unhappy – I am getting many SMS messages from the MDC youth now desperately looking for guns, saying that they are tired of been chased and beaten by Mugabe’s youth, obviously I do not have arms to give them and so tell them that Morgan wants all his people to stay calm and peaceful. My and many others question is, when the people have obviously won an election but the losers do not intend to hand over, how do the people force the losers out peacefully? If somebody has an answer to this question, please let me know so that I can pass it on and so give hope to our people and help to prevent a blood bath.

Some people have responded to our various blogs saying that we must be patient and that Morgan’s diplomatic shuffle, and the international community, will put the situation right in Zimbabwe. But like all complicated issues, there is never just one solution, and right now people in Zimbabwe are crying out for leadership. With Tsvangirai and Biti out of the country, who do we look to for direction and strategy?

Many of us are looking inwards and invoking our individual leadership and helping others. But there is a need for the MDC to get active again.

Here are some useful tips sent to us by a passionate man committed to Zimbabwe’s restoration. More than take note – take some of them on!

We need to counter Zanu PF tactics

Fliers, newspapers, rallies, SMS, emails, international media

Violence and Intimidation
Build while they burn
Support teams of activists to stand up to the bullies
We must document the violence, get it into the media and expose the perpetrators

Civil Disobedience
Create doubt among Zanu PF
Name and Shame
Expose them, assets, deals etc.

In the event of a Run-off
Pre-election Strategies
Election Day Strategies

The ordinary person can – at no personal exposure

* Forward SMS messages of encouragement to friends and colleagues every day
* Drive with their headlights on and encourage others to do the same
* Give people lifts – especially the police and army personnel – let them do the talking
* Talk to friends about the situation – keeping positive, encouraging and creating awareness

The next steps (as people become braver) could be:

* Open palm salutes to everyone throughout the day
* More open discussion and encouragement
* The distribution of newspaper articles and fliers

From most of you we expect a lot more – we expect you to take charge, LEAD