utengaThe Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs, Ezra Chadzamira last weekend gave a chilling warning to residents of Rutenga growth point Ward 18, Mwenezi East, that should they remain ‘defiantly’ in support of the MDC, food aid from government will be withdrawn from them.

Chadzamira made the remarks on August 24 when he addressed Zanu PF supporters who gathered at Rutenga, the heartland of the opposition party supporters in the district, for the victory celebrations hosted by Mwenezi East legislator Joosbi Omar.

Ward 18 is the only one won by the opposition party in the whole district during the 2018 harmonised elections. Mwenezi district has a total of 18 wards. Chadzamira said food aid was a privilege bestowed by Zanu PF and could be withdrawn from ‘non-Zanu PF supporters’ at any given time. He said the opposition supporters will for now be given a reprieve which will however not be maintained if they continued to exhibit ‘deviant’ behaviour.

“Everyone should get food aid because there is hunger all over. I heard that here in Rutenga social welfare is not being distributed but I have instructed the DA it must be distributed here as well. As time goes on, we will not continue feeding other people’s children….as we move forward, each one will be fed by his own father.

Tendai BitiMDC co-vice president, Tendai Biti has bemoaned what he calls “State Capture” in Zimbabwe characterised by the formation of cartels in command agriculture, fuel sector, banking sector, communications sector, to mention but a few.

Biti opined that the crude ecosystem of State Capture now a reality in Zimbabwe has never been seen before. He writes:

"Beyond legitimacy and the economic crisis, the country suffers from an unprecedented, unparalleled and unmitigated, scourge of capture and corruption. The current regime has redefined kleptocracy, patronage and patrimonialism. The current regime has invented its own set of cronyism. A new blend of Mobutism that makes Mobutu Seseko a toddler, in the art of State Capture."

Executive Summary [From Full PDF report - CLICK HERE to Download]
The 30 July polls in Zimbabwe were for the presidency, parliament and local councils - known as the Harmonised Elections - and were the first since the stepping down from power of the former president Robert Mugabe after 37EU Observer Mission Logo years in office. Many previous elections have been contentious and with reports of abuses, and so while the commitment to hold credible elections by the interim president was welcomed, a legacy of the past was a low level of trust in the democratic process and institutions, which permeated the electoral environment.
The right to stand was provided for, the elections were competitive and political freedoms during the campaign were respected. On Election Day, voters enjoyed the right to vote and both the campaign and election day were largely peaceful. However, the right to an effective legal remedy was not adequately provided for, there is no equal suffrage and shortcomings in the registration of voters somewhat compromised universal and equal suffrage. Notably, major shortcomings in the pre-election environment impacted on the free expression of the will of electors, state resources were misused in favour of the incumbent and coverage by state media was heavily biased in favour of the ruling party. Further, the electoral commission lacked full independence and appeared to not always act in an impartial manner. The final results as announced by the Electoral Commission contained numerous errors and lacked adequate traceability, transparency and verifiability. Finally, the restrictions on political freedoms, the excessive use of force by security forces and abuses of human rights in the post-election period undermined the corresponding positive aspects during the pre-election campaign. As such, many aspects of the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe failed to meet international standards.

Amnesty International has launched a campaign to seek justice for the 6 civilians murdered by soldiers in Harare on 1st August 2018

#Remember the 6

Soldier running with bayonet fixed and attacking civiliansParliamentary, legal and civil rights watchdog, Veritas, has said that the appointment of the Kgalema Motlanthe led Commission of Inquiry to look into the events of August 1 was illegal. However, Veritas goes on to say that President Emmerson Mnangagwa can still rectify the situation when a new cabinet is appointed. In its latest bulletin, Veritas says

Elections alone are not giving the Zimbabwe government the legitimacy we all so badly need.  This is illustrated by the following statement:  “When not shooting civilians in the back, Zimbabwe’s ruling élite seems to be shooting itself in the foot.”  Those words appeared in The Economist on 11th August, in an article commenting on post-election violence.  The Economist is a highly respected magazine read by influential people in government and business throughout the world, and its comments on Zimbabwe are likely to colour the attitudes of potential investors and many western governments towards this country.

In view of this, the President’s announcement that he has appointed a commission of inquiry to look into post-election violence is to be given a cautious welcome.  Cautious because there are several problems with the commission, as will be explained in this bulletin.

The President’s Announcement

The announcement was given in a statement issued by the President on 29th August.  In it he said that he had appointed a seven-member commission consisting of local, regional and international members “who have been appointed in terms of the Commission [sic] of Inquiry Act [Chapter 10:07].”  The commission’s terms of reference, he went on, were as follows: