Thursday, 25 September 2008

Myths about Zimbabwe's land reform.

IDS Professorial Fellow, Ian Scoones, Challenges the
myths about Zimbabwean agriculture and land reform
Ian Scoones – 15 September 2008

The long-awaited political agreement in Zimbabwe is to be welcomed. After years
of political impasse and economic instability, there is a potential for a new start.
But an informed debate on the future is needed and a focus on land and the
agricultural sector must be central to these discussions. The new government will
be offered advice from all quarters – consultants from around the world will arrive
by the plane load, and the donor community and foreign think-tanks of all
persuasions will forward their preferred plans and programmes.

But the new government must be careful. Too much of the past period has been
coloured by ideological posturing and misinformation – from all sides. For a
sound, sustainable policy approach for the future, a hard look at the evidence on
the ground must be the starting point. This must involve engaging with field
research aimed at understanding the unfolding dynamics of land, agriculture and
livelihoods – and the perspective of farmers and land users themselves.
The ‘Livelihoods after Land Reform in Southern Africa’ programme has been
doing just this. Led by the University of the Western Cape’s Programme for Land
and Agrarian Studies, and involving researchers in South Africa, Namibia and
Zimbabwe ( work in Zimbabwe has focused on Masvingo
province in the south east of the country. The detailed study has tracked the
evolution of land reform in the province since 2000, assessing the consequences
for people’s livelihoods and the wider economy. It has revealed some important
insights that challenge the ‘conventional wisdoms’ dominating media and
academic commentary alike. The research to date raises some fundamental
challenges to five oft-repeated myths about recent Zimbabwean land reform and
offers some important insights for the future direction of rural policy in Zimbabwe.

Myth 1: Zimbabwean land reform has been a total failure
There is no single story of land reform in Zimbabwe: the story is mixed – by
region, by type of scheme, by settler. In Masvingo province, 1.2 million hectares
have been redistributed to around 20,000 households. Across these there is
much variation. On the so-called A1 schemes (smallholder farming), where there
is low capital investment and a reliance on local labour, settlers have done
reasonably well, particularly in the wetter parts of the province. Households have
cleared land, planted crops and invested in new assets, many hiring in labour
from nearby communal areas. Within these new resettlement areas, there has
been a rapid socio-economic stratification – some do well while others struggle.
Some have left, often because misfortune, ill-health or death (often precipitated
by HIV/AIDS) although overall attrition rates have been small.
On the A2 schemes – aimed at small-scale commercial agriculture – the
economic meltdown of the past few years has prevented substantial capital
investment, and new enterprises have been slow to take off. There are some
notable exceptions, however, where new commercial farming enterprises have
emerged against all the odds, although these have struggled given hyperinflation
and lack of credit. On the redistributed areas of the sugar estates in the lowveld
there is a similarly mixed story, with some new farmers making a go of sugar
production on 30ha plots, often converting some of their land to vegetables and
other crops to spread the risk. However, again, constraints imposed by economic
conditions have put pressure on these new operations; and the estate system,
geared to large scale production, has been slow to respond to the new situation.
In interviews with new settlers, despite the problems, there is universal acclaim
for the resettlement programme: ‘Life has changed remarkably for me because I
have more land and can produce more than I used to,’ said one; while another
observed, ‘We are happier here at resettlement. There is more land, stands are
larger and there is no overcrowding. We got good yields in 2006. I filled two
granaries with sorghum’.
The contrasts between A1 and A2, small and large scale, smallholder and
commercial are rather arbitrary and misleading. There is much blurring between
these different models. Since 2000 the old dualistic agricultural economy, the
inheritance of the colonial era, has gone for good, and a new agrarian structure is
fast emerging. This creates challenges and opportunities, winners and losers, but
cannot be characterised as abject failure. New policy frameworks will have to
recognise this new reality and avoid the temptation of re-imposing old and outdated
models. As a senior extension official commented, ‘We don’t know our new
clients; this is a wholly new scenario’.

Myth 2: The beneficiaries of Zimbabwean land reform have been largely
political ‘cronies’
While no-one denies the operation of political patronage in the allocation of land
since 2000, particularly in the high value farms of the Highveld near Harare, the
overall pattern is not simply one of elite capture. Across the 16 sites and 400
households (341 under A1, 59 under A2) surveyed in Masvingo, 60 per cent of
new settlers were classified as ‘ordinary farmers’. These were people who had
joined the land invasions from nearby communal areas, and had been allocated
land by the District Land Committees under the fast-track programme.
This was not a rich, politically-connected elite but poor, rural people in need of
land and keen to finally gain the fruits of independence. As one put it. ‘Land is
what we fought for. Our relatives died for this land… Now we must make use of
it’. In terms of socio-economic profile, this group was very similar to those in the
communal areas – slightly younger and more educated on average, but equally
asset poor. Others who also gained from the land reform included former farm
workers, some of whom organised invasions on the farms where they had
worked. This group made up seven per cent of the total, a similar number to the
war veterans who had often led the land invasions, and who, as a result,
generally had slightly larger, often ‘self-contained’ plots.
On the new resettlements, particularly in the A2 schemes, there were significant
numbers of civil servants (14 per cent across all resettlement sites) – usually
teachers or extension workers who had been allocated land. With non-existent
salaries from their government jobs, access to land became critical for sustaining
livelihoods. A further 5 per cent were identified as business people, often those
with businesses such as shops, bottle stores or transport operations in town.
Finally, there was a group, mostly given land on the A2 schemes, who were
members of the security services – police, army, intelligence officers with strong
political connections. This group made up three per cent of the total beneficiaries,
and was the one which was probably most associated with political patronage
and ruling party connections.
These latter groups – civil servants, business people and security service
employees, however, have added in different ways both expertise and
connections which assisted the broader community. This wide social mix in the
new resettlements contrasts with older resettlement schemes and the communal
areas, offering opportunities for social and economic innovation in the longer
An understanding of this social composition and its potentials will be critical in
any future policy support for the new resettlements. It is important not to assume
that the A1 schemes are ‘just like the communal areas’ and that the A2 schemes
are ‘just small commercial farms’. With the new agrarian structure, a new social
and economic order is emerging in the rural areas of Zimbabwe, one that will
require carefully attuned policy support to foster the undeniable, but as yet
unrealised, potentials.

Myth 3: There is no investment in the new resettlements
International media images of destruction and chaos have dominated the
headlines about Zimbabwe’s land reform. While there has certainly been
substantial damage done to the basic infrastructure of commercial agriculture
operations in some parts of the country – perpetrated by both new land occupiers
and former owners – there has also been significant new investment; almost all
of it private, individual efforts with vanishingly little provision through the state.
Changes to the production system – from large-scale commercial farming to
largely smallholder mixed farming systems – means investment is not in the form
of pivot irrigation schemes or mechanised dairies, for example, but more modest
and appropriate to immediate needs and ambitions. The new settlers, particularly
on the smallholder A1 schemes, have cleared substantial areas of land (on
average around three hectares per household), involving substantial labour in
clearing bush, de-stumping and ploughing.
Settlers have also built new homes, 41 per cent made from bricks, many with tin
or asbestos roofing. A key investment has been cattle, with herds building up
fast. 62 per cent have cattle on the resettlements, with an average herd size of
five. They have also acquired equipment: 75 per cent of households own
ploughs; 40 per cent own bicycles; 39 per cent own ox-drawn carts and 15 per
cent own private cars. This level of asset ownership is higher than comparable
samples in the neighbouring communal areas and since acquiring land most new
settlers have been accumulating, despite the hardships.
The investment picture on the A2 schemes is less promising. Most A2 schemes
in Masvingo province are little different to the A1 areas, with only a small portion
of the land utilised. However a few – with access to alternative sources of
investment income, usually in foreign exchange – have managed to invest in new
equipment and develop new enterprises. One, for example, has developed an
irrigated wheat farm, with a new pump station, irrigation piping, tractors and
hiring in combine harvesters. Another is developing a dairy, combined with a beef
production feedlot system. Others have started horticultural enterprises,
resuscitating abandoned irrigation equipment.
These successes are few and far between and most have been unable to invest,
due to the state of the wider economy. The key policy challenge for the
immediate future will be the stabilisation of the economy and, with this, provision
of credit for new farmers – not just those undertaking so-called ‘commercial’
enterprises, but the many commercially-minded smallholders too. If fostered
sensitively a vibrant agricultural economy will almost certainly re-emerge –
though transformed and requiring substantial investment in new market chains
and support systems.

Myth 4: Agriculture is in complete ruins
Agriculture in Zimbabwe has been through difficult times. Radical restructuring is
inevitably painful and especially so when combined with economic collapse and
recurrent drought. All statistical indicators on all commodities are down –
reflecting the collapse of the old, formal, commercial agricultural economy but not
the whole agricultural economy, particularly in the smallholder sector.
In Masvingo province the former commercial agricultural sector was dominated
by the beef industry and the wildlife sector – and in the estates, sugar and citrus.
The beef industry has transformed radically and the wildlife sector is suffering
due to the decline in tourism and hunting. But former beef ranches have been
taken over by small-scale mixed agriculture, with significant new investment in
multiple use livestock herds and flocks, combined with arable agriculture, mostly
maize with small grains in the drier areas.
While operating well below potential due to the poor supply of inputs – notably
seeds and fertilizers – this sector, particularly in the A1 schemes, is certainly
producing. In the relatively wet season of 2005-06, around 75 per cent of
households in the northerly sites in Gutu and Masvingo districts produced more
than one tonne of maize, sufficient for household provision, some sales and
storage. However, this was not replicated in the drier areas – or in recent drier
years when the food security situation has been very precarious.
This demonstrates the potential of small-scale agriculture on the new
resettlements, as one among a number of sources of livelihood which includes a
diversified portfolio of off-farm activities, trade and remittance income. The
potential of agriculture, as the core livelihood activity for most, will need to be
nurtured and enhanced by policy interventions that ensure input supply and wider
extension support, both currently sorely lacking. For the drier areas, water control
is the key constraint, and investment in small-scale irrigation and water
harvesting is unquestionably a major priority for the future.
Myth 5: The rural economy has collapsed
While the wider formal economy is in dire straits, and inflation running wild, the
rural economy in Masvingo province has been adapting fast. The radical shift in
agrarian structure has altered value chains – formerly dominated by large-scale
commercial agriculture, white-owned businesses and government parastatals –
beyond recognition.
The beef value chain is a good example (see Mavedzenge et al 2008). In the
past there was a reliance on a few suppliers from the large-scale ranchers, going
through a few abattoirs or the Cold Storage Company. Today a huge range of
sources supply meat and many new players are involved. The collapse of the
export market due to foot-and-mouth outbreaks has led to a focus on local sales
and market connections. There have been significant supply constraints, as new
farmers build up their herds and avoid selling – beef is no longer sold through intown
supermarkets, but through small butcheries and pole slaughter outlets in
the rural areas and townships.
Newly emerging supply chains are linking the resettlement areas with feedlots
and butcheries in very different patterns of ownership and management to
before. This means that new players are participating in the rural economy, and
benefits are being more widely distributed. Economic activity has thus relocated,
linking local supply and demand, as well as new trading links, often involving
illegal cross-border economic exchange.
There is also evidence of substantial investment in new businesses in and
around the new resettlements, including shops, bottle stores, butcheries and
transport operations. Such investment has generated a variety of new economic
linkages, creating some much-needed rural employment. These multiplier effects
have, however, been undermined by the wider hyperinflationary pressures,
together with the imposition of price controls and other measures. But, with
changed conditions, these new businesses will be revived and new economic
activity will undoubtedly emerge.
Future strategies must work to enhance economic stability – boosting local
production and spending power. At the moment the overall net benefits of
restructuring following land reform are unclear, but, with the right support, wider
economic growth can be realised. What will be essential is to ensure that such
support does not undermine the diversified entrepreneurialism that has emerged
in recent years. The complex new value chains are perhaps a bit haphazard,
unregulated and chaotic at times but their benefits are more widely distributed
and economic linkages more embedded in the local economy. In the longer term
such new economic arrangements can enhance broad-based and resilient
growth and livelihood generation in ways that the old agrarian structure could
never do.
Let us hope that the new government – and the donor community who will
hopefully rush to support it – will take heed of such findings, and act to support
positive change, rather than – as so often happens with hasty decisions and
ideologically-driven positions – undermine the clear potentials and opportunities.
Much needs to be done: there is an urgent need for economic and political
stability; there are substantial requirements for focused investment and support
in agriculture; but, at the same time, there is also much to build on and positive
dynamics to catalyse. Let us hope that a positive spiral will emerge which builds
on the redistributive gains of the land reform and the real potentials of smallscale
agriculture to be the motor of economic growth and regeneration.
Ian Scoones is a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the
University of Sussex, UK. He is an agricultural ecologist by original training and has
worked in rural Zimbabwe since 1985. His PhD thesis is entitled Livestock populations
and the household economy: a case study from southern Zimbabwe (University of
London, 1990). He is the author of numerous articles, chapters and reports on rural
Zimbabwe, including the 1996 book Hazards and Opportunities: Farming Livelihoods in
Dryland Zimbabwe (Zed Press). He is a member of the Livelihoods after Land Reform
project team. All views presented in this article are personal ones.
Additional material:
For more information on the Livelihoods after Land Reform in Southern Africa project, see, including the background paper Redistributive Land Reform and Poverty
Reduction in Zimbabwe, at
For work on the changes in the livestock sector following land reform, see
On ‘real markets’ and the changing beef commodity chain, see: Mavedzenge, B.Z., J.
Mahenehene, F. Murimbarimba, I. Scoones and W. Wolmer (2008) The Dynamics of Real
Markets: Cattle in Southern Zimbabwe Following Land Reform. Development and Change, 39(4):
For a focus on crop-livestock integration, see: Scoones, I. and Wolmer, W. (eds.). (2002).
Pathways of Change in Africa: Crops, Livestock and Livelihoods in Mali, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe
(James Currey)
For an historical perspective on land and landscape change in the lowveld of Zimbabwe, see
Wolmer, W. (2007). From Wilderness Vision to Farm Invasions Conservation and Development
in Zimbabwe's South-east Lowveld (James Currey)
For more depth on livelihood issues in southern Zimbabwe, see: Scoones et al (1996) Hazards
and Opportunities: Farming Livelihoods in Dryland Zimbabwe (Zed Press) Also: the Sustainable Livelihoods in
Southern Africa Programme, and Wolmer and Scoones (eds.) (2003)
Livelihoods in Crisis? New Perspectives on Governance and Rural Development in Southern
Africa, IDS Bulletin, 34.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

MDC-T: Keep your demos in check

MDC-T: Keep your demos in check

AS before, the media has once again failed in their duty to inform and enlighten through well-founded interpretation of events of the week. Copies of the agreement underpinning the hopes of an inclusive government in Zimbabwe were made available to all media houses. The media, thus, have no excuse for rigging facts and dishing out harebrained interpretations.

Well, before one even gets into the substance of the agreement, one is hard put to establish where the notion of Government of National Unity came from. It is not there in the Dar Declaration. It is not there in Sadc communiqu├ęs.

It is not there in AU documents. Simply not there. What is worse, it is not there in the documents agreed to by the parties. There is a whole world of difference between a Government of National Unity, on the one hand, and an inclusive Government, which is what is being worked towards in Zimbabwe, on the other. Is it being suggested that the two MDC formations and Zanu-PF constitute Unity and the Nation?

What September can’t do

Even with the best political agreement, they cannot constitute a Government merely on the strength of what they signed on September 15. The agreement of September 15 cannot create a Government, let alone one of national unity. If anything, the agreement subordinates itself to the historical quest for national unity.

Governments are creatures of hard and cold law, creatures of statutes, never of mere dalliance between erstwhile political rivals, however that fornication is consummated. True, a political agreement could help processes that could lead to a legal position that eventually founds a government, but first things first, please. What was signed on September 15 has no legal force, has no constitutional status.

Not before Amendment 19, and the document signed by the three political parties is aware of that.

What was signed on September 15 cannot be enforced by any court of law. It merely binds the signatories to the extent they want bound. It can collapse any day, any time. And even where this agreement gets recognised by the supreme law of the land, it does not mean its application will specifically refer to the three parties involved in the agreement.

After the 1987 Unity Accord, our Constitution did not provide a pride of place for Zapu and Zanu. It merely made room for two Vice Presidents. How these were appointed and from where, became a matter of politics, never of law. Cease this needless euphoria, dear media colleagues.

When three is not total

If the thing does not create a Government — any government — what more with a problematic value called National Unity? We had the Unity Accord of 1987: a lot greater, a lot geographically expansive, a lot more legitimate in advancing the national agenda than the thing of September 15. And yet it cannot pretend to have solved, caught and pinned down this elusive ideal called National Unity.

If it did, why talk about it after the September 15 ritual? Is three the totality of parties we have in the country? Is national unity coterminous with vying organised political parties? Is national unity a political question exclusively? The whole debate in the media does not suggest enlightened reportage, let alone commentary.

Instigating unconstitutionality

And then you have this self-feeding misconception of judging the agreement by how soon it delivers ministries and ministers; by how soon it concludes allocation of ministries between parties. No one in the media is talking about the substance of Amendment 19, itself the legal wherewithal for a governmental structure to emerge from the agreement. Why should an estate which claims to hold the executive in constitutional check itself play inciter to lawless unconstitutionality?

This is very dangerous ignorance, the type that inaugurates a lawless dictatorship with a full cheer. In the absence of Amendment No. 19, there will not be a Government or Cabinet which upholds the expectations contained in the agreement, full stop. Yes, President Mugabe can make a Government any day. But it can only be a Government founded on the present law.

It does not make sense to hail the Monday agreement and agitate for a "new" government and a "new" Cabinet while leaving out an intermediate and enabling legislative stage without which the hoped-for government may never arise. Where will the Prime Minister come from? Where will the two Deputy Prime Ministers come from? And the Council of Ministers? There is already a euphoric reference to Tsvangirai as Prime Minister-elect. On the basis of what?

You could have called him that from day one of his stay on this earth, as long as there was clarity that this belongs to the never-never realm of what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up. Why dress these men with robes they are still to borrow from a man who has not arrived, from a man whose given-ness to lending is still to be ascertained?

Reading one’s eyelid

And then you have vacuous reading of the agreement if only to validate this gratuitous euphoria. Tsvangirai is called "mukuru wehurumende". Yaani? Irikupi? Do you need Baba Ribeiro’s Zinyimotenderera — that nefarious witchdoctor in the Shona classic Muchadura — to read the obvious? Is the agreement not clear that President Mugabe heads both the State and Government? How does a Prime Minister who is Head of Government become Deputy Chairman of Cabinet, itself the principal instrument for governing?

Why does the media read what MDC wanted from the deal and not what it actually got from it? And this horribly misunderstood Council of Ministers? Why read it as supervisory to Cabinet when, in fact, it plainly implements Cabinet decisions, and is made up by all Cabinet ministers? Is an administrative arm executive and policy creating? We seem to have a problem of elementary comprehension. Or is it wilful under-understanding? Need we wonder to read headlines like "The centre has moved . . ."? Moved to where? The centre has not moved; it has merely accommodated a lost son. The MDC knows that.

The unread agreement

What this misreporting does is to create unnecessary tensions and pressures, especially in MDC-T who end up overplaying their hand to approximate the wild expectations primed by themselves and the media. The aggressive euphoria that greeted the signing of the agreement on Monday revealed a mass duping of MDC supporters by their dishonest leadership. It was as if they had won power.

Their hungry supporters who massed at the mouth of Rainbow Towers as their leaders were further swelling their already distended stomachs, all looked drunk with well contrived misapprehension. "Zizi razomera nyanga dzenhoro," they chanted, quite convinced Mugabe was out, Tsvangirai in! None had seen, let alone read, the agreement which The Herald went on to reproduce. To this day, very few have read the agreement. Yet the party goes on, and with it great expectations of a power shift which will never materialise.

There is even an expectation that all by-elections will be frozen through an agreement which is said to automatically cede vacant seats to whichever party won them in March! Plea-a-a-se! Give us a break. Democracy, which for the MDC was the acme of their agitation, suddenly takes a step back for the agreement?

Beyond the media miasma

What I like about the present discourse is how real issues are breaking through this miasma of media confusion. I followed with evident fascination Supa’s discussion with John Robertson and Ambassador Mutsvangwa. Robertson made it plain the agreement fell short in that it did not resolve the land question.

Clearly for him, resolving the land question meant ceding land back to white colonials so they go back to their vast estates of yore. It is an argument which is being played up by the British quality Press, principally the Financial Times and the Economist. Slowly, Britain and her settlers here are divesting themselves of all pretences.

They are angry that the preamble tied MDC to the Zanu-PF rhetoric on Third Chimurenga. They are not appeased even by promises of an Independent Land Audit which MDC-T has been agitating for, but whose operationalisation is sure to draw blood redder than the setting sun.

Who will be in it? Who will dare go to the countryside to start processes calculated to appease Hawkins and Robertson’s yearn for a return to settler agrarian policy? Then you will have a real war here of the kind not even America can put out.

Ousting Mugabe

The second issue relates to mining claims and mining rights. Again, the Anglo-Saxon interest is evident. As with land, this hitherto hidden interest is beginning to obtrude so insistently, betraying what has always been at the core of British intrusion into local politics here. And for me, this is exactly the value of the thing that was signed on Monday: it had removed all pretences that encrusted on the so-called political question here.

Real motives are becoming much easier to see and read and thus much easier to respond to. I made this point last week. And because of these two vital interests which have to be vindicated by the MDC, the validity of the Monday agreement rests on its capacity to oust President Mugabe who is read as the principal impediment for the reintroduction of British hegemony here. And the British establishment is pretty candid about it nowadays. Mugabe is no longer omnipotent, but still needs to be watched, cries out one. Mugabe is gone, cries another. Down but not yet out, cries yet another.

Bringing back B-MATT

A more sophisticated view is one that sees the agreement as a major step in by the MDC in its British-inspired long but unremitting campaign for Mugabe’s eventual ouster. And from a Western perspective, Mugabe is as good as the generals who keep his army. That is why Dyck and B-MATT are coming back into the discussion, seemingly with the blessing of naive "Prime Minister-elect".

That is how Gono’s sacking is coming into view. That is why security ministries, finance, information, local government, justice and women affairs must go to the MDC.

The agreement is read as a prologue to a phased putsch! And, of course, the IMF is beginning to dangle its poisoned chalice. It is ready for dialogue. So is the EU and America provided the agreement reveals where real power lies!

Even UNDP has come into the equation, stressing Zimbabwe needs huge infusions from the West, principally from Britain and America! What temerity! I hope the gentle reader is beginning to visualise the point I was at pains to convey last week. The game has started and Zanu-PF needs its most living God to get the better of this massive attempt on it.

Reading from 1987

MDC could emerge the biggest loser if it is not careful. And one does not see much sign of great care. In the first place the demos are on the negotiating table. MDC seems intent on deploying raucous yells and catcalls at the negotiating table. Except anyone can do that with even better results than tMDC can ever hope to achieve.

The rude crowd which MDC mobilised into HICC and at the entrance of Rainbow Towers will not help its case, let alone advance its interests. Judging by what I saw at this week’s Central Committee meeting, MDC is fast losing its interlocutors.

Secondly, MDC does not appear to have benefited from its recruitment of Reverend Canaan Banana, now late. A principal player in the Unity Accord of 1987, MDC should have got a few tips on such agreements from him. They did not, apparently and they seem to muddle. You do not negotiate with your eyes set on tomorrow’s headline. Or rely on little boys like Chamisa when dealing with a mature party like Zanu-PF.

Thirdly, you do not build expectations that will return to haunt you tomorrow. Zanu-PF is not about to capitulate. It will not dismantle its mandate, make no mistake about it. It will seek to accommodate, yes, work with its opponents until confidence is built.

Only then will it entrust greater responsibilities. The story of the Unity Accord is plain for all to see. And the late Joshua Nkomo was right to say: "Unity is what follows." Inclusivity is not what begins. It is the promise of it.

How not to do it

Lastly, there is something called confidence building. You do not achieve this by making demands that betray an attempt to achieve for the British what they failed to get through the ballot. Why would MDC want B-MATT here? What would MDC want a white colonel as commander of the army? Why would MDC want control of ministries that seem calculated for a retributive agenda?

Why would Tsvangirai embark on a food assessment programme apparently after a nod from the American Ambassador? Is it about food or about using the dire food need in the countryside to further his long-held political agenda? Is he Prime Minister already?

People are up to here with anger and frustration. At this rate it may not be long before tenuous cords snap. After all, the agreement is clear. It gives the President the power to allocate ministries "after consultation" with VPs, PM and DPMs. He does not have to adopt their views. The real game begins.



Thursday, 18 September 2008

Morgan Tsvangirai's masters demanding their pound of flesh.

Even before the fat puppet, Morgan Tsvangirai is sworn in, the masters who funded his escapades and misbehaviours are already demanding their pound of flesh, and rightly so. Tsvangirai promised these racist landgrabers a return to colonial style monopoly of Zimbabwe's land in return for the luxuries, houses in South Africa, trips around the globe, and world class education for his kids.

Lets see how the fat ugly puppet wiggles out of this and remain with a clean nose. The slavemasters are now after their slave.

Let Zim's commercial farmers return - TAU SA
Ben Marais
17 September 2008

Statement and letters issued September 17 2008


TAU SA has sent a letter of congratulations to Zimbabwe's new Prime Minister, MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.

In the letter, TAU SA's President Mr Ben Marais has asked Mr Tsvangirai to consider as a matter of immediate urgency the position of the Zimbabwe commercial farmers who were driven from their land. These farmers should have their land returned to them as soon as possible so that food security in Zimbabwe can be re-established, said Mr Marais.

A letter has also been sent to President Thabo Mbeki wherein his influence on the new government in Zimbabwe is sought with regard to the re-establishment of Zimbabwe's commercial farming sector. Mr Marais emphasized that it is in the interests of the whole Southern African region that the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe be brought into production as soon as possible, and nobody can do this better than the commercial farmers who were thrown off their land by the Mugabe-regime.

Both letters are hereby attached:

Letter to the President of the Republic of South Africa:

The President of the Republic of South Africa
The Hon. Thabo Mbeki

Dear Mr Mbeki,


As a well-informed head of state, you know that there is world pressure now on food security. Countries even close their borders against the possibility of food exports, and farmers are motivated and supported to produce more food.

South and Southern Africa is very much part and parcel of this situation.

With the establishment of the new unity government in Zimbabwe, it is clearly a priority that, as a matter of urgency, the position of the provision of food for Zimbabwe's population should be confronted. The rest of Southern Africa does not have the necessary surpluses that could help Zimbabwe in this regard. On the contrary, every country has enough development projects to which they must give attention so that minimal, or even no help whatsoever, can be given to Zimbabwe.

This means that Zimbabwe must be brought to self-sufficiency as quickly as possible, and this must begin with a sound and healthy agricultural sector which can re-establish that country's food security - this could as well help to prevent any possible pressure on the Southern African region's food supplies.

In effect, it would thus be in everyone's interest that Zimbabwe's successful commercial farmers be re established on their farms as quickly as possible in order that food production could be reinstated.

TAU SA has already sent a letter to Zimbabwe's new Prime Minister in this regard, and we enclose a copy herewith for your perusal. Considering the influence which you have already demonstrated in the matter, and bearing in mind how important this issue is to the whole region, we ask you to use your influence to assist in reinstating Zimbabwe's commercial farming sector as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,

B Marais
President, TAU SA

Letter to the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe:

The Prime Minister of Zimbabwe,
The Hon. Morgan Tsvangirai

Dear Mr Tsvangirai,

TAU SA which represents the commercial farming sector in South Africa, congratulates you on your appointment as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

We have noted with pleasure your intention to rebuild your country as soon as possible, with particular emphasis on turning around your country's economic situation.

In this respect we would like to offer our modest contribution towards this goal in the form of well-intentioned advice.

The heartbeat of any land's economy is its agricultural sector. Although agriculture's contribution to a country's Gross Domestic Product sometimes looks low, it is a fact that without a solid agricultural sector, there can be no talk of a successful economy. Agriculture provides food for the population, and no other industry or sector can thrive or even function if the population is without food.

The world watched with despair how land reform in Zimbabwe was handled - successful farmers were simply driven from their land and forbidden to produce. The end result is self-evident - your country's economy, the inflation increases and the empty shelves in your stores are evident for all to see.

Many of Zimbabwe's commercial farmers who were driven off their land are waiting to see whether the country's new Prime Minister has the insight to re-establish them so that production can be reinstated without hindrance. These farmers are people who have proved they can farm successfully, and that they can make a difference when it comes to rebuilding your country's economy.

Not only you and your countrymen need them, but the whole of Southern Africa needs them so that pressure on food production in the region can be alleviated.

We wish you all success in your new post.

B Marais

President, TAU SA

Statement issued by TAU SA September 17 2008

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

John Sentamu: This uncle tom idiot should shut up.

Archbishop Gives Cautious Welcome to Zimbabwe Deal
Monday 15 September 2008
The Archbishop of York has given a cautious welcome to the news of the power sharing deal formally announced today in Zimbabwe between ZANU PF and the Movement for Democratic Change.

Dr Sentamu commented:
"This is a step in the right direction on a path that will hopefully lead to a full restoration of justice, democracy and a final end to the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe.
There will be understandable caution amongst the international community who will be concerned that any aid that follows today's announcement will find its way to the poor of Zimbabwe and not to those who have abused power over the past three decades.
Certainly the immediate concerns for many in Zimbabwe will be an end to food shortages and the re-supply of medicine and medical equipment. In Britain there will also be concern amongst those refugees from Zimbabwe that the British Government will not be over hasty in using today's announcement as the basis for any programme of enforced return. We must wait to see how this deal works out in practice.
One of the pre-requisites for Zimbabwe's return to health will be the application of justice in respect of the serious human right violations and abuses that have been committed, not only in recent months but also over the period of office of the Mugabe regime. Justice will require truth, reconciliation and restoration. The path to justice will be long and arduous, but I am praying that today marks a step in the right direction."

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Zimbabwe Power Pharing Agreement


CONCERNED about the recent challenges that we have faced as a country and the multiple threats to the well-being of our people and, therefore, determined to resolve these permanently.

CONSIDERING our shared determination to uphold, defend and sustain Zimbabwe's sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity, as a respected member of the international community, a nation where all citizens respect and, therefore, enjoy equal protection of the law and have equal opportunity to compete and prosper in all spheres of life.

ACKNOWLEDGING the sacrifices made by thousands of Zimbabwe's gallant sons and daughters in the fight against colonialism and racial discrimination and determined to accept, cherish and recognise the significance of the Liberation Struggle as the foundation of our sovereign independence, freedoms and human rights.

DEDICATING ourselves to putting an end to the polarisation, divisions, conflict and intolerance that has characterised Zimbabwean politics and society in recent times.

COMMITTING ourselves to putting our people and our country first by arresting the fall in living standards and reversing the decline of our economy.
EMPHASISING our shared commitment to re-orient our attitudes towards respect for the Constitution and all national laws, the rule of law, observance of Zimbabwe's national institutions, symbols and national events.

RESPECTING the rights of all Zimbabweans regardless of political affiliation to benefit from and participate in all national programmes and events freely without let or hindrance.

RECOGNISING, accepting and acknowledging that the values of justice, fairness, openness, tolerance, equality, non-discrimination and respect of all persons without regard to race, class, gender, ethnicity, language, religion, political opinion, place _of origin or birth are the bedrock of our democracy and good governance.

DETERMINED to build a society free of violence, fear, intimidation, hatred, patronage, corruption and founded on justice, fairness, openness, transparency, dignity and equality.

RECOGNISING and accepting that the Land Question has been at the core of the contestation in Zimbabwe and acknowledging the centrality of issues relating to the rule of law, respect for human rights, democracy and governance.

COMMITTED to act in a manner that demonstrates loyalty to Zimbabwe, patriotism and commitment to Zimbabwe's national purpose, core values, interests and aspirations.

DETERMINED to act in a manner that demonstrates respect for the democratic values of justice, fairness, openness, tolerance, equality, respect of all persons and human rights.

SUBMITTING ourselves to the mandate of the Extraordinary Summit of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) held in Dar-es-Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, on 29 March 2007 and endorsed in Lusaka on 12 April 2008 and in the AU Summit- held in Sharm eI-Sheikh, Egypt from 30 June to 1 July 2008.

RECOGNISING the centrality and importance of African institutions in dealing with African problems, we agreed to seek solutions to our differences, challenges and problems through dialogue.

ACKNOWLEDGING that pursuant to the Dar-es-Salaam Sadc resolution, the Parties negotiated and agreed on a draft Constitution, initialed by the Parties on 30 September 2007, and further agreed and co-sponsored the enactment of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 18 Act, amendments to the Electoral Act, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act, Public Order and Security Act, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Broadcasting Services Act.

APPRECIATING the historical obligation and need to reach a solution that will allow us to put Zimbabwe first and give the people a genuine chance of rebuilding and reconstructing their livelihoods.

PURSUANT to the common desire of working together, the Parties agreed to and executed a Memorandum of Understanding on 21 July 2008, attached hereto as Annexure "A".


1. Definitions

The "Agreement" shall mean this written Agreement signed by the representatives of Zanu PF and the MDC, in its two formations ("the Parties") in fulfillment of the material mandate handed down by the Sadc Extraordinary Summit on 29th March 2007 and endorsed by Sadc in Lusaka, Zambia and adopted by the African Union Summit in Sharm eI-Sheikh, Egypt.

The "Parties" shall mean Zanu PF, the two MDC formations led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara respectively.

The "Government" or "New Government" means the new Government to be set up in terms of this Agreement.


2. Declaration of Commitment

The Parties hereby declare and agree to work together to create a genuine, viable, permanent, sustainable and nationally acceptable solution to the Zimbabwe situation and in particular to implement the following agreement with the aims of resolving once and for all the current political and economic situations and charting a new political direction for the country.


3. Economic recovery

3.1 The Parties agre e:

(a) to give priority to the restoration of economic stability and growth in Zimbabwe. The Government will lead the process of developing and implementing -an economic recovery strategy and plan. To that end, the parties are committed to working together on a full and -comprehensive economic programme to resuscitate Zimbabwe's economy, which will urgently address the issues of production, food security, poverty and unemployment and the challenges of high inflation, interest rates and the exchange rate.

(b) to create conditions that would ensure that the 2008/2009 agricultural season is productive.

(c) to establish a National Economic Council, composed of representatives of the Parties and of the following sectors:

(i) Manufacturing
(ii) Agriculture
(iii) Mining
(iv) Tourism
(v) Commerce
(vi) Financial
(vii) Labour
(viii) Academia; and
(ix) Other relevant sectors
(d) that the terms of reference of the Council shall include giving advice to Government, formulating economic plans and programmes for approval by government and such other functions as are assigned to the Council by the Government.

(e) to endorse the Sadc resolution on the economy.


4. Sanctions and Measures

4.1 Recognising and acknowledging that some sections of the international community have since 2000 imposed various sanctions and measures against Zimbabwe, which have included targeted sanctions.

4.2 The Parties note the present economic and political isolation of Zimbabwe by the United Kingdom, European Union, United States of America and other sections of the International Community over and around issues of disputed elections, governance and differences over the land reform programme.

4.3 Noting and acknowledging the following sanctions and measures imposed on Zimbabwe:-

(a) enactment of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act by the United States of America Congress which outlaws Zimbabwe's right to access credit from International Financial Institutions in which the United States Government is represented or has a stake;

(b) suspension of Zimbabwe's voting and related rights, suspension of balance of payment support, declaration of ineligibility to borrow Fund resources and suspension of technical assistance to Zimbabwe by the International Monetary Fund;

(c) suspension of grants and infrastructural development support to Zimbabwe by The World Bank; and

(d) imposition of targeted travel bans against current Government and some business leaders.

4.4 Noting that this international isolation has over the years created a negative international perception of Zimbabwe and thereby resulting in the further isolation of the country by the non-availing of lines of credit to Zimbabwe by sections of the international community.

4.5 Recognising the consequent contribution of this isolation to the further decline of the economy.

4.6 Desirous and committed to bringing to an end the fall in the standards of living of our people, the Parties hereby agree:-

(a) to endorse the Sadc resolution on sanctions concerning Zimbabwe;

(b)that all forms of measures and sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted in order to. facilitate a sustainable solution to the challenges that are currently facing Zimbabwe; and

(c) commit themselves to working together in re-engaging the international community with a view to bringing to an end the country's international isolation.


5. Land Question

5.1 Recognising that colonial racist land ownership patterns established during the colonial conquest of Zimbabwe and largely maintained in the post independence period were not only unsustainable, but against the national interest, equity and justice.

5.2 Noting that in addition to the primary objective of the liberation struggle to win one man one vote democracy and justice, the land question, namely the need for the re-distribution of land to the majority indigenous people of Zimbabwe was at the core of the liberation struggle.

5.3 Accepting the inevitability and desirability of a comprehensive land reform programme in Zimbabwe that redresses the issues of historical imbalances and injustices in order tc 'dress the issues of equity, productivity, and justice.

5.4 While differing on the methodology of acquisition and redistribution the parties acknowledge that compulsory acquisition and redistribution of land has taken place under a land reform programme undertaken since 2000.

5.6 Noting that in the current Constitution of Zimbabwe and further in the Draft Constitution agreed to by the parties the primary obligation of compensating former land owners for land acquired rests on the former colonial power.

5.7 Further recognising the need to ensure that all land is used productively in the interests of all the people of Zimbabwe.

5.8 Recognising the need for women's access and control over land in their own right as equal citizens.

5.9 The Parties hereby agree to:

(a) conduct a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit, during the tenure of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe, for the purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating multiple farm ownerships.

(b) ensure that all Zimbabweans who are eligible to be allocated land and who apply for it shall be considered for allocation of land irrespective of race, gender, religion, ethnicity or political affiliation;

(c) ensure security of tenure to all land holders.

(d) call upon the United Kingdom government to accept the primary responsibility to pay compensation for land acquired from former land owners for resettlement;

(e) work together to secure international support and finance for the land reform programme in terms of compensation for the former land owners

(f) work together for the restoration of full productivity on all agricultural land


6 Constitution

Acknowledging that it is the fundamental right and duty of the Zimbabwean people to make a constitution by themselves and for themselves;
Aware that the process of making this constitution must be owned and driven by the people and must be inclusive and democratic;

Recognising that the current Constitution of Zimbabwe made at the Lancaster House Conference, London (1979) was primarily to transfer power from the colonial authority to the people of Zimbabwe;

Acknowledging the draft Constitution that the Parties signed and agreed to in Kariba on the 30 of September 2007, annexed hereto as Annexure "B"
Determined to create conditions for our people to write a constitution for themselves; and

Mindful of the need to ensure that the new Constitution deepens our democratic values and principles and the protection of the equality of all citizens, particularly the enhancement of full citizenship and equality of women.

6.1 The Parties hereby agree:

(a) that they shall set up a Select Committee of Parliament composed of representatives of the Parties whose terms of reference shall be as follows:

(i) to set up such subcommittees chaired by a member of Parliament and composed of members of Parliament and representatives of Civil Society as may be necessary to assist the Select Committee in performing its mandate herein;

(ii) to hold such public hearings and such consultations as it may deem necessary in the process of public consultation over the making of a new constitution for Zimbabwe;

(iii) to convene an All Stakeholders Conference to consult stakeholders on their representation in the sub-committees referred to above and such related matters as may assisi the committee in its work;

(iv) to table its draft Constitution to a 2nd All Stakeholders Conference; and

(v) to report to Parliament on its recommendations over the content of a New Constitution for Zimbabwe

(b) that the draft Constitution recommended by the Select Committee shall be submitted to a referendum;

(c) that, in implementing the above, the following time frames shall apply:

(i) the Select Committee shall be set up within two months of inception of a new government;

(ii) the convening of the first All Stakeholders Conference shall be within 3 months of the date of the appointment of the Select Committee;

(iii) the public consultation process shall be completed no later than 4 months of the date of the first All Stakeholders Conference;

(iv) the draft Constitution shall be tabled within 3 months of completion of the public consultation process to a second All Stakeholders Conference;

(v) the draft Constitution and the accompanying Report shall be tabled before Parliament within 1 month of the second All Stakeholders Conference;

(vi) the draft Constitution and the accompanying Report shall be debated by Parliament and the debate concluded within one month.

(vii) the draft Constitution emerging from Parliament shall be gazetted before the holding of a referendum;

(viii) a referendum on the new draft Constitution shall be held within 3 months of the conclusion of the debate;

(ix) in the event of the draft Constitution being approved in the referendum it shall be gazetted within 1 month of the date of the referendum; and

(x) the draft Constitution shall be introduced in Parliament no later than 1 month after the expiration of the period of 30 days from the date of its gazetting.


7. Equality, National Healing, Cohesion and Unity

7.1 The Parties hereby agree that the new Government:

(a) will ensure equal treatment of all regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, place of origin and will work towards equal access to development for all;

(b) will ensure equal and fair development of all regions of the country and in particular to correct historical imbalances in the development of regions;

(c) shall give consideration to the setting up of a mechanism to properly advise on what measures might be necessary and practicable to achieve national healing, cohesion and unity in respect of victims of pre and post independence political conflicts; and

(d) will strive to create an environment of tolerance and respect among Zimbabweans and that all citizens are treated with dignity and decency irrespective of age, gender, race, ethnicity, place of origin or political affiliation.

(e) will formulate policies and put measures in place to attract the return and repatriation of all Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. and in particular will work towards the return of all skilled personnel


8. Respect for National Institutions and Events

8.1 In the interests of forging a common vision for our country, the Parties hereby agree:-

(a) on the necessity of all Zimbabweans regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation and religion to respect and observe Zimbabwe's national institutions, symbols, national programmes and events; and

(b) that all Zimbabweans regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation and religion have the right to benefit from and participate in all national programmes and events without let or hindrance.


9. External Interference

9.1 The Parties reaffirm the principle of the United Nations Charter on non-interference in the internal affairs of member countries.

9.2 The Parties hereby agree:-

(a) that the responsibility of effecting change of government in Zimbabwe vests exclusively on and is the sole prerogative of the people of Zimbabwe through peaceful, democratic and constitutional means;

(b) to reject any unlawful, violent, undemocratic and unconstitutional means of changing governments; and

(c) that no outsiders have a right to call or campaign for regime change in Zimbabwe.


10. Free political activity

Recognising that the right to canvass and freely mobilise for political support is the cornerstone of any multi-party democratic system, the Parties have agreed that there should be free political activity throughout Zimbabwe within the ambit of the law in which all political parties are able to propagate their views and canvass for support, free of harassment and intimidation.


11. Rule of law, respect for the Constitution and other laws

11.1 The Parties hereby agree that it is the duty of all political parties and individuals to:

(a) respect and uphold the Constitution and other laws of the land;

(b) adhere to the principles of the Rule of Law.


12. Freedoms of Assembly and Association

12.1 Recognising the importance of the freedoms of assembly and association in a multi-party democracy and noting that public meetings have to be conducted in a free, peaceful and democratic manner in accordance with the law, the Parties have agreed:-

(a) to work together in a manner which guarantees the full implementation and realisation of the right to freedom of association and assembly; and

(b) that the Government shall undertake training programmes, workshop meetings for the police and other enforcement agencies directed at an appreciation of the right of freedom of assembly and association and the proper interpretation, understanding and application of' security legislation.


13. State organs and institutions

13.1 State organs and institutions do not belong to any political party and should be impartial in the discharge of their duties.

13.2 For the purposes of ensuring that all state organs and institutions perform their duties ethically and professionally in. conformity with the principles and requirements of a multi-party democratic system in which all parties are treated equally, the Parties have agreed that the following steps be taken:

(a) that there be inclusion in the training curriculum of members of the uniformed forces of the subjects on human rights, international humanitarian law and statute law so that there is greater understanding and full appreciation of their roles and duties in a multi-party democratic system;

(b) ensuring that all state organs and institutions strictly observe the principles of the Rule of Law and remain non-partisan and impartial;

(c) laws and regulations governing state organs and institutions are strictly adhered to and those violating them be-penalised without fear or favour; and

(d) recruitment policies and practices be conducted in a manner that ensures that no political or other form of favouritism is practised.


14. Traditional Leaders

14.1 Recognising and acknowledging that traditional leaders are community leaders with equa1 responsibilities and obligations to all members of their communities regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, race, religion and political affiliation, the Parties agree to:

(a) commit themselves to ensuring the political neutrality of traditional leaders; and

(b) call upon traditional leaders not to engage in partisan political activities at national level as well as in their communities.


15. National Youth Training Programme

Recognising the desirability of a national youth training programme which inculcates the values of patriotism, discipline, tolerance, non-violence, openness, democracy, equality, justice and respect.

Determined to ensure that the National Youth Training Programme raises awareness of the HIV and AIDS pandemic, engenders a spirit of community service, skills development and a commitment to the development of Zimbabwe

15.1 The Parties hereby agree that:-

(a) all youths regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion and political affiliation are eligible to participate in national youth training programmes;

(b) the National Youth Training Programme must be run in a non-partisan manner and shall not include partisan political material advancing the cause of any political party; and

(c) while recognising that youths undergoing training at national youth training centres have a right to hold political opinions, they shall not, during the period of their training, collectively and as part of a scheme of the training centre be used or deployed for partisan political work.


16. Humanitarian and food assistance

16.1 In times of need, every Zimbabwean regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation and religion is entitled to request and receive humanitarian and food assistance from the State.

16.2 It is the primary responsibility of the State to ensure that every Zimbabwean who needs humanitarian and food assistance receives it.

16.3 Non-Governmental Organisations involved in giving humanitarian and food assistance shall do so without discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation and religion. and in doing so, shall not promote or advance the interests of any political party or cause.

16.4 In this regard the Parties hereby agree:

(a) that in the fulfilment of its obligations above, the Government and all State Institutions and quasi-State Institutions shall render humanitarian and food assistance without discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation or religion;

(b) that humanitarian interventions rendered by Non-Governmental Organisations, shall be provided without discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, political affiliation and religion.

(c) that all displaced persons shall be entitled to humanitarian and food assistance to enable them to return and settle in their original homes and that social welfare organisations shall be allowed to render such assistance as might be required.

(d) that all NGO's rendering humanitarian and food assistance must operate within the confines of the laws of Zimbabwe.


17. Legislative agenda

17.1 The Parties hereby agree that:
(a) the legislative agenda will be prioritized in order to reflect the letter and spirit of this agreement;

(b) the Government will discuss and agree on further legislative measures which may become necessary to implement the Government's agreed policies and in particular, with a view to entrenching democratic values and practices.


18. Security of persons and prevention of violence

18.1 Noting the easy resort to violence by political parties, State actors, Non-State actors and others in order to resolve political differences and achieve political ends.

18.2 Gravely concerned by the displacement of scores of people after the election of March 29, 2008 as a result of politically motivated violence.
18.3 Recognising that violence dehumanises and engenders feelings of hatred and polarisation within the country.

18.4 Further recognising that violence undermines our collective independence as a people and our capacity to exercise our free will in making political choices.

18.5 The Parties hereby agree:

(a) to promote the values and practices of tolerance, respect, non-violence and dialogue as means of respecting political differences;

(b) to renounce and desist from the promotion and use of violence, under whatever name called, as a means of attaining political ends;

(c) that the Government shall apply the laws of the country fully and impartially in bringing all perpetrators of politically motivated violence to book;

(d) that all political parties, other organisations and their leaders shall commit themselves to do everything to stop and prevent all forms of political violence, including by non-State actors and shall consistently appeal to their members to desist from violence;

(e) to take all measures necessary to ensure that the structures and institutions they control are not engaged in the perpetration of violence.

(f) that all civil society organisations of whatever description whether affiliated to a political party or not shall not promote or advocate for or use violence or any other form of intimidation or coercion to canvass or mobilise for or oppose any political party or to achieve any political end;

(g) to work together to ensure the security of all persons and property;

(h) to work together to ensure the safety of any displaced persons, their safe return home and their enjoyment of the full protection of the law.

(i) to refrain from using abusive language that may incite hostility, political intolerance and ethnic hatred or unfairly undermine each other.

(j) that while having due regard to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the principles of the rule of law, the prosecuting authorities will expedite !he determination as to whether or not there is sufficient evidence to warrant the prosecution or keeping on remand of all persons accused of politically related offences arising out of or connected with the March and June 2008 elections.


19 Freedom of Expression and Communication

Recognising the impotance of the right to freedom of expression and the role of the mediain a multi-party democracy;

Noting that while the provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act permit the issuance of licences, no licences other than to the public broadcaster have been issued;

Aware of the emergence of foreign based radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe, some of which are funded by foreign governments;

Concernrd that the failure to issue licences under the Broadcasting Services Act to alternative broadcasters might have given rise to external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe;

Further concerned that foreign government funded external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe are not in Zimbabwe's national interest;

Desirous of ensuring the opening up of the air waves and ensuring the operation of as many media houses as possible;

19.1 The Parties hereby agree:-

(a) . that the government shall ensure the immediate processing by the appropriate authorities of all applications for re-registration and registration in terms of both the Broadcasting Services Act as well as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act;

(b) all Zimbabwean nationals including those currently working for or running external radio stations be encouraged to make applications for broadcasting licences, in Zimbabwe, in terms of the law;

(c) that in recognition of the open media environment anticipated by this Agreement, the Parties hereby:-

(i) call upon the governments that are hosting and/or funding external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe to cease such hosting and funding; and

(ii) encourage the Zimbabweans running or working for external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe to return to Zimbabwe; and

(d) that steps be taken to ensure that the public media provides balanced and fair coverage to all political parties for their legitimate political activities.

(e) that the public and private media shall refrain from using abusive language that may incite hostility, political intolerance and ethnic hatred or that unfairly undermines political parties and other organisations. To this end, the inclusive government shall ensure that appropriate measures are taken to achieve this objective.


20 Framework for a new Government

Acknowledging that we have an obligation to establish a framework of working together in an inclusive government;

Accepting that the formation of such a government will have to be approached with great sensitivity, flexibility and willingness to compromise;

Recognising that the formation of such a Government would demonstrate the respect of the Parties for the deeply-felt and immediate hopes and aspirations of the millions of our people.

Determined to carry out sustained work to create the conditions for returning our country to stability and prosperity;

Acknowledging the need for gender parity, particularly the need to appoint women to strategic Cabinet posts;

20.1 The Parties hereby agree that

20.1.1 Executive Powers and Authority

The Executive Authority of the Inclusive Government shall vest in, and be shared among the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, as provided for in this Constitution and legislation.

The President of the Republic shall exercise executive authority subject to the Constitution and the law.

The Prime Minister of the Republic shall exercise executive authority subject to the Constitution and the law.

The Cabinet of the Republic shall exercise executive authority subject to the Constitution and the law.

In the exercise of executive authority, the President, Vice Presidents, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and Deputy Ministers must have regard to the principles and spirit underlying the formation of the Inclusive Government and accordingly act in a manner that seeks to promote cohesion both inside and outside government.

20.1.2 The Cabinet

(a) shall have the responsibility to evaluate and adopt all government policies and the consequential programmes;

(b) shall, subject to approval by Parliament, allocate the financial resources for the implementation of such policies and programmes;

(c) shall have the responsibility to prepare and present to Parliament, all such legislation and other instruments as may be necessary to implement the policies and programmes of the National Executive;

(d) shall, except where the Constitution requires ratification by Parliament, or action by the President, approve all international agreements;

(e) shall ensure that the state organs, including the Ministries and Departments, have sufficient financial and other resources and appropriate operational capacity to carry out their functions effectively; and

(f) shall take decisions by consensus, and take collective responsibility for all Cabinet decisions, including those originally initiated individually by any member of Cabinet.

(g) The President and the Prime Minister will agree on the allocation of Ministries between them for the purpose of day-to-day supervision.

20.1.3 The President

(a) chairs Cabinet;

(b) exercises executive authority;

(c) shall exercise his/her powers subject to the provisions of the Constitution;

(d) can, subject to the Constitution, declare war and make peace;

(e) can, subject to the Constitution, proclaim and terminate martial law;

(f) confers honours and precedence, on the advice of Cabinet;

(g) grants pardons, respites, substitutes less severe punishment and suspends or remits sentences, on the advice of Cabinet;

(h) chairs the National Security Council;

(i) formally appoints the Vice Presidents;

(j) shall, pursuant to this Agreement, appoint the Prime Minister pending the enactment of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment no.19 as agreed by the Parties;

(k) formally appoints Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers and Deputy Ministers in accordance with this agreement;

(l) after consultation with the Vice Presidents, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers, allocates Ministerial portfolios in accordance with this Agreement;

(m) accredits, receives and recognizes diplomatic agents and consular officers;

(n) appoints independent Constitutional Commissions in terms of the Constitution;

(o) appoints service/executive Commissions in terms of the Constitution and in consultation with the Prime Minister;

(p) in consultation with the Prime Minister, makes key appointments the President is required to make under and in terms of the Constitution or any Act of Parliament;

(q) may, acting in consultation with the Prime Minister, dissolve Parliament;

(r) must be kept fully informed by the Prime Minister on the general conduct of the government business and;

(s) shall be furnished with such information as he/she may request in respect of any particular matter relating to the government, and may advise the Prime Minister and Cabinet in this regard.

20.1.4 The Prime Minister

(a) chairs the Council of Ministers and is the Deputy Chairperson of Cabinet;

(b) exercises executive authority;

(c) shall oversee the formulation of government policies by the Cabinet;

(d) shall ensure that the policies so formulated ar€ implemented by the entirety of government;

(e) shall ensure that the Ministers develop appropriate implementation plans to give effect to the policies decided by Cabinet: in this regard, the Ministers will report to the Prime Minister on all issues relating to the implementation of such policies and plans;

(f) shall ensure that the legislation necessary to enable the government to carry out its functions is in place: in this regard, he/she shall have the" responsibility to discharge the functions of the Leader of Government Business in Parliament;

(g) shall be a member of the National Security Council;

(h) may be assigned such additional functions as are necessary further to enhance the work of the Inclusive Government;

(i) shall, to ensure the effective execution of these tasks, be assisted by Deputy Prime Ministers; and

(j) shall report regularly to the President and Parliament.

20.1.5 Council of Ministers

To ensure that the Prime Minister properly discharges his responsibility to oversee the implementation of the work of government, there shall be a Council of Ministers consisting of all the Cabinet Ministers, chaired by the Prime Minister, whose functions shall be:

(a) to assess the implementation of Cabinet decisions;

(b) to assist the Prime Minister to attend to matters of coordination in the government;

(c) to enable the Prime Minister to receive briefings from the Cabinet Committees;
(d) to make progress reports to Cabinet on matters of implementation of Cabinet decisions;

(e) to receive and consider reports from the Committee responsible for the periodic review mechanism; and

(f) to make progress reports to Cabinet on matters related to the periodic review mechanism.

20.1.6 Composition of the Executive

(1) There shall be a President, which Office shall continue to be occupied by President Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

(2) There shall be two (2) Vice Presidents, who will be nominated by the President and/or Zanu PF.

(3) There shall be a Prime Minister, which Office shall be occupied by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.

(4) There shall be two (2) Deputy Prime Ministers, one (1) from MDC-T and one (1) from the MDC-M.

(5) There shall be thirty-one (31) Ministers, with fifteen (15) nominated by Zanu PF, thirteen (13) by MDC-T and three (3) by MDC-M. Of the 31 Ministers, three (3) one each per Party, may be appointed from outside the members of Parliament. The three (3) Ministers so appointed shall become members of the House of Assembly and shall have the right to sit, speak and debate in Parliament, but shall not be entitled to vote.

(6) There shall be fifteen (15) Deputy Ministers, with (eight) 8 nominated by Zanu PF, six (6) by MDC-T and one (1) by MDC-M.

(7) Ministers and Deputy Ministers may be relieved of their duties only after consultation among the leaders of all the political parties participating in the Inclusive Government.

20.1.7 Senate

(a) The President shall, in his discretion, appoint five (5) persons to the existing positions of Presidential senatorial appointments.

(b) There shall be created an additional nine (9) appointed senatorial posts, which shall be filled by persons appointed by the President, of whom, 3 will be nominated by Zanu PF, 3 by MDC-T and 3 by MDC-M.

20.1.8 Filling of vacancies

(a) In the event of any vacancy arising in respect of posts referred to in clauses 20.1.6 and 20.1.7(b) above, such vacancy shall be filled by a nominee of the Party which held that position prior to the vacancy arising.


21 Electoral Vacancies

Aware of the divisive and often times confrontational nature of elections and by elections;

Noting the need to allow this agreement to take root amongst the parties and people of Zimbabwe; and

Cognisant of the need to give our people some breathing space and a healing period

21.1 The Parties hereby agree that for a period of 12 months from the date of signing of this agreement, should any electoral vacancy arise in respect of a local authority or parliamentary seat, for whatever reason, only the party holding that seat prior to the vacancy occurring shall be entitled to nominate and field a candidate to fill the seat subject to that party complying with the rules governing its internal democracy.


22. Implementation mechanisms

22.1 To ensure full and proper implementation of the letter and spirit of this Agreement, the Parties hereby constitute a Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee ("JOMIC") to be composed of four senior members from Zanu PF and four senior members' from each of the two MDC Formations. Gender consideration must be taken into account in relation to the composition of JOMIC.

22.3 The committee shall have the following functions:-

(a) to ensure the implementation in letter and spirit of this Agreement;

(b) to assess the implementation of this Agreement from time to time and consider steps which might need to be taken to ensure the speedy and full implementation of this Agreement in its entirety;

(c) to receive reports and complaints in respect of any issue related to the implementation, enforcement and execution 'of this Agreement;

(d) to serve as catalyst in creating and promoting an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding between the parties; and

(e) to promote continuing dialogue between the Parties.

22.4 JOMIC shall be the principal body dealing with the issues ofo compliance and monitoring of this Agreement and to that end, the Parties hereby undertake to channel all complaints, grievances, concerns and issues relating to compliance with this Agreement through JOMIC and to refrain from any conduct which might undermine the spirit of co-operation necessary for the fulfilment of this Agreement.

22.5 The new Government shall ensure that steps are taken to make the security forces conversant with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and other laws of Zimbabwe including laws relating to public order and security.

22.6 The implementation of this agreement shall be guaranteed and underwritten by the Facilitator, Sadc and the AU.

22.7 The Parties and the new Government shall seek the support and assistance of Sadc and the AU in mobilizing the international community to support the new Government's economic recovery plans and programmes together with the lifting of sanctions taken against Zimbabwe and some of its leaders.

22.8 The Parties agree that they shall cause Parliament to amend any legislation to the extent necessary to bring this agreement into full force.


23. Periodic review mechanism

23.1 Having regard to the Objectives and Priorities of the New Government as set out in this Agreement, the Parties hereby agree that:

(a) they shall constitute a committee composed of 2 representatives each to review on an annual basis progress on the implementation and achievement of the priorities and objectives set out in this Agreement, namely: Economic (restoration of economic stability and growth, sanctions, -land question) Political (new constitution, promotion of equality, national healing and cohesion and unity, external interference, free political activity, rule of law, state organs and institutions, legislative agenda and priorities) Security (security of persons and prevention of violence) and Communication (media and external radio stations); and

(b) the committee shall make recommendations to the Parties and the new
government on any matters relating to this agreement, more particularly on measures and programmes that may be necessary to take and make to realise full implementation of this Agreement.

(c) this Agreement and the relationship agreed to hereunder will be reviewed at the conclusion of the constitution-making process.

23.2 The Parties will continually review the effectiveness and any other matter relating to the functioning of the Inclusive Government established by the Constitution in consultation with the Guarantors.


24 Interim Constitutional amendments

The Parties hereby agree

24.1 that the constitutional amendments which are necessary for the implementation of this agreement shall be passed by parliament and assented to by the President as Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Act No 19. The Parties undertake to unconditionally support the enactment of the said Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 19;

24.2 to include in Constitutional Amendment N019 the provisions contained in Chapters 4 and 13, and section 121 of the draft Constitution that the Parties executed at Kariba on 30 September 2007 (Kariba draft).


25 Commencement

This Agreement shall enter into force upon its signature by the parties

In WITNESS WHEREOF the Parties have signed this Agreement in the English language, in six identical copies, all texts being equally authentic:

Done at Harare on this 15th day of September: 2008

Robert G. Mugabe President, Zanu PF

Morgan R. Tsvangirai President, MDC

Arthur G. O. Mutambara President, MDC

In Witness Thereof The Facilitator:

Thabo Mbeki Sadc Facilitator

Monday, 15 September 2008

Zimbabwe's new leaders order Britain to pay for stolen land

Zimbabwe's new leaders order Britain to pay for stolen land

Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, who reached a deal in talks with President Mbeki, struggled to show a united front
Martin Fletcher
Zimbabwe's new unity Government clashed with Britain within hours of its creation yesterday when it demanded that the country's former colonial master should compensate the 4,000 white farmers whose land the Mugabe regime has seized for its own supporters.

The agreement to create a power-sharing government that Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai signed in Harare described the farm seizures as irreversible and said that the British Government should “accept the responsibility to pay compensation for land acquired from former landowners for resettlement”.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that it would support a fair process of land reform as part of a wider recovery package but insisted: “We have never agreed to accept responsibility for compensation.”

Mr Mugabe began the frequently violent land seizures in 2000 to boost his fading popularity, accusing Britain of reneging on a commitment in the 1979 Lancaster House agreement to compensate white farmers for land redistributed to blacks. The move triggered Zimbabwe's economic collapse as productive farms were plundered and ruined, and hundreds of thousands of black workers lost their jobs.

The compensation call heightened fears that Mr Mugabe was setting the tone for what is supposed to be a government of equals.

Western sources said that the detailed agreement, released yesterday, was deeply ambigious, with no clear definition of the relative powers of the Cabinet, which Mr Mugabe will chair as President, and the Council of Ministers, which Mr Tsvangirai will chair as Prime Minister.

Mr Mugabe will retain considerable authority. He will chair a national security council, comprising the heads of the army, police and secret services, while Mr Tsvangirai will only be a member. He will retain the power to proclaim martial law. He can allocate ministerial portfolios, make key appointments and dissolve Parliament “in consultation” with the Prime Minister.

Western officials said that the agreement contained “a lot of Zanu (PF) rubbish”, including demands for an end to international sanctions, which it blamed for Zimbabwe's economic problems, and to “external interference” in the country's affairs. Foreign media organisations will still have to register and international aid agencies must operate “within Zimbabwe's laws”.

More positively, the agreement commits the Government to developing an economic recovery plan - encouraging three million Zimbabwean exiles to return - a national healing process, an end to political violence, free political activity, impartial state institutions, fair food distribution and constitutional reform.

Amid the pomp and ceremony yesterday were reminders of how hard it will be for Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai to set aside their emnity.

Their supporters clashed outside the convention centre where the agreement was signed, throwing stones and insults at each other. Inside, Mr Mugabe was jeered by supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as he delivered a grudging speech in which he blamed Britain for his country's woes. “We are committed to the deal. We will do our best,” he said, but he barely acknowledged Mr Tsvangirai, continued to refer to the MDC as the “Opposition”, and accused it of wanting “much more than it deserves”.

It also emerged that Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai have yet to agree the highly contentious allocation of ministries. The MDC is expected to control the police, and Zanu (PF) the army, but nothing is yet certain. “It's very hard to see much change in the wind,” one diplomat said.

It was left to Mr Tsvangirai - who has been imprisoned, beaten and tortured by the Mugabe regime - to provide the spirit of optimism and reconciliation missing from the President's speech. “I call upon supporters of both Zanu (PF) and the MDC to unite as Zimbabweans and put the interests of our nation and our people first,” he declared. “Divisions, polarisations and hatred belong to the past.”

The new Government's priority would be to end Zimbabwe's desperate shortages of food and medicine. “We need to unlock our doors to aid. We need medicine, food and doctors back in our country. We need electricity, water, petrol for our vehicles,” he said.

Britain and other Western donors made clear that the provision of the billions in financial assistance that Zimbabwe needs to rebuild its shattered economy will depend on the new Government breaking decisively with the past.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, called for evidence that normal life was improving before any relaxation of sanctions against regime figures. “The most important criteria for any change ... is the economic condition of the people as they face a difficult winter,” he said. “The sanctions are on individuals, they do not target the Zimbabwean economy, which is in free fall because of the policies of the Zimbabwean Government. The new Government needs to start to rebuild the country. If it does so, Britain and the rest of the international community will be quick to support them.”

EU foreign ministers said that they would offer economic support to “a transition government that takes measures to restore democracy and rule of law in Zimbabwe”. They will review the sanctions imposed on 168 senior members of the Mugabe regime next month.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, said: “I encourage the Government to take steps to show clear commitment to a new policy direction and to seek the support of the international community.”

Even among fellow African leaders there were doubts that this Government of polar opposites could survive. “Will it hold or will it not? That is the question,” said Jakaya Kikwete, the President of Tanzania and the chairman of the African Union.

Land slide

— The Land Apportionment Act 1930 restricted blacks' access to land in Rhodesia and forced them into wage labour

— In 1965 Rhodesia declared itself an independent state, but Ian Smith resisted pressures from his Government to address racial inequalities

— Two major black political parties formed in the late 1960s to agitate for land and political rights

— In 1979 talks at Lancaster House in London led to a peace agreement and new Constitution

— The agreement said that for ten years, the Government could buy land only from white farmers willing to sell and at full market prices

— In that decade, 40 per cent of the targeted eight million hectares of white-owned land were acquired

— The resettlement fund officially expired in 1996, although it was reportedly spent by 1988

Source: archives
From The Times
September 16, 2008

Violet Gonda panics about her future as MDC and ZANU strike a deal.

I really enjoyed Violet Gonda's questions here. After years of surviving on spewing negative propaganda about Zimbabwe, and working for one of the many 'regime change' groups harnessed through Anglo-American bribes to masquerade as independent voices while in fact being MDC-T political activists, now its an uncertain future.

These political condoms (including clowns like lance Guma, Gabriel Shumba etc) have done the dirty work, and its time to discard them. The west has no permanent friends or puppets, only permanent interests.

My advice to Violet Gonda is that she should now use this opportunity to find a real job.

Morgan Tsvangirai's former adviser and political analyst Professor Brian Raftopoulos was a guest on SW Radio Africa's Hot Seat Programme. Here is a transcript of the interview with SW Radio's Violet Gonda:
Last updated: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 10:31:20 GMT
Broadcast September 12, 2008

Violet Gonda: South African President Thabo Mbeki has finally brokered a power sharing deal between the political rivals in Zimbabwe. Mbeki announced on Thursday evening that there will be a formal signing ceremony on Monday. On the programme Hot Seat I have invited political analyst Professor Brian Raftopoulos to help us understand this historic development. Welcome Professor.

Raftopoulos: Hello Violet, how are you?

Gonda: I am fine. First of all your reaction to the news.

Raftopoulos: Well I am cautiously optimistic. I think it’s a step forward in the Zimbabwe political process. As well as dangers there are also possibilities and I think that it’s important to understand that this has been a long time in the making. These mediation discussions have been going on for over a year and so I think that people have invested a great deal into this and I think this is a welcome development.

Gonda: And some Zimbabweans we have been talking to are also cautiously optimistic about this development but some feel it may be a deal that is going to serve the political leaders more than the masses. What really pushed them to sign? Do you understand what their motivation was?

Raftopoulos: I think the motivation was that on both sides there was clearly not much alternatives to a negotiated settlement. Zanu PF clearly has no answer to the economic decline. They have no answer to the question of illegitimacy of the presidency. The international isolation has intensified - even within the region there are increasing questions about the role of Mugabe and his government. So I think there was pressure building up for Zanu PF to sign.

On the part of the MDC I think there has been a lot of support for the MDC internationally that was also increasing in the region. But in terms of the internal social forces I think these have been severely weakened over the years by state violence, by the increasing impoverishment & poverty produced by the economy and by the weakening of the civic movement and therefore the capacity for increasing internal pressure has also been weakened.

And so I think a negotiated settlement had become an increasing necessity for both sides in the context of this other regional and international pressure.

Gonda: And many people are saying they can’t really react because they are still waiting to find out what the details of the deal exactly. I understand that the details are expected to be revealed on Monday after the formal signing ceremony, but what have you heard? What might the deal look like?

Raftopoulos: Like many other Zimbabweans I am anxious to see the details of the agreement. To look at the fine print of what is there and then we can have a clearer picture of what this government is going to look like.

But clearly it will involve - as far as the little information that we have been able to access to - involves sharing of ministries, sharing of responsibilities, the issue of being able to open up political space within the country, developing a new constitution within 18 months and of course in the longer term preparing the grounds for a new presidential election.

Now we will need to look in more detail once the full information regarding the deal is made public and we can have a more informed discussion around it.

Gonda: Ok. Now Mugabe said on Thursday before the signing of the deal - that the two parties – Zanu PF and MDC – are like oil and water. Are the political positions so polarised that it’s likely we can have a paralysed government?

Raftopoulos: There is always that possibility that an agreement like this can stall. That it can lead to more difficulties in the coming months and the coming years and that old rigidities can re-emerge or continued rigidities will still be available for political mobilisation.

On the other hand there is the chance that this period will open up possibilities for new political alliances, for more spaces for the civics to begin to re-organise and to put pressure on the new government formation to deliver some kind of economic stabilisation to take place and critically for humanitarian assistance to be made available to what is an increasingly critical position for millions of Zimbabweans. So there are both dangers and possibilities and the outcome of this depends on struggles that will take place in the context of the next few years.

Any transition like this is also a fight of struggle, a fight for political contestation and the outcome of that context one can’t fully predict.

Gonda: What about those two leaders themselves? You know after nearly three decades of unchallenged leadership do you see Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai working together? And if so what are the implications of this?

Raftopoulos: Yes it is going to be a huge challenge. Mugabe is unaccustomed to defence, unaccustomed to sharing this kind of power and responsibility. So again one hopes that this agreement will usher in an early retirement for Mugabe. Or at least provide the indication that this is designed to push him out. But yes there is always a danger that Mugabe’s penchant for authoritarian ways of doing things will be a problem but this is a challenge that Morgan Tsvangirai and the two MDCs will confront, challenge and move beyond.

Gonda: There are some who feel there is no deal that can strip Mugabe of real power. Is it possible that he can find ways to manipulate this deal?

Raftopoulos: We don’t know the full details of how the powers would be shared so it is difficult to answer that. But one also needs to say that as much as this is a compromise we are a long way from where we were even a couple of years ago. We are in a situation where Zanu PF has been forced to sit at the table across from a party that in some way it still regards as a foreign construction and is deeply suspicious of.

In a situation were Zanu PF now has to very seriously cede some of its powers in key areas. And perhaps ZANU is not in the same position that it was in even a year ago. I think it’s weaker than it was and as these things open up and if things improve the future of ZANU itself is going to be a real challenge for Zanu PF because the pressure on it to transform itself or to deal with these kind of political changes will be immense for a party that is not used to that. So we shouldn’t underestimate the possibilities even while understanding the challenges.

Gonda: Earlier on you talked about the economic crisis and we know that starvation and inflation are still a major risk - so how is Zimbabwe going to be rescued now?

Raftopoulos: I can only speculate but clearly part of what a new transitional government will immediately have on the table is an economic reconstruction programme. So I am sure discussions will open up with various bilateral discussions between this new dispensation and foreign donors, financiers about what kind of development can take place.

I don’t think there will be an immediate pouring in of money. I think people will be very cautious. Zimbabwe has a huge foreign debt - I think of over a billion dollars and that of course is something that is going to have to be dealt with. So I think it is going to be a difficult period.

There is going to be lots of doom, disappointment and disillusionment but also I think for where we are at the moment we have a few alternatives but to try and make this work as best as we can.

Gonda: I saw a report from the European Union threatening more sanctions. Is it possible to give us your thoughts on the relation between Zanu PF and the international community? Do you see western powers endorsing this deal - even though we don‘t know what the details are yet, but will they be prepared to work with this regime?

Raftopoulos: One doesn’t know. I think the western powers are having to think and are waiting to see the details of this report and to try and understand whether this deal offers the possibilities of opening up of political spaces.

Yes you are right I have also heard these discussions about continued sanctions and that is partly because people are waiting to see what the possibilities of this deal are and to try and work out a safe relationship with this process - rather than going in 100% in one blow is to look at it in different phases. We will have to see what happens with the sanctions.

I think a lot depends on what kind of powers the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai have and what message Morgan Tsvangirai himself sends out to western countries about what he thinks they should and should not be doing.

Gonda: What does this deal mean for all the groups that were formed around the crisis – like the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Women of Zimbabwe Arise and indeed radio stations like SW Radio Africa, Studio 7 and VOP – and even news websites like New, the Zimbabwean, the Zimbabwe Times and so on? What will the signing mean to the cause of democracy?

Raftopoulos: Well I think the civics as a whole should also be looking at this as a step forward and what they should be assessing is - when we have the details - they should be looking at what it would mean in terms of opening up of political spaces. I think there is going to be a huge need for civics to be strengthened, to continue their role of critical engagement with the state and build up an autonomous capacity to always be in a situation where they are able to respond to injustices, to problems within the State. And so the need for a vibrant civil society in my view is more current that ever.

I don’t think you will find that things will change all of a sudden. I think it is going to be a long slow difficult process and the road for critical civic engagement, critical media discussions will be as important as ever.

Gonda: And the radio stations that are out of the country?

Raftopoulos: I am sure there is something in the agreement. I would think there is something in the agreement about that - I am not sure we will have to wait for the details about that. But I think the radio stations will have to respond according to what they feel is in the agreement and according to what possibilities there are to begin to operate from within Zimbabwe. I think that should be the key determinant of the radio stations. Whether they have the abilities, the capacity, and the availability to move their operations into Zimbabwe in order to build on the enormous amount of good work that stations like yours have developed over the years.

Gonda: I know you have just talked a bit about this but still there seems to be a sense of confusion because people hadn’t really expected this to happen so “suddenly” even though it has taken several years for us to get where we are right now. What then becomes the Zimbabwe situation – is it just going to end on Monday with the last signature?

Raftopoulos: No I think the signature is just the first small step towards a hard long struggle to roll back the disastrous policies and authoritarian practices of Zanu PF. No signature, no agreement ever just signals that kind of decisive change. Certainly it introduces a new dynamic into the process and we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of this dynamic and seeing the possibilities of using it to expand spaces.

But the damage that has been done to the Zimbabwe political structures and the economic structures, the livelihoods of people and the effects of the political violence on the social fabric of communities has been enormous. And I think there are decades of work of rebuilding.

Gonda: And the Diaspora - what about the Zimbabweans abroad and in neighbouring countries – how do you get them to repatriate because the brain drain is central to economic recovery?

Raftopoulos: I think this is a very, very important question. I think it is going to be a long difficult process. I don’t think people who have left the country - especially professionals will rush back to Zimbabwe. I think many won’t or won’t want to return. There may become a process of travelling between two countries.

But I think this issue of human resource development - as it was important in the 80s when a new government began in the post independence period - I think the question of human resources development will be one of the central features required to re-develop and to build the economy and structures of Zimbabwe.

Gonda: And of course the culture of intolerance to criticism has been a hallmark of our political life as a nation, and now that the MDC is part of government do you see the culture of intolerance changing?

Raftopoulos: I think that depends on what the MDC does. It depends on how the civics tries to fight for that space. But my sense is that one of the features of such an agreement would be the opening up of space for greater debate. But such spaces can only be sustained when people fight to keep them open, it has constitutional provisions for them to be available, and has structures and organisations which ensures that those rights are protected. And so there are no guarantees but the possibilities may well be there to open up some spaces for a new kind of tolerance.

Gonda: You have been one of the few people to have the opportunity to advise the MDC leadership. What is your opinion on this? Do you see the MDC fighting for the restoration of democratic freedoms like, as you said, the right to free flow of information, the right of association and even the right to demonstrate?

Raftopoulos: I think the MDC comes from a tradition in the constitutional and civic movement where real issues were absolutely central to the battles of opening up the political space. The MDC like any political party has got very contradictory elements and it’s got very problematic elements as well but I think the thrust of its legitimacy as a party has always been its commitment – at least at a formal level – to opening up of political spaces. There is obviously no guarantee of how the MDC will behave in government and that also depends on what it will do as a party and also what happens outside of the party, especially in the civil society and in the broadening of debate in the civil society.

But I do think we need to – like any other party like this – give it the opportunity to demonstrate its capacity or lack of it to show what it is able to do. And to give it a chance to see what can be done in a situation like this and not try to prejudge too much what we speculate what might be done.

Gonda: What about the Zanu PF dynamics? What do you see happening because there are going to be many people who will lose their jobs especially if Zanu PF will now share the cabinet with the MDC?

Raftopoulos: Yes, Zanu PF has been going through a crisis for several years. A crisis of succession, a crisis of trying to understand what its long term future is, a crisis of loss of legitimacy within the population and the problems of its own organisational structures and I am sure that may well deepen as political structures and political debates open up in Zimbabwe. We could see a further crisis within Zanu PF and maybe some very dangerous responses from them. These are the kind of risks with transitions like this. One only hopes there will be enough political determination and structures in place to help deal with these kinds of tensions. But I think it is going to be a very difficult few years.

Gonda: On the other hand is it possible that this transitional period can give Zanu PF an opportunity to regroup?

Raftopoulos: It’s possible yes. It is possible that it can give Zanu PF a chance to regroup, to rethink its role. It also partly depends on how the MDC is able to use its space within and outside of the State to put more pressure on Zanu PF and to ensure that if there are changes within Zanu PF that there a changes towards a more democratic political style.

And I think that comes out of the MDC’s capacity to deliver, to fight for expansive political spaces and to ensure greater tolerance and pluralism within the Zimbabwe politics.

Gonda: And I know this has been an important issue for you especially in the last couple of years as you work for the Solidarity Peace Trust. What does it mean for the human rights violations perpetrated during the reign of the regime?

Raftopoulos: I think this is one area where the civic movement is going to have a key role to play, which is putting the issues of transitional justice questions on to the political agenda very quickly. It’s more than likely that issues of impunity and accountability will not have been dealt with in this agreement. That the people we know were responsible for orchestrating violence are likely not to be made accountable for what they have done immediately.

So it is very important that the civics fight that these issues are brought on the agenda and fight for long term issues of justices for those who have suffered human rights abuses.

Gonda: What would you see as an alternative if this whole power sharing deal collapses?

Raftopoulos: If this power sharing deal collapses what we will get is once again a very repressive Zanu PF. We will see a reassertion of the role of the military through Zanu PF, a continuing economic decline. And certainly in the near future a huge attack and further attack and weakening of the MDC and the civic movement. So we need to hope and work hard to make this agreement possible and to make it work and allow that we fight for the opening up of democratic spaces in Zimbabwe.

Gonda: How would you judge Thabo Mbeki’s involvement in this?

Raftopoulos: I think it has been mixed, I think there was a certain smugness in Thabo Mbeki’s comments on the signing of the deal because we know that there has been a lot of problems over the years and there has been the need to pressure him in many, many ways. But also clearly there has been some skilful ways in which he has handled the quiet diplomacy. So I think we are going to have to look more carefully at how this quiet diplomacy has worked itself out and study it more carefully and once we have done that make a proper assessment of Thabo Mbeki’s role in the mediation, in the politics of Zanu PF, in the politics of MDC and then come to a more informed decision. I think that is a decision that is still to happen.

Gonda: And of course Zimbabweans have waiting long enough for a peaceful solution to the crisis, why haven’t the details been made public and why wait until Monday to sign? Do you have any idea?

Raftopoulos: No, but I think the details should have been made much sooner. I think one of the problems of this mediation has been the secrecy around it. Zimbabweans had a right to have access to more of this information earlier. But I am sure that they are waiting until Monday because there may be more details that have to be finalised - the finer print of the agreement. The question of the allocation of ministries and a more detailed picture of what this government would look like in the next few months.

Gonda: And a final word?

Raftopoulos: Well the final word is that I think that we need to understand that this is a moment of possibility; it is not in my view a defeat. It’s a demonstration of where the balance of political forces in Zimbabwe are at he moment and that therefore we need to now rethink and reorganize in order to make sure that we don’t regret politically once again to the era we have just come out of, or are still in the process of coming out of.

Gonda: Thank you very much Professor Brian Raftopoulos.

Raftopoulos: Thanks very much Violet.