The Heart of the Matter with Tanonoka Joseph Whande
Tanonoka comments, ‘it does not appear to me as if anyone undermines the MDC more than the MDC itself.’ He adds, “The MDC has undoubtedly worked very hard and deserves to be where they are, but some of the things they do expose amateurish behaviour that can only entangle the party leader and make its supporters wonder.”


Gilbert Muponda on BTH
Dozens of businessmen were forced out of Zimbabwe at the height of central bank governor Gideon Gono’s so-called clean-up of the financial sector. Should the new coalition government make resolving those cases one of its outstanding issues? Exiled businessman Gilbert Muponda thinks so and is campaigning heavily to expose Gono’s destruction of the sector. He accuses Gono of stealing a bank owned by his company and says the governor is both a referee and player in the financial sector.


Former Judge and human rights defender Sansole dies in car crash
By Violet Gonda
11 June 2009
Former Judge and human rights defender Washington Sansole died in a car crash in South Africa on Monday. Journalist Peta Thornycroft, who spoke with family members of the 66 year old former judge, said he was travelling through South Africa with his Lesotho wife Bapsi, on their way to a funeral in Lesotho. The couple were driving in different cars when the judge’s vehicle was involved in an accident near Bloemfontein. Two of his wife’s relatives from Lesotho were believed to have died in the same accident.
Sansole, who was a passenger, was not killed immediately but died later in hospital. Thornycroft said: “It is a terrible shame to lose such a long term struggler for democracy from before independence and after.”
“As a journalist, he was one of the very few people I actually trusted. If he gave me information it was true. He was one of those people of extraordinary integrity and maturity and of course that is why he quit the High Court, long before even the MDC came around.”
The highly regarded former judge once said about Mugabe: “An accomplished fraud. I was never disappointed by him because I never expected very much.”
Sansole was one of the founders of the Forum Party, led by the late Chief Justice Enock Dumbutshena. Thornycroft said Sansole believed the judiciary had been wiped out more or less with the departure of Justice Dumbutshena.
Sansole was a Tonga from Hwange district and was educated at Roma University in Lesotho and later Kings College in London. He returned to Zimbabwe soon after independence and joined the bench, but this didn’t last long.  Thornycroft said he was affected by the atrocities going on in Matabeleland in the mid 80s and soon left the bench and went into private practice.
He represented writer and political activist Judith Todd’s struggle to retain her citizenship after the Mugabe regime changed immigration laws ahead of the 2002 presidential elections. She is the daughter of the late Rhodesian Prime Minister Sir Garfield Todd.
Sansole was also arrested at one point when he was a director of the company which owned The Daily News, which was effectively silenced by the regime.
Thornycroft said: “He had the earliest insights into the rot of ZANU PF that many people think only started in 2000. Of course it didn’t, it started almost as they took office. But as the late Willie Musarurwa used to say; ‘We all did sunshine journalism in those days’. But Washington Sansole saw it very early on.”
She said he would have been a prime candidate to sit on a human rights commission in a new Zimbabwe, if the process was going to be based on merit and wisdom.

Tsvangirai holds meetings with IMF and World Bank in Washington
By Tichaona Sibanda
11 June 2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has held high level meetings with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, in the build-up to his Friday meeting with US President Barack Obama.
James Maridadi, Tsvangirai’s spokesman, said the Prime Minister is trying to establish ways and means of institutional re-engagement with multilateral and bilateral partners, as well as the members of the international community.
‘As a build-up to the White House meeting, Prime Minister Tsvangirai will meet separately the Chairman of the Senate Sub-Committee on Africa, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, Republican Senator John McCain and Secretary of State Mrs Hilary Rodham Clinton,’ Maridadi said.
Economist Luke Zunga said Tsvangirai’s meetings with the Breton Woods Institutions would most likely have centred on how the country was going to pay back the US$1 billion debt it owes to them.
‘Tsvangirai cannot ask for the debts to be cancelled because that requires a number of specific programmes to be in place in the country before that happens. There should be tangible evidence of the restoration of human rights and the rule of law for the IMF or World Bank to consider even listening to his pleas for debt canceling,’ Zunga said.
‘In fact people should be told the truth that no aid money is going to Zimbabwe anytime soon, as long as there are no reforms. The best Tsvangirai can do now is to plead for aid to speed up constitutional reforms to allow the country to have free and fair elections after the exercise,’ Zunga added.
The Prime Minister has said he is not walking around with a begging bowl in his hands, but is trying to re-establish ways and means of re-engaging the west.
The United States, not impressed so far with the speed of reforms in Zimbabwe, has resolved to maintain targeted travel and financial restrictions on Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF inner circle.
In a resolution passed unanimously on Tuesday, the US senate said targeted sanctions and an arms embargo will remain in place until there is proof that the inclusive government was moving towards the restoration of the rule of law and upholding human rights.
The senate said suspension of non-humanitarian government-to-government assistance will also remain in place.
Western nations, led by the US and Britain are withholding direct financial support to the Harare administration, unconvinced that Mugabe is genuinely committed to democratic change or to sharing power with Tsvangirai.
A clear sign of this was a statement by a ZANU PF cabinet minister, who said ‘they’ don’t take directives from Tsvangirai. Information Minister Webster Shamu said his ministry only accepts directives on important issues from Mugabe.
Shamu said this when opposing an application by a group of journalists,  who won a court order to force his ministry to allow them to cover the just ended COMESA summit, without accreditation from the defunct media commission.  Shamu said in an affidavit that Tsvangirai was only head of government business in parliament, according to a power-sharing agreement signed by the three main political parties last year.
Shamu added that the Prime Minister did not have powers to appoint ministers to Cabinet and therefore had no authority to issue directives to them.
This is exactly what the international community is worried about, that Tsvangirai is only be a figurehead in government, without any authority to change things.
Finance Minister Biti to address World Economic Forum
By Lance Guma
11 June 2009
Finance Minister Tendai Biti will address the World Economic Forum in South Africa on Friday. He is expected to use his speech to make an appeal for financial aid to fund the coalition governments ‘Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme’. Biti will be part of a panel that includes Deputy South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and Kingdom Meikles Africa group chief executive officer, Nigel Chanakira. Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara will also address the same forum.
Speaking to Newsreel on Thursday Biti said he took part in a fund raising dinner Wednesday evening in which he met South Africa’s new Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and Trade Minister Rob Davis. Key investors in both the public and private sector were also present. Asked if he was battling skepticism towards the coalition government Biti said ‘I don’t see where the skepticism is coming from when you see the progress we have made? A year ago Zimbabwe was a war zone, now it is not.’
Pressed further on the MDC’s own admission that there were outstanding issues Biti said; ‘The MDC is a party in government but not the government.’ He said the mixed messages were being generated by journalists who did not appreciate the distinction. But with Prime Minister Tsvangirai getting demands for more reforms before any aid, during his trip to Europe and America, Newsreel asked Biti if this was not a clear sign that the outstanding issues were hampering progress.
‘That’s an unscientific appreciation of why the Prime Minister is out. The Prime Minister has not gone there with a black briefcase to receive cheques. He has gone there to engage and re-intergrate (the country). That never used to happen. It’s not about the cheque book. It’s about nation building,’ Biti said.


The Wednesday Forum
This is a weekly report from the London Monday Forum meeting, where speakers from politics, civic society, business, academia, and others with interests in Zimbabwe are invited to share ideas, plan actions and lobby, with facilitators Jeff Sango and Sam.
The Zimbabwe Crisis has sent many people into the Diaspora resulting in both a brain drain and social upheaval. How deep is this problem and how can it be dealt with? To discuss this issue, the Forum hosts Martha Chinouya, a social scientist and anthropologist who has focused on these challenges.


Callback is the daily talk show where you are invited to share your news, views and opinions.
James accuses police in Harare of randomly pouncing on people and demanding ‘kick backs;’ Mr X, who has been in South Africa for several months, says even though they are miserable there most Zimbabweans are not making plans to go home because of the political uncertainty, and Jongwe doubts if the Prime Minister will get any aid from his overseas mission as long as Mugabe remains in power. Callback – your views, your opinion in your voice.


In the Hidden Story, we rebroadcast an investigative piece produced by the BBC’s Mike Thomson, who has been under cover in Zimbabwe. In the first of the stories he has produced, Thomson reports on claims that  Mugabe’s allies are drawing up ‘assassination lists’ of members of the unity government. The MDC’s Sekai Holland, Minister for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, says hardliners in ZANU PF are targeting members of the MDC. She believes her name and those of colleagues have been added to the ‘list’ and many have received threatening phone calls.


Prime Minister’s ‘niece’ speaks about Chegutu farm invasion
By Violet Gonda
10 June 2009
Dr. Arikana Chihombiri, the woman related to Morgan Tsvangirai and accused of attempting to invade a Chegutu farm, has spoken for the first time.
The US medical doctor told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that she was indeed related to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and also confirmed that she was given an offer letter to ‘take over’ part of the Cremer farm in Chegutu. She said she is Zimbabwean and has a right to land and was given an offer letter because she had proven she had the resources to take up farming. When asked if it was right to just go in and steal people’s property, Chihombori said the land redistribution programme is there to ‘correct historical injustices’.
The Cremer family said that in January this year Dr Chihombori’s sister sent a group of unemployed youths to take the farm, but the occupation only lasted three days, after which the youths left complaining of not being paid enough. In April Dr Chihombori applied to the courts for an application to evict the Cremer family, producing an offer letter dated December 2008 as evidence. But Dr Chihombiri revealed to us that she is withdrawing the matter from the magistrate’s case – for the time being. She said this was because of the way the Cremers abused her sister and a Chegutu lands officer when they went to represent her case at the farm. She said: “At one point Mr Cremer let his dog at them and started yelling at my sister calling her a cold stupid kaffir and that he was not going to listen to any instructions from a kaffir.”
The medical doctor insists it was because of this ‘abuse’ and not pressure from the Prime Minister to leave the farm alone, that she was taking a step back.
The website Newzimbabwe reported on Tuesday that Tsvangirai was going to instruct Chihombori to “walk away from that farm.”
Meanwhile an MDC source had told us on Tuesday that Mr. Tsvangirai and the medical doctor were not related, but the Prime Minister’ spokesperson James Maridadi insisted on Wednesday that the two are indeed related. “Dr. Chihombori is the Prime Minister’s niece and that is not in dispute. She is 52 years old and an uncle cannot be held responsible for the commissions or omissions on the part of a 52 year old niece.” Maridadi added.
On Tuesday Justice for Agriculture, a group which campaigns on behalf of commercial farmers in Zimbabwe, had said the affected farmer had approached the American embassy to enquire about the US citizen who was attempting to invade the farm.
Maridadi added: “Now that there is a lot of interest coming out in the press, I think there maybe need for the Prime Minister to maybe look at the case closer and then determine what kind of action to take from there. But as of now the Prime Minister is on a very busy schedule of his tour of the US, Europe and Scandinavia and he doesn’t have a lot of time to engage on the issue of the Cremer Farm, and he doesn’t have the facts.”

Tsvangirai to be received with full military honours in Germany.
Staff writer
10 June 2009
Germany’s government said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Tsvangirai will be received with full military honours during a visit next week. He will be hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks on Monday.
The German government spokesperson said the country hopes that a new chapter of bilateral relations can be opened with Zimbabwe, after years of a cool relationship during Mugabe’s rule.
Tsvangirai’s trip to Germany will follow his meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House on  Friday.  But reports also suggest the Prime Minister will have some tough questions to answer at the foreign office in Berlin, over the ongoing violent land invasions and the lack of the rule of law.
Ruling on MDC activists postponed again.
By Tichaona Sibanda
10 June 2009
The High Court on Wednesday again postponed a ruling on the MDC activists charged with attempting to overthrow Robert Mugabe.  The activists contend their rights were violated when they were abducted by state security agents and that their case should be referred to the Supreme Court.
Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama told us the activists applied to refer the case to the Supreme Court as they believe that they are themselves victims of crimes perpetrated by the police and other security agents.
Concillia Chinanzvavana, Fidelis Chiramba, Violet Mupfuranhewe and Collen Mutemagawu were abducted in October and held incommunicado for two months before being found three days before Christmas last year.
They are the first group of individuals, who were abducted from their homes during the months of October and December, to finally stand trial.
But the applicants want the higher court to determine several human right violations against them by the State, including whether or not their abduction was lawful and whether or not victims of kidnapping can be lawfully prosecuted.
Muchadehama said Judge Tendai Uchena ruled on Wednesday that the High Court will decide on their application on the 22nd June. The trial is expected to start after the ruling.
‘The applicants have asked the court to rule at what they believe to be gross human rights violations against them by state security operatives. There have been serious violations to their constitutional rights,’ Muchadehama said.
‘So to try them in these circumstances violates their right to the protection of the law. They contend that they are themselves victims of crimes committed against them by security agents,’ Muchadehama added.
Meanwhile Muchadehama himself is coming under renewed harassment. On Tuesday he was summoned to stand trial at the Harare Magistrates’ Court, on 17th June, on allegations of obstructing or defeating the course of justice.
This is the case in which the State said that Muchadehama caused the unlawful release from custody of three other clients, Kisimusi Dhlamini, Gandi Mudzingwa and Andrison Manyere, all accused of terrorism.
Muchadehama had been removed from remand on this case by a Harare Magistrate who said the State had failed to show any reasonable suspicion that he had committed the alleged offence.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights believe that the swift revival of the case against Muchadehama is an attempt by the State to prevent him from dedicating his energies to properly representing his clients. They said the Attorney-General and his officers are blatantly trying to intimidate, harass and prevent him from executing his duties, by putting him on trial in the middle of all the other ongoing trials.
As the State continues to relentlessly show that it is determined to harass anyone perceived as an opponent, Deon Theron, the vice President of the Commercial Farmers Union, was summoned by Harare’s Law and Order Section of the police to appear at their offices on Tuesday.
The police said they had another charge to lay against him but declined to say what the ‘new charge’ was, according to reports. Theron was first arrested and detained for taking photographs of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s vehicle just after the crash in which his wife Susan died.  Theron had been asked to take the photos by the MDC, as he was the nearest person to the scene of the accident.
Since then he has been continually harassed.
Journalists sue Minister for contempt of court over accreditation
By Lance Guma
10 June 2009
Four journalists who were barred from covering the COMESA summit at the weekend have decided to sue Information Minister Webster Shamu and his permanent secretary George Charamba, for contempt of court. This follows Friday’s ruling by High Court Judge Bharat Patel that the Media and Information Commission (MIC), led by Tafataona Mahoso, was now a defunct body and no journalist should be required to register with it.
But as journalists Stanley Gama, Valentine Maponga, Stanley Kwenda and Jealous Mawarire found out on Sunday, High Court orders are just pieces of paper in Zimbabwe’s law of the jungle. Security agents at the summit ignored the court order being waved in front of them and turned the journalists away. They insisted the group were not on the Ministry of Information’s list of journalists accredited to cover the summit.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced last month that journalists were now free to report on Zimbabwe without government approval since the MIC had been legally disbanded in 2008. He was promptly contradicted by Information Minister Shamu who warned of arrest for those without accreditation. Meanwhile the MIC was meant to be replaced by the Zimbabwe Media Commission, but this still has not been constituted. Justice Patel’s ruling last week merely confirmed Tsvangirai’s initial interpretation of the commission’s illegal status
On Wednesday Newsreel spoke to Stanley Gama and he told us Harare lawyer Selby Hwacha is handling the application. Justice Patel had specifically barred the Information Ministry from interfering in the work of the journalists, and he said the lawyer will argue that production of a list of accredited journalists at the summit amounted to interference. Although there is little chance of government respecting any ruling from the courts that they don’t like, Gama said they are determined to expose the illegality of the ministry’s actions. Government lawyers meanwhile insist they are going to appeal Justice Patel’s ruling on the status of the MIC.
The formation of the coalition government 4 months ago has so far failed to eradicate old ZANU PF habits of repressing the media. Just two weeks ago police arrested Zimbabwe Independent editor Vincent Kahiya and his news editor Constantine Chimakure, for publishing a list of police officers accused of torturing activists.

Songs in the key of life

Songs in the key of life with Gerry Jackson

It’s medically proven that music is a ‘mega-vitmain for the brain.’ So re-boot those old brain cells with Mighty Sam McLain, Melody Gardot, Seasick Steve, Janis Ian, Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, Marc Cohn, Stephen Stills, Tom Petty, the Eagles, Gretchen Peters, Bill Withers, Mavis Staples (with the help of Ry Cooder and Ladysmith Black Mambazo) and Angelique Kidjo. It’ll be good for your soul.


Different Points of View
Duane underlines the undue honour being accorded Mugabe in light of his glaring dishonourable deeds.


Gerry Jackson stands in for Alex Bell in Diaspora Diaries this week and speaks to Zimbabwean journalist and author Geoff Hill. He’s just become the first African to be elected to the governing board of the world’s leading organization on the study and prevention of Genocide. The International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) led the push to send former Yugoslav leader Milosovic and Liberian dictator Charles Taylor to The Hague. For some time Geoff has been lobbying for the Gukurahundi massacres, that took place in Matabeleland in the mid eighties, to be named as genocide. He says this would make it easier to gain support for the prosecution of those who carried out the killings.
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