By Elisha Shamba
The People’s United Party, a newly formed political party is set to be launched Saturday 13 April in Coventry. The party was founded in February by Zimbabweans based in the United Kingdom.
Speaking to HATNews, the party’s Information and Publicity Secretary Tongai Masanzu said “the People’s United Party has a duty to care for the people of Zimbabwe from all walks of life and will provide policy alternatives.”
“The PUP will continue building its structure in the UK and other countries outside Zimbabwe. Campaigns in Zimbabwe to mobilise communities will start shortly once the party is registered,” Masanzu added.
Masanzu gave an indication that his party will be contesting in the forthcoming general elections.
The launch event will be held at Britannia Hotel in Coventry 3rd floor in the PINE SUITE between 1600 – 1930hrs.
Meanwhile The Zimbabwean today carries a report revealing another political party (Progressive Alliance for Democracy) which was recently launched by young Zimbabweans.
The nation of Zimbabwe approaches crucial general elections to be held at a yet to be announced date this year. The elections come after a relatively peaceful referendum held in March. It (the referendum) approved a new constitution that will curb presidential powers.
Vince Musewe says Zimbabweans need to give Zanu-PF the boot
Read his full verdict here
(IRIN) – More than three years ago, peace accords signed in the South Kivu provincial capital, Goma, were supposed to signal the end of violence and displacement in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, as the country heads for general elections in November, armed factions continue to destabilize the country.
This report online: http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportID=93302
By John Grayson
To what extent are politicians entrenching a common sense racism as they purport to deal with popular fears?
It is election time again and politicians are returning to their core ‘narratives’ and vote winning strategies. The politics of race and prejudice coded as ‘immigration’ dominated media coverage of the 2010 general election. It is certainly unclear whether it was actually a determining issue in the outcome of the election – but politicians and their ’spads’ (special advisers) never let a few facts stand in their way. For instance one interesting recent poll, the MORI Economist April 2011 ‘Issues Index’ (http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/2765/EconomistIpsos-MORI-Issues-Index-April-2011.aspx), stated that ‘This month fewer (17%) mention race relations/immigration – the lowest percentage to do so since April 2002′ whereas 52% mention the economy, 24% unemployment and 22% foreign affairs.’ One might expect ‘poll driven’ politicians to welcome this drift away from fear and anxiety on immigration. But this is not the way racism now plays out in British politics. It is assumed that there is an embedded rightwing and prejudiced ‘common sense’ discourse around race relations and immigration. John Humphrys on the Radio 4 Today programme on 15 April, interviewing politicians on David Cameron’s Romney speech on immigration put it clearly, ‘A lot of people would say he was just speaking a lot of plain good common sense.’ The Daily Express echoed the theme with a leader the same day on ‘Prime Minister’s Common Sense about Immigration’.
Source: Institute of Race Relations
Article first published 25/02/11 (Ekklesia)
Catholic bishops in Southern Africa have warned that conditions are not yet fit for elections in Zimbabwe after the bloody presidential run-off election which left scores of people dead.
“Conditions in the country are emphatically not conducive to elections in 2011. We strongly believe that holding elections at this stage would be dangerously premature,” said the group. The bishops are from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, Swaziland, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The statement was prepared at an Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa held in Pretoria, South Africa, last December and released on 22 February.
The bishops said Zimbabwe’s voters’ roll had not been updated for years while cases of violence had increased following the announcement of possible elections later this year. They also said freedom of association and of the media was severely restricted and that the nation was in the grip of extreme fear. There are increasing signs of intimidation and violence as the election campaign has built up, they said.
Their statement came after Zimbabwe’s long-ruling president, Robert Mugabe, said he will call for elections later this year with or without reforms agreed to in a pact with his strongest rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now Prime Minister. Tsvangirai and Mugabe are in a shaky power-sharing government that was formed in February 2009.
Zimbabwe’s last elections in June 2008 were marred by violence which saw the deaths of more than 300 supporters of Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party.
Following the disputed elections, a regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community, persuaded Mugabe and Tsvangirai to form a powersharing government to avoid a descent into full-fledged conflict and mend an economic crisis that featured hyper-inflation.
Under the pact, the two political rivals agreed to reforms including drafting a new constitution and changing electoral and media laws to ensure free and fair elections in future.
The work of the compromise government has been characterised by fighting over the allocation of key government posts while the drive to collect people’s views for the new constitution was disrupted several time by violent clashes between supporters of the two main political parties.
Last month, scores of supporters of Tsvangirai’s party sought refuge in churches after they were attacked and forced out of their homes by militant supporters of Mugabe’s party.
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]
South African mediators travel to Zimbabwe in the next few days amidst reports of increasing political violence and selective arrests in the country. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says security forces are violating their national mandate, and President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF blocks reconstruction of Zimbabwe.
The Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, says that since the start of the year its supporters and civil society activists are being arrested on spurious charges as part of an increased harassment campaign against the party. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says that it is currently dealing with more than 30 cases.
(IRIN) – Ivoirians are still crossing from the far west of Côte d’Ivoire into Liberia at a rate of 400 to 600 a day, according to an “initial refugee assessment” issued by the UN World Food Programme.
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(IRIN) – An informal group of developed countries has pledged to continue to back programmes in Zimbabwe worth more than US$500 million in 2011 to help the poor, but says “serious concerns remain” on the “protection of fundamental rights, the rule of law, governance and respect for agreements”.
President Robert Mugabe is expected to announce a date for national elections in 2011, according to local media, but NGOs and human rights activists fear they could lead to a surge of political violence.
The Herald, the official daily newspaper, reporting on ZANU-PF’s recent annual conference, quoted Mugabe as saying the party was “a fired-up, fuelled and fast-moving train that would crush anything that dares stand in its way.”
The donor group, which calls itself the Friends of Zimbabwe, said programmes they supported in 2010 helped “Zimbabweans regardless of political persuasion”: Every child in primary school in Zimbabwe now had new text books; some of the water and power networks had been rehabilitated and agricultural inputs had been given to 600,000 households, the statement said.
By Kevin Ngwenya
Zimbabwe Unity Government has failed to keep its promise to reform state institutions to prevent violence and human rights abuse and perpetrators are given the all clear.
The situation on the ground echoes fears expressed by Amnesty International Africa Director Erwin Van Borght in June this year. Then, he warned Zimbabwe could face a new wave of political violence in light of attacks on independent monitors activists by alleged supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party during the constitutional revision public outreach process.
Almost two years into the rule of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, torture, harassment and politically motivated persecutions of human rights defenders and perceived opponents have persisted. Human rights defenders in Zimbabwe are systematically targeted and subject to arbitrary detention, arrest, disappearance and torture by Mugabe’s Zanu PF militias .
Signs are slowly showing that Zanu PF is starting to prepare for elections. Torture camps are cropping up. Mugabe recently revealed he was tired of the coalition deal and wanted an early poll so there could again be one man in charge of the government. He told his party conference on Friday that the country’s uneasy power-sharing government ” can’t be allowed to continue.”
“We agreed to work together … as a compromise to enable us to sort things out, establish peace, political stability, now some are dragging their feet,” Mugabe told members of his Zanu-PF party.
Across the country there remains fear that violence will mar the run-up to the election, as happened two years ago.
Zanu PF is pushing the issue to remove the sanctions . Once the sanctions are lifted members of Zanu will go overseas and grab their wealth ,stolen in Zimbabwe but hidden abroad and take back their assets to local banks . Once they do that come elections they will revive torture camps and people from oppositions will be killed and then if they bring back sanctions it will be of no use.
SADC must act now to ensure people of Zimbabwe are safe for the period leading to the elections. I strongly believe the SADC must play a leading role to make sure the referendum and the constitution making process and elections are conducted freely and fairly.
HAT News is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.
By Kevin Ngwenya
The deranged mandarins in ZANU PF led by the increasingly senile geriatric, Robert Mugabe are, in their wisdom or none of it, clamouring for early elections without the necessary roadmap as required under the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which was signed by ZANU PF and the two MDC formations, one led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the other by Arthur Mutambara.
It is this GPA that led to the formation of the government of national unity (GNU) which has put some brakes on the looting spree that had characterised past ZANU PF governments’ conduct in public offices.
When the GNU was formed, the country was at a crossroads, the economy had collapsed, and everything was in meltdown, the government printers Fidelity, was working non-stop printing worthless paper money called bearer cheques. All that could go wrong went wrong in Zimbabwe. The entire economic system had ground to a halt.
Mugabe had been soundly beaten by Tsvangirai in free and fair elections held in March 2008 only to declare himself winner in a stage managed brutal election run-off in June 2008. The sham election cost the country hundreds of lives through state-sponsored violence and was duly condemned by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the international community at large.
For almost a year, Mugabe failed to put together a government because his regime would not have had any legitimacy. With his tail between his legs, Mugabe accepted what was thought unthinkable – to share power with his sworn enemy – Morgan Tsvangirai.
This marriage of convenience has however managed to stabilise the economy despite the poisoned and acrimonious atmosphere that characterise Zimbabwe’s current political landscape. Now that the MDC has helped to arrest the economic decline that Mugabe presided over for decades without any grain of remorse, Mugabe seemingly buoyed by the recovery and the recent discovery of the largest diamond field in Southern Africa in the last hundred years, now wants to go it alone.
These two factors have suddenly energised ZANU PF to the extent that they now see no reason to continue working in partnership with the MDC formations. The call for early elections with or without a credible roadmap for the holding of free and fair elections should be viewed within this broad context. In any case, ZANU PF has a well-documented disdain for free and fair polls. No wonder why they are not even interested in the roadmap.
In fact, the roadmap is their worst enemy, because they cannot win a free and fair election contest and the worst part is that they have known it for a long time now. This is why they have perfected violence as a reliable weapon, which is deployed with reckless abandon every time there is a general election.
This time, President Zuma of South Africa should tell the blundering geriatric North of the Limpopo to go and hang. Mugabe cannot be allowed to continue to drag the once prosperous country downhill in order to pursue his selfish interests of clinging on to power till Kingdom come.
No right minded people would want early elections that would lead to more violence and a disputed plebiscite. Investors demand security for their investment and markets require stability. Reckless calls for self-serving elections should be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.
Witless Didymus Mutasa unashamedly told whoever cared to listen that whatever Mugabe says stands without question. Anyway, we all know Didymus as one of those ministers who was fooled by Rotina Mavhunga into believing that pure diesel can be extracted from a rock, ready for the tank. What gibberish!
What pains ZANU PF is that the unity government is now making it difficult to loot at will , especially the precious diamonds as they have done other national resources. Elections can and should wait. A genuine and credible roadmap first, after which all other things can follow.
HAT News is precluded from expressing a corporate view: the opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.