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Briefing Paper No. 1 2004
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
March 31, 2004

The economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe continues to worsen as each day unfolds. In this briefing paper, Crisis Coalition attempts to keep its members and the public abreast with some of the notable events that have taken place in the last few weeks that are related to the governance crisis in Zimbabwe. In this issue we look at:

  • the civic society position on the 2005 poll
  • MDC youth dies in the Zengeza by-election
  • political victimisation of teachers in Masvingo
  • Majongwe claims that the CIOs are after him

MDC youth dies in the Zengeza by- election
Francis Chinozvinya, a Movement for Democratic Change youth died after he was shot allegedly by Zanu PF youths in the presence of a high-ranking government official in the Zengeza parliamentary by-election on Sunday morning.

Zanu PF has since maintained that Chinozvinya’s death is neither their responsibility nor that of Elliot Manyika, the Zanu PF national political commissar who is being implicated by the opposition. ZBC reports that at the time of the skirmishes between MDC and Zanu Pf youths on Sunday morning, Manyika was in Bindura.

The death of Chinozvinya and other opposition activists who have died at the hands of rogue war veterans and the youth militia since the 2000 parliamentary elections and subsequent by-elections shows that our country is yet to enjoy politics of consent. Whilst the majority of Zimbabweans are reeling under a harsh economic environment, the government continues to spend precious time and resources on terror campaigns rather than development. The introduction of so-called "free" health facilities and distribution of food, just days before the election smacks of government’s utter hypocrisy and its unwillingness to embark on sustainable economic programmes that will benefit the people of Zimbabwe.

Analysts have already hinted at a bloodier parliamentary poll, as the ruling party wants to maintain its grip on the voters and register the crucial two -thirds majority.

Attack on teachers perceived to be pro-MDC resurfaces
TEACHERS and nurses particularly those working in the rural areas since the February 2000 Constitutional plebiscite have been the primary target of Zanu PF youth militia.

Secondary and primary school teachers in Masvingo are being forced to join Zanu PF as the party prepares for next year’s parliamentary elections that President Mugabe says is going to be held in March.

The Standard newspaper of 14 March 2004 reports that Zanu PF youths are forcing schoolteachers to form political party branches at their respective schools. These branches are responsible for fundraising for Zanu PF functions and it is reported that the branches have already been set up at schools such as Berejena High School, Daramombe and Chiwanza Secondary Schools as well as Run’ai and Mandiva Primary Schools.

Condemning the move to force teachers to form political party branches at schools, Raymond Majongwe, the Secretary-General of PTUZ says it is disappointing that teacher’s are always the primary victims of political violence. He said: "We have received reports of political harassment and intimidation from so many areas including Matebeleland and Masvingo provinces as well as Goromonzi."

Aneas Chigwedere, the Minister of Education is on record saying his ministry does not give protection to teachers who involve themselves in opposition politics. Many teachers have either been dismissed and or transferred for being involved in opposition politics.

In a related case, Morris Salani a school teacher at Mutema Primary School was beaten up in front of his pupils and accused of being a member of the MDC. He was allegedly assaulted by Zanu PF youths who were using clenched fists, booted feet and sticks.

University lecturers finally return to work
STATE university lecturers who have been on strike citing government’s failure to honour its commitment on salary reviews have finally resolved to go back to work.

The lecturers resolved to go on strike in February arguing that the university authorities had failed to pay housing and transport allowances which they had been awarded through arbitration last year. The state universities in the past few years have lost some of the best lecturers to neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and the United Kingdom in search for greener pastures.

Recently appointed Minister of Tertiary Education, Herbert Murerwa has since said that the government is not able to pay the salaries that the lecturers are demanding .He is said to have wanted to use divide and rule tactics to deal with the state university lecturers by demanding to meet the lecturers separately and not as a union but this has flopped.

There were reports that last semester’s examinations, which were written in February at the University of Zimbabwe were supervised by security guards. Standards at most of the tertiary institutions are at their lowest ebb, with most facilities in a state of dilapidation.

Last year UZ students marched to the office of the Vice-Chancellor Prof Levi Nyagura demanding an explanation on the state of collapse for many of the university buildings.

Civil society demands electoral reforms before the 2005 poll
Civil society and opposition political parties met in Harare for a two-day workshop from March 9 –10 and resolved to boycott the 2005 parliamentary elections in case the government refuses to embrace the electoral reforms.

The workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network, a coalition of non-governmental organisations fighting for free and fair elections noted that the current electoral system in Zimbabwe made it difficult for the country to have free and fair elections.

Participants noted that institutions that are responsible for running the elections in the country are inherently flawed and that there was too much interference by the Executive making it difficult for the Registrar General, the Electoral Supervisory Commission, Delimitation Commission and the Elections Directorate to execute their duties in an impartial and professional manner.

The civics agreed that there is need for an Independent Electoral Commission whose responsibility would be to run the elections. Among other duties the IEC would be responsible for overseeing voter and candidate registration, election monitoring and observation and to ensure that all competing political candidates are afforded equitable public media coverage.

The workshop was attended by MDC, Zanu, DP, NAGG and civic bodies which included the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, National Constitutional Assembly, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and other non-governmental and church organisations that are fighting for human rights and good governance in Zimbabwe.

The delegates also resolved to engage in protests to force the government and Zanu PF to embrace the electoral reforms. This comes in the wake of complaints by both civil society and the opposition of election rigging and the use of political violence by the government to win elections. Ghost voters have been detected on the voter’s roll and serious voter intimidation by members of the uniformed forces (police and army) before, during and after the elections has been reported.

Majongwe claims the CIO agents are after him
THE leader of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and a strong trade unionist who is also a member of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Raymond Majongwe claims that the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives are after his life.

Majongwe alleges that there have been attempts on his life on several occasions and that he has been visited at his office and at home by strange faces and that he believes he is under a 24-hour surveillance.

In a statement which he also copied to Nicholas Goche, the Minster of State Security, Majongwe says: "On the morning of 25 March an ambush was laid by two vehicles, a Nissan sunny and a Mazda B1800 at the corner of Leopold Takawira and Cork Road in Avondale. Fortunately I was not in the car…. The Mazda B1800 with bull bars pulled out from the bushy area at the intersection and stopped a few centimetres."

Majongwe says that the wheel nuts of his vehicle have been tampered with on two occasions so that should he be involved in an accident, no foul play would be suspected.

He says he has since reported the matter to police and the CR N0. is IR 032841.

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