By Brian Raftopoulos In the early 2000’s a series of ‘targeted measures’ were introduced by the EU, US, and later Australia, New Zealand and Canada, against the movement and assets of particular individuals in the Mugabe regime. The measures were introduced as a response to serious electoral irregularities and human rights abuses in the Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2000 and 2002 respectively. It was also clear that these interventions were a response to the state-led land acquisition process that unfolded for much of the 2000’s, which radically transformed the property ownership structure on the land in favour of small scale farming. (Read more…)
This week marks two years since the disappearance, under suspicious circumstances of fellow human rights activist and stalwart campaigner for peace and justice in Zimbabwe, Mr Paul Chizuze.
We remember with gratitude the values you stood for, the decades you committed to the pursuit of democracy, peace and justice in your country.
We are still looking for you, alive or dead. We continue to search for the truth about the events that led to your disappearance. (Read more…)
The Solidarity Peace Trust is united with all those in South Africa and throughout the world who are reflecting on what the passing on of our beloved Tata, Nelson Mandela, means for all of us. The reaction of ordinary South Africans has revealed a mix of emotions – on the one hand deep sadness at the loss of our father and concern about what his loss will mean for our future, and on the other hand a celebration mixed with profound pride about how his person and life has touched each of us in a very special way.
Solidarity Peace Trust has always taken great inspiration from the visionary leadership of an extraordinary, yet humble human being – someone to whom everyone, from the smallest child to the most powerful leaders of the world, could relate in what is most basic to our shared humanness. The fact that he touched so many people, even those in South Africa who feared his influence and bitterly opposed what he stood for, will forever remind us of what is truly important, viz. that we reach out and encounter each other with deep respect, and recognize that together we can create a future in which everyone can participate and the most vulnerable among us can feel safe and begin to dream of a better future.
Nelson Mandela taught us that no matter how great the obstacles and challenges, there is a resource within the human spirit which cannot be conquered. He revealed that to proceed on the basis of fear for the other cannot be countenanced because, fundamentally, this is a denial of what is most precious in all of us – the capacity to translate profound human values into transforming everything which diminishes the dignity of the human being whoever they may be.
His life, so much of it spent in suffering and aloneness in prison, his personhood which was replete with everything we know in our deepest heart is what makes us truly human, will forever place before us this invitation. If he, having suffered so much, could make human dreams and desires for peace, for respect for the other no matter who they are, for creating the conditions in which we can all dream that forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, and commitment to building bridges are indeed possible … then, what does this call us as individuals and as nations to commit ourselves to in the quest for a better world in which the least in our society will find a place in the sun together with all the others? The way we answer that question individually and as communities will determine whether the future will indeed bring hope, healing, transformation of poverty and all forms of degradation and injustice, or whether the future will continue to be a site of struggle without hope. We cannot afford the latter; indeed we cannot afford not to take the lesson to heart of the special life, witness, and inspiration of this great human being – a father to everyone in the world.
Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenberg, South Africa
Chairperson, Solidarity Peace Trust
The 2013 Zimbabwe elections were unilaterally proclaimed by President Robert Mugabe on June 13th. The proclamation was in contravention of both the new constitution and the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The other partners in the government of national unity, including the main opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube, were not consulted as had been formally agreed.
The election date was announced as July 31st despite calls from opposition parties, civil society and SADC that this time frame was too short for adequate preparations to be made.
Despite a legal appeal for more time, the new and hastily convened Constitutional Court ruled, as expected, in President Mugabe’s favour. Thus the Presidential, House of Assembly and local authority polls were duly held on July 31st 2013 despite numerous constitutional irregularities.
“An Incredible Election” records essential elements of the electoral process from voter registration through to the results. It considers the conduct and performance of the Zimbabwe Elections Commission (ZEC), the state broadcaster the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, regional and continental observer missions, Zimbabwean civil society and the participating political parties.
The legitimacy of the outcome of these elections has been the subject of speculation and debate. This film provides a window through which the viewers may look and draw their own conclusions.
‘It’s a paralyzing election result to every one, the future is bleak. They will continue to fill their bellies, while we suffers.’ [Old man, Lupane]
‘I am glad that ZANU PF has won – they have promised us that we can own factories now, so I am waiting to be given part of a factory.’ [Young man, Tsholotsho South]
The 2013 election marked the end of the five-year Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe. The result astounded many, with ZANU PF winning almost 80% of the parliamentary seats. The MDC-T immediately cried foul, citing a host of irregularities including the impact of memories of the violence of 2008, fuelled by ZANU PF threats, and the numbers of voters who were forced to make ‘assisted’ votes, effectively denying them a confidential vote. The shadowy role played by Israeli polling experts remains at the centre of debate.
This report reviews the main political events of the last five years, in particular the constitutional reform process and the continued mediation of SADC. The shift in socio-economic landscape to benefit and entrench ZANU PF is outlined as a key element in their recent election win, as they have moved to embrace and control the peri-urban areas and the informal mining sector with a combination of repressive coercion and material benefits. (Read more…)