Thursday, October 9, 2008


Habakkuk Trust held a two-day advocacy training workshop in Emakhandeni, one which saw 43 participants receiving certificates and the formation of an Action Team in the area.

The advocacy-training workshop was carried out after the Habakkuk Trust Engagement Team (E-Team, a team of field officers who do consultative work on the ground) went to the area and identified participants from various interest groups.

The participants were trained in citizenship, advocacy, local governance, lobbying and mobilization. The second day of the workshop began with a quiz session for the participants as a recap of the lessons learnt on the first day.

The participants then carried out-group work in which they identified a local level issue and explained how they would carry out the advocacy process. This they did by applying the skills that they had learnt on advocacy and steps involved. These 4 groups all identified the issue of water shortage as a major concern in their community and were quite encouraged to know that Habakkuk Trust will be holding a community Indaba on this issue.

An Emakhandeni Action Team was then elected by the participants amongst themselves in the various interest groups that they represent. These include churches, women’s group, youths, home based care, orphan care, support groups, residents association, and informal traders. The workshop was crowned by the certification ceremony in which the Local Councilor officiated. Eight of the participants also received certificates of excellence.

Emakhandeni becomes the 12th ward to benefit from the Local Level Advocacy Programme in Bulawayo, adding to the pool of citizens taking an active role in the decision making processes of their locality.

Visit our blog for some information on some of our information

Tuesday, September 2, 2008



“LLAP is therefore a programme that calls for a change of mindsets as we think development together, beyond our individual differences, conflicts and political affiliations. It is a programme that instills in us a realization that the common community good is indeed the good of all.” The Bulawayo Mayor, His Worship Clr T Moyo.

Habakkuk Trust launched the second phase of its Local Level Advocacy Programme on Friday the 29th of August 2008 at a colorful Cocktail Ceremony held at Bulawayo’s Rainbow Hotel and graced by guest speaker, the Mayor of Bulawayo, His Worship Clr Thaba Moyo.

This launch, aimed at marketing and publicizing the programme to new stakeholders was a great opportunity for building new relationships with various stakeholders as well as strengthening already existing ties. It also strategically serves as a tool that will enable easier access to new LLAP areas. These areas include wards in Gwanda, Nkayi, Tsholotsho, Silobela Zimnyama (Mangwe) and Bulawayo wards.

The Chairman of the Habakkuk Trust Board, Mr Useni Sibanda opened by giving the welcoming remarks. The Mayor, Clr T Moyo also gave his keynote speech in which he underscored the crucial role of civil society and the value of LLAP which he described as a programme that thinks beyond the challenges the country is currently facing. Councilor T Moyo then officially launched the second phase of LLAP which he sealed off with the cutting of the blue and white ribbon, blue and white being the Habakkuk Trust brand colours.

Also present at this function were 21 of the new 29 Councilors, former Councilors, Heads of Council Departments, local pastors and Conveners of Habakkuk Trust’s local community Action Teams. Habakkuk Trust strategic and supporting partners, Heads of Civil Society Organizations, service providers and media houses also graced this momentous occasion during which Habakkuk Trust also launched its brand of Habakkuk Wear and Media products.

The function has been reported on and appeared in The Chronicle, 1 September 2008 as shown in the extract below:

“Bulawayo Mayor, Clr Thaba Moyo, has urged civil society organizations to be non-partisan and work with the Government for the development of communities. Speaking during the launch of the second phase of Habakkuk Trust’s Local Level Advocacy Programme on Friday, Clr Moyo said civil society organizations should work with policy makers and service providers in spearheading development…The first phase of LLAP programme saw 11 wards in Bulawayo and two in Mangwe district being conscientised on the need to engage in resolving their immediate social problems and to actively participate in decisions made for the whole society.”

Thursday, June 12, 2008



By Sihle Nyathi

There have been numerous reports of people in Zimbabwe who have been murdered, maimed in spates of political violence, but there is the important constituency of youths who have not been factored into the equation. Youths have been used as perpetrators of political violence and in a lot of cases they have been victims of violence. Nothing has been done to promulgate strategies to deal with the role of youths in the violence and possibly curbing their role.

It is in light of this, that youths in Zimbabwe have declared that they are tired of being used as conduits of violence by political parties as this creates a bleak future for them. The youths also called for a National Conference which would be attended by youths from the different political parties. The youths during this conference would discuss their common aspirations and the conference would also be a tolerance building measure for diverse political views. This came out at a focus group meeting that was convened by the National Youth Development Trust.

Youths from the two main political parties said that there are more things that unite youths than those that separate them and there is need to cooperate.

“Youths in Zimbabwe need to be united as they share a common future. They should also be actively involved in creating a brighter future,” said Trevor Murayi.

A lecturer at the National University of Zimbabwe, Mr Gibbs Dube who presented a paper on whether youths are being adequately prepared for the Presidential runoff scheduled for June 27 called upon the youths to organize a national conference which would be used as a method of ending the conflict between youths of different political parties.

The argument that was presented by Sihle Nyathi, the Information and Advocacy Officer of Habakkuk Trust was that it is the role of non-state actors such as civic society to build peace between youths of different political parties given that they are not involved in the conflict.

This is because the different political parties might not be interested in building tolerance among the youths for fear that they would derail the constituency from their agenda. The role of the National Youth Conference would not be to create hegemony of ideas but to chart a new dispensation in the political arena where there is only a fight of ideas and not a physical battle.

In his paper, Mr Dube noted that public media such as the radio station Spot FM has presented youths as being violent or as victims of violence. He noted that there is need to end the stereotypical view of the youths.

A youth leader from Zanu-PF complained about coverage that they received from independent publications.

“The story was disheartening in that the story was completely false and I got calls from the United Kingdom where I was accused of beating someone that I was having dinner with. The other problem is that youths are able to talk to each other when they are sober but the problems comes up when politicians give youths beer and youths become unreasonable,” said the Zanu-PF youth leader.

The youths were advised to come up with their own media given that citizen journalism has become phenomenal. The danger with citizen media is that there are many falsehoods that are peddled. The youths are set to take a short course in story writing so that they can have their own media which can be as simple as one page documents.

The Zimbabwean media was said to have failed to represent the interests of the youths in that they are not giving youths a voice in their stories and they are not mobilizing the youths to take part in electoral processes. The media has reportedly become obsessed with political interests and forget the important political constituency comprising of youths. Youths constitute a sizeable number of the Zimbabwean population and they are the most vulnerable in that they are used for political violence. The media has to mainstream youths in their coverage as they represent the future of the country.

There were also calls for conflict resolution in relation to the youths and for political tolerance. Zimbabwe is facing conflict at this time and in a post conflict era, communities will need to have programmes that are specifically targeted at conflict resolution given that communities have been divided in terms of their political parties. A case in point is that of Regina Ndlovu, a resident of Robert Sinyoka just outside Bulawayo who lost her property during a spate of political violence in 2002.

The sad part is that it is some members of her community who were supporting a particular party who sold her out. After all is said and done, the community would have to live together. In a post crisis phase, the community would have to focus on development and it would be difficult given that there are a number of wounds that would have to be healed. Victims of violence also have to be healed incase they want retributive justice. Victims of Gukurahundi also come to mind because a lot of them will demand retributive justice. In the event that there is no monetary compensation victims of political violence might also take up arms.

There are communities who have managed to survive the conflict currently facing Zimbabwe and communities that come to mind include the Phakamani Community in Matabeleland South who used preemptive strategies to diffuse a potentially volatile situation. The community was able to preserve its peace because there is community cohesion. The Phakamani community is a model that other communities can draw lessons from and possibly help civic groups in coming up with methods of community cohesion as a measure of peace building.

There have been calls for panels such as the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a new Zimbabwe but there is need to have healing processes that are specifically targeted at communities and will not be agents of documenting and researching on what has happened in conflict phases but will be healing processes. The xenophobic attacks in South Africa bear testimony to a people who have not been healed of the ravages of Apartheid.

The writer of the article, Sihle Nyathi is the Habakkuk Trust Information and Advocacy Officer and she is the editor of the Habakkuk Trust Blog and the Newsletter.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


By Fortune Dlamini

THE community in Robert Sinyoka, an area about 20km out of Bulawayo city centre has come up with a committee that will lobby for the voting rights of people in the area who do not have Zimbabwean citizenship.

Most of these people come from places such as Zambia and Mozambique, but they have been living in Zimbabwe for the past 20 or more years. Some of them are born in Zimbabwe, but are still denied citizenship, hence they cannot take part in any electoral process.

A team from Habakkuk Trust visited the area as part of its programmes, in a bid to engage the community to take maximum participation in the June 27 elections.

The Headmaster of Robert Sinyoka Primary School, Mr Giyani Moyo, who is also the Secretary for the Habakkuk Trust Robert Sinyoka Area Action Team (A-Team), said the issue was a cause for concern as these people were being denied their rights.

“There are quite a number of these people in our area, which constitutes of Robert Sinyoka, St Peters, Methodist and Pumula North who are not able to vote as they do not have citizenship. Most of these have been in Zimbabwe for all their lives, but they have been denied the right to register in the current elections,” he said.
“These people are part of us and they also have the right to take part in electoral processes,” added Mr Moyo.

However, of interest is that most of these people voted in the 1980 elections. The community is concerned that this is a Human Rights abuse.

“It may be too late for us to lobby for these people for them to vote in the current elections, but we should begin lobbying for them now for future purposes. We will make sure that we capture and compile the statistics of these people so that we know how many people we are dealing with,” he said.
He said they will come up with a committee that will be solely responsible for lobbying and consulting relevant authorities.

This decision comes after Local Level Advocacy Programmes that were carried out in the area by Habakkuk Trust. These programmes enlightened the communities of their basic rights and how they can fully participate in national issues. These programmes also saw one of the Action Team members contesting as a Member of Parliament in the Pumula North constituency.


By Fortune Dlamini

Civic organizations, churches and other stakeholders should identify ways in which they can take part in mapping the way forward and have clear objectives and agendas if they are to ensure maximum participation of the electorate in the June 27 elections and its aftermath, said Pastor Useni Sibanda.

Pastor Sibanda said this at a Civic Organizations Consultative Meeting that was held in Bulawayo on Saturday 31 May 2008, which was attended by various civic groups, representatives of churches and the media.

Mr Gorden Moyo, Executive Director of Bulawayo Agenda said civic society should know various international dynamics that are diverting the people’s attention from achieving its objectives.

“There are international obstacles that are affecting the country, which we need to be aware of. China, for example has been pampering Zanu-PF with money and campaign material such as agriculture equipment and computers. We need to expose the hypocrisy of China and play the name and shame game,” he said.

Mr Moyo said there were also some regional obstacles such as the SADC, which was failing to take a solid position on the Zimbabwe situation. He pointed out that SADC has a clause that prohibits its member states from interfering in the internal affairs African states. He stated that the clause is being used by SADC to stop help from coming to Zimbabwe.

There was also a recommendation that elections should not be ward based as there are thousands of Zimbabweans who have been displaced. There was a recommendation that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission compose a list of all the displaced people and set up centers where these people can vote from. This is important as most of the people who were displaced during the political are afraid to go back to their wards to vote.

Voter education was one of the most important issues that was raised and it was resolved that all stakeholders should be in the fore-front of encouraging the electorate to go and vote in the 27 June Presidential elections. All stakeholders were encouraged to go into their respective constituencies and areas and tell people to go and vote.

The stakeholders also recommended and resolved that they come up with a position paper for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to announce the results after a stipulated time frame. This position paper will be compiled and sent to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as a stance, which has been taken by all the stakeholders who were present at the consultative meeting.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Youth Prayer Meeting

“Youths should desist from having a departure mentality of leaving Zimbabwe, but they should contribute to the future of the country,” said Pastor Muchina.
These were some of the words of wisdom that were said at the Youth Prayer Meeting that was held on Saturday 17 May at Baptist Church in Bulawayo.

The theme of the prayer meeting was extracted from Nehemiah 3 vs. 7, which speaks about rebuilding Israel. Habakkuk Trust and youths in Bulawayo, from the community and from the churches came together to teach each other about the importance of taking part in national and development issues.

The background of the meeting was based on the evident lack of participation of youths in issues such as nation building and developmental issues. Youths are supposed to be at the fore front of everything that happens in the country and it is unfortunate that they are not participating given that they are young, energetic and have fresh ideas that can help build our nation.

The prayer meeting began on a high note with Pastor Vusa Moyo giving a motivational speech on praying for peace during the run-off. Pastor Moyo said youths should not be apologetic when they come before God. They should take a stand and tell God what exactly they want Him to do for them, because God is a God of specifics. His motivational came from the book of Daniel chapter 9.He said youths should pray with their heats and not with their minds. Youths should pray for peace during the run-off, pray for the fight against the spirit of violence.

The second motivational speech was given by Mr Dembedza, who spoke about the restoration of hope among youths in the current situation. He said youths should realise that they are very important people and that they can make a lot of difference in the nation by their participation.
Mr Dembedza encouraged youths by citing some youths in the Bible that made a difference, such as David, Mark, Joseph. He therefore said youths should not be afraid but they should stand for what they believe in.

The third motivational speech about a brighter future for young people was given by Pastor Muchina. He quoted the scriptures from Esther4:13-14. Pastor Muchina said youths had developed a departure mentality, whereby they tell themselves that when they complete school they will go to neighboring countries. He said that was not good and youths should have the courage to contribute to their future and said they should be masters of their own destiny. He encouraged youths to desist from relying on handouts and they should get up and begin doing things on their own.

The Chief Executive Officer of Habakkuk Trust, Mr Dumisani Nkomo said in his closing remarks that Zimbabwe was barren, but youths needed to come together to break that barrenness.
He said as the youths prayed, something was birthed and urged youths to continuously push and pray until something happens.

The prayer meeting had entertainment from Patience, who gave a poem about hope, Sindiso, who sang a worship song, a duet was also given by Mickey and Lovejoy and a group called Family Voices gave a stunning performance. The prayer meeting was attended by youths from different churches, communities as well as youths from schools such as Gifford, Eveline and BES.



By Sihle Nyathi

The community of Phakamani is located in Matabeleland South in ward 1 in Zimbabwe and like most of the rural areas in Zimbabwe has seen the setting up of military bases. Some rural areas in Zimbabwe have been hit by a wave of violence but Phakamani has been spared the violence as they promulgated strategies to ensure that peace prevailed in the community.

The Phakamani community shows that communities have adequate resources to deal with conflict in their communities as long as they are organized and they are conversant with their rights.

“The community of Phakamani feels that the Habakkuk Trust Action Team has been empowered by the local level advocacy training as we have been equipped with knowledge on advocacy. The training has enabled us to diffuse a potentially volatile situation, said James Nhlabano, Phakamani Action Team Treasurer.

The Habakkuk Trust Action Team convener for Phakamani, Mr Prince Mpala said that a military base was set up and they had had an input in its set up as they wanted to make sure that there was no violence in the area.

“When the base was set up, we insisted that it be set up near the police station so as to make sure that there is no violence”, said Mr Mpala. He also said that there is no violence in the area and they are only hearing about the violence in other areas.

The Habakkuk Trust Phakamani Action Team approached the police and war veterans in the area to state their view that they do not want violence in the area. The Action Team also stated in the meeting that genuine war veterans are those who are above the age of 35 and will not accept anyone who claims to be one and is below the age of 35. This was done so as to ensure that no unruly elements would be allowed to hide under the guise of being a war veteran in order to destabilize the area.

The community has also taken peace building initiatives such as holding a meeting with parents and telling them that they should caution their children against being violent and that they should make sure that adults are not attacked.

The Phakamani community has been proactive in determining the destiny of their community in that they have gone on to hold peace prayer rallies a fortnight ago and they are scheduled to hold another one at a date to be confirmed. The peace rallies have been very effective in that they have brought different community stakeholders together and they pre-empty any violence that is at stake.

“The peace prayer rally that was held was attended by everyone in the community including the police, those manning the military base and the war veterans. Religion helps to establish community cohesion and is also are an effective method of information dissemination and in this instance it was to stamp the fact that peace should be established in the community. At the end of the prayer, the tension that was there at the beginning of the meeting had been diffused, said Mr Nhlabano, the Action Team Treasurer.

The Phakamani community has also had useful insight in determining the cause of conflict and in line with their findings they have banned the use of the door to door campaign strategy as they say that it exposes people’ political orientation. This would be undoubtedly a breeding ground for strife.

“We have informed all parties that we will prepare a schedule were they will be able to address the electorate in the forthcoming runoff”, said Six Boys Ndebele, information secretary for the Phakamani Action team.

The Habakkuk Trust Phakamani Action team has said the environment is peaceful and they are saying that development is critical for the area rather than political squabbles. Whilst they acknowledge the importance of the offices of the councillor and members of parliament, they feel that they are the critical people for development. They have since resaved to work with traditional leaders to deal with issues such as the lack of serviced boreholes which has seen school children carrying water to school and women walking for more than 4 kilometers fetch water.

Mr Dube of Mahlabazihlangene also acknowledged the need for communities to take charge of their developmental goals and acknowledges that development starts with the individual and hence it is not the preserve of politicians.

The community of Phakamani is an interesting case study and bears testimony to the fact that a community which is aware of their rights is able to deal with situations which threaten their livehood. The communities realize the importance of peace in development and they are taking active steps in defending it. The community is very organized and this enables them to speak with one voice. The community has managed to ensure peace in their surroundings at a time when rural communities are under siege.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008



By Fortune Dlamini

Communities have to be educated and receive training on how to use the resources they have to sustain themselves. Most communities are affected by the top-down theory, where by they are given resources and become unable to make use of the resources that they have been given. This has resulted in communities not being able to sustain development that would have been brought about by donor funding.

It is therefore important that while donors give communities some resources, the community should be active involved in the development process so that they have ownership of the projects.

Some communities have since realized the need to sustain development. A visit to some parts of rural Plumtree, namely Mahlabazihlangene, Valukhalo and Phakamani revealed this.

Habakkuk Trust under its Local Level Capacity Building Programme carried out extensive consultations with stakeholders in Mahlabazihlangene. These consultations were followed by a capacity building for development training programme.

The Habakkuk team visited the above areas in an effort to make sure that the 2008 ward plan is implemented. The ward plan proposes various projects which would improve the livehood of the community.

Mahlabazihlangene is home to multi purpose centre which could be used by the community as a sustenance tool. The multi purpose centre is home to a bakery and equipment which includes generators. Most of these structures have been deliberately neglected due to an unclear sense of ownership. A majority of them have been vandalized, windows broken and some equipment and property gone missing with no one to account for it.

The Habakkuk Trust Mahlabazihlangene Action Teams are major development catalysts and feel that development should not be stopped by the leadership vacuum which is in the country. This has been brought about by councillors not being sworn in. Development is set to continue as the community concurred that development was something that should begin at grassroots level, with the assistance of traditional leaders. The greatest challenge that has been faced by these communities is the vague current political situation that has forced some of the projects to be stopped. There is currently a vacuum in the leadership structures as councillors for some areas have not been sworn in.
However, the communities have not been deterred by the situation as they have resolved to continue with their work, through the engaging of traditional leaders in the area. These include the chiefs, headmen, village heads, church pastors and the local police. Mrs Mbengwa added that development was an ongoing process, hence it was important that the projects continue while councillors are being sworn in. She said it would be worthwhile if the councillors find the ground work already done by the community.

Mrs Eveline Ndebele said it was important that people should be able to sustain their livelihoods by making use of the resources they already possess. She said it was important to pave the way forward and make the bakery a reality.

Mr Dumisani Nkomo, the Habakkuk Chief Executive Officer reiterated that it was essential that the communities pave the way forward on the use of multi-purpose centers, through the training of vocational skills. Their main focus is to ensure that development and self-sustenance continues in the community and that it involves everyone.

The role of Habakkuk Trust in development issues is to educate and train communities on
strategies they could use to make use of their resources and be able to sustain themselves from
the resources they have.

The communities grasped the Habakkuk Trust training programmes and have been enlightened enough to take up their position and be in the fore-front. It is essential for the communities to realize that development begins at grassroot level, since the people are the ones who know their needs and wants.

Friday, May 9, 2008


information from Lobengula member of Parliament-elect, Sam Nkomo.

Sam Nkomo shares his thoughts on the violence in the country in the following article.

Yesterday I was physically ill having presented a briefing on the post election political violence. Over the past ten years I have seen the results of, and personally witnessed, a lot of brutality. However, the events of the past five weeks have left me shell shocked. The calculated, evil state sponsored and perpetrated violence against, and beating to death, anyone construed to be oppostion, as well as MDC office bearers is to say the least barbaric. A Doctor friend who is involved in Human Rights abuses almost 24/7, told me yesterday that she felt the same. We are living in a dark tunnel that is close to overwhelming those closely involved with the tragedy unfolding in our beloved Zimbabwe . The perpetrators are mostly the young militia dressed in camoflage army uniforms and a few of the war vets, commanded by military officers of high rank.

Below are some of the cases of violence

T.C. (38 years) from Kavasha village, Mutoko was beaten on the 27th April with big sticks on the buttocks by youth militia saying "stop supporting MDC". This resulted in extensive deep tissue bruising that has not received medical attention. He has a long road to recovery.

little Samson (3 years) was beaten on Golden Star farm, Shamva. His parents are ex farm workers who remained living on the farm after their white employer was evicted. They were beaten on 21st April by militia who were saying " Whites left you on this farm, you are MDC, you want whites to come back and look after you". Their houses and everything they owned was burned. The mother is at the hospital with Samson and her husband and other two children are somewhere in Shamva. She does not know where they are.


Habakkuk news watch 7-9/5

Violence persists ahead of the expected run-off, with churches and pastors being targeted. Churches and pastors are housing victims of political violence and this has made them to be political targets. The date for the runoff has not yet been announced, however, there are reports that it might not take place after 21 days as provided for by the constitution.

Masvingo- Sources on the ground in the Masvingo area have informed Habakkuk that violence in Masvingo is persisting with war veterans allegedly being the perpetrators. Habakkuk managed to interview some of the victims who had fled from their homes to seek shelter in the urban areas.

One of the victims revealed that war veterans arrived at his homestead where he resides with his 80-year-old mother and told them that they wanted to teach them how to vote and began beating them. The victim, who was a polling agent for MDC-T revealed that among the perpetrators, was the chief of that area (name supplied). He has since fled from his house and has been sleeping in the mountains for the past two weeks.

In another interview, it was revealed that war veterans arrived at one of the homesteads, where there was a one-and-a-half year old baby, they lifted the child by the leg and said, “Is this a Zanu pf baby or an MDC baby?” They proceeded to return the baby to his mother. The war veterans then burnt the mother with a cigarette on her right hand. After they had threatened them, they left their homestead. The family then fled to the mountains and later proceeded to the city.

Mberengwa West- Sources on the ground also revealed that police visited some churches in Mberengwa West, where they told the pastors to stop keeping people in the church, saying by so doing, the church was creating “camps”.

Two houses in the same area, which were housing victims of political violence, were raided. The house belonged to pastors. They were taken to the charge offices. There were some people among them who were hurt and these people were taken to the police station. The victims have not received medical attention and their health is deteriorating. “Safe houses” were also raided for allegedly harboring “political activists”.

Bulawayo- Habakkuk also got in touch with some local pastors who confirmed that churches had surely become targets. The pastor however revealed that as pastors, they had made it clear to the people that the church is a house of God and the church doors are open to anyone seeking shelter.
The pastors said there was a need to bolden the congregations in smaller towns so that they do not become overwhelmed by the situation.

Inyathi- The pastors also revealed that in Nyathi, Naledi, a church has been closed down by war veterans.

Gwanda-A pastor in Gwanda from West Nicholson farm was attacked by war veterans on Wednesday. It is alleged that the perpetrators arrived at his home and ordered him to recite a slogan. He refused to do so, stating that his job does not allow him to recite any slogan. They attacked him and beat him . He has since received medical attention and is recuperating at home.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Habakkuk News Watch (1-2/5)

Political violence continues in different areas of the country, as we continue receiving information on violence in different areas. Violence has been mainly concentrated on polling agents but this week we have learnt that a school in Zimuto on Masvingo has not reopened because the teachers who Habakkuk received information that there are two casualties of political violence from Lupane. They are currently being treated at Mpilo Hospital.

HT has also received classified information from well placed sources that it is alleged that people causing political violence in Matabeleland are youths belonging to Jabulani Sibanda. These youths are allegedly being led by CIO’s and are clothed in Border Gezi regalia.
It was learnt that leaders in high offices held meetings with the commanders and the army to avoid inciting violence among the civilians.
It was however learnt that people causing violence in the Mashonaland areas were the army and the police.

Human Rights abuse cases are said to be persistent in Nkayi, in the Dambadzi area.

News24 has reported that two school teachers have been beaten to death in the latest wave of political violence. Wellington Chibebe, the ZCTU head said this at a May Day rally at a stadium in Harare. The incident took place at a school in the north-western Guruve region.

10 more MDC activists have been arrested for alleged human rights violence in the rural areas. They are said to have appeared in court. Some of these include Josiah Nyafumbi (36), Stephen Nemaungwe (35), Temba Chogodora (22), Denford Martin (22), Crispen Tsano (32), and Shorai Chindoko (34).

Food politics continues in areas such as Mpopoma where distributors go through a Zanu-PF list. If ones name does not appear in the list, they are told to stand at the back of the queue. Those who appear on the Zanu list get first preference.
HT also received news that National Foods is currently being controlled by police and the army. The food is therefore distributed to millers who belong to the ruling party, these then in-turn do their own screen tests on the ground, depriving everyone else the opportunity to purchase mealie-meal.

However, in other areas such as Robert Sinyoka and Pumula North and South, the food distribution anomaly has subsided, as the situation has been dealt with.

Habakkuk News watch 6/5


With the preparations for the Presidential run-off beginning, cases of violence have also increased. The independent media have said the violence is emanating from Zanu-PF supporters and the youth militia.

This past week has been marred by attacks on civic organizations and churches. Civic and Christian organizations that are housing victims of political violence are being raided by the youth militia and the army, reported different media houses.

News24 reported that Zimbabwe police dispersed people at the Methodist church in Harare and arrested a clergyman, Reverend Farai Mutamiri and Bishop Sebastian Bakare as well as three other people. Police have also arrested employees of a humanitarian organization, Action Aid. Anne Chipembere, Precious Shumba and three other employees in Mayo, Manicaland.
The Offices of Crisis Coalition, Centre for Research and Development and Plan International in Mutoko were also raided.

The Fingaz (2-8/5) reported that some churches in Matabeleland North have closed down. The Assemblies of God Church in Dola in Bubi closed down and its resident pastor fled after being tortured by Zanu-PF supporters. The pastor was accused of housing displaced people.

In the rural areas, intimidation and the burning down of people’s huts continue. In Masvingo, it is reported that people are being beaten up and they flee to the mountains. Four families are said to have been forced to live in a four roomed house in Mvuma. These families had been displaced by the Zanu PF militia from their homes and have sought refuge in the house.
The same scenario is happening in Zaka, where families are fleeing their houses and living in the mountains after their huts were burnt down.

Bulawayo Agenda also reported that in ward 12 in Matopo the militia has camped at some schools and the teachers have fled. The school children have also been told, not to attend school. In the same area an elderly woman and a baby have been badly hurt and their situation is grave, but they are reportedly being attended to.

In Nswazi, in ward 17, it is reported that some strangers arrived in the area and camped. When asked what they had come there for, they (strangers) said they had come to teach people how to vote. People have become afraid in the area and MDC supporters have begun fleeing their homes for fear of victimization. In Bulilima and Mangwe, in areas such as Tshitshi and Masendu, the youth militia has set up camp. In the Dandada area in Lupane soldiers are attacking people.
In Hwange, people have fled from the Mashala area to seek refuge in the Methodist Church. In the same area, 10 families are being housed at Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.-report by Bulawayo Agenda.

The situation in Lupane in Ward 18 is grave with one of the councillors revealing that at Makhovula Primary School, a militia base has been set up and the teachers and school children have fled. In Ward 16, there is also a militia camp that has been set up and the militia is claiming to be “on holiday”. A victim from the area narrated how his mother was attacked by Zanu-PF youths. When he went to make a report to the police, they refused to take his statement and told him to wait for the officer-in-charge.

Pastors on the ground also told Habakkuk that food politics persists in the Methodist area, a few kilometers from Robert Sinyoka (Ward 17), where people are buying mealie-meal with Zanu-PF cards. The mealie-meal is even called, “impuphu ye Zanu.” [ZANU P.F Mealie meal]Those people who are known to belong to Zanu buy the mealie-meal for $200 million and they sell it to the community at exorbitant prices. There are three identified homesteads with people who have Zanu-PF cards and this is where the mealie-meal is sold from .

Meanwhile police in Bulawayo forced church leaders to cancel a weekly prayer meeting for the nation after alleging that the previous prayer meeting had occasioned inflammatory speeches likely to result in violence .The organizers of the meeting Churches in Bulawayo ,the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance and Bulawayo Intercessors Network were told to cancel the prayer meeting after a meeting with the police .

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What happens if the Opposition wins ?

What Happens If the Opposition Wins?

By Dumisani O.Nkomo
Dumisani Nkomo is the Chief Executive Officer of Habakkuk Trust which a Zimbabwean based information and Advocacy organization.

The electoral impasse and political crisis that is currently dogging Zimbabwe could culminate in a number of scenarios, some being desirable, others undesirable but possible and yet others desirable and possible. It is therefore, necessary for Zimbabweans from all walks of life and through organized political space to begin to interrogate the future before the nation becomes the victim of a tragic fate.

If Tsvangirai won the election, a scenario highly possible but most undesirable and unpalatable for ZANU PF especially the so called hawks in the party, that of the M.D.C Tsvangirai forming the next government, the biggest challenge they would face is to translate this electoral victory to practical access to power.

Hardliners in the Joint Operations Command could resist an M.D.C government taking over. The M.D.C could however exploit support from ordinary members of the army, police, air force and intelligence organs most of whom have been wallowing well below the poverty datum line for years .Tsvangirai would need the support of some crucial senior army officers in order for him to win over the military and it is hoped that the party is engaging critical players in that establishment in order to get the reins of power.

Given this scenario, different opposition players would have to display exceptional political maturity by agreeing to work together in the legislature to facilitate the smooth passage of legislation and policies. The current situation where a minority party, the MDC Mutambara, has the deciding seats in parliament is extremely healthy for democracy. With no party having an absolute majority in parliament, the two factions of the MDC by design or by default would have to develop a symbiotic relationship as they have both intimated recently. This may be undermined by hawks in both factions who may be keen on taking entrenched positions which may not be in the national interest.

A Tsvangirai government may have to fish for extra talent from its rival faction and possible one or two people from the Makoni project .The likes of David Coltart,Moses Mzila Moyo,Dumiso Dabengwa and Makoni himself come to mind .There may be stiff opposition from those who feel they need to be rewarded for fighting and “dying” at the hands of Mugabe .This is to be expected in any transitional process and such healthy conflict should be encouraged so as to conceive a government birthed through robust democratic interface and political intercourse.

It is hoped that Tsvangirai will come up with a small and competent cabinet tasked with meeting short, medium and long term goals .The most urgent issue would be that of formulating a “people driven constitutional dispensation” within a period of 12 to 24 months .Three months would be ideal but impractical given other challenges that the new government would face such as restoring macro economic stability[including the reduction of inflation],restoring investor confidence ,rehabilitating the civil service as well as building the capacity of the state and local government to deliver basic services.
The country will need major shock therapy but the new government will have to ensure that the shock comes with the therapy or else the country could just get a major
‘culture shock’ and react unfavourably to sudden and rushed change.

It is crucial that within the short to medium term the government, in partnership with civil society players and private companies would need to carry out a massive capacity and resource audit. The new government would need to know what resources are at its disposal, its human resource deficits, its material deficits and importantly the kind of skills which are at its disposal both in the country and the diaspora. Concurrent to this should be the much talked about land audit which will ascertain who has land, whether the land has been given to deserving people and its productivity levels.

Politically, structures of violence and coercion such as the youth militia have to be disbanded. The MDC as well, will have to reform and rehabilitate rogue elements within its party who may perpetuate ZANU PF’s legacy of violence .The process of birthing a new constitution should be guaranteed by an act of parliament. An elected constituent assembly with representation from labour ,churches, human rights groups, youth groups, students,farmers,the business sector ,the academia ,professional organizations and other civic groups could be set up to drive the process of a new constitution .The process should be inclusive and non partisan.

The content of the new constitution is another matter all together and is the subject of another article .The other option would be to go the route of a constitutional conference, followed by a people’s referendum .The constitutional conference should involve all major political players, civic groups, churches ,the business community, interest groups and academics. Instead of reinventing the wheel, the process could revolve around the National Constitutional Assembly’s Draft Constitution, the Constitutional Commission’s draft, the drafts from the Thabo Mbeki mediated process [if they are there] and submissions from different civic and political players .The conference could take up to three or so weeks with various working committees working on thematic areas before submitting to plenary.

The draft from the constitutional conference should then be widely debated in all the country’s provinces before the final draft is adopted within three or four months .The draft would then be subjected to a referendum in order to be legitimized or rejected by the populace .The whole process could take about five months .A great deal of resources would be needed for this project but it would help the new government to chart a clear way forward and paint a picture of how Zimbabweans would want to be governed in a new Zimbabwe .The option of fresh elections after a new constitution could still be open but six months would be too short to call for another election. Zimbabweans have already been subjected to, too many elections and this could cause fatigue to both the people and the economy.

Critically the new government would need to set up think tanks and resource groups that would inform the decision making and policy making processes of the new regime .They should be made up of competent individuals from the business sector, civil society and the academia .It must be remembered that the focus of the government should be that of nation building not retribution or replacing ZANU PF with another “gangster government”. The biggest challenge facing the new government would be that of addressing inflation, creating jobs, attracting investment as well as aid and increasing productivity.

Whilst international lines of credit are likely to open and donor funds may pour into Zimbabwe, it must be remembered that the Zimbabwean crisis cannot be solved by pouring money into the country .The country needs to build a new business ,political and work culture whilst at the same time developing institutions that would ensure good governance ,democracy and accountability. A new government should not imagine that millions of donor funds will just fix the country overnight. Rebuilding the country will not be like mending a hole or just replacing the old with the new .The task of rebuilding the economy, governance systems, the social and physical infrastructure is a process that will require sound planning, extensive consultation and investment of both material and human resources.

The spectre of corruption may not disappear overnight but may actually increase if there is a new set of politicians bent on lining their own pockets at the expense of the populace. Professionalism, good work ethics, productivity and hardwork have been replaced by a culture of short cuts, deals and speculation .It will take a long time to build a positive culture and to rebuild the social infrastructure that informs a growing economy and a healthy democracy.

In addition to this, a new government will face the challenges of dealing with past injustices and national healing .The issue of Gukurahundi [the Matabeleland genocide, the marginalization of western regions, Murambatsvina, the land reform programme and the political unrest of 2000 and 2008 will all be issues that need to be wrestled with. These issues are very sensitive and may even affect transitional processes as many people within ZANU PF are living in fear of retribution from the MDC.The country at the same time cannot move forward without addressing issues of past injustices. True healing and reconciliation can only come about after a process of truth telling, forgiveness and restorative justice. In doing this, the new government should be careful about using its position to settle old scores.

The new government should move beyond its election manifesto and formulate tangible, realistic and time framed policies. It should be careful in agenda setting and prioritization lest it becomes a populist government which is all things to all people and thereby becomes detestable to all people because of its inability to fulfill its promises .Tough decisions may have to be made which are not popular but absolutely necessary for restoring economic growth.

Thursday, April 24, 2008



The 8th of April saw concerned church groups, civil society organisations and responsible citizens coming together at the Baptist Church for a Press Conference that resulted in the press release calling for the immediate release of the 29 March Presidential Election results. This amplified voice from the region went far and wide as Reverend Netha from Association of Evangelicals in Africa confirmed.

As a build up to this, Wednesday 16 April 2008 saw Civil Society Organisations in Bulawayo coming together in a meeting whose outcome was the set up of a loose coalition of Bulawayo Civil Society Organisations. This meeting, held at One Up Business Centre brought together Heads and representatives of organisations that included but are not limited to:


This is a great networking step which, according to Dumisani Nkomo, the Chief executive Officer of Habakkuk Trust:

-has created a platform for information sharing and effective dissemination, enabling a collective voice from the region.
-has created a central operation point for civic groups in Bulawayo and will enable collective influence on decision making processes
- has enabled the organisations to find each other in the dark and hence enable the organisations to play a complementary role for the benefit of the region’s communities.

To ensure this, a working group of Information personnel from the Information Departments of the different organisations was set up. These shall play a key role in observing the post election atmosphere among other key incidents in areas of collaboration and will be in touch round the clock, through regular updates by all means to include email, telephone and regular meetings.Timeous Press Conferences and press releases on pertinent matters are going to be a permanent feature of this working group. Information shall be disseminated within and beyond these civil society organisations.

Mr Useni Sibanda,Director of Christian Alliance added that this group can do more effective and practical work to bring about transformation as most of these organisations work within communities and are in touch with what is happening on the ground. The group includes key national civic leaders such as Gorden Moyo[Bulawayo Agenda],Jenni Williams[WOZA],Rev Patson Neta,Useni Sibanda and Ray Motsi.