Monday, 17 March 2008

Makoni's Independent Candidates Attacked

Reports from the Zimbabwe Standard yesterday suggest that pressure and intimidation against the independent candidates of Simba Makoni is increasing.

OFFICIALS of Simba Makoni’s independent candidates for the 29 March elections yesterday reported two violent incidents against their members.

The Hatfield house of their Harare South candidate in the House of Assembly, Joram Nago, was besieged by suspected Zanu PF youths in the morning. In the afternoon, while driving from Hopley Farm where he was scheduled to address a rally today, Nago and his driver were stopped by youths who accused them of trying to enter a "no-go" area.

The Standard caught up with Nago as he made a report at Waterfalls police station. He told the police that after beating him, the youths took away his police clearance letter. A police officer acknowledged in the presence of The Standard they had cleared the rally. Yesterday evening, Nago was still to go to hospital for a medical check-up as he was assisting police investigators.

In the second incident, two pfficials one of their vehicles were attacked while waiting to fill up at a service station along Samora Machel Avenue and Fourth Street in Harare. Never Mutamba, one of those assaulted, said they were saved by Police Support Unit officers passing by the service station.

Fay Chung Appeals to ZANU PF

Writing back in 2004, Fay Chung, candidate in the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe, makes a call for ZANU PF to make the space available to foster the development of political renewal.

ZANU PF as the political parent, or even grandparent, now needs to let go of its children and allow them to form their own political views, their own policies and therefore their own political parties. It is incorrect and unsound to punish one’s children for having outgrown parental controls. Our children live in a different world from ourselves: they are better educated than we were and they have had more training in industrial skills than we ever had. We of the parent and grandparent generation came from a peasant and missionary background, and were not allowed to participate in industrialisation during the colonial era. Whilst it is true that 23 years of independence is not a great deal, nevertheless, the first post-independence graduates are now in their forties, and ready to take over from us. We should not continue to treat them as recalcitrant and disobedient children.

From her essay Opportunities for political renewal in Zimbabwe written in 2004 for Zimbabwe: The Past is the Future, Weaver Press

Mugabe's Response to Simba Makoni's Challenge

The Canadian Globe and Mail describes the reaction of Robert Mugabe to the candidacy of Simba Makoni. Not for the easily offended, Mugabe's colourful use of language and invective suggests just how desperate he is becoming as the elections loom in Zimbabawe.

It was the first time Mugabe publicly reacted to Makoni’s challenge which has injected a new excitement to the presidential race which appeared to be headed for a rematch of his disputed 2002 victory over Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Mugabe blasted: "What has happened now is absolutely disgraceful. I didn’t think that Makoni, after all the experience, could behave like the way he did and in a na├»ve way too, boasting that ‘I am Simba Makoni’.

“He doesn’t even have a party, he says ‘people come and join me I am amazing, I am a magnate, come to me and I am there to lead you’. No! You go to the people and the people find you, you don’t become self-important when you are looking for support.

"So I have compared him to a prostitute. A prostitute could have stood up also saying ‘I have boyfriends in the MDC, others are in Zanu PF, there is no party without my boyfriends, so I am going to the nomination (court) as well’. But you see, a prostitute could have done better than Makoni because she has clients.”

Personal attacks have become a hallmark of Mugabe’s survival strategy as he battles growing resentment to his continued stay in power, manifesting itself through rampant indiscipline in the Zanu PF ranks.

Makoni's Declaration To Run for President

On February 5th Simba Makoni announced his candidacy for the Presidency, as reported by the The Times in Zambia.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s hopes of cruising to victory at polls next month suffered a severe jolt today as his respected former finance minister Simba Makoni announced his candidacy.

Makoni, a member of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party, said he would take on Mugabe at the ballot box as an independent in a move analysts said could unite the president’s opponents.

"Following very extensive and intensive consultations with party members and activists countrywide and also with others outside the party, I have accepted the call and hereby advise the people of Zimbabwe that I offer myself as candidate for the office of president," Makoni told a press conference.

"Let me confirm that I share the agony and anguish of all citizens over the extreme hardships that we all have endured for nearly 10 years now," added Makoni who was Mugabe’s finance minister from 2000-2004.

"I also share the widely held view that these hardships are a result of failure of national leadership and that change at that level is a pre-requisite for change at other levels of national endeavour."