Sunday, October 25, 2009

Deadly Diamonds - Zimbabwe

Did Robert Mugabes security forces seize control of a lucrative diamond field by gunning down hundreds of miners? With shocking evidence now uncovered, Zimbabwes diamond trade faces suspension.

"We were told here are the guns, sitting in the truck, do you want to stay?" says Andrew Cranswick, CEO of the mining company who owns the rights to mine diamonds in Marange.

After his company was evicted, the Marange fields were opened up to the people and tens of thousands of Zimbabweans came to dig, paying the police a commission. Yet the police didnt always play fair - "$15 million worth of diamonds were confiscated", says one former miner and soon the police were replaced by Mugabes own military.

"Mugabe needed a way to buy the loyalty of the army" says Ken Roth, "the military were ordered to kill".

In the first week of November, helicopter gunships launched a massacre on the Marange diamond fields. Evidence has been collected of 200 deaths. Those who werent killed were raped or crippled.

"They told us if we wanted to go home we had to sleep with the men", says one woman, "the soldiers watched and laughed".

Next month, the Kimberley process, the international body charged with stopping trade in conflict diamonds, will decide whether Zimbabwe should be suspended.

Yet with many Western governments involved in Zimbabwes diamond trade, a former delegate of the Kimberley process believes this deadly business may yet be protected.

Produced by SBS Dateline, distributed by Journeyman Pictures.



Life in remote eastern Zimbabwe has changed little over the centuries. That is, until a startling discovery here three years ago. Some of the rocks littering these plains turned out to be diamonds. The man who's showing them to me is a former policeman turned dealer, who I'll call Mischek, He's agreed to take us to the Marange diamond fields but he's worried about running into soldiers.

MISCHEK:    If they catch you, they beat you till you can't walk. If they don't kill you, you end up crippled. Because they beat you.

As a white woman I'm too conspicuous so it's agreed he'll take my Zimbabwean colleague who'll film with a hidden camera. It's a dangerous journey into an area tightly controlled by Zimbabwean security forces, and off limits to the outside world.

COLLEAGUE:    We are going to use public transport because we think public transport is less scrutinized by police and then when we get there we are going to walk in the bush for 2.5 hours and it will be night by the time we get there.

At first light my colleague starts filming. He's already made it past three security checkpoints. But they've had to walk much further than normal to avoid detection.

COLLEAGUE:    I thought the journey was going to be 2.5 hours but now it turns out to be almost six hours of walking at night. We're almost at the area. Just in front of me are three buyers, the guys I am going with. What we doing here is we are looking for a base. A base is a sorting area where diamonds are sorted from the field, ready for sale to the buyers.

This is Marange, the world's largest find of alluvial diamonds in more than 50 years. On the edges of the diamond field these children are sifting through soil hoping to find a stone someone else may have missed.

COLLEAGUE:   If you find them, what do you do?

CHILD:   Nothing. Nothing at all.

COLLEAGUE:   Nothing?

CHILD:   Yes.

COLLEAGUE:   Where do you take them?

CHILD:   Home!

At night, the military's own syndicates, and those willing to risk going it alone dig for diamonds. In the morning it's time for the buyers to move in.

COLLEAGUE:   This is the sorting field where we are right now. The guys are busy sorting their diamonds. Guys! How are you? If this diamond didn't have spots, how much would it be worth?

DIAMOND SORTER 1:   Yes, it's not very good. So these spots are the problem.

COLLEAGUE:   Tell me, what's your price?

DIAMOND SORTER 1:    It would be fair to give us $1,800.

Diamonds from here are distinctive in colour and the oldest in the world. A huge amount of them are pouring out of this area worth an estimated $200 million a month.

COLLEAGUE:   How much can you sell it for?

DIAMOND SORTER 2:   About $70.

It's not just individuals working these fields now but also the Zimbabwean government. While it's impossible for us to openly film here 'Dateline' obtained these previously unreleased pictures of the mechanised mining being conducted by government agencies.

ANDREW CRANSWICK, AFRICAN CONSOLIDATED RESOURCES:    This is organised theft. Organised theft from African Consolidated because they are mining on African Consolidated Mines.

Andrew Cranswick is a Zimbabwean and Chief Executive of the British-based mining company which holds the mining rights to Marange. His euphoria at the big find quickly vanished when he tried to enter a joint venture with the Mugabe regime. Three weeks after the company declared the discovery, there was a surprise visit from the Mines Minister, followed by a blunt eviction notice from security forces.

ANDREW CRANSWICK:   We were told listen - if you are going to refuse the guns are going to come out and you are going to get arrested and you are going to get harassed. So literally, here are the guns, sitting in the truck, do you want to stay or don't you want to stay.

The company's equipment was seized, its employees locked out and he says more than 25kg of diamonds vanished. The Mugabe regime then opened up the fields to the people.

ANDREW CRANSWICK:    That's before. Before the rains and the diggers got on about pretty much at the same time. And that's what it looked like afterwards.

Within weeks these fields were swamped with ordinary Zimbabweans and miners and dealers from further a field.

ANDREW CRANSWICK:     Here’s a picture of an illegal crowd coming in. That's a South African numberplate.

The youngsters from the village were selling bottles of water, a bottle of water a diamond. So it was quite extraordinary what was happening.

Sefus, as I'll call him, was one of the estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people drawn to Chiadzwa at the start of the stampede paying a commission to police to be there. Like many people in this story, he was willing to talk, but only if his identity was protected. Sefus says he watched as Reserve Bank officials arrived in Chiadzwa to buy gems from one and all.

SEFUS:    They used to come in trucks with cash in sealed boxes and a police escort. They'd say they were licensed to buy these things - diamonds. Only the Reserve Bank can because they know where the stones are going.

NEWMAN CHIADZWA, COMMUNITY LEADER:    We know the value of the diamonds at Chiadzwa, that they can look after this country very well without even looking at external borrowing or something.

Tribal leader Newman Chiadzwa says that while many community members were at first willing to mine for the government, that soon changed as the police abused their power.

NEWMAN CHIADZWA:    If you take the diamonds confiscated from me by the government, it was over 10kg. And that 10kg were only produced in one week, by less than 20 people. And I can put an estimate of around $15 million worth of diamonds which were confiscated.

REPORTER:   $15 million?

NEWMAN CHIADZWA:   US$15 million. Yes, because half of it were gem quality.

At the same time, Zimbabwe's political landscape was also changing. President Robert Mugabe was being pushed into signing a power-sharing agreement with his political foes. Without the patronage of the army he looked like losing power completely.

KEN ROTH, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH:    That was the era of hyper inflation and you could walk around with wheelbarrows of Zimbabwean currency and still pay nothing. So Mugabe needed a way to buy the loyalty of the army.

Ken Roth is Executive Director of the internationally respected Human Rights Watch. He believes Mugabe devised a plan to keep the army on side.

KEN ROTH:    What better way than allow units to rotate through Marange, get their two weeks of picking up diamonds and selling them and he thought that that would be a perfect way of maintaining the loyalties backing, the army's backing of the Mugabe government.

But first the military had to gain control of the fields. In late October last year, Operation No Return was launched. Farai Maguwu from Zimbabwe's Centre for Research and Development has been investigating what happened next.

FARAI MAGUWU, ZIMBABWE'S CENTRE FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT:    The first week of November marked the turning point in these atrocities which were being committed by the state security agents. This is a time when the military replaced the police.

REPORTER:    When they went in, what was their brief? What do you think they were ordered to do?

FARAI MAGUWU:   They were ordered to kill. They were ordered to kill.

Zimbabwe's helicopter gunships launched a massacre, according to scores of credible witnesses. Human Rights Watch and eye witnesses say hundreds of people were gunned down. Sefus says he was there.

SEFUS:    They were shooting from a helicopter, and on the ground. The helicopter was in the air. Then the helicopter landed and they got out and continued shooting.

Human rights investigators say this photo shows one of the many bodies that began accumulating in hospital morgues.

SEFUS:    They never said anything. They'd just shoot and leave the body. Relatives would come and get the victim and say "Our kin has been wounded. We can't leave them here."

I'm taken to a cemetery on the outskirts of Mutare. It's close to an army base so we have to move quickly. Human rights investigators have uncovered a paper trail tracing the bodies from Chiadzwa to morgues and hospitals and finally to this spot. These documents reveal scores of unnamed bodies were brought here.

MORGUE OFFICIAL:   It is unknown, unknown. And also the cause of death is written NA, not applicable. Unknown, unknown, you see, a lot of these papers, unknown, unknown.

These two men are too frightened to be identified, but they show me to what they say is the cemetery's grisly secret.

MAN 1:   This was the grave, the mass grave, where 85 people were buried.

REPORTER:   Right. Were you here that day?

MAN 1:   Yes I was.

REPORTER:   What did you see?

MAN 1:   There were prisoners from Mutare Farm prison who prepared this grave and they were the same prisoners who did the burial.

The true death toll is not yet known but Human Rights Watch say it's uncovered proof of more than 200 deaths - local researchers say it could be double that. And they believe blame for the massacre can be traced to the highest levels of the Mugabe regime.

REPORTER:   So a lot of people saw what happened here?

MAN 1:   Yes.

REPORTER:   And the authorities deny it?

MAN 1:   Yes, the authorities are denying, but it is true. There are people, I think if it is at all allowed, we can.

REPORTER:   Exhume the bodies.

MAN 1:   Yes, exhume the bodies. They are there. You can't deny, the truth is the truth. People are there in the graves.

REPORTER:    And you are still seeing victims?

FARAI MAGUWU:    We are still putting together evidence because we believe action has to be taken against the perpetrators of these gross human rights violations and just two days ago we interviewed a woman who was mauled by dogs in November, and until now, the scars are all over her body.

This is that woman. A 58-year-old widow who says she was attacked on her first and only visit to Chiadzwa to sell clothes to the panners. With helicopters in the air, police and soldiers on foot and on horseback - the dog squad was also set loose.

WOMAN 1:    A dog caught me and pulled me down. I was on the ground and the policeman ordered the dog "Go for her hands." They kept setting the dogs onto me, then pulling them back while they bit me, one from each side. They'd let them bite me, then pull them back.

Eye witnesses say the violence and shootings continued for weeks. Those detained were beaten and tortured, and women were raped. This woman, who does not want to be identified had also gone to Chiadzwa with clothes to sell.

WOMAN 2:    We were caught by the soldiers, me and two friends. The soldiers were beating detainees at will and doing whatever they wanted. They told us to sleep with the men if we wanted to go home. We couldn't do anything, so we slept with the men. The soldiers stood and watched, laughing.

Throughout the entire security operation, no civilian was above suspicion, including those living in the nearby city of Mutare.

CARL WOODS:    So first session give or take - 12 or 15 strikes. The next session maybe eight when I still felt pain, the third session maybe another 8 or 10, and I had no more pain.

67-year-old Carl Woods is a former farmer and now bauxite miner, who was arrested on his way home from work one night. He says that for two days, he was held in a cage along with scores of others. He was only let out to be flogged.

CARL WOODS:    I regard myself as being abducted from a police station in Mutare. Taken straight to the police, to Chiadzwa, for flogging. When they asked me in Chiadzwa are you a diamond dealer, that's about all they could ask me and no more. They beat me when I denied that I was.

Hospital records confirm the months of brutality on the mine field which eventually left it fully under military control. But soldiers were soon providing more than security. Hundreds of illegal miners were organised into syndicates to mine for the military.

SYNDICATE MEMBER:   We go to the fields and bring diamonds, then we share, we share with them. Let's say we make $US10,000, we call that $US10, we split it in half.

According to an actual syndicate member, as each new military unit arrives, it takes over the mining teams run by the departing soldiers.

SYNDICATE MEMBER:   The syndicate never stops working. It will always continue to work. They take turns, one group of soldiers will spend two months, then they leave after two months.

With entry to the district now severely restricted, Mugabe's ministers deny the massacre and other human rights abuses ever took place. At this Mining Conference in the capital Harare, the nightmare in Chiadzwa is far from people's minds. Zimbabwe's new unity government is trying to paint a rosy picture to attract foreign investment.

OBERT MPOFU, ZIMBABWE MINES MINISTER:    I cannot overemphasize the advantage we have in the mineral wealth. What we crave for is the capacity to exploit that wealth.

Obert Mpofu is a Mugabe loyalist and recent appointee to the position of Mines Minister. He's told Parliament only three people died at Chiadzwa - victims of internal strife - and he's unrepentant about the government's decision to bring in the military.

OBERT MPOFU:    No, we moved in and we don't regret having done that. We moved in through our police who were supported by our military because of the magnitude of the invasion by the diamond panners. And that has been achieved, the panners have been cleared.

Authorities at every level continue to proclaim their innocence. And President Robert Mugabe insists that all mining in Zimbabwe is totally above board.

ROBERT MUGABE, ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT:    The sanctity of property rights and the rule of law in all its dimensions are fully respected.

Andrew Cranswick would like to believe Robert Mugabe but watching this video filmed recently on his claim, he's shocked.

ANDREW CRANSWICK:    This it totally illegal. And they are aware of it to have the attorney-general's opinion. They all have senior attorney-generals opinion, which is the government's own lawyer stating in 2006 categorically that they have to no title there. And have no right to be here.

Just last month Zimbabwe's High Court agreed, ruling that Marange was still legally owned by Cranswick's company but the government's mining goes on regardless. Diamonds that escape the government's hands are still leaving the country illegally. This man is a diamond smuggler. "David Moyo", as we'll call him, has a cache of gems hidden in his shoes. He buys them from military syndicates and scrounging locals, and takes them across the border to Mozambique. 'Dateline' travelled with him to see how it's done.

DAVID MOYO:    These days, yes, the borders are tight, but, you know, at times even if they caught you, normally these police officers need something and you can just give them a bribe and go through.

Smuggling of diamonds and gold is at such rampant levels that last year Zimbabwe estimated it was losing revenue worth more than US$50 million a month. David Moyo has crossed this border countless times in the past two years.

SOLDIER:   I am fine. How are you?

DAVID MOYO:   Have you seen the guy running T1?

SOLDIER:    I have seen him. He is enjoying money!

DAVID MOYO:   So what can you do for me today?

SOLDIER:   I want two bags of rice when you back.

There are growing calls for Zimbabwe's government to be held to account for both small and large scale smuggling and human rights abuses. Critics say Zimbabwe must be suspended from the Kimberley Process the international body charged with stopping the trade in conflict diamonds.

KEN ROTH:    If Zimbabwe is expelled from the Kimberley Process, if it no longer has the right to sell its diamonds it will be losing one of its key economic lifelines and there is no question that at that stage Robert Mugabe will have to take action - he will have to reign in his military, on the killing, the beating - the forced labour will have to stop.

Kimberley Process members visited Marange in July this year, collecting this photographic evidence along the way. Next month they will decide whether Zimbabwe's right to export diamonds should be suspended. But some members, like Cecilia Gardner, say the massacre allegations won't be the ultimate decider.

CECILIA GARDNER, KIMBERLEY PROCESS DELEGATE:    It is not a subject the Kimberley Process can really grapple with, we don't have the expertise, we don't have the experience and it is simply not on our list of priorities.

IAN SMILLIE, FORMER KIMBERLEY PROCESS DELEGATE:    The Kimberley Process has to show that it is tough. It has not shown that it is tough in the past and here's another example of weak-kneed behaviour in the face of obvious problems.

Ian Smillie was a founding member of the Kimberley Process but believes it's failing. Recently he resigned in despair and now he fears the Kimberley Process won't act against Zimbabwe.

IAN SMILLIE:    The whole point of the Kimberley Process was to stop blood diamonds. To ignore this, to ignore this most obvious example of the kind of things the Kimberley Process was supposed to stop - it will damage its integrity in a most serious way.

But Smillie also has another damning allegation that Australian officials have been actively working to prevent Zimbabwe's suspension.

IAN SMILLIE:    As I understand it, members of the Australian diplomatic corp, have visited the governments of countries that had team members on the review team that went to Zimbabwe in June and have tried to dissuade them from action that would include the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Kimberley Process.

He believes Australian diplomats are trying to protect the exports from one of Zimbabwe's other diamond mines - the Marowa mine which is 78% owned by Australian company Rio Tinto.

IAN SMILLIE:    I was, well I should say I am old enough not to be surprised but I was actually quite stunned that you would allow commercial interests to trump human rights or even to trump the long-term best interests of the diamond industry, I think to me, it is unfathomable.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it hasn't yet finalised Australia's position and while it's been talking to other governments it denies recommending they act in a particular way.

While wrangling over Zimbabwe's status as a legitimate diamond dealer continues. So too does the smuggling with the collusion of those meant to stop it. David Moyo is now in Mozambique and on his way to the house of a well known diamond buyer with his stash of gems. Unless international authorities act soon, the diamond wealth that could transform the country will continue to fall into the wrong hands and be smuggled away.





Original Music composed by


Hot Seat: Didymus Mutasa & Gorden Moyo.

HOT SEAT: Violet Gonda presents the programme Hot Seat where her guests Didymus Mutasa (pictured), Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Gorden Moyo, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, give their parties’ positions on the political deadlock threatening to tear apart the fragile coalition. Minister Mutasa says ZANU PF is not taking any notice of the MDC boycott, and says the MDC are behaving like ‘little babies,’ and their boycott will not take them far or achieve anything. Minister Moyo argues that out of 34 important items that were agreed to in the GPA, only four have been fully completed, because of stalling by ZANU PF. He says the MDC will continue their boycott until there are fundamental reforms.

My guests on the programme Hot Seat are Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office. With the political deadlock threatening to tear apart the fragile coalition government I started by asking Minister Mutasa for ZANU PF’s reaction to the MDC boycott.

DIDYMUS MUTASA: Well, that is what they have decided to do but I do not think that it will take them far because it is giving them a very bad name. There’s no reason why they should boycott, they should have sat down as they are hoping to do now, as principals, and talked. But to go on strike like little babies is not what the Global Political Agreement is all about. So I think it’s a very silly thing that they are doing, and I do not think that it will achieve them anything.

GONDA: Right, and you say they have gone on strike like little babies but the MDC have said that there’s a stalemate on the issue of outstanding issues and that is why it is appealing to SADC to intervene. Can you give us your assessment of … interrupted

: That’s nonsense, that’s nonsense. The outstanding issues are wide - for us the most important outstanding issue is the question of sanctions not the issue that Bennett has been arrested and is going through the courts of justice. That’s nonsense. Why aren’t they doing something? Why do they not boycott because the Americans and the European Union are refusing to lift sanctions, which are a more important issue for this country than the arrest and trial of Bennett.

GONDA: I’ll ask you shortly about the issue of sanctions but what about the other outstanding issues that they’ve talked about? For example the appointment of the Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono and the Attorney General, Johannes Tomana? What is Zanu-PF’s position on this?

For goodness sake, for goodness sake, let me say I wonder why you are repeating that because that is nonsense! What has that to do with the Global Agreement? The fact that the President of this country has the right and power to do so and that he has done so – it’s a finished accompli (sic).  And so why are they raising it because they know that our President is not going to change his mind about that and there’s nothing outstanding about it.

But Minister Mutasa, Gono is widely accused by the MDC of being responsible for the trashing of the economy and the Attorney General is accused of abusing the legal system, so if your party is interested in moving the country … interrupted

: Are you, are you yourself a member of the MDC?

No I’m not but…

…and if you are…

…I’m a journalist…

MUTASA: Then you should ask your questions a little better than that.

GONDA: How would you want me to ask them?

MUTASA: Because…sorry?

GONDA: How would you want me to ask you on the issue of Gideon Gono and Tomana, because… interrupted

MUTASA: Because you are convinced, you seem to be convinced that Gideon Gono has done something wrong about the economy of this country and that is nonsense. There is nothing wrong that Gideon Gono… interrupted

GONDA: I have said… interrupted

MUTASA: Excuse me. There’s nothing wrong that Gideon Gono has done about the economy of this country. He is in fact a man who has done everything to sustain the economy of this country and I do not understand why you, who is where you are, are speaking like that and in fact that is what our President has referred to as information imperialism.  You are just repeating what other people have repeated in the past and that is absolute nonsense.

GONDA: With all due respect minister, I’m asking these questions according to what the MDC is saying. For example the Finance Minister has said the Central Bank’s operations are illegal, so with that perception that Gono and someone like Tomana’s actions have polluted the current environment, how do you think this has to be resolved?

MUTASA: Well my dear that is going to go on. Tomana is going to remain the Attorney General of this country and Gideon Gono is going to be the governor of our Reserve Bank and that is full stop.

: But… interrupted

MUTASA: And the less you repeat it the better for everybody.

GONDA: Surely if there is a deadlock over just these two men, they are mere individuals… interrupted

MUTASA: There is no deadlock my dear, there is no deadlock! Let me repeat that again. There is no deadlock because our President is not going to do anything about it!

GONDA: Well there is a deadlock because the MDC right now - the Prime Minister is touring the region… interrupted

MUTASA: And then they can go on strike and be themselves like little babies and Zimbabwe is going to go on without them as it has gone on without them in the past.

And you… interrupted

MUTASA: Don’t you think, and don’t ever think or believe that this country is going to stop because of the reactions of the MDC. It is simply going to go on and none of us is going to take any notice of what they are doing because they are behaving like little babies.

GONDA: OK, hear me out on this one and tell me if it is only the MDC that’s behaving like little babies as you have said. The MDC is complaining that Mr Mugabe is refusing to swear in Roy Bennett as their MDC Deputy Minister of Agriculture and then on the other hand you have these individuals from your party, Gono and Tomana, so surely all these people are individuals, why not just let them go and all parties agree to appoint new people? Isn’t this what a new beginning, a new Zimbabwe should be about?

: A new Zimbabwe with who? A new Zimbabwe with criminals or people who are charged with criminal offences like Bennett, Roy Bennett? And you say that is the sort of new Zimbabwe that you are thinking of, or the MDC is thinking of, my dear it’s not the sort of Zimbabwe that we are looking for.

But when you say Roy Bennett… interrupted

We do not want a Zimbabwe that is governed by people who are charged of offences that the court is still in the process of assessing.

GONDA: You know I actually spoke to the Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara last week and he said it is very interesting that you are concentrating on Roy Bennett’s case and that Robert Mugabe is refusing to swear him in because he is facing serious charges in the courts but Mr Mutambara went on to say there are people like himself, like Tendai Biti and even people like Patrick Chinamasa from your party who was actually convicted but still he was sworn into the new government. So why is Roy Bennett different when you have other people  - even like the Deputy Prime Minister who is facing charges in the courts?

MUTASA: My dear I have never heard of those other charges that you are talking about. If that is what the Deputy Prime Minister told you then he probably knows where those charges were arising from, and which court decided on them. I don’t know any of that. I don’t know that Patrick Chinamasa is under any charge, I don’t know even that the Deputy Prime Minister himself or Biti have any criminal offences that they are facing.

What about you yourself, are you not facing charges of contempt of court? Didn’t a Chinhoyi magistrate just recently… interrupted

MUTASA: where, who told you that? That is absolute rubbish.

Did you not…

I have never…

GONDA: Did you not call Magistrate Ngoni Nduna just a few days ago very stupid?

Where have you heard that? Where have you heard that from my dear? There is absolutely nothing like that. I have not appeared before any court for contempt of court. Contempt of which court?

Were you not supposed to appear in a Chinhoyi court to testify in a case involving a Chinhoyi farmer Robert Mckersie and you were subpoenaed to give evidence… interrupted

What was the offence? Excuse me – to be subpoenaed is not facing a criminal charge…

I did not say you are facing a criminal charge but you were supposed to have testified in court and you failed to attend.

My dear you are actually talking about something that you don’t understand and I would rather you please stop this interview because you don’t really know what you are talking about.

So can you tell us what it is about?

What it is about is simply a subpoena that I should appear and be a witness against myself and I have never heard of that process of law anywhere in the world.

Why were you going to testify against yourself?

Excuse me. I don’t know what it is all about except that some white man is being required to vacate the farm that he thinks is still his and I am being required to say why he should leave. He should leave because there is a land reform programme going on in this country and I have allocated that land to someone else in terms of the land reform programme and that’s all. So there’s really nothing, you know outside the law of this country and it is all the right thing to be done because of the land reform programme. It is all done legally and so there is absolutely nothing wrong that is happening here, but you are talking as if everything that has been done … and I have as you say I have been before the courts, charged with contempt of court and all that which is all nonsense.

No but there’s a warrant of arrest for you Mr Mutasa.

: That’s not true. You are telling lies… interrupted

GONDA: According to the magistrate there is a warrant of arrest for you.

There is no, first of all there is no warrant of arrest for me. That is all nonsense and it is a lie. Please madam and I would like to stop this conversation because you don’t know what you are talking about.

GONDA: But Mr Mutasa you can help us understand what is happening.

: Please let’s stop this interview… interrupted

GONDA: What has been implemented out of the contested issues to do with governors, …


MUTASA: hangs up phone.

Hello?  And that was Minister Didymus Mutasa ending this discussion in the usual format. Unfortunately after that I was unable to get him back so I spoke to his counterpart in the MDC, and that is Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Mr Moyo, I have just spoken to Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of State in the President’s office and he said the boycott by your party will not take you far and he said you are behaving like little babies. What is your reaction to this?

: No Didymus Mutasa is as old as my grandfather therefore I am not going to respond to such kinds of words from him. My African tradition tells me that I should not engage in the altercations with my grandfather so I’m not going to respond to his statement about little babies.

But what about the other issue that he is adamant that the only important outstanding issue is the question of sanctions and not the issue of people who are facing criminal charges like Roy Bennett and that Robert Mugabe has the right and power to appoint Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana and he basically said Mugabe is not going to change his mind on this. So what are your thoughts on that?

MOYO: It’s either Didymus Mutasa he has not read the Global Political Agreement or he is naïve to be contempt of that document. The issues of Tomana and Gono are outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement. Mugabe appointed Gono and Tomana in breach of both the MOU that was signed on the 21st of July 2008 by the political parties and also in breach of the Global Political Agreement signed on the 15th of September 2008. Gono was appointed on the 26th of November 2008 after the signing of the Global Political Agreement and after the signing of the MOU  - so which means it was in breach of both. Tomana was appointed on the 17th of December 2008 again after the signing of the Global Political Agreement and after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the political parties in the inclusive government. Now the Global Political Agreement and the MOU both state unequivocally that the President will only appoint senior government officials in consultation with the Prime Minister and that was not done. Therefore Mugabe breached, violated the GPA and violated the MOU so I don’t know what Mutasa is talking about.

And you have said you will only suspend the boycott after all the outstanding issues are resolved so can you briefly clarify these outstanding issues especially as Minister Mutasa says there is only one outstanding issue and that is the issue of the sanctions.

MOYO: You see Violet, the inclusive government has celebrated its seventh month, and we are now into month number eight. Now there are about 34 items, critical items of the Global Political Agreement. If you make a casual assessment of them, just a casual assessment, you would realise that out of the 34 key items of the Global Political Agreement, 17 have not been done completely, 13 have been partially done and only four have been done. Now seven months are long, it is a long time for the implementation of the Global Political Agreement and there are critical issues, critical challenges into the entire programme of implementing the GPA. Firstly there are issues that are outstanding from the GPA, and those issues are known and they are in the public view. These are the issues of the Reserve Bank governor and the Attorney General. Those are outstanding issues - and they are deadlock issues in the sense that the principals have not agreed, they’ve failed to agree so there is the deadlock. And that is why in August these issues were taken to the chairperson of the SADC, Zuma and Zuma went with these issues to Kinshasa in the DRC.

But we’ve also have issues of implementation where agreement was reached – for example – the provincial governors. It was agreed between the principals that come the 1st of September there shall be new provincial governors for Matabeleland North, for Matabeleland South, for Bulawayo, for Harare, for Mutare and for Masvingo. The conditions of termination of the current governors were agreed, termination date was agreed but implementation has never been effected.

So was the issue of Roy Bennett. It was agreed that he was going to be sworn in together with the provincial governors – that was not done. Now these are implementation issues resolved but not implemented.

But we also have issues of non-compliance of the breach of the Global Political Agreement such as the selective arrest of senior and ordinary members of the MDC. We know the members of parliament that have been arrested, that are being prosecuted selectively. We know of disruptions taking place in various farms in Mashonaland West and also disruption in the conservancies throughout the country. These are breaches that are being perpetrated by Zanu-PF. And as the inclusive government, as part of the inclusive government we cannot simply stand and watch the willy-nilly breaches of the Global Political Agreement.

We have come to a point whereby we have said no we need to engage on what is called constructive disengagement. Disengaging from participating in those institutions which legitimise Zanu-PF, for example the Cabinet. Our continued participation in the Cabinet tells a story to the people in Zimbabwe, to the people in the region and internationally that things are OK in Zimbabwe, the Global Political Agreement is being implemented fully. As long as we participate in the Cabinet meetings we are saying things are OK but we have to realise that things are not OK and we cannot continue participating in an inclusive government particularly to Cabinet level whereby the other players are acting in bad faith. That’s why we have disengaged from Cabinet, that why we have disengaged from the Council of Ministers - but this does not mean we have pulled out of government.

We have not pulled out of government, we are part of government, we are the government, and elections were won in March by the MDC at the legislative level as well as at the Presidential race where the President of the MDC came first. So in terms of legitimacy of government, MDC is a bone fide member of that government therefore it cannot disengage from itself, it cannot pull out of itself but we have disengaged from those institutions that give Zanu legitimacy.

But Mr Moyo what will the MDC do if Zanu-PF does not give in because just listening to Minister Mutasa, he clearly spells out that Zanu-PF will not take notice of the boycott and there’s this great clarity that Zanu-PF will not change so what will you do?

No the verdict of the people will prevail. We will go back to the people of Zimbabwe and they will determine the next course of action.

What about this criticism though, that you want to stay in this coalition government because you have tasted the benefits - hence only the disengagement. As it remains you’ve still got your comfort cars, the perks. What do you say about that from people who think you are only doing this for… interrupted

Most of us had better cars. I mean it’s not the first time to drive a car. I’ve had my own cars before. It doesn’t make sense for people to say, or for those people who are criticising us, anyway criticism is the only gift that mediocrity can give to success. What we are saying is Zanu is misbehaving, Zanu is not implementing the GPA, Zanu is not acting in good faith, therefore we have to take a decision as people in government we need to make decisions and take decisions at the same time. We have taken the decision that we shall not legitimise Zanu. We shall not continue to lie to the people of Zimbabwe and say things are happening, there are changes in the country, and we have reforms taking place in the country, when in actual fact we have retrogression taking place in the country. So we have taken a decision, it’s a hard decision but we have taken it because Zanu-PF need a paradigm shift to accept that they signed a political agreement which needs to be implemented and implemented fully. That’s all I would say.

But you are also saying you are not pulling out of this government and Zanu-PF is making it very clear that it is not going to listen to your demands and Mugabe has continuously made it clear that he will not change. So why do you think you can work from within and change this attitude?

We are not saying we are working from within – within what?

With this government because you say you will remain in this government but Zanu-PF is not taking any notice of your boycott.

MOYO: We are also not brooking any nonsense of what they are doing by arresting people willy-nilly. We are refusing to participate in their games. We are saying we cannot be part of a system that is arresting people. We are part of a reformed government. If those reforms are not taking place we are not going to continue to be part of that process. By the way, if MDC pulls out of this government, there shall be no government. I don’t know what Mutasa is thinking about because Mugabe is a President of Zimbabwe in respect of the GPA. Without the GPA he is not the President of Zimbabwe.  Mutasa is a minister in respect to the GPA, without the GPA he is not a minister, he is illegitimate. So we all derive our existence in government from the GPA. So they cannot wish the GPA away out of existence. They can only derive their existence politically from the GPA. So we have a mutual fate together there under the GPA. Without the GPA there is an election, it means there is no government in Zimbabwe, we need to start afresh.

GONDA: Let me go back to the issue of the region. You mentioned that you had sent a letter to the SADC Chair, the then SADC Chair Jacob Zuma and the matter was already with SADC so why did you boycott before you had received any feedback from SADC and right now the Prime Minister is actually touring the region? What is happening with that?

MOYO: There was a big issue that took place, where the Treasurer General of the MDC Roy Bennett was selectively put behind bars by the Attorney General of this country. That became proximate cause and not a fundamental cause, a proximate cause. We have had fundamental grievances against Zanu-PF since day one, they have not been implementing the GPA but the frustrations came to a level where we could not accept this issue any further and that is why we said we now need to disengage from Cabinet, we now need the guarantors of the GPA to come in, we are putting pressure on Zanu-PF to implement the GPA. We are not asking for something new, we are not asking for fresh negotiations, we are asking for the full implementation of the GPA. That’s all that we are talking about. So anyone who is against the full implementation of the GPA is against the GPA.

: So what is the latest from SADC?

The latest is that we are expecting the SADC to act. They’re supposed to act, they’re supposed to come together and bring all the parties together to make sure that the GPA is fully implemented.

You know press reports are saying that President Zuma has actually told the Prime Minister to go back and reengage with Robert Mugabe. Isn’t this another indication that the MDC is stuck and you are not going to get the necessary support from the region?

We are getting the necessary support already. We are looking forward to the next Troika meeting where these issues shall be tabled and we are expecting that the SADC Troika is going to work on these issues and there shall be full implementation of the GPA.

But are they not saying go back and reengage with Zanu-PF? Something that you’ve already done and has failed to work?

I don’t know of that. What I know is that we are engaging the heads of States of the SADC, we are engaging the Troika, we are engaging everybody so that they can enable us together to implement the GPA. To make sure that pressure is put on Zanu-PF to implement the GPA. We are not asking for anything new from SADC or from wherever. We are asking for what has already been agreed.

But what sort of pressure would SADC really put on Zanu-PF?

The pressure that we need from them is to, they are the guarantors. The GPA says, the SADC and the African Union are the guarantors, if we’ve got any problems in the implementation of the GPA, they should come in and facilitate the full implementation of the GPA. So we want them to play their role to enable us as partners who entered into the inclusive government to implement the GPA. That’s all we are asking from them. What kind of approach they are going to take is not up to us. We are expecting them to come up with their approach, we cannot prescribe to them their approach, we cannot even prematurely say this is what they are going to do. We are expecting them as the guarantors to come up with an approach, to come up with a mechanism of making sure that the inclusive government is placed back on the rails.

GONDA: But are you happy with the way they have been handling the matter so far?

MOYO: I do not want to either criticise them or to pass any judgement now. We are expecting them, we are talking to them therefore we cannot at the same time pass judgement before they have actually acted.

You know in response to your decision to disengage from Zanu-PF, South Africa’s main political opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, presented its road map to democracy in Zimbabwe - and this was in the South African parliament. They said that Mugabe cannot be part of Zimbabwe’s road to democracy, saying he must be offered an exit strategy if the country is to ever recover. What is your response to this?

MOYO: We determine our own course of action as Zimbabweans. I think colleagues all over the world are free to pass opinions, to pass their own comments, to pass their own plans of action but we as Zimbabweans have the final say, we shall determine our own course of action that shall not be influenced by any of the actors outside the boundaries of Zimbabwe.

GONDA: And what is your reaction to statements by some who say that the signing of the GPA was the biggest blunder that the MDC ever made and that Zimbabwe has gained very little from this GNU and that the only person who has benefited is Mugabe as the GNU got him off the hook and has given him time to regroup?

I am not sure about that. What I know is that by the end of last year inflation was at 500%. That inflation has dropped to a single digit now. The people of Zimbabwe can walk around the streets, they have food now, and they have a future now. I think it was because of the inclusive government. But I agree with them to a certain extent to say that this has given a new lease of life to Zanu-PF because they’d lost elections, they’d lost elections but because of the inclusive government they are back in government. To that extent I agree with them but in terms of guaranteeing stability in the country and avoiding the leadership for being authors of chaos I think it was important for this inclusive government to be constituted.

And what is more important now is the implementation of the GPA. I don’t think the signing of the Agreement was wrong but what is wrong is the lack of implementation of the GPA. It would be seen that Zanu-PF is playing political games. They are using this GPA just to reorganise themselves, just to extend their longevity in government and not to reform the government and not to restore and rehabilitate the economy of the country. So that is the only problem that we are facing. Otherwise the idea of the Global Political Agreement and the idea of an inclusive government I think it was a noble one under the circumstances - realising that Zanu had refused to accept electoral defeat, they had refused again to have a fair and free election so the only available game in town was to sign the Global Political Agreement.

Now those that are saying it was a big mistake, if they’ve got an alternative, if they can tell us how best we would have handled the situation or what was the alternative I think it would be appreciated.

And a final word Mr Moyo.

I want to respond to what Mutasa said about sanctions. I now honestly believe that Zanu PF want sanctions, they want these restrictive measures to remain in place because once they are removed, Zanu-PF has no message at all. Without sanctions Zanu-PF has no message at all otherwise they would have accepted by now Zimbabwe being reclassified as a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) so that all financial penalties are then dealt with - so that all our debts and our arrears are cancelled but they do not want that. It means they want sanctions because they use sanctions to mobilise the people of Zimbabwe to come up with infrastructural violence, as people who are working against the imperialists. That’s their notion that they have otherwise they need these sanctions.

GONDA: Gorden Moyo, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, thank you very much for participating on the programme Hot Seat.

You are welcome.


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