Thursday, 21 August 2008

To sign or Not to sign

That is the question that is no doubt running back and forth in Morgan Tsvangirai and his closest allies' minds right now and has been for the past two or so weeks.

Whether it is nobler for Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC to give up 10years of struggle against a regime that has killed, maimed and looted by just signing away authority back to them and acknowledging ZANU PF’s rule at Zimbabwe's lowest point in all possible terms. Or is it easier to continue with the fight that the MDC has waged for the last ten years as an opposition party, but with the knowledge that they have the majority in Parliament and the people's mandate.

The talks have gone on for more than a month now, two weeks more than what was agreed. The talks are said to be hovering around three sticking points. The first being the amount of powers that Mugabe as president and Tsvangirai as Prime Minster should weld, the second being the time length of the agreement before fresh elections are held and lastly the size of the cabinet.

It has always been a tough call for Morgan and the negotiators to sit down with the enemy and try to reach a compromise. The old adage " Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" should however explain why Robert Mugabe has for the first time been willing to discuss a power sharing deal with a group he has called all sorts of names from prostitutes to puppets of the west since time immemorial. The defeat his party suffered on the March 29 elections was a wake call that made him realize how they could never win a free and fair election.

The questions to us young people today are, Should Morgan Tsvangirai agree to brush under the carpet the trials and tribulations of the last three or so decades and pretend all is well by gaining a post equivalent to that of a school prefect? Will an agreement between ZANU PF and MDC with Mugabe as a powerful President bring about the much needed economic transformation? Must it be enough for Morgan Tsvangirai and a few of his comrades to gain government posts, while Mugabe and his lieutenants are given amnesty and heroes' status for atrocities carried out against millions of Zimbabweans? Or should the MDC continue the struggle for the democratization of Zimbabwe continue in the knowledge that power does not lie in controlling the uniformed forces, but in the hands of the electorate.

Let us know what you think, post your comment on the blog. Speak your mind!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Youth Communique



We the young Zimbabweans who met on the 25th of July to discuss the current negotiations on Zimbabwe and representing the National Youth Development Trust, Zinasu, YIDEZ, International Socialist Organisation, Habbakuk Trust, Bulawayo Dialogue, Intsha. Com, ZIMCODD, Radio Dialogue, National Constitutional Assembly, Students Christian Movement, Students Solidarity Trust and Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association.

Recognising that the crisis in Zimbabwe has resulted in the structural disempowerment and systematic marginalisation of young people;

Cognisant of the fact that the young people have been greatly affected by the crises in Zimbabwe;

Acknowledging that any process of dialogue in Zimbabwe should be based on the results of the March 29 elections

Recognising the need to set a new political precedent that respects electoral democracy as an important aspect of political transition;

Deploring the continuous marginalisation of young people in the economic, social and political agenda as shown by their lack of representation in the current negotiations,

Do hereby resolve that;


Years of intimidation and violence can not stop up, neither economic, social and political marginalisation silence us from shaping a new and genuine democratic dispensation for our country;

As a way of putting in place a new precedent of political power transition we therefore resolve that there be a Transitional Government that is mandated with the following:

a) Drafting and bringing to a referendum a new democratic people driven constitution which shall, among other things, deal with the following issues,

· Comprehensive electoral reforms

· Provide for an independent electoral commission

· Provide for a clear separation of powers between the executive, the judiciary and the legislature

· Restoration of the rule of law

· Scraping off of draconian legislations such as POSA and AIPPA

b) Economic reforms

· Restoring credibility of the country in the global finance institutions like the IMF and the World bank

· Re-oiling the Zimbabwean industries to create employment opportunities for the youths

· Provision of basic commodities for the survival of the people

c) Professionalising state institutions like the public media

· Depoliticisation of state media journalists

· Opening up of the media to everyone including opposition political parties and civil society

d) Professionalising the civil service especially the army and the police force

· Depoliticisation of civil servants

e) Preparing people for a free and fair presidential run off which shall be monitored by local, regional and international observers.

It is our well considered view that the above mentioned issues constitute the democratic fundamentals and necessary prerequisites for a new political dispensation in Zimbabwe which if ignored the outcome will be disastrous for the democracy project.

Monday, 26 May 2008


An Africa Day letter from the Convention Secretary’s desk.

This Africa Day, one wishes there was something to celebrate. Do not get me wrong, the National Youth Development Trust hails that historic generation of Africa’s first leaders that converged in Addis Abbaba to form the Organization of African Unity in 1963. We resonate with the ideals of African solidarity, of African nations assisting one another and building each other’s capacity to make a better life for the citizens of Africa. We cannot fail to acknowledge the dire need for social, economic, political and cultural co-operation among African states. We are in total support of Africa finding her place in the world and playing a more significant role in the broader global discourse. We resonate with the concept of the African Rennaisance and support noble initiatives such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Simply put, the National Youth Development Trust believes in the African Dream.

Zimbabwe’s situation today really does not make the ordinary Zimbabwean feel proud to be African. I personally do not feel compelled to chant the traditional “Harambee” slogan of African solidarity. We have been abandoned. The world knows too well of the electoral crises and profound suffering we are going through. I am not one that expects international intervention to save us but I am very bitter about how our African brothers and sisters have handled our predicament. Even the least politically conscious Zimbabwean knows very well how the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has dragged its feet with regards to taking a tougher stance against the authors of our plight in Harare. One wonders whether or not the African Union (OAU’s successor) has a leeway to override SADC’s mandate and play a more serious role in alleviating our suffering.

This obtaining situation has raised a lot of questions about what African Solidarity really means. Does it mean that those who drove the liberation movement of Africa should stick together even where it is blatantly clear that one of them has ruined their land. Does it mean that a fellow brother cannot publicly admonish his or her compatriot. Of course we are cognisant of the delicate nature diplomatic mission with regard to foreign policy but we Zimbabweans have been too patient for too long. SADC’s mediation effort has done us more harm than good.

For us it never rains but pours incessantly. To add to our profound suffering, our Southern neighbours just woke up one morning and decided we are no longer welcome in their land. A spirited campaign of xenophobic violence has been visited on the millions of foreigners living as political and economic refugees in South Africa. When the violence broke out, I for one was convinced it was just a pocket of isolated hooligans in one or two settlements. But alas, the campaign gathered steam and rapidly spread across the country like a veld fire. It came to light that it is an organised and well orchestrated movement. So organised that residents meetings were held and it was agreed that foreigners are “taking our jobs and our wives”. The solution, therefore, is to drive out the filth.

What an insult. The statement, to begin with, is blatantlly sexist. People are failing to realise that most of the foreigners, especially Zimbabweans are enterprising women who are just commited to the cause of feeding their families. Our people are accused of accepting any salary for a job and, therefore prejudicing the locals. This is just a pointer to the crisis in Zimbabwe. Any amount, for the Zimbabwean, will make a difference between having a meal and doing without. Our people are industrious, intelligent and educated and it is only expected for them to perform competitively on the job market. West Africans, our fellow accused are known for their enteprise and business prowess and it is only expected of them to fare well.

Do not get me wrong, I am in total agreement with the assertion that the South African government has the primary objective of serving the interests of South Africans. Certainly, this is not an issue of foreigners stealing jobs, it is an issue of two communities of poor people frustrated with their circumstances. If there is someone that the residents of Thembisa, Alexandra and Diepsloot should be angry with, it is their government for failing to swiftly expand vital social services such as housing. South Africa, sometimes refered to as a second world country in the third world, is notorious for its wealth distribution discrepancies. The poor South Africans cannot understand their poverty in the middle of such fabulous wealth and decide to take it out on their poor brothers and sisters, who are also trying to eke out a living on the periphery of the economy.

Be that as it may, South Africa is a leading African nation and it is only normal that it should have the liberal immigration laws that it has. The blame here falls squarely on the South African government for failing to devise a working immigrant policy. The government policy documents are clear that South Africa is in dire need of external skilled labour and will remain so for the forseeable future. The booming economy needs to be sustained by skilled labour which, unfortunately, South Africa is not generating. There are some suggestions that politics is at play. Policy makers that have failed to deliver to the people are fuelling xenophobic tensions in a ploy to shift blame.

My concern, disregarding the technical and procedural dimensions mentioned above, is that Africans can still think in such a primitive way at such a time as this. Have they no sanctity for human life to murder poor brothers and sisters. One does not let emotion cloud their judgement and resort to shedding blood. Nelson Mandela, the world statesman, is on record for saying that Africa is for all Africans and no one nationality or ethnic group is superior to another. President Thabo Mbeki has espoused the same sentiments in his African Rennaisance dream all too often. The National Youth Development Trust is disturbed by these developments and calls for calm and tolerance. Politicians should do more than just going to crime scenes and condemning the violence for television. We want to see the murderers being brought to book and justice prevailing. Watching South African news, one gets the feeling that the law enforcement agents are not serious about ending the bloodlet as we clearly see the locals swearing and threatening to unleash more violence right there on television in the presence of the police.

The National Youth Development Trust notes with rage that unemployment has driven many young people to South Africa for economic survival and the latest developments makes their plight even worse. We believe that Zimbabweans have the obligation to solve their own problems but our brothers should not exonerate themselves from playing their part. We applaud the South African Personalities Against Xenophobia for the noble campaigns and demonstrations they have been having as a response to the crisis. Is South Africa still in good public stead to host the 2010 World Cup in light of the unfolding mess? Your guess is as good as mine.

We have so many problems bedevilling us as Africans that we need to work together to solve. Neccessity, more than anything else, dictates that we stick together. Sectorial interests must not divide us in our quest to achieve the African Dream. Mayibuye!

Yours truly

Mziwandile Ndlovu-Thwalimbiza, Convention Secretary.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

NYDT Disappointed

As Zimbabweans continue to wait in anticipation to know who their representatives for the next five years are, NYDT would like to raise some serious questions as to the efficiency, transparency and credibility of the Zimbabwe Election Commission to cover this harmonized election. Weeks before the 29th of March, ZEC went to town in the media about how well prepared it was to carry out the voting process and deliver to the electorate the results on time. 48 hours after the closure of polling stations, only 50 out of 210 House of assembly constituencies had been officially announced, raising fears that the election might be stolen.

Not withstanding the huge task and complications that may accompany a historic harmonized election, NYDT would like to express disappointment for the commission's delay in the announcement of all election results. It was NYDT and every Zimbabwean's expectation that a body like ZEC would have the necessary tools to compile and as per the law deliver the election results timely and accurately, so that there is no information blackout that allows other interested parties to announce their own unofficial results- creating confusion, frustration and despondency among the voters. The delay in the election result announcements is an infringement on the rights of the millions of Zimbabwean voters who braved the cold and dark night to queue, some of them traveling from as far as South Africa to cast their votes.

It is saddening that an institution with as important a mandate as that of ZEC can relax on important processes like a nation's selection of its representatives and more so the youths' right to take part in a process which is the determination of their future. How does ZEC explain the none existence on the voter's rolls of thousands of voters who swear they registered to vote and the continued appearance on the voters roll of Zimbabweans long dead and buried? Does this not suggest that ZEC did not have a supplementary voter's roll? How does ZEC explain its refusal for the MDC to check the voter's roll in electric format to avoid embarrassing discrepancies like that of having more than seventy voters claiming they stay in a cabin on a piece of bear land?

Shall we assume that ZEC as a body will run away with the true elections results much like its chairman Justice George Chiweshe literally ran from media practitioners who wanted to know why the election results were delaying?

Zimbabweans needs to know why it has taken so long to announce the outcome, we need to know why the voters roll was still in shambles when you said all was in order weeks before March 29, we need to know why some polling stations opened later than 7am, we need to know why at some voting stations the ballot papers were not in the announced colours, we need to know why ballot papers ran out by 10am at some voting stations, we need to know why some polling agents were refused entry into polling stations, we need to know why some candidates were allowed to talk to voters at the polling centers. We need to know this and we need to know it now!

Whatever the explanations, ZEC has not done enough to ensure that they produce uncontested electoral outcome. If anything, it has confirmed the fears of the voters and destroyed any bit of electoral confidence that was left in the electorate. We also condemn the premature pronouncements of elections as free and fair by the regional observer teams, despite the fact that the announcements of results is not even half-way through.

Inserted by

NYDT Information department

5th Floor York House

Cnr 8th Ave./ H. Chitepo Street


Cell : 011 446 150/ 011 745 758

Thursday, 13 March 2008

NYDT Remembers March 11 2007

As we remember the March 11 events, we take this opportunity to remember the gallant fighters ( youths) that have been sacrificed for the cause of genuine Freedom and independence in Zimbabwe( Gift Tandare, Learnmore Jongwe and others). On this day ( March 11) we once again condemn with the strongest words, the state sponsored violence and brutality against unarmed but concerned citizens. We assert that the futureof this country, the development of Zimbabwe and the growth of future leaders can not be established in this ensuing culture of violence. We affirm our support for all the activists, civic groups, opposition movements and other progressive movements working towards the restoration of democratic and developmental fundamentals in Zimbabwe. In that same vein we confirm our solidarity with all the Zimbabwean youths who continue on the day to day struggle against the ever increasing insecurities such as state sponsored violence, lawlessness, draconian legislations, flawed electoral frameworks and practice, hunger, poverty, unemployment, HIV/AIDS and marginalization.

The levels of intolerance that prevail in the Zimbabwean political landscape have really reached alarming levels. There is an African proverb which says, “When lice begins to reach his underpants, a man must boil his clothes”. This is a simple proverb which means that a problem must not be allowed to reach alarming levels before drastic measures are taken to solve it. The perpetuation of a culture of intolerance and violence in Zimbabwean political landscape has really reached alarming levels and as we move towards determining the future of Zimbabwe on the 29th of March, we call upon all the young people in Zimbabwe to stop the rot by acting responsibly, condemning violence and diverting their energies towards building a better political culture in Zimbabwe. It is only when we allow differing opinions to emerge that we progress as a nation. Wise men say, "When two business people always agree, then one of them is of no use".

It is therefore imperative that government security forces practice tolerance and become the sole protectors of the citizens of Zimbabwe not perpetrators of the violence they are supposed to curb. Leaders deserve to be respected and a disagreement with their views should not be expressed through the use of bullets, button sticks nor teargas but should be raised in a respectful non violent manner.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Enter Simba Makoni: Is Zimbabwe heading towards a better future?

The entrance into the presidential race by Dr Simba Makoni is the most exciting thing that has happened to Zimbabwean Politics in the last 10 years. Politicians, civil society leaders and ordinary Zimbabweans have been asking themselves if he is the answer to a more than decade long crisis. Whatever the case, NYDT believes that the most positive thing that has resulted from Makoni’s entry into the Presidential race has been that most people and most notably the youths, have gone to register to vote in next month’s harmonized elections.

After years and years of preaching the message to the young to participate in the electoral game, finally, something has made them take their first step towards participation. This must tell us something. It in a way answers the questions as to why youths have been apathetic in previous elections. Maybe they did not realize the importance of voting then compared to now or they had not found anyone worthy of voting for.

However, a lot of mystery still surrounds this last minute action by Dr Makoni, a longtime ZANU PF member and Robert Mugabe loyal. While others believe he is the bridge between the nationalists and those calling for a democratic revolution since he understands ZANU PF operations and is generally acceptable to international, regional and local democratic forces, others believe that he is nothing more that a ZANU PF creation to cause confusion and divisions within the opposition movements in Zimbabwe.

They raise questions as to why he took so long to breakaway. If the ZANU PF congress produced and unworthy candidate why did he hang in there until the end of ZANU PF primaries and a realization that he won’t make it to parliament. Many have asked why he remained a loyal member of a politburo which presided over decisions which resulted in gross human rights violations. Such decisions include, the Gukurahundi massacres, land/ farm invasion, unleashing of green bombers on opposition politicians, Operation Murambatsvina, the Industrial invasions and many such events that he seems to have kept quiet about over the years.

Those who support him have been quick to defend him and argue that the decisions in the politburo are made by about 40 members and that it is possible that Dr Makoni has voted against most decisions that led to disastrous directives and policies such as the gukurahundi massacres, land reform and the invasion of factories. There are also arguments to the fact that, as a loyal member of ZANU PF, he could not publicly declare his opposition to the ZANU PF leadership at these occassions.

During his first press conference, Dr. Makoni announced that he is still a loyal member of ZANU PF and this means that he is loyal to ZANU PF ideologies, ZANU PF principles and ZANU PF policies yet it is such policies, principles and ideologies that have brought us to where we are today. Another eyebrow raising incident is that of him filing his papers to contest in the ZANU PF primaries for an MP’s seat in the Makoni District. The question is, if he originally wanted to be president in place of Mugabe today, why was he willing to sit in parliament being led by the same man he is now challenging. His defenders allege that his nomination papers for the ZANU PF primaries were filled by someone else and that Dr. Makoni was out of the country by then. What they have not said however is who instructed that person to complete the nomination for Makoni

Also suspicious is the secrecy surrounding those who are in ZANU PF and are said to be in full support of him. The only close associates that have been seen hanging around the rebel Dr. are Dr Ibbo Mandaza and Kudzai Mbuzi. Save from media speculation that General Solomon Mujuru, Retired Colonel Vitalis Zvinavashe, and former Zipra Intelligence Chief Dumiso Dabengwa are amongst some of his backers, we have not heard of any more and none of those mentioned above have come out to publicly support Makoni. Once again his loyalists have argued that it is a matter of strategy for his other backers not to come out publicly because that will make them targets of the regime.

With less than 40 days to go before the historic harmonized elections, Dr Makoni has a lot to prove to the nation about how genuine he is about altering the fortunes of ordinary Zimbabweans and how capable he is of delivering if he is to be given the chance to do so.

Youths, have your say on this issue. Do you think Dr Simba Makoni offers a better answer to Zimbabwe’s problems than President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai? Do you trust his intentions and why? Please also let us know if you are a registered voter, if you will go ahead and vote and if not why you will not do so?. When you vote will you be voting according to the candidate’s party or according to the candidate’s capabilities.

Post your comments by clicking on the word comments then writing in the blank box that will appear on you computer screen immediately afterwards. Make sure you choose the anonymous signature if you do not wish to be identified and please use language that is friendly for all blog readers.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

What is happening to our education system?

The biggest threat (since independence in 1980) confronts the future of Zimbabwe’s youths with regards to their education. While schools are set to resume classes this Tuesday (15/01/08), doubt has been cast on whether pupils will be able to make it to the classroom? Let us look at the odds weighing against our student brothers and sisters starting with what is supposed to be in their power to execute.

A student is supposed to pay tuition fees in advance of the resumption of the school term. School fees have been increased by 600%. This entails a Government boarding school charging tuition fees of about Z$250million. Parents with Children attending private schools like Petra or Girls College High Schools are this year expected to folk out no less than Z$I,6billion and Z$1,5billion dollars respectively minus the groceries.

For day school students, given that many of them learn far away from their homes, parents need to avail a monthly transport and lunch allowance which is nothing less than $200 million dollars per school going child. This means that a family that has more than two school going children will require no less than half a billion dollars every month just for lunch and transport.

This is an impossible feat. Especially considering that a civil servant (for example a senior teacher) after a 1000% increment by government last week, will be taking home nothing more than Z$250million monthly. How does a parent working as a civil servant and has more than one school going child afford to pay fees for his/her children. This same scenario applies to most bread winners working in the country’s industries and are being paid peanuts. For example industrial production workers earn about 80million dollars and are expected to cover their own and their children’s transport fares plus school fees and food at home, how do they explain not being able to afford their children’s basic needs on the first day of school?

Learning institutions also have their part of the bargain to meet. Government has to make sure that schools have adequate learning material and facilities like textbooks, science labs, good infrastructure, enough and competent educators. Teachers have to be well remunerated and a good work environment created for them to stay on in their jobs. Teachers in turn have to advance their skills and dedicate most of their time to the teaching profession so that they ensure continued quality delivery.

The failure by the above to meet half way has caused a breakdown in the Zimbabwean school’s education system once known as the best in Southern if not all of Africa. The reasons are as follows (At least according to those concerned).

Teachers will spend most of their time sitting or dealing in anything else that will supplement their paltry salaries than in the classroom teaching. Students will spend the day gallivanting in the city streets than sit in class waiting for a teacher who is hardly ever present. Government will hesitate to increase teachers’ salaries because it claims it has no money. Parents will delay paying fees because (in the case of civil servants) Government always takes its time increasing their salaries and when it decides to do so it announces it through the national press. This encourages everyone else to hike their service costs in anticipation of the civil Servants’ “hefty increments”.

The above situation will culminate in nothing less than disaster. Our brothers and sisters risk being sucked into criminal and prostitution rings due to their vulnerability. An unempowered youth group, lacking in positive activity and adequate education is susceptible to risky survival tactics and mostly not serving of their interests. The girl child (especially in rural set ups) risks being left out of the classroom as parents are once again forced to choose between who (given the limited resources) is most beneficial at the time to educate. Needless to say, given the above state of affairs, the future looks bleak for the school going youths of Zimbabwe and for the country as a whole.

Who do you think is to blame for the situation that this sector is in and how do you think it can be improved on? Youths speak your mind on this and other areas to do with education in Zimbabwe by cliquing on comments. A window will appear where you can post your views and send it to us with your name or in anonymity. Let us and others like you know how you really feel.