Source blog: The Bearded Man


An earlier than usual start for us this morning as we have a gas inspection between 8 and 9 following an abortive attempt last week. Gas inspections are a legal requirement, so we are not complaining!


I have got to the point when, if anything is denied by ZANU PF, then the probability is that whatever they deny, really happened.

And when it comes to Patrick Chinamasa… well…

Zimbabwe's justice minister rejected allegations that the country has state-sponsored violence and he vowed not to recognize gay rights after meeting with the UN human-rights chief Monday.

But the nation's main independent civic groups accused President Robert Mugabe's party of trying to present a 'fraudulent' account on human-rights issues to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who is in Zimbabwe to assess the situation.

In a joint statement Monday, 36 groups said they will boycott a meeting with her arranged by Mr Mugabe's justice ministry at the Harare Parliament building scheduled Tuesday. The groups said bogus organizations, some even the perpetrators of injustice, were invited to 'ambush' the rights defenders' talks with Ms. Pillay.

Earlier, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said he told Ms Pillay that claims of state-sponsored torture were untrue, and the allegations must be investigated.

'There is no state-sponsored violence, these are all lies. We told her that there are no torture chambers in
Zimbabwe,' he said.

Okay – let’s give the allegations their correct description. ZANU PF-sponsored violence. How does that fit?


The alacrity by ZANU PF to host the visit did have me slightly surprised, but if we were to seriously analyse it, this is why…

The government of Zimbabwe through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice David Mangota has reportedly suppressed the interaction between the visiting UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and the local civil service organizations a move viewed as intended to stage manage the High Commissioner’s tour.

Addressing a joint press conference on Monday hosted by the Zimbabwe lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) endorsed by 37 local CSOs Abel Chikomo who read the statement on behalf of the NGO Forum claimed Mangota had instead hired some unknown human rights activists including a top human rights abuser the AAG and Zanu (PF) activist Goodson Nguni to stand as the CSOs in place of ‘the genuine ones’.

“The permanent secretary, David Mangota, unilaterally changed the venue of the meeting, moving it to Parliament building and had invited several other ‘organisations’ that are not known to be doing any work on human rights in Zimbabwe,” said Chikomo.

The CSOs said the actions of the government were a clear indication that they are the gross human rights abusers as evidenced by the fact that they have denied the CSOs just a thirty minute meeting with the High Commissioner out of her five day visit.

“Minister Chinamasa is already on record saying the government has nothing to hide – so why are they choosing to suppress interaction between Madam Pillay and credible and trusted CSOs who have been working on the ground for decades? We today are here to make it clear that genuine CSOs will not be commandeered by government to a stage-managed civil society meeting with the High Commissioner which is organised by the government; neither will we legitimise a fraudulent exercise meant to give the UN human rights chief a superficial picture of our country’s human rights situation,” said the NGO forum.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Director Irene Petras said it was not up to government to say there were no human rights abuses but rather to the people who bear the brunt of the government’s abuses and that the actions of the government spoke volumes.

We also have to be aware that Ms Pillay is obviously not a fool. She will have noted that things are not exactly as they would appear on the surface.

I do believe that her visit will not be the walk in the park that ZANU PF wish to portray.


Enos Nkala, one of Zanu (PF)’s founding fathers, has distanced himself from media reports at the weekend that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe told him he was 'tired and wanted to retire'.

Mr Nkala, fired from Zanu (PF) in the late 1980s, held a 45-minute private talk with Mr Mugabe at the Joshua Mqabuko International Airport in Bulawayo on Friday.

Quoted in the weekly Standard newspaper yesterday, Mr Nkala said: 'From what we discussed, Mr Mugabe said he was tired and wants to retire, but he cannot do so now because Zanu (PF) would die. He cannot leave when the party is in such a state. What is holding him now is managing and containing Zanu (PF) to prevent it from disintegrating.'

But Mr Nkala told Business Day yesterday his 'comments' were taken out of context by journalists itching to get a scoop.

'Inevitably when such things come out in the newspapers, it leads to a communication breakdown and loss of confidence in each other. Robert and I are good friends,' Mr Nkala said.

Let’s face it. Mugabe is approaching 90 and is struggling with his health. He is one of the longest ruling dictators alive today and is certainly amongst the oldest.

What would be wrong with his retiring?


A prayer meeting that all three leaders in the coalition government committed to in November last year, as part of a campaign to promote peace between parishioners from different faiths, went ahead without two of the leaders this weekend.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported that only Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai attended the Inter-denominational Prayer Meeting that was held in Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Sunday.

The event was organised by church groups in Matabeleland promoting peace, and attended by top MDC-T officials and gospel musicians. Saungweme said the theme for the Prime Minister’s address was “A house divided cannot stand”, a clear reference to divisions between the parties which are blocking progress towards a new constitution and a fresh poll.

Tsvangirai was also indirectly making reference to the idea of cessation and devolution, which many in Matabeleland province are beginning to support, saying they have failed to get development funds from government. They say all resources are directed at Harare only while Bulawayo, Mutare and other outlaying cities are ignored.

“When we talk about devolution, we are not talking about cessation and division of the country. The media must unite the people and not divide the people,” Tsvangirai is quoted as saying.

According to Saungweme, the police went out of their way to make sure the event was peaceful, as they have been trying to win over support for ZANU PF in Matabeleland province, ahead of the next elections.

So much for the political collective. Where was Mugabe – not that we expect him to attend these sort of events?

Where was Arthur Mutambara?

Is this the face of the three-way political beast in Zimbabwe?

One of the three trying their best, while the other two ignore the need for a united front?


Take care.