There are many things that Zimbabweans are still too scared to speak about in public and that the government is very keen to keep buried. But the most sensitive issue by far is Gukurahundi – the codename for a brutal military operation in Matabeleland in the 1980s that left over 20,000 civilians dead.

You can always tell when President Mugabe is really rattled. It's when he launches into a tirade about white, racist, imperialist conspiracies in a desperate attempt to deflect attention away from the facts. It has worked pretty well for him in the past but his latest rant only served to highlight the issue he currently wants to bury - the state-sanctioned torture of opposition supporters and the fact that those responsible might now be brought to book in South Africa.

Four years after the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) facilitated by SADC in Zimbabwe, the outcome of the process remains fiercely contested and in the balance. The Agreement, which set out to prepare the political process for a generally acceptable election after the debacle of 2008, has been marked by the battle for the state that has constituted the politics of the GPA.

Two decisions in different parts of Zimbabwe have illustrated yet again that - almost three years after the inauguration of the Inclusive Government - it is the oppressive, anti-democratic forces behind President Mugabe who still hold the upper hand.

As southern Africa’s leaders lined up to congratulate President Mugabe on his unbelievably crushing victory in Zimbabwe’s elections, it seemed as if the region was once again putting pals before people – siding with aged liberation leaders rather than letting the voters choose. Zuma was very quick off the mark with his ‘profound congratulations’, while Angola’s dos Santos and Namibia’s Pohamba swiftly followed suit.

Fears that the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference on Zimbabwe’s draft constitution from October 21-23 would be marred by violence and disruptive tactics fortunately proved to be false as the event passed off peacefully – and largely ceremonially.

In arriving at judgements, it is important that courts do not cultivate the unsavoury impression that they are hell-bent on taking us back to the Court of Chancery in Dickens’ Bleak House.

ZESN claims 1 million urban voters disenfranchised

Yet another CSO targeted by security forces

The past few months have seen an upsurge in attacks on civil society and this includes arrests, detentions, and office raids, confiscation of equipment and threats of more action. ZANU PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo was on national television making it clear that ZANU PF will not tolerate what he calls interference in national political affairs by NGOs. Moyo represents the voice and thinking of ZANU PF that human rights defenders are a nuisance that must be confronted with force.

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