Tuesday, 13 April 2010 23:59 UK
Under President Robert Mugabe's land reform programme, some 4,000 white
farmers have been driven away and their land given to black farmers. The BBC's
Dan Isaacs talks to Zimbabwe's new farming class.
Endy Mhlanga, a war veteran of Zimbabwe's war of independence, sits with me
in the garage of his recently acquired farmhouse.
A pot of maize meal bubbles on an open fire beside us.
It is getting dark, but there is no electricity. Power cuts - often lasting
days - are a regular feature of life here. And the mosquitoes are descending.
"As war veterans we are satisfied that the programme of land reform has
succeeded," Mr Mhlanga tells me.
"It might not be 100%, but now the land is with the people of Zimbabwe."
Mr Mhlanga's farm is on prime agricultural land, but now most of it is lying
What was once a large commercial farm now produces nothing for export, and
where once there were intensively irrigated fields of wheat and tobacco, rough
grassland now stretches into the distance.
One small field of maize is growing near the farmhouse, a few turkeys cluck
their way around an old tennis court, and a dozen or so cattle graze at the
bottom of the garden.
"We have the ability to work on the land," explains Mr Mhlanga, "but we're
prevented from doing so because of a lack of funding.
"Investors aren't forthcoming, so we aren't able to do much with the land.
For us, this is really a silent war."
A decade ago, there were more than
4,000 white-owned farms in Zimbabwe.
But years of President Mugabe's land reform programmes have forced these
farmers out, markedly changing the Zimbabwean farming scene and jarring the
Today, there are just a few dozen left, and many of those have now been
served with eviction orders.
As a former secretary-general of the country's pro-Mugabe war veterans
association, Mr Mhlanga was actively involved in those evictions, and now
recalls the violent tactics used to force the white farmers to leave.
"I don't have any regrets," he tells me. "Had they agreed to share nicely,
none of these troubles would have happened."
The collapse in agricultural output across the country has had catastrophic
consequences for Zimbabwe's economy.
Some four million people have fled the country over the past decade, and
although economic conditions have improved recently, the overwhelming majority
of those who stayed no longer have formal employment.
Johannes Vengesai lost his job when the farm he was working on was occupied
by the "war veterans".
He was thrown out of his home as well, and he now lives with his family in a
disused tobacco silo.
Stan and Jane Kasakwere say their new land is a
It is a squatters' life - he has been threatened with eviction from here too
but says he has got nowhere else to go.
"What bleeds my heart," says Joseph, a farmer who was evicted from an
adjacent citrus farm, "is that if we leave the land lying idle like this, we're
not growing any future for ourselves."
As we look out over thousands of
untended citrus trees he explains that all they produce now are shrivelled,
"As a country we are losing millions of dollars, and as ordinary Zimbabweans
we can no longer afford to send our children to school."
But it is a very different country for those who have directly benefited from
the land reform.
At the farmhouse now owned by Stan and Jane Kasakwere, lunch has been set out
in the garden under a spreading jacaranda tree.
The well-tended lawn
sweeps down to a rose garden and swimming pool. Beyond the fence, their land
stretches as far as the eye can see.
Mr and Mrs Kasakwere are supporters of President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, and
they have been allocated this previously white-owned farm on rich agricultural
It is not long before the lunch talk turns to politics.
"This is my country, the land is my birthright," Mrs Kasakwere tells me.
"I feel sorry for the previous white owners of this farm, but I don't feel
guilty. It's a tough world."
"What Mugabe has done is break the ice," says Mr Kasakwere.
"He's the first African leader to stand up publicly and criticise our former
colonial masters. Mugabe is one hell of an African leader."
A minority of well-connected Zimbabweans have benefited from the reforms, but
the overwhelming majority are far poorer than they were a decade ago.
And because of the violent and politicised way it has been carried out,
support for President Mugabe has fallen sharply.
But to challenge the reform process is to be seen as both a colonial puppet
and against black empowerment.
So, despite his lack of popularity, Mr Mugabe's political opponents have so
far found it impossible to defeat him.
Many farm workers have been left unemployed as a result of the
This is why for the time being - and after long and slow deliberation - they
have entered into an alliance with Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
It is this unity government that has brought about a degree of economic
stability, and a reduction in political violence.
But the farm invasions have continued to this day, and no political group
within this fragile coalition has called for them to be stopped, let alone
Back in Harare, it was not hard to track down the owner of one of the
abandoned citrus plantations I had visited.
"You've got to understand, that we've been through a revolution," explains
Bright Matonga, a former government minister, and currently a Zanu-PF member of
"Things have calmed down now, and soon production will pick up."
When I asked him about his forlorn citrus tree plantations and the destitute
workers living nearby, he blamed a lack of credit available from banks and the
"sanctions" being imposed on Zimbabwe.
"I think, rather than to criticise the land reform process," he argued, "you
have to understand that it had to take place and that it is now irreversible."
Composition of Zimbabwean Rights Body Challenged As
Legislative monitor Veritas said Section 100 R (3) of
Constitution specifies that at least four members of the
be women, but only three were sworn in by President Robert
Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington 13 April 2010
non-governmental legislation monitoring organization Veritas and
experts have challenged the composition of the new Human Rights
saying it violates the constitution because the number of women
on the panel
falls short of what is prescribed.
Veritas said Section 100 R (3) of the
Zimbabwean Constitution specifies that
at least four members of the
commission should be women, but only three were
sworn in by President Robert
Mugabe last month following the commission's
in a news release: "This defect will have to be put right as a
urgency ... Presumably, one of the male members will have to
resign to allow
for a fourth woman to be appointed."
House Speaker Lovemore Moyo told VOA
Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that
the gender shortfall was due to an
error on the part of Mr. Mugabe who
mistook the name of one of the men for
that of a woman, saying the mistake
will be corrected.
understanding is that [Mr. Mugabe's] office is working on fixing it,"
The female members of the newly-formed rights body are Ellen
Nomathemba Neseni and Kwanele Jirira. Their male counterparts are
Austin, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, Elasto Mugwadi, Jacob Mudenda, Joseph
and Carroll Khombe.
Because the Human Rights Commission is a
first in Zimbabwe, Parliament has
yet to come up with an act governing its
functioning. Rights activists have
hailed the body's introduction saying it
will help prevent human rights
breaches by the government and particularly,
state security apparatus.
drops Zim sanctions issue during US visit
By Alex Bell
South African President Jacob Zuma has surprised his critics by not
for the removal of Zimbabwe's targeted sanctions while on a state
the United States this week.
Zuma has been in the United
States this week meeting with US President
Barack Obama on matters of
diplomatic and trade relations. A similar visit
to the UK last month saw the
South African leader take up ZANU PF's rallying
call for the targeted
measures to be dropped. This pressure, which was
condemned by British rights
groups, was resisted by British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown. Brown argued
the measures would remain until there was more
progress by the unity
government, echoing the European Union, which this
year extended their
sanctions on the Mugabe regime by another year.
Zuma renewed this call
while in Uganda recently and again in his own country's
parliament late last
month. Zuma, as the regional mediator in Zimbabwe's
political crisis has
been tasked with ending the deadlock reached by the
rival parties in the
fragile coalition government. The parties have been
divided over outstanding
issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA),
with ZANU PF stating it
would not be making any concessions to the MDC
unless the international
sanctions are removed. The MDC meanwhile, which
ZANU PF says is responsible
for the sanctions being in place, has been
making all the concessions to try
to force progress, but to no avail.
It was widely expected that Zuma
would once again use a state visit to lobby
on Robert Mugabe's behalf, but
he has reportedly steered clear of the topic
with President Obama. Observers
have commented that this has been a
deliberate move by Zuma's office, in the
aftermath of damaging comments by
ANC Youth league leader Julius Malema.
Zuma was last week forced to publicly
announce his sincerity in mediating
Zimbabwe's talks, after his protégé,
Malema, publicly denounced the MDC and
aligned the ANC with ZANU PF. Zuma
quickly denied this, saying he was
supportive of both parties in the unity
commentator Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa on
Zuma is clearly trying to 'mend fences' after Malema
effectively 'outed' the
ANC as supporting ZANU PF.
"Zuma is trying to emphatically state that he
does not support one party
over another," Makumbe said. "Malema's comments
have put him in a really
embarrassing and difficult position, especially so
close to the World Cup."
EU and U.S.
Exhibitors Stay Far Away from Trade Fair
By Ignatius Banda
Zimbabwe, Apr 14 , 2010 (IPS) - Companies from the European Union
U.S. will not feature at this year's Zimbabwe International Trade
despite the formation of a government of national unity last year.
formation of the government of national unity in Feb 2009 between
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF, long-time rival and current Prime
Tsvangirai's MDC and the Arthur Mutambara MDC faction was
seen as holding
the opportunity of thawing the decade-old trade and
between Zimbabwe and its erstwhile major trading
But the EU
and U.S. remain wary of the shaky coalition as Mugabe refuses to
crucial concessions and implement sections of the so-called global
agreement that led to the formation of the government.
Early this year,
the EU extended sanctions against Mugabe that restrict him,
ZANU-PF and their companies from having dealings with the EU.
"In view of
the situation in Zimbabwe, in particular the lack of progress in
implementation of the global political agreement signed in September
the restrictive measures ... should be extended for a further period
months," the EU said.
Established more than 60 years ago, the trade fair
has historically been the
country's investment barometer. Last year the
exhibition was on the verge of
cancellation after potential and traditional
exhibitors showed little
enthusiasm to participate.
countries like Germany last featured at the trade fair in
relations between Zimbabwe and the West soured in the wake of
anti-democratic clampdown. Investors have fled Zimbabwe, citing
hostile economic policies under one of Africa's longest serving
While officials from the U.S. embassy in Harare told IPS
they did not have
any information on the participation of U.S. companies at
this year's fair,
there will be no U.S. companies exhibiting, according to
released by the trade fair's general manager Daniel
By the end of March, about 95 percent exhibition space had been
Chigaru told local media. Chigaru said there was an increase in
exhibitors this year, compared to last year. Among the 14 countries
represented at the fair, India, Iran and Indonesia had confirmed their
Timothy Gerhadson, the U.S. embassy's public affairs
officer in Harare, told
IPS "there are no trade restrictions between the
Zimbabwe and the U.S." and
noted that "bilateral trade has increased
significantly in recent years". He
did not elaborate on the volume of
"We expect more U.S. companies will consider Zimbabwe as a
destination if the government succeeds in reducing risks that tend
trade and investment," Gerhadson pointed out.
the absence of exhibitors from the EU and the U.S. could mean
Zimbabwe has a
long way to go toward attracting tangible investment if the
country is to
regain its position as one of Africa's strongest economies.
pushing legislation that will nationalise foreign investments.
warn that this is against the spirit of economic recovery
envisaged by the
formation of the government of national unity and will only
serve to fuel
The British based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has
reported that these
nationalisation plans - which have been opposed by
Tsvangirai - are
convincing foreign investors to stay away. The EIU is a
advisory firm that provides country, industry and management
The effect of these plans has been felt in the preparations for
fair, believes Bulawayo-based economist Titus Njini.
long as there is no consensus within the coalition government on the way
return the economy to mid-1990s levels, the trade fair will just be one
those shows held to save face, Njini told IPS.
"However, I believe the
trade fair could still be relevant in the future for
investors to know
whether they can put their money here," he added.
This year's trade fair,
with the theme "Unlocking Our Investment Potential",
kicks off on Apr 20 and
runs to Apr 24.
Bus Crash Kills 25, Injures Dozens
April 14, 2010 - At least 25 people were burnt to death and two
injured when a bus collided with a truck laden with fertilizer
on a highway
in northwestern Zimbabwe, state radio reported on Wednesday.
occurred on Tuesday night, and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
many of the casualties were believed to be Zambians
traveling to South
There were no further details on the accident, near Karoi, 300 km
of Harare. Reuters
few helping hundreds of Zims in SA
By Alex Bell
14 April 2010
the crisis facing thousands of Zimbabwean refugees continues in South
Africa, the work of a small but compassionate aid group in Cape Town is
The Adonis Musati Project (AMP) was named after a
young Zimbabwean boy who
died of starvation on the streets of Cape Town in
2007, while awaiting his
asylum papers. He is just one of untold numbers of
refugees who have become the often forgotten victims of
refugee plight, where thousands of people are left without
food or shelter
while trying to gain legal asylum.
such a tragedy could occur unnoticed in the middle of one of
vibrant and progressive cities in Africa, Gahlia Brogneri and Terry
founded the AMP to provide support and assistance to Zimbabwean
seeking asylum. Over the past three years, the project has been
include refugees of all nationalities and also to assist as many
African homeless people in Cape Town as possible.
To date, the AMP, with
a small voluntary managing team of ten people and 20
has assisted thousands of refugees with food,
clothing, training and
accommodation. It has more than 300 refugees on its
'books,' who are being
helped and guided towards independence. The group
last year also launched a
youth shelter that helps put young, homeless
children back into education
systems, giving them a chance to succeed as
adults. The children have mainly
been young Zimbabwean refugees who fled
their country to escape violence and
"How we respond as a nation to the human suffering of
the refugees entering
South Africa in search of help is often dependent upon
our own situation,"
AMP founder Brogneri to SW Radio Africa on
Brogneri said how, in South Africa there is very little
assistance given by
the government for refugees, explaining that the
official response to the
plight of refugees is 'shocking.' She explained how
refugees are often
rounded up and arrested by police officials as part of a
unofficial government directive to remove the 'unsightly' numbers
refugees living on the city's streets.
This same issue has been
highlighted in a recent report on the state of the
plight, which detailed how this 'clean up' operation is
in full swing ahead
of the football world cup. The report by the Solidarity
Peace Trust detailed
how Zimbabweans continue to live in appalling
conditions, suffering ongoing
xenophobic violence and facing arrests as
authorities try to move them out
of sight during the tournament.
"These migrants, mostly undocumented,
live on the edge of survival, often in
appalling circumstances," the
list of shame and Oskar Schindler’s list
Wednesday 14 April 2010 / by
"He who saves the life of one man, saves the world
entire.", so says Ben
Kingsley acting as Itzhak Stern in Steven Spielberg’s
epic film ‘Schindler’s List’. I had never seen this movie
although I had read a few things about it back then.
Instinct tells me there
are people who are placed in this world for a
specific purpose – and one
such man was Oskar Schindler.
impossible to appreciate the intensity of this film without drawing
parallels with modern-day genocide in Rwanda and Darfur. Moreover, had there
been such a man in Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, my very own Zimbabwe would have
been spared the horrors of Gukurahundi, the agony of Murambatsvina and
subsequent habitual electoral persecution of MDC activists.
are recounted how ZANLA forces – the military wing of ZANU-PF –
gruesome Maoist-style murder of defenceless villagers who they
traitors. Barbaric rituals were conducted at Kangaroo-court
to whip villagers into collective liberation conformity.
The echoes of
despair still ring loudly in the ears of our mothers – thanks
NAZI-style bloodthirsty strategy of The Hague-bound ZANU-PF killing
But watching Liam Neeson portray a response to life in the
Nazi party and
its corruptive and destructive nature reminds one of how the
Zimbabweans can prevail over the ferocious vindictiveness of
our very own
‘extermination force’ – ZANU-PF. The conflict of ideology
between the Jewish
Council and the NAZI has uncanny congruency with
self-centred dogma weighed against the defenceless
innocence of the people
of Zimbabwe. The history of this political party is
testimony to the
propensity and magnitude of mankind to inflict
Babylonian-style misery upon
fellowman. This is a party that failed
miserably to transform itself from a
liberation force of coercion to a
people-centred governing entity.
Sensible people learn from history,
while fools wait for history to teach
them a bitter lesson. Never mind the
EU’s 200 member ‘list of shame’ that
isolates ZANU-PF big wigs on crime
against humanity, just a quick scan will
give one an idea who has a case to
answer. One-man presidential racer Robert
Mugabe, defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa, air force commander Perence
Shiri, army general Constantine
Chiwenga, state minister Didymus Mutasa,
police commissioner general
Augustine Chihuri, national security minister
Sidney Sekeramayi, former home
affairs clown prince Enos Nkala are some of
the names that must be on the
roll call of post-liberation war
accountability. Retired general Solomon and
vice president Joyce Mujuru,
women activist Opah Muchinguri and the
eccentric former Zimbabwe Unity
Movement opposition leader Edgar Tekere have
of late assumed an aura of
humanity, but may offer invaluable insights into
the diabolical inner
workings of ZANU-PF’s repressive modus
Back to Schindler’s List, as the allied forces descend on
Auschwitz to free
Jewish captives, somewhere in a Berlin bunker, Adolph
Hitler takes his
worthless and crooked life. Object lesson two: ZANU-PF and
cronies must know that the end is always as inevitable as
the beginning. In
2000, four million Zimbabweans voted overwhelmingly for
Mugabe to redeem
himself by retiring gracefully, but he stubbornly remained
glued to the
throne of disgrace. As late as 17 and 18 March 2010, Jacob Zuma
Africa brought a truckload of olive branches to shelter the ageing
from further misery, but the man trades value-adding reason for
impunity. My question remains: who among ZANU-PF men will stand
out as the
voice of conscience before the proverbial doors of mercy
It is on record that Adolph Hitler’s killing machine accounted for
than three million innocent Jewish lives, yet within this
phenomenon, we get a Schindler who stands out as a sole pillar
of sanity. It
is impossible to see how, out of thousands of Zimbabweans in
structures, one cannot encounter a single soul with a morsel of
There are those like me who sincerely believe that fallen ZANU-PF
revolutionaries like Herbert Chitepo and Josiah Tongogara would have
borrowed a leaf from Oskar Schindler’s heroic life. Chitepo’s disputed
‘assassination’ in a car bomb in Lusaka and Tongogara’s infamous ‘car
accident in the injury time of Zimbabwe’s liberation game’ in Mozambique
have raised an intriguing array of permutations.
Chitepo was a
powerful and sophisticated barrister whose political
leadership skills made
Robert Mugabe look like a mere high school prefect.
He was of the ‘minority’
Manyika clan from Eastern Zimbabwe, a breeding
ground of political
aristocrats like Ndabaningi Sithole, Simba Makoni and of
Tsvangirayi and Arthur Mutambara. Tongogara was seen as the
figure’ of ZANU-PF’s military command, also of a ‘minority’
that produced constitutional expert Edison Zvobgo. All
ZAN-PF’s current factional friction point to that Mugabe’s
clan has laboured to keep out Manyikas, Karangas and of
Nkomo’s Ndebeles from the circle of influence. This theory
ends with a
sinister insinuation – ZANU-PF was and is willing to kill to
hegemonic hold on political power. Object lesson number
three: there are
those in ZANU-PF who seem overwhelmed by the collective
force of destruction
yet they can still peer through a crevice of hope that
early disclosure can
be rewarded with mercy and forgiveness.
According to Mail & Guardian
blogger William Saunderson-Meyer, Jacob Zuma
once warned, “When history
eventually deals with the dictators, those who
stood by and watched the
deterioration of nations should bear the
consequences.” While Oskar
Schindler is now in the annals of world history,
modern technology has put
his life at the disposal of Mugabe’s politburo and
members, projected on the popular screen of enlightenment
that it is never
too late repent. Just as it was in the days of King
Belshazzar of Babylon,
the invisible hand of destiny writes that their days
are numbered. He or she
that can read can miss the message only if they
choose to take the blind
Mr. Ngwenya is president of Coalition for Liberal Market
Reforms in Zimbabwe
and affiliate of African Liberty.
Zimbabwe GNU Watch - March 2010
[2010 April 14]
The Zimbabwe GNU Watch provides an overview, month by month, of political
developments under the terms set out in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
The sections profiled in monthly outputs may vary depending on events and issues
raised in that particular report. Where possible, the relevant article as
stipulated in the GPA has been provided. As this documentation began in April,
there may at times be references to activities or events that took place in
Zimbabwe GNU Watch - March
2010GNU Watch March 2010.pdf
Download the full document
economic prospects for 2010
April 14, 2010
paper presented at the ‘Labour Relations Under Dollarisation’ Conference,
March 25, 2010)
WHEN Zimbabwe’s currency failed and the country’s
authorities had to settle
for the best option available, the formal
acceptance of the US dollars and
South African rands that had found their
way into the hands of Zimbabwean
shoppers and traders, became that best
option. Government had only to
legalise the use of these currencies to bring
about important changes to the
lives of all Zimbabweans.
Most of us
were greatly relieved to be able to work for and spend money that
lose value. Shopkeepers, who previously were supposed to apply to
Reserve Bank for foreign exchange, could use the money they received
customers to replace their stocks, as well as to meet their business
expenses, and shoppers who were earning or receiving funds in stable money
could now legally spend the cash. That allowed them to avoid all the
problems that went with having to find and carry around billions or
trillions in bricks of banknotes that nobody really wanted.
not everyone was happy. Large flows of money, which had been
people going while government could print lorry-loads of it,
disappeared, so the subsidies needed by resettlement farmers stopped
ability to buy US dollars with Zimbabwe dollars also stopped. This
serious problem for those who had easy access to vast quantities of
dollars and the privilege of buying their US dollars at the
I suspect that few of us shed tears for the lost incomes
of those who had
used their influence and privileges to capture scarce
foreign exchange and
turn it into huge profits, but we were all affected by
the very severe
shortage of foreign currency in the country. We often
wondered how much was
in circulation, but in fact most of it was coming into
the country in the
form of export earnings and remittances, but quickly
leaving the country
again to pay for the supermarket items, fuel and
industrial materials we had
Very little of it was left to
accumulate within the country. Even when
earnings in US dollars were paid to
us as we earned our keep in our
businesses, or worked for government, we
would spend most of it in the shops
on imported items. The shopkeeper would
then send most of it out of the
country to pay for replacement
Money put into the banks typically did not stay there long. Most
and businesses needed their deposits to meet commitments within
even days of depositing it, so the banks could not easily meet
loans when their deposit base was almost all about to be
Many companies with international connections were able to
obtain some help
from parent companies abroad, or perhaps credit terms from
these proved hard to manage and difficult to repay when sales
or local customers kept the businesses waiting for
But for those trying to produce goods in Zimbabwe, in many
cases the sales
were hard to make because goods of better quality and at
lower prices were
readily available from South Africa.
affected importers and exporters in ways that should not have
but often did. In the past, we had supported local suppliers
could pay them in Zimbabwe dollars and save our precious foreign
And if we could find export markets, we sent as much as possible
out of the
country to earn more of that precious foreign exchange.
dollarisation we were paying foreign exchange to local as well as
suppliers and we could earn foreign exchange by selling our goods to
customers here at home. That caused significant behavioural changes, but
also brought into sharper focus the quality, pricing and dependability
issues that can make, or break, any company that has to be competitive to
We are here today to talk about the way that dollarisation
issues, so now would be a good time to make the point that
affected most directly by dollarisation were mostly engaged in
selling, not in making anything. I also have to make the point
numbers of these buyers and sellers were not employed by any
registered enterprise, were not members of trades unions and were
represented by workers’ committees.
We all know who they were.
They were cross-border traders, fuel importers,
facilitators. And they were mostly very good at their
chosen field of
endeavour because those who were not skilful operators soon
lost out to
those who were. But when the country dollarised, very nearly all
Most of the informal cross-border traders are no longer needed
wholesalers and retailers can order container-loads and get bulk
only the most efficient of the fuel importers have survived
because no cheap
US dollars are available and moneychangers have been
I make these points to bring the focus back onto the
people who do formal
work for formal, registered companies and who make
things, provide services
to others who make things, or offer the full
marketing services needed to
sell the things that others have made. Of
course, many formal jobs are not
easily classified in these terms because
they are services that support
other services, but most of them would not be
needed if somebody somewhere
was not producing and selling a tangible
So we need bankers, lawyers and accountants, and we also need
builders and sales-people. We can all think of many more to
add to that
list, but would like to steer your thoughts to the range of
used to make, the range it is making now and the range it
could be making if
we organised ourselves properly.
We don’t have to
list them in detail, but I can tell you that the
Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries used to publish a book that listed six
thousand products from
Zimbabwe’s factories. Everyone here is old enough to
remember when most
goods in the shops were made in Zimbabwe. You will all be
aware that now
very nearly all the goods come from somewhere else.
How are we going to
get back to where we once were, and how are we going to
move from there to
become what we can become – a country that would best be
countries in Europe rather than poor developing countries?
single-word answer to that question is INVESTMENT. We need it, but we
not getting it. The answers to the questions of why Zimbabwe needs it,
investors could achieve if they were encouraged to make their
commitments in Zimbabwe and how wealthy Zimbabwe might become if
stood in the way of investors, are almost all economics answers.
answers to the questions about why not very many of the investors of
past are still functioning, why not many are considering coming to
– or coming back to Zimbabwe – and quite a few of those in Zimbabwe
thinking of leaving, are almost all political answers.
both economic and political, are seldom single-word answers,
but some of
them are, and others are quite short. Confidence is one of them,
threat to property rights is another. Some are tied to the rule of
to freedom of association and some to freedom of expression. In
they are tied to civil rights that are so normal and so often
granted that they are seldom even mentioned in successful
We need to do more than mention them ourselves because their
absence determines whether investment will take place. And that
because whether investment happens will determine whether or
creation will happen.
However, this conference needs to be
reminded that a third influence can
impact on how keen investors are to
engage in job-creating investments. That
is the productivity of labour, and
productivity is the measure of, or the
ratio between, the value of output
and the costs of achieving that output.
Investors have to take this subject
very seriously because events that
affect productivity can quickly destroy
A company that is made profitable by high labour
productivity will be
engaged in creating wealth and the wages paid are
labour’s share of that
wealth. If the profitability dies away because the
costs of labour and other
inputs balance the price received for the finished
goods, the investment
shows no return and the investor will be under
pressure to fix things, give
up or move elsewhere.
When the costs
become higher than the revenues, wealth is being destroyed.
If a remedy is
not urgently found, the investor will soon be history, and so
will all the
If the problem is caused by foreign competition at higher quality
prices, raw material supplies or costs, power cuts or transport
the only variable under the company’s influence might be labour
In other words, in difficult times, the only way some
employers can hope to
survive long enough to deal with the bigger problems
of infrastructure and
changes in local or external markets is through the
increased efficiency and
productivity of their employees. We are in
But the problem has other dimensions. The degree to
which people are needed
to carry out work has become more and more affected
by the work that can be
done by machines.
In a great many ways,
investors can make a choice between hand-made and
and with computers and microchips, servo-motors and
sensors that can measure
anything measurable, the number of ways of
automating and mechanising
industrial processes is increasing all the time.
Many jobs are therefore
disappearing, but many jobs that did not even exist
a short time ago are now
the very best jobs to have. Somebody has to design
those machines, somebody
has to assemble them and somebody has to maintain
them. And all of these
people are far better paid that the people who used
to sew, or solder, or
weld or screw things together on production lines.
Whatever job you are
doing now, try to imagine how it might change.
Everywhere, people have to
move with the times and they have to invest in
themselves by upgrading their
skills. If they are lucky, their employers
will help, but they should not
sit down and wait to become lucky. Real
empowerment is a process of
self-empowerment. Very few people have been
lucky enough to be empowered by
I mentioned other dimensions, and in Zimbabwe we are
always confronted by
the political dimension.
Zimbabwe’s enlarged and
revised development document, which we called STERP
II, the authorities’
second attempt at a Short Term Emergency Recovery
Programme, was said to
show the way to economic recovery. I was disappointed
to find that it
included no evidence at all that the recovery proposals
included efforts to
repair the damage deliberately done to our economy or
If some sign that we were prepared to learn from mistakes and to
those that set us back, I think foreign assistance would have been
But no such lines appear in the text, and nor were there any that
the fact that the country’s problems are as serious as they are
decisions were taken to close down Zimbabwe’s biggest business
biggest employer, the commercial farms. These also constituted
biggest exporters and biggest contributor to tax
The failures of most of our farming activities and their many,
consequences can be directly linked to the eventual hyperinflation and
the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar.
STERP II does make the
statement that “The Framework strategies to transform
will involve a greater reliance on efficient inputs
delivery and farm output
marketing systems and a smooth integration of
agriculture with the domestic,
regional and international markets.”
These phrases suggest that Zimbabwe
has chosen to place its trust in
bureaucratic procedures, not people. It
found no need to accept the thought
that the economy has any need of people
who can call on experience, business
acumen and talent.
And in the
belief that this approach would be found acceptable to the donor
the government started asking for assistance, not to put things
adopting more suitable policies, but to give us the money we can no
We certainly need plenty of it. We need it to meet import bills, to
for lost tax revenues and to meet our recovery expenses, all because
decided not to go back to policies that would have allowed investors
rebuild the capacity to earn the money ourselves.
Our decision not
to fix what we broke has impressed nobody. The donor
countries are happy to
The development agencies know full well that our problems are
self-inflicted. And the world keeps reminding us that we have failed to
settle our debts. Almost no money has come. The Minister of Finance accepted
in a statement two weeks ago that if we want it, we have to earn it. So we
must all wake up and get back to work.
little over a year ago, when Zimbabweans were permitted to legally use
foreign currency, the use of the relatively stable currencies permitted the
immediate disappearance of inflation. This change made the early months of
2009 significantly different from the closing months of 2008, but progress
since then has been slow.
The plans I believe are needed to establish
an actual workable economic
recovery appear to have been overlooked as, so
far, they have not appeared
on the agenda at the meetings of the GNU. They
should, first, concentrate on
the policy changes needed to place the Rule of
Law onto a sound footing and
to repeal all laws and regulations that
interfere with the acquisition,
ownership and marketability of property. And
I am referring to all forms of
property, whether these be areas of land,
mining claims, financial
instruments or company shares.
reasonable plan should identify the sequences of events needed
Zimbabwe’s physical and social infrastructure to acceptable
efficiency and dependability. Preliminary estimates could be made
scale of restoration work needed to bring existing roads, railways,
power, telecommunications, municipal water supplies, hospitals,
colleges back to acceptable operating standards.
If we had
forward-looking policies that showed a commitment to restore an
investment climate, we could invite experts to make estimates of
and funding that would be needed to restore each of our utilities
services. Formal proposals could then be drafted to invite the
of local and international bodies.
If Zimbabwe were considered to be
deserving of assistance by virtue of
extensive policy changes, its prospects
of floating syndicated long-term
loan stock issues on international capital
markets would improve, and would
quickly gather momentum once the first
signs of success had become evident.
For some of the challenges,
proposals for the privatisation of certain
parastatal organisations could be
presented in correctly drafted
prospectuses. Others might require work to be
put out to international
tender to meet the requirements of funding
organisations or donor countries,
while for certain projects the main
concern might be to simply attract back
to the country the skilled personnel
we have lost.
A plan that covered this ground would no doubt leave
problems in need of attention, all of which will deserve
careful thought and
special attention. But Zimbabwe should prevent these
from derailing efforts
to achieve full recovery by ensuring that the
selected solutions were
forward-looking, rather than based on claimed
entitlements because of past
Undiluted attention has to be
focused on actions that can deliver recovery
and growth. Achieving success
and restoring dependable flows of income from
the efforts of people with
proven technical and managerial skills would
leave Zimbabwe far better
placed to deal with the challenges caused by past
Investors will need reasons to feel confident that political
which they have no control will not derail them. They will want
to feel that
the investment climate within the country and region concerned
and will remain acceptable.
They will also want
assurances that the conduct of other people who can
influence the investment
climate will not be too unpredictable and that the
investment climate on
offer will provide the needed protection.
People who can take the
initiative to accomplish something usually show
energy, vision, enterprise
and courage in initiating a process that is
intended to lead to something
new. We have many people like that, but quite
a few of them are planning to
leave. Somehow, we have to keep them here.
They are innovators or
originators and therefore in a class of their own.
People with the
capacity to seize the initiative usually see potential that
and they create opportunities for themselves. They certainly
do not wait for
others to empower them by passing legislation that allows
them to acquire
shares in other people’s companies.
In our efforts to promote the
adoption of good policies, we need to remind
ourselves that bad policies are
equally discouraging to local investors as
they are to foreign investors.
The fact that Zimbabwe’s administrators
permit conduct and behaviours that
are resented by Zimbabweans needs to
become an accountability issue on every
We should have no illusions about the size of the problem. This
that for every hundred people in the country in 1991, Zimbabwe
now has about
126, but for every hundred people who had a job in 1991, only
about 67 had a
job at the end of 2009.
These alarming statistics
clearly illustrate the increasingly hostile
investment climate, which has
caused the shrinkage or closures of
businesses, but more to the point, it
shows equally clearly the loss of
jobs, the disappearance of job prospects
and the reason why so many have had
to leave the country to find
If we study the performance and reputation of Zimbabwean
workers in foreign
labour markets, we can very nearly always feel proud of
and of the fact that their work ethic, their expertise
and their generous
natures have made them eagerly sought-after in many
I find that very heartening because it proves to me that we as
a people are
more than capable of contending with the rough and tumble of
labour markets. Most of us trust the interplay between
market forces to supply us with what we need, and we usually
find that if we
do trust market forces, they will deliver the goods. The
delivers jobs and job opportunities and it seems we are as
capable as any
when we are in competitive market.
understands markets also knows very well that the market place
exacting and unforgiving, and that while it can severely
penalise anyone who
can’t deliver what the market wants, it can also
handsomely reward all those
who get it right. But everything government has
done recently shows that
they don’t want to have to pit their wits against
market forces and they
also don’t want to suffer any of the penalties that
can arise if their
efforts are found wanting.
Government’s approach seems to be that, as
they have the authority to
rearrange the economic landscape to suit their
needs, they should use this
authority to pass Acts of Parliament that
formalise their rights to claim
ownership of any assets they want. They
obviously feel that is much easier
than working for what they want, but more
to the point they feel that they
are in power to exercise power, not to
share power with markets.
By exercising these powers in the ways they
have chosen, they appear to
believe they have built a detour right around
the markets and have won the
right to disregard market forces. The Act of
Parliament that declares their
right to acquire 51% of every operating
company, whether it exists already
or has yet to be started, can be easily
seen to be a means of completely
sidelining the market on which the same
shares could be bought.
I feel that it is very important for all of us to
realise the implications
this move will have on the economy. Losses of
foreign earnings might seem
the obvious place to start, but less obvious
effects will stem from the
resentment that will be felt by the current
technical and financial
personnel who can so easily find work
A functioning, profitable company today that employs hundreds
technicians and earns millions of US dollars could become a
warehouse of rusting machinery or a valueless hole in the ground in
of weeks if a few dozen people with specialised skills pack up and
The damaged relationships with head offices and banks overseas
the immediate cancellation of deliveries of spares, new machines
external funding for development work. Contracts drawn up between local
externally-based markets, are likely to be hard to renew when, after
reputable technical specialists and professional local managers, the
boards of directors have to compete against new contenders.
the loss of such contracts would impact directly on the number of people
could hold onto their jobs, employment could become one of the major
casualties of government’s current proposals to acquire controlling
interests in all companies.
Zimbabwe’s formal employment levels have
fallen considerably in recent
years, mainly as a result of the displacement
of labour from commercial
farming since the acceleration of the land reform
programme after 2002. Job
losses were immediately felt in manufacturing,
tourism and the service
sector industries, and even mining was affected when
government began to fix
the exchange rates and made mineral exports
Various estimates of the extent of unemployment have been made,
most of them
placing the figure at between 65% and 70%, but the basis for
are subject to many interpretations of the numbers,
particularly in respect
of definitions of under-employment and informal
However, estimates of formal employment numbers
suggest that the 2009 total
matched the figure from forty years ago. As
Zimbabwe’s population has more
than doubled since 1970, this decline is
twice as bad as it looks in the
Land reform and the loss of
the major businesses built up by about 4 500
large-scale farmers caused not
only the major loss of jobs, but the loss of
school places for many hundreds
of thousands of children. Educational
standards have been among the many
casualties of policies that did so much
damage, not only to production and
employment, but also to government’s tax
Now, those with formal
employment and responsibilities to their extended
families have to provide
for many more young people than they can manage.
Almost all students are
growing up with very poor schooling and very few
prospects of qualifying for
formal employment. Hopes that they might
shoulder some of the dependency
burden one day are therefore non-existent
Family members working abroad do carry part of this load, but
the extent and
dependability of this support is impossible to assess. Only
flows of investment capital can the needed local employment be
but the discouragement to new investors that will be caused by
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act will make an already very
employment growth situation considerably worse.
authorities show they have learned nothing from the economy’s
from the damage done to agriculture, and they go ahead with
their plans for
the take-over of 51% of all shares in the business sector,
the confidence of
potential investors who might have been planning to
will be very severely damaged, if not destroyed. As
happened with the
commercial farms, the workers will suffer badly from the
capacity that will follow and a hidden statistic will be the
of jobs that never come into existence.
Labour unions need to accept the
fact that potential employees are being
automatically and steadily generated
all the time, but there is nothing
automatic about the generation of
employers. In Zimbabwe we seem to be
working hard to discourage them. We
should be working hard to encourage
them, to entice them and to inspire
them. It seems we need to repeatedly
explain to government that employers
are investors, or investors are
employers. They are the basic pre-requisite
for employment growth. The
investors we have are clearly endangered and
should be protected just as we
would try to protect all endangered species,
especially if we want them to
We all want more people to
have a job. None of us here would have any
difficulty understanding that if
we want more employees, we should generate
more employers. So we should
promote conditions that secure the futures of
our existing employers and
help promote the creation of yet more employers.
Government has not yet
tumbled to this particular relationship, so we had
better start trying much
harder to persuade them.
the knowledge gap: Shared African values
by Mutumwa Mawere Wednesday 14 April
OPINION: April is special month for Southern
South Africa, Africa's economic powerhouse, achieved
Britain on May 31 1910, informed by an idea that in Africa
a little Europe
could be founded on the principle that Dutch and English
appropriate this part of Africa; a unique geology,
geography; to themselves as dominant drivers of the project
to extend the
tentacles of their way of life and worldview to foreign states
It took 84 years of relentless efforts, courage,
sacrifices, pain, deaths,
forced migration and unequal development to make
South Africa what it should
have been from the very beginning, a democratic
and free country founded on
universally accepted values, beliefs and
So, April 27 represents Freedom Day, being the official
independence day of
the country and commemorates the first democratic,
non-racial elections held
On April 18 1980, Zimbabwe also
became an independence state.
Everyone thought that henceforth,
Zimbabweans and South Africans were in it
together to build a new Africa
challenged by a common future but not
intimidated by its past.
existence of these two dates in the history of Zimbabwe and South Africa
like many of their sister African countries means that the project to create
a little America, Canada, Australia etc had failed in Africa.
is now 54 years old and yet the ghost of the past continues to haunt
Unlike America where the natives were overpowered numerically and
ideologically, the African experience necessarily has to be informed by the
majority of the people who have no other home than Africa.
people share the same skin pigmentation. The project to create a new
in Africa failed precisely because its foundation was faulty and
Within the first 16 years of its existence as a truly
sovereign state, South
Africa continues to be tested in a manner that
suggests that we need to
pause and reflect on what it really means to be
There are many people who continue to believe that the African
cannot and should not be shared.
The architects of
apartheid knew very well that their civilisation would be
democracy and the introduction of a new social contract
founded on generally
and universally accepted values.
The death of Eugene Terre'Blanche (ET),
born April 3 2010, 20 years after
the release of Mandela, and its perceived
link to Julius Malema's utterances
on the complex issues of race, economic
and political power in post-colonial
Africa has helped expose the challenges
that confront not only South Africa
but the rest of Africa in creating a
non-racial and progressive society.
Each year as one African state after
another celebrates Freedom Day, the
first question to ask when anyone starts
to think about how to tell one's
own African story is: "Does it have African
values in it?" What do we define
as African values? How inclusive should the
definition be when people who
subscribe to the views that were held by ET
reject their inclusion in the
It would be naïve to deny
that Africa has been influenced by European
institutions and the human capacity that underpins such institutions
been and continue to be informed by the values, beliefs and principles
were intended for a colonial state and yet the majority of Africans
outside the required social contract.
The African experience for it to
have any meaning must not be exclusive but
must capture the entirety of the
history, literature and culture of all its
It should connect
all these values to show what they mean to Africans. It
would be wrong to
assume that all that has happened in the past was
necessary including the
commodification of African labour in a manner no
The ownership question becomes pronounced in no different manner
American experience that created a black and Indian class alienated
resources that God gave to America.
The need for affirmative
action in America was partly in recognition of the
fact that no market
mechanism could undo what human beings with evil intent
had put in
Whether Malema's voice is silenced or not, it would be naïve to
Change must visit Africa and the people who have
more to lose from unmanaged
transformation have to step in and explain why
it is in their interest to
leave the status quo ante the way it
It is true that ideas like courage or hope are universally prized
However, what one African considers courageous may not constitute
an act of
courage to another.
Equally, the hopes and dreams of the
majority of Africans cannot be realised
without the intervention of
non-market forces to reverse the crystallised
ownership patterns while
accepting that there is no better mechanism to
deliver a secure future to
all Africans than the invisible hand of Comrade
settlers knew that the African promise had to be underpinned by
that God deposited in Africa.
The minerals that transformed the lives of
the Randlords were not imported
or manufactured by human beings.
the search for a shared African experience, one is compelled to go back
history not because history will change the present but its lessons can
inform the choices that have to be made.
What then makes an African?
What does an African look like? What values
should inform an African
America, for example, more than most countries defines itself
members of its society by reference to a set of shared values while
Africans define their members on the basis of birthplace and blood
Even when Malema is talking of nationalisation, it would
not be wrong to
conclude that his definition of a South Africa is simply
birthplace, language, and blood relations.
So South Africa
should, according to this logic, belong only to people that
are authentic so
Should Africanness be based on a social contract involving an
and acceptance of some sort of democratic values?
a Chinese, for instance, is a fact while to be an American is an
Should the African experience be informed by facts or ideas?
embracing the ideal like what President Robert Mugabe and Nelson
on the birth of their nations, every person that believes in
Africa ought to
be considered an equal citizen with the same access to
justice and equality
that birth should confer to all Africans born in it.
irrespective of their place of birth must stake their claim on
promise without prejudice.
The African story is complicated by our ugly
past that assisted the very
people who now are the champions for a just and
equal Africa and yet they
benefited from the opposite
There are many white Africans who believe that they remain
Africa and stand oblivious to the genius of the idea called
transformed immigrants into nationals committed to the
protection of the new social contract.
advance its interests without the inclusion of all the people
who have made
it what it is.
We have no choice but to reaffirm our commitment to our
shared values that
can be a powerful and potent weapon to promote inclusion
of all the
individuals and communities that make up the African
The land reform in Zimbabwe has already produced its own set of
and opportunities but it must be agreed that there must be a
better way to
address economic challenges.
It is often easy to blame
state actors for any failure but it must be said
that those who value good
life in Africa must show cause why the status quo
ante founded on injustice
and inequity must prevail.
Those who have more to lose must be the
drivers of change otherwise if
change is driven by the majority who have
nothing to lose then only God can
help reverse the inevitable.
Africa is pregnant with lessons for all. Let us learn from the
the country so that we can anticipate the good and the bad
that can become
reality if we choose to do something about our shared future
obligations underpinning our common African heritage.
Zimbabwe being the
last country on the alphabet offers its own lessons on
the African story and
there can be no wrong time to reflect on what Africa
needs to exploit for
the benefit of the living its resources to the mutual
advantage of all that
God intended when he rewarded black people with
resources and challenged
them with limited access to the means to convert
such resources into liquid
Even if all the white people of Africa were to leave, Africa's rich
resources will remain where God deposited them unless we invest in a new
business model and a shared experience based on mutual respect. - ZimOnline
Confidential Report by the special investigations Committee IMPLICATING CHOMBO and PHILIP CHIYANGWA (Urban Land Grabbing)