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barred from diamond field
by Tafirei Shumba Thursday 01 April
MUTARE - Police have barred a group of 18 lawmakers from a
committee on mining from visiting the controversial Marange
diamond field on
a fact-finding tour of the expansive field.
parliamentarians had travelled from Harare on Tuesday primarily to
a tour of the field, also known as Chiadzwa, for purposes of
themselves with operations of two firms exploiting the resource
convene a public hearing with the locals.
But upon arrival in the city of
Mutare the police advised the legislators
that they did not have the
authority to proceed to Marange - a protected
area - without police
Apparently when the parliamentarians left Harare they had been
written authority would follow but were surprised when Mutare
professed ignorance of that arrangement with Police General
Mutare police referred all press
inquiries to police headquarters in Harare
where the relevant officers could
not be reached.
The leader of the delegation and chairperson of the mines
committee Edward Chindori Chininga refused to address the
"Parliament will issue a statement in due course," is all he could
The lawmakers attracted huge public interest as they milled around a
hotel for nearly six hours, while Parliament of Zimbabwe officials
negotiated unsuccessfully with the police for the
Parliament officials, who asked not to be named as they are
to speak to the press, told ZimOnline they were taken aback
by the decision
by the police to bar the lawmakers.
Parliament don't say parliamentarians must seek police authority
such areas of public interest. Where do the police get the powers
sanction a visit by a body representing the Legislature? We only inform
police about such visits but not to seek their permission. There is no
thing as seeking police permission when legislators are on fact-finding
tours like now," said a Parliament official.
said amongst themselves that they were now fully
convinced there is quite a
lot which the Executive, the military and the
police want to hide from
lawmakers at the diamond fields. The
parliamentarians felt there is an
underhand at play insofar as the ban of
their tour is concerned," said the
The official said the lawmakers had indicated they would raise
a motion in
the House of Assembly following police interference in purely
But the parliamentarians, however, drew some
solace after their public
hearing on the Marange diamond field set for today
in the eastern border
city was approved.
Marange is one of the
world's most controversial diamond fields following
allegations of human
rights violations against illegal miners and local
communities since the
government took over the operations at the fields from
British mining firm
African Consolidated Resources in 2006 when soldiers
were sent to seal-off
World diamond watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP), last year gave
government until June this year to regularise operations in line with
requirements. - ZimOnline
monitor set to decide on Marange diamonds
by Clara Smith Thursday 01 April
HARARE - The Kimberly Process' Zimbabwe monitor, Abbey Chikane,
week visit the country to inspect diamonds mined at the
Marange diamond field and confirm whether they were produced
and prepared in
accordance with the world diamond watchdog's
In a preliminary internal report prepared by Chikane after
his visit to
Zimbabwe four weeks ago, the monitor said he will use next
week's visit to
"thoroughly examine" the production of diamonds at Marange
shipment to storage facilities in Harare and ascertain whether the
could be certified as clean under the Kimberly Process Certification
"The KP Monitor is available to visit Zimbabwe from 6-8 April
purpose of the visit is to conduct a thorough examination of
shipments from any producing area in Marange and their chain of
confirm whether rough diamonds selected for shipment were
prepared in accordance with Kimberley Process Certification
requirements," reads the report shown to ZimOnline on
If satisfied that KP standards were met Chikane will issue a
allowing release of the stockpiled diamonds onto the
Diamonds from Marange (also known as Chiadzwa)
require a certificate from
the KP to be sold on the international market
under an agreement between
Harare and the diamond watchdog meant to end
human rights abuses and other
illegal activities at the notorious diamond
field in eastern Zimbabwe.
Sources said Chikane, who will bring with him
to Harare a diamond expert to
help him scrutinise the Marange stones, was
most likely to certify the
diamonds, especially the lot produced by Mbada
Investments, which is one of
two firms contracted to exploit the Marange
"Mbada has to meet only a few requirements but their operation
are heavily capitalised, their equipment is new and their
infrastructure compare favourably with the operations of
large-scale miners in Botswana and Namibia," said a
The source said Canadile Miners, the second firm operating
struggle to convince Chikane to authorise them to sell
A senior government official who spoke to ZimOnline last week
said the KP
had already indicated that it was going to issue a certificate
allowing Mbada to sell the 2.5 million carats it says it has
since it entered Marange last year.
Where Chikane declines
to certify a particular lot of diamonds he will issue
a report to the
government detailing what measures must be implemented
before that lot can
be certified clean and fit for sale.
Marange is one of the world's most
controversial diamond fields with reports
that soldiers sent to guard the
claims after the government took over the
field in October 2006 from a
British firm that owned the deposits committed
gross human rights abuses
against illegal miners who had descended on the
groups have been pushing for a ban on diamonds from Marange but
November, the country escaped a KP ban with the global body giving
June 2010 deadline to make reforms to comply with its
Meanwhile our sources say Chikane has asked for the
establishment of a full
time secretariat to help him monitor activities at
Marange. - ZimOnline
getting tough on negotiators
March 31, 2010
JOHANNESBURG: The South African team facilitating talks to
political deadlock in Zimbabwe yesterday appeared to be working on
instructions not to let political negotiators in Harare off the hook by
presenting a report with issues that were agreed on when the SADC appointed
facilitator, Jacob Zuma, visited two weeks ago, still
The facilitating team told The Daily News Wednesday
evening that they would
not act like a "post box" by merely receiving a
report without questioning
"Facilitating is not a simple
act of just receiving a report like a post
box. We will receive and engage
the negotiators on issues," said Lindiwe
Zulu, the spokesperson of the
three-member facilitating team, falling short
of saying her team would not
receive a report that does not recognise
agreements that were made when Zuma
recently visited Harare.
Speaking to his Zanu-PF party members last week
President Robert Mugabe said
nothing had been agreed and nothing would until
sanctions imposed on him and
his top officials by western countries are
removed. One of he party's two
representative in the inter-party talks,
Patrick Chinamasa buttressed Mugabe's
statement by telling the media that
nothing was agreed during Zuma's visit.
But the MDC accused Zanu-PF of
making a major U-turn aimed at undoing the
progress that has been made in
the talks so far with Tsvangirai saying he
would ask Zuma and the SADC to
intervene to unlock the deadlock.
Zimbabwe's coalition government, which
was formed last February with
Tsvangirai as Premier, is credited with
stabilising the economy and bringing
about change in the lives of ordinary
people. But continuing bickering over
executive political positions is
threatening to undo whatever progress has
team is said to be taking a hard-line stance on Harare, in
what analysts say
is a huge shift from previous facilitator, Thabo Mbeki's
policy of quiet
The team was to meet the negotiators of the three Zimbabwean
Wednesday evening at a Harare hotel to get a report and discuss the
points before travelling back to South Africa Thursday to present
Tsvangirai's MDC party wants Mugabe to rescind a
decision to unilaterally
appoint the Attorney General and Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe Governor. In
addition it also wants its senior officials to be
appointed as provincial
governors and the dropping of terrorism charges
against Roy Bennett the
party's treasurer general. Bennett has not been
sworn in as Deputy Minister
of Agriculture for more than a year because of
the court case.
On its part Zanu-PF wants MDC to call for the lifting of
on Mugabe and other members of the party as well as cause
the closure of
so-called pirate radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe
accused of hoarding maize in 2001
March 31, 2010
HARARE - The ongoing case of embattled MDC treasurer general,
took a rather bizarre twist in the High Court Wednesday - he
with brand new, if somewhat outdated criminal
MDC treasurer general Roy Bennett addresses the journalists
outside the High
The State now alleges that the MDC
legislator failed to declare stocks of
maize which he produced on his farm
back in 2001.
Bennett will appear before a Chipinge magistrate's court on
April 6 to
answer to charges of violating a section of the Grain Marketing
"On the 22nd of October 2001 and at Charleswood Estate,
Leslie Bennett wrongfully and unlawfully was found in
possession of 92 289
metric tonnes of maize which he did not declare to the
authorities in terms
of the Act," reads the summons.
The MDC top
official, who is on trial for attempting to overthrow President
Mugabe, was handed the new summons shortly before he appeared at the
Court for the latest hearing of his terrorism trial on Wednesday
It was an offence in Zimbabwe for one to hold on to stocks
of the staple
maize grain in a country battling massive starvation. While it
offence back in 2001 for anyone to hold quantities of maize without
declaration to the authorities, the law changed last year when
scrapped the GMB's monopoly as the sole procurer of grain in
"How can they bring a case, nine years later about me holding
maize on my
own farm, maize that I produced myself?" a dismayed Bennett said
reporters Wednesday afternoon.
"I have to drive to Chipinge and
see what the issue is about because surely
if I don't arrive they will
The MDC immediately condemned the move, saying the charges
were trumped up.
"The MDC views the latest charge on
Hon Bennett as a contrived political
plot to haunt him and prevent him from
taking up his post as deputy minister
of Agriculture," said the party in a
"The latest so-called charge is the height of
persecution of a man whose
only crime is that he is white and he is
"Last Friday, state security agents blocked Sen. Bennett and his
Heather from proceeding to Charleswood Estate despite being granted
permission to collect his personal property including the remains of his
"Attorney-General Johannes Tomana has once again proved why
he is an
outstanding issue. His blatant abuse of office to persecute an
has reached ridiculous heights and there is no wonder why there
national call for him to be investigated for abuse of
Meanwhile, High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu on Wednesday
his judgement in a matter in which Bennett is seeking
acquittal on his
The State alleges Bennett
connived with Peter Michael Hitschmann, a firearms
dealer, to purchase
weapons with the hope of overthrowing President Mugabe's
But Bennett vehemently denies the charges, which carry a
death sentence on
Bennett, through his lawyers, filed for
a discharge of his charges early in
March arguing that the state had failed
to produce incriminating evidence
that should warrant his being called to
Bhunu said he was not yet ready with his judgement. He
postponed the matter
to May 10 this year.
The judge however granted a
request by Bennett to have his passport returned
and his reporting
conditions relaxed during the period preceding his May
was in spite of an attempt to block the move by Attorney General
Tomana, who is prosecuting the high profile matter.
Bennett was reporting every other Friday at Harare Central
says Bennett will not be replaced
March 31, 2010
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party has
dismissed as false
reports that its treasurer general, Roy Bennett, will be
shunted to another
ministry as part of an alleged compromise deal brokered
by South Africa
President Jacob Zuma.
Roy Bennett leaves the High
Court Wednesday after his case was adjourned to
destined to be sworn in as deputy Minister of Agriculture in the
power-sharing unity government formed by the MDC and Mugabe's Zanu-PF, but
was detained on the day he was scheduled to be sworn in.
said Bennett will only be allowed to join the government if he is
the law courts where he faces charges of alleged acts of
Speaking at an MDC rally in Dzivarasekwa at the weekend,
Nelson Chamisa said the party would never back down on the
"Bennett is our deputy Minister of Agriculture and he will not be
any other ministry," Chamisa told thousands of cheering supporters.
have to serve in that capacity."
Chamisa said it was not up
to Mugabe and Zanu-PF to do some form of
interrogation on its
Chamisa said, "Mugabe is like a baptist at the Jordan River and
it was not
up to him to determine who will be baptised or not.
task is simple; he should simply swear-in Bennett and not do some form
interrogation on our candidate. He has no such powers."
Mugabe has more
than a year totally ignored appeals by the MDC officials on
him to swear in
Chamisa said SADC was aware of the matter. He said the issue
would be high
on the agenda of a forthcoming SADC summit.
slip that there was no agreement on the matter even after a
visit by Zuma on March 16 to 18 as SADC facilitator on the
The talks are ongoing but the MDC's stance on Bennett and
remarks that his Zanu-PF party had not made any concessions
party suggest little headway is being made on the many
Zuma met with Bennett but the MDC treasurer says they
did not discuss his
appointment or his court case. Instead he and the SADC
facilitator had only
discussed matters pertaining to the Global Political
Zuma later made a short statement at a press conference, but
answer questions. He said the parties had "agreed to a package
to be implemented concurrently as per the decision of the SADC
Maputo". He said he believed the implementation of this package
the process forward substantially".
Negotiating teams from
the three parties in the ruling coalition met over
the weekend to attend to
all outstanding matters.
Bennett returned to Zimbabwe in January 2009
after spending nearly two years
in exile in South Africa. The MDC's
treasurer-general was arrested on
February 13 last year on the very day he
was supposed to be sworn in. He was
accused of plotting against President
The charges were that he illegally possessed arms
for the purposes of
committing acts of terrorism and banditry. Bennett
denies the charges, which
carry a possible death sentence on
Bennett is currently awaiting a High Court decision on
whether he will be
put on his defence over the charges of banditry,
terrorism, insurgency or
Justice Chinembiri Bhunu is on
Wednesday expected to rule on an application
for discharge lodged by the
defence team at the close of the State case
three weeks ago that the State
had failed to establish a prima facie case
that Bennett plotted to
assassinate President Robert Mugabe in 2006.
The prosecution, led by
Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana, has
vehemently opposed the
application for discharge, insisting it had placed
enough evidence before
the court to prove that Bennett had a case to answer.
Tomana says the
fact that Bennett fled to South Africa in 2006 showed that
he had a case to
In 2004 Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told Bennett in
Bennett's Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani would be taken
by the government
Chinamasa then said: "Mr Bennett
has not forgiven government for acquiring
his farm, but he forgets that his
forefathers were thieves and murderers."
Bennett stood up and walked
towards Chinamasa, shouting, "You are really
getting on my nerves; do you
think I will let you get away with that?"
Bennett grabbed Chinamasa by
the collar and wrestled him to the floor. He
then tried to punch then
Anti-Corruption Minister, the elderly Didymus
Mutasawho responded by
delivering a swift kick.
A parliamentary committee of which the MDC was
part was established to
investigate the incident. It found Bennett guilty
and imprisoned him for 12
months. He was released from Chikurubi Prison on
June 28, 2005, after
spending eight months behind bars.
crossed into South Africa where he was granted asylum. He
Zimbabwe at the end of January 2009 to join in the deliberations
MDC on whether or not to agree to the power-sharing government
When the MDC ultimately decided to share power with Zanu-PF,
designated Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture on February
But Bennett was arrested at Harare's Charles Prince Airport on
moments before he flew out of Zimbabwe on a private plane. He
to be sworn in as deputy minister on that very day.
in Northern Zimbabwe Flee Apparent Political Violence; Homes, Church
Villagers in Muzarabani who support Prime Minister Tsvangirai's
formation fled their homes on Monday night after being attacked by
ZANU-PF militia who burned a church and a number of
Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 31 March 2010
families in Zimbabwe's Mashonaland Central province who belong to
Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai fled their homes Monday night after being attacked by suspected
ZANU-PF militia who burned a church and homes, MDC sources
Party sources said the attacks came after the villagers attended an
rally addressed by Co-Minister for National Healing Sekai Holland on
Muzarabani South MDC District Chairman Fred Matonhodze told VOA
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that villagers walked long distances to
Albert's Business Centre to seek refuge.
Most parts of Zimbabwe
have experienced such violence reminiscent of the
2008 election period since
the formation of a unity government in 2009. But
there has been talk of new
elections in 2011 and debate over the revision of
the constitution has also
revived political tensions in hotly contested
unable to obtain comment from ZANU-PF officials in Mashonaland
ANC urges followers to defy ban on song
South Africa's ruling African National Congress has been accused of inciting
the murder of white people after it urged the public to ignore a court ruling
that an anti-apartheid song featuring the words "Kill the Boer" was "illegal
The struggle song, entitled Ayesaba Amagwala (The Cowards are Scared), was
sung at political rallies during the time of racial segregation but was recently
resurrected by Julius Malema, the leader of the ANC's youth league at a student
But with the word Boer meaning farmer in Afrikaans, the murder of white
farmers in rural areas on the increase and talk by the government of
nationalising productive farms raising fears of a new Zimbabwe, his choice of
anthem provoked an outcry.
A subsequent court ruling that the phrase was illegal has done little to
dampen the row.
With the ANC insisting South Africans should ignore the ban and defend their
cultural heritage, there are now accusations that it too is inciting violence.
Mr Malema, tipped by President Jacob Zuma as his heir apparent, has been
labelled "an accessory to the wiping out of farmers in South Africa" by Freedom
Front Plus, a party protecting the rights of Afrikaners.
Earlier this month, 29-year-old Mr Malema was found guilty of a hate crime
after he said that a woman who accused Mr Zuma of rape "had a nice time" because
she stayed for breakfast.
The ANC said the phrase dubul ibhunu (Kill the Boer) was a figurative
reference to the injustices of apartheid in general rather than the Afrikaner
community specifically and claimed it had been deliberately misinterpreted to
incite "certain" communities.
But on Friday, South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ruled that it was
illegal and anyone using it could be charged with a criminal offence. This week,
Gwede Mantashe, the ANC secretary-general, said the judgment was "unenforceable
and unimplementable" and promised to challenge it at the country's
Constitutional Court. "For this nation to be confident about the future, it must
be confident about where it comes from," he said. "This democracy is a product
of a long struggle for liberation. That must never be hidden from younger
"Those songs must be sung to remind us that it is determination, perseverance
and patience that will ultimately give us full freedom in our country."
Opposition parties have criticised the government's defiant stance.
Helen Zille, the Democratic Alliance leader, said the ANC risked destroying
the legacy of reconciliation started by former president Nelson Mandela.
"There can only be one conclusion: that the ANC is justifying incitement to
murder people on the basis of their race in the new South Africa," she said.
"We recall President Mandela and the national executive committee of the ANC
rebuking Peter Mokaba when he sang these words in the mid-1990s.
"The fact that the ANC is seeking to defend this hate speech today shows how
far that organisation has deviated from President Mandela's vision."
At least two white farmers or family members are murdered every week in South
Africa and last year alone, 120 were killed.
Marius Roodt, a researcher at the South African Institute of Race Relations,
said: "Most people realise that this is a struggle song but many whites cannot
help but feel that they are being targeted."
Jackson Mthembu, an ANC spokesman, insisted that there was "no correlation"
between the singing of the song and any attacks on farmers and no evidence had
been produced of any link.
Mining Body Proposes 10 Percent Stake for Blacks Under
Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Christopher
Hokonya said selling
instead of ceding share stakes could allow
institutions to fund the acquisition of equity in
mines by ordinary
Gibbs Dube | Washington 31 March
The Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines has submitted a proposal to the
Indigenization under which foreign-owned mining companies would
set aside 10
percent of their equity shares for indigenous blacks under the
Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Christopher
Hokonya said most mining
concerns are willing to set up special shareholding
structures for blacks to
comply with the 2007 Indigenization Act.
believe that there is no one who has the capital to buy anything up to
percent of shares in mining companies and this is the reason why we have
made this proposal," said Hokonya.
He told VOA Studio 7 reporter
Gibbs Dube that these proposals could allow
institutions to fund the acquisition of equity
shares in mines by ordinary
Economist Rejoice Ngwenya said the Chamber of Mines
proposals set the stage
for a positive revision of controversial
indigenization regulations, which
have caused concern among foreign
Ngwenya said a 10 percent equity stake for local blacks is a
figure for foreign-owned companies to consider given that they
expected to provide development aid to local
"If companies are reminded of their corporate social
are likely to comply with some provisions of the
indigenization act as long
as shares are not ceded to indigenous people or
groups," he said.
The indigenization regulations stipulate that
foreign-owned companies with
assets of at US$500,000 or more must make over
a controlling stake of not
less than 51 percent to Zimbabwean blacks. But
the means by which such
control would be transferred, or the compensation
mechanism, is not clear.
to spend more money on expensive cars
Published: March 31, 2010
Bulawayo - Barely a
month after widespread complaints over the purchase of
an expensive car for
the Bulawayo Mayor Thaba Moyo,the city's authorities
have threatened to buy
even more expensive cars for managers.
Addressing a press briefing at the
council chambers Wednesday, Town Clerk
Middleton Nyoni revealed plans to buy
Toyota Prados for directors.
The council has a director of finance,
health services, Town Clerk, Chamber
Secretary, director of Housing as well
as director of Engineering Services.
Nyoni said managers would buy the
Prados after council advances loans in the
council spent US$65 000 on Mayor's Dodge Journey and residents
council for misplacing priorities.
"We are buying the Prados, which are
even more expensive," said Nyoni.
The new cars are likely to cause furore
in Bulawayo as residents complain
bitterly about lack of good service
The city's lighting system has come under scrutiny and the
of engineering Job Jika Ndebele said about 60 percent of the
was working instead of 88 percent.
Ndebele said the
sewer and water infrastructure had collapsed citing ageing
equipment that is
more than 50 years old.
There is need to install new pipes. Financial
constraints remain a major
challenge," he said.
Zimbabwe Weekly Update – Number 12
WEEK ENDING 29 MARCH 2010
Posted by ZDN
on March 30, 2010
• Pretoria said it would not accept the report
required by President Jacob
Zuma from the inter-party negotiators on March
31 if it fails to incorporate
agreements that were reached with Zuma during
his visit earlier this month.
The announcement was in response to remarks by
Zanu-PF’s chief negotiator,
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, claiming the
negotiators had reached no
agreements with Zuma.
• South African
International Relations Adviser, Lindiwe Sisulu, said the
bottom line is
that the situation in Zimbabwe is affecting South Africa and
“We are going to hold everyone to the promise that were made
when we were
here,” she said.
• Zanu-PF’s politburo on Wednesday said it would not make
any concessions in
the inter-party talks until targeted sanctions are
• President Robert Mugabe said last week that Reserve Bank Governor
Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana would not go since they
part of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
• Zuma said on
Friday travel restrictions on Zanu-PF officials should be
lifted to help the
unity government function effectively. Speaking at the
end of a visit to
Uganda, Zuma said it was problematic that the MDC could
travel all they
wanted, while Zanu-PF could not.
• Controversial African National Congress
Youth League (ANCYL) chairman
Julius Malema is expected in Zimbabwe on
Friday to show his support for the
ANCYL’s counterparts in Zimbabwe. He
will meet with Youth Development
Minister Saviour Kasukuwere (Zanu PF) who
last year admitted that the former
ruling party deployed militias to
spearhead its violent 2008 election
campaign. Malema will address a number
of rallies and meetings during his
• MDC supporters on
Thursday set secret Zanu-PF torture bases on fire, in
intimidation by Zanu-PF youth.
• Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a
coalition of non-governmental
organizations, on Thursday said calls by
Tsvangirai and Mugabe for new
elections are premature. Credible polls are
possible only after a complete
overhaul of the country’s distorted voters’
roll and a review of electoral,
security and media laws, it
• The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said it is
seeking a boycott of Air
Zimbabwe flights by the International Transport
Workers Federation on all of
its routes, seeking to force the carrier to
reinstate some 400 workers it
laid off in 2009.
• Members of the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces have been awarded salary increments
of up to 75 percent, from
US$150 per month to US$270.
• The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a
statement Tuesday that
more reforms are needed in the country’s central
bank, and that new loans
are still not available for Zimbabwe.
Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe called Wednesday for a new
national youth service, which does not perpetuate youth rights abuses, to
replace the so-called Border Gezi militia, implicated in the 2008 election
• German dairy equipment supply company Guth South
Africa has breached the
EU targeted measures against Mugabe and his wife by
state-of-the-art dairy processing plant to process milk from
Estates. This is one of several farms seized by the
• The Zimbabwe government has barred Engen & Kobil from
acquiring the local
assets of BP and Shell, which are withdrawing from the
The deal is the first to be barred under the new
• Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour
Kasukuwere has slammed
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono
for criticising the
indigenisation law. He said Gono is exploiting the issue
to “seek relevance”.
• Two South African seed companies have obtained orders
from Zimbabwe’s High
Court to attach assets of the RBZ to settle debts
totaling US$5 million.
Central bank property was already being auctioned off
in a separate case to
cover a US$2.1 million debt owed by the RBZ.
175-member Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
has given Zimbabwe permission to continue trading in ivory despite
by some African countries to have a 20-year moratorium.
• The Zimbabwe
government announced Wednesday it was offering a 49 percent
state-controlled People’s Own Savings Bank to private investors, as
a major privatisation programme intended to raise revenue. The bank
of Zimbabwe’s oldest and largest banks.
• Finance Minister
Tendai Biti survived a car crash Tuesday near Chegutu,
province. His vehicle was side-swiped by a 30 tonne truck
• The indigenisation law has adversely affected insurance companies’
investment portfolios on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), with almost all
making losses in investment income since the regulation was gazetted.
Electricity shortages and lack of access to capital are threatening the
recovery of Zimbabwe’s mining sector, while uncertainty over empowerment
laws is keeping investors away, the mining chamber said on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe’s consumer price deflation eased in February, with prices falling
just 0.7 percent in February, compared to a 4.8 percent drop in
• Coal reserves at Hwange’s dragline pit, which supplies the
largest thermal power station, will run out by 2012. The dragline
run out by the end of last year had the company been operating at
it has been operating at between 50% and 60% for nearly two
• European and US companies continue to snub the Zimbabwe
Trade Fair (ZITF), with only one exhibitor from the UK at this
• A new geological survey has revealed that there
are millions of tons of
untapped tin ore reserves at the Kamativi Tin Mine,
which was decommissioned
by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
almost a decade ago.
• South African civil rights initiative,
Afriforum, has instructed the
Sheriff of Cape Town to attach a luxury
property owned by the Zimbabwean
government. If the government does not
respond within two months, the
property will be auctioned off to cover a
SADC Tribunal contempt ruling and
costs order levied in June 2009 and
registered by the High Court in Pretoria
• The British
Parliament’s Africa All-party Group’s latest report, “Land in
Mistakes, Future Prospects” claims that Britain never made
nor betrayed any
promises on land reform made at Lancaster House, as
asserted by Mugabe.
Local government minister Ignatius Chombo and property mogul Phillip
Chiyangwa have been named in a Harare City Council special investigation
report, which exposes how influential people corruptly acquired land from
the municipality. The land scandal involves prime property in Harare worth
millions of US dollars.
• An alleged property-buying spree by Mines
Minister Obert Mpofu has
attracted the interest of the parliamentary
committee investigating the
plunder of the Chiadzwa diamond fields. The
committee is trying to establish
how Mpofu allegedly acquired at least 27
properties in Victoria Falls in the
last few months.
• The Norwegian
Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund) has
called off its
proposed US$1.5 million in the agricultural sector in
Zimbabwe in response
to the new indigenisation law.
• The High Court has ruled against investors
from Malaysia in a dispute over
an invaded banana plantation, in a move that
will further sour diplomatic
relations between the two countries. The
property, owned by the Malaysian
and Dutch farming entity Matanuska, was
invaded during December by Zimbabwe’s
ambassador to Tanzania, former army
general Edzai Chimonyo. Chimonyo is
harvesting and selling bananas
estimated to be worth US$40 000 a week.
• A group of armed officers
from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on
Friday briefly detained MDC
deputy agriculture minister (designate) Roy
Bennett for yet unknown reasons.
The party’s spokesperson Nelson Chamisa
confirmed that Bennett was also
blocked from entering his home town of
• Two MDC members of
the human rights group Restoration for Human Rights
(ROHR) were arrested on
Thursday, in separate incidents, on allegations of
undermining the office of
• The police have for the past two weeks arrested scores of
across the country on trumped-up charges, amid reports that
PF-instigated violence against MDC members is on the increase.
Well-known artist Owen Maseko and Voti Thebe, manager of Bulawayo National
Arts Gallery, were arrested on Friday, a day after they launched an
exhibition of paintings about the Gukurahundi massacres of the early
• Zimbabwe students are planning to stage protests
countrywide on Monday to
try to push the unity government to implement
policies to raise the standard
of education in the country.
drastically reduced funding for education from about US$6 per
child in the
first two decades of independence to US$0.70 last year as
diverted resources to consolidating power, Tsvangirai said
• UK aid has helped deliver progress in
Zimbabwe since the formation of the
unity government, but governance, human
rights and provision of basic
services are still falling well below the
needs of the people, said a report
published Friday by the International
Development Select Committee.
• Zimbabwe’s National Aids Council (NAC) said
it would use half of the US$5
million collected from aids tax to buy testing
equipment and life prolonging
anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) for
• Villagers in Zimbabwe’s rural areas have now been reduced to
barter trade in order to access health facilities due to a
of foreign currency, a parliamentary report presented in the
Assembly on Thursday disclosed.
• The South African
government is looking at tightening its immigration laws
to try to limit the
continued influx of foreign nationals, South Africa’s
Home Affairs Minister,
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said last week. South Africa
is the preferred choice
of illegal immigrants, especially those from
Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Zimbabweans topped the list of nationalities seeking asylum in the UK for
the second year running, with a total of 7,420 asylum applications in 2009,
according to the UNHCR’s latest statistical report.
Minister Tendai Biti told a pan-African journalists’ conference on
that Zimbabwe should speed up registration of newspapers to aid
reforms. He warned Zimbabwe lagged behind other countries in
legal and political environment conducive for a free press.
freelance journalist Nunurai Jena was briefly detained on March
security personnel after they discovered he had tape-recorded Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority officials as they searched and questioned bus travellers,
the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said.
Tsvangirai on Wednesday officially opened a photo exhibition at Delta
Gallery showcasing gruesome pictures of victims of the 2008 election
violence, and condemned police attempts to ban the display. Zimbabwean
police had earlier in the day returned the photos to the art gallery after
raiding it 24 hours previously.
• The MDC has said it is demanding
prosecution of people who committed acts
violence during the 2008 elections.
Four sitting Zanu-PF parliamentarians
and a losing parliamentary candidate
have been named in the first of a
series of forthcoming disclosures by the
MDC of perpetrators of the election
• Machete-wielding war
veterans on Thursday descended on former Chiredzi
crocodile farmer Digby
Nesbitt’s homestead and ordered him to sell his over
8 000 crocodiles worth
about US$1,5 million for just US$150 000, or risk
• Zanu-PF officials at Hopley Farm are allegedly shielding a
activist from justice after he raped a 13-year-old girl on three
at the compound. Hopley Farm is an informal camp on the outskirts
established after the destruction of the Porta Farm community
Operation Murambatsvina which took place in winter
• Zimbabwe has cancelled UK-based African Consolidated
diamond mining licence, saying it had been pegged in a
reserved area. The
company had its licence cancelled in February but
appealed the sentence.
• Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has admitted he didn’t
follow proper procedure
when he allowed two mining firms to operate at
Chiadzwa, confirming reports
that the mining permits were issued
fraudulently. Mpofu was giving evidence
at a parliamentary committee hearing
set up to investigate operations at
• Kimberly Process (KP) has
granted Mbada Investments permission to sell 2.5
million carats of diamonds
mined from Chiadzwa, a senior government official
said on Friday.
• Japan said on Friday it had extended US$13.3 million in grants to
Zimbabwe’s flailing economy fight hunger in rural communities where
have failed. The grants will also aid in improving Zimbabwe’s
sector, health delivery and capacity building in midwifery
• The European Union (EU) on Wednesday gave $10.6 million to
Zimbabwe to buy
textbooks for primary schools.
here for back copies of the Zimbabwe Weekly Update
process grinds to a halt again
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 22:37
consultations on the constitution are likely to be further delayed
government failed to raise US$7 million additional funds to the US$14
million promised by donors.
Co-chairperson of the Constitutional
Parliamentary Committee (Copac) Paul
Mangwana told the Zimbabwe Independent
that donors indicated that they would
only release their US$14 million when
government foots the remainder of the
Mangwana said on Tuesday the constitution-making process has
ground to a halt until they get the funding from government and
He said the donors only pledged to provide 70% of the required
while the government is expected to chip in 30% of the total
"The donors pledged funds for the outreach programme but they
turned around and want the government to also commit themselves to
constitution-making process and they want the Zimbabwean government to
30% of the constitution-making process while they fund the 70%," said
Meanwhile, sources close to the constitution-making process
said the donors
have also indicated that they would not fund allowances and
for the outreach teams during the process.
dismayed with reports that the parliamentarians involved in the
paying themselves hefty allowances for doing the constitutional
most of the donors felt that they will not fund anything outside of
actual constitution-making process," said the source, who preferred
The constitution-making process hit a snag in January
constitution-making management committee demanded a revision of
agreement signed between the government and the UNDP.
was hope in February when government and UNDP signed the
was supposed to pave way for the release of the funds.
The outreach teams
were scheduled for deployment this month. Training of the
only be done when funds are available.
"Before embarking on the outreach
programme, the next stage we have to
undertake is the training of the
rapporteurs and we expect that to be done
immediately we get funds from the
donors," Mangwana said.
He said the Ministry of Finance has indicated to
them that it did not have
"The crisis we have at the
moment is that the Ministry of Finance has also
indicated that it does not
have the funds to avail to the
constitution-making process and as things
stand at the moment we are stuck,"
constitution-making process is marred in controversy after reports
that the committees and MPs involved in the process were paying
hefty allowances during the training period. -- Staff Writer.
sexual abuse Zanu PF’s poll weapons — report
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
ZANU PF allegedly used rape and other forms of sexual abuse against
between 2000 and 2008 as punishment for those perceived to have voted
against it, a National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) report has
This was revealed in a report titled Fighting for a New
Rights Violations Experienced by Female Members of the
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) launched last week in
The report stated that of all the gross human rights violations
it is rape
and sexual abuse that is particularly inflicted upon women and it
concern that so little is accurately known about the prevalence of
sexual abuse in the country.
“There is a strong link
between elections and sexual violence with sexual
violence being used as a
political weapon to silence dissent or intimidate
opponents,” reads the
report adding that the elections that were held in
2008 point as evidence to
The report was a study based on views from 231 women
from various high
density suburbs of Harare, Rusape, Mutare, Masvingo,
Bindura, Headlands and
Shamva who pointed fingers at war veterans and youth
militia as primarily
responsible for intimidation and torture.
stations created by Zanu PF militia and war veterans were labelled as
most “odious” of places, where most of these alleged human rights
against women activists were perpetrated.
The women alleged various forms
of abuse at the hands of the perpetrators
which include severe bruising,
fractures, back injuries and lacerations.
“Two women reported having
miscarriages as a result of the ill treatment and
six women reported being
raped, three of these reported contracting HIV as a
consequence and another
suffered vaginal injuries,” read the report.
Of the perpetrators
political party members constituted the majority with
93%, war veterans 84%,
youth militia 72%, police in uniform 39%, riot police
20% and CID
“It is probable that these were members of Zanu PF in common with
rights reports since 2000,” the report said.
It is alleged
that the injuries were as a result of the use of baton sticks,
sticks, whips, being slapped by open palms and rape.
The study also
showed that women in most cases did not willingly want to
meetings, with 94% of the group confirming that they were
forced to attend
meetings while many suffered emotional stress of abduction
of self and
family members and death threats.
Victimisation, according to 75% of the
women interviewed, was a result of
their own active involvement in politics,
while 56% reported that they had
also been victimised because a member of
their family was involved in
The report concluded that
being a female and a civic or political activist
comes with severe risks and
recommended that women activists should
participate in any civil society
activities without fear of reprisal and
brutal treatment from law
Due to the suffering, the women further said they
would not entertain
conversations of national healing and reconciliation
unless central issues
of the abuse they went through in the period 2000 to
2008 were addressed.
The women interviewed were strongly against amnesty
with only 4% feeling
that amnesty should be given to people who have
motivated crimes or crimes against humanity.
large number of the women (90%) felt that a truth and reconciliation
commission should be established and 98% were of the opinion that people who
committed violence against women should be prosecuted, while 94% felt that
people who committed violence against women should be compelled to publicly
admit their crimes before the truth commission.
In a speech read on
behalf of NCA chairperson Lovemore Madhuku by the
spokesperson Madock Chivasa, Madhuku acknowledged the role
women have played
in the country’s struggle for democracy and a new
said: “Zimbabwean women have been the bedrock of our struggle for
Our mothers and sisters have refused to just sit and let a despot
“Whilst the report documents human rights violations, it also tells
story of women standing up to injustice and boldly declaring that they
will, through peaceful action, add their voice to the building of
participatory social democracy. Their vulnerability is supposed to send an
unambiguous message to all who seek participation in the fight for
PF employing theatrics to buy time –– analysts
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
WHEN South African President Jacob Zuma told journalists two weeks
the three parties to the global political agreement had agreed to a
of measures to be implemented, they waited with bated breath for the
concessions made that would resolve the country’s decade-long
But to their disappointment he did not disclose
details of the package and
refused to take any questions from the
His one-page statement to the media was ambiguous and to this
date no one
has divulged any details of what Zuma persuaded Zanu PF and the
formations to do.
All Zuma said was: “I am very encouraged by the
spirit of cooperation
displayed by the leaders and all the parties. The
parties have agreed to a
package of measures to be implemented concurrently
as per the decision of
the Sadc Troika in Maputo.”
Now that the deadline
is expiring today, Zimbabweans are waiting for some
disclosure on whether
the negotiations have finally been concluded more than
18 months after the
three political parties signed the global political
expected any time from now to present a comprehensive progress
report to the
chairperson of the Sadc Troika, Mozambican President Armando
what Zimbabweans want to know now is what package Zuma was referring
Recent statements from Zanu PF have compounded the confusion, with some
people now beginning to question whether there was any package after all or
whether Zuma was misled into believing that the three political parties were
in agreement and close to concluding the talks and only needed to work out a
matrix for implementation.
President Robert Mugabe told the Zanu PF
central committee last Friday that
his party would not reach an agreement
with the MDC formations until
sanctions are lifted.
“The position is that
there cannot be any further concessions from us unless
the illegal sanctions
are gone. They are just paying lip service to the
issue of sanctions and
they need to do more,” he stated in a stance which
Zanu PF’s politburo
agreed on last Wednesday.
Analysts have however dismissed Mugabe’s utterances
and the politburo’s
position as mere grandstanding.
For Zuma to announce
that there was a package, they believe that there must
have been some agreed
positions and Mugabe was just playing hard ball to
give an impression to his
supporters that he was not going to easily concede
to the MDC-T.
analysts pointed out that Mugabe would not deliberately try to humiliate
South African counterpart by reneging on concessions made during Zuma’s
three-day working visit.
National Constitutional Assembly director Ernest
Mudzengi pointed out that:
“I don’t think that Zuma lied but could have been
misled. Zanu PF may be
playing games to mislead the nation. It’s a question
of Mugabe trying to
balance three balls in the air.
“These are just Zanu
PF’s theatrics, well calculated tricks to create
confusion and a way for
Zanu PF to buy time.”
Leading political analyst Eldred Masunungure believes
that Zanu PF is just
“I suspect that after making certain
concessions to the other side, Mugabe
may have been castigated by some
hardliners in the politburo. This is part
of grandstanding to his Zanu PF
public to keep his audience appeased. He
must have made some concessions but
he has to adjust his language when
relating to his public,” he
Musunungure said Mugabe would not want to undermine Zanu PF and would
not want to humiliate Zuma.
“I don’t think Zuma was misled. At his
press briefing he was vague and
ambiguous. They must have discussed and
agreed on a number of things. I
believe the package is there. I am
cautiously hopeful but I think it is just
a question of timing of
implementation,” he said.
Mudzengi said there was some ray of hope judging by
Zanu PF chief negotiator
Patrick Chinamasa’s statement at the weekend in the
state media that
negotiations would be concluded one way or the other and
that a matrix of
implementation of the agreed points would be agreed
However, political analyst with the African Reform Institute Trevor
said Mugabe was no longer the sole voice of Zanu PF, who in the past
have the last word which represented the party’s position and
“What we have realised is that Zanu PF goes to the talks and
certain frameworks but the moment there is internal consultations
structures of the party, they then either reverse the points of
simply stall implementation by throwing diversionary angles to
scenario,” he said.
Maisiri pointed out that the politburo
has become one of the power-broking
mechanisms of the party.
his negotiators no longer have the muscle to push through
agree to at the talks as the politburo is the last checking
implementation. In most cases, it has come to reject
whatever Mugabe and his
negotiators will have signed and agreed to,” he
This is not the
first time that the politburo has directed its negotiators
not to make any
more concessions. Talks stalled after the Zanu PF congress
resolved that the party negotiators would not make any further
until the MDC factions removed sanctions and stopped foreign
broadcasts into Zimbabwe.
By meeting with Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa
and state security
minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Maisiri said Zuma was trying
to shrewdly unlock
the deadlock by tracing the “real and foundational power
base in the party”.
“When Zuma had his talks, ironically he had to meet with
the ministers of
defence and state security. What this basically exhibits is
negotiation power in Zanu PF does not entirely lie in the
anymore,” he pointed out.
Leaks to the media were that
the three parties had agreed on the appointment
of at least four MDC-T
officials as provincial governors
On the governors, the negotiating teams
were supposed to agree on a formula
of selecting the resident ministers —
either through popular vote or by the
number of total seats in the House of
Assembly and Senate.
file contempt of court charges against govt
Friday, 26 March 2010
A GROUP of white commercial farmers who were dispossessed of their
during the chaotic land reform programme have filed an urgent
with the Sadc Tribunal against the government for contempt of
commercial farmers want the Sadc Tribunal to grant an enforcement
urging Sadc leaders to take measures that might include the suspension
expulsion of Zimbabwe from the regional bloc.
Tribunal ruling allowed white farmers, whose farms were acquired by
government for resettlement purposes, to remain on the farms because they
had legal title to them.
Justice Luis Mondlane, the president of
the Tribunal, ruled in 2008 that the
white farmers had a clear legal title
to their farms and should receive fair
compensation from government for the
properties lost during the land reform
application to the Tribunal comes barely a month after the
Court ruled that the farmers could attach Zimbabwe government
South Africa and have them auctioned to get their
The lawyer representing the commercial farmers,
Norman Tjombe, said in a
statement released on Wednesday that they will push
ahead with the case
until a judgment has been granted in favour of the
"The case is essentially another contempt application
against the Zimbabwe
government and against the High Court of Zimbabwe which
refused to register
the Sadc Tribunal judgment on the basis that it was
against public policy,"
Tjombe said. "We were also asking for an enforcement
order from the Tribunal
that would have urged the Sadc leaders to take
measures that might involve
suspension or expulsion of Zimbabwe from
The three white commercial farmers who took the Zimbabwe
government to the
Sadc Tribunal are Louis Fick, Mike Campbell and Richard
Last month the Pretoria High Court ruled that the white
have a right to approach courts in South Africa to seek
redress over the
Four properties belonging to the
Zimbabwean government were identified and
were set to be auctioned to
recover their money for the land and
developments on the farms acquired
during the controversial land reform
reports in the South African media, AfriForum, a civil rights
brought the application on behalf of the farmers, the properties
Zonnebloem, Wynberg and Kenilworth in Cape Town.
The properties were
bought for between R525 000 and R1 million by the
government in 1995.
Reports from South Africa said deeds records show that
the properties are
registered under the name of the Government of the
The properties are non-diplomatic and are therefore not
protected by any
immunity from legal action. The Pretoria High Court
judgment however does
not affect properties that are being used by the
Zimbabwean Embassy in South
Africa as they are protected by diplomatic
Colliery pays contractors with coke
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
HWANGE Colliery Company Ltd (HCCL) will have to pay two South
companies it contracted to repair its oven battery with coke valued
million due to financial problems.
Under the deal, Hwange
Colliery will pay Force Bell and Otto Simon and
Fosbel companies for
repairing its 32-coke oven battery, after it starts
working and producing
Hwange Colliery public relations manager, Burzil Dube confirmed
were using coal as payment for the repair of the oven battery but
go into more details about the transaction
"Due to the
financial constraints we made arrangements to pay the companies
the battery with coke, it is nothing unusual. We have paid other
with coal before," he said.
"The 32-coke oven battery is currently under
corrective maintenance as it
was due for a major rebuild and a team of
experts from the United Kingdom
and South Africa have been brought in who
are expected to give it another
life of between five to ten years. About
US$4 million is needed to repair
Coke is a solid
carbonaceous residue derived from low-ash, low-sulfur
bituminous coal from
which the volatile constituents are driven off by
baking in an oven without
oxygen at temperatures as high as 1 000 °C so that
the fixed carbon and
residual ash are fused together.
Metallurgical coke is used as a fuel and as
a reducing agent in smelting
iron ore in a blast furnace. The product is too
rich in dissolved carbon and
must be treated further to make steel.
from coal is grey, hard, and porous and has a heating value of US$24,8
million. Some coke making processes produce valuable by-products that
include coal tar, ammonia, light oils and coal gas.
"The battery is
currently on a two-month shut down window period and during
significant revenue will be lost hence some employees including
will be paid two weeks wages as part of efforts of cash
cost management," Dube said.
Management at Hwange said the battery had been
down for six weeks.
"The battery had not been working for a year. It only
started working again
end of November last year but broke down after three
months. We are having
to rely on the Hwange Gasification which was built and
is being run by
Chinese nationals," a Hwange Colliery official said.
colliery company has 25% shareholding under a Build Operate and Transfer
process in Hwange Coal Gasification Company.
The official said: "They are
expensive but doing a good job. Their payment
(in coke) might start end of
May or early June since the battery will be
repaired for nearly three
The breakdown of the Oven battery has forced Hwange Colliery to
short working month for its workers across the board because of
Workers are being paid for the two weeks they
report for duty in a month.
Insiders at the company said while the coal miner
had reduced working days
for its 3 000 workers, it had hired eleven
contractors from South Africa who
where being paid US$50 per hour.
Colliery has three operational mines namely JKL Opencast (widely
the dragline pit), Chaba Opencast and 3 Main underground Mine. The
reserves at the dragline pit are expected to have depleted within the
two years while those at Chaba and 3 Main in will last for 17 years.
currently operating at 60% of our capacity which is also subject to
customers' demand," Dube said.
According to documents a company called Colbro
had been given a contract to
transport coal for Hwange at a cost US2,97c/
tonnes, while other companies
such as Clidder was offering the same services
at US$1,80c. The deal was
"temporarily stopped after the 32-coke oven
battery broke down.
Documents seen by businessdigest show that the company
six-40 tonne dump trucks and two excavators on credit
facility at a cost of
The debt is currently being serviced
at a cost of about US$800 000 per
"The colliery company's business
plan is to diversify and also to intensify
export penetration, increase in
volumes, and responsible corporate citizen
among others," Dube told
"This can be achieved through effective planning of
operational skills while
on the other hand seeking top improve on our
logistics," he said
Dube said the company was currently into coal bed methane
investigative work with a leading international firm was already in
progress. Applications for multi million dollar projects have already been
submitted to the relevant authorities.
"Most of the projects currently
being done at the mine are financed through
the company's own resources
while negotiations are at an advanced stage with
some regional financial
institutions," Dube said.
Hawkins called it like it is
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
CONGRATULATIONS to Tony Hawkins for calling it like it
The Indigenisation regulatons are most certainly "racist and
deserve to be likened to apartheid laws in South
Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere walked out of a conference
Rainbow Towers because of sentiments expressed that he took exception
are told by the Sunday Mail.
Why is it okay for Kasukuwere to call
opponents of his scheme "racist" but
then demonstrates pique when the same
is said of him?
If he can't stand the heat he should stay out of the kitchen.
Did he not
read what Zanu PF loyalist Gideon Gono said about his warped
they were racist and harmful to the economy? We never
thought we would
concur so heartily with the Reserve Bank governor but he
was 100% right on
South Africa has black empowerment enabling
laws in place. But their
measures are largely the product of national
consensus. They are only too
aware that investors have a choice where to go.
Zanu PF is oblivious to that
reality. Kasukuwere said it was "shocking" that
there were still "some
elements in society who were blatantly racist" --
just because they believe
his regulations are damaging to the economy and
detrimental to investment.
Isn't that just about what everybody
Zanu PF's habit of calling anybody who opposes them "racist"
needs to be
challenged. Hawkins is one of the country's leading economists
what he is talking about. Kasukuwere evidently doesn't.
was not reported in the Sunday Mail was Kasukuwere arriving two hours
for the conference and then taking a seat at the back of the room so he
could undertake his obviously stage-managed walk-out. Businessmen who had
been waiting to hear his address were evicted to make room for the minister
and his delegation.
It had all the hallmarks of an orchestrated
The game was given away by AAG secretary-general Tafadzwa Musarara who
his members walked out "in solidarity with the minister". Musarara left
before presenting his paper we are told.
That's a pity because his paper
was very amusing. It was headed
"Empowerment, my divine rights
Evidently we have another Louis XIV in our midst! It would be
unfair to draw
attention to his spelling of indigenous. But we must
challenge his claim
that "sadza is indigenous and hence it has no name". Has
he not heard of
maize that has its origins in Central America?
mangos, cats, peaches and others that have remained classified
We also have dimwits who remain classified as daft. We note that
claim that "blacks are the indigenous people of Africa" neatly
the San and Khoi from the picture.
What is not spelt out in
this debate is the self-appointed role of Sadc in
preventing Zanu PF from
destroying the economy. That's why they instigated
the inter-party talks in
the first place.
Now we have a minister who is determined to behave like a
brandishing policies that are bound to jeopardise
Just watch this tragedy unfold. It's
another Zanu PF own goal just as the
green shoots of recovery were
We wish to congratulate the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists for
hosting the second congress of the Federation of African
least they put their differences aside and hosted
journalists from across
What caught our attention were
Webster Shamu's attempts to mislead the
them during a reception hosted by his ministry that journalists
be arrested for telling the truth.
"No journalist should be arrested for
telling the truth," Shamu said on
He forgot to explain to the
visitors that it is Zanu PF ministers who decide
whether a newspaper is
telling the truth. Under the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act a
journalist can be arrested for criticising
the president. Ordinary citizens
can be prosecuted under the same law for
making remarks about the president
in the back of a kombi!
Zimbabwe is ranked among the worst violators of press
freedom on the
Perhaps this could have been the perfect
platform for Shamu to give an
update on progress regarding the abolition of
Aippa and licensing of
newspapers and radio stations.
congratulate the Sunday Mail for telling the truth about the state
education sector in the country. The paper ran a feature highlighting
plight of pupils and teachers at Marongwe Primary School in Mt Darwin.
"school" is made up of nine blocks of wooden poles which are thatched
grass, the paper reported.
Under the headline "School or refugee camp?"
pupils at the school and
teachers are quoted expressing their anger at the
failure by authorities to
build a proper school for them.
"It seems as if
we are trapped," said Takesure Gatsi, a Grade six pupil. "We
well but we cannot leave the school because it is the nearest
we have. Other
schools are so far away that going there is simply a waste of
Edgar Gumbo, the deputy headmaster, weighed in: "We have to keep
an eye each
time on the kids to ensure that the mischievous ones do not
light up the
school. But our major problems come during the rainy season. We
have to close the school because the thatching grass will be
into the 'classroom'."
The paper also quoted Dickson
Mafios, MP for Mt Darwin, lamenting the
conditions at the "school" and
calling on the donor community to assist.
"It pains me that children are
learning in these structures," Mafios said.
Are we not constantly told that
one of President Mugabe's major achievements
since Independence in 1980 is
the education sector?
And as for MP Mafios' appeal to donors to assist
building proper structures
at the "school", should donors come in to help at
the convenience of Zanu PF
and President Mugabe?
Can someone tell him
that the thousands spent during the 21st February
Movement celebrations at
the Trade Fair in Bulawayo could have gone a long
way in helping solve the
problems at Marongwe?
We also hope the same "donors" who splashed the
nation's cash paying Sizzla
to come to Zimbabwe to fire up the celebrations,
will rise to the occasion
and save the children of Mt Darwin the trouble
they are going through. Where
is Saviour Kasukuwere in all this?
attention was captured by King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo of the Abathembu
South Africa who says he wants to rule like President Mugabe, whom he
considers a "role model" for Africa's political leaders.
dutifully carried the story in its Monday edition telling us: "I
to rule like (President) Mugabe and tell (President) Zuma to keep
Africa and let me keep my Thembuland. No man will be allowed to
another man in my state."
The traditional leader told a symposium at Walter
Sisulu University that in
his "ideal state", homosexuality would be outlawed
and the example of
President Mugabe followed.
We know that King
Dalindyebo does not only agree with President Mugabe on
his resolve to
outlaw gay rights but the king also wants to rule until
Still on the subject of gays, a journalist from Uganda, Stephen Ouma
gave us an interesting insight on the situation in his country
rights and the media which dovetails well with events at
"The Ugandan media has decided to impose self-censorship in a
bid to evade
dangers of falling into trouble with the authorities over
reportage that can
be construed to mean promoting the condemned practice in
the country," he
said during the Federation of African Journalists congress
held in Harare
"The media is only interested in reporting
on negativities on homosexuality
in a bid to satisfy authorities and society
in which they live."
He did not end there.
"What is clear today in Uganda
is that attempts by any journalist to exhibit
objectivity on matters
pertaining to homosexuality will brand him or her a
practitioner of the
"Ethical journalism will remain a far-fetched practice
while reporting on
controversial issues like homosexuality unless the
desist from taking sides."
Congress Youth League chairman Julius Malema will be in
Zimbabwe from Friday
to "show solidarity with the people and their fight for
The ANC youth leader is expected to address a number of
rallies and meetings
during his four-day visit, the Herald said on
Indigenisation minister Kasukuwere described Malema as a "vibrant
political leader with a passion for genuine development".
Malema is clear on the new phase of economic revolution underway that
targeting the participation of young people in national development," he
"Cde Malema is a strong advocate of indigenisation and this ties in
with Zimbabwe's efforts to empower its indigenous people."
fine Kasukuwere. But you forgot to tell us that Malema is
fending off allegations that he manipulated tender procedures in
Province for his own benefit. That he became rich overnight.
Malema to defend himself drew more curiosity when he made the
that he "lived on hand-outs" from friends.
In an interview with the Mail
& Guardian at his Sandton, Johannesburg home,
Malema said: "I am not
rich. I do not have millions as reported.
"All my houses have got bonds. They
are financed by banks. I've never got
any lucrative tender from anybody,
including the company called SGL.
"I live on handouts most of the time. If I
don't have food to eat, I can
call Cassel Mathale (premier of Limpopo) and
say: 'Chief, can you help me? I've
got nothing here'.
"I can call Thaba
Mufamadi (Limpopo MEC), I can call Pule Mabe (ANCYL
treasurer general) or
Mbalula (Fikile Mbalula, deputy minister of police).
They all do the same
with me. That's how we have come to relate to each
"That's why at
times you can't even see our poverty because we cover each
other's back. As
comrades we have always supported each other like that."
Malema added that if
anyone had concrete evidence that he manipulated tender
processes in Limpopo
they should report him to the police.
If the state found millions in his
account, they should take them and give
them to institutions that help poor
children, he said.
Let's see what Kasukuwere learns from Malema. One thing's
President Zuma won't exactly be comfortable with this
just as he is trying to promote harmony between the two
sides in Zimbabwe.
And Malema can be relied on to say something
Meanwhile, what will he be teaching Kasukuwere? How to live on
after indigenistion fails? Or how to get rich quick? Or has he
Finally, we were amused by Ignatious Chombo's
remarks in Shamva at a very
late celebration of the president's
"You must ask yourselves what it is that makes the nation celebrate
Mugabe's birthday?" he asked.
That's easy. It's Zanu PF that makes
the nation celebrate Cde Mugabe's
Bloch: Privatisation pros and cons
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 20:49
innumerable occasions over the last 30 years, various Zimbabwean
have declared intents to privatise many of the country's
This was a policy statement in the first National Economic
in the immediately post-Independence era, in the 1990
Adjustment Programme and in various subsequent
programmes. But, save for a
few privatisations in the late 1990s, the
intents have never converted to
action, notwithstanding that those few
privatisations of a little more than
a decade ago were most successful.
Declarations of privatisation intentions
have largely been naught but empty
words, wholly devoid of requisite action.
Recently, the Minister of Industry
and Commerce Welshman Ncube, the Minister
of Economic Planning and
Development, Elton Mangoma and the Minister of
Finance, Tendai Biti, have
all alluded to privatisation of certain
parastatals being one of the many
policies to be pursued in driving towards
a substantive and enduring
economic recovery. Their statements have
provoked very conflicting
reactions from diverse sectors of the Zimbabwean
population, many being very
supportive of the declared intent, whilst others
have vigorously voiced
their opposition to privatisation.
The most vociferous of the opponents of
privatisation found their
opposition primarily upon the contention that
doing so would result in
massive exploitation of consumers by parastatals.
They found this belief on
the fact that the majority of the parastatals are
monopolies which would, if
in private sector hands, exploit the absence of
competition and consumer
dependency upon those goods and services by
excessive charges and prices far
beyond the means of most Zimbabweans. This
claim is specious, on two
On the one hand, it is as easy for a
parastatal to exploit the absence of
competition as it is for a privately
owned enterprise. That this is so has
been irrefutably proven by the
horrendously high charges by Zesa for
electricity supplied (on the
relatively rare occasions that such supplies
are forthcoming!), by TelOne
for its telecommunication services, by Zinwa
for water, and by many urban
local authorities for the diverse services
provided (sometimes!) by them.
Such charges have generally been at rates
considerably greater than
prevailing for like services elsewhere within the
southern African region.
Hence, state-ownership has in no manner whatsoever
protected the consumer.
In fact, government itself has set the example to
its parastatals of
imposition of punitively high charges, with
extortionately high charges for
passports, for registration of higher
education service providers, and for
many other governmental services.
On the other hand, the prospects of
consumer exploitation by privatised
parastatals are also minimised and
contained by the operations of the
Competition and Tariffs Commission, whose
function is to ensure that undue
exploitation of monopolistic circumstances
do not occur. That commission is
supposed to address excessive pricing, and
contain it, irrespective of
whether the entity applying exorbitant pricing
policies is a parastatal or a
private sector entity.
There is, therefore
no credible foundation for opposition to privatisation
of parastatals on
grounds of alleged consumer protection by
contradistinction, the benefits of privatisation are
many. That this is so
is not merely theory, for it has been proven by many
privatisations in a lot of countries. The privatisation, decades
railways and telecommunications in the USA resulted in markedly
services, in development of competition and concomitant lowering of
consumers whilst generating profits for the owners, with resultant
inflows for the state by taxation of those profits. Those
also yielded improved quality of service delivery to
consumers. There was
similar experience in the UK with British Telecom,
British Gas and British
Water (and, until recently, British Airways), as
well as many other formerly
government-owned enterprises. Privatisation in
France, in Italy, and
elsewhere in Europe was similarly effective. This has
also been the case
closer to home, with various previously state-owned
enterprises in South
Africa having been successfully and beneficially
the misplaced fears of privatisation, the benefits of doing so
considerable especially under current Zimbabwean circumstances.
one of the country's parastatals is grossly undercapitalised.
This is due,
in part, to governments of old not adequately capitalising
by years of operating losses, and compounded by the
erosion of capital
through hyperinflation and associated recurrent currency
eventual currency demonetisation. By its own admission,
bankrupt. Therefore, it does not have the resources to
parastatals adequately, if at all. However, privatisation
would give the
parastatals access to required capital.
Secondly, government would partially
diminish its own straitened
circumstances by the realisation of some value
for the assets of the
parastatals. Of particular import is that, in common
with many other
enterprises, most parastatals have lost the greater
substance of their
technically, administratively and managerially skilled
if privatisation is pursued with appropriate regional
strategic parties, the parastatals would gain access to
required capital and
to necessary skills, would be able to rehabilitate,
refurbish, and enhance
their operational infrastructures, operate viably,
critically-needed, reliable services to the Zimbabwean economy,
aiding and furthering its recovery.
With government's recent
statement that it now intends to energetically and
rapidly formulate and
implement a Medium-Term Economic Recovery Programme to
build on the small
recoveries achieved in 2009, one of the many big elements
of that programme
needs to be substantive and rapid privatisation of many
including Zesa, TelOne, Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of
primary focus of that privatisation should be on appropriate
strategic partners with necessary financial and technological
although an element of indigenisation can be progressively
thereafter through equity listings on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange,
that the strategic partners are accorded guaranteed assurances of
of their equity holdings.
Government must not heed the unfounded claims that
privatisations will be
nationally prejudicial, and instead must
courageously, effectively and
timeously turn the oft-declared privatisation
intents into reality.
on indigenisation: Emotion, style but no substance
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
I HOLD no brief for Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon
what he has been consistently saying of late about the emotive
indigenisation issue strikes me as something being said by a man who
genuinely wants to see an economy that is terminally ill get back on its
Powerful, thoughtful and completely convincing - that is
how I would
describe the important truths that Gono has told us - the kind
that we can only ignore at our peril.
Unfortunately, the same
cannot be said of Saviour Kasukuwere, the Minister
of Youth Development,
Indigenisation and Empowerment. Kasukuwere's
demolition job on Gono in this
newspaper last Friday was rather thoughtless
and immature to say the
Once honest dissent is attacked and its attackers left unchallenged,
is no holding back the forces of reaction. Like any creative person,
has done a lot of wrong things in the past but that is no reason not to
credit where credit is due on a particular issue of national
do not know what "relevance" Gono is currently seeking but who
with him when he says:
"There should not be and will not be
farm- type Jambanja (the violent and
disorderly fast track land reform) this
time around as we indigenise and
empower our people. We are all witnesses to
what can inadvertently happen
when that is allowed to take place and we
cannot be a people who do not
learn from yesterday's implementation
In an impassioned and thoughtful way he added: "Why don't we,
Zimbabweans, learn to take constructive criticism from well meaning
Zimbabweans? Do we think that we can increase the country's wealth
improve the welfare of our people by simply tearing apart the small cake
that is in place? The answer is no."
Kasukuwere describes this as
"megaphone advice", whatever that means. Words,
just words signifying
nothing! If what Gono said is not good advice, then I
do not know what is.
Who does not know that right from day one of the land
reform programme in
the agriculture sector it has been a cocktail of
disaster? The once buoyant
sector has been virtually destroyed. There is no
Zimbabwean in his or her
right mind who disagreed with the programme, but it
was really the
methodology that most of us took issue with. Order, order and
more order is
what we called for just like what Gono is emphasising in the
There is nothing wrong with reflecting and questioning
what we are doing as
a people. This reflection and questioning is the basis
for further progress
as we go about reviving our economy. Zimbabwe is our
country too. It belongs
to all of us, not just to Kasukuwere and Zanu PF.
The warnings from
well-meaning Zimbabweans and non-Zimbabweans alike against
the folly and
consequences of government action must not fall on deaf
Emotion, theatre and style will not take us anywhere. That is what
Kasukuwere is doing. Zimbabweans yearn for ministers who are fastidious in
their search for facts, not emotions and political rhetoric. Kasukuwere and
others of like mind are demonstrating once again that in this country there
is over-indulgence in personality politics and conversely under-indulgence
on issues of substance and sound policy. When people describe a man who says
that the struggle for empowerment must be driven by sector-specific,
tailor-made and suitable interventions that recognise the timidity of
capital as an "attention-seeking lame duck governor keen on scoring
political points"! then I do not know where this country is heading.
really need calm debate on this indigenisation issue. More wishful
than pragmatic assessment of our economic situation will not help
Granted that the mindset of those in power is not easy to change, they
nevertheless listen to what people of this country are saying. It is
an irony that at a time when most countries are opening their
completely, we still talk about sovereignty as if we are an island
ourselves. Sovereignty yes, but not sovereignty for poverty - but for
prosperity and development.
If, for instance an investor - local or
international - is confident that he
will get just returns for his
investment in this country (not cede 51%), the
donor trusts that his money
will not be stolen or misused by the
kleptomaniacs in government, and
everyone else is convinced that their
efforts will not be hindered by
partisan exigencies, then there is no reason
why the fresh flood pumped into
an anorexic economy like ours cannot revive
it. The solution to our economic
woes can be encapsulated in three terms:
confidence, trust and bipartisan
We are creating a monster in the so-called Indigenisation law. The
indigenisation regulations as presently crafted are not the right
We need to reflect on our experiences of the chaotic and
reform programme. We must beware of the dangers of all of us
into a consensus view. Gono has obviously taken a good and hard
look at the
whole question of indigenisation and made a very solid case for
a way to
improve the lot of our people in this country, not just the tiny
fat cats who are already fat anyway
Perhaps in fairness to
Kasukuwere, I must say that when ideas compete in the
market place for
acceptance, full and free discussion exposes the false and
they gain few
adherents, if at all. As Edward Achorn, a columnist writing in
2000 in the
Providence Journal in the United States said: "Freedom requires
kind of fortitude: the courage to be insulted and hurt, to put up
propagation of deeply offensive ideas, to open one's mind, to argue
trust that the best ideas emerge from the clash of opinion. This
openness allows facts to be discovered, truth to break free and
contradictions to crumble of their own weight."
No wonder therefore
people like Gono do not lose sleep over such things
while others like
Kasukuwere storm out of meetings.
Bornwell Chakaodza is a political
analyst and media consultant.
critical for free and fair elections’— Zesn
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn), a network of 30
non-governmental organisations promoting democratic elections in Zimbabwe,
has noted pronouncements by senior politicians on the holding of elections
These calls for elections come amid the constitutional
reform process which
has the potential to alter Zimbabwe’s political
developments have given Zesn the impetus to call for
minimum conditions for
free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
There is need
for concerted efforts to address a number of outstanding
issues that have a
bearing on the conduct of democratic elections. Zesn
urges all Zimbabweans
and key stakeholders to start not only preparing for
elections, but to also
call for critical reforms now.
The signing of the unity government seemed to
provide space for reforms yet
substantive reforms have not been realised.
Zesn is of the view that there
are basic issues that need to be addressed if
Zimbabwe is to have a free and
The following is a summary
of issues that the government, civil society and
Zimbabweans need to take
cognisance of if we are to have democratic
Zesn has continually expressed concern about the running of
Zimbabwe’s election management body. The capacity of the ZEC
and effectively run elections has been questioned.
the years, civic society and political parties have queried the
of the ZEC as it has consistently failed to be accountable to
electorate. Previous experience has shown that ZEC does not have
human and financial resources to efficiently and effectively run
The recent appointment of the chair of the commission, Justice
Mutambanengwe, is a welcome development but Zesn is concerned about
indications that he will be based in Namibia. This is a disturbing issue
Zimbabwe prepares for elections, and his presence on the ground would
better preparations for elections.
Zesn proposes that the election
management body needs to be capacitated and
resourced to improve its ability
to manage elections efficiently and
effectively. Zesn continues to advocate
for the creation of a truly
independent election management body that
includes commissioners and
secretariat that people can trust in order to
protect the integrity of the
Zesn is concerned
about the state of the voters’ roll which is an important
component in the
conduct of free and fair elections. Zesn has repeatedly
called for the
cleaning of the voters roll in order to rectify errors that
have been noted
over the years. Thus an imperfect voters’ roll can
Zesn has repeatedly called for the removal of the voter
from the registrar-general’s office to ZEC. Zesn
proposes that the voters’
roll be over-hauled and the country adopts the
biometric voter registration
method which includes photographs of the voters
in the roll.
Zesn is concerned about an electoral
environment in which Posa and Aippa are
still operational and work to reduce
freedoms of association, assembly as
well as restricting media openness.
Zesn’s long-term observers have reported
incidents of violence, intimidation
and harassment in some areas. The safety
of human rights defenders and
activists remains an issue of concern as this
curtails the oversight
function of civic society.
Our observers’ reports show continued
politicisation of food aid and
agricultural aid on partisan lines. These
developments are inimical to the
creation of an environment that fosters an
atmosphere conducive for the
conduct of democratic elections.
It is also
imperative to put in place institutional, security and
before the next elections. Some of the issues include
the removal of the
police from inside the polling station and from assisting
voters should be allowed to choose a friend or relative to
In addition, the Electoral Act should also specify a timely period in
election results will be announced. The constitution should enshrine
time frame for the conduct of elections in Zimbabwe.
is worrying that while the country is signatory to a number
and regional protocols that govern the conduct of
elections, these have not
been domesticated to make them enforceable.
Furthermore, Zesn urges Zimbabwe
to sign the African Charter on Democracy
recognition in Article 19 of the global political agreement of
importance of the right to freedom of expression and the importance of
media in a multiparty democracy, Zesn notes slow progress in the
implementation and operationalisation of these prescriptions agreed to in
Zesn recognises the important role played by the media in
therefore re-emphasises the need for significant and timely
reforms to the
Broadcasting Services Act and Aippa and the promotion of
Election observation is a critical
element in the conduct of free and fair
elections, thus there is need for
reforms that provide for the safety of
local and international observers.
Zesn is concerned about the “cherry
picking” of observers in past
In addition, the role of inviting observers and other election
functions should fall under the election management body. Adequate
of observers need to be accredited early and deployed to all areas
country for them to observe the elections.
This brings to the fore
the need for early invitations to all stakeholders
interested in observing
the election so that the pre and post-election
environment is adequately
In light of previous experiences and concerns, Zesn recommends that
election be supervised by regional and international bodies such as the
United Nations and African Union.
Zesn believes that for
elections to be free and fair there is need for
transparency in all
processes of the elections which include among others
transparency in the processing of postal votes,
inclusion of the diaspora
vote, the review of the voting rights in the
citizenship act and the
provision of privacy and secrecy to special needs
groups such as the elderly
and “assisted voters”.
With a view to improving future elections, Zesn
proposes that reforms are a
matter of urgency and imperative before
elections are held. The present
environment though relatively calm does not
provide a conducive environment
for the holding of democratic
Zesn reiterates its position of having substantive and meaningful
to the architecture and operations of elections in Zimbabwe. There
for wholesome electoral reforms that will create a new culture of
transparency, inclusiveness, fairness and openness to ensure that the
outcome of the election is legitimate and acceptable.
is the chairman of Zesn.
Comment: Ideas cornerstone of a vibrant society
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
A FREE flow of ideas is the cornerstone of a strong and vibrant
informed citizenry is one of the most important guarantors of
and security of a nation.
The founding fathers of the
fledgling United States of America recognised
The First Amendment
to the Constitution, often called The Bill of Rights,
says: "Congress shall
make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or
the right of people peaceably to assemble, and
to petition the Government
for a redress of grievances."
The Supreme Court has interpreted this
amendment as applying to state and
local governments as well; thus, these
basic freedoms to communicate and
share ideas is well enshrined in the
American body politic, and often taken
Information is power,
but when it is limited its power is weakened. Some
governments and people
have the mistaken belief that power is enhanced by
controlling or stopping
the free and unimpeded sharing of ideas. Nothing
could be further from the
truth. The body can be shackled, and even
destroyed. But, ideas cannot be
forever enslaved. Eventually, ideas leak
into the public domain. This has
been the case since the Inquisition, but
it is even more so in the modern
age, when ideas and information fly around
the globe in seconds.
is not strengthened by impeding the flow of information. When
allowed to freely explore and exchange ideas, they are personally
strengthened, and their collective impact strengthens the nation.
of expression must be accompanied by a sense of responsibility.
should not use the cover of freedom to harm others. But this does
that unpleasant truths or ideas that contradict the orthodoxy
banned or shunned. True freedom protects the idea we hate as much
does that with which we agree.
Ideas can be impeded, but never permanently.
There is nothing more potent
than an idea whose time has come. The
Information Superhighway is more than
just a figure of speech. It is a
broad avenue of information and ideas that
is constantly changing and moving
at the speed of thought. Those who would
stand in the middle of that
highway and try to block the flow of information
run the risk of becoming
road kill on the shoulders of history.
Charles Ray is the US Ambassador
The coast is not clear yet
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 21:44
reporting season again and big corporates in Zimbabwe are giving their
verdict on the health of the economy.
Companies that have published
their financials to date have applauded the
positive developments which have
been brought about by the introduction of
the multi-currency system and
concomitant spin-offs which include a stable
environment characterised by low inflation.
There is no doubt that the
business environment in 2009 was a huge
improvement from the grind of 2008
and a couple of years before that when
business had to endure the rigours of
inflation and obtuse government
policies which manifested themselves in the
form of price controls and
bonehead projects to print money to finance
patronage projects in farming.
Last year, financials were replete with
commentary on the pain company
executives endured while trying to avoid
arrest and other forms of
persecution by the police, the National Incomes
and Pricing Commission, and
officials from the Reserve Bank.
a business had become an act of criminality in Zimbabwe and
responded with their feet. They took their business elsewhere.
credit dried up resulting in low employment of installed capacity
manufacturing sector and little working capital for commerce.
yesteryear anguish is slowly evaporating. The financials published to
are more forward - looking but a common thread is running through all
company reports. The effects of the trauma of the country's not so
dark past are still with us.
The coast is not clear yet. A sample of
results published this week says it
all. Engineering giant Zeco had this to
say about the operating environment:
"Despite the improvements of the
conditions in the operating environment,
particularly the stabilisation of
the macro-economic fundamentals, business
is still facing challenges with
accessing financing that is required to
restore productive capacity and
improve demand for products and services to
levels necessary for a sustained
increase in capacity utilisation."
Interfin Merchant Bank on the other
hand said deposits were "building at a
very low pace" because of the dry
market. Coal miner Hwange complained of
"limited lines of credit" and Zimre
Holdings said "absence of long-term
funding negatively impacted on the
productive sector activities and the
general economic performance of the
country". Principal investment group in
this market Old Mutual was more
direct on the causes of the problems. It
said: "The expected turnaround in
the economy was slower than anticipated
due to the continued uncertainties
in the political environment."
This is worrying especially seeing the
fact that the inclusive government -
whose major brief is to foster an
environment of sustained economic growth -
is not moving at the required
speed to solve the issues which are inhibiting
The GPA has not yet been consummated in full as Zanu PF and the
MDC do not
seem to be in any hurry to find a solution to the crisis that is
retarding progress in this country.
In fact, since the coming
in of the inclusive government, we have been
lulled into believing that the
worst is over for Zimbabwe and that normalcy
has returned to this
It is easy to fall into this utopian mindset especially having
a situation where just getting a loaf of bread was a Herculean
shops are full does not mean that the country's problems are
There is no relief on unemployment estimated at above 90% and
services have remained a luxury.
Companies have reported the need
to foster an environment of sustained
fundamental. We have failed to hit the higher capacity utilisation
industry of 60% as forecast by Finance minister Tendai Biti at the
of last year because this country does not simply have the money.
It is now
clear that lines of credit will not be unlocked without fixing the
This entails behavioural change on the part of our rulers
who seem to derive
pleasure in flaunting their differences.
unfortunate story of Zimbabwe is that we still have remnants of a
discredited past who continue to blight the lives of people trying to makes
an honest living. We do not require in this day and age police who harass
journalists for simply doing their job.
It was also unnecessary last
week for the police to stop a photo exhibition
officially opened by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Then to top it all,
we have the indigenisation
regulations which government is insisting on
implementing in the teeth of
local and international condemnation.
These are the things investors look
at before they bring their monies here
and there is every reason for big
business to be worried.
Memo: Zuma must unwrap
Wednesday, 31 March 2010 20:54
President Robert Mugabe at Zanu PF's central committee meeting
that South African President Jacob Zuma's working visit a
fortnight ago drew
a blank in putting closure to the outstanding issues of
the global political
agreement (GPA) came as a shock.
They were disingenuous because Zuma had
a week earlier told the media that
his three-day intensive negotiations in
Harare with partners in the
inclusive government had culminated in a
"package of measures" to resolve
the sticking points. Yesterday was set as
the deadline for the talks and
that a report detailing timeframes of the
implementation of the measures
would be submitted to Zuma.
adamantly told the central committee that there was no deal reached
Zuma's visit and that Zanu PF would not concede to the demands of the
formations unless and until the United States, Britain and the European
Union lift sanctions and foreign "pirate" radio stations ceased broadcasts
into the country.
In a dissembling act, the ageing leader further claimed
reappointment of central bank czar Gideon Gono, hiring of
Johannes Tomana and the appointment of provincial governors
were not and
should not be outstanding issues of the GPA.
continues to deliberately mislead not only his party supporters, but
Zimbabweans as a whole by prevaricating on agreed positions of the Sadc
facilitated GPA by clutching at straws in a desperate attempt to renegotiate
the deal in his favour.
It is common cause that Sadc held an
extraordinary summit in January 2008 in
South Africa and, among other
things, stated in their communiqué that Gono,
Tomona and governors were
outstanding issues. This was restated at the Sadc
Troika meeting in Maputo
The January 2008 summit set the timelines for the formation of
government and the review of the GPA.
It is, therefore,
insincerity and intransigence of the highest degree for
Mugabe to attempt to
alter the GPA and at the same time a shameful act to
suggest that Zuma was
economical with the truth when he announced to the
world that the partners
in the inclusive government had agreed on a "package
of measures" to resolve
the sticking issues.
Despite Mugabe's utterances and his politburo's decision
on the talks, it
was strange that Zuma and his facilitation team decided to
remain mum when
their reputations were on the line. Zimbabweans remain
unsure who to believe
on the progress or lack of it in the negotiations
between the wily old fox
Mugabe, and Zuma.
Zuma should come out in the
open and shame Mugabe by announcing to the world
the "package of measures"
the partners in the marriage of convenience agreed
on a fortnight ago. When
dealing with people like Mugabe who have a bagful
of political tricks
accumulated over 30 years of rule, megaphone diplomacy
becomes necessary so
that everyone is informed.
I was disturbed when I read reports that Zuma's
facilitation team currently
in Harare was unfazed by Zanu PF's statements
that there was no progress at
the negotiating table. The team was reportedly
adamant that an agreement in
principle was reached, but strangely they do
not want to unpack the deal for
the benefit of long-suffering Zimbabweans.
We need to know the nature of the
agreement and who among the partners was
backtracking on its implementation.
Negotiating in secret has proved the
greatest undoing in the implementation
of the GPA.
The swearing in
yesterday of commissioners to serve on various
constitutional commissions by
Mugabe should not be viewed as a breakthrough
in the current impasse. We
should not be blinded by that move because the
commissioners were appointed
last December and yesterday was just a
tempted to agree with political analysts
who think Mugabe's latest act of
intransigence was a culmination of
succumbing to pressure
in the politburo and the central committee who blindly argue
that the coming
in of the MDC formations had not brought any value addition.
The hardliners -
who now treat Mugabe as their prisoner - are of the view
introduction of multi-currencies into our payment system resulted
slow and painful recovery of the economy. They don't care about the
goodwill, the confidence and the political stability the inclusive
It is the same hardliners who are pushing for
elections next year despite
clear evidence on the ground that the country is
not ready for early polls.
The people do not want the elections. They are
afraid that as in the past,
Zanu PF will unleash violence to win at all
It is common cause that since Zanu PF's formation in August 1963 it has
consistent on one issue - violence - and will definitely unleash it
in all fairness it will never be retained as a ruling party if
free and fair.