by Ndodana Sixholo Tuesday 20 April 2010
HARARE - An unnamed Israeli national is financing one of two firms mining
diamonds at Zimbabwe's controversial Marange diamond field, according to a
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) board committee.
The committee said one of two South African firms that partnered the
state-owned ZMDC to exploit the Marange deposits told it that it was
financed from Israel but declined to disclose the name of the financier.
The ZMDC last year joined hands with New Reclamation Group (NRG) and Core
Mining and Minerals (CMM), both of South Africa, to form Canadile Mining and
Mbada Investments respectively -- the two firms mining diamonds at the
Marange field that is in eastern Zimbabwe and is also known as Chiadzwa.
The board committee tasked to conduct a due diligence exercise on the two
South African firms last August said representatives from Core Mining
claimed that their principal was domiciled in Israel.
"Core Mining advised that they had a principal domiciled in Israel and that
principal shall be responsible for financing the entire project. They
emphasized that the principal's name must remain confidential," said the
committee that visited South Africa from August 4 to 6 to meet
representatives of CMM and NRG.
The committee makes it clear that its due diligence exercise was a mere
academic exercise because the CMM and NRG were handpicked to partner the
ZMDC well before the committee had evaluated the two South African firms.
The committee also makes it clear that in its view the two South African
firms - all unknown in the diamond industry -- were not qualified to partner
the ZMDC at Marange because they lacked the skills and expertise required
with NRG, for example, specialising in scrap metal reclamation.
"They (NRG) have no diamond mining as part of their vision and growth
strategy," the ZMDC board committee said in the report that was last
February handed to a special parliamentary that is reviewing the government's
handling of the Marange claims.
The NRG, which is part owned by insurance giant Old Mutual Plc and is
southern Africa's largest scrap metal company, is represented in Mbada
Investments through its subsidiary, Grandwell Holdings.
The ZMDC committee said in addition to refusing to disclose the identity of
its principal, CMM appeared not even prepared for the due diligence exercise
when the committee visited South Africa.
"No adequate team had been assembled in order to attend to the ZMDC team.
The select team was incapacitated and could not successfully do its
evaluation," the committee report said.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu last month told Parliament's portfolio committee
on mines and energy that he recommended CMM and NRG to the ZMDC board.
Mpofu also admitted that he did not follow laid-down procedures when he
licenced Canadile and Mbada to mine diamonds at Marange but he defended his
actions as necessary because the government urgently needed cash from the
diamond deals and following procedures would have negatively affected
efforts to raise funds.
The parliamentary committee is yet to complete its probe.
Mbada and Canadile were brought to Marange in an attempt to bring operations
at the notorious field in line with standards stipulated by world diamond
industry watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP).
However, the two companies' operations are shrouded in controversy, amid
revelations that some members of the boards of the two firms were once
illegal drug and diamond dealers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and
Some of the directors of the two firms are also known to have close ties
with Zimbabwe's military establishment that is accused of stealing millions
of dollars worth of diamonds from Marange and offloading them onto the
foreign black market for precious stones.
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 London-based Africa Consolidated Resources that
owned the deposits committed gross human rights abuses against illegal
miners who had descended on the field.
Human rights groups have been pushing for an international ban on diamonds
from Marange but the KP last November declined to ban the Zimbabwean
diamonds and instead opted to give Harare a June 2010 deadline to make
reforms to comply with its regulations. - ZimOnline.
Harare, April 20, 2010 - The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Obert
Mpofu, controversially appointed a South African company which had no
diamond mining experience and was not even planning to mine the gems in its
business plan, according to documents obtained by Radio VOP on Monday night.
The documents show that The New Reclamation Group (Reclam), through its
Grandwell subsidiary and Core Mining and Minerals, had been appointed to
mine diamonds in Marange, well before due diligence had been carried out on
The two South African companies, Grandwell partnered state owned Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) to form Mbada Diamonds while Core
Mining and Minerals partnered ZMDC to form Canadile Diamonds.
Minutes of the ZMDC Board select committee on the due diligence
investigation exercises on the two companies for Marange diamond fields,
conducted in South Africa from 4-6 August last year, show that ZMDC
appointed a select committee to conduct the due diligence exercise which
found that Reclam, is not a mining house and is currently not involved in
mining, let alone diamond mining.
"Further they have no diamond mining as part of their vision and growth
strategy," the documents show.
ZMDC complained about the South African company's failure to follow
investment procedures, a feat which shows that Reclam, Grandwell's holding
company was already in agreement with the Mines ministry before.
"There is need for Reclam to recognize the ZMDC Board's authority,
independence and effectiveness vis-a-vis Reclam's interaction with the
Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. Reclam as an investor should
appreciate the importance of the ZMDC board to process the investment
proposal through its governance process," the minutes show.
The minutes show that by the time ZMDC conducted the due diligence exercise,
Reclam and Core Mining and Minerals had already started mobilizing funds and
equipment for the mining venture.
Diamond mining in Zimbabwe has been a contentious issue following the
takeover of Chiadzwa diamond fields by the government which in turn
authorised the two companies to exploit the resources.
Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti said Zimbabwe's US$913 million
salary bill is consuming 70 percent of the 2010 budget while the World Bank
says 30 percent of public expenditures should be the norm
Blessing Zulu & Gibbs Dube | Washington 19 April 2010
The government and civil servants are on a collision course following word
from Finance Minister Tendai Biti that the salaries of state employees have
been frozen indefinitely. Biti told reporters that the government lacks the
money to increase pay for state workers.
He said Zimbabwe's US$913 million salary bill for 2010 is consuming 70
percent of the budget while the World Bank says 30 percent is the norm.
Biti said his ministry is expected to rescue the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
which is under siege by creditors, as part of the process of implementing
central bank reform legislation instituting a strong board of directors.
News reports quoted Biti as saying the Reserve Bank urgently needs
protection from action by creditors who have obtained court orders for bank
assets to be auctioned off to pay debts.
Simba Makoni, a former finance minister and chairman of the opposition
Mavambo-Kusile party, said Biti is moving to rein in RBZ Governor Gideon
Gono who financed operations of the former government in violation of the
principles of central banking.
Makoni told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that even if reform legislation
has trimmed Gono's powers, abuses by the executive branch remain a risk.
But political analyst George Mkhwanazi said that Gono must be removed if the
reputation and the capacities of the RBZ are to be restored.
"Governor Gono who has previously presided over the pilfering of private
company funds cannot be allowed to become the chairperson of the proposed
RBZ board," Mkhwanazi told VOA.
by Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE is on the verge of becoming an "information tiger of the continent",
Information Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa said Tuesday following the
commencement of the laying of an optic fibre link connecting Zimbabwe to the
Beira under-sea cable.
"This is life changing. By the end of the year, there will be a drastic
improvement in internet speed in this country and Zimbabweans will be able
to send and receive high volumes of video, data and voice; access 3G and 4G
because of the increased bandwidth ... we're going to be the highway of all
communications, we are changing the complexion of communication," Chamisa
told New Zimbabwe.com in an interview.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti released $6,2 million for the project last
Friday, and Chamisa says the optic fibre link through Mutare should be
completed by the end of the year.
Currently, Zimbabwe uses satellite for its internet which is very expensive,
and slow. "Right now," Chamisa said, "if you open a web page, the water will
boil before it can download."
He added: "There is an optic fibre link between Plumtree and Bulawayo which
is not yet completed. By the end of this project, we would have created the
arteries and veins of communication from Gwanda to Rusape, making the whole
country a seamless kingdom of communication.
"The master-plan is being rolled out. We have contracted TelOne to lay the
optic fibre line and the first target is to link the major cities by the end
of the year.
"Our strategy is that by 2015, we should be an information society."
The minister said Zimbabwe was "geographically located to be the hub because
we have what it takes -- smart people, good intellect and solid education
"When this project is complete, we would have brought joy to the people of
Zimbabwe," the minister said. "From a business point of view, we have to
leverage our intellectual capacity as a people.
"We should be getting the outsourced work being done by India for the UK for
instance, we should be leveraging our time zone and our geographical
location and we must get profit from our weakness of just being good.
"We should be the information tiger of the continent in terms of ICT. We
need to be the Silicon Valley of the African continent."
Cheap and accessible internet will have an "unbelievable impact", the
minister said, "with Zimbabweans able to apply for birth certificates, view
their school results and get prescriptions online.
"We'll see a boom in e-commerce and online transactions. Broadband is
coming, from Tsholotsho to Chirundu people will be empowered to explore all
manner of online businesses which they have so far been unable to do because
we were lagging behind."
Co-Chairman Edward Nkosi of the parliamentary select committee in charge of
the process said he couldn't give a firm date for the start of the public
comment phase as haggling continues between donors and Harare over funding
Patience Rusere | Washington 19 April 2010
A Zimbabwean parliament member closely involved in the country's
constitutional revision process, stalled for many weeks, said Monday that
there is still no firm date for the launch of the public outreach phase.
Co-chairman Edward Nkosi of the parliamentary select committee in charge of
the process said he couldn't give a firm date for the start of the public
comment phase as haggling continues between international donors and the
government over how various costs will be met.
The government put up US$120,000 to train rapporteurs who will record public
opinion in the outreach phase, but donors are seeking a larger commitment,
he said. Nkosi added that while donors have been willing to cover costs such
as accommodations and meals, they drew the line at paying per diem
allowances for participants.
President Mugabe in an Independence Day speech said the process was underway
and critical to pave the way for elections. But some observers wondered
whether all of the parties to the power sharing arrangement between his
ZANU-PF and the two wings of the Movement for Democratic Change are eager to
Select committee co-chairman Nkosi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience
Rusere that it remains uncertain when all of the funding issues will be
addressed so that the revision process, which is supposed to be concluded by
September or October, can resume.
Monday, 19 April 2010 20:39
By Michael Chideme
Raging labour disputes between Harare City Council and its employees have
cast the spotlight on the very high salaries of thousands of dollars monthly
that senior council staff are earning while services languish.
The huge salaries and allowances are being paid out while service delivery
has generally stagnated and residents are saddled with city bills that many
say they cannot afford.
The bigger chunk of rates collections, insiders say, are going to
maintaining city officials' lavish lifestyles.
About a week after city chief accountant Mr Tendai Kwenda said he wanted to
attach 33 vehicles to recover US$650 000 owed to him in unpaid salaries and
benefits, an ex-employee is claiming close to US$400 000.
The Labour Court recently awarded dismissed IT manager Mr Andrew Ndoorwi
US$391 380,03 for unprocedural termination of contract.
Mr Ndoorwi was in grade four when he was suspended and eventually dismissed.
As of February 2009, his colleagues in the same grade were paid US$2 332.
They also received a professional allowance of US$466,40; a representative
allowance of US$781,22; an entertainment allowance of US$233,20; and a
non-practice allowance of US$423.
On top of that, they are entitled to 40 litres of fuel per week.
About 59 employees are in grade four.
The gross, including benefits but excluding fuel, comes to US$4 935,42
This means at that time council was spending at least US$291 189,78 on grade
four employees alone every month.
Mr Ndoorwi's US$391 380,03 award is attracting an interest of 5 percent per
annum until fully paid.
Since Mr Ndoorwi's dismissal, council has awarded pay rises.
The city's senior management payroll has remained a closely guarded secret.
"We are sometimes not given payslips and the amount
deposited in our accounts varies every month," alleged one senior manager.
Harare has 14 heads of departments and two deputy directors. Only town clerk
Dr Tendai Mahachi is in grade one.
Last month, Dr Mahachi told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local
Government that he earned US$4 900 and 30 percent of this in benefits.
He presented a salary schedule that said council's wage bill was about 32
percent of revenue and he wanted to reduce this to about 25 percent.
However, this would mean that Dr Mahachi, who is in grade one, is earning
almost the same as his subordinates.
On Friday, Dr Mahachi declined to comment.
"I am out of town. I can only talk when I am back in the city," he said.
His human resources director Mr Cainos Chingombe had referred all questions
to Dr Mahachi.
He said he had briefed him on the matter and had agreed to talk to the
Sources last week revealed that officially about US$210 000 was deposited as
senior managers' salaries monthly but other perks are paid in cash and these
are allegedly not recorded on the pay sheet.
Each head of department is entitled to a clothing allowance of six suits,
six shirts and two pairs of shoes each year while their basic salaries are
reportedly around US$10 000.
They also receive performance allowances, which range between 10 and 25
percent of monthly salaries.
The net pay bill for the rest of council is normally US$3,9 million monthly
and will soon rise to be US$4,4 million after an arbitral award backdated
The city's gross monthly salary bill is nearly US$6,4 million for the 7 000
The majority of Zimbabwe's formal employees earn about US$250 salaries and
struggle to pay water bills and rates.
Government has frozen civil servants' salaries until further notice.
"Council rakes in close to US$7 million from ratepayers every month implying
that funds received only cater for salaries.
"This is in direct breach of a Government directive requiring local
authorities to allocate a maximum of 30 percent of revenue to salaries and
employee benefits and the remainder to service delivery," said an official
in the human resources department.
The huge salaries return to haunt the city administration and ratepayers
when senior staff are unprocedurally dismissed and the courts award hefty
Mr Ndoorwi and Mr Kwenda, are claiming over US$1 million from council; money
which residents no doubt would feel is better spent on service delivery.
Mr Ndoorwi says his claim is less than what other senior officials either
dismissed or forced to resign were paid.
Lawyer Joel Mambara, representing Mr Ndoorwi, said his client also deserved
a Mazda BT50 truck, and residential and commercial stands in line with what
others in his grade were getting.
He also wants his fuel allocation for 76 weeks, translating to 3 040 litres
or close to US$4 000.
Last year chamber secretary Mrs Josephine Ncube wrote to Mr Mambara
notifying him that council had agreed to pay Mr Ndoorwi in lieu of
"I have instructed the human resources director to compute Mr Ndoorwi's
dues," she wrote.
Mr Ndoorwi was dismissed on allegations of buying five laptops without
The Labour Court ruled that Mr Ndoorwi's dismissal was unfair because there
was no evidence to prove that he purchased the laptops without authority as
the commission running the city's affairs at the time approved the
Mr Kwenda, who was facing similar charges, also won his case.
Arbitrator Mr L. M. Gabilo ruled that in the interest of justice the
decision taken on Mr Kwenda should apply to Mr Ndoorwi.
"I make the following orders that the claimant be reinstated to his position
and provide back pay of salary and benefits for the whole period of
dismissal and that if reinstatement is no longer possible due to
irreconcilable relationships, parties negotiate damages in lieu of
reinstatement," he ruled.
by Own Correspondent Tuesday 20 April 2010
JOHANNESBURG – Investment in South Africa's sugar sector has gone down due
to uncertainty over the country’s slow-paced land reform programme that
seeks to transfer more than a third of farmland to the country's black
majority by 2014, an industry official said at the weekend.
"The finality of the land restitution programme is a necessity because the
slow pace has meant that investment, and in particular capital expenditure
on farms under claim, is sluggish due to the uncertainty that exists," said
South African Sugar Association (SASA) director Trix Trikam, adding that
white commercial farmers were unsure of whether to reinvest in farms under
claim by black farmers.
Trikam said SASA supports the land reform initiative and the sugar industry
has so far given black growers 19 percent of its commercial farms in line
with the African National Congress (ANC) government policy of land
On coming to power in 1994 the ANC promised to redistribute 30 percent of
all agricultural land to the black majority by 2014.
But the huge cost of acquiring land – estimated at R75 billion for 82
million hectares of land – as well as problems in negotiating land prices
under a "willing-buyer, willing-seller" policy have seen the government
managing to acquire only 6 percent of land from private owners to date for
redistribution, amid growing unrest among the poor landless blacks.
The sugar industry set up a similar programme to run concurrently with the
national plan and transfer 30 percent of commercial sugarcane farms to black
farmers by the 2014 – a deadline key to eliminating the unease and attract
"Should a further 10 percent of land claims be dealt with by 2014, the
target of 30 percent will be met," Trikam said.
South Africa – just like Zimbabwe – inherited an unjust land tenure system
from previous white-controlled governments under which the bulk of the best
arable land was reserved for whites while blacks were forced to crowd on
mostly semi-arid and infertile soils.
But South Africa, which has one of Africa’s biggest farming sectors and its
biggest economy, has repeatedly said it will not follow the example of
Zimbabwe where President Robert Mugabe seized most of the farms owned by
that country’s about 4 500 white commercial farmers and gave them over to
blacks destroying commercial agriculture.
Last February a South African court dismissed a black community’s land claim
because the community would not be able to meet production levels current
white farmers occupying the farmland have achieved.
Farm seizures are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe – once a net exporter of the
staple maize grain – into severe food shortages since 2001 after black
peasant farmers resettled on former white farms failed to maintain
production because the government failed to support them with financial
resources, inputs and skills training. – ZimOnline
U.S. provides millions to support Zimbabwe's economic reforms
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
April 17, 2010
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY CLINTON
Zimbabwe National Day
On behalf of President Obama and the American People, I congratulate the people of Zimbabwe as you celebrate 30 years of independence on April 18.
The United States believes in Zimbabwe's promise and we support your aspirations to build an open and participatory democracy with respect for rule of law and fundamental freedoms.
The United States provides more than $300 million per year to support Zimbabwe's economic reforms and a democratic transition, as well as for humanitarian, food, and health assistance.
We also continue to challenge Zimbabwe's leaders to act in good faith to fully implement the Global Political Agreement and share power in an inclusive and transparent fashion for the benefit of all Zimbabweans. I urge Zimbabwe's leaders to continue to move toward democratic reform and to open political space.
The people of Zimbabwe have persevered through considerable adversity in recent years. The United States will continue to stand with you and work with you on the road to a more peaceful and prosperous future for Zimbabwe.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://www.america.gov)
INTERVIEW - Paul Themba Nyathi and National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku were guests on SW Radio Africa's Hot Seat programme.
Madhuku tells reporter Violet Gonda that the 'endless negotiations' between the political partners in government are a 'fraud,' and that there really is 'no deadlock' but mere 'political grandstanding and posturing by the parties.'
Nyathi argues that the media has wrongfully portrayed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a 'victim,' when there are no major differences between him and Robert Mugabe.
VIOLET GONDA: The Chairman of the National Constitutional
Assembly, Dr Lovemore Madhuku and Paul Themba Nyathi, a member of the Mutambara
led MDC, are my guests on the programme Hot Seat, with an analysis of the
political situation in Zimbabwe. Let me start with Mr Nyathi, when you were the
spokesperson of the original MDC, that is, before the split, you talked a lot
about the brutality that was being inflicted on the MDC members. So now that
there's an inclusive government do you think that the sacrifices that were made
during those days have borne fruit?
PAUL THEMBA NYATHI: Well Violet it's very difficult to characterise the current situation as having borne fruit. You must remember that the struggle over the past 29 years has been about the democracy and the achievement of human rights in their fullest description possible, if you therefore say has that struggle borne fruit, I'd say not totally. But I can also say there have been some major changes in the manner our country conducts itself, in comparison to what it was say a year or two ago.
GONDA: Right and Dr Madhuku, in your view has there been
significant achievements towards a democratic Zimbabwe?
LOVEMORE MADHUKU: I wouldn't say that they have been significant achievement but there have been achievements, some good achievements towards a democratic Zimbabwe, I would agree with what Paul Themba Nyathi said. To a large extent we think that we can celebrate as Zimbabweans so I think that the mere fact that somewhat we have less violence now, we have recognition that Zimbabweans must continue to exist side by side regardless of political differences, even with the difficulties that we see some people in ZANU failing to appreciate that all of us are Zimbabweans, but there have been some achievements.
GONDA: What about the negotiations between the political parties in the inclusive government? What are your views on the deadlock?
MADHUKU: I don't understand what you mean by a deadlock and also that you still want to refer to what you refer to as negotiations. These discussions that have been purportedly taking place among the three political parties in government I think that they have been a conspiracy by the politicians just to keep everyone in the country in suspense. I must be very clear those negotiations are really a fraud actually, politically. As soon as the political parties entered into government on 11 February 2009 I think it was really misleading the nation to say that these political parties still have fundamental differences that require them to get into those lengthy and again secretive talks requiring SADC to intervene and so on. We have gone through now almost close to one and a half years now from the time that this government was established in February last year. The big issues were clearly - are you going to work together, are you going to be in one government, Mugabe President, Tsvangirai Prime Minister, that was resolved and agreed. Then after that, to then start saying that there are so many outstanding issues, we will talk and so on and at some point the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai threatened to walk out of the government - for a few weeks, then they were back in and so forth, that has always been silly. So no-one should focus on the so-called outstanding issues, no-one should focus on the so-called talks, what we have in the country now is an inclusive government.
But what I know is that both Zanu PF and MDC led by Tsvangirai, they still have constituencies that are quite problematic for them. For the MDC, some of their supporters still don't want to accept the fact that Tsvangirai finally accepted to work under the leadership of President Mugabe and so for Tsvangirai it is still very useful for him to still say; 'we are arguing, we are in talks with Mugabe blah, blah, blah, we want certain things'.
Also for President Mugabe it's about his notion of Tsvangirai being a puppet of the west and MDC and Zanu PF trying to mix, whether it's water and something else and so on and so he would still want to be seen to be fighting the MDC by denying them certain things. And so this is a trick between the two parties to keep their constituencies in check.
GONDA: But Dr Madhuku, what about what the MDC keeps saying that there's a deadlock over the issue of the Attorney General, the Reserve Bank governor, Roy Bennett, the Provincial Governors - are you saying that there's no deadlock over these issues?
MADHUKU: Who says there's a deadlock? I think the word deadlock is a word of the English language. This is mainly the journalists and politicians who tell you there's a deadlock. You can't call it a deadlock when daily Gideon Gono is the governor of the Reserve Bank. He reports to the government with Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Biti. (Finance Minister) Tendai Biti and Gideon Gono have so many meetings together, they are working in the same government. Tomana sits in the same Cabinet with those guys from the MDC and so forth and these things are happening every week. The MDC itself does accept from time to time decisions made by the Attorney General and so on and that is not a deadlock. If you were to put it that way, I think you should use another word.
On the other hand, Roy Bennett for example, yes he was appointed as, designated by his party as the Deputy Minister but I understand that according to the rules that were agreed that any minister must be sworn in by the President - and I'm sure that allows the President somewhat to refuse which is what Mugabe has done, that is this arrangement that they have. I'm very much opposed to this thing of deadlock, deadlock - these guys are working together, they are a government running the affairs of our country. They must have all the consequence, whether they succeed or they fail they must know that they are together and people must not be cheated into believing that there's anything called a deadlock.
GONDA: Before I go to Mr Nyathi what do you mean by MDC
supporters are unwilling to accept that Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister is
working under the leadership of Mugabe?
MADHUKU: That is how I see it. We all wanted Mugabe to leave power and that's what those elections were all about in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, that is what the struggle, at least led by the MDC, has always been about. There are other struggles in the country which would want to make this country more open but the struggle led by the MDC was nothing but a struggle to take power from Mugabe and every MDC supporter is all about that. Now to turn around and then say well Mugabe is now the President of the country and he can sit side by side with Tsvangirai and Tsvangirai accepting that there is President Mugabe and that is how things must go for the next four, five years is not something that will be quickly accepted by those who in the past ten years thought that the purpose of Tsvangirai is to replace Mugabe. I don't see Tsvangirai having any other role in the eyes of many people other than that of replacing Mugabe. A Tsvangirai working with Mugabe is not the Tsvangirai that was supported by the people in the past ten years.
GONDA: Mr Nyathi what's your reaction to this? Dr Madhuku says the struggle was to take power from Mugabe and it just appears that Morgan Tsvangirai is just working under the leadership of Mugabe and he also says the negotiations that are currently underway are just a fraud. What are your thoughts on this?
NYATHI: Look I wouldn't characterise the ongoing negotiations as a fraud. I do agree with Lovemore, for instance, that the outcome of the struggle that led to the GPA or the inauguration, or the installation of the all inclusive government was not what the MDC and its supporters had struggled for. They had struggled obviously for total victory and for power in its totality. That did not happen. We ended up with this kind of inclusive arrangement where on a daily basis, the three principals as they are called, are engaged in negotiations on a day-to-day basis and unfortunately those negotiations do not always yield in the eyes of ordinary Zimbabweans or in the expectations of ordinary Zimbabweans what they had struggled for. Obviously they had not struggled for a GPA, they had not struggled for a unity government. What has eventuated leads to the kind of negotiations that go on endlessly and that is the reality. The reality is that you have Mugabe in a position that a lot of Zimbabweans do not accept; you have Tsvangirai in a position that his supporters do not accept; you have Mutambara in a position that his own supporters do not accept either. Unfortunately that is the reality, that is what exists in Zimbabwe, we have to continue the struggle in other forms within the framework of the current political dispensation, that to me is the only choice open to the people of Zimbabwe.
GONDA: But what position is Mutambara in that his supporters
don't accept because many people believe that this is a perfect position for
your party, a party that had failed to get the necessary votes during the
elections. So can you explain to the critics who say
NYATHI: Violet that is a very simplistic conclusion. In fact it is a derisive conclusion that people make - you know Mutambara went in through the back door and so forth and so on - that's a temporary arrangement. Every leader of a political party seeks to conquer power. The fact that he got 400 votes and got ten members of parliament does not actually mean that he doesn't want to be in power. He still wants to be in power therefore to say; 'oh well he must be very grateful that now he is Deputy Prime Minister and so forth and so on' is missing the point. The issue is he is a leader of a political party, it doesn't matter what you think about it, it seeks to be in power and to be where he has that kind of limited power is not what a political party desires. Every political party, regardless of its size, seeks to have complete and total power. That's what is important.
GONDA: So are we going to see Professor Mutambara participating in the Presidential elections since he didn't participate in the last election?
NYATHI: Professor Mutambara is a leader of a political party. If his party fields him as a candidate for the Presidency, he has no choice but to stand.
GONDA: Dr Madhuku?
MADHUKU: I think it is wrong to say that Mutambara went in through the back door - it's actually not a scientific or political position. What happened in terms of these arrangements, the Global Political Agreement is an agreement of three political parties. No-one actually outside those three political parties understands the basis upon which they decided that they alone as the three parties would talk to each other. And I think that it's wrong to say once three political parties, I mean they were elected to parliament to say anyone who has representation in parliament must be part of the talks. They recognised there was Zanu PF, there was the Tsvangirai led group and there was the Mutambara led group - they decided on their own, there was not a discussion in the country as to who should participate in the Global Political arrangement. The understanding was that those who are in parliament should participate and Mutambara then in terms of the Agreement of those three was legitimately part of those discussions. I think that that view that he went in through the back door is a very insulting way of dealing with him, it's mainly promoted by the MDC party led by Tsvangirai. I think they cannot have their cake and eat it. Once they decide there's a political arrangement which does not take into account the ultimate decision of the majority of the people then they must live with that. I think that Mugabe would be more the person who went in through the back door than Arthur Mutambara.
NYATHI: You have had in this country 30 years of Zanu PF rule. You have had this one party rule that has also developed right across the land structures that are aligned and favour Zanu PF. You have also had created in the country over the past 30 years an ideology if you may call it that, a political ideology that favours Zanu PF. It therefore stands to reason that if you are going to have an inconclusive political result those structures on the ground will continue to reflect the will and the power and the ideology of Zanu PF and that is the reality on the ground. But I can also tell you that some within Zanu PF who are very unhappy with the dilution of what used to be complete and total power, they are now forced to accept that they cannot do as they please. If you look at the Commissions for instance that have been put in place, at the electoral proposals that are on the table, you begin to realise that Zanu PF is itself very unhappy because there are things that are happening that do not conform to the culture of Zanu PF. It's not everything that some of us have struggled for, it's not everything that a country like Zimbabwe deserves but this is the sort of outcome that you are likely to get unless you have achieved victory either through the ballot box or through the bullet. Neither has happened and we have this arrangement which unfortunately we have to try and make the best of.
GONDA: So do you think that people are being overly anxious
to want change like yesterday because some say the unity government has been in
place for over a year now and the political parties in government are squabbling
over issues that can easily be resolved overnight. What are your thoughts on
NYATHI: Violet, who told you that the political parties are squabbling?
GONDA: Why are they having these negotiations and as you say, these endless negotiations if they are not squabbling?
NYATHI: Look if you didn't have things that have been termed outstanding issues around Tomana, around Gono, around governors, around the swearing in of Roy Bennett, you'd still have lots and lots of issues that come up for discussion. That is why, when the parties left Maputo for instance, instead of seven outstanding issues they ended up with 22 outstanding issues. I bet you, if they went again to start afresh some negotiations - should some other major crisis occur like one of the parties pulling out for instance - you'll end up with 45 other issues for negotiation and all this has to do with attempts to normalise a totally abnormal country; normalise a situation that could easily have been normalised had the elections been conclusive, had the elections not been stolen or had the elections not been as violent as they ended up being.
As long as you have this kind of arrangement you'll always have negotiations and as far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't really characterise them as squabbling. Day in, day out, Morgan Tsvangirai tells the public, he and Robert Mugabe and his other partner are getting on fine. Mugabe says the same thing, Arthur Mutambara says the same thing so as far as I'm concerned, as long as those three find a way of working together and getting Zimbabwe to move forward, albeit slowly, particularly for a population that has spent so many anxious years hoping that our country can be brought back to be a normal country like any other of course the pace is a lot slower. But a year as far as I'm concerned to undo years of damage, excessive damage for that matter, it's not a very, very long time.
GONDA: But if they are getting on well together, why is it they continue to issue conflicting statements like for example with what we've seen with the Indigenisation Regulations where the Prime Minister's Office is saying one thing that the Regulations have been suspended and Mugabe and the Minister in charge of these Indigenisation Regulations are saying something different - that they have not been suspended. And you also have the MDC issuing statements that violence is continuing in areas like Bindura, Masvingo - so if they are working well, why are these things still continuing?
NYATHI: I'll tell you Violet, you are going to have pockets of violence in this country for a long time to come and of course those acts of violence, undesirable as they might be, are a reflection of 30 years of the kind of rule that this country has been subjected to. With respect to conflicting statements that will come out - that should be expected. Mind you, each of the parties in this arrangement has a constituency that it plays to. Unfortunately that kind of posturing damages the image of our country with respect to investment and so forth and so on.
Violet, mark my words, that Indigenisation Bill will never be implemented in this country, it will not be implemented but there's going to be lots of posturing, there's going to be lots of grandstanding, there's going to be lots and lots of anxiety around it because for Zanu PF giving in means surrendering, for MDC not to talk about it being scrapped also means not servicing the aspirations of its constituency. It's going to go on and on and on but behind the scenes, very wise counsel is going to prevail. I have no doubt about that in my mind. We are all Zimbabweans, we know what is bad for our country, and even people within Zanu PF will tell you that kind of Bill doesn't serve our country in any way. It doesn't do us any favours particularly with respect to the current challenges that the international investment world is facing. There is a lot of pressure that's been exerted on Zimbabwe, on Zanu PF. You know that Indigenisation Bill is not just injurious to the investment climate of Zimbabwe, it is also harmful to the whole region and you can bet your last dollar that it is not just the opposition that is concerned, it's the whole of SADC, it's the AU, it's everybody else and you can rest assured there is a lot of discussions behind the scenes.
Unfortunately, my experience of Zanu PF is that it is one party that enjoys being notorious. The more people blame it, the more people chastise it, the more people condemn it - the more they enjoy it. They love that. That is Zanu PF, that's what makes Zanu PF thrive but I can tell you behind the scenes a lot of people are saying 'this is not acceptable, you can't do this to your country, you can't do this to the region' and wise counsel will eventually succeed.
GONDA: Let me bring in Dr Madhuku here; first of all is it
unrealistic to want immediate change and what are your thoughts on the
conflicting statements over the Indigenisation
MADHUKU: Well I think, I've been listening to what Mr Paul Themba Nyathi has been saying, most of the points that he is making I think they make a lot of sense. One point I need to comment on is that journalists exaggerate the extent to which these people in government are disagreeing. And I think when I said initially, I used the word fraud, I actually meant exactly what Paul Themba Nyathi is referring to there that there's no need for the politicians to want to portray the image of squabbling or disagreeing when we know that the very fact of them being in one government means that they have some substantial agreement.
But if I may move on to the issue of wanting change - one must separate two things - there is the change of wanting Mugabe to go and be replaced by Tsvangirai and there is the change to wanting things to improve to the better for people in the country. I think the latter, the last one where people want things to be better in the country and for society to move forward is the more dominant position and that's has not changed. Many people still want - a better life for themselves.
What is beginning to evaporate is this thought of Mugabe going and Tsvangirai being the person replacing him, and that is what this inclusive government would do in terms of simply making less and less people aspire for that kind of change. It's not a change, worth wanting to die for. There might be a change that Mugabe must go and be replaced by a better leader but I doubt that many people here still think that we must go back to that. So that's what I wanted to say. So when you talk about change, know what you are talking about, I think many Zimbabweans want a better life for them and there would soon be removing that better life from the personalities that characterise the government now.
And then in terms of what you are calling the conflicting statements coming from the people in government - it's very true that on the one hand, Zanu PF wants to create the impression that its fighting is different from the MDC by putting in emphasis on land acquisition, now this new thing about indigenisation, just about a slogan which is meant to portray to some of their supporters what they are made up of - we are a party for the people. On the other hand, MDC is also anxious to want to be seen differently and so forth and so it's all political posturing. At the end of the day I doubt that there are any major differences - there's really nothing happening about indigenisation on the ground.
So we shouldn't read too much into the statements that politicians make about their differences. We must be more interested in what they do together. We see them together, just as we are talking, I think if you watch our television here in the country and our media here, you'd see the Vice President John Nkomo, you'd see the Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe touring and a number of other ministers from the various parties touring the Chiadzwa diamond fields and all coming out of it and saying 'ah there's good progress there, Zimbabwe now deserves to sell its diamonds and so on' - speaking one language. That's what they are doing. It will be quite another thing if you start reading what they claim to have said in private meetings with their supporters, they'll say different things. So we must be learning a lot from the inclusive government if you want to know the character of our politicians and if you also want to determine what we want to do to move forward. I think we should be guided less by the utterances of the personalities who make our policies here and be guided more by our grievances as a people and organise ourselves differently. We must not think about organising ourselves either as Zanu PF or MDC, I think we must think more in terms of organising ourselves as interested people in a variety of issues.
GONDA: Can you really blame the media here when it's the political parties that seem to be playing games?
MADHUKU: But you should not take the making of statements by politicians as a squabble or as a disagreement. If one person makes a statement and another one makes another statement that doesn't necessarily lead to disagreement - until you study the actions of those politicians. But if I was told that Tsvangirai was not going to Cabinet because he really feels that there's no reason why he should still sit in the same meeting as Mugabe and then if I hear that Mugabe has not had his meeting with Tsvangirai or has not recognised Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, then those are disagreements, those are squabbles. But what the media regards as disagreements it is not what in politics is disagreement. When Mugabe issued statements for example that the 51% law will stay, that there will be no change to the Indigenisation Law and so on, what you must then go on and check is whether in fact there's been any attempt to change it. As far as we know on the ground, there are no attempts - the statements which are really attributed to the MDC are actually not made by Morgan Tsvangirai. You talk more about the statements made by Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti and so on. If you were to be very critical just study the kind of statements which are made by Tsvangirai and the kind of statements which are made by Mugabe, you'll see very little differences there - if you look at those two. But I think the media love the headlines, so if something is done, they go to Chamisa. Chamisa will say anything and that's what we know, but Tsvangirai has never really seriously disagreed with Mugabe.
NYATHI: Violet, let me put it this way, I understand exactly what Lovemore is saying. The tendency that you get from the media and other sections that seek to comment on the Zimbabwean situation is to portray in this whole arrangement Morgan Tsvangirai as the victim and I keep saying to myself, the man is not a victim! He is part of an arrangement, he has gone into that arrangement with his eyes open, he knows what he's doing in that arrangement, he knows what he gets in that arrangement but the media loves to portray him as a victim and I don't understand why the media seeks to do that.
Morgan Tsvangirai is in that arrangement with a whole lot of political advice and support around him so it should be what he says that guides us. If he tells all of us that he is happy with what is happening in the government now, though he would wish things would moved faster, we should understand that he is part of what is going on in Zimbabwe, instead of portraying an image that is totally different from the image that he himself portrays.
I think this is what I have found extremely difficult with respect to the media. You have Mugabe on one hand, Tsvangirai on the other and Mutambara on the other, these three as Lovemore put it are in the business of making our country move forward albeit slowly in some of our own assessment and wish. On a daily basis they meet and talk about things that in their view help Zimbabwe move forward. If they tell us that is what they are doing what we should then be saying to all three of them - speed it up you three. This is no time for you to mess around, speed it up but the tendency is to say 'oh well, it's Mugabe who's slowing up everything' - there is three of them, we must make them take collective responsibility for office, because this is what they have said they are doing. They have told us that they are taking collective responsibility. Who are we then to separate them and say 'oh well, if it were not for Mugabe, Tsvangirai would have moved faster'. Tsvangirai says he is in that arrangement, he has found some working arrangement with Mugabe so let us judge him on the basis of what he says and not on the basis that we don't actually like Mugabe - and there's a reason why most of us don't like Mugabe but that shouldn't translate into turning Tsvangirai into a victim.
GONDA: Mr Nyathi, you know many people believe that for the country to move forward and to develop there has to be a stable political climate and they don't see this. There're no major reforms in place so what can you tell Zimbabweans who hear day in and day out that there's no movement as far as the implementation of the GPA is concerned and they continue to hear that SADC has been called in to intervene?
NYATHI: What I would say to Zimbabweans is, let me tell you Violet, last week I was in Harare; I met my old friend, Professor Reg Austin who has come back to Zimbabwe to head the Human Rights Commission. I am also told a very able lawyer, Simpson Mutambanengwe has come back to Zimbabwe to head the Electoral Commission and I know that my old friend Godfrey Majonga is now heading the Media Commission and so forth and so on. Those are the people that we need to be targeting in the next few weeks. I'm going to be saying to these people - you have a job of work to do, get on with it. If they say to me - well we can't get on with this job because Mugabe doesn't allow us to get on with the job, I will say - get out of there, if that is what is happening, get out of there. So what I'll say to Zimbabweans is - look it's not just the Gideon Gono issue, it's not just Tomana that is the issue, it's not just the failure to swear in Roy Bennett, it's not just the issue of the governors - it's a whole lot of things, including saying to JOMIC - why is there still violence in some pockets of Zimbabwe? Get on with the work!
GONDA: Do you agree with that Dr Madhuku that it's time that
other groups, organisations, commissions that have been appointed, that should
now start working and stopping these things. You have been fighting the regime
for the last ten years, is it really possible what Mr Nyathi is saying right
MADHUKU: I know why he is saying that, I think from his stand point as a practising politician and so forth, he would say those things. I think people on the ground are more interested in the day-to-day life, what would Zimbabweans now feel - they would want to pay school fees for their children, they can't afford it. Zimbabweans are still trying to get employment, they can't get it. They don't think that it is about the talks, I think they should not be advised to focus on the talks, the advice is to confront the government that is there, it is an inclusive government and it must deliver these things. They are a government; they put themselves forward to run the country. They have said as three of us who want to run the affairs of the country. The focus of all of us in the country must be to say - what is the government doing, what are we doing, how far are they really doing the right things that a government must do? They must create the framework that will make our country move forward. That's what we must focus on.
And you as the media, you will help this country better if you take the people away from what Themba Nyathi is calling - 'making Tsvangirai a victim'. Make Tsvangirai part of the government and make him deliver. This idea of reading every day in the newspapers about Mugabe doing this to Tsvangirai, doing these wrong things to Tsvangirai and yet Tsvangirai is not doing anything. He goes to his office, gets his press conference about complaining about nothing. What has he done when he went in there as Prime Minister? How far has he handled some of the things that he could do? Even with the limited powers that Tsvangirai has, he could have done a lot of things with that small power that he has and he's not doing that and no-one is subjecting him to scrutiny there.
So the way forward for our country is to treat the MDC led by Tsvangirai, the
MDC led by Mutambara, Robert Mugabe leading Zanu PF and also being President,
let's treat them as a government and let's subject them to accountability and
that accountability must be based on bread and butter issues here and so on. I
will tell you that if I go to my students now at the University and talk to
them, they are very, very concerned about the fact that they can't afford
university tuition and they know that Tsvangirai has never uttered a single
statement in support of them getting access to do what they are supposed to be
doing. And why should this government escape this kind of
GONDA: I'm afraid I'm running out of time but I hope I'll be able to get both of you back at a later stage but before we go, briefly Mr Nyathi, can you give us your thoughts on the sanctions issue and the constitutional process?
NYATHI: If you took Mugabe out of the equation and said this is Zimbabwe, this is not Mugabe's country, it's your country, it's my country, would you want those measures on our country? If you tell me the purpose that they serve at this juncture then I'll say OK it makes sense to retain them. But if they don't serve any useful purpose, my feeling is that they should simply go. Forget about the fact that it is Mugabe that is talking about them. Say you are a Zimbabwean, you need to be able to access credit, you need to put your schools back into functionality, you need to put your hospitals back into working order, if sanctions make it impossible for that to happen, do you really need them? If we start saying - well it's Mugabe that talks about sanctions and then we cloud our analysis and assessment of the effect of those sanctions because Mugabe has spoken about them, I think we are missing the point. This is our country, this is not Mugabe's country, it's all our country - do we as Zimbabweans need those sanctions? If we need them what purpose do they serve? If somebody says to me they serve this particular purpose, then maybe I will understand. I have yet to come across a Zimbabwean who has a very coherent explanation why, after the three political parties have agreed, we still continue to have these measures. Nobody has been able to tell me.
GONDA: And on the
NYATHI: Well the constitution - the truth of the matter is that it has had a number of false starts, I made a joke with my friend, Dr Madhuku, I said to him I had looked forward to seeing him, in fact I regret that Madhuku is not part of this process but I respect his views for not being part of it. It's going to be very difficult for us to achieve all the objectives that Zimbabwe requires with respect to the constitution. I just hope we are moving to some place that even Dr Madhuku would be proud of with respect to this constitution making process.
GONDA: Dr Madhuku do you agree with this and also can you
give us your thoughts on the sanctions issue?
MADHUKU: On the issue that they regret me not being part of, I understand that issue. I'm sure as he has already indicated we have differences over the process and I believe that this process will not yield the kind of constitution that we have always wanted, but we have also of course said well let's see how it progresses, we will not be party, but we will see if they are genuine and want to come up with a democratic constitution, we will see the draft that they will produce and we will subject it to an analysis. Obviously if the draft is as we suspect something that would show that they are not interested in getting a new constitution for the country but just a compromise document, we will oppose it. If they surprise us and come up with a good constitution we will congratulate them. So I think that the way forward now is not about debating who is doing what, I think we must now respect the various positions on this matter. And coming to the issue of the.(interrupted)
NYATHI: Violet I want to interrupt Lovemore on that score. Some of us don't consider his remarks as a threat; I think it is an incentive. If he says you guys come up with something that we ourselves will find acceptable we will not oppose it but if it is not acceptable we will oppose it. I think that is a fair statement, I think it's an incentive, I think he is absolutely correct, none of us would want to be part of an outcome that does not do justice to the aspirations of the people in this country.
GONDA: And before Dr Madhuku talks about the issue of
sanctions can you Mr Nyathi explain to our listeners what role you are playing
in this current process, the constitution making
NYATHI: Well I am one of the 210 individuals who have been trained as rapporteurs and what was emphasised during this training is that all we do is stand somewhere, not be seen by the crowd and take down what people say. We have no views of our own, we have no ideas of our own, we simply put what the people say what they want included in the constitution.
GONDA: And when are you going to start the outreach
NYATHI: That's the problem, that's the big question. The leadership of this process say in three weeks time but I'm not sure, it's had false starts already. That is why in my view, if we had people with the experience of Dr Madhuku as part of the process, maybe some of the administrative hiccups would have been avoided.
GONDA: Dr Madhuku?
MADHUKU: (laughs) Look I think that you know these people are, we have different views on what they say they want to make a constitution. But I think that the difficulty that we are facing is that the leaders are really politicians, that get pre-occupied with other political issues and they don't think the constitution making one is a priority. So it is going to be very difficult for the outreach process to start. I think it will start, perhaps in three or four weeks but it won't go far, after three weeks they will have a break and then we'll have another six months of squabbles and so on and all that. That is a disgrace to the country if we get a constitution making process that keeps going up and down, but as I have said already, let's see what they do.
MADHUKU: On the sanctions issue the position is very clear - the sanctions issue in Zimbabwe is a politically partisan issue and that all the debate on sanctions have missed the fact that it's about party positions. An ordinary person who is not attached or aligned to any party would not obviously support sanctions in a country. Let's say you were not a Zanu PF or MDC supporter - you were just an ordinary Zimbabwean that wants the country to move forward, you wouldn't think in terms of sanctions. So sanctions have become a politically partisan issue. Zanu PF for very clear reasons will not support them because they are the ones that are targeted especially in terms of the travel bans and also feel that the sanctions have also compromised their political fortunes. On the other hand a number of MDC supporters believe that sanctions can be used as a weapon to undermine Zanu PF and take Zanu PF out of power.
But the bottom-line is that as Zimbabweans, we shouldn't allow this issue of sanctions to divide us. I think Zimbabweans must concentrate on ensuring that we get a democratic country. We don't need sanctions to support our cause. I think I speak for myself that I will be able to fight for the rights I have without sanctions and so on. So those who put sanctions and say that they are helping me and others, I think they are really insulting us.
GONDA: Dr Lovemore Madhuku and Mr Paul Themba Nyathi thank you very much for talking to us on the programme Hot Seat.
|Written by The Zimbabwean|
|Monday, 19 April 2010 14:09|
|LOS ANGELES - Zimbabwean born Vivien Killilea is making it
in the cut-throat arts industry in Hollywood. (Pictured: Vivien Killilea saw an opportunity
and took the Holywood market by storm) |
She has worked along-side the famous and the Who is Who of Holywood such as Jennifer Lopez and socialite and reality television star Paris Hilton among others.
Killilea told the Zimbabwean in an interview that she developed a business idea after a work colleague told her she had the ability to run a successful business.
She saw a business opportunity in 2009 after noticing that very few companies were offering affordable services and studios for the "average artist" in a time of recession.
"More and more photographers and filmmakers' budgets are being cut and they are now actively seeking out more affordable studios and services to meet their downsized budgets. I saw this need and decided it would be profitable to fulfill it," she said.
Her company is called Daydream Republic and it provides studio services to filmmakers, musicians, artists, actors and photographers.
"Day Dream Republic has become the hottest new studio, taking the film, music and arts market by storm, at a time when most other creative industries are shutting down," she told The Zimbabwean.
She said her studio was versatile, catering for a wide market, as opposed to other studio owners who adversely limited themselves to one genre of art.
In addition to her studio services, she curates live performance and art shows once a month, which allow artists of different genres to connect with each other and meet like-minded individuals and buyers. She said some of her supporters of these events included Corey Feldman (The Goonies) and Shane Black (writer of Lethal Weapon, director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang).
Killilea moved from her suburban home in Harare's plush suburb of Borrowdale to Los Angeles six years ago to pursue her dream of working in a creative industry.
She said creativity was a passion she yielded to at a young age, thanks to her parents Garrett and Diane Killilea, who encouraged her to take theatre and music lessons at the Academy of Music and Convent and Arundel Schools in Harare. By the end of her school career, she was the head of theatre at Arundel School and played viola in the Harare City Orchestra.
Her parents kept her motivated and ensured she continued practising and developing her talents. The parents took her and three siblings to REPS theatre and various concerts, movies and Tambuka performances at every opportunity possible. Her mother is a volunteer for the Allied Arts and the popular HIFA back home.
When she moved to Los Angeles she studied theatre and television production at University. She graduated one year early. During this time, when she was not studying, she spent her time working on local television shows up to three times a week for the West Coast television station "TV26" where she made a variety of acting and directing appearances.
Killilea received her first movie credit six months before she graduated, working on Jennifer Lopez's film "El Cantante". She was quickly promoted from just a college intern to an assistant producer and later to a full producer. Immediately after graduation, she also worked on a movie, "True Blood."
When she was not at work, she spent her evenings and weekends producing her own side projects, which included the short film "A Cost of Freedom" which has played at several film festivals. She also produced the first ever South African film festival in Los Angeles.
When the film production industry was hit by the 2007 writers' strike and thousands were put out of work, instead of taking a break, Killilea switched her focus a little and began managing and editing for a high profile fashion photographer, Michael Bezjian. While working there, she was lucky enough to work hands on with Hilton, Adrian Grenier, Lance Bass and many more celebrities.
Killilea said Mr Bezjian saw her potential and highly encouraged her to start her own business.
She attributes the success of her career and her studio to her solid upbringing and the well-rounded education she was given in Zimbabwe. She is thankful for the work-ethic she was taught, especially thanks to the strong examples she was given.
She saw her parents, teachers, colleagues and country go through hard times yet they all kept pressing on: keeping hopes high and work motivation higher. She has taken this mentality with her to the USA.
There is a wide outcry that the charges of many service providers including
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) are unjustifiably high.
Responding to public complaints and the issuance of yellow cards by WOZA in
Bulawayo over the unfair charges, Mr. Ernest Machiya, of the Zimbabwe
Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of
ZESA, said the authority’s tariffs were justified as they were the lowest in
the SADC region.
This is not a new statement, and it’s the only answer that the ZESA ever
has. I am sure that the majority of people in Zimbabwe are civil servants
taking home between 100 to 200 dollars a month. That person has school going
children, who need fees, transport money and food. Power is not the only
service to pay for. There is also water, rentals and other rates that are
also charged at their own levels of madness. People’s earnings are far below
regional levels. Food is very expensive given that we are living largely on
imported products. Is there any justification to charge a regional tariff to
people who are struggling well below the poverty datum line? Is there any
justification to compare normal economies to an abnormal one such as ours.
The little that we can afford to pay them has been turned into hefty
salaries for themselves without improving the service delivery side. What
should come first between awarding above average salaries and improving
Despite poor a poor service characterised by severe power cuts, ZESA has no
shame in billing its domestic customers amounts close to and above 1000
dollars a month. In some instances it is billing twice a month, a trend that
has never been heard of in the history of this country.
During the past era, tuck-shop owners always raised their prices in response
to an anticipated increase in supply of money maybe because salaries have
been increased. That was simple supply and demand economics. Can ZESA tell
us what it is responding to when charging USD2000 to someone with USD150 in
his pocket, worse still without any proper supply of services?
Mr Machiya, can you suggest how you expect a headmaster at Mufakose High to
pay you say 500 dollars a month only for your power and nothing more, let
alone a widow in Budiriro? We encourage leaders of institutions like ZESA to
desist from displaying such absurdity. We end up questioning your
credentials as professionals and as leaders of socially responsible
institutions. Our advice to you service providers is simple, “The issue is
not about the regional level, it is about who your clients are and what they
can afford.” For South Africans, power charges are a reasonable fraction of
the an average person’s salary, the same can be said of Botswana, Mozambique
and whichever regional country one can name. The same cannot be said of our
dear Zimbabwe. Can you all join us in the campaign for decent salaries for
everyone before charging high tariffs. It should be known to ZESA and other
companies that the amounts which people are not paying does not constitute
an asset in you balance sheet; it is by default bad debt as no one will ever
afford to pay up even in a decade’s time.
This entry was posted on April 20th, 2010 at 7:03 am by Dydimus Zengenene