Dumisani Ndlela and Clemence Manyukwe Staff Report
President to quit after poll
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe succeeded in suppressing debate over his candidacy
for the presidential race scheduled for early 2008 during a tense central
committee meeting held last Friday, railroading a cocktail of proposals
perceived to give him the edge over his adversaries with regard to the
appointment of his successor.
The fresh proposals, to be discussed in Cabinet this month before being
fast-tracked through the ZANU PF-dominated parliament, will afford the
veteran politician a firmer grip on the legislature, which will be expanded
and granted powers to act as an electoral college that can elect a successor
in the event that a sitting president dies in office or resigns before the
completion of a current term.
Currently, the Constitution provides for an election to be held within 90
days of the office of President becoming vacant.
Diplomatic sources said the raft of proposals presented last Friday are
meant to pave the way for President Mugabe's eventual resignation after he
is re-elected into power next year.
They said the ruling party's first secretary, whose inner cabal pulled the
rug at Friday's central committee meeting from underneath the feet of ZANU
PF bigwigs that were determined to stop him from standing on the party
ticket in next year's poll, is planning to retire soon after the election
but wants to ensure that a candidate of his choice succeeds him.
Sources indicated that President Mugabe's campaign machinery, led by
political commissar Elliot Manyika, was already in full force and stamped
its authority during the central committee indaba when it ensured the
83-year-old former guerilla leader's nomination was not debated.
Manyika angrily declined comment on his reported role in the developments
when reached yesterday.
There is a likelihood of a purge of those known to have been opposed to
President Mugabe standing again in the 2008 polls, with sources saying a
strategy was already in place to ensure that he would front-load the
expanded parliament with loyalists.
"The purge is definitely coming although it could be delayed for two
reasons; the first being that the party needs to go into the elections
united," said the source. "The fact that our congress is only coming in 2009
makes it extremely difficult to root out unwanted elements and the only way
to do it would be to wait for a Cabinet reshuffle or to look at the past of
those targeted to see whether they are clean," said the source.
In 2004, President Mugabe purged ruling party structures of perceived
dissenters after crushing opposition to his backing for Joice Mujuru as
Vice-President. Six party provincial chairmen were sacked.
President Mugabe is expected to appoint 10 members of the House of Assembly,
and will have a controlling influence on all senators, as there will no
longer be a direct election for senators.
The House of Assembly will be expanded from the current 150 to 210 members
and the senate from 66 to 84 members, with an amendment of the Electoral Law
and the Constitution to allow for a system of proportional representation
for the election of senators.
Traditional chiefs will have 10 representatives in the senate, which will
accommodate 10 ZANU PF provincial governors directly appointed by the
President, and six senators per province elected in line with the present
constituency-based system. There are 10 provinces in the country.
The President will elect four othersenators to represent special interest
groups. The proposals were passed without amendment by the central
committee, the party's policy-making organ.
The two factions of the Movement for Demcratic Change (MDC) yesterday
literally came out with their guns blazing. They argued that the proposed
constitutional changes were designed to give President Mugabe a safe exit
from active politics while entrenching his party's rule.
Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman for the anti-senate faction of the MDC, said
the tinkering with the constitution for the umpteenth time showed the ruling
party is no longer in sync with the aspirations of long-suffering
"The so-called proposals are not part of the solution to Zimbabwe's
political crisis. These are self-serving measures, short of what's expected
by the generality of Zimbabweans," he said. "Zimbabweans want a prosperous
country, free and just society. These ZANU PF piece-meal proposals do not
address fundamental issues," he added.
Chamisa said the main opposition party has put a comprehensive plan together
to end the Zimbabwean crisis premised on the need for a holistic and
sweeping transformation of the country's constitution and issues of
Gabriel Chaibva, the spokesman for the pro-senate camp of the MDC,
"ZANU PF wants to increase seats in rural areas at the expense of urban
areas. This is criminal, the proposals are not a solution to the country's
crisis," said Chaibva.
ZANU PF insiders said the ruling party might emerge with more seats in its
rural stronghold depending on the outcome of the delimitation process that
will look at the geographical boundaries of each of the existng 120
In the past, the ZANU PF government has rarely tampered with its numerical
advantage in rural communities but has curtailed the opposition parties'
influence in urban areas where the MDC enjoys overwhelming support.
"We are obviously working on reducing the geographical size of rural
constituencies so that the people are well represented. As it is, it is not
possible for rural Members of Parliament to visit every part of their
constituencies because they lack the resources," said a ZANU PF insider. "By
reducing them (rural constituencies), they become much more manageable. The
Delimitation Commission is going to do its work taking into account the
voter population," added the source.
The Delimitation Commission, whose officials are appointed by President
Mugabe and report directly to him, will be responsible for drawing up new
constituency boundaries to increase the number of contested House of
Assembly seats to 200.
Sources revealed this week that protagonists in the race for the top party
job had prepared to push for President Mugabe's resignation during the
central committee meeting on the basis of pledges he had made earlier that
he would pass on the mantle in 2008, although the issue had not been on the
agenda of the central committee meeting.
There had been intense lobbying in the provinces, particularly for
Vice-President Mujuru, to take over from President Mugabe next year as the
party's presidential candidate.
The Financial Gazette learnt from sources that factional leaders who had
clandestinely secured the backing of seven provinces were stunned when
Manyika indicated, soon after all party resolutions on the agenda were
passed, that they had to deal with the issue of a presidential candidate for
the 2008 election and then declared: "Fortunately the party has one
candidate, His Excellency Cde Robert Mugabe".
Although there was a round of applause from the floor, sources indicated
that a sombre mood had overtaken some of the delegates at the high table,
mostly politburo members understood to be sympathetic to the Mujuru camp,
reportedly led by her husband retired army general Solomon Mujuru.
Sources said the declaration of President Mugabe's candidature had afforded
welcome relief for Emmerson Mnangagwa, a key contender to the presidency, as
Mujuru had appeared poised to win the bid to succeed President Mugabe if
this had been tabled at the central committee meeting.
It is understood the majority of provinces were prepared to back Mujuru for
the presidency if they had been given the opportunity to make their
THE drawn-out impasse over the pricing of bread has claimed its second
casualty in two weeks, after Proton Bakers closed down this week.
A fortnight after another major bakery, Superbake, shut down half its
bakeries and cut 1 500 jobs, Proton succumbed to the government-imposed
price controls, which made it impossible for the company to offset
escalating production costs.
The Marondera bakery chain said the decision to shut down had been forced by
serious viability problems arising mainly from the ever-escalating cost of
Spiros Tselentis, the technical director at Proton, said the bakery could no
longer afford to buy fuel from private importers.
The bakery said several attempts to source fuel at the controlled price from
the state-run National Oil Company of Zimbabwe had failed.
- Business Reporter
Charles Rukuni Bureau Chief
BULAWAYO - Inflation itself is now the biggest driver of inflation, which
has gone rampant, exceeding 1 700 percent in February, management consultant
Eric Bloch told a meeting of Bulawayo industrialists last week.
Addressing the annual general meeting of the Matabeleland Chamber of
Industries, the local affiliate of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries,
Bloch said inflation had been the biggest driver of inflation in the past
six weeks because everyone was using it either to calculate wages or
It was therefore, essential to address inflation in order to curb it and the
signing of the social contract, which binds government, employers and labour
was a step in the right direction.
Prices rocketed at the end of February amid fears that they would be frozen
at the beginning of March. This is likely to have fuelled inflation for
March whose figure should be released next week.
Bloch said 17 countries had gone through
the same experience that Zimbabwe was currently going through but they had
all recovered after entering into social contracts.
It was therefore, quite significant that all three parties concerned, the
government, employers and labour, had signed the social contract more than a
week ago and had agreed to adopt the Kadoma Declaration, which was crafted
by the labour movement nearly six years ago.
The Kadoma Declaration calls for, among other things, the tripartite
negotiating forum to address the country risk factor under which the world
thinks Zimbabwe is an unsafe country to invest in or even to visit.
The declaration also calls on the parties to address politicisation and
failure of the institutions of governance; the mismatch between policy and
action; delays in policy implementation; and the overall spread of wealth.
It also calls on the parties to address corruption in the public and private
sectors, as well as in transfer pricing, black market activities, customs,
immigration, awarding of tenders, police, issuing of licences, allocation of
public resources, price monitoring, privatisation, education and tourism.
Asked by one of the industrialists whether the Kadoma Declaration was not
outdated, Bloch said it probably was in some areas but it was a foundation
and a good starting point.
"I would like to call upon all those who are despondent, depressed and
filled with gloom and doom not to give up. The Kadoma Declaration is like a
key to start an engine. You can start the engine but you may not be able to
move. You will need to engage into gear and then press the accelerator
before you are able to move."
The Kadoma Declaration was therefore, the platform from which the three
parties could seek other reforms to propel the economy forward.
Bloch said that the economy had failed to recover so far because of
political meddling. He said government had refused to devalue the local
currency because to politicians devaluation meant an admission of failure.
The government was also afraid of devaluation because it was the biggest
user of foreign currency, so any devaluation meant that its debt would
balloon in local currency terms.
Asked how industry could tell whether the government was genuine about
abiding by the terms of the social contract this time, Bloch said, some of
the things people had to watch was whether the government would grant the
central bank full independence.
Industry also had to watch whether the government was going to align
monetary policy to the fiscal policy and would fully accept deregulation.
It also had to reform the land redistribution exercise to make sure only
productive farmers remained on the farms. It should stimulate exports
because right now industry was only operating at 20 percent capacity. This
was highly inflationary because industry had to pay 100 percent of its fixed
costs from a 20 percent base.
"An increase in exports would mean that exporters would reduce their
dependence on foreign currency from the black-market. If we increase
capacity by 60 percent or more we reduce the unit cost of our products and
thus also reduce inflation," he said.
"But we have to accept that we cannot go it alone," he added. "We have to
join the international community. We don't have to kow-tow to the
international community but we have to work with them. Insulting the western
community only hurts us. How do you expect a British investor to invest in
Zimbabwe when you are calling his Prime Minister a toilet?"
Njabulo Ncube Chief Political Reporter
TWO senior officials of rival factions of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) are in South Africa to present reports they believe
are key to beginning talks with ZANU PF.
Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube, the secretaries general of the Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara factions of the MDC, travelled this week to
South Africa, just a week after they held what South African President Thabo
Mbeki called lengthy discussions on possible talks with his officials.
President Mbeki was last Friday appointed mediator in the Zimbabwean
political crisis at a Southern Africa Development Community summit in
Tanzania. Mbeki said in a weekend press interview that his officials had
held talks last Friday with both factions as he began the difficult task of
brokering talks between ZANU PF and the opposition.
Mbeki said in the interview he expected the factions to return with a
combined report this week. Opposition officials said Biti and Ncube had now
finished the document and left for South Africa yesterday to submit it to
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the Tsvangirai camp, confirmed Biti was in
South Africa but declined to give details. The Mutambara faction spokesman
Gabriel Chaibva said he was not aware Ncube was in South Africa.
Ncube and Biti, sources say, will present the document, "Road Map to
establish a new Zimbabwe and a New Beginning", whose key demands are a new
constitution before next year's elections and the repeal of repressive media
and security laws.
Meanwhile, the High Court yesterday ordered police to return computers and
other property they seized last Wednesday when they raided MDC offices in
The raid, whose purpose the police said was to flush out the alleged
perpetrators of petrol bombings, resulted in the arrest of 10 activists and
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's brief detention.
MDC lawyer Chris Mhike said yesterday that High Court judge Lawrence Kamocha
granted an order for the return of the property.
"They (police) were ordered to return all eleven computers, two laptops and
a digital camera as well as files," he said.
Stanley Kwenda Staff Reporter
A DETERMINED search by Paul Mangwana for a new political home has finally
paid off as it emerged this week that the Indigenisation Minister is on the
verge of landing the ZANU PF provincial chairmanship for Masvingo.
Sources said the non-constituency Member of Parliament had finally completed
a long journey that saw him hobnob from one province to the other in search
of a constituency, thanks to the planned re-organisation of the fractious
Masvingo provincial executive.
They said there has been heavy lobbying for Mangwana ahead of the elections
following a directive by the ZANU PF national commissar, Elliot Manyika, to
dissolve the Samuel Mumbengegwi-led executive.
"If current efforts to place him at the apex of our provincial structure
succeed, it would become easy for Mangwana to throw his hat in either Chivi
North or Chivi South constituencies," said a source.
Mangwana was last year forced out of Mashonaland West province allegedly on
ethnic grounds and immediately set out to retrace his steps to Masvingo.
He has recently featured prominently at various functions, giving credence
to speculation that he was strategically positioning himself.
Mangwana comes from Chivi, a district, regarded as a political hotbed of
incessant and deep-seated factionalism.
His overtures have reportedly incurred the wrath of other ZANU PF
heavyweights who are trying to firmly establish themselves following the
downfall of former Masvingo Governor Josiah Hungwe.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
40 000 soldiers owed cash in lieu of leave
THE government will pay billions of dollars for accrued leave days for an
estimated 40 000 soldiers deployed during Zimbabwe's involvement in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) war, a senior Defence Ministry
official has said.
Secretary for Defence, Trust Maphosa, said this week that the entire force
that served at the time would receive outstanding payment in lieu of leave,
a development likely to force the government to dig deeper into its drying
Responding to enquiries by The Financial Gazette, Maphosa said: "It is true
that the government has set aside funds to pay for leave days that were
accrued by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) members during operations in
He would not say how much the government would spend. In December last year,
however, army chiefs told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence
and Home Affairs that the Ministry of Finance had indicated it was unable to
fund the payment.
At that same hearing, the army chiefs described the outstanding payments as
Although it was indicated that the bill stood at $1.2 billion as at December
2006, Maphosa said the total amount would exceed that figure at prevailing
"Since salaries get reviewed from time to time, the figure of $1.2 billion,
which your informant gave you will therefore, not remain static," he said.
The amount to be paid will be linked to current salaries.
On Monday, Maphosa explained that in terms of section 38 (3) of the Defence
(Regular Force) (officers) regulations of 1988, as amended, a member of the
Defence Forces who is on active service outside the country's borders cannot
go on leave. The soldiers are required to accrue leave days for which they
are paid on returning home.
"All the ZDF members
serving then were not permitted to go on leave during the
DRC campaign, which means that the entire force will be paid cash in lieu of
leave for the period of Operation Sovereign Legitimacy," Maphosa said,
referring to the campaign's code name.
"Each ZDF member will be paid according to his/her rank. It therefore, is
not possible to give you quickly the details of the money to be paid to each
member because of the magnitude of the numbers involved and the varied
nature of their ranks."
On August 2, 1998, the army deployed 20 000 troops to
the DRC, half of the army at
the time, to defend the regime
of slain Congolese leader Laurent Kabila against a rebel incursion backed by
Uganda and Rwanda.
SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki has revealed that regional leaders
attending last week's Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit
expressed alarm over the Zimbabwean government's torturing of its opponents,
despite Harare's claims that not a single country faulted its actions.
In an interview with the Financial Times at the weekend, Mbeki said SADC
leaders had "openly" expressed concern over the beatings to President
"The region believes there are political problems (in Zimbabwe) and, in the
course of the meeting, people said quite openly that they are very disturbed
to see these pictures of people beaten up," Mbeki said.
SADC leaders, as expected, resisted Western pressure to publicly criticise
the Zimbabwean government, whose recent acts of brutality have sparked
Zimbabwe has predictably treated the outcome of the SADC summit as a
diplomatic victory over its critics.
Last Friday, President Mugabe told supporters, as he celebrated clinching a
fresh mandate from his party to seek re-election next year, that he had
openly told heads ostate that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had indeed
been "thrashed", and that none of the SADC leaders had challenged his
He said: "Not one SADC country can criticise us. We have solidarity and
fully support one another."
But according to Mbeki, the beatings of opponents were a "manifestation" of
deeper problems, such as the perception that elections were not free and
He said discussions and the summit's outcome had been "limited" by a meeting
of the ZANU PF central committee, which was to be held only a day later.
Not knowing the outcome of that meeting, said Mbeki, "was somewhat of a
limitation, because if the summit knew the decision, (which) was then taken
on Friday that the election was next year for both, (the summit) would have
been more specific."
Mbeki said his biggest task in Zimbabwe would be to ensure that the next
elections are "genuinely free and fair".
Meanwhile, Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzanian president, has expressed optimism
that the decisions taken on Zimbabwe in his country last week will lead to a
breakthrough by next year.
Speaking ahead of the bilateral economic commission tomorrow, Kikwete
admitted there are problems in Zimbabwe.
With President Mbeki as facilitator, Kikwete believes a deal can be struck
in the coming months.
Kikwete, told reporters: ". There are problems but I'm seeing the Zimbabwean
problems as only a matter of time, it's not going to last forever.
(President) Mbeki arrives later tonight, this time to talk bilateral trade
and investment. The trade between us is still too low, but I believe we
could do a lot more. South Africa is a huge market. If Tanzania had the
goods and services to trade, there's a market to be utilised, but the most
important thing is to increase investments on the Tanzanian side."
BEITBRIDGE Rural District Council has put a $6 billion price tag on nine
acres of land where the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) plans to
build a 100-bed three star hotel ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup raising
fears that its appetite for cash might scuttle potential investment into the
After taking unnecessarily long to produce a valuation report, the first
step in a series of processes needed to get the project started, the
Beitbridge council finally handed the report to NSSA last week.
Officials at the pay-as-you-go pension scheme were adamant this week that
the price tag, which equates to nearly $160 000 per square metre is
excessive given that council is selling state-land to an authority funded by
the taxpayer. In any case, they say, some of the prime land in the capital
is fetching nearly the same price if not much less.
Albert Mbedzi, the chief executive officer of the council, could not be
reached for comment at the time of going to print as he was said to be
attending a workshop.
NSSA was expected to commence construction of the project by June to
capitalise on the influx of tourists during the 2010 World Cup with December
as the completion month.
The 2010 World Cup will bring about R17 billion into South Africa with half
of the tens of thousands of jobs created as a result being permanent.
The Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) has already signed a Memorandum of
Understand with the cash-rich NSSA to manage the hotel and has secured a
US$2 million loan from the PTA Bank to finance acquisitions at the facility.
NSSA acting general manager Amod Takawira confirmed receiving the valuation
report when contacted for comment this week.
"We have dispatched our valuators to look at the property. We shall proceed
with the project immediately if the figures correspond with ours but if they
(figures) are well beyond ours, then we may have to negotiate with the
Beitbridge council," he said.
Hoteliers said the hotel should be operational at least one year before the
continent's largest sporting extravaganza to give the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange-listed RTG ample time to market the facility.
"Once again, bureaucratic bungling could prove to be our biggest undoing.
This project is of immense value to the nation and one cannot figure out why
it should take over two months to complete a valuation report," said a
source. "The delay will have a snowball effect on the entire project since
costs are continually going up," added the source.
Takawira was however, upbeat that NSSA, which is yet to draw up a budget for
the hotel, would be able to complete the project in time for the 2010 World
"We are going to start low, may be 30 to 40 beds under phase one," he said.
"We might start before the end of the year," he added.
Beitbridge is the country's busiest entry point. Zimsun Leisure, the country's
largest hotel group, is already present in Beitbridge via its Holiday Inn
ZESA Holdings is paying between US$7million and US$12million every month to
regional power utilities for the supply of electricity to Zimbabwe.
Ben Rafemoyo, the ZESA acting chief executive officer said the money was
mostly being paid to Mozambique's Hydro Cahora-Bassa (HCB) and Electricity
De Mozambique (EdM), two of the country's biggest power suppliers.
"As a utility, we have had to import about 35 percent of our electricity
from neighbouring countries who are part of the Southern African Power Pool.
We have entered into partnerships with HCB and EdM and I can safely say that
we have so far worked well with them.
"For the 35 percent that we are importing, we are paying in the range of
about US$7 million and US$12 million on a monthly basis to supplement the
electricity that we generate here in Zimbabwe," said Rafemoyo.
He however, revealed that the cash-strapped parastatal depends heavily on
the central bank for its foreign currency requirements.
"We are indeed grateful to the Reserve Bank for its support, although at
times we have been forced to settle our bills a bit late due to the
unavailability of foreign currency."
Njabulo Ncube Chief Political Reporter
PANIC has set in amongst ZANU PF and the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) Members of Parliament (MP) who now fear that the curtailment of their
terms by two years could rob them of their seats in next year's polls.
At last week's ZANU PF central committee meeting held in the capital,
legislators alarmed by the synchronisation of the presidential,
parliamentary and council elections unsuccessfully tried to convince their
leadership to circumvent primary elections and confirm them as automatic
Parliamentary sources said a number of MDC legislators were also quacking in
their boots fearing the dreaded primary elections that often come with a lot
of surprises and their huge cost implications on their pockets. While
political parties receive government funding, MPs supplement the meagre
resources allocated for this purposes from their own income.
MDC officials yesterday said it was too early to comment on the issue in the
absence of a new people-driven constitution. "We can't talk of candidates
now when certain fundamental issues have not been addressed," Nelson
Chamisa, the MDC spokesman for the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction said.
Both MDC factions have hinted of an election boycott unless the electoral
playing field is level before 2008.
Ruling party insiders who attended last week's central committee meeting
said that some of the candidates openly asked President Robert Mugabe, who
is the party's first secretary, to confirm them for the polls, but their
request was turned down.
President Mugabe reportedly insisted that all aspiring candidates be
subjected to primaries.
"There is a general fear among MPs that some of them, who have neglected
their constituencies, might actually not retain the right to represent the
party in next year's elections as they are bound to lose in the primaries,"
said one central committee member.
Another central committee member, elected to parliament in 2005, said it
would be "unfair" if he were to lose to a "Mafikizolo" (a
Johnny-come-lately) when he still had two years left on his term. He said
MPs wanted primaries scrapped as a trade-off for supporting a reduction of
their current terms.
"What these changes mean is that our current terms will be cut by two years,
greatly disadvantaging us. So what we want is a situation whereby we are
given preferential treatment."
ZANU PF commissar Elliot Manyika refused to comment on the matter.
Manyika's failure to comment comes after President Mugabe, according to
reliable reports, expressed anger over the alleged leaking of details of
politburo and central committee discussions to The Financial Gazette. This
was after this paper published details of last Wednesday's politburo
Meanwhile, the High Court yesterday ordered police to return computers and
other property they seized last Wednesday when they raided MDC offices in
The raid, whose purpose the police said was to flush out the alleged
perpetrators of petrol bombings, resulted in the arrest of 10 activists and
Morgan Tsvangirai's brief detention.
MDC lawyer Chris Mhike said yesterday that High Court judge Lawrence Kamocha
granted an order for the return of the property.
"They (police) were ordered to return all 11 computers, two laptops and a
digital camera as well as files," he said.
Christella Langton Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE'S economic problems could soon earn its citizens notoriety for body
odour, according to a survey on consumer trends.
All Media Products Survey (Zamps) says Zimbabweans are foregoing personal
care products, such as soap and toothpaste, as they focus on paying for
The use of previously standard personal care products such as toilet soap,
deodorants, lotions and dental products is in steep decline, according to
Deodorant usage declined to 19 percent in the last quarter of 2006 from 37
percent in the third quarter of the same year, while the use of soap
plummeted to 29 percent from 56 percent.
Only the use of petroleum jellies increased from 76 percent to 77 percent.
Usage of toilet paper dropped from 62 percent to 29 percent over the last
quarter as people resort to using newspapers and used exercise books, the
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
THE High Court has ordered Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi to pay $4
million as compensation to a member of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) for injuries sustained in 2003 after being assaulted
Justice Charles Hungwe delivered this judgment last week, in a case in which
the plaintiff, Eugenia Teera of Glen View, originally asked for $7 million
Teera claimed she was attacked in June 2003 during the MDC's failed "final
push" demonstrations that were meant to push for leadership change in
In terms of the State Liabilities Act, Sekeramayi is to pay on behalf of the
soldiers, whose actions the judge said had inflicted "pain, suffering and
contumelia" on the opposition member.
Sekeramayi was represented by Ernest Jena of the Civil Division of the
Attorney General's Office. Human rights lawyer Harrison Nkomo, himself a
recent victim of police assault, represented Teera.
Justice Hungwe's ruling sets a precedent for a growing number of victims of
beatings by state security agents. Recently, police shot dead two
protestors, while 50 opposition leaders were assaulted in police custody.
Court papers in the Teera case indicate that the soldiers assaulted the Glen
View resident because she did not know the whereabouts of Paul Madzore, the
constituency Member of Parliament.
"Our client advises that on the 4th of June 2003, at or about at 0200 hrs,
at house No 293 23rd Crescent, Glen View 1, Harare, certain members of the
Zimbabwe national Army arrived at her house and demanded to see one Paul
Madzore. Our client advised them that she did not know his whereabouts," the
"The soldiers then commenced assaulting our client using batons, booted feet
and clenched fists. The names and ranks and other fuller details of the
soldiers are unknown to our client."
Teera sustained multiple injuries, including a sprained left arm and bodily
"We are further advised that
the perpetrators of this act of violence were acting during the course and
scope of their employment with your ministry," Teera's lawyers said.
Chris MuronziStaff Reporter
ZIMBABWE is headed for major power cuts at the weekend when Zesa Holdings
shuts down two of its main power stations to allow maintenance work at
Zesa says the shutdown has been slated for the weekend when demand is
"Zesa Holdings would like to inform its valued customers that the two power
stations at Kariba Dam i.e. Kariba South Bank (Zimbabwe) and Kariba North
Bank (Zambia) are scheduled to be shut down on Sunday April the 8th to allow
international consultants engaged by the Zambezi River Authority to carry
out inspection of the downstream side of the dam wall (downstream toe and
concrete apron). The Zambezi River Authority is responsible for the
operation and maintenance of the Kariba Dam Complex," Zesa said in
"On the Zimbabwean side, this shutdown implies that power supply to the
country will be curtailed by up to 700MW (Kariba Power Station's generating
capacity). During this period, load shedding will be carried out in order to
maintain a balance between supply and demand," Zesa said.
The company, which has resorted to cutting power supplies owing to foreign
currency shortages, appealed to customers to voluntarily reduce power
consumption by 50 percent.
The shutdown will also cut supplies by 600MW to Zambia, according to that
country's power utility, Zesco.
Zimbabwe imports 60 percent of its power from Eskom in South Africa, Cahora
Bassa in Mozambique and SNEL in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Reduced power supplies from Cahora Bassa and breakdowns at SNEL have
contributed to worsening power cuts in Zimbabwe.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
THE harvesting of tobacco from dryland farming areas has been delayed
because of a shortage of farm labourers and this could affect the quality of
the crop, growers said this week.
Tobacco is one of the country's largest foreign currency earners in the
Zimbabwe is this year set to make a modest rebound in tobacco production to
70 million kilogrammes after suffering its worst decline in 2006 to 55.5
million kg, its tiniest crop since independence.
But the anticipated recovery in tobacco production, which has been on the
downside in the last six years, could be jeopardised by a deepening labour
shortage caused mainly by the gold and diamond rush and informal market
Lovegot Tendengu, the executive director of the Farmers Development Trust
(FDT), an organisation which supports smallholder tobacco farmers, said the
serious shortage of farm workers is crippling harvesting operations in the
country's three main tobacco growing regions.
"There will be no deliveries of tobacco because we are still reaping. We
haven't started reaping because there is no labour. There is a shortage of
labour because there are now too many farmers. The labour market has not
expanded because gold and diamond mining pays more. Most people prefer
mining and that has deprived farmers of labour," said Tendengu.
Farmers say crops are staying too long in the fields and delays in
harvesting would ruin them.
Growers' associations say a perennial conflict between farm labourers and
employers has forced an ever-increasing number of workers to head for
neighbouring countries to look for alternative employment.
According to the General Agriculture Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe
the least paid worker in the agricultural sector earns around $16 000 per
month, which is not enough to cover basics.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says a family of six currently needs about
$650 000 to take care of its monthly basic needs, in a country where
inflation recently galloped past 1 700 percent.
Apart from the acute farm workers' shortage, growers are also battling with
the critical shortage of raw materials such as wrapping paper, hessian
sacks, diesel to transport the crop and coal to cure their crop.
"How can we ship tobacco for auctioning when it is not wrapped? Even if we
were to finish grading there is no fuel in areas like Mutare. We would like
a revolutionary approach to tobacco marketing like they do in Uganda where
merchants buy from the growing areas. The situation needs to change,"
Zimbabwe is experiencing fuel shortages, as a result of lack of foreign
currency to import the commodity while the country's main coal miner Hwange
Colliery Company is battling to supply adequate coal to tobacco farmers and
Agricultural production in the country collapsed six years ago when veterans
of the 1970's liberation war, with the tacit backing of President Robert
Mugabe, began driving off white farmers from their properties in a
controversial campaign the octogenarian leader said was necessary to correct
a historical injustice in land allocation that favoured whites. Since then
the tobacco yield, which used to be around 232 million kg has declined to
about 55 million kg.
Kumbirai Mafunda Kumbirai Mafunda Business Reporte
INDUSTRY, reeling from an eight-year-old economic crisis, is stepping up its
challenge to price controls, which have precipitated the collapse of many
companies in recent months.
This comes amid industry fears of new and stricter controls ahead of
elections next year.
As the country's economic crisis reaches catastrophic levels, manufacturers
this week renewed the fight against price controls, which they charge are
pushing them into bankruptcy.
Bakers led the growing voice of disapproval by writing to Industry and
International Trade Permanent Secretary Christian Katsande, saying the
scrapping of price controls would enable them to operate viably, increase
capacity utilisation, which has plunged to less than 40 percent, and would
create more jobs both directly to their industry and in downstream
"The National Bakers Association (NBA) views the removal of price controls
on bread as a critical catalyst to the enhancement of viability to the
industry," read part of the letter written by NBA acting chairman Vincent
Government, resistant to free-market principles, imposed price controls in
2001 to suppress a recurrence of the violent food riots of 1998. Since then,
manufacturers have unsuccessfully fought against the much-maligned controls.
The NBA says because of the serious viability problems dogging the sector,
more than 400 bakeries that had sprung up in major cities and towns have
closed shop since 1998.
Bakers say the surviving bakeries, which are struggling to replace ageing
plant and equipment on their shoestring budgets, might also go under unless
the government lifts the lid on prices and improves fuel and wheat supplies.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Callisto Jokonya
weighed in, saying price controls were damaging industry.
"As the private sector, we don't want them (price controls). They kill
initiative," Jokonya said.
Bakers also contend that the removal of price controls would improve the
quality of products, which is currently compromised, and at the same time
release civil servants to concentrate on other more productive work instead
of managing bakers.
Government, whose communist-style and populist policy interventions
triggered the current economic crisis, has stuck to price controls on bread
and a few other basic commodities such as maize meal to make them
"affordable" to restive consumers.
Government has always suspected an alliance between industry and opposition
political parties, accusing them of raising prices to turn emotions against
ON Friday Zimbabwe woke up to disappointing news: After two days of
"intense" closed-door discussions, Southern African Development Community
(SADC) leaders emerged from their deliberations in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania,
convened at the taxpayer's expense, looking rather exhausted only to
announce what could pass for a horribly bad joke.
As it turned out, it was all hot air. Nothing fruitful came out of the
gathering, giving credence to the notion that the 14-nation SADC bloc lacks
the teeth to rein in errant member-states.
It had been hoped before the much hyped "extraordinary summit" that at long
last SADC would break with its long tradition of muted diplomacy and move to
adopt a firmer position that could help quell the tricky security/political
situation hogging the limelight in Zimbabwe in particular and the Democratic
Republic of the Congo where renewed bloodshed broke out recently.
To the contrary, the SADC heads of state conspired to dim the glimmer of
hope that had been built around the special summit by doing the most
outrageous of things: throwing their full weight behind Thabo Mbeki as their
preferred broker on the Zimbabwean crisis.
In their eyes, the South African head of state, who is seeing out his last
term of office, could use his clout as leader of Africa's largest economy to
nudge the tenaciously unwilling ruling ZANU PF and the main opposition party
back to the negotiating table to hammer out a political settlement that
would defuse the ticking time bomb that looks certain to explode in their
faces. What a damp squib!
While we don't doubt Mbeki's credentials, it doesn't appear he can do much
to save the situation, faulted on Zimbabwe's archaic constitution that has
been tinkered with 17 times and issues of legitimacy raised by the MDC after
previous elections, among other things.
While MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has kept his faith in Mbeki, we don't.
Unless it is about allowing President Robert Mugabe's government to buy more
time, SADC and its emissary on the Zimbabwe crisis are barking up the wrong
tree by insisting on the lifting of targeted sanctions and pressing Britain
to honour its colonial obligations on land.
SADC needs to properly identify Zimbabwe's problem: It is about governance.
Mbeki has just missed a golden opportunity to walk his colleagues through
his past experiences with Harare as the basis for rallying them to act
forcefully on their wayward neighbour whose ducking and diving at attempts
to engage the divided MDC and the consequent economic ruin now loom large
among threats to South Africa's hopes of hosting the 2010 World Cup.
For want of a better word, Mbeki's previous attempts to thaw frosty
relations between the MDC and ZANU PF have been a monumental failure no
matter how hard Pretoria may try to convince the world to think otherwise.
Perhaps his face-saver has been that by refusing to talk openly about his
mediation since 2002, Mbeki has denied critics the yardstick against which
his performance can be measured. Be that as it may, rising tensions,
evidenced by recent political skirmishes that amplified the effects of the
full-blown political crisis taking its toll on the tottering Zimbabwean
economy does not augur well for Mbeki's prospects for success. His only
saving grace could be that he is not the only one to fail on Harare.
Olusegun Obasanjo, leader of Africa's most populous state, once reassured
the world that Harare was amenable to reason only to throw in the towel amid
accusations of "wicked intentions" after he suggested the lifting of
Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth. Harare eventually withdrew her
membership from that body.
Then came the African Union whose similar attempts to break the costly
political impasse between ZANU PF and the MDC, this time using Joaquim
Chissano, also failed. Before going very far, the former Mozambican
president was told straight to his face "there is no need for such talks."
Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general was also led down
the garden path. To this day, he must be ruing abandoning his own
intervention plan involving a trade-off between an aid package and President
Mugabe's exit timetable in favour of mediation by Banjamin Mkapa. As we now
understand it, President Mugabe has asked Mkapa "to leave things as they
With ZANU PF endorsing President Mugabe's candidature for the 2008 polls
last Friday, nothing can incentivise the revolutionary party to come to the
In light of the ZANU PF central committee decision, the opposition should
brace for a tirade of insults about their limitations, their lack of Cabinet
material and their lack of patriotism.
If the opposition does not insist on free and fair elections and
transparency in the delimitation process, ZANU PF will bulldoze its way to
secure majority seats in the expanded House of Assembly to give President
Mugabe a pliant electoral college that would enable him to manage his
Without labouring the point, a decade of putting up with chronic food
shortages, daily price hikes and repressive laws invoked by the government
to suppress criticism of its policies and public debate, is long enough to
suck out the little resilience and patience that remain.
The intricacies of the social contract
EDITOR - The crux of the latest attempt at the recovery of the economy is
the introduction of the social contract. There is much to learn about the
intricacies of social contracts and the economic historical context within
which they have existed.
In the 1920's German trade unions were destroyed and wage controls were
introduced. There were limits to imports of consumer goods and a
considerable focus placed on producing export goods. Currency controls only
led to the overvaluation of the German currency. Selective nationalisation
resulted for those industries that failed to comply with the social
contract. Full employment was achieved in the 1930's but as a result of a
fall in real wages.
The main driving force toward achieving full employment was the introduction
of major public work schemes and government initiated projects creating
employment. This was also a feature in the case of the United States under
Roosevelt's New Deal, which mainly constituted the use of government to
stabilise and regulate the economy.
Italy under Mussolini introduced tighter economic controls as part of their
economic recovery programme. New Zealand in its economic recession initiated
a cut in public sector wages; and again large government projects were
introduced. This however, is not to say that the above mentioned measures
are what the Zimbabwean economy needs. The observation of a lot of the
population is that too much emphasis is based on theoretical assumption and
historical basis for today's problems to be looked at with a practical
solution as a goal.
With this in mind the following is deduced. The social contract that the
Reserve Bank has proposed for Zimbabwe includes a freeze on prices. This is
meant to have the effect of stopping the rising inflation. The first problem
here is that the social contract is based on the assumption of goodwill. The
combination of the factors of production is purely for it to ultimately
result in reward, which is quantified in profit.
In a nutshell as far as business is concerned, 'if something doesn't make
dollars then it doesn't make sense', excuse the pun. Profit making is seldom
based on the goodwill of business. This only occurs if goodwill results in
increased profits. What is clear however is that it takes only one element
of the parties involved in the contract to fail in their contribution and
the effect is 'knock on'.
Industry only adapts to the changes in any economy. As firms compete the
result is lower prices for consumers. If a monopoly exists then prices tend
to remain high as they are dictated by limited supply. If the environment is
inflationary then firms simply pass on to the consumer the increases in the
price of inputs.
The flaw and one of the reasons the price freeze conditions of the social
contract may have limited effect is the clause that exempts producers, who
have imported inputs in the production of their goods. Seeing that we import
all the fuel in this country, which is a factor in the cost of production,
this arguably makes us all exempt to the bindings of the social contract in
real terms. If official prices are not allowed to rise along with the true
cost of production, this simply means the official availability of goods
will decline accordingly. Commodities will be available but only on the
parallel market with their prices reflecting the true cost of production.
This is reminiscent of the petrol situation, which has resulted in the
acceptance that it's a matter of supply being subject to price. Below cost
price simply means no supply. The price of fuel being allowed to fluctuate
with inflation has meant that it's available but expensive, as opposed to
being cheap and not available at all. Most recently have been reports of
some unions not consenting to the social contract, citing the freeze on
wages despite increasing prices, as a major cause of concern. This volte
face on fuel pricing if anything helps to confirm the observation that the
majority of the economic policies formulated are not addressing the key
issues traditionally associated with runaway inflation.
All the above mentioned examples have key elements in common. The role of
government is pivotal due to its ability to be the authority over the other
partners in the contract. The elements of the contract must fully take into
account the realistic positions and actions of all partners prior to,
during, and after its implementation. Cutting the supply of money is a
method of attempting to reduce inflation. This is traditionally easiest by
either raising interest rates to discourage borrowing to spend, or
increasing taxes in a bid to reduce aggregate demand. The social contracts
assessed have all included large scale projects undertaken by government in
a bid to stimulate the economy. Allowing the currency to devalue to the
market rate has the following positive consequences. 1) Zimbabwean exports
become cheaper to foreign consumers, therefore stimulating demand. 2)
Foreigners' money becomes able to buy them more when they visit Zimbabwe,
making it a more attractive tourist destination. 3) Imports become more
expensive, making the market conditions more favourable for local producers.
4) A fall of the currency to the real market rate makes the black market
obsolete in that foreign currency can be obtained at the revised market rate
and within the bounds of the law.
Already the trade unions have objected to wage freezes in the face of rising
inflation, an obvious reaction a social contract should have been equipped
to address. This makes cutting money supply, and facilitating the increase
in economic output even more important. What is evident is the shortage of
funds available to the government to satisfy the requirements of such basics
as healthcare, education and social welfare.
In addition to the above mentioned measures the government owns a variety of
enterprises in the form of nationalised industries. The sale of these, with
predetermined conditions designed to achieve maximum benefit has in many
countries facilitated considerable economic turnaround. The effect of
privatisation is that the large government owned corporations begin to be
operated like profit orientated businesses that are subject to competition,
therefore inducing efficient management and quality of product as a result.
Taking all this into consideration, it becomes clear that the government
should fully utilise instruments such as the central bank's ability to
determine money supply, set currency exchange and interest rates.
Ghost of defeat haunts Harvest House
EDITOR - It seems that the ghost of defeat is already stalking the corridors
of Harvest House when Morgan Tsvangirai "vows" to boycott the elections,
which he fears will not be free and fair. Elections are uncertain in their
outcome, and high expectations of victory can be disappointing - without any
fiddling in the counting.
In Zimbabwe, where and when will the absolutely certain result which one
seeks come from? If the MDC is defeated again - as certainly they will -
what basis is there to suppose that a completely new electoral system-and
personnel will be found to guarantee them the result which they want? And
what if they (because the electoral system remains the same) win unfairly?
Whose turn should it be to cry foul play?.Should the winners ( who would be
the MDC in this instance) never question the justification of their success
under a system that cannot be trusted?
Mordecai Mutiswa Betera
It does not have to be that lonely
EDITOR - One man is so intelligent, and so experienced that he is way ahead
of the rest of SADC. He is far ahead of the next echelon within his own
party, he is far ahead even of the opposition. He can outmanoeuvre all of
them through highly efficient and effective diplomacy.
But through channelling his prodigious talent into outmanoeuvring his
detractrors and potential detractors, he is failing in one thing: his
energies are supposed to be channelled towards the development and
advancement of all the people of Zimbabwe. They are who he is supposed to
The fatal flaw in being exceptionally good at what you do lies in the
ability to outmanouevre and race so far ahead that you are all alone. He is
so far ahead that he has left us all behind.
In true train wreck fashion, the driver and his carriage are no longer
connected to the rest of the train. He is driving well, his carriage is safe
and stable and moving fast. Please, slow down. Connect with the people. It
doesn't have to be that lonely.
Mbeki must help us
EDITOR - In many years of our political and socio-economic discussions, I
have heard quite a number of people, particularly those from South Africa
advising us that the problems of misgovernance that we face in our country
can be solved by us Zimbabweans alone, and no one else.
A similar view has been recently expressed by your correspondent, G
Armstrong who wrote from Ireland (The Financial Gazette March 28). Armstrong
reckons we are not doing or saying anything at all. Are these people not
being mean? Clearly, they do not understand that as a nation, we have been
agonising for a very long time. We began raising our concerns and expressed
our disquiet since the early eighties.
This was made clear by our overwhelming rejection of the draft constitution
on February 12 2000. Since then, our agony has been aggravated by a myriad
factors. The creation of repressive laws such as POSA, AIPPA, and the
Broadcasting Services Act boded ill for our future. Further, we have been
subjected to consistent state orchestrated violence which has, hitherto,
been visited upon us and the defenceless women and children.
Violence and intimidation are commonplace in our country, despite the extent
of our outcry. South Africans are aware of this because they have been
observers of our elections since March of 1980.
I owe Morgan Tsvangirai and his party profound respect and gratitude for his
bravery, but he cannot go it alone. Neither can his supporters or us as
ordinary citizens. We need the support of our comrades, from within and
around the SADC region.
South Africa and other countries in our neighbourhood insist that they are
our comrades, but why are they allowing us to sink deeper into the current
political and socio-economic crisis? Clearly, we are not asking for
marriage, but we are simply saying quiet diplomacy does not work.
Our friends and/or genuine critics need to be told that our struggle is
against those who wield not only power, but the entire state machinery. The
opposition does not control the army, not least the police. So they are like
democrats in a hostage situation. This manifested itself in recent attacks
on the leaders of the opposition, supporters and their sympathisers. The
situation is not so dissimilar to what happened during the Chimurenga war,
against Ian Douglas Smith. Clearly, we can learn from our colonial past. In
order to dislodge the Smith regime, the nationalist fighters did not go it
alone; they had to get support, both in cash and kind from their comrades in
the then Frontline states. Thabo Mbeki must have some sympathy for us and
depart from the antiquated role of big brother and clarify his position to
us and to the world.