|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Officials said the Oppen-heimer
family owned land in Zimbabwe that was
almost the size of Belgium.
The family has disputed the allegations arguing that it owns only 137
314ha of land in Zimbabwe, whereas Belgium's total area is 3 051 900ha.
The latest listing of the Oppeinheimer farms came after President
Mugabe announced that his government had completed the land reform in the
country last August.
So far the government has acquired more than three quarters of the
farms owned by the 4 500 white commercial farmers. Fewer than 300 white
commercial farmers are said to remain on their farms.
Some of the farmers have moved to neighbouring countries or emigrated
Many of the white farmers have taken legal action against the
government but still await judgment on their cases. - Sapa-AFP
Zim airports collapse
Brian Mangwende Chief Reporter
8/15/2003 9:13:46 AM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWE’S aviation standards have plumbed to new depths, with the
country’s premier Harare International Airport’s runway now reportedly unfit
for landing by the world’s major airlines, giving another twist to the
screws on the faltering tourism sector currently laden with gloom and doom.
This development, which has forced leading international airlines to
abandon Zimbabwe, has prompted the cash-strapped government to issue a
directive to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) to
expeditiously upgrade the dilapidated infrastructure to meet international
standards at a cost of $11 billion. There are however heightened fears that
the hurried project could come unstuck due to prohibitive costs.
Harare International Airport, the biggest and most developed of all
airports around the country, was constructed in 1955 and first used in 1956
but the runway has never been strengthened or rehabilitated.
Runways have a life span of 25 years, according to international
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Chicago Convention of the International
Aviation Organisation (ICAO). As such, it has an international obligation to
meet the standards and recommended practices enshrined in 18 annexes to the
Convention on International Civil Aviation.
Well-placed sources within the aviation industry this week disclosed
that senior aviation officials would travel to the Middle East this month to
mobilise resources and lure technical expertise to undertake the upgrading
exercise as well as canvass Arab airlines to fly to Zimbabwe. The mission
would include CAAZ chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke.
Last year, CAAZ issued a $2.8 billion tender to upgrade the Harare
International Airport, but sources said the tender had been put on hold for
unspecified reasons. Instead, the sources said the CAAZ directorate was now
mulling plans to mobilise capital from indigenous companies for the stalled
The indigenous companies would upgrade the airport on a
build-own-transfer (BOT) basis at an estimated cost of $11 billion. They
would own the upgraded facilities for about 20 years before surrendering
them back to the government.
Apart from the runway, which requires resurfacing to strengthen its
capacity to hold huge carriers such as the Boeing 747, the new Boeing 777
and the A340 airbus, the airport needs a new airfield ground lighting system
and a complete new approach system.
CAAZ also intends to refurbish the old airport terminal and turn it
into a business centre for revenue generation.
Industry sources said there were problems in attracting carriers from
major tourist source markets such as Gulf, Emirates, Pacific, Virgin, and
Atlantic airlines among others.
Already, Mauritius, Qantas, Air France and Lufthansa, among other
major airlines, heavily dependent on tourist attractions, have pulled out.
This mirrors the accelerated decline in the tourism industry, at one time
Zimbabwe’s fastest growing sector.
Charles Samuriwo, the CAAZ board chairman, and Kaseke this week
confirmed work was in progress to upgrade and refurbish all airports in the
country but because of hyperinflation, the projected costs continued to rise
to prohibitive levels.
Both men confirmed plans to travel to the Middle East this month.
"We should bring all stakeholders together with a view to work as a
team to revive the industry," Samuriwo said. "CAAZ cannot go it alone but we
will certainly take the lead in a joint vision to plan the revival of the
Samuriwo added that the Middle East trip was aimed at luring new
players and mending relations with the old ones who had deserted Zimbabwe.
Other major airports in the country in need of a facelift are Victoria
Falls, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Buffalo Range airports.
Kaseke told The Financial Gazette that work at all airports was
already in progress.
"We’re refurbishing and upgrading all airports around the country at
various costs," Kaseke said. "We have a tourist attraction in Zimbabwe which
is the Victoria Falls. Instead of us getting the biggest share of revenue,
we’re getting leftovers as most carriers shun our airports because of their
conditions. We’re operating as a spoke which is unfair because we’re meant
to be the hub of tourism in southern Africa.
"Government wants us to go all out in bringing traffic into the
country," Kaseke said.
Asked why it had taken so long to undertake such major upgrading and
refurbishment projects, Kaseke merely said: "It was because of the
government policy then."
The Victoria Falls airport currently accommodates 200 000 passengers
per year, but projections are that by the year 2010, the capacity should
rise to 1.5 million.
The initial cost for the upgrading of the Victoria Falls terminal
building alone, which is already underway, was $3.7 billion last year but
has been revised upwards to a staggering $51 billion due to skyrocketing
So far CAAZ has spent $250 million on enabling works at that airport.
Victoria Falls is the hub of tourist activities, boasting one of the world’s
The Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo airport, based in the country’s second
largest city Bulawayo, has no basic facilities. International and domestic
traffic are mixing, creating problems for customs and immigration officials.
It has a capacity to handle 120 000 people per annum but is currently
handling 200 000. In 1997, traffic was pegged at 300 000 people but dropped
to 120 000 because of political and economic instability in the country.
Buffalo Range, which can cater for a Boeing 737, needs refurbishment
of the terminal and an extension of the runway. A tender is to be issued in
September and work is expected to be complete sometime next year.
Zimbabwe’s aviation industry is still fighting to redeem itself from
its condemnation by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in November
That year, the FAA found the government of Zimbabwe’s civil aviation
standards not to be in compliance with international aviation safety
standards for oversight of the country’s air carrier operations.
MDC dumps Mudzuri?
8/15/2003 9:18:36 AM (GMT +2)
CRACKS could soon emerge within the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) amid reports that the party has turned its back on one of its
own, the beleaguered Harare executive mayor, Engineer Elias Mudzuri,
reportedly fighting a lone battle following his controversial suspension
some three months ago.
Highly placed party sources, who said that the latest development
underscored the potential for fissures within the opposition, told The
Financial Gazette this week that senior MDC officials, increasingly wary of
the embattled Harare mayor’s political clout that seemed to overshadow that
of his superiors, have abandoned Mudzuri in his greatest hour of need.
Mudzuri, relatively unknown before being thrust into the mayor’s seat
in March 2002, now has a power base of his own among Harare’s population of
just over a million people.
The MDC, the sources said, was so unnerved by the threat of a split
over the Mudzuri issue that the party was scheduled to convene an ad hoc
meeting last night to discuss the issue. This, if all goes according to
plan, would be followed by a press conference to be addressed today by
Gabriel Chaibva, the party’s shadow minister for local government, to allay
fears of a split.
The situation came to a head, the sources said, when some senior MDC
officials instructed members of the party to ignore Mudzuri when he was
suspended from office on 29 April this year, in what is widely viewed as a
politically-motivated suspension of the capital’s mayor by Local Government,
Public Works and National Housing Minister, Ignatius Chombo who has never
made secret of the personal acrimony between him and the controversially
It was feared, alleged the sources, that sympathies for Mudzuri could
steal the thunder from the weeklong mass demonstrations that were planned in
early June to push President Robert Mugabe out of power. The demonstration,
dubbed "The Final Push", never materialised because of lack of proper
planning by the MDC and high-handedness by Zimbabwe’s security forces in the
country’s major centres.
Ever since Mudzuri’s suspension, the sources said, no one has bothered
to find out what is really happening to the mayor. There is also no clear
party position on Mudzuri’s suspension, which has since assumed a non-event
"Maybe it’s because of the intended resumption of talks with ZANU PF,
but I can assure you that no one at the moment is really bothered about
Mudzuri’s suspension except maybe for one or two individuals and that’s
about it," said a senior MDC official.
Mudzuri expressed bitterness with his MDC colleagues when contacted
for a comment this week. "Ever since my suspension I have been going it
alone. The party has basically remained quiet. I know that ZANU PF has
infiltrated us, but it is paramount to counter this.
"If we don’t put our house in order soon we will be in big trouble.
Chombo is basically running the council now. Councillors make resolutions,
but they do not implement them. Then what type of council is that that is
scared to implement its own decisions," he said.
Chombo suspended Mudzuri on 29 April without pay on allegations of
incompetence and maladministration, after an acrimonious wrangle in what
independent commentators alleged were trumped-up charges against the
executive mayor. The commentators claimed that it was in fact extensive
political interference by Chombo that created an environment in which
Mudzuri could not have a more assertive approach to his job as executive
After Mudzuri’s unceremonious departure, the minister then issued
several orders to Mudzuri to vacate the mayoral mansion and return all
council benefits including his official Mercedes Benz. The orders, which
Mudzuri defied on the grounds that the move was illegal, were delivered
through his deputy Sekesai Makwavarara, now the acting mayor of Harare.
Last week, Chombo stopped the holding of council elections and
suspended the council’s finance committee chairman False Nhari and the
chairman of the environmental committee, identified only as Munengami, under
Chaibva downplayed the issue when contacted for a response this week.
He said the party’s hands were now tied because the issue was now before the
"The matter has assumed a legal framework and has not yet been set
down for hearing," he said. "We are a party that follows the rule of law but
set downs and judgments continue to be delayed. We have to restrategise and
that will mean a shift from our earlier position on Mudzuri’s case. We are
definitely going to react, but I can’t tell you when and how but we will do
something about it."
Agriculture in disarray — CFU
8/15/2003 9:22:40 AM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWE’S mainstay agriculture sector has been thrown into further
uncertainty after several farmers suspended land preparations until the
completion of the current land audit, The Financial Gazette learnt this
Douglas Taylor Freeme, the newly elected president of the Commercial
Farmers Union (CFU) said farmers were skeptical of the land reconciling
There were also farmers in Mashonaland East and West, Matelebeleland
and Manicaland provinces who stopped land preparations after a fresh wave of
land seizures by allegedly ZANU PF supporters.
"There is a lot of confusion on the part of the government regarding
the land exercise programme," the CFU boss said.
"No one knows who is meant to be where and this has created a sense of
insecurity among the old and new farmers in that if they start preparing
land, the next day they may be ordered to leave the farm because they would
have supposedly been wrongfully resettled.
"Most old and new farmers have stopped preparing land. The biggest
problem is that when the exercise began, infrastructures on commercial farms
were not taken into consideration and people were resettled chaotically."
"Now it has emerged that small scale farmers do not have the capacity
to run commercial farms hence a new wave of resettlements mainly to benefit
top government and ZANU PF officials."
Despite the disruptions in farming activities, which could bring about
yet another era of hunger, the government stuck to its guns saying the
displacements part of the process to reconcile the land resettlement to
ensure that landless people were properly resettled.
During the past months, some of the newly resettled farmers
countrywide were either being driven off the land they occupied or given
notice to vacate the property under the guise that they were wrongfully
Lawrence Meda, the district administrator for Goromonzi, last month
said all those wrongfully resettled would be moved to new areas.
He pointed out that some of the settlers were allocated land under the
A2 model when in fact they should have been resettled under the A1 model.
Agricultural production has fallen by at least 50 percent since the
bloody land grab in 2000, which saw vast tracks of land under commercial use
being seized and their owners driven off the properties.
President Robert Mugabe last month ordered top ZANU PF officials with
multiple farms to surrender them within a fortnight.
Mugabe was reacting to a preliminary report by the Presidential Land
Review Committee, which-without mentioning any names -implicated top ruling
party officials of being proud owners of several farms.
The provincial administrator of Manicaland Killian Mupingo told The
Financial Gazette that he had put the reconciling process on hold until
finalisation of the Presidential Land Review Committee led by Charles Utete,
the former Cabinet Secretary.
"Currently we are waiting for the final report by the committee and we
will act accordingly," Mupingo said.
SA tightens visa requirements
8/15/2003 9:24:56 AM (GMT +2)
SOUTH Africa is now demanding a hefty $300 000 cash guarantee deposit
before issuing out a visa to Zimbabweans intending to visit that country,
The Financial Gazette has established.
The new requirement is aimed at curbing the influx of Zimbabweans into
South Africa, which is now home to an estimated 25 000 locals.
An official with the South African High Commission said the cash
deposit would be refunded on return.
"It is true that we are now demanding that money, but we have since
forwarded your enquiries to South Africa for in-depth clarification as to
what has led to that," said the official.
No official response had been received at the time of going to press.
A recent study funded by the United Nations Development Programme
showed that over 500 000 Zimbabweans are leaving in the diaspora for various
Most of them are running away from volatile political and economic
conditions that have reduced the once robust local economy into a basket
Professor Christopher Chetsanga, who directed the study said the large
numbers, constituting Zimbabwe’s loss of skilled and highly educated
manpower is a phenomenon policymakers cannot ignore.
Chetsanga said: "Furthermore, efforts to provide Zimbabwe with
specific skills, through improved educational opportunities, may be rendered
futile unless measures are taken to offset the pull factors attracting
highly educated Zimbabweans to emigrate."
Although official statistics put the number of Zimbabweans in South
Africa in the region of 25 000, experts said the figure could be more in
view of the large number of illegal immigrants.
A number of governments are taking tough measures to curtail entry by
Zimbabweans into their countries.
Recent media reports say Zimbabweans entering some parts of Botswana
were now being screened to curb crime.
The United States of America and Britain have also tightened their
visa requirements after experiencing a huge influx of Zimbabweans attracted
by their stronger currencies.
Analysts said the cash demands by foreign missions could worsen the
cash crisis now in its third straight month.
Plot thickens at Town House
Cyril Zenda Staff Reporter
8/15/2003 9:27:12 AM (GMT +2)
AS the tug-of-war for the control of Harare between the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and ZANU PF continues, councillors in the opposition
controlled council last week agreed that the deputy mayor and all heads of
committees resign en masse as a strategy to circumvent a ministerial
directive suspending internal elections in the council.
Sources at Town House told The Financial Gazette this week that
following the decision, acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara resigned last week
but quickly withdrew her resignation after realising that the timing was not
good as it could have given Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo an
opportunity to take over the city.
"She tendered her resignation on Friday, August 8, but later withdrew
it as a tactical move after realising that the timing was not good as it
would have given Chombo a golden opportunity to appoint a committee to run
the city," one councilor said.
Since winning the local government elections in March last year, the
MDC council has been fighting to keep control of the city as Chombo, who has
already suspended executive mayor Elias Mudzuri, continue to interfere in
the day to day running of the capital.
MDC members who are not happy with Makwavarara as they accuse her of
rushing to implement Chombo’s questionable directives agreed that she was
going to be replaced as deputy mayor at elections that were going to be held
However, Chombo, who is comfortable with Makwavarara, issued a
directive at the beginning of the week that the elections must be postponed
until investigations on Mudzuri were completed.
"There were two options: the first was a confrontational one which was
to defy the directive since it is a legal nullity and the second was to get
the deputy mayor and other heads of committees to resign so that elections
take place," a source said.
However, the strategy of trying to force elections after resignations
could not be fully executed because it had to be done within 24 hours.
Because of the Heroes holiday, which came immediately after the weekend,
that could have meant the council could have gone for four days without a
mayor and heads of key committees. This could have given Chombo an
opportunity to evoke the Urban Councils’ Act and appointed an interim
committee to run the affairs of the city.
"Chances are that the councillors will meet anytime from now and they
will decide on whether to go ahead with the resignation route or to simply
defy the minister’s directive and go ahead and have the elections," another
However Makwa-varara, whose term as deputy mayor has already expired,
yesterday denied that she had resigned last week as part of the plot to
defeat Chombo’s directive.
MP calls for govt to acquire stake in precious stones mining firms
8/15/2003 9:31:14 AM (GMT +2)
HARARE businessman and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Member of Parliament for Highfield, Pearson Mungofa, has started lobbying
for massive changes in Zimbabwe’s mining laws to give the government a stake
in all firms mining precious minerals in the country.
Mungofa said this week Zimbabwe was losing money running into billions
of dollars through horse and cart loopholes existing in the current mining
laws which allow foreigners and individuals total control over the country’s
"The Mines and Minerals Act should be revised to make it a condition
that the government should have 50 percent equity in all precious stone
producing companies just like what is the case in our neighbouring
countries," Mungofa said.
He said the government’s contribution for stakes in the ventures would
be through providing the land on which the resources are found. Some of the
precious minerals in Zimbabwe include gold, diamond, emeralds and platinum.
Other southern African countries like Botswana, Namibia and South
Africa have stakes or direct control in the exploitation of precious
minerals within their borders.
"It is commonly accepted in these countries that these minerals are a
God-given gift which should benefit local people and not left to foreign
companies and other individuals to exploit for their own private benefit,"
he said. "The government, which is the representative of the people of
Zimbabwe, should be involved in the mining, processing and sale of these
precious minerals for the benefit of the people."
Mungofa, who is yet to make his maiden speech in Parliament after
taking over the Highfield seat in April, said he would raise the issue as
soon as he starts participating in the debates in the House.
"From informal discussions that I have had with my colleagues (in
Parliament) from both my party and ZANU PF, they have promised to support
the motion if I present it in the House," Mungofa said.
Botswana, billed as Africa’s shining example, has diamonds as the
bedrock of the economy as exports of the precious mineral account for close
to 80 percent of the country’s export earnings.
Mining giant De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited and the government of
Botswana have a 50-50 stake in a diamond mining venture, De Beers Botswana
Mining Company (Pty) Limited (Debswana), the company which is exploiting
diamond resources in the thinly-populated southern African country.
In Namibia, the government has a 50 percent stake in De Beers’ diamond
subsidiary, Namdeb Diamond Corporation, while South Africa, which has an
active black empowerment programme, controls about 45 percent of the country
’s diamond mining through the South African Diamond control Board.
In Zimbabwe, mining companies only pay royalties to the state, but the
government does not have any equity in these firms.
Mungofa said the problem with this system is that most of the proceeds
from the minerals are going to foreigners and individuals, and also the
government has no proper mechanism to monitor the production and sale of
these minerals resulting in massive cheating by some of the companies.
Mungofa, who owns precious Gem Art (Pvt) Limited — a diamond and
emeralds cutting firm —said in the past he has lobbied several senior
government officials, including President Robert Mugabe, but for some
reason, the idea has remained a graveyard of good intent.
Review policy on empowerment
8:58:24 AM (GMT +2)
A QUIET revolution is underway in corporate Zimbabwe where the
plausible but probably not so-well-thought-out indigenisation policy has
sparked off a wave of company acquisitions by influential and "well-placed"
These individuals are snapping up significant chunks in both public
and private companies in line with the government’s stated objective of
economically empowering the historically disadvantaged sectors of the
A very disturbing trend though, which could give indigenisation a bad
name, is beginning to emerge from the indigenisation drive. Only a chosen
few are benefiting from this policy. Whether it is leverage buy-outs,
hostile take-overs, willing-seller-willing-buyer arrangements, or through
the government’s stop-go privatisation drive, it is the same old names and
individuals which keep cropping up. This is aggravated by the fact that the
little-known National Investment Trust, which should help Zimbabweans
realise their dreams of economic emancipation, hardly registers on the
relevance radar in the country.
With all due respect, without bringing into question the business
acumen and negotiating dexterity of these individuals, we find it difficult
to believe that it is only them and them alone that have guts, instincts and
above all the vision that allow them to spot sitting corporate ducks.
It seems to us that most of these businesspeople are feeding from
Zimbabwe’s deeply rooted political patronage system. For some of these
people, who have been known to literally put guns to company owners’ heads
to force them to sell, it is not their acumen but their political
connections and back-scratching relationships that have thrust them into
company ownership. Some will argue that evidence to this is as yet sparse
and anecdotal. But a cursory glance at the company take-over syndicates
Most of these syndicates have, albeit as silent partners, politicians
who are known for their love for influence peddling. These are groupings
formed to wrestle companies from their owners using the political muscle
under the façade of black economic empowerment. It is indeed a sad
reflection on Zimbabwe that all we have done is dispossess the few whites
and replaced them with a privileged black clique.
Unfortunately, as the politically well-connected enjoy the sweet
crumbs falling from the high table of political patronage, even banks, which
should sit at the heart of any well-functioning economy, seem to have been
unwittingly drawn into this mess. They are in the middle of this mess,
making it worse than it already is. We are experiencing in Zimbabwe today an
unprecedented rise in crony capitalism — where banks are channelling funds
to politically well-connected businesspeople who run up large debts in
somewhat misguided acquisition plans.
Not only that, but a lot of aspiring businesspeople have largely
remained could-have-beens-that-never-were. Theirs have remained sorry tales
of unrealised ambitions with their plans scuppered after being gazumped by
this new breed of corporate predators.
This makes us wonder whether Zimbabwe has a well-defined
indigenisation policy or we are just navigating without a compass? This is
why there is an urgent need to push for a radical review of the country’s
indigenisation policy to broaden it from the gravy train that it has
degenerated into. This is a policy which must benefit each and every
Zimbabwean, not only a selected few.
The last straw
8/15/2003 9:02:35 AM (GMT
EDITOR — The government’s latest plan to give a 20 percent share of
all businesses to the indigenous workers would be the last straw that broke
the camel’s back.
As nothing more than a plan to try to win urban support for ZANU PF,
the plan is ill-conceived.
Clearly the plan, if brought to fruition, would see businesses close
by the hundreds, and a further mass exodus of the businessmen who have
earned foreign currency for the government’s insatiable needs.
PAYE, sales tax, company tax revenues will dwindle, and thousands more
workers will be on the streets chasing less and less jobs.
The scheme cannot afford to discriminate, which would mean that all
registered companies will have to follow suit. Farmers would again be
affected as most farms are run through registered companies.
Parastatals like the CSC, ZESA, NRZ and NOCZIM would have to be
included in the scheme or workers would cry foul. The civil servants must
too be included and be given 20 percent share of government’s losses. Not
doing so would see massive migration of skilled and unskilled workers from
the civil service and parastatals to the private sector.
Black businessmen will not be excluded, and neither will the new breed
of ministerial weekend farmers. What about a firm of auditors which employs
a large number of black, white, coloured and Indian clerks all on the same
salary scales? Is it only the indigenous workers who get shares?
When will our leaders grasp the nettle and realise that they cannot
buy their way out of the present fiasco?
We need solid, brave well-thought out decisions to reverse the
downward slide of the economy. And more importantly, we need to fix the
problem instead of always tackling the end.
They say when you find yourself in a hole the best thing to do is to
stop digging. Yet our leaders continue to dig, not just a hole but this
latest move would be tantamount to a grave! Mark my words.
Zim’s woes: Let’s focus on solutions, compromises
8/15/2003 8:56:41 AM (GMT +2)
IN this article, the second in a five-part series, a Harare-based
legal practitioner Isaya Muriwo Sithole, traces the genesis of the South
African political negotiation process and indicates how Zimbabwe’s
transitional politics can take a leaf from the South African experience.
The emphasis is on the importance of bilaterals, the extensiveness of
the process and the pragmatism that had come to characterise discussions
resulting in a shift in political ideological perspectives to a more liberal
In theory a negotiation process has four phases: preliminary
discussions, pre-negotiaon positioning and creating the right climate, the
negotiation process itself, and implementation.
In practice, these four phases naturally do
not follow so precise and
organised a course.
Negotiation is really a sojourn to and from, between and among these
The point of departure is that parties which are in oppostion about
fundamental issues deem it to be in their interest to settle the differences
to the benefit of all the parties by obtaining consensual decisions through
negotiation and entering into agreements.
In South Africa preliminary discussions took place with the then
Minister of Justice Kobie Coetsee and Nelson Mandela during the latter’s
incarceration, and these resulted in a meeting with the then state President
P. W. Botha.
Unconfirmed rumours were that functionaries of the National
Intelligence Services (NIS) also held exploratory talks on various instances
with ANC officials.
Feelers were sent out through the right channels to certain overseas
government representatives concerning the steps announced on 2 February
Other non-official discussion networks also emerged between business
people, academics, influential organisations, and professional institutes,
on the one hand, and the United Democratic Front and Mass Democratic
Movement (the comouflaged internal ANC) and also with ANC leaders in Lusaka,
on the other.
In South Africa the phase of preliminary discussions took an extensive
and successful course.
In Zimbabwe the phase of preliminary discussions between ZANU PF and
MDC still needs to be researched in depth.
What is indisputable though is that efforts by the Commonwealth troika
on Zimbabwe have in a way facilitated initial contact between the two
parties which led to the aborted talks in April 2002.
A visit by regional Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo and
Bakili Muluzi in May this year to facilitate a negotiated settlement looked
rather futile when the MDC decided to embark on what was code-named the
"final push" which resulted in Tsangirai’s arrest for second treason
The bilaterals that took place between ZANU PF and MDC during
Tsvangirai’s arrest are still veiled in obscurity but there certainly was
some contact. Reports had it that Professor Welshman Ncube kept Tsvangirai
briefed about other pro-democracy forces is very disturbing.
In my view, this goes on to show the importance of bilaterals as a
compromise-seeking and deadlock-breaking mechanism.
Bilaterals must be aimed at identifying obstacles to dialogue and
finding ways of reaching a mutual compromise in a win-win situation.
This is a very improtant lesson for the Zimbabwean transitional
National dialogue may resume and collapse but bilaterals must always
This is how the South African process succeeded after initial failure.
Both bi and multi-laterals are also a potential source of alliances which
are critical for positional bargaining in the negotiation process.
Fundamental or critical differences cannot be managed without what can
be called a "process alliance" between and among negotiating parties. The
now well-known harmonious working relationship between the then
constitutional Development Minister Roelf Meyer and the then ANC Secretary
General Cyril Ramaphosa was a symbol of this process alliance" in South
It meant that both groups, although differing fundamentally on
substance, realised that they needed one another for the process to succeed.
It was a natural consequence of the "Record of understanding" reached
in September 1992.
The dynamics of forming relationships have operated thoughout the
whole negotiation process.
By rubbing shoulders with one another, focusing on solutions and
compromises, and taking stances, a process of shared discovery, involvement
and trust comes into being, leading to mutual respect, understanding and
Centripetal and centrifugal forces develop in the process.
This theory has been confirmed in South Africa’s negotiation process:
the NP-ANC-Democratic Party (grouped togetrher in the middle and the
concerned South African Group, or COSAG (Bophutha-tswana, Ciskei, the
Conservative Party (CP), and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) formed and
closed ranks as the Freedom Alliance.
The Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) tended to remain aloof.
Evidently, the South African process was broad-based and
all-inclusive, and what stands out clear in Zimbabwe’s budding process is
its exclusion of key stakeholders like civil society, small opposition
political parties, religious movements and so forth.
This is a major flaw in the management paradigm of our transitional
process and it appears there has to be a lot of lobbying and hard-bargaining
by the marginalised groups, including threats to disrupt the process. One
such threat has already been issued by the NCA and in my view, they have got
a case. I will re
vert to this in the third part to this series.
Meanwhile, suffice it to say that the marginalised groups must form
power blocks so as to be able to exert meaningful influence over the
Zimbabwe’s political negotiation process is presently in the second ph
ase, that of pre-negotiation positioning and climate creation.
During this phase, the water is more specifically tested.
Is there confidence in mutual intentions to settle? How can reciprocal
positive expectations of negotiations be built up? Who are the real leaders
who should be involved and what dynamics operate in their power bases? How
can the political ecology in the country be stimulated to encourage
receptivity to negotiation?
In South Africa, these questions were asked in the National Party
circles and in ANC and Inkatha grouping. The media picked up the discourse
and wrote about these questions and in discreet ways. The messengers on each
side conveyed positioning messages.
Answers were evaluated positively. The speech made by President F. W.
de Klerk on 2 February 1990 was the springboard, the framework and the
This speech has often been said to be the final, irreversible turning
point in South Africa’s history. The die was cast.
We hope that Zimbabweans across political racial, tribal and class
devides are already engaged in a serious process of looking for answers to
the above question.
What should be noted in F. W. de Klerk’s speech is the element of
surprise therein. Everyone was caught off guard.
Besides countrywide and worldwide applause for the breakthrough, there
was also confusion and disorganisation.
Initially the ANC made uncompromising statements about violence,
nationalisation, and distrust. With new-found energy the CP mobilised
Afrikaner resistance against the NP. Within weeks F. W. de Klerk and Nelson
Mandela became the two who bore the key to the future.
The meeting between the government and the ANC in May 1990 led to the
Groote Schuur Minute which was aimed at the identification of obstacles to
be removed before negotiations could begin.
Working groups were formed. This resulted in the Pretoria Summit in
Snags were further addressed in the D. F. Milan Airport Summit in
Networks of pre-negotiations arose to prepare for the official
Thereafter, the National Peace Accord was born on 14 September 1991.
However, despite optimism that a political settlement would be
reached, there were negotiative developments.
Violence within the country continued to increase and the economy
continued to decline. Foreign investors and governments were cautious about
the political changes in South Africa.
Economic and social conditions could not satisfy the aspirations and
expectations of the black majority.
There was an increase in militant far-right and far-left action. It
was difficult for the ANC and NP to find some way of seeing eye to eye so
that a suitable climate for negotiation could be created.
This South African experience has important lessons for us as
Zimbabweans who find themselves in the same situation.
It is clear in this country that apart from the initiatives of the MDC
and ZANU PF, other unofficial discussion networks must develop among
business people, church groups, women’s groups, students, workers,
intellectuals, academics, professional institutes and influential
The South African experience shows us that creating a conducive
environment for national dialogue takes more than just the initiatives of
the political leadership.
The whole citizenry across various devides must be able to develop new
ways of communicating, new ways of thinking and new ways of relating to each
Every Zimbabwean has a stake in the unfolding national dialogue and
must be given an opportunity as much as possible to make an input to the
The process must be broad-based, comprehensive and all-inclusive.
This is the subject matter of the next contribution which emphasises
the centrality of constitutional reform in both the South African and
Zimbabwean political negotiation process.
The actual negotiation process in South Africa kicked off with the
Congress for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) which opened on 20 December
1991 and was attended by 19 political groups and governments and notable
exceptions were the CP and PAC.
CODESA established working groups to debate various issues, one of
which was the process of constitution-making.
CODESA had three conferences but they ended in deadlock due to the
differences which emerged over the process mainly between the apartheid
government and the ANC.
The government favoured a process where CODESA itself would draft the
constitution after which elections would be held while the ANC preferred a
two stage process involving the democratic election of a Constitution-making
body (stage 1) which would in turn write the constitution (stage 2).
The failure of CODESA led to renewed negotiations between the key
players leading to the conveneing of another conference of political parties
and organisations called the Multi-Party Negotiating Process (MPNP) which
was attended by 26 political groups.
The MPNP managed to strike a compromise and agree on a negotiated
constitution for the transition to democracy within nine months, from March
to November 1993, in something of a miracle.
The MPNP succeded in bringing about the essence of a compromise namely
that there were no winners and no lossers.
The middle course won the argument.
While the ANC had its two-stage process adopted, it had to drop its
insistence on a referendum.
In return for accepting the ANC’s two-stage process, the apartheid
government won on federalism and the adoption of the constitution by the
Reminiscing on the seed, germination and birth of the South African
process, one realises that perharps the negotiation process had to mature
first, perhaps the time was not yet ripe for the political groupings to
realise that no-one could "go it alone’.
The fact is that CODESA was a first trial run which, although serving
a purpose, was doomed to end in deadlock.
Looking back, political leaders would perhaps also agree that, at the
early stages of negotiations, they were possiby not as skilled as they
subsequently became and had an insufficient sensitivity to what is called
"process": to main
tain progress with negotiations which reaching "win-win" compromises
along the way.
In retrospect, it is clear that the South African constitutional
negotiations process, starting on very weak legs with CODESA had come to
maturity in the MPNP. The lessons had been well learnt and taken seriously.
An interesting development arising from the many bi- and multi-lateral
negotiations, which should be a lesson for Zimbabwe’s political leadership,
is the pragmatism that had become evident in political, economic, and
constitutional discussions in South Africa.
All the parties had in some or other way undergone a shift from a
dogmatic ideological political approach to a more pragmatic, flexible
It is especially since 1992 that the emphasis increasingly fell on
problem solving rather than dogmatic approach to issues.
The pragmatism opened the door for mutually acceptable solutions and a
constitutional framework which few people would have predicted at the
commencement of negotiations.
The process by which the South African constitution was born is now
being acknowledged globally as one of the most extraordinary phenomena of
modern-day constitutional history.
Here in Zimbabwe, some voices are calling for caution on the part of
Naturally, transition politics is characterised by uncertainity,
increasing violence, suspision, occassional despair, and the consolidation
of power base.
There will also be constant "constituency pressures", whetehr in the
form of high expectations or criticism that it had "sold out".
F . W. de Klerk ran a risk of rejection by radicals in his
constituency; Nelson Mandela also ran a similar risk of rejection by the
The danger of losing political power and leverage is omnipresent in a
political negotiation process but the political will to succeed, combined
with patience, endurance, and oftern sheer will power will make the success
of the process possible.
It is my hope that this is going to be the case in Zimbabwe.
Mammoth task for new CFU boss
Zhean Gwaze Staff Reporter
8/15/2003 8:35:20 AM (GMT +2)
DOUGLAS Taylor-Freeme, elected as the new president of the Commercial
Farmers Union (CFU) last week, is a man facing a mammoth task.
He has to convince the government that his association still has a
major role to play in reviving the crumbling agricultural sector and that
the association is not "ultra-racist, combative and inhibits destructive
tendencies," as alleged by its critics like Lands and Agriculture Minister
"We would like the minister to engage in consultations with all
stakeholders in the agricultural sector immediately before the sector
becomes irrelevant to the economy," Freeme told The Financial Gazette in an
The agricultural sector contributes 11 percent to the country’s Gross
There has been a clash between the government and the CFU because of
the government-sponsored land reform programme that resulted in almost the
entire CFU’s mainly white members being displaced by new black landowners.
CFU had over 4 000 members before the land reforms, but is now left
with only 1000 members.
At the top of Freeme’s agenda is to make the remaining 1 000 CFU
members work in partnership with the government, the Zimbabwe Farmers Union
and the Indigenous Commercial Farmers’ Union to combat the problems the
industry is facing and getting this year’s farming season on course.
The sector is faced with shortages of inputs and fuel that have put
the winter cropping season into disarray and the main farming season into
However, time is not on his side as surveys have revealed that tobacco
seedbed preparations have not begun, the winter crop hectarage has been
slashed by more than 50 percent and the country’s beef herd has declined by
more than 80 percent.
The numbers are too evident. The country faces a cereal deficit of 1.3
million tonnes. Between 80 and 85 million kgs may be delivered to the
auction floors this year, a 50 percent decline from the crop sold last year.
Sales have also been frequently disrupted at the auctions as
small-scale farmers pushed for the devaluation of the currency.
Cotton production has declined due to shortages of inputs and the beef
herd has declined from 6.5 million two years ago to 200 000 because of the
drought and massive destocking during the chaotic land reform.
"I think its encouraging that the two parties (government and CFU) are
going into some sort of discussions to consider agriculture as a business
and not political playground," Freeme says, adding that the talks would
revive the industry.
"The agricultural sector is member drawn and the minister indicated
that there was room for everyone to farm to make the sector vibrant again,"
Farming associations have appealed to the government for the central
bank to release US$24 million for the procurement of inputs this farming
Of the amount, $72 billion is required before the middle of this month
to procure inputs for tobacco, which is Zimbabwe’s single largest export
The CFU chief admitted that his mandate would not be an ordinary
challenge considering the tremendous decline in agricultural output blamed
on the drought and the chaotic land reform.
The union alleges that the government is still listing farms for
compulsory acquisition and evicting farmers despite indicating that the land
reform was completed in August last year.
The 39-year-old Freeme holds a diploma in Agricultural Engineering
from the United Kingdom and has attended Blackfordby Agriculture College.
Freeme is the former vice-president of the CFU.
He has witnessed the ups and downs of the agricultural sector and has
also been the chairman of the Oilseeds Producers Association where he strove
to double the production of soyabeans in Zimbabwe.
Former Dairy Cattle Producers Association chairman Stoff Hawgood takes
over as the vice president of CFU. Former chairman Colin Cloete resigned
after the end of his two-year stint.
Freeme is married to Louise and they have three daughters — Hayley,
Abby and Eryn.
First steps towards recovery
8/15/2003 9:00:45 AM (GMT +2)
WHEN Zimbabwe eventually makes it onto a recovery path, a good
starting point will be to recognise what it is we have to recover from.
We will be trying to recover from self-inflicted injury on a delicate
economic structure. And two points are vitally important here: the first is
that we have discovered how easy it is to cause serious damage to this
economy; the second is that we have not stopped inflicting damage.
Initiating a recovery will not be possible before we have stopped
doing more damage, and the longer we carry on damaging the economy, the less
likely it will be able to recover fully, and the longer it will take to show
Next, a few comments on what it is that is being damaged. It is the
most developed component of an economy that has sustained one of the highest
population growth rates in world history. Today the indigenous population of
Zimbabwe is about 25 times higher than it was when the country was first
colonised. This population growth has been possible because of the growth of
The foundation of this growth was built upon property rights. The
introduction and formalisation of these rights led directly to the
investment that transformed the whole country into one of the most developed
in the Third World. A major part of this investment was in commercial
farming, from which a massive contribution to the rest of the economy
emerged. The industry employed more people than any other and gave rise to
or funded more businesses in other sectors than any other.
Respect for individual property rights and the success of commercial
agriculture led directly to improvements that reached everybody throughout
Zimbabwe. Respect for property rights stimulated investment, which meant
more jobs, more training, more schools, more clinics, more roads, more
bridges, more tax revenues for government, more foreign exchange for the
whole economy and more development of every kind.
Where individual property rights were recognised in this country,
development took place and a modern economy was created. Where individual
property rights did not apply, investment levels were poor, if any true
investment happened at all. But it is the very concept of property rights
that has come under attack.
If this attack is fully successful and the private ownership of
property ceases to form the foundation of economic activity, Zimbabwe’s
capacity to cater to the needs of its population of about 12 million people
will be cut by at least half.
Without the use of capital-intensive agricultural methods, the
carrying capacity of the land will slip to a fraction of its current level.
Today’s larger population will become one of the most impoverished in the
If these results turn out to be the ones intended, the architects of
the plan will win recognition as the most destructive country administrators
since Pol Pot.
If the full support of the government is given to the challenge of
bringing about a recovery, among the absolute essentials for a start to be
made will be:
lThe full recovery of the country’s former good standing in the
This would require
lThe full restoration of the protection of the law to everyone,
lThe full recognition of each
individual’s rights to the freedoms
guaranteed under the Constitution
lThe reaffirmation that productive assets will not
These requirements are equally important to every citizen of the
country, to every political party and to every facet of the country’s
No prospect of international recognition or an improvement in
prosperity would be possible without meeting them. Any reluctance to make a
full commitment to them would be interpreted as absolutely unacceptable
However, their formal acceptance would help generate support for
lVery significant assistance from development agencies and donor
lThe formulation of terms for the raising of a syndicated foreign
currency loan for the purpose of retiring the total domestic debt, currently
about Z$200 billion.
The government must curtail and quickly eliminate the crowding-out of
domestic investment through its local borrowing activities. Currently,
almost all of the borrowing is needed for the repayment of previous
borrowings, therefore nothing useful is being accomplished with the borrowed
However, one of the main reasons why so little domestic investment has
taken place is that the government has captured $450 billion of the public’s
savings, and additional amounts that might total another Z$400 billion are
owed by parastatals.
To unlock the nation’s savings and make them available for productive
investment, foreign loans are needed. And to be able to make the commitment
that the new foreign loan can be repaid, Zimbabwe has to rebuild, secure and
rapidly add to its productive sectors and export base.
The Reserve Bank’s inclination to take official transfers of foreign
exchange into its own coffers and to release equivalent sums in Zimbabwe
dollars into the market has caused sharp increases in liquidity in the past.
This generated the need to "sterilise" the highly inflationary extra
liquidity created, which is carried our by means of "open market
operations". This is usually accomplished by the sale of Treasury Bills.
While this mechanism will have to remain available to the monetary
authorities, the initial foreign exchange inflows could be paid directly to
lenders in hard currency. This would be far less inflationary than the
duplication of cash balances, and it would stimulate very considerable
domestic investment. The authorities would need only to set an initial
condition that capital transfers out of the country would still require
Reserve Bank approval.
By committing itself in advance to pay out local lenders in foreign
currency, the Reserve Bank would issue a clear signal to the international
markets that the full recovery of Zimbabwe’s productive sectors has been
given top priority. This in turn would help attract further investment
inflows. Reasonable success in this direction would ease the burden of
repayments on the sharply increased external debt.
To the extent that recent inflation rates have been exacerbated by the
scarcity of foreign exchange, the inflow of US$2 billion would help reverse
the recent exchange rate trends on the parallel currency markets. This would
offer the best possible prospect of a steep fall in the rate of inflation
over the following year. The foreign loan would also provide a legitimate
basis for the desired lower interest rates.
With help from the resurgence in exports, these improvements would
bring closer the possibility that the Zimbabwe dollar exchange rate would
become more stable. The need for direct intervention in the market to set
the exchange rate and interest rates will fall away, as will the many
distortions that have been caused by these disruptive policies.
Working through the banking sector and foreign currency market, most
of the hard currency would quickly find its way from the institutional
investors into the productive sectors, where a substantial proportion of it
would help strengthen Zimbabwe’s export drive.
A hard currency loan could therefore form the seed capital for
Zimbabwe’s full recovery if the required changes were made to overcome the
recent collapse in confidence.
As a high proportion of the lenders are institutions, those planning
to purchase shares in privatising parastatals could be offered special terms
if they were prepared to pay for their shares in hard currency. Private
sector companies could offer similar incentives when they offer the
institutions shares through private placings or through the Zimbabwe Stock
Zimbabwe needs much more investment in many new areas of industrial
enterprise. But for that to happen, the country must again become an
attractive option for new investors, and for that to happen, the country’s
investment regulations, tax and labour laws need to be drastically revised.
The private sector faces constant challenges to get the best possible
mileage from its resources. Government is under no less of a challenge. Its
efforts to raise yet more money from people who have been struggling with
declining real incomes for the past 10 years has proved to be a futile
exercise. Accordingly, all recently imposed tax increases have simply caused
revenues in real inflation-adjusted terms to fall in other areas of
Labour unions also carry a burden of responsibility to help steer the
economy away from the edge of the precipice. While they might have the
leverage to force up wage levels, they lack the ability to create new jobs
to replace the ones that are destroyed when they prompt workers to price
themselves out of their own markets.
Without losing a cent, the government could make a major contribution
to the attack on inflation by reversing some of its inflationary tax
decisions, particularly those affecting import duties and the cascading
effects of taxes on taxes. These not only make the goods more expensive to
local buyers, they also make them less competitive on export markets.
Coupled with the effect of a fixed exchange rate and therefore fixed
export revenues, even though production costs are still rising at a
staggeringly high rate, the effects are endangering the survival of a great
many of our exporters and some have already given up the struggle.
As we never could afford to lose a single one of them, we should be
doing all we can to stop the process now.
Drastic economic policy changes are urgently needed immediately if we
are to succeed, and they have to start with the quality of governance.
John Robertson is an independent economic consultant and a member of
the Zimbabwe Economics Society