by Godfrey Marawanyika Sun Aug 26, 12:50 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - A drop in the monthly inflation rate may have been greeted
with sighs of relief by the Zimbabwean government, but analysts and
consumers have seen little evidence that the economy has turned a corner.
After suppressing inflation data since May, the central statistics office
announced last week that while the annual rate had hit a new high of 7,634.8
percent, month-on-month inflation in July was 31.6 percent, a fall of 54.6
percentage points on the June rate.
Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi said the figure vindicated the
government's imposition of price cuts in late June which effectively forced
businesses and retailers to halve their tariffs.
But with shelves bare of everyday commodities such as cooking oil and sugar,
most Zimbabweans find themselves paying well above the official rate on the
black market where the decline in the official inflation rate is irrelevant.
"The ordinary consumer is paying more than the actual price. This is the
real inflation, not the inflation they show on graphs," said Daniel Ndlela,
an economist with Zimconsult.
"The said deceleration is only good for those who want to believe their own
Ndlela said there was evidence of crisis everywhere, citing an example of
people who were lined up at a hardware store to buy cement at the government
price of 150,000 dollars (0.75 US dollars) per 50 kilogrammes.
"The queue resembled a desperate situation of people trying to enter Rufaro
(in Harare) stadium to watch a popular soccer match," he said.
The prospective buyers were not "building homes or anything, but they will
just re-sell the same bag at 1.5 million around the corner. That is real
inflation, not what we hear."
Lucky Mapfumo, a 23-year-old University of Zimbabwe medical student, said a
slowdown of the inflation juggernaut meant little if there was nothing to
"I have plenty of money on me, but I can not buy anything because there is
nothing in the shops," said Mapfumo.
"We heard the government reduced prices, but I don't remember the last time
I had bread and now we hear that inflation is slowing down."
Conscious of the widespread shortages, the government announced on Wednesday
the prices of some goods such as cooking oil and sugar could be increased
but most shops in the capital Harare remained bereft of such items.
While the price crackdown was initially welcomed as it enabled Zimbabweans
to stock up on goods which had been out of their price range, the subsequent
shortages as a result of manufacturers being unable to cover their costs has
stoked resentment towards the government.
Witness Chinyama, a Harare-based independent economist said the suppressed
inflation and price cuts were never going to work.
"The way forward for government is to now try and stabilise the
macroeconomic environment," he told AFP.
"What was announced is simply suppressed inflation, which is not helpful
because they are suppressing the symptoms and not the underlying causes."
Tapiwa Mashakada, secretary for economic affairs for the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, forecast the slowdown of inflation was temporary.
"People have become professionals queueing for basic commodities and there
is untold suffering as result of government actions," Mashakada said.
Deputy industry minister Phineas Chihota said although inflation was
decelerating, more still needed to be done.
"As government, we have a distressed funding scheme for companies which we
avail funds to firms at very low interest," he told AFP.
"By availing funds cheaply, this will result in goods being available in the
shops and this will benefit the ordinary men in the street."
Zimbabwe was previously regarded as a regional bread basket but the economy
first ran into trouble in 2000 when President Robert Mugabe ordered the
seizure of white-owned farms which had been a major source of revenue.
The situation has worsened in the intervening years to such an extent that
more than three million Zimbabweans have fled the country and four out of
five people are now unemployed.
Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, has blamed the former British
colony's economic woes on targeted sanctions imposed by the West over
allegations he rigged his re-election in 2002.
Saturday, 25 August 2007, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Despite an economy in turmoil, four-figure inflation and the exodus of
millions to neighbouring countries, Zimbabwe's president can rely on the
support of his African peers. Peter Biles spoke to one of them in a bid to
discover Robert Mugabe's secret.
The photographers and cameramen had been waiting patiently outside the
Mulungushi conference centre in Lusaka.
Southern African leaders were arriving thick and fast but the man
everyone was waiting to see was Mr Mugabe.
He may be a pariah in the capital cities of the European Union but
here in the heart of southern Africa he knows he can count on a fair degree
of undying loyalty.
When the Mugabe motorcade eventually swept in there was a noticeable
tightening of security.
A small pick-up truck bore three heavily armed soldiers in the back,
and bodyguards surrounded the black limousine as the 83-year-old president
He smiled and stepped forward with his wife, Grace, to meet his
There was certainly no hint that this was a head of state under
intense domestic pressure.
Zambia is a place that all the southern African leaders know pretty
On this occasion, they had come for a routine summit but, for some,
Lusaka is like a home from home.
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa lived here for years when he was
an exiled member of the ANC.
Zambia has always offered a hand of friendship to refugees, especially
during the days of the liberation struggle in South Africa and what was
Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
Robert Mugabe spent his time in Mozambique during the bush war but a
warm welcome is still assured when he meets his fellow leaders.
He is the longest-serving head of state in the region - bar one - and
he clearly relishes his position as one of the elder statesmen.
You have to appreciate the bonds of loyalty that defined the struggle
for independence in post-colonial Africa to understand why it is that Robert
Mugabe is still treated with so much respect, even when his country is
collapsing around him and he is largely to blame.
African tradition dictates that he should not be criticised in public
whatever private thoughts his peers might harbour.
Kenneth and Robert
In Lusaka, I ran across Kenneth Kaunda - independent Zambia's first
president. We first met 20 years ago when he occupied State House. Having
been the nation's founding father, he had led the country since 1964.
Not unlike Zimbabwe, Zambia's post-colonial era was characterised by
optimism to begin with, but then came economic mismanagement, social unrest,
and the emergence of political opposition.
But Kenneth Kaunda did something unusual. He fought an election in
1991, lost and stepped aside gracefully after 27 years in power.
That is exactly how long Robert Mugabe has been around.
Mr Kaunda was never the greatest leader but he was - and still is - a
well-meaning man with real charisma.
As we sat talking the other afternoon, there seemed to be no better
person to shed light on Robert Mugabe. Kenneth Kaunda is near enough the
same age, just two months younger. They were both born in 1924.
These days, KK - as he has always been known - enjoys his retirement
with dignity and seems to command genuine respect.
As we chatted a stream of passers-by - most of them young enough to be
his grandchildren - lined up to greet him and shake his hand.
I tried to picture Robert Mugabe in a similar situation but, to my
mind, he and Kenneth Kaunda were poles apart - the despot clinging to power
and the happily retired politician, once renowned for his national ideology
An improved spirit?
So I asked Dr Kaunda if he could help explain Robert Mugabe's
popularity in the region.
"I'm glad you noticed it," he replied.
He was referring to the huge round of applause for President Mugabe
during the opening session of the leaders' summit.
"People see him as a hero," he said.
"Not just in Zimbabwe or here in Zambia but across the whole of
And Kenneth Kaunda speaks for many in the region in blaming not Mugabe
for Zimbabwe's troubles but successive British governments.
"It's no good demonising Robert Mugabe," he says.
"We should all put our heads together, talk to him, and work with him
on a solution."
But that is not to say that even those closest to the Zimbabwean
president want him to seek another term in office in his 84th year. Because
by all accounts they do not.
My last glimpse of President Mugabe during his brief visit to Lusaka
was on a wind-swept parade ground at the city's military airport.
He and the other southern African leaders had come to inaugurate a
regional brigade - a key component in a new African standby peacekeeping
As the presidents stood shoulder to shoulder they released a bunch of
green, blue, and white balloons.
It was a symbol of what this region aspires to - an improved spirit of
togetherness and closer integration designed to stimulate economic growth
But because of Zimbabwe, southern Africa is facing its most serious
crisis in years. And love him or loath him, it is Robert Mugabe who holds
By Allan Savory
Zimbabwe is in trouble having repeated the pattern of other
post-independence African states. But consider this: The great castles of
Britain were built only after the end of Roman colonization, when English
war lords battled for supremacy, and kings murdered brothers, wives and
others over the centuries to achieve the same end. Only painfully and slowly
did the British people bridge the gap between tyrannical leaders and
democratic ones to enjoy the democratic freedoms they and millions of
immigrants from former colonies enjoy today. In Africa we are trying to
bridge this gap in a few decades, and at a time when flaws in Western
democracies are leading increasingly to environmental degradation that few
would associate with their political systems. And yet they are closely
Until all people feel free, secure and well governed none are. Poor land
leads inevitably to poor people, poverty, violence, political instability
and genocide. These two beliefs have dominated my adult life as a
fourth-generation African scientist born in Zimbabwe. Such beliefs led me
into political life briefly and then into exile. While the connection
between the health of the land and political, social and economic stability
was for years denied by most nations, it is now increasingly acknowledged.
For Africa it is important to acknowledge that the health, stability and
productivity of our land is as fundamental to stable government as is social
As a former political ally of Mugabe, Nkomo, Tongogara, Zvobo, Edson
Sithole, Dabengwa, Chinamano and many other leading Zimbabweans of all
colours and tribes in our struggle for democracy and independence, I know
our dreams have gone astray. I also know that when we worked together in
Switzerland toward the final stages of our long war we were simply
Zimbabweans regardless of colour or tribe with a common aim of gaining our
independence as a proud and democratic nation. We have run our ship onto the
rocks for many reasons, some of the major ones beyond our control as I
explain in this paper. Now once more we have a common aim in working
together to get our ship of state off the rocks, upright and proudly afloat.
We are not a nation of beggars and we can provide leadership for Africa and
Although rich in resources, many African nations are so financially run down
and dependent on foreign aid that they are hardly independent. While the
political leaders and parties that led their nations to independence have
generally been blamed I believe that blame is misplaced. When a similar fate
has befallen most fledgling African democracies, and when changing the party
in power has, at best, resulted in marginal improvement in people's lives
with continued dependence on foreign aid, it suggests there might be a
deeper cause for democracy's dismal performance in Africa. The fact that so
many countries have experienced the same problems, and that even the
economic powerhouse of South Africa is heading down Zimbabwe's path,
suggests there might be something wrong with the democratic system inherited
by African nations. Blaming individuals or parties in power, rather than
looking at the deeper causes is neither constructive nor likely to lead to
The views I express have been gestating over fifty years and especially in
the last thirty years following my service in Parliament. I am apolitical
and entered Parliament in desperation to fight racism,
environmentally-destructive policies, and to try to end an insane war. To
the opposition party that I subsequently led, I consistently stressed that I
was only a wartime leader and would withdraw from politics as soon as we
could end the war and gain our independence. The reason for my refusal,
despite requests, to continue in politics was simply that I knew that
ensuring good governance was beyond my capacity or understanding. It has
taken the last thirty years for me to understand what prevents good
governance in any nation and thus what could be done to achieve it.
In this paper, I outline new scientific insights that explain why it has
proven so difficult for any government of any form to provide good
governance. And I explain the shortcomings of Zimbabwe's inherited political
belief system as well as the parliamentary and civil service structures that
flow from it. These shortcomings made the troubles experienced in Africa's
fledgling democracies inevitable - no matter who was leading them. Zimbabwe
cannot extricate itself from its troubles, no matter how well intentioned
its present or future political leaders might be, unless Zimbabweans think
I sincerely believe that the suggestions I offer have the potential, in
Zimbabwe's case, to quickly produce governance superior to that of older
democracies, and from which they might learn. These suggestions could lead
to a Zimbabwean internal solution in which there are mostly winners and few
losers and that can be embraced by most of my countrymen and women. While
focusing on my own country I am aware that other nations, such as South
Africa and Namibia, which are moving down the same path as Zimbabwe, could
also produce similar results.
The ideas I express are not intended to offend any individuals in any
political party but are offered in the hope of encouraging open and fresh
discussion to help lead us to a better future and to do so quickly.
While concerned with Africa, and in particular Zimbabwe, I draw parallels
with the U.S. and other nations for the lessons we can learn. What is it
that prevents even the best of well meaning politicians from providing
consistently good governance in any nation and not just my own?
The level of environmental destruction evidenced in world wide
desertification and now global climate change, combined with rising
populations and aspirations will demand a greater need for good governance
than any time in history. I hope the ideas put forward here will encourage
discussion and fresh thinking in countries other than Zimbabwe and among
people other than politicians. Just as the finest candle makers could never
have thought of, or developed, electric lighting, so too politicians are
unlikely to see the solutions that ordinary people see with clarity.
Section I. Key Scientific Insights
Had I, as founder and leader of a political party, not been forced to
develop policies in articulating a party platform, I never would have
understood that the single greatest role of government is the formulation of
While these policies impact all areas of our lives - citizenship, taxation,
education, etc. - it is environmental policies that impact us most
profoundly in the long term. Environmental policies directly affect the
quality of life people experience, which in turn influences whether they
live in peace or ultimately chaos and genocide.
Many policies lead to various kinds of development projects. Both policies
and projects deal with addressing a problem in some manner and both need to
I-A. Government policies and projects fail to deal simultaneously with
social, environmental and economic concerns
Governments form policies for one of two reasons - either to
address a problem or to prevent a foreseeable problem. To successfully
achieve its objective, any policy (or project) needs to not only address the
cause of the problem but also to address its social, environmental and
economic aspects simultaneously.
The massive rise in populations and degradation of land underlies most of
the poverty and increasing violence being experienced in Africa. Land
degradation (desertification) inevitably leads to increased frequency and
severity of floods and droughts, with no change in the weather. And
desertification leads to poverty, social breakdown, violence, political
instability, and genocide. In fact, desertification leads to most of the
symptoms African governments, and development agencies assisting them,
grapple with, and from which millions of people suffer and die.
I-B. Learning what caused desertification led to understanding why
government policies cannot deal with complexity as needed.
My life's work as a scientist has been devoted to unraveling the
mystery of desertification. This process of land degradation, beginning
thousands of years ago, has defied our efforts to reverse it and has
destroyed many societies and civilizations. What I discovered is that,
contrary to mainstream views, desertification is not caused by the many
things often blamed, such as overpopulation, overstocking and overgrazing,
communal tenure of land and so on. The fact that entire states in the U.S.,
with low populations, no overstocking, and with privately owned land, are
desertifying as badly as any parts of Africa, led me to the realization that
we needed to look elsewhere. I believe I found that underlying cause in the
way people through the ages have made decisions about the land that supports
them. Although humans make millions of decisions in many ways, if stripped
to the core, like peeling the layers off an onion, underlying even the most
sophisticated decision making lies a basic framework. Discovering the
existence of this framework led me to understand that all governments,
development agencies and NGO's use exactly this same framework when
formulating policies and projects. For simplicity, I call this the
I-C. Universal framework used by all governments to formulate
Although there are today in business and academic institutions
many sophisticated decision making processes, all these processes have the
same universal framework underlying them.
Conscious, as opposed to instinctive, decisions, that deal with any problem
in policy formation are made toward the achievement of an objective. The
only tools with which to manage the environment at large considered in any
government's (or development agency's) policies or projects fall under the
categories of technology, fire or rest. (of the environment). And all
actions to achieve the objective are based on one or more of many factors,
such as past experience, expert opinion, research results, public opinion,
cost, compromise, expediency, cultural beliefs, intuition, peer pressure,
fear, propaganda, cost, cash flow, profitability, and so on.
There is no exception to the use of this simple framework in conscious
decision making; it's what a simple pastoralist family uses every day, and
it's what the most sophisticated scientific team also uses to address
desertification, global climate change or space exploration. All governments
unwittingly use this framework when formulating resource management
policies, and other policies as well.
I-D. Areas where the universal framework is successful.
The universal framework has proven successful in the development of
technology-from Stone Age implements to the sophisticated machinery used for
space travel. The staggering success of technology is overwhelming in
improving people's lives through commercial industrial food production,
health services, transport, many labour saving devices, and entertaining
distractions like television.
While our technological successes are generally improving the lives of
wealthy people this is not true for most people. Our remarkable
technological successes are only successful in reality as long as we ignore
their longer term effects on our environment and society. These effects are
becoming increasingly serious and threaten the future well-being of all
In systems science all the areas of success with technology are described as
hard systems. Briefly, this means they are designed by humans (a watch,
cell phone or a computer are good examples) and they possess these features:
· They are complicated
· They do not work if parts are missing
· They possess emergent properties (meaning all the parts put
together can do some planned thing like enable you to tell the time or
· They do not exhibit unplanned emergent properties (they only do
what they are designed to do)
· When problems arise, they are relatively easy to solve.
I-E. Areas where the universal framework is less successful.
To better grasp the areas of our lives where the universal
framework is less successful we need to look again to systems science, which
also recognizes soft systems (e.g., human organizations) and natural systems
(e.g., plants, animals, soils our environment). Soft systems are designed
by humans. Natural systems are not. Apart from this one difference soft and
natural systems have the same features:
· They can be complicated, but are always complex, in that they have
emergent properties but also unplanned or unexpected properties (e.g.,
an organization will do what it was planned to do but will also do
unplanned or expected things).
· They are self-renewing
· They work with missing parts
· When problems arise, they are exceedingly difficult to solve.
It is in those areas of our lives that involve the complexity of soft and
natural systems that, using as all do, the universal framework we are
running into ever escalating problems and conflicts world wide. Many are
the apparent minor successes, but if looked at on the large scale and with
honesty we are losing ground as populations rise and desertification and
global climate change accelerate. When whole nations, including the U.S.,
are exporting more eroding soil than all grain, meat, timber, commercial and
military products, they are degrading rapidly. The recent estimate of 4 tons
of eroding soil annually going down the world's rivers for every human alive
tells us about the global scale of the problem of unsound resource
This digression into systems science, brief as it was, is essential to
understanding the unplanned/unexpected emergent properties of civil service
bureaucracies inherited by Zimbabwe and other African countries that render
good governance impossible, as I explain in Section III.
I-F. Why current resource management policies are unsound.
For brevity, I mention only the two main flaws in the universal framework
that generally lead to unsound policies and projects that attempt to address
societal or natural resource problems.
1.. Shortcomings of objectives and goals. Objectives and goals (and
through them the attainment of missions and visions) do not, and generally
cannot, address the social, environmental and economic aspects of a
situation simultaneously and both short and long term. While very often the
objectives and goals of policies or projects are achieved, due to this
inability to cater for complex systems we often encounter unexpected
consequences and the need for ever escalating fixes of fixes. Whole books
have been written on this problem, which I need not belabour.
2.. No tool with which to reverse desertification over most of the world.
When looking at the three "tools" available to humans to manage our
environment at large we note there are two (fire and rest) that promote
desertification over the two thirds of the world's land surface subject to
seasonal and or erratic rainfall. And we note there is no tool that can
reverse desertification (even technology, on the scale required). Thus, it
would have been a miracle if land had not been degrading over much of the
world and deserts advancing throughout history. The general belief is that
there are thousands of "tools" available to scientists and governments to
deal with environmental problems. In reality, train in any profession in
any university in the world and unwittingly you will only be trained to use
technology, fire or rest (of land) to deal with our environment at large.
Consequently, most actions and policies involve the use of technology or
fire (a major contributor to global climate change).
Thus for scientific reasons it is now understandable why no government, or
development agency for that matter, has to date been able to produce what I
would call holistically sound policies that are simultaneously economically,
socially and environmentally sound short and long term.
Note: There are minor cases in perennially humid environments where it is
theoretically possible for governments to create holistically sound
policies but in practice it is rare.
I-G. Holistic decision making framework.
My quest to understand the desertification occurring in Zimbabwe
beginning in the 1950's led me to develop a number of ideas that I was able
to test in practice with land managers on four continents. That quest also
caused me to look at the work of other scientists in Zimbabwe, South Africa,
France and the U.S. mainly, and to gradually develop a slightly improved
decision making framework. That new framework is described in Holistic
Management: A New Framework for Decision Making, Second Edition (Island
Briefly, the holistic framework enhances the universal one with three main
· A holisticgoal that ties what people value most deeply in life to
their life-supporting environment.
· The addition of two tools that make reversal of desertification
possible in the world's seasonal rainfall environments - grazing and animal
impact from large herbivores such as livestock.
· A set of filtering questions that ensure all decisions, policies,
projects or actions are leading toward the future people desire.
Like all new innovations, Holistic Management has not been accepted or
adopted rapidly, but today the book referenced above is in use in more than
20 universities, and land managers are beginning to reverse desertification
on over 30 million acres in the U.S., Africa, Mexico, Australia, Canada,
New Zealand and elsewhere.
I-H. The holisticgoal
The holistic framework, which is essential to sound policy and
project development, requires a holisticgoal to serve as a constant toward
which to test objectives, and the actions to achieve them. While objectives,
goals, and through their achievement, missions and visions are essential and
desirable they have the flaws mentioned earlier: Objectives do not enable
governments to address the complexity inherent in either society, our
environment or any economy; and, differing objectives and goals, without
reference to a holisticgoal, are one of the main catalysts for conflict at
many levels of society and between societies. It is difficult for people
with different objectives not to come into conflict at some level at some
stage. The holisticgoal provides a constant reference point for all
objectives. It lays out how people want their lives to be, based upon what
they value most in life, tied to their life supporting environment. It works
somewhat like magnetic north, guiding your life so that no matter what
twists and deviations you have to make you remain generally on course to
your desired destination.
The holistic framework can be used in any situation, from a single person
his/her life, to a household, business or nation - just as the universal
framework is used in any situation. While the holisticgoal is generally
formed by the decision makers involved in management, at the national or
international level this is not practical. A generic holisticgoal is used
in these cases to guide policies or projects. A national generic
holisticgoal would reflect what 99% of the people want and serves as the
lighthouse guiding all policy objectives to safe harbour.
To enable me to make sure all the suggestions I make in this appeal for
national discussion are holistically sound, I needed to work toward a
national holisticgoal. Achieving good governance, is afterall, an objective.
Many have tried and failed simply because an objective alone cannot deal
with the complexity involved. The holisticgoal that I have used is shown in
Annexure A and should be read at this point so that readers know what
reference point guides my suggestions.
I-I. Extent of unsound policy exposed by holistic framework.
As mentioned, the holistic framework was developed specifically
to understand and reverse desertification practically and inexpensively.
Only after its development was it discovered that the holistic framework
could be used in areas other than management. In particular the holistic
framework could be used to analyse policies and projects before
implementation, or to design holistically sound policies and projects more
likely to succeed. To do such an analysis is almost impossible using the
For example, in the early 1980's some 2,000 scientists and land managers
from U.S. government land management agencies and land grant universities
were put through training in the use of the holistic framework, and they
analyzed many of their own policies. All those policies, without exception,
were found to be faulty with no chance of success. One such group in
training made the unanimous statement that "they could now recognize that
unsound resource management was universal in the United States." Similar
training in India, Lesotho and Zimbabwe has resulted in similar findings.
Despite the good intent of Environmental Impact Statements required by many
authorities prior to policy or project acceptance, no EIS, because all use
the universal framework, could detect the policy flaws. The problem is, I
believe, universal but could be addressed by any government very rapidly and
inexpensively through training, as both the American and Mexican governments
are beginning to do.
Only when governments are capable of formulating or developing holistically
sound policies or projects will good governance become more than simply an
ideal or idea. However, other requirements must still be met before all
feel secure and well governed.
Section II. The Trouble with Political Parties
Knowing that one-party systems inevitably end in abuse of power,
dictatorship (military or otherwise) and violence, the widespread belief in
multi-party democracy is understandable, as is the desire of the Western
world to thrust such beliefs on fledgling democracies in Africa. However,
the belief that political parties themselves are essential to democratic
government blocks creative thinking and I believe prevents the achievement
of good governance. I am not the first to see the dangers of political
parties to the stability of nations. George Washington, who declined to run
for another term as President of the United States, in his Farewell Address
to his nation in September 1796 conveyed this warning about political
" Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which
nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and
continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to
make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and
It [the party system] serves always to distract the Public
Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates
the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms;
kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments
occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence
and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the
government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus
the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the
policy and will of another."
Although the English is of another age the message is clear. African leaders
would be wise to heed this warning from George Washington, who led his
nation to independence from Britain.
Based on my participation in political parties as candidate and/or leader,
and based on my observations of the political scene in many countries, I
have concluded that the existence of political parties leads to poor
In many countries today people demonstrate their disgust, frustration and
sense of hopelessness by not taking the trouble to vote. Commonly I hear
people say "What is the point of voting, it makes no difference."
Personally, I feel this way, too. Deprived of my vote in my own nation, I
am eligible to vote in the U.S. but often see little point other than to try
to minimize the damage done to Americans by voting for their least damaging
party, in terms of the policies that party promotes.
For reasons explained below, the party system is simply not working,
especially in Africa, and probably never can provide good governance in any
nation. In Section III, I outline suggestions for how a non-party democracy
could form a government in a more genuinely democratic manner.
II-A. Fundamental belief required for party system to operate.
Essential to peaceful, civilized behaviour in party politics
during elections is the need for both voters and candidates to believe
deeply in the idea of a "loyal opposition." This concept, which only arose
after centuries of struggle and conflict in Europe, is an idea people in
Africa and elsewhere simply do not believe. The belief is rather that
whichever party gets into power will enjoy the spoils, and had better remain
in power at all cost because they will never again enjoy such easy access to
Commonly the party gaining power in the first post-independence African
elections will not democratically relinquish power. When African nationalist
parties fought for independence under the banner of democracy with the chant
"One man, one vote," many people like myself, supported their aspirations in
our hearts. However, in our minds we knew that what this probably meant was
"one man, one vote, one time." And history showed this to generally be the
case. Once the people had enjoyed their first and only vote, which brought
the party of choice to power, that was the end of any semblance of democracy
for years to come.
Only after much suffering generally is the party in power replaced with
another and the cycle continues with successive parties doing all they can
to remain in power by denying citizens any further democratic choice. All
political parties when seeking power will profess to support democracy.
However, parties like people should be judged not by their words but by
This political party behaviour should elicit no surprise where people do not
believe in a loyal opposition. It would frankly be abnormal behaviour if
there was no manipulation and violence to varying degrees by any incumbent
Some democratic multi-party states, like Britain, exhibit their cultural
belief in a loyal opposition through the behaviour of both government and
electorate. Each contending party knows that if it does not win it will not
be banned and its members beaten, killed or tortured. It will form an
effective opposition and have a fair chance of winning at the next election.
In such countries the party in power allows other parties to stand for
election and the electorate to determine the outcome, as the British
government did when the Communist Party sought election. Other countries
such as the U.S. pay lip service to the concept of a loyal opposition as
evidenced when they banned the Communist Party that emerged in the 1950s.
In America, unlike Britain, the electorate was not allowed to determine the
outcome. The government banned the Communist Party and engaged in appalling
witch hunts, destroying the lives of many citizens.
II-B. Parties put their nation first only in times of tragedy or war
Governments based on any party system only come close to
national unity when political parties collaborate in the national interest
under external threat, as in war. Wartime collaboration, however, still
falls short of what is required for good governance, and the moment the war
is over inevitably the parties are once more locked in power struggles to
the detriment of the nation.
II-C. Loyalty of armed forces to party
In Africa, and elsewhere, parties in power regularly manipulate
their nation's armed forces encouraging, even enforcing, loyalty to party
above nation. As a soldier and politician, I lived and fought through
Zimbabwe's long war for independence. I and a handful of army officers
were fully aware that the war could have been avoided had our generals
abided by the oath of allegiance we swore on being commissioned. Our Oath of
Allegiance was to our nation and not to a political party. On assuming
power, the Rhodesian Front party led by Ian Smith soon replaced
non-compliant generals. The newly appointed generals, supportive of RF
racial policies, soon aligned the armed forces with Smith's racist political
party. Almost immediately the party took control of media and the judiciary
and overnight any criticism of Smith, or his party, was construed as
disloyalty to the nation. Smith did not take long to change the
constitution, creating 50 whites-only seats and 16 black "side bench" seats,
effectively disenfranchising most Zimbabweans. When, using commonsense, I
said publicly that Smith should talk to Nkomo and Mugabe, Smith and a rabble
of party stalwarts called for me to be tried for treason. The subsequent
protracted war and loss of life was inevitable as was my eventual exile.
That the armed forces of Zimbabwe after independence aligned themselves with
Mugabe's party rather than the nation of Zimbabwe was in no manner unusual
in Africa. Nor was it unusual for officers showing blind allegiance to party
above nation to be handsomely rewarded. These practices would not occur in
any truly democratic nation.
II-D. Predetermined party policies cannot provide good governance
Had I not crossed the floor in Parliament and formed a political party from
scratch once Smith had effectively destroyed all semblance of democracy in
our country, I would never have grasped how party platforms infuse policy
Parties seek election on the basis of their stated platform, which expresses
the general beliefs of the people supporting that party and generally at
least the broad outline of policies the party will pursue if elected.
However, as explained in Section I, predetermined policies generally do not
cater for the full complexity inherent in any country's social,
environmental and economic complexity. More so when party electioneering
platforms cater to short term emotional and economic voter appeal and are
commonly reduced to emotive slogans. Thus it is no surprise that the winning
party, representing the beliefs of its supporters, leaves those who backed
other parties unhappy and doing their best to oppose such policies.
When later the inevitable policy complications and shortcomings cause anger
and frustration, citizens start counting the days to the next election.
Should another party assume power, the cycle repeats itself as it has over
centuries of party power seeking.
II-E. Parties with policies based on ".. isms" fail to provide good
Political parties world wide have as their fundamental policy foundation
tried all manner of ".isms": capitalism, communism, socialism, racialism,
tribalism, cronyism with corporatism emerging currently. No party based on
any such ".ism" can provide good governance, for the reasons outlined in
Section I, and also because there will always be a proportion of the
electorate that does not share the beliefs, ideology or dogma of such
parties and thus feels neither secure nor well governed.
II-F. Parties based on personalities or religion cannot provide good
Parties based on personalities or religion tend to lead toward dictatorship
or tyranny ending in violent overthrow at some stage either internally, or
through invasion when their policies threaten neighbours of another
persuasion. It is common for high profile leaders, or parties clinging to
power, to create conflicts, even wars or other distractions in order to
avoid dealing with problems at home. Although a land policy was long overdue
in Zimbabwe, the sudden redistribution of land was undoubtedly such a
distraction tactic at a time when unemployment, demand for jobs and other
dissatisfaction had led to the formation of a meaningful opposition party.
Like most political party distraction tactics this one has proven costly. I
will return to the still much needed land policy that still does not exist.
Parties based on religious beliefs if they cause such distractions against
others pose a great danger to not only themselves but also to others. Any
party representing a religious group presents a further problem in that
today's organized religions are themselves divided and often in conflict.
For example 1,000 branches of Christianity alone, poses a problem with any
party based on Christianity. Whichever branch should assume power,
inevitably other branches resist as years of Catholic-Protestant conflict in
Ireland have demonstrated.
Generally, all organized religions present the same problem as theoretically
even if any one faith was absolutely united not all citizens of any nation
are of one faith. An example is Bhutan which is striving for a democratic
system and the measurement of progress by Gross National Happiness for most
Bhutanese, who are Buddhists, while the Christian minority is reportedly
II-G. Political parties prone to corruption.
Corruption takes many forms, one of which is undue influence on a government
to follow policies more in the interest of special interest groups or
corporations than of the people who elected the party to power. How else can
one possibly explain governments going to war to protect corporate interests
in direct conflict with the interests of their citizens?
I often pondered why Americans who are so kind and generous (probably the
most generous nation ever) not loved and appreciated world wide? To answer
this question and how it is aligned to the ease with which political parties
succumb to corruption we need to recall George Washington's warning about
the dangers of political parties given to his people on gaining their
Although I here use the example of the United States, Americans do not have
a monopoly on bad governance. International anger against Americans is not
hard to understand if one looks at America's foreign policy under either
political party. General Smedley Butler one of the most celebrated Marine
expeditionary leaders on retiring from the US Army had this to say "I spent
33 years and 4 months in active military service. And during that period I
spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for the Big Business, for
Wall Street and the bankers. In short I was a racketeer, a gangster for
capitalism. Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for
American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place
for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the
raping of half a dozen Central American Republics for the benefit of Wall
Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking house of
Brown Brothers in 1902 -1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for
American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for American
fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard
Oil went on its way unmolested."
Governments forming foreign policy to serve corporate interests rather than
their citizens interests has become more, not less, pervasive since General
Butler's time and again I stress this is not an American monopoly.
Thus, good and friendly people in many nations are prone to end in conflict
and war based, not on the interests or wishes of their people but, on
corporate interests corrupting party politics and foreign policy. Britain
had eventually to rein in the East India Company but not until the company's
army was larger than Britain's and the company had its own judges and was
even passing death sentences. The Boston Tea Party, where people threw the
East India Company's tea from their ships into the harbour, was one of the
early steps leading to the American Revolution and independence.
The Founding Fathers of America attempted to ensure citizen interests would
prevail in an independent people's republic. Remember Washington's warning
about political parties "the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of
party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to
discourage and restrain it." Ignoring his advice, the party system was
adopted by Americans and corporate manipulation, with willing compliance by
political parties and the American judiciary, over the years has led to
corporate power virtually running America, regardless of which party is in
Many corporations operate legitimately in the public interest as intended,
but as with political power, too much wealth and power corrupts. There is a
justifiable fear today that transnational corporations, with budgets greater
than many nations and answerable to no electorate, are taking over where
colonialism left off. What's more, these corporations are assisted by the
governments of powerful nations and international agencies formed by them,
such as the World Bank, IMF and others. The threat to African nations from
this new form of colonialism is grave indeed as China and other nations
serve their own interests through African political party leaders. African
nations, just like the U.S., have not heeded George Washington's warning
about the political party system: "It opens the door to foreign influence
and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself
through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one
country are subjected to the policy and will of another."
Much evidence suggests that political parties are so prone to corruption in
many forms that they do little to prevent it. While this is not always so,
it is common enough to believe that governments would be less corrupt
without political parties.
If governments genuinely wanted to prevent corruption, particularly at a
government level, they could do so. A poll of citizens in the U.S., Britain,
France, Italy and Russia would almost certainly indicate the majority are
not in favour of the international arms trade. Despite this lack of citizen
support, the international arms trade is one of the largest businesses in
the world, dominated by the U.S., Britain, France, Italy and Russia and
sustaining endless conflicts, suffering and slaughter of people and
wildlife. As I write, the British government is embroiled in a massive high
profile scandal over arms dealing with the Saudi royal family.
That political parties have generally been at the forefront of corruption in
Africa should elicit no surprise. The main difference between our African
party corruption and that of the countries mentioned lies only in the level
of blatant official corruption and the lack of sophistication. It is hardly
secret that many African politicians and officials have since independence
become obscenely wealthy while their people have been forced to emigrate or
fallen into poverty and hopelessness. Only through good governance can such
abuse be prevented.
II-H. Political parties focus more on staying in power than governance.
Rather than maintaining a long-term focus on governance,
political parties inevitably exhibit a short term obsession with retaining
power at the next election. Good governance demands long term planning and
continuity, which is not the forte of parties facing elections every few
years. Neither is long term thinking the forte of the corporations that
control or influence political parties. Afterall, CEOs of public
corporations are legally bound to provide quarterly reports and profits for
shareholders and are not answerable to any nation's electorate.
II-I. Party manipulation and control of Judiciary and the media
All too often parties in power appoint judges sympathetic to their beliefs,
making a mockery of the idea of a truly impartial and independent judiciary,
which is essential to good governance and justice.
Seldom do parties obsessed with retaining power stop at influencing the
judiciary. All too often they also manipulate the media and commonly ban
independent media organizations. Even in nations where politicians cannot
get away with control of the media, collusion with corporations controlling
the media is barely disguised. I grew up during the Second World War
believing in the independence and impartiality of the BBC, but then
witnessed Margaret Thatcher's attempts to control the BBC during the
Falklands War. Fortunately, British democracy was mature enough that she did
not get away with it. The judiciary and the media are especial targets
because any party controlling or influencing them both sufficiently is
almost guaranteed success at the poles. This so because the evenness or
unevenness of the playing field at elections is not determined on election
day but over the months and years before elections where the people's
interests are only protected by these institutions.
We Zimbabweans should have learned this lesson. So unobservant are most
people of the daily effects of party control of media that to this day most
former white Zimbabweans are unaware that Ian Smith never even risked facing
a democratic election as party leader. Most people had never heard of Smith
when he assumed the leadership of a legitimately elected party through an
internal party coup. Overnight Smith was Prime Minister, but before ever
facing endorsement by the electorate as party leader, he had taken control
of the newspapers, radio, television, army and judiciary making a mockery of
democracy and fools of most whites. Both black and white Zimbabweans
opposed to racialism were left no alternative but war to remove Smith and
his party. Having trampled on any semblance of democracy, Smith never lost
a single seat in any elections as the success of his party was guaranteed by
media control long before elections. The only seat he did not control in a
50-seat Parliament was the seat for a time held by myself because,
understanding what Smith had done, I secretly penetrated his party to gain a
seat and then crossed the floor to form an opposition. So secret had my move
to be that only Pat Bashford, leader of the destroyed multi-racial Centre
Party knew of it beforehand.
In summary, I believe I have given sufficient reason to show that the very
existence of the political party system inherited by Zimbabwe and other
African nations precludes good governance. Further, it is leading to
needless violence at elections and opening our nations to corruption and the
possibility of a new and sinister form of colonialism. Already textile
workers are idle and without jobs in neighbouring Zambia and South Africa as
Chinese corporatism moves in supported by the parties in power. That being
the case, let me suggest how Zimbabwe or other countries could form a more
honestly democratic non-party democracy in which all Zimbabweans could feel
free, secure and well governed.
Section III. A Non-Party Democracy and Good Governance
My observations and experience have convinced me that political parties need
to give way to non-party democracy if people are ever to experience good
governance. Until non-party democracy comes about good governance will
remain an idea only and never a reality people can enjoy.
III-A. Electing Members of Parliament.
In a non-party democracy there would obviously be a need to
elect Members of Parliament from amongst whom a government would be formed.
Below I outline one way the people could elect their representatives to
Parliament. It is only a suggestion to encourage discussion. It is certainly
not the only way, nor likely the best way to organize such elections.
The country would be divided into electoral districts or constituencies much
as today but with the district boundaries determined by the Judiciary and
not politicians. The aim would be to prevent manipulation of the voter's
roles, constituency boundaries and more by the political parties in power.
Any individuals could stand for election if their application to do so was
supported by a certain number of signatures of people resident in that
constituency (assume 2,000 for illustrative purposes). These individuals
would appeal for the vote in their area on the basis of their character,
reputation and record in the community and their desire to serve their
community and nation in this capacity. They would raise their own funds
from supporters and stand on their merit. Any candidate for Parliament
found to be financially supported by any corporation or special interest
group would be disqualified and never again allowed to stand for public
Given an election in which individuals stand on their merit rather than
political party dogma on issues or prefabricated policies, renders it hard
for the armed forces to support anything but the state as they are
constitutionally sworn to do. There is a world of difference between a
candidate standing for a party, regurgitating party policy, deriving support
from a party leader who vouches for his/her character, enjoying an expense
account covered by corporations or party funds, and a candidate who funds
him or herself while appealing for support on the basis of his/her ability,
reputation and standing in the community.
The funds required to seek election by an individual in his or her
constituency are miniscule compared with the funds required for political
parties facing elections. This alone removes a major source of corruption,
one form of which is special interest groups that fund political parties to
influence elections in their favour. Having people face election on their
merits in their own constituencies would also discourage the trend toward
fighting elections through television advertising, which tends to favour
appearance over substance. There is no known link between wealth and the
wisdom, experience, balanced personalities and intelligence required to run
for political office.
Such a non-party system of elections in Africa removes the emotional mayhem
that results when large masses wearing party T shirts, mouthing emotive
slogans, and supported by the police and army, demand destruction of the
opposition and victory at any cost. The present need for vote rigging, vote
buying, manipulation of constituency boundaries, character assassination,
intimidation, murder and torture disappears with the lack of any party to
support or condone such actions. And of course such political party
behaviour severely discourages confidence in public capital investment
resulting in later financial loss of independence and vulnerability to the
emerging danger of the new corporate colonialism.
A further benefit of such non-party elections is that they do away with the
damaging delays and violence that occur when defeated political parties
demand recounts and recourse to the courts. If there were to be a request
from an individual for a vote recount in his or her constituency there would
be no emotionally charged delay in forming a government. Because the
government is not being formed from any one party there is no need for a
majority in Parliament - the cause of so much violence at elections.
An election of individuals of character in this manner makes it hard for
special interest groups or corporations to bribe, fund parties or otherwise
tamper with elections. While this is true in principle, superpower
corporations and special interest groups are not going to disappear
overnight. Like tobacco companies have done, and oil and coal companies as
well as agri-chemical companies continue to do, they will persist in their
drive for short term profit while leaving society to bear the true
environmental, economic and social costs. Owing to the desire of powerful
transnational corporations to control the resources of undeveloped countries
in the new form of colonialism, we can expect continued massive campaigns of
disinformation from such companies. Power hungry corporations, like the
leopard that does not change its spots, will simply change tactics. Thus,
there is a need for a living constitution to respond to changing special
III-B. Forming a government
I use arbitrary numbers for ease and illustration only. Assume a
state like Zimbabwe was divided into 200 constituencies based on population
distribution, with the boundaries determined by the judiciary. At elections,
held every five years, there would be 200 Members of Parliament elected as
representatives of the people in their constituencies. These Members of
Parliament would then form an "electoral college" to elect a Prime Minister
to form a government. The members aspiring to lead and form a government
would speak to all MP's and, after discussion, the members would vote for
the person they felt most capable and suitable to assume the position. The
person so elected as Prime Minister would then proceed to nominate the
people he or she selected as cabinet ministers from amongst the remaining
199 MPs. Each of the Prime Minister's cabinet choices are discussed and
approved by a 90% vote of all Members of Parliament and thus a government is
formed. Requiring a high percentage of support from MPs is suggested in
cases such as Zimbabwe because it would make it difficult for any Prime
Minister to form a tribal cabinet.
The remaining people's representatives in Parliament constitute back
benchers who can be drawn upon for the many committees required and who will
naturally participate in debates and approval or rejection of government
policies. Unlike party selections, this serves to prevent committees of
Parliament being selected on any pre-determined party basis, which can lead
to conflict and result in people being selected for reasons other than
Human nature being as it is we can always anticipate people trying to
manipulate the process and to form cliques of supporters both inside and
outside Parliament, but in a system such as outlined this does not take on
the proportions or dangers inherent in the political party system.
Term limits would be applied to any Prime Minister, with terms only extended
with some constitutionally-specified very high approval; for example, 80% of
sitting Members of Parliament.
III-C. Removal of an incompetent government
In the event that a particular government should prove
incompetent all that would be required for its removal would be a simple
vote of no confidence carried by the majority of Members of Parliament. The
incompetent government would have no ability to undertake any of the
controlling and manipulative actions that governments routinely do today to
remain in power at any cost.
If an incompetent government was removed there would be no need to return to
nation-wide elections following lengthy delay. The people's representatives
in Parliament would elect a new Prime Minister to form a new government from
amongst their ranks, avoiding high cost and damage to the nation that
changing any government results in today.
III-D. Removal of an incompetent Member of Parliament.
With the party system many a Member of Parliament draws a high
salary despite non-performance and obvious disinterest in the people of
their constituencies (other than when appealing for votes). Commonly, many
MPs simply follow the party whip, and when not required to rubberstamp party
policy can be found in the Parliamentary bar. In a non-party democracy all
MPs would have to perform and pay attention to their constituents because
they could be removed at any time by a petition signed by a significant
number of people in the constituency (5,000 for example - high number so
that such action is not frivolous). That worthless MP would then be removed
and free, if he or she desired, to face others in a fresh election in that
III-E. Preventing issues being decided in secret without open debate.
A non-party democracy as suggested removes another evil of the
party system. That is deciding on important issues in the dark of secret
party caucus meetings with fear of losing party position and privileges
foremost in many minds. Only when decisions have been made in this manner,
which kills any intelligent debate, are such matters put to the floor of
Parliament for a sham debate followed by rubberstamping by party MPs. Having
sat through many such weekly secret meetings after penetrating the party in
power as I did, I am very aware of just how antagonistic and counter to
democratic principle such party behaviour is. There is no substitute for
debate in the open light of day to preserve people's interests and ensure
Now let me turn to other structural adjustments that would need to become
entrenched in a non-party democracy's constitution to address the current
failings of party states.
III-F. Independent judiciary
The need for an independent judiciary is widely recognized,
although often violated either subtly or brazenly by many a political party
in power. Anyone doubting the ability of the party system to defeat the best
of plans has only to read Gangs of America, by Ted Nace (Berrett-Koehler,
2005), in which he outlines how, despite the best efforts of America's
Founding Fathers to ensure the survival of a people's republic, the will of
powerful corporations ultimately prevailed through using the political
parties and Supreme Court appointees over time. Had the Founding Fathers
constitutionally banned political parties instead of trying to curb their
excesses through three arms of government, perhaps many of America's
invasions of neighbouring countries could have been avoided.
Again, the U.S. is not alone, because human nature is somewhat predictable.
Examples of political parties coming to power and soon thereafter
controlling the judiciary abound in Africa. In my life I have experienced
such behaviour twice in Zimbabwe, under two entirely different parties, one
pre- and the other post-independence. Various mechanisms could ensure an
independent judiciary but without parties to manipulate the selection of
judicial representatives there is more chance of sustaining this ideal.
Likewise, with no party to confuse loyalty between party and state, the
armed forces could more readily be relied upon to defend the constitution
and the independence of judiciary and press.
III-G. Dealing with corruption in a non-party democracy
Corruption comes in many forms from minor bribes to low-level
officials through to major bribes paid by corporations in the form of
kickbacks to high-level officials who can influence government policy or
award contracts. Corruption at some level will unfortunately be around for
years to come in any society. However, major corruption by special interest
groups, corporations and governments that is not reined in poses danger to
entire economies, can lead to war and causes mass suffering that runs
counter to good governance. Argentina, once ranked amongst the wealthiest
countries, was reduced to almost so-called third world status by appalling
official corruption. U.S. government policies, polluted by special interest
groups, are fueling war in the volatile Middle East. Zimbabwe's economy will
continue to slide downward as long as Zimbabwe remains one of the most
corrupt countries in the world. The measures that follow could help ensure
strict controls on the most damaging official corruption.
A non-party democracy's constitution would provide for a permanent
Ombudsman's Office under judicial control. Such office would provide for the
concerns of any citizen suffering unjust treatment to be legally and
affordably addressed. This office would also be charged with investigation
and prosecution in all cases of possible corruption with severe mandatory
penalties. Harsh penalties would be imposed on foreign corporations
convicted of corruption, lobbying or funding of parliamentary candidates.
They might, for instance, automatically having their license to operate in
the country withdrawn, and the local officials involved would serve jail
terms. Local corporations so convicted would automatically have their
corporate license revoked and officials jailed until all money involved in
the corruption is recovered. Any citizen convicted of corruption would
automatically be barred for life from holding public office and also jailed
until all money involved is recovered, returned to rightful owners or
forfeited to the state. To deal with corruption is not difficult if
political parties benefiting from corruption are themselves rendered
constitutionally illegal in a non-party democracy.
Unfortunately most African countries moving to a non-party democracy would
carry with them a backlog of government and corporate corruption, which the
new government would have to address. The key to dealing with this backlog
lies in the fact that it always takes at least two people to engage in any
corrupt act. Knowing that, a way to initiate the change is to allow a six
month grace period in which either party to any corrupt act can report to
the Ombudsman and provide details in confidence. Following the grace period,
during which no one would be aware of who had reported corruption,
prosecutions would follow. Those reporting the corruption and providing
evidence would be free from prosecution, although required to return the
money gained through their involvement. If the other party to the corruption
did not make a report, that party would face full penalties. In this manner
many a confession would be made, easing investigation, prosecution, clearing
the backlog and recovery of stolen funds. In any country where current
corruption is both official and rampant and few businesses or families can
keep afloat without at least minor acts of bribery, the initial reporting
requirement in the grace period would have to be pegged at a high enough
level to avoid clogging the system with petty acts of corruption.
Having grown up in an amazingly crime- and corruption-free country and then
watched it become one of the most officially corrupt nations in the world, I
do understand how devastating it is for most citizens. In Zimbabwe,
corruption and inflation has siphoned wealth to a few, while destroying the
wealth, including pensions, of most of the people. I also learned that the
party system, combined with civil service incompetence, virtually forced
corporations and entrepreneurs to engage in corruption as the only way in
which they could get any business done at all. Doing away with the party
system as well as providing good governance, through the civil service
mechanisms to be described in Section IV, would go far toward removing much
of the reason for people to engage in corruption. An adequately paid and
professional police force loyal to the nation and constitution rather than a
political party would also go far to address corruption. As long as party
government persists the will to prevent official corruption is simply
lacking as political parties and corporations both have much to gain from
supporting one another under the table. That's why when a new party is voted
into office the corruption is generally sustained. I see little difference
in the prevailing corruption in Western nations and African nations under
the party system, other than the degree of sophistication.
III-H. Local Government
In a non-party democracy it would be necessary to ensure that
what applied at the national level also applied at local government level.
In many African countries this would not only apply to local government in
cities and towns but also to rural traditional governments headed by Chiefs.
Currently in all African countries I am aware of the party system, post
independence, has continued the colonial practice of disempowering the
chiefs in favour of central government and political party control. This
practice, combined with the natural resource policies implemented by
governments and development agencies, is helping to destroy the culture and
livelihoods of rural populations, encouraging further migration to
overcrowded city slums.
While some African chiefs struggle to sustain order and culture through
their traditional courts, the party system and the degree of centralized
control have helped to corrupt many chiefs as seriously as it has
politicians. Thus, chiefs should not be immune from prosecution through the
III-I. Position of President.
Many African countries want to include position of president, even if it is
only ceremonial, and there is no reason why it couldn't be maintained in a
non-party democracy. However, the person holding the office would be
subject to all the laws applying to any citizen. Any such President could
be appointed jointly by Parliament, the judiciary and heads of the armed
forces for life (or until retirement) and could perform many useful
functions, making this a worthwhile position.
III-J. Honouring political parties that gained independence.
Following a long war to gain independence, as in the case of Zimbabwe,
Namibia or South Africa, it is understandable that people should feel
loyalty to any party that played a major role in winning independence. For
such a party to lose the support of the people through the inevitable
inability to provide good governance, and to then face losing an election,
seems to many to show a lack of loyalty to the party.
Fortunately any country forming a non-party democracy, and thus ending the
life of all political parties, never need face the possibility of defeat at
the polls of the party that gained independence. Even better is the
situation that would emerge if the party in power itself played a major role
in drawing up a non-party democracy constitution with other parties and
civil society organizations. In such a situation the party that gained
independence would historically be honoured and never subjected to defeat.
The party having served its purpose in the eyes of the people could be
honourably retired, much like retiring a battleship that has served well at
war after the need for it is no longer present. I believe the greatest
service to my nation that those of my vintage who were leaders in our long
and bitter war for independence could perform, would be to lead a movement
ushering in a non-party democracy for the genuine freedom, democracy and
independence for which so many Zimbabweans gave their lives.
Assuming that we had fully understood the requirement for good governance to
have a government capable of dealing with social, environmental and economic
complexity in forming policies. Assuming that a non-party democracy was to
be formed somewhat along the lines described in this section, could we then
expect good governance? A country in which all people feel free, secure and
well governed. The answer in No.
There is another sector of government that currently precludes good
governance: the civil service created to support a government.
Section IV. The Civil Service
Shortly after assuming power, President Mugabe made an astute appeal in one
of his public addresses, in which he appealed to scientists to come up with
solutions to the many problems his government faced because as he said, the
politicians could only act on the advice of their scientific advisors. And
when things went wrong it was the politicians and not their advisors who
took the blame. What Mugabe did not realize is that while this is true of
scientists, it is likewise true of the civil service.
Section I outlined the new scientific insights that explain why scientists,
including myself, could not advise or assist policy makers to deal with the
complexity involved in any policy dealing with resource management. Due to
the universal decision making framework we were using, we could only advise
government on how to deal with the many symptoms of desertification in
Africa - increasing droughts, floods, poverty, social breakdown and
violence - but never with the root cause of desertification itself.
Now let me go back to systems science to show what it tells us about how any
civil service functions. Section I talked about soft systems (human
organizations) being complex and self-renewing. Unplanned and unexpected
properties also emerge that lead to problems that are extremely difficult to
solve. Years of experience, backed by research, has taught us much about the
unexpected emergent properties of civil service bureaucracies that prevent
us from achieving good governance.
Most countries today have a permanent civil service running their day-to-day
affairs. In some countries the entire civil service remains intact following
elections. In others, senior members of the civil service are automatically
replaced by the incoming party, which appoints people based on their party
loyalty, financial support, or simply nepotism, rather than competence.
President Mugabe, on assuming power, was served by a reasonably competent
civil service composed of both black and white Zimbabweans, and for a while
all went well. The bulk of these civil servants had served the previous
government with enough efficiency to have the Zimbabwean dollar equal in
value to the US dollar after many years of world economic sanctions.
People's memories are short but Zimbabwe was hailed as an African success
story due to the efforts of Mugabe's government in education and other
fields. Then his party took the step so many African countries do, and
South Africa is doing, of "Africanizing" the civil service. This means
appointing people to civil service positions on the basis of race, tribe,
family and party loyalty. Good people in Zimbabwe, commonly with no
training, experience or culture of service, took over positions replacing,
or superseding, experienced civil servants. Lacking competence in the civil
service the ripples soon flowed throughout the economy leading to a loss of
investor confidence (it could take over a year to get an answer to a
business letter) and severe job losses, followed by the inevitable rise of
an opposition party. Not holding the belief in the concept of a loyal
opposition all the tragedy that has followed and that I need not outline was
While publicly we blame individuals at the helm, this downhill progression
was inevitable given the rapid lowering of quality and efficiency within the
civil service. We risk repeating this cycle if political parties continue
to reward supporters with civil service positions.
IV-A. Ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in the Civil Service to
sustain good governance.
The ideal of a predominantly permanent civil service arose for good reason
and it should remain. Bureaucracies such as the civil service were developed
in Napoleon's time to ensure efficiency. They aimed to enhance efficiency by
engaging suitably qualified and educated professional people to fill
positions. The intent was to end past practices that had led to massive
blunders where people, rather than earning their positions, inherited or
It is the unplanned emergent properties of human organizations (soft
systems), including government bureaucracies, that constitute a serious
problem for all nations. While such bureaucracies do achieve efficiency as
intended, their unplanned emergent properties commonly lead to the downfall
of the government they are supposed to serve, as in the case of Zimbabwe.
In Voltaire's Bastards, John Ralston Saul, who studied bureaucracies
throughout history, notes that no matter how qualified, brilliant or well
intended the individuals in any bureaucracy, they will produce outcomes that
lack common sense and humanity, and they will be watertight to new
· Emergent properties: lack of common sense and humanity. It
follows that the policies developed and implemented by the civil service
will likewise lack humanity and commonsense, and this in turn ensures poor
governance. Inevitably the party in power, rather than the civil service, is
The examples of civil service policies lacking common sense and humanity are
many. For instance, from a civil service full of highly educated competent
caring people, immediately after planes were flown into the Twin Towers on
September11th, the U.S Federal Aviation Administration issued a rule that
private pilots in America could not fly within 10 miles of any nuclear
facility. This is a reasonable and understandable action. What lacked
commonsense was that the FAA refused, despite requests, to tell pilots where
such facilities were because that was secret information involving national
security. This lack of commonsense was compounded when the pilot's
association located all sites on the internet. Again, the U.S. civil service
is not alone. Books could be written filled with examples from Zimbabwe and
other countries of rules and regulations that lack both humanity and common
· Emergent properties: watertight to new knowledge. When new
knowledge conflicts with prevailing beliefs, bureaucracies will resist it.
Individuals within any bureaucracy (university, government agency,
non-profit organization) can no more change this emergent property than can
any outsider. An oft-quoted case is that of the Royal Navy taking almost 200
years, after it was first demonstrated, to accept that lemon juice would
prevent and even cure scurvy despite the fact that Britain lost hundreds of
sailors to the disease every year. The Merchant Navy, also headed by
brilliant and dedicated officers, took a further 70 years to accept this
A more devastating example is overgrazing by livestock. Fifty years ago a
French researcher, published in five major languages, established that
overgrazing was a function of timing and not animal numbers. Vital to
reversing desertification, and the lives of thousands of people dying in
desperate wars and genocide, this new knowledge has yet to be
institutionally accepted by any bureaucracy (government, university, NGO or
international agency). Thousands of individuals in such bureaucracies have
accepted that overgrazing is not due to animal numbers, but they are
powerless to change the resistance to new knowledge of their bureaucracies.
On the other hand, bureaucracies, including the civil service, can be
amongst the first to adopt new thinking when it does not conflict with
prevailing beliefs. They're very quick to adopt the latest computers or
Because unplanned emergent properties are almost impossible to foresee,
those discussed here have not been overcome by any nation's civil service.
However, good governance requires that, while we may not be able to solve
such problems, we should and can develop structures to minimize them in
otherwise efficient organizations. Below I suggest structural changes that,
if implemented, might do just that. However, before continuing with
remedies, there are a couple of additional challenges to address within the
IV-B. Negative selection process in a permanent civil service.
A major problem is the process of negative selection as people
rise in the service. I come from a civil service family and also spent time
serving in both the Colonial Office in Northern Rhodesian and later the Game
Department of Southern Rhodesian. In my father's time and mine, opinions
that dissented from a superior's were not encouraged. Some brilliant and
very committed people did rise to head departments, but this was the
exception rather than the rule. Generally people who did not rock the boat
rose, while those who did were forced out or departed in frustration.
Working with a number of departments and agencies over subsequent years in
America, Australia, India, Canada, Pakistan, South Africa and other
countries I have come to understand that what I experienced in the Colonial
Office and Zimbabwe is too common to ignore if any civil service is to serve
as it should.
IV-C. Laws giving power to regulations obstructing good governance.
When politicians pass new laws it is common to empower the
appropriate Minister to have the civil service draw up the regulations that
will guide its enforcement. While the law is rightly debated in Parliament,
the regulations drawn up by the civil service seldom face such public
scrutiny. With the civil service, no matter how brilliant the individuals
within it, incapable of avoiding outcomes lacking common sense and
humanity, it is no surprise that the plethora of regulations issued in
Zimbabwe today have led to human suffering.
Once more the politicians shoulder the blame for subsequent bad governance
and not the civil service.
IV-D. Who develops policy - politicians or civil servants?
Politicians come and go while the civil service provides
continuity. Theoretically, politicians form policies and the civil service
carries out those policies. In reality the politician heading a portfolio
relies on the professionals in that department or agency for technical
advice. Even in cases where public input or outside expertise is sought, it
is all handled through the civil service. In this way it is common for the
Cabinet member in charge of say education, health or agriculture to have as
his or her principal advisor the head of the civil service in that
department. This person has generally risen to the position through negative
selection - offending anyone or rocking the boat, etc. And that person
heads an advisory and implementing bureaucracy that can lag anywhere from a
fifty to a hundred years behind new knowledge available in that field. The
consequences to any policy developed by that Minister are inevitable, and
the subsequent anger of the electorate is once again vented on the
politicians and not the civil service. In multi-party states with
democratic elections this pattern results in constantly changing parties in
the belief that next time it will be better. It rarely is.
Some years ago I ran a ten day training in Holistic Management for the
senior civil servants in the Ministry of Agriculture of Lesotho. Once they
understood how to analyse policy with the holistic framework I had them work
on the soil conservation policy of Lesotho. They concluded their policy
would increase soil erosion and thus endanger the rivers and dams in nearby
South Africa. I then posed the question "Who was responsible for producing
this policy?" After blaming politicians, media and the public one woman
finally made a telling statement. She said to the group "The politicians
come and go. Look around the room. We have all the senior people here. We
are the government. It is we who produce such policies for the politicians
to approve, and so we are responsible." Because of the unplanned emergent
properties mentioned, Lesotho continues to erode at an alarming level,
endangering South African dams and more.
I believe we could minimize these emergent properties through structuring
government in a manner different from that inherited at independence, and we
must, because the role of the civil service is so crucial to good
One way to achieve what is required is to constitutionally entrench the
structure required to maintain the efficient roles of the civil service,
while overcoming those aspects I have outlined that present problems. The
structure I would suggest follows and is guided by the national holisticgoal
for Zimbabwe in Annexure A.
IV-E. Ministerial Advisory Councils
Each government portfolio is headed by the Cabinet Minister
appointed by the Prime Minister. Each Minister, on assuming office, will
form a Ministerial Advisory Council. The Advisory Council is chaired by the
Minister who is required to appoint no less than 3 and no more than 5 (for
example) advisors from outside the civil service to his or her council.
Three Council members are to be selected for their knowledge and experience
in that field and two without specialized knowledge in that field but with
good liberal arts education. And appointments can be made from outside the
country if needed. As mentioned earlier, the finest candle makers could
never have thought up or developed electric lights, hence the need to have
at least two people with a broad and good liberal arts education on any
technical Ministerial Advisory Council.
Without party platforms to bias selection of people, from whatever source,
merit alone qualifies such ministerial advisors. The senior civil servant of
the department serving that portfolio participates as an equal in the
council as it is his or her role to subsequently implement any policies or
projects emanating from the ministry. In this way the civil service is
represented in an advisory capacity but cannot block new knowledge being
made available to the Minister, nor dominate the Minister. The latter is
fairly common because the Minister is a lay person and the civil servants
are generally professionals.
IV-F. Policy and project coordination.
Because policy formulation and project development are such an important
government role, all policies and projects need to be holistically
coordinated by government. What does this mean? Holistic coordination means
that policies and projects are coordinated economically, socially and
environmentally. Such coordination does not exist in any nation today.
Currently governments using, as all do, the universal framework for policy
formulation coordinate policies and projects at two levels - political
coordination in line with party dogma and beliefs, and economic coordination
through the budgetary process. Most, if not all, debate concerns the cost
and objective of any policy or project while in party caucus sessions the
policy is aligned with the party's political ideology.
The examples abound from any nation of policies and projects achieving their
objective but causing endless additional problems because the complexity
involved was not addressed. American Farm Policy is a well known case
leading unintentionally to destroying the livelihoods of thousands of
farmers not only in the U.S. but in other countries. Zimbabwe's land policy
aimed at the objective of redistributing land contributing greatly to the
collapse of many urban businesses and the national economy which clearly
those designing the policy did not intend.
Ideally any government should want not only to know the cost, but also that
all policies and projects were simultaneously economically, socially and
environmentally sound short and long term, and thus likely to deal with the
complexity of intertwined social, environmental and economic reality,
leading toward the national holisticgoal. One way this necessary
coordination could be achieved is through forming a coordinating council as
IV-G. National Holistic Policy Coordinating Council.
In a non-party democracy, policy and project coordination would
be holistically more comprehensive through a constitutionally entrenched
system. Coordination of all prospective government policies or projects
would be the responsibility of a specific minister supported by
constitutionally mandated Holistic Policy Coordinating Council formed like a
Ministerial Advisory Council but staffed with a team of people trained in
the full functioning of the holistic framework. This Ministry would be
responsible for analyzing any policy or project drafts using the holistic
framework and national holisticgoal. No budgetary debate would go forward
without a supporting report to ensure MPs were fully aware of likely social,
environmental and economic consequences.
Developing a Sound Policy or Project
Because sound policies and projects are so vital to good
governance, I'd like to give an example of project proposed for Zimbabwe and
show how it would be analyzed conventionally and holistically. While forming
holistically sound policy or projects is almost impossible today, using the
holistic framework it becomes relatively simple. African, Indian and
American government officials have been able to do so with as little as ten
Remember the common characteristic or both policy and projects is that they
always have an objective designed to deal with a problem or address a
How the policy or project would be formulated/developed conventionally
In Zimbabwe the second largest city, Bulawayo, is running out of water.
Government has become aware of the problem and officials in the civil
service tasked to respond with a policy or project proposal. The project
that emerged has an objective, which in this instance is to provide water to
the city. In a difficult situation such as this, it is generally practice
for governments to engage consultants (the World Bank commonly becomes
involved) to work with the Ministry concerned Between consultants and
civil servants the proposal is to build a large holding dam as the first
stage at a cost of over £500 million. Subsequently they propose that water
be piped to the dam from the distant Zambezi River, requiring considerable
energy and expense to pump the water. The project, as always, will clearly
meet the objective by providing more water. Debate now focuses mainly on
the budgetary aspects and ability to borrow the necessary funds.
Contractors and suppliers circle like vultures over a carcass and bribes
flow to influence officials and politicians and the dam is eventually built,
providing the city with additional water. Objective accomplished.
Because we are dealing with complexity, inevitably further problems are
thrown up - social disruption, loss of agricultural land, increase in
disease (schistosomiasis and malaria), disruption of river flow, silting,
increased urban migration and demand for water, loss of scenic assets and
species for example and later the problems associated with interference of
the water flow of an international river. Subsequent policies will be
developed endlessly to deal with problems arising as they will surely do in
a pattern by now familiar to the world. This outline is not oversimplified
or exaggerated as the analysis of hundreds of policies and projects of
governments, World Bank and other international agencies and NGOs has shown,
and whole books have been written about such unintended consequences. Thus
deserts continue to advance, international aid all too often does more
damage than good, biodiversity continues to decrease, weeds continue to
invade, floods and droughts increase without climate change, soil erosion
increases while poverty, violence and disappointment in those governing
How the policy or project would be formulated/developed in a non party state
governing toward a national holisticgoal
In this case, when the government becomes aware of the problem that Bulawayo
is running out of water, the Minister of Water Development (or current
portfolio name) tasks his or her Ministerial Advisory Council with advising
on possible solutions. The Ministerial Advisory Council using the holistic
framework first determines the cause of the problem.
No problem can be permanently resolved by any policy or project without
addressing its root cause. Diagnosing the cause of the problem is always the
first step when using the holistic framework. In this case the Ministerial
Advisory Council realizes the city is running out of water because of the
extent and rate of desertification in this region of Zimbabwe.
Desertification leads to very high losses of water through two ways: massive
flash flooding as a result of bare ground (the water simply runs off); and
evaporation (up to 80% on bare, as exposed to covered, ground.)
Annual losses of the rainfall received in this region of Zimbabwe, depending
on season, can exceed 80 or 90%, which reflects trillions of liters more
than the city could ever use. That the city is running out of water is thus
neither surprising nor a problem - it is simply a symptom of serious
As a result of this diagnosis the Ministerial Advisory Council realize that
building the dam will not solve the problem. Not only will it not solve the
problem but it will lead to further problems as all the present dams fill
with silt. The Council understands that building the dams would be a short
term costly Bandaid, aggravating an already serious situation and further
endangering the city while loading the nation with unnecessary debt.
Building the dam will leave the country and city with added debt and an
unsolved problem as well as problems associated with tampering with an
international river. They also realize from this analysis that there will be
other adverse social and environmental costs associated with the dam that is
neither necessary nor required.
With this knowledge the Ministerial Advisory Council would work out a policy
that would reverse desertification and improve the effectiveness of the
water cycle over the entire region of the country in which the catchment of
the city lies. Reversing desertification and improving the effectiveness of
the water cycle on this vast area would not only save the present dams from
continued silting, it would also ensure replenished underground aquifers and
more permanent flow in the rivers. Together this would amount to new water
every year exceeding many dams the size of the proposed dam with no need to
interfere with the flow of the international Zambezi River. Further it
would improve the welfare and prosperity of all the people in the entire
catchment and the city while providing a permanent solution because the
problem, rather than a symptom, has been dealt with. The cost of reversing
the desertification/improving the water cycle would be a small fraction of
the cost of the proposed project, and it would not require borrowing, debt
servicing, or additional taxation of the people to eventually pay for the
At this point the Ministerial Advisory Council would switch to a policy to
deal with reversing the desertification. Everything that the country
requires to reverse desertification is already available in the country. The
knowledge to do this was not only developed in the country but has been
available for over thirty years although blocked from ever becoming policy
by the civil service adhering to old beliefs not supported by advancing
science. The policy to outline the actions required from the current
educational and extension services would require no more than a week. This
is a very straightforward case involving curbing the use of fire and
training people to run increasing numbers of livestock in a manner that
minimizes overgrazing of plants while covering soil and thus reversing
desertification. As I write, figures have come in from one piece of land in
North Dakota following such practices where water infiltration on the upper
catchment soils has increased by 775% (from 20.32 mm per hour to 157.48 mm
per hour rate of rainfall infiltration).
The policy framework developed would now be passed to the Holistic
Coordinating Council for an independent assessment and report before moving
to government to present to Parliament for debate prior to implementation.
Both Ministerial Advisory Council and Holistic Coordinating Council have
ensured that the policy and all actions it embodies are in line with the
national holisticgoal and thus simultaneously economically, socially and
environmentally sound short and long term. Subsequent debate would focus on
the merits, costs and benefits of the policy without any influence from
party politics or corporate contractors having bribed officials. Such a
policy would be above party politics and long term as all should be but
today few are.
While what I am describing may seem drawn out, in reality analyzing and
forming policies or projects using the holistic framework is faster than the
conventional way using the universal framework. In India, Forestry
officials after one week of training were able to analyse 12 of their
present and planned policies and projects in less than thirty minutes and
conclude all would damage India's forests and thus increase social, economic
and political problems. Nothing changed in the Indian Forest Service because
of the emergent properties that characterize such bureaucracies.
IV-H. Land policy
Until any nation has a holistically sound land policy, long term good
governance is unachievable because of the connection of the health of the
land to the economy, frequency and severity of both droughts and floods,
poverty, social stability, violence and ultimate fate of the nation.
Zimbabwe has redistributed land and other nearby African nations are being
adversely influenced by this action so it would be wise to look at it
At the time that the Zimbabwe government moved to redistribute land (in
response to massive unemployment and the rise of a political opposition)
everyone, including the commercial farmers and British government supported
the need. Like the Bulawayo water problem described, Zimbabwe's land
redistribution policy was directed toward an objective - redistributing
land. Few would not recognize that the result has been catastrophic
economically, socially, politically and environmentally. This result was
inevitable simply because such complexity cannot be dealt with successfully
by any government toward the achievement of an objective. Had the displaced
commercial farmers or the British, or any other government, formed the
policy toward the objective of redistributing land the result, although less
immediate and violent, would in the end have been essentially the same.
In September 1996 I wrote to President Mugabe urging him to move forward
with our land policy and when finally the Zimbabwe government announced it
was going ahead a group of Zimbabweans in Harare participated in workshops
which civil servants declined to attend. In these workshops we first sought
to see what sort of land policy would emerge from redistributing land as an
objective. It was quickly clear to all that this would lead to ever
mounting disaster. Next we used the national holisticgoal appearing in
Annexure A to see whether the framework of a policy could be developed.
What emerged was enlightening in that is showed us that a policy could be
developed that had different results, and how civil society should and could
be quickly involved to gain broad national support in implementing the
policy. Policy formed in this manner would have resulted in greatly
increased employment, the settling of two or three million people on the
land, not losing a single farmer, increasing the tax base of government and
the reversal of desertification on the farms and ranches (which is serious
on even the best) as well as increased food production.
Seldom is anything genuinely too late. Even now, although much damage has
been done to Zimbabwean agriculture and society through the land
redistribution policy, one of the immediate things that any non-party
government would have to attend to would be the land policy. And African
governments generally would be wise to consider forming such policies
holistically because violence induced by land degradation and rising
populations is on the increase throughout Africa.
IV-I. Policies damaging African nations
For brevity I have not dealt with other policies but mention
that Zimbabwe and other countries have current policies involving such
things as not allowing citizens outside the country to vote and not allowing
dual citizenship. While such policies are clearly designed to achieve the
political objectives of the parties in power, viewed holistically with a
national holisticgoal as the guide, they are soon seen to lack common sense
and humanity. Such policies can only be detrimental to capital investment
and to retaining skilled people and thus detrimental to the economy. Every
skilled person retained tends to create jobs and expand an economy while,
conversely, loss of skilled people leads to job losses and greater poverty
IV-J. International Aid assessment
African countries receiving assistance from the many development
agencies, church groups and major environmental organizations, need to
ensure such aid does not interfere with good governance. Having analyzed
many aid projects I recognize that although well-meant and often meeting
immediate humanitarian needs, the overall result long term is disappointing
to donors and recipients. For this no one is to blame as all such aid
projects are designed using the universal framework that we have known for
some years is faulty when dealing with such complexity. The overall unsound
nature of aid is no different than the American professionals concluding
that unsound resource management is universal in the U.S., as mentioned
Increasingly people are beginning to realize that despite many projects and
millions of dollars things are not getting better. In fact evidence
suggests aid is currently doing more harm than good which clearly was never
the intent. As soon as any non-party government has a cabinet level
Holistic Coordinating Council one of its functions should be the assessment
of all foreign assistance to ensure it is holistically sound and in line
with the national holisticgoal. Rather than rejecting foreign aid this
would result in modifications to meet the desired intent of both parties.
Surveillance of aid in the manner suggested, combined with the measures
suggested to curb official corruption, would go far to avoid millions of
dollars of Western aid finding its way into private Swiss accounts of
African officials, as is occurring currently.
I believe most people, including politicians of high motive in my country,
aspire to lives as expressed in the national holisticgoal and would support
the ideal of better governance through a non-party democracy. Inevitably, a
minority in power, or aspiring to power and easy wealth through the party
system, will oppose constitutionally forming a non-party democracy.
As I write only those involved in political parties in Zimbabwe are vying
for position and power through various means including the likely
negotiation of a new constitution based on the party system. Civil society
that has an equal if not greater moral right to be deeply involved in the
drawing up of any new constitution, is being sidelined as in the past. With
swords drawn and many past hurts still palpable, intelligent debate is
difficult and many are calling for international intervention, headed by
South Africa. But is a country that is itself clearly going down the same
path as post independent Zimbabwe, a wise choice?
No solution imposed from outside will last and I firmly believe we
Zimbabweans of all races, tribes, genders, cultures and beliefs should
fashion our own salvation. I hope that what I have written and suggested
here brings about more open discussion and does not cause offence to any
individual or party, which has not been my intent.
As a non-political person, but a passionately patriotic and loyal
Zimbabwean, I can only wish my people success in the years ahead, which I
will not live to see. And I sincerely hope discussion emanating from these
ideas helps other nations seeking good governance.
National Holisticgoal for Zimbabwe.
Quality of Life: (What we want our lives to be based on what we value most
We want to live in peace and harmony with ourselves and neighbouring
countries. We want prosperity, physical and financial security. Good
education for our children at all levels. Freedom to pursue our own
cultural, religious and spiritual beliefs. Good housing and amenities in our
towns and cities. Stable families with adequate food security, safe and
healthy food and abundant clean water. To live in balance with our resources
with balance between urban and rural populations so that all can live in
peace and prosperity. Fair and equitable access to resources. Freedom from
racial, tribal, sexual or any other bigotry with justice available and
affordable by all. Pride in ourselves our country and its achievements.
International respect. Playing our part as a nation in international
affairs as respected equals.
Forms of Production: (what has to be produced for our citizens to live such
Open society with freedom of expression.
Affordable high quality education opportunity at all levels.
Armed services loyal to our constitution and holisticgoal ideals for their
Independent professional judiciary media and press.
Stable economy measured in social and environmental as well as economic ways
encouraging entrepreneurship and investment.
Access to justice for all in an inexpensive and speedy manner.
Policies that always address social, economic and environmental aspects.
Abundant internally produced clean & healthy food and water.
City populations in balance with our environment and rural population.
Modern amenities throughout our small towns and rural environment.
A corruption and crime free society led by government example.
A society that is free from racialism, tribalism and gender inequality.
Education and empowerment of women throughout society.
Level playing field for all Zimbabweans.
Future resource base: (How we have to behave and what our land has to be
like a thousand years from now to sustain successive generations living such
Behaviour: As a nation we have to be honest, fair, friendly and open with a
good attitude to outsiders and other nations.
Land: Our soils on croplands and rangelands have to permanently covered and
building, retaining water and converting solar energy to wealth and life.
Rivers have to be running perennially.
By CHARLES GUSEWELLE
The Kansas City Star
Some calamities seem almost beyond remedy. Some tyrants are incapable of
I will comment one more time - once only - on the destruction of a formerly
productive land by the malevolent and unscrupulous thug who rules it.
The place is the African nation of Zimbabwe. Its people are desperately
hungry. Their life expectancy is the shortest of any population anywhere on
earth - 37 years for men, 34 for women.
The economy is a ruin. Unemployment is 80 percent. The currency is
worthless, and it has been estimated that inflation could reach 1.5 million
percent by the end of this year.
The author of the catastrophe, and the individual who presides over it,
maintains his hold on power by a combination of intimidation, patronage,
election-rigging and outright, savage brutality.
Much of Africa is in some degree of distress. Often there's a complex mix of
explanations. Corrupt leadership, bad faith and bad judgments are part of
the reason. In some cases, disease, a paucity of resources, a punishing
climate and endless internal conflict share the blame.
But in Zimbabwe - which once boasted a thriving and food-exporting
agricultural economy - the cause of the disaster has a name. Its name is
Robert Mugabe. He is the one who destroyed that economy and propelled his
subjects to the brink of famine.
His wickedness is as well known in Africa as it is the world over. But
African leaders are loath to act against him, or even to denounce him, some
because of fear it might draw attention to their own abuses.
The U.S. and other developed countries are reluctant to intervene out of
concern it might be construed as racist.
That is arrant nonsense. Yes, Mugabe is African. But so are the more than 3
million who suffer by his hand, and who deserve deliverance.
Which is worse: a false accusation of racism or a charge of indifference
that is, on its face, supported by inaction?
Where the U.S. is concerned, we are witnessing in Zimbabwe, just as we have
in the western Sudan, the price we've paid in lost moral standing, in
diminished capacity to lead and in real inability to act because of more
than four years of failed policy in Iraq.
When history is written of the last decades of the 20th century and the
first years of this one, it is not what we have done in Africa that will
invite the charge of U.S. racism, but rather what we haven't done - in
Sudan, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Congo, Sierra Leone and other bloody and
Another country is dying. It's just a headline in the news.
Saturday 25th August 2007
Dear Family and Friends,
The view from Zimbabwe's window is absolutely gorgeous this week. Evidence
of spring and renewal is all around us. The sky is cloudless and blue, the
temperatures are rising and the blue headed lizards are out basking in the
sun again. The indigenous woodlands that have survived the army of winter
woodcutters are breathtaking as the Msasa trees go from red and burgundy to
caramel and a shiny butterscotch colour before finally preparing to shade
our land for another year. After nearly two months of government price
controls and the ugly mess they have created, the beauty and warmth around
us is the only thing keeping many people sane in this seventh spring of
Zimbabwe's turmoil. This week, after a long silence, government inflation
figures were announced and, as expected, the price controls have not helped
at all - exactly the opposite in fact. Inflation which stood at 4530% in
May, soared to 7634% in July.
I went to visit an elderly couple this week and we exchanged delights about
the season and the climate and then they showed me the letter which had just
arrived. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the news about their
pension. The letter was from a senior executive in one of the largest
pension fund companies in the country and read as follows:
"We confirm that you are entitled to a monthly pension of $0.85 cents. This
pension is currently suspended. As the monthly pension has now been eroded
by inflation, the company has now decided to pay out the balance of your
pension as a lump sum. The lump sum payable to you is: $2.9 million
I can't think of words that adequately describe the outrage of this. A
monthly pension representing a person's working life and the result of years
of payments being now worth just 85 Zimbabwe cents. There is not a single
thing you can buy for eighty five cents in Zimbabwe, not even one match
stick; in fact there aren't any coins in circulation in the country anymore.
The couple told me they had agreed to accept the lump sum payment because
they really had no other option but they knew that even this amount would
only pay for 4 days of their board and lodge.
Young or old there is just one way to survive these bleak times in Zimbabwe
and that is one day at a time. We have all been forced into short term
thinking and even shorter term planning as we try and keep food on the table
in these days of government induced famine. There is still almost no food to
buy in our shops - no oil, margarine, flour, rice, pasta, maize meal,
biscuits, cold drinks or sugar. No soap, washing powder, candles or matches.
No meat, eggs, dairy products or confectionary.
In a weeks time our children go back to school but even this fact does not
seem to inspire our government into action. How do they think schools are
going to feed the children who stay for lunch or are boarders? How do they
think that parents who have been forced to run their businesses at a loss
for the last two months are going to be able to even pay school fees? How do
they think pensioners can survive on eighty five cents a month? There are no
answers to the questions at any level.
Even more worrying is that glorious as the weather is, it is almost planting
time again and yet there is no seed to buy in our empty shops and our day at
a time thinking caused by our governments day at a time planning is
condemning us to even harder times ahead. It hardly bears thinking about and
so we try not to and hope and pray that there may be an end to this, just an
Until next week, thanks for reading , love cathy.
Friday 24th August 2007
Dear Friends. If there is one message that has come out of the events of the
last two weeks for ordinary Zimbabwean people, it is this: You are on your
own! There is no one who is going to going to rescue Zimbabwe. Some of us
have been saying that for a very long time and now maybe it has finally sunk
in. Certainly none of the southern African countries are going to lift a
finger; the Americans have their hands full in Iraq and anyway it was Bush
who nominated Mbeki as the 'pointman' on Zimbabwe; the EU appears divided
and indecisive on the issue and the Brits apart from plans to evacuate their
own nationals in the event the situation further deteriorates are unwilling
to provoke Mugabe's rage and hysterical sloganeering of 'Zimbabwe will never
be a colony again' Ironically, colonial mastery is precisely what the Brits
do not want! They cannot yet face up to their colonial past. They're very
good at the guilt and wringing of hands but not so good at accepting their
moral responsibility to the inhabitants of their former colony.
Even if it is true, as reported in some UK and South African papers this
week, that behind the scenes the SADC leaders spoke very sternly to Mugabe
about the economic collapse in his country, anyone who still believes - as
the MDC appears to - that SADC has done enough to justify our hope for a
just solution to the current impasse is, in my view, guilty of dangerous
self-delusion. It is dangerous because it is based on the false premise that
the other side, ie. Zanu PF and, by extension Thabo Mbeki are sincerely
committed to honest negotiation. The likely result of such false and
unsubstantiated optimism is that it raises the hopes of millions of
Zimbabweans that maybe there is the possibility that their lives will get
better. Those hopes are bound to be dashed again on the rock of Mugabe's
intransigence and a desperate starving people with nothing else to hope for
may resort to violent change which no one can control.
It is naivety that has been the downfall of the opposition parties in
Zimbabwe; they continue to believe that they are dealing with a man and a
party who can be trusted to keep their word. The problem I believe is that
the MDC in calling for democratic change through the ballot box has failed
to see that in addition to the ballot box there are other non-violent ways
to bring about change. The civic organizations such as WOZA, the NCA and the
churches have demonstrated time and again that it is possible to get
ordinary men and women out on the street peacefully demonstrating their
anger and displeasure at the continuing misery of their lives. Without that
public display of disaffection Zimbabwean ministers and their South African
counterparts will continue to claim that all is well in the country. There
is no evidence they can claim that the mass of Zimbabweans are dissatisfied
with their lives under the Mugabe regime because, they say, we do not see
the people out on the streets. But Zimbabweans and the leadership of the
opposition parties would do well to remember that 'one little brown man in a
dhoti' as Churchill described Mahatma Ghandi, brought the entire might of
the British empire to a standstill when he led millions of Indians on the
great salt march and then on to Indian independence. In America, Martin
Luther King got thousands of African Americans out on the streets in the
Civil Rights Movement. Nearer to home, the children of Soweto were
instrumental in bringing an end to apartheid when they took to the streets
in June 16th 1976. In all of these struggles against tyranny it was the
people, armed only with their courage and longing for freedom who initiated
My question to the opposition parties in Zimbabwe is why have you so little
faith in your own people? They have shown that they are capable of
courageous resistance but what they desperately need now is leadership,
someone who will organize and lead them from the front. Then the whole world
will see Zimbabweans in their thousands demonstrate their longing for
freedom and a new beginning. I believe that Africa and the west would then
be forced to come to the aid of the people, not just with words and gestures
but with a UN resolution and action to follow. I can hear the cynics asking,
'What did the UN ever do about Rwanda, Dafur or the DRC?' and their cynicism
is justified. My point is that until Zimbabweans stand up and demonstrate
publicly how desperately they want change, the rest of the world has every
excuse for continuing to turn a blind eye. For surely even the opposition
must by now see that the ballot box alone will not bring about change
because Mugabe has already rigged the result. MDC can never win while Mugabe
sets the rules.
Until the opposition parties in Zimbabwe harness the strength of people's
power, Mugabe and his cronies in SADC will continue to claim that all is
well in the country and no change is needed. By their continued failure to
provide leadership for a genuine people's revolt the opposition makes it
possible for Mugabe and his ministers to go on telling their nonsensical
lies about the state of the country; they will be believed because there is
no evidence to the contrary. The sight of determined people peacefully
demonstrating on the streets might waken Africa and the world to the tragedy
that is Zimbabwe. To quote Robert Nesta Marley: None but ourselves can free
Ndini shamwari yenyu. PH
Friday, 24 August 2007
By BosNewsLife News Center
HARARE, ZIMBABWE (BosNewsLife)-- The fate of at least 15
Christian leaders in Zimbabwe remained uncertain Friday, August 24, after
they were detained for attending a prayer meeting near the capital Harare
without permission from police, opposition sources confirmed.
They were part of a group that attended a prayer gathering at the
Nyamutamba Hotel in Chitungwiza town, south of Harare, on Saturday, August
18, representatives of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
said in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife.
The detentions came after several pastors were initially briefly held
and fined Saturday, August 18, before being arrested again late Monday,
August 20, MDC sources added. MDC members of parliament Job Sikhala and
Goodwich Chimbaira reportedly also attended the prayer meeting, but were
apparently not arrested.
Lawyer James Tabora told reporters that those detained Saturday were
temporary released after paying 40,000 Zimbabwe Dollars ($164) in fines.
Among those detained are Bishop Samuel Pasula, and Pastors Mabhena,
Patrick Thole, Gordon Chinogurei and a preacher who was only identified as
Pastor White, BosNewsLife learned.
Police officials were not immediately available for comment. MDC said
"the suggestion that pastors have to ask permission for a prayer meeting
shows that the government has become so paranoid that even an opposition
member of parliament attending a prayer gathering provides her delirium."
The situation also underscored growing pressure on churches in
Zimbabwe to participate in the political process of the troubled African
nation, said Christian rights group Open Doors. "There are several reports
about church leaders and church members facing difficulties," the group said
in a statement to BosNewsLife.
The latest round of arrests came on the heels of a report by a
grouping of Zimbabwean human rights organizations, who declared 2007 the
country's worst year for rights violations since 2000, when that year's
general election resulted in a surge of political-related violence.
The report by the Human Rights NGO Forum, entitled "At Best a
Falsehood, At Worst A Lie," takes to task two reports issued by the Zimbabwe
Republic Police accusing the political opposition and civil society groups
of perpetrating violence.
Forum Chairman Noel Kututwa told the Voice Of America (VOA) network in
Zimbabwe that a copy of the report went to the Commissioner of Police
Augustine Chihuri and Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, but he neither
attended or sent a representative to the launch of the report.
ZRP spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena declined to comment on the report.
Besides Christian leaders, dissidents are also persecuted, opposition groups
say. This week some 15 plainclothes policemen in five vehicles raided the
Harare home of Women's Coalition Chairwoman Betty Makoni taking her and two
American women filmmakers making a documentary on her activism into custody.
Sources close to the situation reportedly said police seized the film
equipment and detained the three women all day Tuesday, August 21, before
releasing them at the end of the day with instructions to return the
Rights watchers and Western observers say a crackdown on civilians
also show desperation of President Robert Mugabe, the pro-independence
campaigner who wrested control from a small white community and became the
country's first black leader.
Commentators say he now leads a nation whose economy is in tatters,
where poverty and unemployment are endemic and political strife and
repression commonplace. (With BosNewsife Senior Special Correspondent Eric
Leijenaar and BosNewsLife Research and reporting from Zimbabwe).
Sunday, August 26th 2007, 4:00 AM
Desperate to escape Zimbabwe, poor women - including this expecting mother - brave barbed wire to cross the border into South Africa.
Upward of 500 Zimbabweans flee daily.
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Starving on the streets of his native Zimbabwe, Tatenda Khosa had few choices.
The 13-year-old homeless boy could remain in the town of Chiredzi and beg for food amid this country's worst economic crisis in decades. Or he could try to sneak across the border to South Africa, risking attack from bandits and the threat of imprisonment along the way.
His decision did not take long.
"I said, 'If I die, it's God's will. I want to go there to get food,'" Tatenda told the Daily News outside a gas station along the border of South Africa where he arrived last week.
"In Zimbabwe, even in the dustbin, you can't get food now."
Once considered the "breadbasket of Africa," Zimbabwe is a country in tatters.
Empty shelves line grocery stores that only months ago were well-stocked with the commodities people rely on most: sugar, cooking oil and cornmeal.
A severe fuel shortage has forced commuter buses off the roads, leaving Zimbabweans living in the townships with little access to what little remains in the city center.
In some parts of the country, even water is being sold on the thriving black market to desperate residents who have gone days without it.
"If you don't have somebody who's outside the country supplying you with things, you're finished," said Shephard Lunga, 32, a truck driver from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city.
Experts say the African nation's downfall is the result of the half-baked policies of a president intent on holding onto power at all costs.
Two months ago, Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's 83-year-old leader, ordered stores to slash the rising prices of basic commodities to such levels that manufacturers could no longer turn a profit.
The result: They stopped producing their goods, leaving supermarket shelves barren and the populace hungry.
Two weeks ago, a 29-year-old security guard from the town of Mutare reportedly stabbed a colleague to death because he thought the man stole his 22-pound bag of cornmeal.
The country's inflation rate - the world's highest - topped the 7,000% mark in July.
When delivery trucks do arrive at shops, droves of people appear instantly, forming lines that wrap around streetcorners.
"We must queue two hours for bread," said a 25-year-old security guard, waiting on a line outside one of the city's major supermarkets. "Two hours for bread! This country has big problems, my friend."
That the man was too fearful of government retaliation to give his name was not unexpected.
Many Zimbabweans have stories to tell about friends and family members simply vanishing after discussing their frustration with the ruling party, Zanu-PF, nonchalantly.
Members of the country's emasculated opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have faced periodic beatings.
Mugabe, who has remained in power since the country gained independence in 1980, has blamed Zimbabwe's myriad problems on white colonialists and outside powers trying to meddle in his affairs, namely, Great Britain and the U.S.
As pressure against him has mounted, his cronies have embarked on an aggressive campaign to limit public demonstrations and silence the international press. Unaccredited foreign journalists face stiff prison sentences if caught operating inside the country.
On a tour through Harare's poorest townships, this reporter asked his guide if he could enter a shop to speak with people inside.
"If you go in there and start interviewing people, the police will show up in five minutes to pick you up," this reporter was told.
Zimbabweans are fleeing their country by the thousands, among them doctors, teachers and other highly educated professionals. Some cannot afford to purchase a visa to places like South Africa.
Instead, they cross the border illegally in the dead of night, crawling through holes in the barbed wire fences separating the two countries.
One South African soldier patrolling the porous border estimated that more than 500 cross this way each day.
"They come here because there is no food on that side," said the 34-year-old private who identified himself as Paul. "They suffer."
Tatenda's suffering diminished rapidly, he said, after arriving in the border town of Musina. He sleeps under an overhang beside a gas station and still has to beg. But the important thing is that he is eating again.
"As long as I am getting food, I will die here," he said.
Last Updated: 12:50am BST 26/08/2007Page 1 of 2
Former England bowler Phil Edmonds faces his biggest test yet as he battles
for a larger share of Africa's copper riches. Sylvia Pfeifer reports
a.. A sporting chance in business?
Just a few years ago, it was a brave airline that operated out of Lubumbashi
airport, in the southeastern corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Today, four years after the end of a civil war that claimed 3m lives, the
small airport is buzzing.
Every week, planeloads of businessmen from Europe, China and Australia spill
out on to its runway. The executives are all after one thing: the DRC's vast
The country is home to some of the richest mineral deposits on the planet;
copper, cobalt, diamonds, uranium, zinc and coal are all in abundance. Its
production declined during decades of dictatorship under Mobutu Sese Seko
and much of the infrastructure was destroyed during the civil war.
But the election as president last year of Joseph Kabila, a former guerilla
fighter, in the DRC's first democratic elections in four decades, has
brought some much-needed stability to the country. It has also encouraged
foreign investors to consider putting in billions of dollars for a slice of
This week, the starting gun will be fired for what is shaping up to be a
controversial battle for control of the jewel in the crown of the DRC's
copper assets. Central African Mining & Exploration Company (Camec), the
Aim-listed group chaired by ex-cricketer Phil Edmonds, will put down an
£800m offer for Katanga Mining. The Canadian-listed, London-based miner
operates a vast, potentially lucrative copper-cobalt mine in the Katanga
Camec has already built up a 22 per cent stake in Katanga. It has also
secured soft irrevocables for a further 54 per cent, including the 24 per
cent stake held by George Forrest, the largest shareholder in Katanga and
one of the powerbrokers in the DRC's mining industry.
For Zimbabwe-born Edmonds, the deal is the biggest yet. If successful, it
would catapult the Middlesex cricketer, who took 125 wickets for England in
the 1980s, into the big league. A combined Camec and Katanga would create
one of the world's largest copper and cobalt companies and be a candidate
for inclusion in the blue-chip FTSE 100 index.
But Edmonds's tilt at the big time has not been without controversy; last
month, the Congolese government ejected Billy Rautenbach, a Zimbab-wean
entrepreneur and one of the kingpins in the African mining industry as well
as a shareholder in Camec.
It was through Rautenbach, who headed the state mining company Gecamines in
the late 1990s under then-president Laurent Kabila, that Camec secured its
current assets in the DRC. Rautenbach, who faces fraud and corruption
charges in South Africa, was declared persona non grata in what was widely
seen as a move by the Congolese government to clean up the domestic mining
Rautenbach has denied any wrongdoing but it is a controversy that Camec,
founded by Edmonds and his long-term business partner Andrew Groves, could
Camec's bid for Katanga also faces some significant obstacles. RP Capital,
which has a stake of 15.7 per cent in Katanga, opposes the deal and wants
the company to merge with Nikanor, another Aim-listed group with assets in
"As a large shareholder in Katanga and across the DRC mining space, this
isn't the combination we prefer. We are doing everything we can to effect
the combination of Nikanor and Katanga," says an RP Capital spokesman.
Meanwhile, Katanga's management has its own issues with Camec's proposal.
Art Ditto, chairman of Katanga and himself a large shareholder, describes
Camec's initiative as "opportunistic". "We have seen no details yet [of
Camec's offer] but we do not think Camec is an attractive option for us", he
adds. Katanga is looking for other partners.
Conspiracy theorists have added an extra dimension to the impending bid
battle, speculating that Dan Gertler, the Israeli diamond merchant who holds
significant stakes in both Katanga and Nikanor, is the real reason for
Katanga's opposition to Camec.
Another theory is that big miners such as Xstrata or Anglo American are
waiting in the wings to pounce on a combined Katanga/Nikanor. The Congo
represents an unparalleled opportunity for the big guys.
"Every large copper producer has the same problem - a lack of growth between
now and 2010 at the earliest," says Jeremy Gray, mining analyst at Credit
Suisse. "Congo represents one of the few untouched growth regions that can
deliver near-term supply for the majors at a cost of less than $4,000 per
tonne of copper. The days of the industry building big greenfield projects
in low-grade copper regions like Chile and Peru seem to be behind us given
their capital costs are now well above $8,000 per tonne.
"By contrast, Camec has built the Luita copper and cobalt operation [in the
Congo] in 12 months and at a cost of less than $2,000 per tonne. There are
risks. Congo is still regarded as a politically volatile country. An
independent committee is currently reviewing every mining concession
including Camec's and the findings should be known in the coming months."
In Camec's Mayfair offices, Edmonds is clearly exasperated by the noise
surrounding what he believes is a straightforward deal that makes strategic
sense. He has refused to be photographed and has brought along Chris
Chapple, Camec's new chief development officer and a former Goldman Sachs
banker, to back him up. Organic growth alone will enable Camec to produce
some 100,000 tonnes of -copper and between 6,000-12,000 tonnes of cobalt by
the end of 2008, says Edmonds. But by taking over Katanga, the company could
be producing as much as 250,000 tonnes of copper.
"Surely it must be much more attractive to get into a position where you can
be producing 250,000 tonnes of copper in as short a space of time as
possible," he says.
"It's an opportunity to take advantage of high metal prices. At the
operating level, you are taking two companies which are closest to
production and fully-funded," adds Chapple.
The offer will be launched this week and both men insist they are not
worried about the possibility of a rival suitor emerging; this is plan A.
"We're not worried about it," says Edmonds. "We think it's the most
strategically sensible deal". Chapple adds that detractors should look at
how the shareholders of Camec and Katanga reacted to news a deal was in the
offing: shares in both went up.
How worried are they about any fall-out from the Rautenbach affair? Both
insist Rautenbach has barely been involved in recent months, although
Edmonds concedes the company would probably not have got its current assets
without him. "You have to take the whole package," he adds.
But the controversy has prompted more general questions about whether Camec
needs to improve its corporate governance. Until now, the company has been
defined by the entrepreneurial spirit of the Edmonds/Groves duo. Their focus
on securing early-stage positions in African countries - White Nile, their
oil company, is involved in a title dispute in the Sudan - has meant
traditional corporate governance was sometimes not a priority.
"The growth of the company has far outstripped the early stage corporate
governance it had put in place," says Chapple diplomatically.
But his own recent appointment is a clear sign that the company recognises
that it needs to bolster its management team. This week, Andrew Burns, a
former finance director of Luminar, the leisure group, will join as chief
financial officer. Chapple says the company is also looking for heavyweight
You get the feeling that, at least for Edmonds, the more people there are at
Camec for outsiders to focus on the better. Asked how he feels being on the
verge of landing what could be his biggest deal, he says: "Why focus on me?
We're a fantastic team here. All I do is give a bit of sage advice now and
then." When he teamed up with Groves, neither Africa nor the resources
sector were high on investors' lists. "We both hail from there, so Africa
seemed the place to be," he says.
He admits he is enjoying himself but dreads flippant comparisons with his
cricketing past. "One of my favourite films is Chariots of Fire. You indulge
your passion, do it to the best of your ability and then you go off and do
something serious. Sport is just a game," he says.
Pulling off the Katanga deal would go some way toward proving Edmonds'
detractors wrong: that he is deadly serious when it comes to doing business.