Friday, 09 December 2011 08:37
THE faction led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru is coming under growing
pressure in the succession race from a rival camp headed by Defence minister
and politburo heavyweight EmmersonMnangagwa, as the Zanu PF conference which
opened yesterday in Bulawayo unfolds amid ominous political uncertainty
surrounding President Robert Mugabe’s rapidly fading rule. Extensive
briefings of the Zimbabwe Independent by Zanu PF delegates at the conference
showed Mujuru’s faction is coming under intensifying challenge by the
Mnangagwa group which now wants to go for the jugular to prevail over its
opponents to succeed Mugabe.
Although Mugabe remains in charge of the party, faction leaders believe they
have to look beyond him.
Since delegates arrived in Bulawayo on Wednesday, Zanu PF faction leaders
have been holding secret meetings, mainly under the cover of darkness,
inside their hotel rooms and other private venues to strategise how to
outmanoeuvre each other. The rival leaders have also been jostling for
Mugabe’s attention to win favours and consolidate their positions.
The Independent has also received credible reports of dirty tricks being
employed at the conference with some top Zanu PF officials, including
Mnangagwa, having had their hotel rooms bugged by security agents loyal to
their rivals. One senior official reportedly went to complain to Mugabe at
State House in Bulawayo on Wednesday night that his room was wired with
listening devices and other gadgets.
“The succession battle is getting vicious and dirty,” a senior Zanu PF
politburo official said. “But things will get worse after this conference.
The endgame will be brutal and nasty.”
Although Zanu PF, riddled with factionalism and infighting, has two main
camps, there are several other smaller cliques, defined by regions,
ethnicity and other common interests, operating within and across the main
Senior Zanu PF officials said this week as part of the Mnangagwa faction’s
strategy to seize control of the party, Mujuru is now personally targeted
for removal. The Mnangagwa group still wants to replace Mujuru with Zanu PF
Women’s League head Oppah Muchinguri as it tried but failed to do during
the 2009 congress. The Mnangagwa faction is also reportedly plotting the
removal of Nicholas Goche and Webster Shamu as heads of security and the
commissariat departments in the politburo. The politburo, sources said,
might be reshuffled ahead of elections.
“The factional battles are intensifying in the party. While it appears here
at the conference that there is harmony and unity, the reality is that below
the surface there is a lot happening,” another politburo member said. “The
Mnangagwa faction is fighting back viciously after its defeat during the
2009 congress. They are now going for Mai Mujuru herself and other senior
members of the camp like Goche and Shamu, particularly now after the death
of (retired army commander) General (Solomon) Mujuru,” another politburo
“We told you months back that this power struggle is going to be rough.
There will be blood on the floor.”
The senior officials also said the succession battle would be further
fuelled by the fight between the two factions for several vacancies in the
politburo following the deaths of Ephraim Masawi (deputy national
commissar), David Karimanzira (secretary for finance), General Mujuru
(committee member), and Khantibai Patel (committee member).
The succession fight is also currently playing out fiercely in Mashonaland
West where former acting Zanu PF provincial chairman John Mafa is set to
battle it out for the chairmanship with deputy ministers Reuben Marumahoko
of Regional Integration and International Co-operation, supported by Shamu,
and Walter Chidhakwa of State Enterprises and Parastatals. Chidakwa used to
be supported by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, a senior
Mafa, reportedly backed by controversial tycoon Philip Chiyangwa, himself a
former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chair, is linked to the
Mnangagwga faction, while the other two are connected to the Mujuru camp.
Sources said the Mnangagwa faction was now taking full advantage of the
death of General Mujuru to force the Mujuru faction to lose political ground
“There was a question whether the death of Mujuru would affect his faction
or not. Now it’s becoming increasingly clear it has already started
weakening the group because Mai Mujuru and senior members of the camp like
Sydney Sekeramayi, who has his own ambitions, have not risen to the
challenge,” a source said.
“However, the truth is that even if Mnangagwa is on the ascendancy, the
party is still deeply divided over the succession issue. The Mujuru camp
still has some advantages although the security services chiefs are now
mainly with Mnangagwa.”
The sources said Mnangagwa has consolidated his support base and now enjoys
the backing of senior Joint Operations Command members like Zimbabwe Defence
Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Police Commissioner-General
Augustine Chihuri and Air Force of Zimbabwe Air Marshal Perence Shiri. The
sources said Central Intelligence Organisation boss Happyton Bonyongwe
remains aligned to the Mujuru faction.
The fight back by the Mnangagwa faction is a recovery bid after its defeat
during the 2009 congress. The Mujuru faction heavily defeated the Mnangagwa
camp during the congress, raising hope that Vice-President Mujuru would take
over from Mugabe.
Officials say the escalation of the power struggles within Zanu PF would
intensify the internal strife in the already deeply-divided party after the
ongoing Bulawayo conference.
Friday, 09 December 2011 08:35
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has demanded elections next year and threatened to
undermine the constitution-making process if the draft constitution does not
include Zanu PF’s position. In a Zanu PF central committee report tabled at
the party’s national conference yesterday, Mugabe said the conference should
send a clear message that elections must be held in 2012 without fail.
“The GNU has become a drag on our nation. It must give way to an elected
administration that is free to govern unhindered, free to pursue definite
policies for the betterment of our people,” Mugabe said.
“It must also make it very clear that Zanu PF reserves the right to
dissociate itself from a draft constitution which seeks to undermine the
cardinal goals of our national liberation struggle and our national culture
Zanu PF wants to retain a powerful executive president with vast unchecked
powers as proposed in the Kariba draft constitution.
The Zanu PF position paper makes it clear that the land reform programme is
irreversible and wants the constitution to promote indigenisation and
empowerment. It calls for the prohibition of homosexuality and same sex
Mugabe also stressed the need to end violence saying votes could only be won
through good policies and programmes.
“The conference must pronounce itself and take a firm stand against
political violence. It must disavow violence in any form, in order to send a
clear message that violence will not be condoned and has no place in our
politics and in our country.”
The report also revealed that Zanu PF was broke and continued to rely on
overdrafts from banks.
Zanu PF’s main sources of revenue for 2011 were membership fees and
For the year 2011, the finance department reported an expenditure of US$6
229 397 and an income of US$4 094 853.
“Meetings were held with the business community, focusing on strategies to
address the economic challenges faced by industry and a number of policy
measures have been taken in response to this, notably in unpacking the
indigenisation and empowerment programme and its implementation
methodology,” said the report.
Friday, 09 December 2011 08:33
SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma’s ANC party has promised to send a team
of strategists to assist Zanu PF come up with an effective campaign strategy
that would ensure victory for President Robert Mugabe in elections expected
either next year or in 2013. This, observers said, would complicate Zuma’s
mediation role in Zimbabwe and raise questions of whether he could be an
honest broker if the ANC was assisting one of the parties in the conflict.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe (pictured) told the Zanu PF 12th
National People’s Conference in Bulawayo yesterday that his party wanted
Zanu PF to win the next elections.
“It is important for Zanu PF to regain lost ground and continue to represent
the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe,” said Mantashe.
“If we want to share experiences on campaigning and messaging during
elections, we must do so well ahead of the elections so that the parties
involved can have time to adjust the experiences to their own strategies. We
will send campaign strategy teams to work with you; this will be the best
way to celebrate the centenary of the ANC in January 2012.”
The three political parties in the inclusive government –– the two MDC
formations and Zanu PF –– have gone on a full throttle campaign to woo
voters ahead of the all-important elections.
While Zanu PF has come up with strategies targeting churches, the youth,
businesspeople, women, communal farmers and urban dwellers to win the
general elections, the MDC formations have been holding campaign rallies
across the country.
Zanu PF has intensified its campaign in rural areas through making donations
to schools and villages. Parallel to government efforts to provide
agricultural inputs in rural areas, Zanu PF has a scheme of its own,
targeting communal farmers.
Asked what he meant by giving technical support to Zanu PF in the next
election, Mantashe told the Zimbabwe Independent that the ANC was committed
to assisting Mugabe win elections as a leader of a “sister” liberation
“We have committed ourselves to supporting Zanu PF because as liberation
movements, we are under pressure all the time because people think
liberation movements in southern Africa are too strong and they must be
weakened. So it is our responsibility to counter that so that liberation
movements continue to represent the aspirations of the people of our
countries,” he said.
On whether such support would not compromise Zuma’s role as a mediator in
Zimbabwe’s political crisis, Mantashe said the ANC was assisting Zanu PF as
a sister liberation movement, while Zuma was playing his role as a Sadc
“These are government to government relations and Zuma is working under the
auspices of Sadc and (the) ANC is a different animal altogether. We are not
going to lock ourselves in a room because Sadc has given power to the
president of South Africa. (The) ANC must interact with some of the sister
parties in the region,” he said.
Mantashe said his party would continue to support Zanu PF because the MDC-T
was not a liberation party.
“The reality of the matter is that we don’t need permission from other
parties.When we talk to the MDC, they know the relation which is there. They
are not a former liberation party.We also talk to them and we don’t ask for
permission from Zanu PF when we do. They can’t expect us to get clearance to
engage with former liberation movements, it would be presumptuous of them.”
Friday, 09 December 2011 08:24
ZANU PF wants an early election to bury the inclusive government because it
has “overstayed” and has started preparing for the polls with its primaries
expected early next year. The party’s national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo
told thousands of delegates at the ongoing Zanu PF 12th annual conference in
Bulawayo yesterday that the wobbly coalition pact signed by President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai “must be accorded an appropriate
burial” through elections.
Zanu PF has been pushing for elections but Sadc, MDC-T and civil society
want critical reforms to be implemented before the plebiscite.
The polls are now widely expected next year after the adoption of a new
constitution. Moyo said the conference was a defining moment since it was
the last before Zimbabweans cast their ballot.
The primary elections rules, the former diplomat said, would be announced
soon, without elaborating, but sources said the party polls are likely in
the first quarter of 2012.
“We must prepare ourselves to win resoundingly in the next elections because
we don’t want the inclusive government,” said Moyo.
As the party is seeking to regain lost support in Matabeleland, it seems
there is a strategy to use the industrial flight and marginalisation of the
region to lure back the electorate which has been overwhelmingly voting
MDC-T and MDC. Since 2000, Zanu PF has struggled to win a constituency in
Matabeleland and several former ruling party officials have joined Zapu and
the MDC formations.
Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema blamed the delayed release of the US$40
million Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund on Finance minister Tendai
Biti and Industry minister Welshman Ncube, in a clear statement to rubbish
the MDC-T and MDC. The parties have been fighting for control of the fund,
in what critics say would be used to bolster political mileage of the
He further claimed that the closure of Bulawayo companies was as a result of
the sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his inner circle by the West. Mathema
said Bulawayo required US$1 billion for economic recovery and development.
“What I know is that company closures in Bulawayo and everywhere else in
Zimbabwe are a result of illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the MDC
and its foreign creators and handlers with the intention that workers and
their families would blame President Mugabe and Zanu PF and then vote him
and his party out of power,” said Mathema.
The Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs president Fortune Charumbira said the
traditional leaders would work tirelessly to ensure a Zanu PF victory in the
next polls. He advised Zanu PF candidates to select candidates with close
relations with chiefs and other traditional leaders as well as war veterans.
“Chiefs are responsible for distributing maize seed donated by the president
and no one should complain. The seed distribution is a Zanu PF programme,”
Mugabe and his Zanu PF cabal are also using maize seed to hoodwink the rural
electorate to rally behind them and the farming inputs are distributed upon
production of a membership card.
Friday, 09 December 2011 08:12
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe —probably attending his last Zanu PF conference to
be endorsed as presidential candidate — yesterday opened his party’s annual
gathering in Bulawayo with a challenge to bury ghosts of the past and win
back votes in the volatile south-western region, while securing his legacy.
Delegates at the ongoing conference and critics say while the gathering
would be on the surface uneventful, it was in some respects a crucial
occasion at which Mugabe had a perfect opportunity, not only to bury some of
the ghosts of the past which have haunted the nation for far too long, but
also exorcise them.
Mugabe, who has dominated the Zimbabwean political landscape like a Colossus
for over a generation, faces the problematic task of confronting issues
which have cost him and his party support in Matabeleland and other parts of
Matabeleland provinces, which have deserted Mugabe and Zanu PF practically
en bloc since 2000, would be the main political battleground in the next
election. All political parties desperately want to gain control of the
region which has become the power broker since the emergence of the MDC in
1999. Since losing Matabeleland, a hotbed of opposition politics, and now
other regions, Mugabe and Zanu PF have struggled to win national elections.
By contrast, the MDC formations, mainly the MDC-T, has thrived in its
original power base.
Given the venue of the conference, issues affecting Matabeleland loomed
large during the official opening yesterday as Zanu PF tried to find ways of
addressing simmering complaints of systematic exclusion and marginalisation
in the region ahead of elections.
Apart from marginalisation, Mugabe and Zanu PF have to tackle the explosive
issue of Gukurahundi which provokes anger and bitterness among voters in
Matabeleland. At the centre of Zanu PF’s dramatic decline in the region has
been these two issues linked to national problems which have resulted in
Mugabe’s first round defeat by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008 and
his party losing control of parliament. Leadership and policy failures, as
well as human rights abuses and corruption, have contributed to their
Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema, who welcomed delegates to the conference,
went to great lengths yesterday trying to deal with heightening ethnic
tensions, stoked by complaints of marginalisation, by seizing on the issue
of the $40 million fund to revive the country’s second largest city.
“Bulawayo was deliberately selected nationally as the first targeted
economic zone towards the revival and further development of its economy
that has been subjected to illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country
by the West and its local proxies like the MDC,” Mathema said.
“The Minister of Finance Tendai Biti and the Minister of Industry and
Commerce Welshman Ncube are playing soccer with the US$40 million for
distressed companies and new ones, especially the new micro, small, medium
and large business enterprises. His Excellency, RG Mugabe, appointed a
cabinet committee early this year to find a solution for the economic
challenges faced by Bulawayo businesses, workers and families.”
Directly confronting the sensitive issue of complaints of marginalisation,
Mathema said tribalism was being used by the “enemy”, referring to Western
countries, to divide the nation.
“The enemy we are facing today uses all sorts of tools and weapons to keep
Zimbabwe under its control,” Mathema said. “And one such tool is that of
ethnicity, the age-old tool of tribalism which is meant to keep the opposite
side in continuous conflict against itself,” he said.
“These days comrades, the enemy has been singing and dancing about the
marginalisation of Matabeleland, even to the extent of saying Shona people
are taking companies away from Bulawayo to Harare.
“Personally, I know of no company owned by Shona people that has been
relocated to Harare or elsewhere from Bulawayo. I know of no company at all
that has been taken to Harare from Bulawayo or from any part of
Matabeleland. What I know is that there are at least 87 companies that
closed in Bulawayo leaving at least 20 000 workers without jobs but these
companies did not go to Harare. And these companies are not owned by Shona
people…What I know is that company closures in Bulawayo and everywhere else
in Zimbabwe are a result of illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the
MDC and its foreign creators and handlers with the intention that workers
blame President Mugabe and Zanu PF and then vote him and his party out of
However, Mathema avoided the issue of Gukurahundi which Mugabe is under
pressure to tackle by the close of conference. Senior Zanu PF delegates said
Mugabe was in a tricky situation over the issue as ignoring it would further
alienate voters in the region and dealing with it could open an explosive
can of worms.
“Given that this conference is in Bulawayo, it poses serious challenges to
us about how to handle local and national issues affecting the people ahead
of elections. Locally, I mean here in Matabeleland, there are grievances
which we have to deal with separately if we need the people to vote for us
and one of them is the issue of marginalisation. Mathema has dealt with
that,” a senior Zanu PF politburo member attending the conference said.
“Now the remaining task is to find a way of addressing the Gukurahundi
issue, but that one could not be handled by Mathema or any other official.
It’s an issue of the presidium. We really don’t know whether the president
will say something about it or not when he closes the conference but we need
to manage that issue because it is continuously being used by Tsvangirai and
Ncube to wins votes. Only last weekend Tsvangirai was in Plumtree at
Dingumuzi stadium and he spoke unequivocally about Gukurahundi trying to
manipulate the issue to get votes. The president has said it was a ‘moment
of madness’ but we now need to move beyond that to address the issue
practically and close that chapter.”
Another official said: “I think as Zanu PF we should put in motion a
national process, like the national healing initiative, to address not just
Gukurahundi but all other wrongs of the past.”
This leaves Mugabe facing the challenge at the conference of whether to
confront the Gukurahundi issue head-on or continue to duck it as he has
Thursday, 08 December 2011 17:45
DEPUTY Prime-Minister Arthur Mutambara last week moved to reinvent his
political fortunes by co-opting new standing committee members to his MDC
faction leadership following the split in the party in February. Mutambara,
who was president of the smaller MDC faction, split from the Welshman
Ncube-led faction after declining to stand for the leadership of the party.
The Mutambara MDC said the newly appointed national executive would replace
those the party “expelled” for being linked with Ncube’s faction and the
“illegitimate” February 11 2011 meeting.
Prominent among those co-opted include Deputy Speaker of Parliament
Nomalanga Mzilikazi Khumalo, who was appointed as deputy president.
Maxwell Zimuto was named secretary-general, Beauty Kerr Mthetwa treasurer,
Robson Mashiri national organising secretary, Morgan Changamire party
spokesperson and Tsitsi Dangarembga director of elections.
However, the appointments have been criticised as an abuse of the MDC
constitution as appointments can only be done at a national congress.
According to the MDC constitution, Provision 5.4.3 the president, deputy
president, national chairperson, secretary-general and deputy
secretary-general, treasurer and the deputy treasurer-general shall be
elected from the nominations made by provinces directly into their positions
by congress in such a manner that at least two of their number shall be
But Zimuto said the appointments were not in violation of the constitution
as there is a provision that allowed for appointments of the national
executive in the event of death or resignation.
He said the provision stated that “in the event of the death or resignation
of any other member of the national executive committee, the national
council shall elect a person to act in that capacity pending the next
In the meantime, Zimuto said the appointees would hold the positions until
the party’s national congress on a date yet to be determined.
“We would love to hold the congress as soon as possible but there is a
pending court case,” said Zimuto. “At the moment our plans are vested by the
This is not the first time we have done this. If you recall well at a
national congress in 2006 Gabriel Chaibva resignedas did AbednicoBhebhe and
were replaced. This is just a similar case.”
MDC-N spokesperson Kurauone Chihwai said his party was not “worried or
shaken” by the defections since they saw it as a Zanu PF project meant to
Thursday, 08 December 2011 17:40
THE arrest of Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) officials has
ignited renewed fears of a media crackdown by state security agents on civil
society and journalists as the country braces for an election next year or
MMPZ director Andrew Moyse, Fadzai December, Molly Chimhanda and Gilbert
Mabusa were arrested this week on charges of breaching the Public Order and
Security Act (Posa) for allegedly distributing subversive material.
December, Chimhanda, and Mabusa were arrested in Gwanda.
The arrests come hard on the heels of independent journalists’ arrest for
criminal defamation within a month.
The Standard editor Nevanji Madanhire and his reporter Nqaba Matshazi were
arrested on charges of receiving or being in possession of stolen GreenCard
Medical Aid financial documents.
The medical aid company is owned by central bank governor Gideon Gono’s
advisor, Munyaradzi Kereke.
The editor of the Daily News Stanley Gama and reporter Xolisani Ncube were
arrested last Friday in connection with a story they wrote about Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s wealth.
Madanhire and Matshazi were remanded out of custody on a $100 bail each,
while Gama and Ncube were released after giving warned and cautioned
statements to the police.
Police went on this week to raid MMPZ offices in Harare and confiscated
digital video discs (DVDs) which they alleged contain information on
Gukurahundi. MMPZ director Andy Moyse was detained in connection with the
Civil society organisations have expressed concern at the media crackdown by
state security agents saying it was aimed at stifling democracy in the
country ahead of elections.
The Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition said: “The arrests signalled the beginning of
a crackdown on the media and civic activists similar to those that have
preceded past elections. Journalists must be allowed to do their work
without hindrance from law enforcement agents.”
The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe said the arrests were a signal that
the state is ready to trample on people’s freedoms.
“It is VMCZ’s strong conviction that the laws being used to charge the four
MMPZ leaders and employees are patently undemocratic and undermine the right
of all citizens to freedom of expression as well as that of the freedom to
assemble,” VMCZ said in a statement.
The issue about media freedom, plurality and diversity has conveniently been
put aside by the coalition government as it prepares for elections.
Lawyer and media analyst Chris Mhikewrote on the MMPZ discussion forum:
“With elections getting nearer and nearer, the pro-democracy players are
losing more and more ground in the inclusive government as the regime is
getting too thirsty again for blood.”
Thursday, 08 December 2011 17:38
EMBATTLED business mogul Mutumwa Mawere this week approached the British and
South African governments to help him reclaim his SMMH company which was put
under state administrator Afaras Gwaradzimba under the State Indebted and
Reconstruction Act in 2004. Mawere’s diplomatic manoeuvre is contained in a
letter dated December 7 2011 by his lawyers Kyle Attorneys to British
ambassador to Zimbabwe Deborah Bronnert which was also copied to the South
Mawere said the Zimbabwean government acted illegally by granting its laws
extra-territorial powers since SMMH was a British registered company and
could not be arbitrarily taken over without involving British courts.
SMMH owns the now defunct Shabanie and Mashaba mines and their associate
companies in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“We believe that a prima facie case exists for your intervention as the
affected companies are domiciled in the UK. It may very well be the case
that other foreign registered companies may not be aware of the implications
of the legislation and we, therefore, look to your intervention to ensure
that the information is disseminated to all interested parties as a
precedent has already been created,” wrote Kyle.
Mawere believes that working with the British government would expose
Zimbabwe’s deliberate lack of respect for property rights.
“We are hopeful that working together we will be able to expose the toxic
legislation and more significantly the complicity of the Zimbabwean
judiciary in undermining the rule of law and property rights.”
The Zimbabwe Supreme Court this year ruled the Reconstruction Act
constitutional by a vote of four to one. The dissenting judgment by retired
Justice Wilson Sandura is still to be released. The ruling had a net effect
of legalising the state’s actions in retrospect.
Mawere’s lawyers argue that the Act is a danger to foreign investment in
Zimbabwe and no company was safe as a precedent had been set.
“We believe that the existence of the legislation threatens all foreign
interests in Zimbabwe. Accordingly, please feel free to circulate the
correspondence to other embassies and interested parties so that they are
informed about the risks of doing business in Zimbabwe. If it can happen to
two English companies then surely no one is safe,” the lawyers argued.
Mawere’s battle with the state has been long and bruising with the parties
slugging it out in courts in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia and the UK. The
battle has also been taken to Zimbabwe’s parliament with the embattled
businessman seeking a repeal of the Reconstruction Act or amendment to
sections that gave it extra-territorial powers.
“You will note in the submissions to the Speaker that the effect of the
Reconstruction legislation is to place companies registered and governed
under UK laws under the control of an administrator appointed in terms of
Zimbabwean law and in so-doing give the Zimbabwean legislation
extra-territorial application,” the lawyers said.
The SMMH saga has played out differently in many quarters including
political establishment. At one point Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor
Gideon Gono advised President Robert Mugabe to restore ownership of SMMH to
Thursday, 08 December 2011 17:37
MDC-T deputy spokesperson and Bulawayo East MP Tabitha Khumalo (pictured)
said there was no way the government could wish away the contentious
Gukurahundi issue without addressing real concerns of survivors who continue
to feel the psychological and material effects of the atrocities. The
country’s two-year old coalition government has not drawn any conclusive
position on how to deal with thousands of distressed families affected by
the worst post-colonial state violence to afflict Zimbabwe.
Khumalo told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that besides the thousands
of deaths caused by the covert operations of the notorious North
Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, a chain of other social ills have also
continued to haunt survivors and offsprings of the victims in the two
Matabeleland provinces as well as some parts of Midlands where the crack
She said some survivors and children of victims lacked identity documents
and could therefore not register marriages, births or deaths. Without such
documentation, Khumalo said it was impossible for these Gukurahundi victims
to find a job, access public health services, enrol in school, open a bank
account or even own property.
This situation had created a generation of stateless people who lived in a
state of permanent uncertainty in the country.
“There is a perception that Ndebeles don’t want to go to school and they are
only interested in illegally crossing into South Africa to take up demeaning
menial jobs,” said Khumalo. “How can you go to school without proper
documentation,” she asked.
“One of the legacies ofGukurahundiis that a whole generation of people have
no proper documentation because their parents were killed and government
would not issue them documents without witnesses or evidence of the deaths
of their parents. All legal procedures on the acquisition of IDs shouldbe
suspended and Gukurahundi victims must be registered without questions being
asked,” she said.
She called for the setting up of mobile registration teams to issue
registration documents to children of victims whom she claimed could not get
such documents resulting in them failing to access important services,
including education where birth certificates are a prerequisite for
enrolment and writing of public examinations.
Khumalo demanded other interventions such as the construction of schools,
financial compensation in the affected provinces and affirmative action in
the country’s tertiary institutions.
The government and Zanu PF officials have repeatedly refused to entertain
any public discussion and calls for compensation for victims of the conflict
which President Robert Mugabe described as a “moment of madness”.
Government set up a commission of inquiry in 1983 headed by Justice
Simplisius Chihambakwe, but its findings were never made public. However,
the government rejected the findings of the Catholic Commission for Justice
and Peace (CCJP) which concluded that over 20 000 victims were killed during
The CCJP report recommended a national reconciliation process, proper burial
for the victims and compensation packages for those affected, with
accelerated development for the affected regions.
Zanu PF rejected these recommendations saying the entire chapter ended at
the stroke of the pens of Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo when they signed their
unity accord in December 1987.
Thursday, 08 December 2011 16:24
IN 2000 President Robert Mugabe launched Zimbabwe’s controversial fast-track
land reforms, seizing the majority of the 4 500 farms held by mostly white
commercial farmers. More than a decade on, while some of the new farmers are
doing well, others have found that if they cross the ruling party, they face
losing their new land. Shadrack Rwafa stands outside the home he has built.
He is one of Zimbabwe’s 170 000 new farmers, the proud owner of Land Hunger
A short, muscular man, he has worked hard to grow crops on this dry,
unforgiving soil, which used to be a cattle ranch.
It took two months just to dig the well, and he is proud of the clean, fresh
water it produces.
“It’s like milk,” he tells the BBC.
Rwafa is no ordinary farmer.
He is a war veteran who fought against the white minority rule which ended
in 1980, when Mugabe replaced Ian Smith as the country’s leader.
In the intervening years he has been a sculptor, painter and miner.
But after Mugabe inaugurated the Fast Track Land Reform Programme in 2000,
Rwafa saw his chance.
He joined the invasion of a white-owned farm in the area in the south-east
of the country.
Many of the commercial farms were seized violently, but Rwafa says his case
“We didn’t just come without talking to the then farm owner.
“We asked ‘can we share the land’ and that’s how we came here,” says Rwafa.
“He accepted and there was no violence at this place.
“We even helped him to put his sheep on the truck and he left us some
fertilisers and we parted nicely.”
The farm is the fulfilment of his life-long dream. Today he grows peanuts,
beans and maize and says his life has improved dramatically.
A ranch that once raised cattle has been split into 252 separate units, each
farmed by a family growing a range of crops as well as raising some cattle.
Rwafa says it is far more productive than it was when it was commercially
The farm’s former owner was not available for comment.
The progress of Rwafa and his fellow new farmers in Masvingo Province has
been recorded by a 10-year research project, conducted by the Institute of
Development Studies at Sussex University, which followed 400 new farmers.
It is one of a number of studies which challenge popular perceptions that
Zimbabwe’s land reform programme has been an unmitigated disaster.
The Sussex University study does, however, accept that the process has had
Only just over a third of the new farmers are doing well, about a fifth are
supplementing their income by other means, and the rest are struggling, are
not using the land for active production, or have given up altogether.
Even this sober view is challenged.
Economic consultant John Robertson suggests that agricultural output is only
around 50% of the level it was before the land invasions began in 2000.
“Most of the new people involved who are farming the land that was
confiscated from the large-scale farmers are producing enough for themselves
and not much more,” says Robertson.
Land invasions have not ended.
Just as we were visiting new farmers like Rwafa, a white farmer lost the
land he was born on. He did not want his name to be mentioned — the whole
issue is too politically sensitive — but he seemed almost resigned to what
had taken place.
If you display your loyalty to the ruling party, you will get a free piece
of land. If you show any disloyalty to the party... you’ll lose it.”
“You didn’t have to be a genius to work out that we weren’t going to be
there for the rest of our lives.
“One supposes they could stop it now, but I think they do not want to see a
white on the land, and don’t need to see any whites left,” he says, more in
sorrow than anger.
Robertson believes the entire land redistribution exercise was meant to
create a system of patronage, through a pool of voters who were dependent on
the ruling Zanu PF party.
“If you display your loyalty to the ruling party, you will get a free piece
of land. If you show any disloyalty to the party, guess what… you’ll lose
it,” he says.
Not even high-ranking Zanu PF members are necessarily secure. Tracy
Mutinhiri, deputy minister of labour and social welfare, was also a
beneficiary of land reform, with one of the biggest farms in the country.
Then she was accused of getting too close to the MDC-T, the former
opposition, which is now in an uneasy government of national unity with
“When we got into the inclusive government, I wanted to work with everybody.
That’s how it started: building up and building up, and then one day they
decided to come and invade my farm,” says Mutinhiri. “If it could happen to
me, it could happen to anybody else.”
But the real losers in this process
have been the 500 000 workers who were once employed on the commercial
farms. Many were seen as potential MDC supporters, and were therefore not
allocated any of the redistributed land.
The BBC spoke to some of these workers who were too fearful to be named.
“Sometimes we are getting by on just US$10 a month,” says one woman, a
former farm worker, now living in a disused tobacco barn.
The farm workers’ official minimum wage is US$44 per month.
“We are really suffering, and we don’t know how we’re going to live.
“This land reform must be reversed, and maybe our life can change.”
Mugabe’s land reform has had a mixed outcome, with at least as many farm
workers losing their livelihoods as there are new farmers working their own
The country is also now a net food importer where it once exported grain to
the region. — BBCOnline.
Thursday, 08 December 2011 16:11
‘ANALYSTS hail war crimes verdict against Blair, Bush,” the Herald declared
last week. And who were these “analysts”? The usual gang of Zanu PF
spokesmen. They were “hailing” the verdict of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes
Tribunal set up by President Mugabe’s friend, former Malaysian PM Mahathir
Mohamad. Most people haven’t heard of it.
Tony Blair, by the way, is Middle East envoy for the UN, EU, US and Russia.
Not exactly the “disgraced” ex-PM Zanu PF likes to portray!
Interestingly, not long after the Herald had finished promoting the
little-known war crimes tribunal, Bush was in Lusaka having a cordial lunch
with President Michael Sata. This was in connection with charity work by
the former US first couple.
A day after his lunch with Bush, Sata met President Mugabe for talks at
Livingstone. Details of their discussions were not disclosed but newspapers
reported that Mugabe had hoped to ask Sata personally to make an appearance
at the current Zanu PF conference. This would have boosted President Mugabe’s
standing. But despite claims by the party that Sata had never been invited
in the first place, his non-appearance must have been a huge disappointment.
The Sunday Mail’s business section last weekend carried a piece on the
return of German high-tech hardware group Bosch. It claimed the company had
pulled out a few years ago “under a barrage of sanctions”.
So are there no sanctions now?
And what about Grace’s state-of-the art dairy? Sanctions were no obstacle to
Meanwhile the president has been “lashing out” at Biti’s budget claiming it
gave a false picture, “full of hope but difficult to implement”. He told the
Zanu PF central committee that Biti’s figures were meant to generate hope.
“That is a false picture because those figures will not be met at the end,”
Any of this sound familiar? Has the president never promised agricultural
renewal andthen failed to deliver?
In the same edition of the Herald there was an article headed “Farmers hail
2010 budget”. The article said farmers welcomed the 2012 budget saying it
demonstrated the government’s commitment to fund agricultural activities.
By the way, there seems to be a lot of “hailing” going on in the Herald. Is
this a Third Reich publication?
Still with contradictions, the Herald of November 10 carried a report by
General Constantine Chiwenga saying sanctions had “brought untold suffering”
to Zimbabwe. The Business Herald of the same day gave details of a
significant rise in US/Zimbabwe trade.
The Herald of November 7 and several issues thereafter carried narrow-page
ads headlined “make some noise this November. Shout it loud, sanctions must
The ads were flighted by yet another Zanu PF shadowy outfit called “Zimbabwe
is right”. But the sponsors didn’t seem to know the difference between
November and December! They were still shouting for November in December.
Chiwenga’s remarks to Sadc officers at the National Defence College didn’t
seem exactly riveting. He spoke predictably of the need to “jealously guard
against recolonisation and exploitation of our God-given natural resources”,
something Zanu PF politicians are required to say in their public
“These sanctions,” he said, “have brought untold suffering to our people who
despite the harsh economic conditions have remained resilient in their quest
to defend and protect their sovereign birthright which undoubtedly is the
land and everything associated with it.”
Chiwenga is the recipient of a Master’s degree in International Relations,
we gather from ZDF ads carried last weekend congratulating him on his award.
If the South African and Sadc officers present would welcome a glimpse into
what happens to a country when the army is politicised, they need look no
further than Zimbabwe.
At the same time Moeletsi Mbeki contributed a troubling insight into South
Africa’s future under Jacob Zuma in the pages of this newspaper last Friday.
Visiting South African General Soli Shoke’s desire to share ideas with
Zimbabwe was therefore well appreciated. Chiwenga should read Mbeki’s
article as well if he seeks enlightenment.
We were sorry to see Nando’s being forced to withdraw their TV commercial
which poked fun at President Mugabe. The tongue-in-cheek ad entitled “Last
dictator standing” showed him sitting alone at Christmas dreaming of happier
days with companions such as Muammar Gaddafi and Idi Amin.
It was inoffensive except to the zealots in Zanu PF. Chipangano had
threatened Nando’s outlets.
Nando’s in South Africa has been flighting a whole range of satirical ads in
recent months without too much objection. But in Zimbabwe Zanu PF thugs have
made threats following this particular release. Pulling the ad was “a
prudent step to take in a volatile climate”, the fastfood chain said.
Chipangano threatened “punitive action” if it continued.
Musekiwa Kumbula, corporate affairs director at Innscor Africa who hold the
Nando’s franchise in Zimbabwe, said the ad was insensitive and in poor
taste. We thought it tasted rather good!
Ray Kaukonde, a prominent businessman and major shareholder at Innscor
Africa, said “The ad denigrated President Mugabe and is a violation of
business ethics and is in total disregard of African values.”
Muckraker believes robust satire is part and parcel of democratic behaviour.
Instead of entertaining threats from Zanu PF gangs and affiliated
businessmen Nando’s should stand up to bullying. And Zimbabweans who regard
the spicy Portuguese chicken as among their favourite dishes are free to
suspend consumption until Nando’s finds its cojones!
Irony, as usual, is always lost on Jonathan Moyo when he makes diatribes
against those he deems his political opponents at that point in time. In a
recent article attacking Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over the Locadia
Tembo issue, Moyo ventured into the terrain of political prostitution.
“Promiscuity is very dangerous, be it political or sexual,” Moyo stated.
“A promiscuous politician or promiscuous sexual partner cannot be trusted.
And a would-be leader who, like Morgan Tsvangirai, is both politically and
sexually promiscuous is double trouble. Yet trust is the essence and thus
the bedrock not only of political leadership but also of sexual relations
“The bottom line on both counts is that there’s now monumental evidence
which proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Tsvangirai cannot be trusted.
You can trust him at your own peril.”
This is coming from Moyo who had described Mugabe’s continued rule as “a
fatal danger to the public interest of Zimbabweans”. In the same article,
Moyo goes on to state that:
“(That) Mugabe must now go is thus no longer a dismissible opposition slogan
but a strategic necessity that desperately needs urgent legal and
constitutional action by Mugabe himself well ahead of the presidential
election scheduled for March 2008 in order to safeguard Zimbabwe’s national
interest, security and sovereignty.”
Fast-forward to 2011 and Moyo is now singing a different tune.
“Mugabe remains the only person who talks to the people and who talks the
indigenous talk. We are better off with him than the others,” Moyo now says.
As we said, the irony is always lost.
Muckraker was amused by the antics of Zanu PF activists in the UK led by
George Shire, Lloyd Msipa and Laurence Mzembi.
The Zimbabwean reports that the activists had said, last week, that they
were going to present a petition to UK Premier David Cameron calling for an
end to the “vicious neo-colonialist, racist, destructive and ineffective,
illegal sanctions which have deprived Zimbabweans of electricity and water,
destroyed agriculture, caused potholes, prevented drugs reaching the sick
and the supply of spares for ambulances and caused the drought and floods”.
Phew! What a mouthful.
If they are “ineffective” as they claim, why are they protesting we wonder?
And what are they doing hiding in the UK? What sort of solidarity is that?
However, reports The Zimbabwean, the petition had only managed to amass 51
signatures. As a result, this had delayed the planned march from Lancaster
House. In any case, the place near 10 Downing Street set aside for
demonstrations was occupied by Yemenis celebrating the ousting of the
despised President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Talk about going against the current. As we always say these cadres should
leave the “thieving neo-colonialists” of Britain and come back “home” to
enjoy the fruits of their party’s policies.
ZBC reports that the Zimbabwe’s Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and
Restrictees Association (ZEPPDRA) Harare province “has joined other
provinces in rallying behind the Head of State and Government and
Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe
as their candidate for the harmonised elections scheduled for next year”.
In a statement on Tuesday, the eve of the Zanu-PF Annual National People’s
conference ZEPPDRA vice chairman Harare province, Benjamin Chakauya said the
president is a strong defender of African sovereignty and has the “tenacity”
to repulse the West’s machinations against the country.
Funny how these dubiously named organisations only spring up at Zanu PF
conferences or the president’s birthday. Meanwhile ZBC reports that “Zanu PF
supporters expect the conference to come up with resolutions that will
transform the socio-economic and political landscape of the country ahead of
the anticipated elections next year”.
Funny, Zanu PF couldn’t do any of these things over the past 30 years but
now wants us to believe it can get them done in a flash! No wonder nobody
believes a word they say.
We were interested to read in Business Day that the South African Supreme
Court of Appeal has ruled that President Jacob Zuma’s appointment of Menzi
Simelane as director of public prosecutions was unconstitutional and
Muckraker drew attention to this matter several months ago.
The court set aside Simelane’s appointment as national director of public
prosecutions on the grounds that Zuma had made “material errors of fact and
law in the process leading up to his appointment”.
“We have reason to believe that Zuma did not give due regard to Mr Simelane’s
experience, conscientiousness and integrity when making the appointment,”
the court said.
If there were question marks over his fitness for office, the court said,
there had to be a satisfactory process to clear up any allegations against
Zuma failed on both these scores, Justice Navsa said. He ignored the
findings of the Ginwala report, regarding her findings as irrelevant.
“In failing to take the Ginwala enquiry into account,” the court declared,
“the president took a decision in respect of which he ignored relevant
considerations. By doing so he misconstrued his powers and acted
“I accept that the president must have a multitude of daily duties and is a
very busy man,” Justice Navsa said.
“However, when he is dealing with an office as important as that of the
national director of public prosecutions time should be taken to get it
Finally Bulgaria’s soccer soap opera took a fresh twist on Monday when Prime
Minister Boyko Borisov (52) urged organisers to get rid of the country’s
player of the year poll –– after he spectacularly won.
Flamboyant Borisov, who sometimes plays as a forward for third division
Vitosha Bistritsa, triumphed in the fans’ poll after collecting 44% of the
votes with Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov coming second with
Bulgaria’s national team and domestic clubs were heavily criticised by local
media and fans after a poor year in European competition, reports the BBC.
Still, how bad can the Bulgarian players be to be beaten by a 52 year old
Thursday, 08 December 2011 16:09
MEDIA reports state that the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
Gideon Gono has suggested that the prevailing multi-currency system be
restructured by replacing the United States dollar with the Chinese yuan.
He is said to justify this recommendation on the grounds of the volatility
and weakness that has characterised the US dollar since the almost global
financial recessions of the last few years, and the sharply contrasting
strength of the yuan. He further suggested that the currency change would
enhance Zimbabwe’s trade with China, consistent with Zimbabwe’s “Look East”
General reaction to Gono’s proposal has been very negative, compounding the
widely-held critical views (very pronouncedly unjustified!) of Gono and the
RBZ. Most of the criticisms are ill-considered and unfounded, but no one
gets everything right. Gono and the RBZ should seriously reconsider their
proposal that Zimbabwe adopts the yuan into its multi-currency basket while
removing the US dollar.
Despite the great strength of China’s currency, to a major extent China
transacts its international trade in US dollars. It must also be borne in
mind that Zimbabwe presently has relatively limited access to the yuan, its
principal currency inflows being the South African rand and US dollar and,
save for export earnings on sales of diverse minerals and tobacco, Zimbabwe
is not able to generate significant inflows of the Chinese currency.
This is especially so because South Africa is Zimbabwe’s principal trading
partner for imports and exports and this is attributable to regional
collaboration, proximity of the Zimbabwean and South African markets.In
addition, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Zimbabwe has for many decades
emanated from South Africa, resulting in strongly forged links between the
Moreover, despite there being few authoritative statistics on the extent of
currency inflows into Zimbabwe from the country’s nationals now residing in
the diaspora, it is indisputable that one of the greatest sources of foreign
currency receipts into Zimbabwe are those Zimbabwean nationals abroad, and
almost all of them remit the funds in South African rands, US dollars and
Adopting the yuan as a financial currency will significantly diminish the
value of these fund transfers to Zimbabweans, who would in many instances
need to resort to converting the received currency into the yuan.
The proposal is also flawed in that, whilst it is desirable and necessary
for Zimbabwe to maximise its international trade links and attendant trade
volumes, there are grave doubts as to the merits of Zimbabwe intensifying
those links with China to an extent that it becomes almost wholly dependent
There are innumerable examples, worldwide of China gaining near-total
domination of economies, thanks to its wealth and its trade controls created
by developing pronounced dependencies of those economies upon China.
Zimbabwe should pursue increased trade and investment links with China, but
not to an extent that accords China near-total control, directly or
indirectly, over the Zimbabwean economy.
Already China has achieved that to a significant extent in respect of
Zimbabwe’s textile and clothing sectors, to the great prejudice of the
continuance of operations of those industrial enterprises. Furthermore,
although China makes many outstanding products of exceptionally high
quality, under-developed and developing economies are recipients of China’s
rejects and manufactured seconds.
Zimbabwe in general, and Gono in particular, must also not lose sight of the
fact that the law of gravity (what goes up must come down) is also
analogously pertinent to currencies. All currencies have a tendency to
fluctuate, driven by diverse circumstances, and at some time or other, it is
inevitable that this will also happen to the yuan. A decline in the value of
the yuan can be occasioned by some future ill-considered and negative
Chinese policy decisions, by rises in the value of other currencies, or by
unfortunate acts of God and nature (although, for China’s sake, one hopes
that the latter does not occur).
Thus, however beneficial it may presently appear to be for Zimbabwe to
strengthen its currency linkage to the yuan, that could well be
counterproductive and negative in future. Similarly, currencies that
Zimbabwe is presently most closely linked to can rise or fall in value from
time to time, and undoubtedly will do so. Therefore, placing primary
Zimbabwean currency linkage to the yuan, and thereby diminishing its linkage
to other currencies, may well yield medium or long-term negative results.
It is also of critical importance that Zimbabwe does not, yet again, erode
both domestic and international confidence by precipitously resorting to
major changes in currency policies. The harm done over the years with the
fluctuations and restructuring of Zimbabwe’s former currency, effected
recurrently, totally demoralised most of the population, enterprises,
investors, and others. They motivated pronounced distrust in the currency,
in the banking system, and in the RBZ.
Slowly, confidence is being restored, thanks to the multi-currency system
introduced in 2009, although for a long time there was widespread scepticism
as to continuance of that system. Fortunately, several repeated statements
by government and, in particular, Finance minister Tendai Biti, that the
system will remain in force until at the least proven ongoing economic
stability has been attained has slowly been restoring confidence, although
not yet fully so.
On the strength of those statements, there is a progressive growth in
restored belief in the security of banking operations, and in retention of
value in currencies held by the populace. This would be negated by varying
the composition of the multi-currency system, believed to remain in force
until at least 2014, based on the official statements that the measure of
economic stability having obtained would be at least two successive years of
substantive economic growth.
Gono’s recommendation of a move from the US dollar to the yuan is also
jeopardising a revival of confidence in the RBZ. Although almost entirely
the widespread criticisms of and contempt for the RBZ were driven not by
ill-considered and damaging RBZ policies, but by numerous disastrous actions
which the RBZ was forced by government to pursue, this latest suggestion
undermines any immediate prospects of recovery of confidence in the Central
Most of all, that loss of confidence will be experienced by those who have
sustained major currency losses in recent years as a result of Zimbabwean
currency instability, repeated policy changes, and non-accessibility to
lawfully-owned funds not released by the RBZ and banks.
These and other factors are strong grounds for Zimbabwe voicing an emphatic
“No” to the yuan being the future foundation of the multicurrency system in
lieu of the US dollar.
Thursday, 08 December 2011 16:03
WILL Bulawayo live up to the literal meaning of its name –– a place of
killing –– at the ongoing Zanu PF mini-congress at the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair ahead of possible elections next year? Will this
“mini-congress” finally solve Zanu PF’s succession quandary which has dogged
the party for the past decade? Are some dreams likely to turn into
nightmares, and will new leaders emerge with more power than the usual
President Robert Mugabe heightened the expectation of leadership renewal
last week while addressing a central committee meeting by suggesting that
the ongoing conference would be a “mini-congress”.
“It is a critical meeting which we should prepare for adequately since it’s
the last conference before the elections,” Mugabe told his party’s central
committee. “For that reason the conference more or less has the status of a
congress because of the matters we are going to be seized with.”
Mugabe’s line of thinking fits perfectly with the strategy and scheme Zanu
PF think tanks and analysts, such as Jonathan Moyo (pictured), have been
Moyo has devoted acres of space in his opinion pieces in the Sunday Mail to
call for the party to deal with the succession issue, including the poignant
article on “Generation 40”.
It remains to be seen if Mugabe and the presidium will be swayed by such
pleas and allow the so-called “Generation 40”to seize the initiative and
force the succession issue onto the agenda.
The issue of which camp wrests control of the party between the Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Joice Mujuru-led factions should finally be laid to rest by
the end of the gathering tomorrow.
The call for leadership renewal has reached a crescendo within the party.
Leaked cables from the whistleblower website WikiLeaks proved beyond doubt
that some senior Zanu PF leaders are worried by the lack of succession
planning or any leadership renewal strategy.
This has fuelled and intensified factionalism within the party as each
faction tries to outwit the other in a bid to replace Mugabe.
For years Mnangagwa had looked like the undisputed front runner, but his
manoeuvres to secure the party’s vice-presidency fell flat in 2004 and
claimed the scalps of six provincial chairpersons. Mujuru emerged triumphant
on a gender card.
Will the Mnangagwa camp this time finally secure Mugabe’s blessing ahead of
Mujuru, particularly in light of damning revelations that her late husband
was behind Simba Makoni’s presidential candidacy in 2008, or will new dark
However, political analysts strongly believe Zanu PF is not ready to tackle
the emotive and overstayed succession issue.
Sapes Trust director Ibbo Mandaza said: “There will hardly be any discussion
on leadership renewal. That issue can be only be tackled by a proper
Political observer Joy Mabenge concurred with Mandaza saying the “Generation
40” had so much to do before they could raise the matter at the next
“The party is not ready to renew its leadership,” said Mabenge. “The
so-called posts up for grabs are posts to the politburo to be filled by
appointees. This will involve cooption of members to the politburo to fill
vacancies left open by the deceased.”
Mabenge said leadership renewal could only be done at a congress and not a
conference despite the hullabaloo from certain party leaders.
“The Generation 40 led by Jonathan Moyo will have to wait for the next
congress. They will have to work extremely hard to gain ground and refine
their tactics to improve on their previous attempt now infamously called the
Tsholotsho Declaration that fell flat on its face.”
The political analysts agree that Zanu PF can only strengthen itself by
clearly spelling out its leadership renewal or succession strategy, which
had become one of its well-known liabilities.
Mugabe’s old age and fears around his deteriorating health following several
flights to Singapore this year has been of major concern to those within and
without the party.
Mugabe’s influence and Zanu PF’s performance have been waning over the years
culminating in its defeat in the 2008 elections.
Endorsing Mugabe at the age of 88 as its candidate for the next elections
would be a huge political risk.
It remains to be seen whether the former liberation movement can sail
through its current turbulence without changing guard.
Whatever happens, the Bulawayo conference would remain etched in the annals
of history as a missed opportunity or the turning-point for Zanu PF’s
fortunes as it plans to regain lost political ground.
Thursday, 08 December 2011 15:54
I HAVE gone through Zimbabwe’s 2012 budget a couple of times and
unfortunately I do not see enough indications of key levers that will propel
us to the desired heights.
Metaphorically, Zimbabwe is like a dingy that has been rowing backwards on
autopilot along the Zambezi before suddenly coming to life and speeding full
throttle right ahead. It picks up speed and we jump up and down with
delight. Forward is good, at last Zimbabwe is making progress!
But as the dingy glides down the Zambezi, have we defined the destination?
By when should we get there? What speed do we need to travel at to get to
our destination in the given time line. Should we even be on the Zambezi, or
we should have considered the Limpopo to take us where we have to go?
A 9% growth may sound good but it is coming off a very low base. Even
Mozambique, when it came out of the civil war with Renamo, mustered a couple
of 10% growth rates per annum. If the economy is coming from the bottom,
getting to the top requires consistent growth for long periods.
When the unity government was formed we all celebrated and felt we should
give the new government time to sort things out. We have given them enough
time to do so. Now is the time to move ahead with a proper plan.
Where do we want to see Zimbabwe 10-20 years from now? This is what should
drive our budgeting and planning. If we all put our heads together, it is
possible to get Zimbabwe in the middle income league in 20 years’ time.
The present is important, but it is certainly not more important than the
future. Unfortunately, our budgeting, like the biblical Esau, is seized by
the needs of the present day stomachs, particularly of the underfed civil
servants. With 63% of our budget going towards salaries of government
workers, future personnel allocations need to be based on increased
productivity of the work force.
Unfortunately, we are dealing with politicians with a shelf-life of about
five years. To get where we need to go, we require politicians who think
outside the box with a vision beyond the next election. Democracy alone will
not sort out what is required in Zimbabwe. If it was enough, then we would
not have witnessed the calamitous debt levels in Greece, Italy, Spain,
Portugal and Ireland as all these countries regularly have elections. We
should not make democracy a decoy of what we have to and must do. In
reality, communist China is giving a better guidance on how to sustain and
manage annual growth around 10% for more than 10 years.
There are aspects of the budget that are commendable, such as the
agricultural support starting with the US$45million Subsidised Agriculture
Inputs Support Scheme which included the US$8,1 million inputs facility for
100 000 vulnerable farmers and US$50,2 million towards grain procurement for
the GMB with the intention of building up the Strategic Grain Reserve up to
the stipulated 946 000 tonnes.
The US$16,6 million towards research and extension services, the US$20,3
million communal farmers subsidised agriculture, the US$17 million A1, small
scale commercial, resettled and A2 farmers support facility and the US$30
million grain input swap facility are also positives.
There is space for a committed private sector to be involved such as the Old
Mutual supported US$30 million youth empowerment fund, and the proposed
US$20 million which has been provided by Stanbic Bank for the Jobs Fund. The
Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund (DiMAF), a five-year collaborative
facility with a seed capital of US$40 million from government and Old Mutual
Zimbabwe, of which both parties are contributing US$20 million each, is a
good example of public-private partnership.
While the minister spoke of “re-formalisation of the economy through
deliberate awards of contracts to competitive and deserving SMEs, as well as
promotion of business links with large corporate firms for outsourcing and
sub-contracting, that way promoting the empowerment programme”, there does
not seems to be resources to support this.
The minister identified development clusters such as diamond processing,
cutting and polishing; soft and hard wood cluster; resources base; livestock
cluster; cotton, sugar and ethanol clusters; iron ore cluster; energy and
hydrocarbon clusters; gold; tourism cluster and offshore financial hub; and
horticultural hub. Without resources, this sounds like a lot of hot air.
If we facilitate Hwange 7 and 8 construction at the cost of US$1 billion,
and expansion of Kariba South at an estimated cost of US$400m resulting in
additional 900 MW, then we will have power to support the start of
meaningful economic growth. If an investor is found for Lupane’s coal bed
methane gas reserves which are estimated to produce about 300 MW, and a
concerted effort is taken on Gokwe North, then our power needs are catered
It is a shame that mining royalties amounted to a paltry US$44,1 million,
compared to sales of US$1,7 billion. I support Biti’s proposal to increase
the royalty on gold and platinum from 4,5% and 5% to 7% and 10%. There is
nothing to apologise for as this is the trend across the whole world.
Australia has been running rings around BHP and Rio Tinto to extract more
from their mining profits. Investors may throw their toys around but sooner
rather than later they will calm down when they realise that platinum is
largely under the ground of south Africa, Zimbabwe and Russia.
If we analyse the revenue, it is clear we are not getting enough direct
taxation. The gap between the formal and informal economy has widened.
Unfortunately, the budget does not signal sufficient strategic intent to
create an environment to support new enterprises development.
Tafirenyika Makunike is the chairman and founder of
Nepachem (www.nepachem.co.za), an enterprise development and consulting
company. — Newzimbabwe.com.
Thursday, 08 December 2011 15:47
SOCIETIES emerging from a legacy of massive human rights violations are torn
between fear and hope. What must be done with the ugly past? Should it be
confronted, or should it be buried forever? This is the challenge that
confronts Zimbabwe’s coalition government as it prepares for the next
election. Is Zimbabwe ready to confront the question of truth? The Standard
of May 1 reported that President Robert Mugabe had “pledged” to set up a
team to look into Gukurahundi (Midlands and Matabeleland atrocities) and map
the way forward. This is yet to happen.
Gukurahundi still stands out as the worst of the many atrocities committed
by the government or people acting with its blessings in independent
Zimbabwe. There have been many discussions around Gukurahundi and other
atrocities in Zimbabwe.
In March 2010, Zanu PF MPs walked out of parliament after their colleagues
from the MDC-T proposed an investigation into the Matabeleland atrocities.
In the same month, the Zimbabwe Republic Police in Bulawayo shut down an
exhibition on Gukurahundi by artist Owen Maseko. Maseko was arrested and
spent the weekend in cells. In November 2010, war veterans’ leader Joseph
Chinotimba demanded that minister David Coltart apologises for calling
Zimbabwe’s coalition government is mandated to ensure democratisation and
economic stability. One of the things that have occupied the thoughts of
the Zimbabwean people is the need to recover the truth of what happened in
our past as a way of building sustainable peace.
The intellectual discourse is flooded with theories on dealing with the
past. In February 2009, the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and
Integration was formed with the mandate to advice government properly on how
to deal with the past. The Organ has remained largely unknown to its
constituency, ignorant of its mandate and its ministers discordant in
matters of policy regarding national healing.
Civil society has tried to fill in the gap.
The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) as part of its contribution to the
constitution-making process in Zimbabwe produced its model constitution
towards the end of 2010. In this model, LSZ addresses the issue of truth
and suggests the creation of a commission to recover the truth and
In August 2011, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum published the findings
of a nationwide survey on transitional justice. According to the report, 83%
of the respondents believe that victims of political violence should be
rehabilitated through counselling, reparations, prosecution of perpetrators,
truth recovery and apologies from the perpetrators. In short, the people are
saying, “Let’s deal with it!”
Many sectors have made similar recommendations both locally and
internationally. The government has responded by accusing those pushing for
truth recovery of trying to turn back the clock or “opening old wounds”. Is
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chairperson of the South African Truth and
Reconciliation Commission (TRC), writes in the foreword to the TRC Report:
“However painful the experience, the wounds of the past must not be allowed
to fester. They must be opened. They must be cleansed. And balm must be
poured on them so they can heal.
This is not to be obsessed with the past. It is to take care that the past
is properly dealt with for the sake of the future.”
There are no illusions about the achievements of the South African TRC or
any other truth commission. Since the formation of the first truth
commission in Uganda in 1974, over 45 truth commissions have been instituted
the world over in an attempt to recover the truth and foster reconciliation.
There are thousands of disillusioned victims who have no kind words for
these commissions. However, the achievements cannot be ignored. Their
failures are nowhere outside the realms of humanity.
What we can learn from all these efforts at recovering the truth, especially
from our southern neighbours, is that there are times in the history of a
society when men and women have to be brave enough to confront the question
of truth, truthfully. It takes courage and determination; and that was the
magic of Nelson Mandela. He confronted it.
Since the 1990s, there seem to have been an explosion of the search for
truth. Individuals and societies hunger for truth. The world has moved
along this overwhelming demand for truth. The generations are anxious. It
is part of the global transition from repression towards more accountable
and transparent governance. This world movement is difficult to ignore.
On March 24 2011, the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon
launched the International Day for the Right to the Truth of Victims of
Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. On September
29 2011, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution (A/HRC/18/L22)
providing for the appointment of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of
truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. Truth
commissions have been set up in Brazil, Sri-Lanka, and the Ivory Coast, to
mention but a few. In the process, international law is taking the same
complexion, international and regional courts are becoming less tolerant of
those who block the rights of victims to know the truth.
The impact of truth commissions is much more than recovering a record of the
past and making recommendations. It is a recovery of humanity itself by
allowing societies to reflect collectively on the choices they made in the
past. It is retracing our memory to find out where exactly we lost our
soul. Commissions are facilitating participation of societies in governance
in a more consultative, engaging and transparent manner. Democracy is
evolving rapidly. It is not just about open debate; it is also about
community dialogue. It is not just about the casting of ballots after five
years and thereafter let politicians decide what happens to our everyday
Governments are challenged to open wide the windows and doors to allow for
more citizen participation in what happens every day. With this growing
movement of participative governance, which will soon intensify with the
setting up of a UN working group on the question of truth, can Zimbabwe
continue to shy away from the truth? What is at stake?
Opening up the Pandora’s box is more than just a question of truth and
memory. It is a matter of increased citizen involvement in governance. Our
future is too important to be left to spin doctors. Zimbabwe is lagging
behind; its leaders are going against the tide of history. We must now open
the doors and confront critical questions, including the question of truth.
Dzikamai Bere works for a local human rights organisation. He writes in
an individual capacity. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / blog
Thursday, 08 December 2011 16:34
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party opened its annual conference
yesterday in Bulawayo with the contentious succession issue absent from the
agenda. Mugabe (87), who has been at the helm of Zanu PF since the mid-1970s
is expected to be endorsed as the first secretary and presidential candidate
for future elections. However, though not on the official agenda, the
succession debate is the elephant in the living room and is set to dominate
discussions on the sidelines.
Despite widespread consensus among senior party officials that Mugabe should
retire before the next elections, fear of the unknown has prevented them
from tackling the issue head-on. The reality is most people want the
president to retire but no one has the courage to break the ice on that
It is reported that Mugabe suffers from prostate cancer and many expected
him to use this meeting to anoint a successor. The Zanu PF constitution says
one of the powers and a function of the conference is to declare the
president of the party elected at congress as the party’s candidate.
Congresses are held every five years, with the last one having being held in
Since Mugabe was elected at the party’s last congress, he remains its
presidential candidate until the next scheduled congress in 2014, unless an
extraordinary congress is convened to remove him. But for now senior party
officials say they are stuck with Mugabe, whom they fear will be a liability
at the next elections.
Leaked WikiLeaks cables, which dominated political discourse earlier this
year, are also not on the agenda. It was expected that Mugabe would use the
occasion to crack the whip on party members that confided in American envoys
that they wanted him out. The WikiLeaks cables reveal that Mugabe’s possible
successors, including vice-president Joyce Mujuru, had clandestine meetings
with US diplomats where Mugabe’s weaknesses were discussed.
Party chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo, said the conference was non-elective and
was aimed at gearing up for the forthcoming elections, adding that they
expected 6 000 people to attend.
“It’s a defining conference bearing in mind the fact that this is the last
major meeting before the holding of elections,” he said.
Moyo says the gathering would be “introspective in terms of how the party
has performed since last year as we prepare for polling next year”.
If Zimbabwe holds presidential elections next year and if Mugabe is
re-elected, he could go on to become the oldest ever serving African
president. He would be 93 in 2017 at the end of his next five-year term in
office. . — www.theafricareport.com.