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Zanu PF did not endorse Mugabe

Zim Independent

Dumisani Muleya

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has not been endorsed by Zanu PF as the party's
sole candidate in next year's critical presidential election as repeatedly
claimed by his loyalists, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.

The Independent can further disclose the decision to hold joint
parliamentary and presidential polls in March 2008 instead of 2010 as
initially suggested in official circles was not made by party structures,
but by Mugabe and his hangers-on, including Emmerson Mnangagwa and Patrick
Chinamasa.

Zanu PF structures in March proposed 2010 as the election year, which
Mugabe wanted before he was blocked by senior party officials at the
ill-fated Goromonzi annual conference in December last year, but Mugabe
unilaterally declared that the polls would be next year.

Mugabe's backers - who for a while managed to mislead the party and
the public over his candidacy - are currently on a campaign to garner
support for him to be formally endorsed as the candidate at key elections
ahead of the prospectively watershed extraordinary congress or conference in
December.

Zanu PF officials in different factions are skirmishing over whether
to hold a special congress or the annual conference in December.

Traditional chiefs and Zanu PF MPs two weeks ago reportedly endorsed
Mugabe as the party candidate. The Zanu PF Youth League and Women's League
have also purportedly endorsed him. Zanu PF officials have claimed Mugabe
has been approved to be the candidate by party structures, taking their cue
from the central committee meeting held on March 30.

After that controversial meeting, Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shumuyarira
was quoted in the Herald as saying the president had been endorsed as the
candidate. "The candidate of the party is President Mugabe. He was endorsed
by the central committee as the candidate of the party in those elections.
That is the total sum of major decisions taken today," Shamuyarira said.

However, minutes of that March 30 central committee meeting show that
there was no resolution to endorse Mugabe as the party candidate. The
60-page original verbatim minutes of the meeting do not contain a decision
to approve Mugabe's candidature, meaning the claim was made-up by his
loyalists after they failed to push their agenda formally at the meeting.
This explains the ongoing scramble by Mugabe loyalists to secure endorsement
of his candidacy through an informal process ahead of the party gathering in
December.

Sources said influential Zanu PF officials, particularly those aligned
to the faction led by retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru, do not
want Mugabe as the Zanu PF candidate. They are said to be preparing for a
showdown with him in December, especially after their recent bitter fallout.

Their resolve has been strengthened by their ability to frustrate
Mugabe at the Goromonzi conference last December and later in March at the
central committee meeting. The experiences are said to have shaken Mugabe to
a point where he is said to have contemplated giving up before or at the
forthcoming December meeting.

The Mujuru faction is pushing for Mugabe to quit at the expected
extraordinary congress, while some in the Mnangagwa camp and a Third Way
group led by Elliot Manyika, a high-ranking politburo member, are
campaigning for Mugabe to stay on.

The minutes, obtained from a group of top Zanu PF officials opposed to
Mugabe's continued leadership, show that Mugabe was not endorsed as the
candidate. In fact, even in his closing remarks at the meeting, which
started at 1:00 pm and ended 16:35 on March 30 at the Zanu PF HQ, Mugabe did
not once mention the issue of him having been approved as the candidate.

Mugabe summarised the main proceedings by declaring that elections
would be held next year, even though Zanu PF party structures, including the
committee on the state of the party which presented an important report to
the meeting based on the Goromonzi conference and the Youth League, had said
they wanted elections in 2010.

"The President and First Secretary, Cde RG Mugabe, summed up the
discussion by noting that consensus had been reached on the 2008
harmonisation option," the Zanu PF central committee meeting minutes say.

To make matters worse, Mugabe expressed satisfaction with the manner
in which the meeting had dealt with Goromonzi conference "resolutions" that
had been left inconclusive after they were referred back to provinces at the
end of the annual gathering. It means he had no basis on which to declare
elections would be held next year since the Goromonzi decisions opted for
2010 despite open hostility and resistance from the Mujuru faction.

In fact, the report by the state of the party committee compiled at
Goromonzi and later presented to the central committee meeting on March 30,
suggested 2010.

"Desirous of reducing costs and saving money for the important
demands, it was resolved that the presidential, parliamentary and all local
government elections be harmonised and held on a single day in 2010," the
committee, chaired by Manyika, reported.

The Youth League also said in the meeting that they wanted polls in
2010. "The youth of the party have resolved that the presidential,
parliamentary, senatorial and local government elections be held
simultaneously in 2010," the minutes say.

However, Mugabe declared that the polls would be held in 2008 after
Chinamasa had presented a report giving different scenarios, ranging from
2008, 2010 to 2020. He was supported by Chinamasa and Mnangagwa - who had
been working on the issue with him - and a few rent-a-crowd members,
including politburo members Olivia Muchena, Naison Ndlovu, Sithembiso Nyoni
and central committee member G Tungamirai.

During his presentation, Chinamasa recommended the 2008 option, saying
it went well with the "party's democratic principle and traditions of
regularly presenting itself to the electorate". He later claimed there was
consensus for elections to be held in 2008, laying the ground for Mugabe to
declare elections next year, and later his loyalists to claim that he had
been endorsed by the central committee as the presidential candidate.


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MDC factions mudsling

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure/Loughty Dube

THE two formations of the MDC are now engaged in open mudslinging,
with the Morgan Tsvangirai camp attacking senior members of the Arthur
Mutambara camp at rallies.

This follows last month's collapse of coalition talks between the two
formations ahead of next year's harmonised presidential and parliamentary
elections.

Tsvangirai's group, which began nationwide rallies last month to urge
its members to register as voters, recently denounced its rival faction's
secretary-general, Welshman Ncube and his deputy Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, at rallies in Mabvuku and Glen Norah.

In Mabvuku three weeks ago, Harare provincial chairman Morgan Femai
described Ncube as an enemy of the MDC and the architect of the party's
split in October 2005 over Senate elections.

"Femai described Ncube as the enemy of the party and also accused him
of masterminding the MDC split because of his dislike of Tsvangirai. This
happened before Tsvangirai, Nelson Chamisa (MDC spokesperson) and Elias
Mudzuri (organising secretary) arrived to address the rally," an MDC
official said this week.

At the weekend, the Tsvangirai camp held a rally in Glen Norah,
Misihairabwi-Mushonga's constituency, and its leaders took turns to verbally
attack the lawmaker.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga yesterday said she was informed that Chamisa and
Hatfield legislator Tapiwa Mashakada denounced her last Sunday through
sloganeering.

"I am aware that Chamisa and Mashakada took turns to attack me through
slogans during a rally which they advertised as Tsvangirai's. It appears to
me that the attack was done with Tsvangirai's blessing and I do not
understand why an opposition party goes into another opposition's
constituency and attacks the legislator. Our common enemy as the opposition
is the Zanu PF government. We are in the same trenches and we should not be
fighting each other," she said.

But Chamisa yesterday denied that his faction was on a verbal warpath
with the Mutambara camp.

"I do not want to waste my time commenting on such baseless
accusations," Chamisa said. "I am tired of accusations from people who want
to have relevance by lying."

Efforts to get comment from Mashakada and Femai were in vain
yesterday.

Talks for the two factions to form a coalition ahead of next year's
polls collapsed amid reports that both camps failed to agree on formulae to
select parliamentary candidates.

They also differed on how they would appoint a cabinet made up of
members of both camps in the event that they win the parliamentary and
presidential polls next year.

Tsvangirai's camp, at a rally in Bulawayo at the weekend, openly
stated that there were no talks taking place for a coalition.

In posters advertising the rally, the camp indicated that Tsvangirai
was its presidential candidate next year.

Provincial chairman Lovemore Moyo told party supporters that there
were no talks taking place between the two opposition party factions.

Moyo, however, said the Tsvangirai faction was still consulting
grassroots members on the way forward.

"The MDC is currently involved in a process of consulting you as the
owners of the party on whether we go ahead with the talks and that is
exactly what we are doing and we are taking the exercise nationwide," Moyo
said.

He said there were people who were spreading rumours that the factions
had already agreed to unite, but said such statements were not true.

"There has been talk in some quarters that we are going to re-unite
with our colleagues soon, but that is not true as we have not reached an
agreement on that," Moyo said.

Tsvangirai in his address did not touch on the talks issue, but urged
party supporters to register to vote under the ongoing voter registration
exercise.

"We might come to rallies in our thousands, but it does not help when
you do not register to vote," Tsvangirai said.


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Mugabe rejects business' request on prices

Zim Independent

Augustine Mukaro

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has rejected business' request for an
immediate end to the price blitz, one of 15 tabled at their critical meeting
on Monday.

Sources privy to the meeting between Mugabe and business executives
said four of the demands, including the immediate stoppage of the current
crackdown which left shops empty, were thrown out at the onset.

Instead Mugabe opted for a gradual process whilst government closely
monitors compliance with other proposals to secure economic recovery. The
executives are said to have used Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono to secure
a meeting with Mugabe. Gono is close to Mugabe and has opposed the price
blitz as detrimental to business.

"Gono was part of the business executives who came up with the
proposals," one executive said. "The draft was actually done at the RBZ with
the input from business representatives."

The executive however said Mugabe promised to take on board most of
the proposals but insisted that business must cooperate with government on
its policies.

At least 3 000 executives and managers have been arrested and fined in
the clampdown for flouting price control regulations. Most of those arrested
were briefly detained in filthy police cells.

Mugabe this week said the price controls will remain in place because
there was a lot of profiteering by business seeking regime
change.

Government last month directed businesses to slash prices by 50%, a
development that has caused acute shortages of many basic goods. Most
supermarkets and shops are now virtually empty and ordinary people are worse
off because of the shortages.

Mugabe justified the controversial Operation Dzikisa Mitengo
(Operation Reduce Prices) as a response to attempts to topple his
government.

"The inexplicable price and rent hikes which were apparently welcomed
and encouraged by our regime-change proponents compounded the situation
further and thus invited government intervention," Mugabe told MPs.

He said the government was committed to its programme to restore price
stability. However, the blitz has created a more serious situation of
widespread shortages compared to what was happening prior to the campaign
where goods were available but very expensive. Now they are cheap, but
unavailable.


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NCA activists beaten while in police cells

Zim Independent

Lucia Makamure

AT least 150 National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) activists were
hospitalised after they were severely beaten while in police custody on
Wednesday night for demonstrating against Constitutional Amendment (No18)
Bill.

Police arrested 243 NCA activists in Harare while 15 people were
arrested in Mutare, 12 in Masvingo and six in Gweru.

The demonstrations were held after President Robert Mugabe officially
opened the third session of the sixth parliament on Tuesday.

The demonstrators were later released. Police spokesman Andrew Phiri
could not be reached for comment on the issue.

In his address, the president said the current session will see the
tabling of Constitutional Amendment (No 18) Bill that seeks to harmonise
presidential and parliamentary elections, among other things.

NCA national chairperson Lovemore Madhuku in a telephone interview
yesterday, said the protestors were picked up in the city centre and forced
onto police trucks before being driven to Harare Central Police station
where they were beaten continuously for more than two hours.

"Some of the activists were arrested while demonstrating while others
were picked up at our offices and were taken to the police station where
policemen took turns to beat them up," said Madhuku.

Madhuku said the arrested people included old women. He said the
assaults on Wednesday night were worse than the March 11 beatings of
political and civil society leaders. "I was part of the group that was
beaten up in March but what happened that day cannot be compared to what
happened on Wednesday. Avenues Hospital is in a sorry state," he said.

The NCA leader said his pressure group was not going to give up in the
fight for a new constitution as the South African-led mediation talks had
collapsed.

"We need a new constitution as our future does not lie in some
meaningless mediation talks. It is time that the international community and
Zimbabweans in general know that nothing has changed in Zimbabwe. Repression
is actually going up considering the number of people who were beaten up on
Wednesday night," said Madhuku.


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Mugabe faces torrid time at congress

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's bid to win Zanu PF endorsement as candidate
for next year's presidential polls at either the annual people's conference
or an extraordinary congress will be a Herculean task amid reports that
infighting in the party is escalating.

Zanu PF is currently split into three factions - one backing Mugabe,
the other rooting for Vice-President Joice Mujuru and another one supporting
Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Sources said the pro-Mugabe faction, which includes Youth Development
minister Saviour Kasukuwere and minister without portfolio Elliot Manyika,
was pushing for an extraordinary congress to endorse Mugabe as the party's
candidate and at the same time restructure the Zanu PF presidium.

In May, Manyika, who is also Zanu PF's national political commissar,
said the party would hold a congress to endorse Mugabe. This came after the
party had allegedly endorsed Mugabe at its central committee meeting in
March.

On the one hand, the sources said, Manyika and his group want a
special congress to endorse Mugabe and also make changes in the Zanu PF
leadership. Only congresses in Zanu PF can make changes to the party
leadership.

The sources said Manyika and his allies now want Women's League boss
Oppah Muchinguri to take over from Mujuru who has apparently fallen out with
Mugabe. To achieve this, congress is needed because a conference has no
mandate to change leaders.

The Mujuru camp, the sources said, was pushing for congress to be
convened with the sole agenda of electing a successor to Mugabe. The faction
wants Mujuru elevated to the position of party president and first secretary
and thus presidential candidate.

The Mnangagwa camp reportedly wants Mugabe to stay for the purpose of
blocking the ascendancy of Mujuru, and hopes to eventually wrest control of
the Zanu PF leadership when Mugabe finally leaves office by choice or in
whatever circumstances.

The drama about congress is playing out amid revelations that Mugabe
was actually not nominated and endorsed by the central committee on March 30
as the party's presidential candidate. Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira
has publicly claimed that Mugabe was endorsed by the central committee,
although the Zimbabwe Independent now has evidence that he was not.

Shamuyarira this week said the party was yet to decide on whether or
not to hold the extraordinary congress, giving credence to reports that
there are deep divisions in the party over the issue. Manyika has said the
congress is definitely coming, while Zanu PF secretary for administration
Didymus Mutasa has said no congress is scheduled.

Apart from the central committee, the Zanu PF Youth League, Women's
League and party parliamentary caucus have purportedly endorsed Mugabe;
allegedly taking their cue from the central committee meeting.

However, sources described the moves by the party organs and the
chiefs as desperate measures to mobilise support for Mugabe ahead of either
the people's conference or the extraordinary congress.

The party's presidential candidate would have to be endorsed by a
people's conference in terms of the party's constitution. Section 30 (3) of
the ruling party's constitution says the people's conference's functions
include the right "to declare the president of the party elected at congress
as the state presidential candidate of the party".

The sources said at last year's people's conference, Mugabe lost his
bid to have his term extended by two years to 2010 under the guise of trying
to harmonise the presidential and parliamentary polls.

No resolution was adopted at the Goromonzi conference and when the
central committee met on March 30, Mugabe, supported by a few officials,
including Mnangagwa and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, unilaterally
declared that elections would be next year. Party structures had suggested
2010 as the year for elections, although the Mujuru camp had succeeded in
blocking this at the Goromonzi meeting.

"After losing the 2010 bid, Mugabe then used his backers to try and
twist the central committee to endorse his candidature. Since then, a number
of organs have come out in the open to support the president, but the truth
is that he is yet to be confirmed the party's candidate," a source said.

Zanu PF insiders say Mugabe has now stumbled twice inside four months
on his agenda to remain in power - first during the Goromonzi conference
last December and secondly in March - raising doubts about his ability to
win formal endorsement for his election candidacy in December. The panic
currently displayed by his loyalists reveals fear that he may not be
endorsed and probably forced to quit.

The sources said if the Mujuru camp prevails and the conference fails,
a special congress would be called to elect a new party presidium.

According to the Zanu PF constitution, an extraordinary congress may
be convened whenever it is deemed necessary and at the instance of the
majority of the members of the central committee. The president and first
secretary, at the instance of not less than one third of members of the
central committee, can also convene the congress. The president and first
secretary, at the instance of at least five provincial executive councils by
resolutions to that effect, can also call for the special indaba.

The Zanu PF constitution says the president and first secretary, on
receipt of a resolution requesting an extraordinary session of congress,
shall forward the same to the secretary for administration.

"The secretary for administration shall, on receipt of the said
resolution, give at least six weeks notice convening an extraordinary
session of the congress," reads the constitution. "The central committee
shall formulate the necessary procedures for the execution of the business
of the extraordinary session of the congress. The congress shall deliberate
only on those matters for which it would have been specifically convened."

Given the Zanu PF infighting and growing resistance to the current
party leadership, the potentially explosive congress or conference will be a
test of character for Mugabe.


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June inflation 13 000%: CCZ

Zim Independent

Paul Nyakazeya

THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) says its recent calculations
for the monthly expenditure for an urban family of six shows that inflation
for the month of June was more than 13 000%. The Central Statistical Office
(CSO), the official source of Consumer Price Index numbers, has not released
its figures since February when it reported annual inflation at 1 729%.

Two months ago businessdigest revealed that Finance minister Samuel
Mumbengegwi, had directed the CSO to stop releasing the figures. The March
figures were kept under wraps until central bank governor Gideon Gono
revealed them during his interim monetary policy review.

The market has come to accept 4 530% as the inflation figure for May
although the numbers were never confirmed by the CSO. According CCZ's bread
basket for June, a family of six now requires $8,2 million to live an
average life.

Families that live below this amount are regarded as poor. The figure
shows an increase of 13 445% in year-on-year inflation from $61 097
(revalued) which was required by the same size of family last June.

The basic salaries have however failed to keep up with inflation.

The CCZ attributed the rising breadline to increases in non-food items
such as rent and household maintenance and a rise in basic commodities such
as cooking oil, sugar, mealie- meal, rice and bread.

According to the figures, a packet of 2kg rice recorded the highest
jump of 34 714% up on last year's figure while fresh milk (500ml) went up by
32 643%. Transport cost was up 27 172% while bread weighed in with 20 226%.


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Ruling party Women's League wants Mugabe for life

Zim Independent

Dumisani Muleya

THE ruling Zanu PF Women's League wants President Robert Mugabe to be
president for life as the party tries to revive its totalitarian project to
reassert its octopus grip on all facets of society to remain in power.

The Women's League, headed by senior Zanu PF member politburo Oppah
Muchinguri, is now frantically campaigning for Mugabe to stay on for life as
leader of the party and head of state. The league made a formal presentation
to a crucial Zanu PF central committee gathering in March for Mugabe to be
president for life, minutes of that meeting reveal.

"The President should be president for life. There are no vacancies
within the presidium," minutes of the meeting say. No one in the party,
according to the records, opposed the proposal, which was also adopted as
part of the resolutions carried over from last December's annual conference.

The only official to comment on the proposal was Zanu PF
co-Vice-President Joseph Msika who said people must be careful not to make
emotional decisions in politics. Msika said "people should not think with
emotions" on the issue and must also remember that whatever constitutional
amendments the party would make to facilitate joint elections they "should
be able to apply to all incumbents in future", showing resistance to Mugabe
being made president for life.

The minutes of the March 30 meeting demonstrate that Zanu PF wants to
revive totalitarian control over state affairs and society. The minutes say
Zanu PF must ensure that its cadres are deployed in all public institutions,
including parastatals and utility companies, private firms, sports,
especially football, banks, media, schools, colleges and universities and
civil society organisations.

They say Zanu PF must reinforce supremacy over government to ensure
its policies are wholly implemented by the state bureaucracy without
defiance or resistance.

The minutes also clearly show that the current price reduction blitz
has its genesis at that meeting where a lot of party members complained
about the escalating prices of goods and services. The party resolved to do
something about it, particularly ahead of elections because it was feared
that inflation and other general economic problems could cause Mugabe and
Zanu PF's defeat.

The crackdown on the private sector and businessmen was conceived at
that meeting for electoral purposes and is linked to attempts by the party
to gain hegemonic control in the country to save Mugabe and his regime. This
objective, the minutes suggest, would be achieved through a scorched earth
policy campaign and patronage, which are the hallmarks of the Zanu PF
political philosophy.

The committee on production and labour recommended in the process of
trying to reassert control, Zanu PF must investigate the political
allegiance of a lot of public institutions officials.

"The party must set up committees to investigate the leadership within
parastatals and their political allegiance. People appointed to boards of
parastatals should be party cadres. Party security should be involved in the
vetting of members to be appointed to boards and to head government
departments," the minutes say.

"Boards of private companies and parastatals to have members from the
party who will influence decision making and profit making of the
companies," reads one of the resolutions. "Party members must be included in
price controlling urgently."

Official secrecy should be heavily guided by leaders at all levels
especially in the awarding of civil servants' salaries."

Zanu PF also showed its hostility to displaced farm workers which it
says must be dealt with. "Urgent action should be effected against ex-farm
workers who are disrupting farm production by either refusing to work for
newly resettled farmers or are still under the command of their
ex-employers," the minutes note.

"A committee should be set-up to audit government houses and all
retired, dismissed, transferred and non-civil servants should be evicted.
SMEs funds should benefit party members. Interest rates by banks need to be
reviewed whilst some bank charges need to be justified."

The committee on sports and recreation also said Zanu PF must take
over control of sport. "The party should use sport as a tool to mobilise
support towards government and party initiatives through a greater
participation of all people in sports," minutes say.

"The government should revive and financially support the organisation
of sporting events to commemorate: Independence Day, Africa Day, Heroes Day,
Unity Day and the Presidential tournament. Government should be involved in
the promotion of all recreational activities including traditional games,
music, art and dance."

The committee on infrastructure development said: "Since the party
enjoys overwhelming support in rural areas, infrastructural development
should shift from urban to rural areas and newly resettled areas."

Zanu PF also said it needs to intensify propaganda to promote its
policies.

"Strategic units to fight the demonisation of the party and country
such as the film school and websites should be established. There has to be
harmonisation and standardisation of party slogans," the information and
publicity committee said.

"Party symbols should be more visible by including them on all party
properties such as vehicles and buildings, including the headquarters and as
part of the re-branding, souvenirs like pens; rulers must have the party
symbols.

"National Strategic Studies must be incorporated as part of the
curriculum of journalism students in universities as is the case with
colleges. Information on and about the party must be appropriately packaged
targeting the youth in schools and youth organisations."

The minutes say people like Media and Information Commission Tafataona
Mahoso should be seconded by the party to head universities.

Concerted efforts between government and the state media have to be
made to spread Zanu PF propaganda. "Party and government will instruct
ambassadors, envoys and the media to mount an anti-sanctions campaign,
making it clear that Zimbabwe's quarrel is bilateral and with Britain
alone," the record says.

"The party and the government will produce a precise dossier of
British lies against Zimbabwe, which should be circulated widely inside and
outside Zimbabwe."


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Coalition set up to back Ncube

Zim Independent

CIVIC society organisations and human rights groups in Bulawayo this
week joined hands with political parties to launch a coalition that will
mobilise resources for Archbishop Pius Ncube who has been sued for adultery.

The civic groups convened a meeting in Bulawayo on Monday and
committed themselves to defending and standing in solidarity with the
archbishop until the conclusion of his $20 billion adultery case in the
courts.

On Tuesday over 200 people who included leaders of 30 civic
organisations thronged the City Hall in Bulawayo to launch the Archbishop
Pius Ncube Solidarity Coalition.

The launch of the solidarity coalition comes barely days after South
Africa-based churches launched similar support for Ncube.

The coalition brings together organisations such as the National
Constitutional Assembly, the factions of the MDC, Zapu, Bulawayo Agenda,
Christian Alliance, Churches in Bulawayo and Zimbabwe Liberators Peace
Initiative.

Civic society leaders addressed a press conference and took turns to
give solidarity messages to
Ncube.

Zapu leader Paul Siwela told journalists that an individual's right
should not be left to a kangaroo circuit of journalists to decide whether he
goes to jail or does not.

"An individual's right should be respected and should not be left to a
kangaroo circuit of journalists to decide who goes to jail and who does
not," Siwela said.

Human rights activists Effie Ncube was nominated to chair the
coalition.

Effie Ncube said the coalition will help to mobilise resources and run
public awareness programmes in the alleged $20 billion adultery case. He
also said the coalition will run programmes to counter propaganda from the
state media.

Ncube is being sued by Onesimus Sibanda for adultery. Sibanda alleges
that the archbishop was involved in the adultery affair with his wife
Rosemary Sibanda. - Staff Writer.


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Health trust formed

Zim Independent

STAKEHOLDERS in the health sector have formed the Zimbabwe Health
Access Trust (ZiHAT) which will provide health assistance through
co-coordinating capacity to develop, maintain and enhance the health
delivery system in the country.

ZiHAT comprises business, local authorities, medical practitioners,
private industrial institutions and private hospitals.

"Zimbabwe's public health system requires a united and urgent input to
continue to provide basic services to those in greatest need. As a people we
each have a responsibility to safeguard the health of our nation," ZiHAT
said in a statement yesterday.

"We are individually and collectively responsible for developing and
maintaining a health system to serve our needs," the trust added.

The trust will be officially launched in Harare next Thursday.

Zimbabwe public health system has over the past decade been unable to
maintain and sustain the universal access and coverage of health care which
it rapidly achieved in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The major challenges have been a devastating HIV/Aids epidemic,
intermittent drought, economic reform and severe economic deterioration.

The impact has been a rapidly declining internal and external
financing for health in both public and private sectors.

It was against this background that the trust which was led and
managed by district, provincial and national health teams in collaboration
with universities, research institutes and professional associations was
formed.

ZiHAT current Board of Trustees is composed of Dr Paul Chimedza
(chairman), Susan Mutangadura (vice-chairperson), Eugene Mlambo (secretary),
Chipo Mtasa (treasurer).

The board is made up of Jocelyn Chaibva, Vuyelwa Chitimbira, Marah
Hativagone, Daniel Makuto, Douglas Mamvura, Supa Mandiwanzira, Patson
Mapanda, Michael Mbizvo, Godfrey Sikipa and Chad Tarumbwa.

Initiatives by the Zimbabwe Medical Association, groups of Zimbabweans
in the USA, Switzerland, UK and Canada also culminated in the establishment
of ZiHAT. - Staff Writer.


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Judge interdicts ZBC reporter in farm row

Zim Independent

Pindai Dube

A HIGH Court Judge has ordered a reporter with the state broadcaster,
the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), to stop interfering with
operations at a Matabeleland South farm where the scribe has been
threatening a fellow resettled farmer.

Bulawayo High Court Judge, Francis Bere, issued an interim relief
interdicting ZBC Matabeleland South bureau chief, Sifiso Sibanda from
disrupting operations at Inyoni Farm in the same region.

Inyoni Farm was allocated to Sibanda and six other Zanu PF supporters
at the height of the land reform programme. The six share the farm which has
been divided into plots.

According to court papers lodged with the High Court by Jasper Nare,
one of the six farmers, the ZBC reporter ordered them to vacate the farm or
face "unspecified action".

Nare in his affidavit says Sibanda has disrupted water supplies to his
cattle and destroyed cattle pens while also threatening unspecified action
against his livestock and his employees if he did not vacate the farmhouse
and his plot.

In his interim relief order of June 27, Justice Bere interdicted
Sibanda from "interfering with the applicant's peaceful occupation at the
farm...interfering with applicant's full usage of all the facilities within
the farm".

Meanwhile, one of the last remaining white commercial farmers in
Matabeleland North who was evicted last week from Portwe farm in Bubi/Mguza
has filed an urgent High Court application for the release of her property
which was confiscated by the police.

Margaret Jourbet wants the court to order police to release her three
vehicles, computers and three elephant tusks which were confiscated by the
police during her eviction.

Joubert is represented by Josephat Tshuma of Webb, Law and Barry Legal
Practitioners in Bulawayo. She could not be immediately reached for comment
yesterday as she was said to be attending a court case.

Police evicted the Jouberts in contempt of a High Court order by
Justice Bere in May ordering police, who had invaded Portwe Estate in April,
to vacate and stop interfering with operations.


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Price blitz 'law' tested

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari

THE trial of the two OK Zimbabwe bosses charged for disregarding a
directive to reduce prices is likely to be a major test of the legality of
the regulations that government is using in the ongoing crackdown on
businesses.

More than 3 000 business people have been arrested for contravening
Statutory Instrument (SI) 141 and 142 which government issued four weeks ago
to legalise its blitz on businesses. OK chief executive Willard Zireva and
Mbare branch manager Peter Sayenda are facing trial for allegedly
contravening 51 141 and 142.

The validity of the two regulations came under scrutiny this week from
prominent lawyer, Edwin Manikai, who is representing the OK executives.

In his defence outline which was presented to the court during a
hearing Tuesday, Manikai argues that the state did not follow the Control of
Goods Act (Chapter 14:05) which is the parent law for the SI 141 and 142.
Any regulation regarding price controls must conform to the act, says
Manikai.

He argues that the government had not issued an order specifying the
products, quantity and prices of the goods that are to be covered by the
controls as stipulated in the act.

"The detailed reading of the law as juxtaposed to the charges
preferred show that there is no order that is in existence," says Manikai in
his defence outline.

"Until the Minister has made an order specifying goods and services to
be controlled and the prices for which those goods are to be sold, there is
no Order currently in existence." This according to Manikai makes the
arrests of the two executives illegal.

Manikai adds that SI 142, the basis of government's action against
businesses, is in its "substance void for vagueness". He argues that while
subsection 2 of section seven of the SI "deals with the mark up or the
profit that on the sale of such commodity above the mark up or profit
obtained by him on the specified date which must be approved by the minister
in writing" the section does not empower him to prohibit any person from
selling at any particular prices.

"Section 7 (1) of the Current Order refers to the fixing of the basic
price of any commodity after consultation between the minister and the
manufacturer. However, it does not state who is to fix the price and this is
still to be done."

Manikai argues that it is not clear in the section who the minister
should consult before deciding on the price of a commodity.

"It is not clear whether the minister is supposed to consult a body of
manufacturers or individual manufacturers. Once the consultation has been
done it is unclear who is supposed to fix the price, and with what effect."
Manikai says section 7 (2) is vague in that it does not take into account
products which were not stock for a particular manufacturer or retailer as
at the set base date.

"Nor does it cater for products which have been in stock for long
periods." He says the section is not clear who and what factors will be
considered when price reviews are made in future.

"It is difficult to see how the formula set out therein will lead to
the determination of a price."


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. . . as OK case faces collapse

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari

THE ongoing trial of two OK Zimbabwe bosses who are charged for
allegedly failing to comply with a government directive to reduce prices
took a major twist this week after the prosecution's star witness gave
evidence that the defence claims to be exonerating their clients.

The lawyers representing OK chief executive, Willard Zireva and Mbare
branch manager, Peter Sayenda are now planning to apply for discharge basing
on the evidence supplied by the state's main witness.

Zireva and Sayenda are on trial for contravening section 3 (1) of the
Control of Good Act (Chapter 14:05) as read with section 39 (1) (b) and 39
(3) of the Control of Goods (Price Control) Regulation, 2001 (Statutory
Instrument 334 of 2001) as read with section 7 (2) (a) of Statutory
instrument mumber 142.

The defence team led by Edwin Manikai of Dube Manikai and Hwacha Legal
Practitioners will base its application for discharge on the evidence by
Superintendent Joel Tenderere who was the leader of the team that carried
out inspections at OK's headquarters a few hours before the Zireva and
Sayenda were arrested.

Tenderere is the officer in charge of Operation Dzikisai Mutengo which
government says is meant to stabilise prices.

In his statement which was confirmed by his evidence in court on
Tuesday, Tenderere said he was part of the team that visited OK Zimbabwe
headquarters on July 9 to check on compliance with Statutory Instruments 141
and 142.

"The accused and his team accompanied us during the tour and we
discovered that there was compliance as staff was busy putting new prices on
the shelves and already the customers who were buying the new prices were
reflecting in the computers," said Tenderere in his statement which is part
of state's evidence. Tenderere is the star witness for the state.

"Though I admit that another team of the taskforce arrested Mbare
manager (Sayenda) I think this was done before everything was implemented
since pricing at OK Zimbabwe is centred at one place, which is the HQ."

Tenderere said he did not believe that Zireva and Sayenda had an
intention to defy government directive.

"The accused during our visit produced memos with directives to comply
with the government's directive as at 18th June 2007, which was a true
reflection that accused, had no intention of defying directives."

Tenderere said at the time of the arrests his team was in the process
of clarifying with OK some of the 'grey areas on the interpretation of the
statutory instrument 141 and 142'.

The defence has until August 7 to submit their appeal. The state is
supposed to respond on August 8 and a ruling will be made on August 10.


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'Policy flip-flops threaten mining sector's future'

Zim Independent

Pindai Dube

ZIMBABWE'S mining sector is "wandering in policy wilderness" owing to
government's unfavorable mining policies which have seen investors shying
away from the industry, a top mining executive has said.

How Mine manager Allan Mashingaidze said the future of the mining
sector remains bleak due to government's policy flip-flop.

How Mine is owned by Metallon Zimbabwe which produces close to 50% of
the country's gold. Mines under Metallon include Arcturus, Mazowe and
Penhalonga.

"The mining sector is wandering through policy wilderness and there is
no sight of the promised land and there is no roadmap to stimulate existing
operations and attract new foreign direct investment in the sector,"
Mashingaidze said.

Mashingaidze was presenting a paper titled "The Impact of Current
Fiscal and Monetary Policies on the Minerals Sector" at the Mine Entra 2007
Interaction Conference which ran concurrently with Mine Entra 2007 in
Bulawayo this week.

His statement came as the central bank increased the gold support
price to $3 million from $350 00 per gramme.

Mining experts say while the review might help the sector in the short
term, the industry will still fail to attract new investment because of
government policy flip-flops.

Government is currently drafting a law to force foreign-owned mines to
surrender 51% stakes to indigenous consortia or the state. The proposed law
has triggered uncertainty in the sector which is already troubled by the low
exchange rate and the lack of foreign currency.

The central bank has also worsened the sector's woes after it failed
to pay for gold deliveries.

Gold production has plunged over the past five months and there are
fears that Zimbabwe could lose its accreditation with the London Bullion
Market Association (LBMA) if it fails to produce 10 tonnes of gold this
year. Being a member allows the country to sell gold directly to the
international market.

"As I speak right now all foreign-owned mining companies are not
certain about their future in Zimbabwe as to whether there will be still
holding to their companies due to some mooted unfavorable mining laws," he
said.

Mashingaidze said key fiscal policy issues like corporate tax and
import duty for capital items were impacting negatively on the sector.

Speaking at the same occasion, Zimbabwe Miners Federation president
George Kawonza said bad mining policies coupled with lack of consultation
among stakeholders was destroying the sector.

"As small scale miners we were not consulted before the start of the
Operation Chikorokoza Chapera. We were ambushed and this has left the mining
industry in a sorry state," said Kawonza.

The three day annual Mine Entra 2007 exhibition which was organised by
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and Mines and Mining Development Ministry
ends today.

There were a total of 85 exhibitors, an increase from last year's 70.
The theme for the 2007 Mine Entra was "Sustain the Environment and Restore
Productivity".


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It's not sanctions

Zim Independent

Last week the Zimbabwe Independent published an article in which
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono argued that "sanctions were
ruining" the economy. Harare-based PETER BAILEY responds:

THE only international sanctions are personal sanctions against
individuals. There are no official sanctions by multilateral institutions as
far as I am aware. They refuse to assist Zimbabwe for many reasons including
the manner in which the land reform programme was instituted.

No one has said that land reform was not necessary but the manner of
its implementation was bound to destroy the agricultural base which was the
mainstay of the economy of the country.

Perhaps Gono would like to look at the history of this country and
appreciate that under full economic sanctions with blockades on oil products
this country, without the support of the international monetary
institutions, had the strongest economy in its history.

In the 1970s the Rhodesian dollar was more than equal to the pound
sterling and effectively worth US$2. There was electricity and water,
traffic lights that worked and roads and general infrastructure that was
properly maintained. The health and educations services were very good, and
one might add that some sectors were favoured by politics but capable of
expansion.

Perhaps Gono could revise his thoughts and look at laying the blame
for this country's economic problems on some other source.

One of the major contributory factors could be the fixed exchange
rates that have now been in existence for some years when the economy has
progressed further and further into recession.

When there had to be an adjustment to $15 000 to US$1 to help tobacco
farmers and exporters, now we have a government price of $60 000 per litre
of fuel in the knowledge that the fuel is approximately US$1 per litre.

The parallel market rate is around $150 000 to US$1. There is a reason
why this rate is so set, which is neither good nor sensible, and I am quite
sure that this rate would not be acceptable to any international financial
institution considering loans to this country. It has allowed the enrichment
of favoured persons.

By his own admission, the balance of payments position has
deteriorated from US$830 million representing three months' cover to a
deficit of US$2,5 billion by the end of 2006. This reflects an excess of
imports over exports of over US$3 billion over a 10-year period and it is
small wonder that international financiers would not consider Zimbabwe
creditworthy.

This situation is not the result of international sanctions but the
direct result of internal policies. Internal policies have resulted in the
huge reduction in exports from this country including agricultural, mining,
industrial and commercial products.

Perhaps Gono should look at all the controls applied by the Reserve
Bank as well as the government to examine why many companies cannot export,
why they cannot access international credit and why many companies have
closed and gone to neighbouring countries. Look at why so many products that
were made here are now imported.

In regard to gifts, donations and services offered by non-governmental
organisations, these have so often been subjected to controls and
interference by the state that they have great difficulty operating under
the conditions to which they are subjected.

Many of the problems centre around the control policies of a
Marxist-Leninist oriented government. Marxism has not been successfully
implemented anywhere in the world.

It was a system geared to making everyone equal with everyone
contributing and taking what they needed to live. It envisaged that there
would be no money in the system and thereby the means of accumulating wealth
would be destroyed. It was a dream and was never capable of successful
implementation.

However, the command type economy did allow the politicians to become
wealthy instead of the entrepreneurs. It took away the freedom of the people
which was not what Marx envisaged.

Gono must share in the responsibility for the inefficiency of
operation of the country. He has introduced many regulations that are
wasteful and create inefficiency. The controls on bank withdrawals have
resulted in businessmen being unable to write a cheques to discharge a debt
but making constant trips to the bank to make transfers or obtain money.

Even paying tax is inefficient in that the businessman has to go the
bank to transfer money and then go to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority to
obtain a receipt when he could just write a cheque and send it to the tax
office.

Every process becomes more and more of a problem and the country is
extremely inefficient and wasteful of resources.

The introduction of a state fuel supplier has made the acquisition of
fuel both erratic and inefficient. There are queues for many products and
services.

The failure to provide electricity and water has created vast
inefficiency with many people and businesses needing generators and using
vast amount of fuel in the process. The failure to maintain the
infrastructure results in the import of far more spares than is necessary.

The importation of products by the Reserve Bank reflects the state of
the nation. It is the job of business to import and distribute products and
instead of creating work in the private sector the private sector operates
inefficiently and below capacity.

Gono highlights many of the facilities that do not work or are
inefficient because he says it is due to sanctions. He should look at the
efficiency and use of the foreign currency available, the number and type of
motor cars that are imported vis--vis the need for equipment and
production.

How many and what decisions are being made for political and not
economic reasons?


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Govt pricing model a headache for business

Zim Independent

Paul Nyakazeya

STRIKING a balance between the cost of production, retail prices and
salaries is proving to be a major challenge as prices of goods and services
continue to accelerate while salaries lag behind or are stagnant.

Producers of controlled goods such as bread, cooking oil and mealie
meal say they are being disadvantaged as their inputs are not controlled.

Manufacturers and service providers have been accused of inducing
inflationary pressures in the economy because of unwarranted price
adjustments.

Economic analysts say government should have first dealt with the
manufacturers' concerns before imposing price limits.

Forcing prices down when production costs are going up only results in
shortages.

As confusion continues as to how government came up with prices for
basic commodies under "Operation Dzisa Mitengo" (Operation Reduce Prices)
analysts who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent this week said a pricing
formula which was yet to be released to manufacturers, wholesalers and
retailers should take into account factors such as location of shops,
transport and packaging costs, and cost of inputs.

Government argues that it is duty bound to cushion low-income earners
against "unscrupulous business practices" while working on an acceptable
pricing formula.

The business community says it might comply with price reductions "but
who is going to shield us against rising input costs?" questioned a manager
with a leading supermarket chain this week.

Chairman of the Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and
Stabilisation, Obert Mpofu, said the National Incomes and Pricing Commission
was still working on the formula. "We are still working on it and as soon as
it is finalised we will forward it to the various stakeholders," Mpofu said
recently.

He said submissions from stakeholders were still trickling in and
would be considered in coming up with the pricing formula for goods and
services.

The business community said with elections scheduled for March next
year, the pricing formula was not going to reflect their views as "political
decisions will prevail over economic and scientific factors".

Government has, however, set the price mark-up from producers to
wholesalers at 5% and at 10% from wholesalers to retailers.

The ministerial taskforce on price stabilisation has received mixed
reactions from the public with some applauding the move while others say it
is a duplication of duties with the National Incomes and Pricing Commission.

The taskforce, chaired by Mpofu, was last Friday expected to come up
with measures to enforce by-laws which govern the sale of goods in
undesignated areas and ensure that violators are brought to book.

It would also engage manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers,
transporters, real estate agencies and local authorities on the need to
restrain speculative price hikes in line with the recently signed Incomes
and Pricing Stabilisation Protocol.

The confusion over the pricing structure has forced Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono to indefinitely postpone his mid-year monetary policy
statement.

He said he needed time to analyse the implications of government price
controls and the expected supplementary budget.

Gono was tasked by President Robert Mugabe's government to lead
efforts to turn around an economy battered by eight years of recession.

Bakers who spoke to the Independent last week said the price
reductions were being done haphazardly as there was no transparent pricing
structure which takes into consideration the cost of production.

"The price of bread has always been four or five months behind the
cost of production, the ministry of Industry (and International trade) is
aware of that," said a director of a leading bakery.

"As of June 18, the cost of producing one loaf of bread was between
$55 000 and $65 000, but we were forced to sell bread at $23 000. A review
has been made to $44 000 but how are we going to recover losses incurred
over the two weeks?" said the director who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He said it did not make economic sense to control the price of bread
when inputs were going up.

The National Bakers Association said it had agreed to reduce the price
of bread by half as long as millers reduced the cost of flour, enabling
bakers to stay in business.

Analysts said a new pricing structure should take into consideration
the location of shops as their overheads and expenses were significantly
different.

For example, prices of shoes at Bata along First Street or in Eastgate
in Harare are higher than those at Bata along Mbuya Nehanda.

Government has deployed state security agencies to enforce the reduced
prices, resulting in the arrest of shops and business executives. Some shops
say they were raided by armed police and others by plain clothes
intelligence or prison officers.

More than 3 000 shop owners have reportedly been arrested since the
price blitz started three weeks ago. Some of the outlets were charged with
hoarding, overcharging and failing to display prices.

Those who have already appeared in court have paid fines of between
$10 million and $100 million.

Police have also raised more than $560 million in revenue from fines
since the blitz was launched last month.

Government has warned those who fail to comply that they risk losing
their trading licences and businesses as the state was prepared to take them
over.

Reports say thousands of workers have been laid off as businesses shut
down around the country.

After being forced by the authorities to reduce their prices by 50%,
many businesses ran out of stock after two weeks. They have not restocked
fearing further losses and this has left workers redundant.

"We are being told to sell a product for less than what we paid for
it. It means we will not be able to replace it when existing stocks have
gone. It makes no sense. Ask any school arithmetic class," a retail shop
owner said.


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Police mustn't play to political gallery

Zim Independent

By Obert Gutu

RECENT events in Zimbabwe have put into focus the police's powers of
arrest, detention, search and seizure.

More than 2 000 businesspersons, including some top-notch executives
and politicians, have recently been arrested and detained for allegedly
flouting the recently gazetted laws pertaining to price controls.

It is my considered view that members of the public should be made
aware of their fundamental constitutional rights vis--vis the police's
powers of arrest, detention, search and seizure.

It is not in dispute that these businesspersons have been arrested and
detained by the police in very curious and, in some cases, totally unlawful
and unjustifiable circumstances.

An arrest involves the deprivation of an individual's liberty and thus
it should not be lightly resorted to.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe states that the right to liberty is a
fundamental human right, solidly enshrined in the justifiable Bill of
Rights.

It therefore goes without saying that a police officer should only
arrest a person when it is reasonable and necessary in the circumstances.

Recent events in Zimbabwe have lent credibility to the generally held
perception that the Zimbabwe Republic Police force is partisan, biased,
unprofessional and insensitive to basic and fundamental human rights. We
have come across cases where the police have promptly arrested people and
placed them in custody in clearly unreasonable, unjustifiable and malicious
circumstances.

The writer perceives this type of shameful conduct as a gross abuse of
the powers of arrest by the police. Such a blatant and reprehensible abuse
of the powers of arrest should never be condoned in a democratic state.

The police should always desist from the habit of playing to the
gallery and proceeding to arrest a person first, detain him and then
investigate him later. Wherever possible, the police should endeavour to
obtain a warrant before arresting a person.

However, it is conceded that in very many circumstances it may be
reasonable and justifiable for a police officer to arrest a person without a
warrant of arrest.

The recent spate of arrests in the so-called war against unjustifiably
high prices is in more ways than one regrettable. Surely, was there any
reason to arrest and promptly detain businesspeople instead of summoning
them to appear in court on a particular day?

This should have been the case particularly because the majority of
the people arrested are otherwise law-abiding and useful members of society
with fixed places of abode and chances are they were most unlikely going to
abscond had they been summoned to appear in court.

A properly constituted and professional police force should never
allow itself to be manipulated and used by certain powerful individuals and
politicians to push their own sinister and nefarious agendas.

Indeed, members of the police force should always be acutely aware
that they can be sued for damages by persons who might have been wrongfully,
maliciously and unlawfully arrested and detained.

The Police Act (Chapter 11:10) and the State Liabilities Act (Chapter
8:14) provide the relevant legislative procedures in terms of which members
of the police can be sued.

Recent events in our country have left the reputation and
professionalism of the Zimbabwe Republic Police severely dented and
compromised. This will inevitably lead to members of society generally
viewing the police force as an object of contempt, hate and ridicule.

Police officers should not simply proceed to seize items of property
from arrested people without following proper legal channels.

In general, a police officer who arrests a person may search such a
person but the police officer is required to place in safe custody all items
taken. It is improper and unlawful for police officers to take away seized
items of property and thereafter proceed to deal with the same as they deem
fit.

In accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe, unless made by a medical
officer, the search of a woman must be made by a woman and must be done with
strict regard to decency.

A female police officer may require a female suspect to remove any
clothing she is wearing if the removal of the suspected clothing is
necessary and reasonable for an effective search.

However, the suspect's body cavities may not be searched. At any rate,
the search of any person, male or female, must be conducted with strict
regard to decency.

There is a difference between seizing articles and placing articles in
safe custody. Articles that have been seized may not be returned to a
suspect at a later occasion whereas items that have been placed in safe
custody would have to be returned to the arrested person at all times.

The police can only seize property that is concerned in or on
reasonable grounds believed to be concerned in the commission and suspected
commission of an offence in Zimbabwe or elsewhere; property which on
reasonable grounds is believed to afford evidence of the commission or
suspected commission of an offence in Zimbabwe or elsewhere and property
which, on reasonable grounds, is believed to be intended to be used in the
commission of an offence.

In other words, the police cannot just seize people's goods with
reckless abandon.

The police should always ensure that people are arrested when
necessary and also that detention should be the exception and not the norm.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police should strenuously fight against the
perception that it has degenerated into a partisan and corrupt police force
that is frequently used and abused by powerful and influential citizens to
harass, torment and humiliate businesspeople as well as people who are
deemed to be politically hostile to the status quo.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police should play a central role in the
promotion of the respect for the rule of law and individual rights of
people.

The police should help to foster a culture of democracy and should go
out of its way to protect the weak and the vulnerable. A police force should
be the people's friend instead of being the people's number one enemy.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police should be a catalyst in the fight against
rampant human rights abuses and political intolerance.

As an essential and powerful tool of the state, the Zimbabwe Republic
Police should not allow itself to degenerate into a power-drunk machine
ready to crush and suppress innocent and law-abiding people's peaceful
demonstrations at the slightest of an excuse.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This reminds
the writer of a moving speech made by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa
at the annual general meeting of the Sadc Electoral
Commissions forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on September 27 1999.

In his address, Mbeki said: "Inevitably, therefore, the state will
remain a powerful, venerated and awe-inspiring social institution.
Necessarily, those who manage this institution have themselves to be seen to
be powerful and therefore awe-inspiring. Inherent in this is the imperative
that these powerful persons should remain powerful until death deprives them
of the capacity to exercise power."

For us in Zimbabwe, it's still a very long walk to freedom!

Gutu is a Zimbabwean lawyer writing from Harare and can be contacted
on gutulaw@mweb.co.zw


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Comment

Zim Independent

TWO years after the reintroduction of the bicameral parliament through
Constitutional Amendment No17, MPs and senators are still not clear about
their roles in the legislative process.

Members of the lower and upper houses of parliament have been
wrangling over who is more important than the other, a quarrel that
demonstrates that the decision to reintroduce the Senate was not
well-thoughtout in the first place. It was not done out of necessity.

It is becoming clear by the day that President Mugabe's statement in
Hurungwe two years ago - that the Senate would accommodate those who had
failed to win seats in the 2005 general election - is being fulfilled.

The Senate today is part and parcel of an embellished legislature that
owes its allegiance to the incumbent. It has not improved the quality of
legislation being passed by parliament, nor has it made noteworthy
interventions on behalf of the electorate. When it has made noises - the
case in point being its disapproval of Zinwa taking over water supply
systems in towns - it has been generally ignored. It is not taken seriously
at all and members have contributed to the lowering of their status by
waging a turf war with the lower house.

Since its introduction, the Senate's contribution to law-making has
been insignificant. This is because of senators who believe that they are
more important than MPs by virtue of sitting in the "upper house". They
believe that they are there to lord it over the lower house.

Lack of separate identities and functions between the Senate and the
House of Assembly has resulted in duplication of roles between members of
the two chambers, which in turn fuels tension between lawmakers.

At a Parliamentary Liaison Coordinating Committee retreat in Victoria
Falls recently, it emerged that there was urgent need for parliament's
Standing Rules and Orders Committee to delineate the roles and
responsibilities of each house to avoid tension.

Senators have claimed that they are superior to members of the House
of Assembly because of the size of their constituencies. They have
complained about their remuneration which they believe should be more
substantial compared to what MPs are being paid.

Contributions from certain senators have bordered on the comical. One
complained about being searched at the airport. He can't be searched because
he is a senator. But that is not to say he understands his senatorial role
in law-making.

Last year, Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma had to intervene at a
parliamentary retreat in Nyanga after senators and members of the House of
Assembly clashed.

Zvoma categorically told the legislators that Constitutional Amendment
No 17 was silent on the distinction of Upper and Lower Houses, thus making
the two chambers equal in duties and responsibilities.

But the Senate and House of Assembly cannot have equal roles in a
properly functioning parliamentary system. There is no need to have two
chambers performing the same role. At Independence in 1980, the country's
legislative arm had a Senate and a National Assembly, which were products of
the Lancaster House constitution.

For 10 years, the country worked with both chambers until it was felt
that such an arrangement for a "young nation emerging from a colonial past
was burdensome and protracted, and would be better served by a faster
law-making parliamentary process with one house".

The reintroduction of the Senate through Constitutional Amendment No17
failed to create two chambers with distinct roles. It created two chambers
constantly at each other's throats because members are ignorant of their
roles.

A proper bicameral system should be moulded along the Westminster
style of governance where the House of Commons is more powerful than the
House of Lords, made up of mainly old and mature people. That is to say the
Upper House should exercise an oversight role over the Lower House in
lawmaking; a feature that has been missing here.

The recently gazetted Constitutional Amendment Bill (No18) intends to
make the Senate more powerful than the House of Assembly in some instances.
The Bill gives senators a greater role in the appointment of government
commissions, among other functions. But still, the calibre of senators
remains problematic. They should be men and women with a thorough
understanding of parliamentary processes and not greenhorns just seeking
political accommodation.


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When fuel oracle fooled the gullible

Zim Independent

MuckRaker

IN what amounts to attempts to manipulate information and deliberately
mislead the public, the Sunday Mail claimed in its Comment this week that
there were sections of the Zimbabwean population who want America and
Britain to "preside over the drafting of a new constitution for Zimbabwe"
during the current efforts at dialogue between the MDC and Zanu PF in South
Africa.

It claimed this was an idea being nursed by the MDC and "other
insignificant civic groups".

Having made claim, it proceeded to declare: "This is tantamount to
surrendering the sovereign legislative powers of our parliament to the wrong
people."

It said those charged with the negotiation process in both the MDC
factions and Zanu PF "should never be a substitute for parliament of
Zimbabwe while in SA".

No doubt, there is some senior government hack at work here. President
Robert Mugabe has already said he is not interested in a new constitution
and that information is being subtly relayed to his South African
counterpart, Thabo Mbeki.

Secondly, why would the negotiators usurp the powers of parliament
when everybody knows that there was a constitutional draft done here in
Zimbabwe from around 2003 between Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and
Welshman Ncube when he still represented the united MDC?

That document had nothing to do with either Mbeki, Tony Blair or
George Bush unless it is insinuated that Chinamasa is a sellout.

Thirdly, we hope the MDC can see through Zanu PF's subterfuge of
divide-and-rule by calling its partners in the Save Zimbabwe Campaign
"insignificant". A number of state columnists have in the recent past been
deployed to push this clever line - that no other group, political or
otherwise, is more important than the MDC.

The idea is to make the MDC get bigheaded before it can be swallowed
up.

This is why National Constitutional Assembly chair Lovemore Madhuku
warned from the start that there was need for broader involvement of other
stakeholders in the negotiation process as politicians were prone to make
"compromises" to fast-track their way to State House.

Quite plainly, since when has Zanu PF had such high regard for the
"puppet" MDC? It is a sobering thought.

The Sunday Mail and its Zanu PF party leaders are still in Chinhoyi.

The paper reports that some poor rural woman, Rotina Mavhunga, who
claimed to have discovered fossil oil in Chinhoyi, is on the run because
police want to arrest her.

Her crime is that she "misled" a desperate government by claiming to
have discovered oil oozing from a stone, a miracle discovery that would save
the country lots of foreign currency in fuel imports.

The country's state fuel procurement agency, the National Oil Company
of Zimbabwe, is said to have sent its engineers who duly reported that the
whole thing was a fib.

The party was undaunted. It quickly dispatched a team of government
security ministers, all politburo members, to go and talk to this rural
oracle about the fuel.

Naturally, they found nothing. What we don't understand is why police
now want to arrest this poor villager. If a whole government can be fooled
by a poor, hungry 35-year-old woman trying to survive through magical
tricks, can anybody take it seriously?

Speaking of Noczim, it has once again been given the mandate to be the
sole fuel importer in the country. Industry and International Trade minister
Obert Mpofu disclosed this as he tried to dispel fears and allay panic that
fuel coupons had been banned.

He said the real target of the ban were fly-by-night dealers who "were
prejudicing the government of revenue running into billions of dollars".

Mpofu is right. There will always be people seeking to profit from
bungling by government. Unfortunately the crisis is far from over. The
reason criminals are prejudicing government is because it doesn't have
foreign currency, and banning coupons on its own is not a solution.

Industry also has every reason to be sceptical about Noczim's capacity
to meet national requirements.

The fuel sector was liberalised a few years ago after it was realised
that Noczim was not able to import enough fuel on time. This created
bottlenecks at service stations and nearly crippled industry.

Add to this inefficiency and corruption of which the late Enos
Chikowore said he had only seen at Noczim and we will tell you Mpofu doesn't
know what he is talking about when he says: "Let us have faith in our own
institutions."

Once liberalised, the fuel sector operated fairly efficiently, that is
until government intervened to impose unrealistic prices on petrol and
diesel. That was the beginning and the root cause of what is now famously
called the black market. Since then the disease has infected all sectors of
the economy, including commodities as basic as bread and sugar.

The Herald on Monday led with a bold "Boost for mechanisation"
headline. The "boost" was a Bill gazetted for the "establishment and
registration of warehouses for agricultural equipment".

The Bill was found necessary because the Reserve Bank had
"intensified" the procurement of agricultural equipment, the paper told
readers.

Aha! So the whole mechanisation process is about acquiring and storing
equipment and not about production? Why is the equipment not being
distributed in time?

Muckraker gives the Herald the top prize for the biggest fraud on
readers. Perhaps the reporters are still trying to catch their breath after
a frenzied week pursuing Archbishop Pius Ncube.

Speaking of whom, the Herald had what it claimed was a prayer
delivered by Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu at Njube Assemblies of
God Church on Sunday: "God gave us leaders and kings and these were anointed
by God himself. Pastors and church leaders should pray for them so that they
rule justly and in peace and not for them to die, like one church leader
here in Bulawayo does."

It is called calling "my name in vain" and the Bible is clear on the
consequences.

Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo has for the first time
acknowledged the factionalism in the ruling party. He accused senior party
leaders in Bulawayo of pursuing "personal agendas".

"Every now and again we hear of factionalism," he said. "I want to
tell you now it is not the ordinary supporter on the ground who is leading
that. My colleagues from the politburo, central committee and the leadership
structures are the people who are fuelling these divisions."

He then contradicted himself, saying: "There is only one Zanu PF that
is led by President Mugabe."

He should in fact say that is the faction he supports.

Last time he was confronted by the media about factionalism in the
ruling party, Nkomo said differences between party leaders only reflected
"democracy" in practice. When did this metamorphose into "personal agendas"
we wonder?

The Chronicle reported on Friday that parliament wants to adopt a Code
of Ethics under which MPs will be required to disclose their assets and
business interests once they are elected into parliament.

Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma said the idea of a Code of Ethics was
accepted as early as 1999 and a draft produced although there has been no
movement until now. He said the idea of a Code of Ethics was meant to give
the legislature the moral authority to demand "transparency and
accountability by the executive".

We hope this noble idea will not die a natural death like Zanu PF's
Maoist-inspired Leadership Code of the 1980s. As soon as Zanu PF leaders
tasted the sweetness of money, the Leadership Code was quietly buried
without an epitaph.

The same issue of the Chronicle carried a heartrending story of a city
in the throes of death. Bulawayo is almost dry. The paper said most suburbs
were going for up to two days "without a drop of water". We have no reason
to doubt the authenticity of the report, given the owners of the
publication.

The lead headline told it all: "Bulawayo water problems reach
catastrophe". Most of the city's water supply dams have been decommissioned
because water levels are too low.

The little water there is comes from the remaining dams which are
half-full or from boreholes. The city authorities have been forced to
institute stringent water rationing, punishing both residents and industry.

Interestingly, government was unmoved by this impending catastrophe.
In fact, it is seen as an opportunity to bring the council and the residents
to heel. Government wants council to surrender its functions to the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority before anything can be done to alleviate the
situation.

Bulawayo Resident minister Cain Mathema was blunt to the point of
being callous. "The solution that is there for us is the immediate takeover
of the water and reticulation system by Zinwa," he said. He said it was
unfortunate that the city council was not cooperative.

The reality is as blunt as you can have it. This is not a natural
tragedy. The people of Bulawayo are being punished for rejecting the seizure
of their assets by a government agency that has demonstrated in Harare and
Chitungwiza that it is a blundering monster. Whether they eventually pay the
ransom or not, the taps will remain dry given Zinwa's record in other
cities.

While this imminent catastrophe was unfolding last week, government
was eager to draw people's attention towards the so-called Pius Ncube saga.
It is called fiddling while Rome burns.


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The truth will come out

Zim Independent

Eric Bloch column

THERE is a long-standing maxim that "the truth will come out". As the
weeks go by since government embarked upon its destructive policies of price
reductions and controls, the realities of its misbegotten motives are
progressively emerging. Those motives are blatantly at variance with those
that were officially stated, or where the claimed reasons for the actions
had some substance, they were overridden by others of far greater import to
government.

When, in late June, the Minister of Industry and International Trade,
Obert Mpofu, peremptorily imposed draconian price controls, he claimed that
the reason for doing so was, first and foremost, to protect the populace
from allegedly evil machinations of profiteering and exploitation by
commerce and industry. Without any visible attempt to verify that such
profiteering and exploitation was occurring, government unilaterally assumed
that to be the case. They sought to justify that assumption by citing the
supposedly "huge" profits being made by companies, as evidenced in their
published results. However, they completely disregarded that the so-called
immense profits were in fast depreciating, value-eroding, Zimbabwe dollar
terms.

In real terms, as evidenced in inflation-adjusted accounts, most
companies were sustaining falling profits. Moreover, those
inflation-adjusted accounts use Central Statistical Office (CSO) inflation
rates as a base, whereas it is common knowledge that actual inflation has
been considerably greater. Therefore, the decline in profits was, in
reality, markedly more than reflected in those accounts.

However, it suited government to disregard these fundamental facts,
just as it suited it to ignore that (because of hyperinflation) most
businesses need very considerably more operating capital than a year ago. If
there is to be a fair return on capital, which is a prerequisite for
investment, then increased profits are essential to service increased
capital.

But it did not meet government's Machiavellian needs to acknowledge
this. Its first need was to appease a distressed population, which was
becoming increasingly restless as the battle to survive intensified. Many
attributed government's actions to being an election gimmick, but with still
nine months to go until the elections, that was unlikely. In all
probability, of greater and more immediate concern was to survive unscathed
until the election.

In addition, recognising that only the most gullible would believe
that each and every manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, and other traders
was guilty of excessive profiteering, government needed to give other
justifications for its mainly unfounded allegations of overpricing, and it
needed to dispel any perception that it was government itself which had
almost totally destroyed the economy.

Its endlessly false attribution of economic ills to almost wholly
non-existent internationally imposed economic sanctions, speciously
described as "illegal") had lost credibility. It could no longer blame Tony
Blair, as he had retired, and it could not yet blame Gordon Brown, as he had
not yet said anything about, or done anything to Zimbabwe.

So another victim for blame was needed, and government conjured up an
extremely farcical, completely unbelievable, myth that commerce and industry
was conniving with Zimbabwe's political opposition, and with Zimbabwe's
alleged international enemies, to destroy the economy, so as to bring about
a regime change.

Effectively, government was contending that all of the business
community were of the same disposition as the Iraqi, Hamas, Fatah and Al
Quada suicide bombers, being willing to destroy themselves in order to
achieve their objective. Only extreme paranoia could make it possible for
government to believe such absolute nonsense, let alone for it to believe
that the masses would be so nave as to believe it.

But last Friday, when Minister Mpofu, in his capacity as chairman of
the Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation, addressed
Bulawayo's business community, the truth came out (even though undoubtedly
unintentionally ) as to the other motives behind government's recent
actions.

The minister informed his audience that government was resuscitating
the defunct Zimbabwe State Trading Corporation, and the Zimbabwe Development
Corporation, as vehicles to acquire companies that government "might want to
take over", and especially trading and manufacturing companies. He pretended
that the focus for take over would be upon companies engaging in economic
sabotage.

However, as almost all companies have already been accused of doing
so, the actuality is that government's intent is to take over which ever
companies it desires. Clearly, it is planning to do to commerce and industry
the same as it did to agriculture, being to displace those with viable,
successful operations. The tragedy thereof is compounded by the clear-cut
evidence that the ruination that government afflicted upon agriculture will
almost definitely be repeated upon the business sector.

This was irrefutably demonstrated by the minister's proud announcement
that $30 billion has been set aside by government for the distressed
companies that it will acquire. Bearing in mind that the aggregate losses
sustained by businesses in the last month, as a result of forced sales at
below cost, and as a result of continuing operational costs without
commensurate production and sales, are estimated to be several trillion
dollars, the sum of $30 billion is a drop in the ocean as against the needs
created by government's destructive actions, and by the abuses of law by
many of the "crack units" of law enforcement.

Government is renowned for under-capitalising its parastatals, which
has been one of the key factors for the failures of most of them, and now it
unhesitatingly will "steal" the business from their owners (without any law
empowering it to do so), and will seek to operate them with like gross
under-capitalisation.

In addition, the minister stated that the workers of companies to be
taken over will not be affected. He said: "Once we take over a company, we
will retain all the staff and will bring in a manager. All we will get rid
of is the owner of the company." He is apparently unaware that in a very
great number of instances, the key specialist skills necessary for the
successful operations of the business vest in the owner!

Furthermore, with the magnitude of the Zimbabwean brain drain in the
last seven years, the remaining available skills resource is very depleted,
and now he intends to reduce it further. It is also difficult to have any
confidence that managers of calibre will be employed. After all, the
performance track record of parastatals such as Zeas, Zinwa, Arda, Noczim
and, until recently (in the last 18 months) NRZ, Air Zimbabwe and TelOne
does not inspire an expectation of quality management.

So, the truth is out! Having failed to achieve total economic
destruction through its agricultural land acquisition, redistribution and
resettlement polices, and having also failed to bring about the final
demolition of the economy through Operation Murambatsvina, and having again
not completed its drive towards absolute economic ruination by fiscal and
economic mismanagement which caused the world-record levels of
hyperinflation, and turned Zimbabwe into an international investment pariah,
government is trying yet again to do so, with diabolically negative price
controls, barbaric law enforcement and abuse of law, and intended
expropriation of business.


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Thin line between reality and magic

Zim Independent

Editor's memo

by Vincent Kahiya

ZIMBABWEAN politicians pride themselves on being highly educated and
sophisticated. Their chain of university degrees, demeanour, apparel and
posh vehicles they drive combine to give the illusion of a group of men and
women in charge of ultra-modern processes of governance and leadership. The
sophistry is a pretense. Deep inside our rulers, there is a very thin line
that separates reality from magic.

Sometimes they strike me as no more advanced than medieval characters
whose lives were controlled by fear of the unknown.

To see this, just witness much of what passes for common sense.
Government still sponsors rain dances and at the same time does
cloud-seeding to ensure there is a wet season. The same men and women then
take part in Christian prayers for rain.

At government functions, n'angas and local spirit mediums sit among
the VIPs. Senior government officials kneel before oracles (which are
deified mainly out of fear of their supposed mystic powers and not their
ability to deliver positive change to society. Did I see one VP doing this
somewhere in Mashonaland Central recently?

It is this kind of fear that drove a whole Zanu PF politburo, staffed
with professors, doctors, economists, scientists and educationists to set up
a select committee to probe the feasibility of diesel oozing from a rock in
Chinhoyi.

Just the act of setting up a high level committee to investigate
mysticism should speak volumes about our government. The team is indicative
of a group of people who regard power and magic as inseparable.

Throughout Africa, dictators not only have power and money, they are
also said to possess the best fetishists and sorcerers. The dictator is
supposedly invincible and his power is limitless. Because their magic should
be unchallenged, they will want to know any individuals with bigger magical
accomplishments so that they control these as well.

It was not surprising therefore that a ministerial team was set up to
probe the new centre of mythical power in Chinhoyi. I also recall statements
which have put our president in the ream of a messiah.

This had to be controlled lest it begin to challenge the magical
powers under the stewardship of politicians. To our rulers, it was also very
important to be identified with the paranormal to help ease the country's
fuel problems. They believed that the same supernatural powers which had
deposited diamonds in Marange was also responsible for the diesel which CMED
managing director, Davison Mhaka, claimed he had tested and found it to be "
purer than the diesel currently being used in motor vehicles".

"We suspect that it is coming from the dolomite and lime caves
underneath the hill. Petroleum could have sipped into these caves and right
now it is
overflowing.," Mhaka was quoted as saying at the time of the
"discovery". This whole diesel saga is comical and a serious indictment of
our rulers. Do they expect to be taken seriously when they behave like
characters from the comic book?

It is also significant in that these are a group of adults that
believe there is need for supernatural intervention to help extricate them
from the impoverishment they have brought on this nation. It is no wonder
that policies which have been formulated by the Zanu PF government border on
the ridiculous; like banning fuel coupons, the lifeblood of industry and key
service providers such as ambulances and hospitals, without coming up with
an alternative source of petrol and diesel.

Government immediately reversed the decision but left everyone
wondering what inspires such crazy policies. Perhaps the belief that the
paranormal will provide where these guys have failed?

In an interview, prominent author Ivorian author Ahmadou Kourouma
speaks of African leaders' fascination with mystical powers. He said: "I don't
believe in magic. And when Africans ask me why I don't, I say that if magic
really existed, we wouldn't have allowed the abduction of 100 million
people, of whom perhaps 40 million reached the Americas and 60 million died
on the way. If magic really worked, the slaves would have turned into birds,
say, and would have flown back home. I don't believe in magic because when I
was a boy, I saw forced labour. If magic existed, the victims of forced
labour would have been able to escape."

Equally so, our rulers should understand that there is no rich nation
that owes its success to magic. But rationality will gain ground at the same
time as democracy. Accountability, rule of law and good governance
oftentimes see rulers' almighty power waning. The leader ceases to be a
superman. He no longer has everything going for him. He has to shoulder
duties and responsibilities. He is becoming like everyone else. And
consequently the magical part of his power is disappearing. He stops
practicing voodoo economics.


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National vision: a personal credo

Zim Independent

Candid Comment

by Joram Nthathi

FOR nations to prosper, like private companies, I believe they need a
vision; a sense of a common destiny. Zimbabwe's apparently intractable
problems are more to do with lack of a common vision among Zimbabweans than
anything Zanu PF or the MDC can conjure up. The vision, like all
institutions of the state, should vest in the nation, not a mortal
individual. I have a vision of a prosperous, self-sufficient and equitable
Zimbabwe underpinned by the values of honesty, industry and compassion.

I believe a national vision gives people a sense of collective
responsibility for the wellbeing of their nation. Both our major political
parties don't have a clear national vision. Zanu PF believes it has the
policies and the political mandate to rule as it likes. The MDC believes it
has the right policies to rule. None of them wants to share with the other
its vision.

With a common vision vested in the people, it doesn't matter in the
end which political party is in power. People elect into office the party
they believe better articulates that vision. Events since independence amply
demonstrate that without a clear national vision underwritten by strong
enforcement mechanisms, a "sacrosanct" constitution is just an ordinary
piece of paper. History also shows us how monsters like Mussolini and Hitler
rose to power through a perverted so-called popular mandate and would have
ruled their countries for long periods had their rotten ambitions not driven
them to try and dominate the world.

When a nation has no common vision, political parties rule for their
own sake. Witness how we are often fooled that Party A wants another term in
office to complete its programmes. With a common vision, it is the people
who pursue development programmes. Party B knows what the national vision is
and what needs to be done. All the national exertion is towards that ideal
and parties lose power so far as they are seen to deviate too far left or
right of the national vision.

Some naively believe talks between Zanu PF and the MDC will solve our
problems. They will not, they cannot and can never, because none of them
embodies a national vision. The talks are simply and purely about political
power. The MDC wants them because it has no other means of getting into
power. Zanu PF is just going along not to be the spoiler, not to alienate
President Mugabe's regional friends. A national vision demands far broader
engagement of society than the parties vying for power.

A national vision helps us choose political leaders who can best guide
us on the journey to the Promised Land. A political party is elected into
power because it indicates to us the shortest route towards the national
vision. With a clear national vision, politics, like private business,
becomes serious business, not just a road to self-enrichment. National
institutions are fashioned with a view to attaining that vision in the
shortest and least painful way.

The current political paralysis is due to lack of a common vision and
mutually-destructive political rivalry. It is not about political
legitimacy.

The second post-Independence election in 1985 was held under a state
of emergency when the whole of Matabeleland and the Midlands were under a
red terror which claimed the lives of nearly 20 000 and displaced thousands
more. There was further violence soon after the results were announced.
Nobody talked of a crisis of legitimacy. Nobody talked about political
violence, intimidation or rigging of the ballot. Even today we are told with
a straight face that rigging of elections began seven years ago. Which
really sums up the nature of the crisis: it is a crisis of economic
interests and political power.

The crisis in Zimbabwe started well before the land seizures of 2000.
That madness deepened it. We failed to assume collective responsibility as a
nation to set things right. Others saw the chaotic land graps as an
opportunity to gain power by apportioning blame. We all have seen, we all
know what is wrong and we have blamed. None has proposed a national vision
to bring the people together as Zimbabweans to tackle the crisis. Instead,
we are seeking legitimacy from outsiders because we lack a national vision
and a sense of collective responsibility.

African politics is such a messy affair because accidents of history,
opportunistic political leaders want to project themselves as men of destiny
even as the nation lurches from one policy blind alley to another. Without a
common vision, we lose values that move nations forward. People vote for
individuals, not the national vision. People discuss personalities, not
national destiny. People discuss tribes, not national goals. People dream
vengeance, not nation-building. People think about themselves first, the
nation last. People want positions of power to get rich, not to enrich the
nation.

Without a national vision, opposition politics is a death fight. It is
about being negative, relishing the nation's suffering as an opportunity to
attain power. You hear inane arguments like "it is not the duty of the MDC
to save Zanu PF from its mess". The opposition has a duty to serve and save
the nation, not the government of the day.

In Kuwadzana where I stay, before he died tragically, in his short
stint as MP for the area, Learnmore Jongwe had erected a number of
footbridges and other infrastructure. He didn't say this would save Zanu PF.
He didn't wait for his party to come into power. If he were alive today,
people would vote for him because of his positive deeds, not for railing
against Zanu PF.

There is a lot of negativism everywhere about anything initiated by
government because we lack a national vision. Political rivals are the first
to tell us why a policy will fail, but never about how the nation could be
better served. They gloat over every misfortune that befalls a Zanu PF
initiative, from the ill-planned land reform to Reserve Bank governor Gideon
Gono's missed inflation targets.

Everything Zimbabwean is derided for who initiates it, not for what it
can do for national wellbeing. Politics has become the most fertile ground
to sow seeds of hatred across social strata. Daily we are forced to behave
as if there is no meeting point between MDC and Zanu PF supporters and must
accentuate the dichotomy.

This negative disposition has infected companies, creating ambivalence
about where they stand. Anyone who contributes to nation-building invites
rebuke as a collaborator. Instead of business doing business, it is engaged
in politics.

What is not fully-grasped is that once the opposition is in power,
there will be an opposition to it too, with its tentacles in all facets of
national life, from business to culture. Should it also adopt the same
negativism? Where would that lead us to?

There is something to be learnt from the British and American
opposition when it comes to the national interest and national vision. The
duty to serve and save Zimbabwe is everyone's burden. This can only be
evident to all when we have a national vision informed by humane Christian
values.


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Zim Independent Letters

It's a leadership problem

I WANT to respond to what the Reserve Bank governor cited as the cause
of our economic downfall (Independent, July 20).

As true as it might be that the sanctions on our country are affecting
mostly the ordinary people, Gideon Gono did not get to the root cause of it
all. The governor worked as the CEO of a commercial bank and I am sure he
knows the importance of setting conditions before giving out money.

If Western countries are out to support democratic principles such as
respect of property rights as well as human rights, then it makes sense for
them to use whatever is in their hands to further their agenda.

Let's just cut through all this crap Mr Governor and get to the root
cause and get solutions for our country. Whether we like it or not, we have
a president who is not popular in the global community and who has no idea
about dealing with contemporary issues of a global economy as well as
governance.

Our biggest liability as a country is our leadership which thinks
everything has to be millitant. Thank God they fought for our liberation but
please lets be real, we need a new leadership that is in tune with the world
that we are living in. If we are going to solve our problems, let's start by
having a new leadership that can bring people together and knows how to
engage effectively with the international community. We are suffering
because of our leadership.

In my estimation the true measure of a good leader is the quality of
life that that his/her people are living. Our country is bigger than one
person and if Gono understands that, he could do us a big favour by trying
to convince the president that it's time for him to go. We cannot allow him
to drag the whole country with him into the grave.

I am so convinced that if we were to get good leaders tomorrow, we
will be on our way back to a better economy.

I am tired of the same old rhetoric, let's deal with the root cause.
Without a good shephered the sheep get scattered, that is why we are all
over the world.

Mike Manongi,

maco_guyana@hotmail.com

----------------
Leo the cameleon

WHAT are we to understand by Leo Mugabe's attempt to shift the blame
for the eviction of white farmers onto his compatriots; Natahn Shamuyarira
and Ignatious Chombo (Independent, July 20)?

Is he proclaiming to be a "dove" amongst hawks? Or is it simply in
search of absolution? One thing is for certain, Mugabe comes across as one
who chose to be elected under the ruling party ticket, beneffited from its
gravy train but now wishes to be remembered differently.

Such declaration as might be trumpeted at this eleventh hour, does
little to distract from the fact that Leo Mugabe remains negligent and
responsible for failing to ensure the well-being of all his constituents.

His previous silence confirmed his stance. He remains classified with
others as having acted with premeditation to the detriment of the nation. No
new songs, however sweet they might be to our ears, will obliterate the
truth. Instead Leo needs to prepare himself to face what in time will come
to him. In the interim we are left to assess whether we are witnessing a
case of the genuine "prodigal son" or that of "panic"?

Forget me not,

By e-mail.

----------------
Its not sanctions Gono

THE article that appeared in the Independent, July 20 issue by Gideon
Gono charging that many of Zimbabwe's woes come from international sanctions
is facinating stuff!

However, he needs to answer the question, what came first the chicken
or the egg? In this instance the chicken is real democracy and freedom of
speech, the egg being international sanctions.

It is clear that international sanctions were imposed in recognition
of a lack of democracy and freedom of speech.

It follows that the leaders of Zimbabwe need to recognise this and
straighten up their act.

Now is the moment, tomorrow could be too late.

MM,

Diaspora.

--------------
MDC must mobilise people to register

ELECTIONS despite being a lot of other things (rigging, violence etc)
are primarily a numbers game.

I am disappointed that the MDC is not mobilising its supporters to
register to vote in next year's election.

Don't they realise that on average three in four Zimbabweans is not
registed to vote? Three out four of these voters is pro-change. All youths
previously not eligible at last elections can now vote as they have come of
age. Who will these youths vote for? Zanu PF which was trying to close their
schools or for change? Come on MDC, wake up and smell the coffee.

Whether Sadc likes it or not elections will be held next year in March
as things currently stand. What will Sadc do to a "democratically" elected
government?

Get up, stand up and get the people to register now.

CKM.

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