By Mduduzi Mathuthu
Last updated: 07/30/2008 03:20:04
A TOP official from Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) was heading home from South Africa on Tuesday after she was exposed a
day earlier as a media mole in the ongoing power sharing talks.
The dramatic ouster of Theresa Makone, a controversial figure and MP-elect
for the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, came after negotiators from
Zanu PF and the two MDC factions took a decision to feed her false
information after having suspected her of leaking details of the secretive
talks to the international media.
The chief negotiators from the main parties, sources say, entered into a
pact to brief Makone that the talks had collapsed over Zanu PF's
inflexibility, and that Zanu PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas
Goche were flying back to Harare to consult with President Mugabe. The story
was "a rope to let her hang herself, a complete dummy", one diplomatic
Within minutes, the fake story had been "sold" to international news
agencies, despite the parties signing up to a media blackout during the
crunch talks being held under the facilitation of President Thabo Mbeki in
New Zimbabwe.com understands the dramatic mole hunt was initiated at the
behest of Tendai Biti, the MDC-Tsvangirai's secretary general who was
incensed with what appeared to be leaks coming from his own party.
A diplomatic source said: "Biti showed strong leadership. As guests of a
foreign government, the MDC must show it is ready to govern by swiftly
moving to control unruly elements that can cause tremendous damage to the
integrity of the party and its leadership."
Makone, the head of the MDC-T's women's wing and MP-elect for Harare North,
is at the talks as one of two "support officers", with MDC-T national
chairman Lovemore Moyo. The party is represented by Biti and Elton Mangoma
around the negotiating table, while Welshman Ncube and Priscilla
Misihairabwi take part as representatives of the MDC faction led by Arthur
Mutambara. Their support officers are Miriam Mushayi and Moses Mzila Ndlovu.
The Associated Press appeared to profit first from the leaking of the false
information. The news agency's story was soon picked up by the world media -
including the BBC which had quotations on its website from its own MDC
sources suggesting the talks had broken down over Zanu PF's insistence
(false) that Tsvangirai would be a third Vice President in an envisaged
The Associated Press, again quoting MDC sources, said Zanu PF negotiators
Chinamasa and Goche were on their way back to Harare "to consult with
President Robert Mugabe". The story was fake.
New Zimbabwe.com understands Makone was asked to leave the talks - a major
blow to her reputation after she caused fissures within the party when she
was thrust as chair of the women's wing in place of Lucia Matibenga - a very
unpopular move within the party and its trade union movement supporters
where Matibenga has her political base.
Teresa's husband, Ian, is a key adviser to Morgan Tsvangirai who has stood
by the couple as senior figures in the party warned him to act against the
wealthy couple, also thought to be his one-time financiers.
President Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara all signed a historic memorandum
of understanding last week which prohibits the parties from talking to the
media in any detail about the talks.
The talks between Zimbabwe's major political parties were initiated by the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) over a year ago amid rising
political tensions. The talks assumed greater meaning when Tsvangirai pulled
out of a presidential election runoff on June 27, citing violence against
The African Union - while giving Mugabe guarded support after his one-man
election - instructed him to form a unity government with the MDC, saying no
one party could govern alone. The resolution has since received the backing
of the African Union.
The talks are scheduled to last two weeks, which means the first details
could emerge on or around August 4.
No reaction was immediately available from Makone, or the MDC-T last night.
A South African government spokesman confirmed the talks were still on, and
was unaware of any problems.
July 29, 2008
By Our Correspondent
JOHANNESBURG - Officials of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC were mum last
night over a disclosure that a senior official had been caught red-handed
while supplying information about the current power-sharing talks illegally
to the media.
The negotiations have been conducted in a shroud of secrecy in accordance
with a clause of the Memorandum of Understanding signed last week by
President Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leaders
respectively of Zanu-PF and the two MDC parties.
New Zimbabwe.com reported last night that Theresa Makoni, leader of the
women's league of Tsvangirai's mainstream MDC, had been set trapped and
exposed as the mole feeding information about proceedings at the crucial
talks to the media.
Theresa is the wife of Ian Makone, a key advisor to Tsvangirai.
The website reported that Theresa Makone had been trapped at the behest of
MDC secretary general, Tendai Biti, who was allegedly "incensed with what
appeared to be leaks coming from his own party". It was not clear how Biti
became aware that his own delegation was the source of the leaks.
The website quoted a diplomatic source as saying: "Biti showed strong
leadership. As guests of a foreign government, the MDC must show it is ready
to govern by swiftly moving to control unruly elements that can cause
tremendous damage to the integrity of the party and its leadership."
It was not explained how the unnamed diplomat, whether based in Pretoria or
in Harare had so quickly become involved in such a fast-moving series of
events. The website did not disclose either what information Makone had
leaked to the media or where it had been published.
Yesterday, the international wire service, Associated Press, filed a story
to the effect that the crucial talks in Pretoria had collapsed and the
Zanu-PF delegation, comprising cabinet ministers Patrick Chinamasa and
Nicholas Goche, was preparing to depart for Harare.
It was a dramatic story and soon other wire services had picked it up. The
Zimbabwe Times published the brief version by the AP correspondent Michelle
Faul, an experienced Zimbabwean journalist, who seems to have broken the
story. A more detailed version by the BBC was also published on the website.
It is claimed that these details had been fed to Makone by Biti, working in
concert with leaders of the other two delegations, Chinamasa, representing
Zanu-PF and Welshman Ncube secretary general of the other MDC led by Arthur
Mutambara. Biti had reportedly become suspicious that Makone was leaking
information to the media.
New Zimbabwe did not disclose what information Makone had leaked to the
media. In fact since the talks got under way on Thursday no major
information has been published in the media pertaining to the developments
in Pretoria. The closest to a leak was information published in the Sunday
Times in Johannesburg to the effect that the negotiating delegations had
requested to be moved from a three-star guest house outside Pretoria, where
they were initially booked, to more luxurious accommodation in the city.
In fact, the blanket of secrecy thrown over the talks in terms of the
Memorandum of Understanding signed by the three leaders seemed to be working
perfectly well. That was until the dramatic events in Pretoria yesterday to
identify the mole who, allegedly, was leaking the undisclosed information to
In fact by their own conduct yesterday the leaders of the delegations showed
themselves to be in breach of the very MoU they claim to be protecting. They
gave selected sections of the media a full briefing on developments at the
talks in contravention of a crucial clause of the document guiding the
Biti and deputy MDC treasurer, Elton Mangoma, comprise the official
delegation at the talks while Makone, vice president Thoko Khupe and
chairman, Lovemore Moyo are apparently members of a back-up team. The
allegation that it is Biti who orchestrated the expulsion of a member of his
own party from the talks appears to have been calculated to create friction
within the party which constitutes the serious challenge to Zanu-PF and
Mugabe at the talks.
Efforts were in vain last night to obtain an indication of the information
Makone allegedly leaked to the media before she allegedly leaked the
information that was fed to her by Biti, Chinamasa and Ncube, before she was
allegedly expelled from the negotiations.
It was not clear whether Biti emerged from the whole controversy with a
stronger hand or whether he was compromised by the allegations of
impropriety within his delegation. Meanwhile, New Zimbabwe authoritatively
dismissed the story about the talks collapse as false without attributing
the denial to anyone.
"The story was fake," New Zimbabwe declared.
"New Zimbabwe.com understands Makone was asked to leave the talks - a major
blow to her reputation after she caused fissures within the party when she
was thrust as chair of the women's wing in place of Lucia Matibenga - a very
unpopular move within the party and its trade union movement supporters
where Matibenga has her political base.
"Theresa's husband, Ian, is a key adviser to Morgan Tsvangirai who has stood
by the couple as senior figures in the party warned him to act against the
wealthy couple, also thought to be his one-time financiers."
It appears Theresa Makone's alleged leak to Michelle Faul will have far
reaching consequences at the power-sharing talks long after she has returned
Robert Mugabe's campaign to stay in power continues by other means.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008; Page A16
NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN Zimbabwe's government and opposition broke off
yesterday four days after they began, which should have surprised no one who
has followed Robert Mugabe's brutal and uncompromising campaign to remain in
power. Since the 84-year-old strongman lost a presidential election March
29, his thugs have murdered at least 120 people, including some who were
tortured before they died. Villages suspected of supporting the opposition
have been looted and burned, and humanitarian groups have been prohibited
from distributing food. In agreeing to two weeks of talks, opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai obtained a commitment that the violence would end and won
the involvement of international mediators who could help ensure that the
peace was kept. But even that has not stopped the rampage of government
goons in the countryside.
The talks stopped at a predictable point: Mr. Mugabe is refusing to yield
power and instead seeks to manipulate Mr. Tsvangirai into accepting a
subordinate position in the regime. In that aim, Mr. Mugabe is abetted by
the chief broker of the talks, South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has
dedicated the waning months of his own tarnished administration to propping
up one of Africa's most heinous rulers. With the help of dictator-loving
Russia and China, Mr. Mbeki managed to block the U.N. Security Council from
approving new sanctions against Mr. Mugabe's government this month. The two
cronies no doubt hope they can use the negotiations to further deflect
international pressure; if they can co-opt Mr. Tsvangirai, they will have an
argument for lifting the Western sanctions now directed at the regime.
Neither Mr. Tsvangirai nor Western governments should allow such a maneuver.
The only acceptable outcome of Zimbabwe's political bargaining -- if it
resumes -- is a transition to Mr. Mugabe's retirement, the removal of the
criminal clique that supports him and the staging of fresh democratic
elections. The opposition already has offered to spare Mr. Mugabe and others
from prosecution; they could also be allowed to keep some of the assets they
have stolen. But until Mr. Mugabe leaves office, the campaign to punish and
isolate his regime should continue. The Bush administration and European
Union sent the right message last week by approving new sanctions directed
at the Mugabe clique. If the suspension of the talks continues, or if the
talks fail to produce results in the original two-week time frame, the
United States should reopen the debate at the Security Council.
JASON MOYO - Jul 29 2008 06:00
Business confidence in Zimbabwe stands at 2%, a new report showed last week.
A report prepared for the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), the
country's biggest business grouping, said only 2% of the country's top
business executives polled in the six months to June this year "are
optimistic about the business environment". The figure stood at 5% at the
same time last year.
Industry shrunk 28% in 2007 and was operating at 18,9% of capacity, down
from 33,8% in 2006, the Manufacturing Sector Survey said. "Only 4% of
industry is operating above 75% [of capacity]. There is an unprecedented
level of idle capacity in the economy," the report said.
On average, it said, skilled workers earn the equivalent of between $8 and
$10 a month, leading to a mass exodus of skills from the country.
The new report sheds new light on the despair in the business sector. Apart
from operating under world-record inflation, officially estimated at
2,2-million percent -- a rate private economists say is conservative --
business has to deal with the constant threat of state seizure.
Last week, state media reported that a government audit had been launched to
establish the extent of Western ownership of companies operating in
Zimbabwe, "as part of a black empowerment drive and to counter the possible
withdrawal of investment under sanctions imposed and proposed by Britain and
the United States".
This is a reaction to growing pressure on Western companies still operating
in Zimbabwe to pull out of the country, or at least freeze plans for
Robert Mugabe told supporters two weeks ago that he "cannot wait" for
British-owned companies to "heed their government's call to leave".
The media reports said a preliminary audit had shown there was some British
interest in 499 companies operating in Zimbabwe. Of these, 309 were
majority-held by British shareholders and 97 were wholly British-owned.
The audit had also found 353 firms with shareholders from other European
countries, state media claimed. Should these companies withdraw from
Zimbabwe, investors from "friendly countries" would be invited to take over.
Last year, Zimbabwe's Parliament approved the Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Act, which compels large corporations to sell up to 51% of their
shares to black investors. Separate legislation seeks to hand control of
mines to locals, with exemptions made in exchange for social investment.
Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana has previously sought to calm fears on
the effects of the indigenisation law, saying there would not be a wholesale
nationalisation and that the law would be implemented "on a case-by-case
But business is taking the new threats seriously. The CZI recently released
a statement calling for the end of sanctions against the country's ruling
One business leader said last week that the statement was not a reflection
of industry's real views, but "a kind of white flag to Zanu-PF, a pragmatic
move [by business] to calm things down".
Large foreign corporations appear unfazed by the takeover threats or the
pressure to withdraw.
Barclays Zimbabwe, 68%-owned by Barclays of Britain, said: "Barclays has
operated in Zimbabwe for almost 100 years, serving the interests of the
Zimbabwean people under successive governments in a way that we believe to
be responsible and ethical. Wherever we operate, we are apolitical and we
seek to comply with relevant laws."
Last Wednesday, the CZI and the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce said
they hoped the talks in Pretoria "lead to the resolution of our problems,
which have had serious political, social, economic as well as humanitarian"
Tribune Staff 28 July, 2008 10:40:00
In a report, the human rights watchdog the Zimbabwe Peace Project says there
were more that 16400 incidents of political violence
ZImbabwe, Harare-- In a report, the human rights watchdog the Zimbabwe Peace
Project said there were more than 16400 incidents of politically motivated
violence across Zimbabwe through June 30th.
The cumulative report for January-June noted an "exponential increase in
human rights violations," in May in particular with 6,288 documented
incidents. Through June, some 77 murders were reported across the country.
All of those murdered by the ZANU-PF militia, were members and supporters of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
ZANU-PF unleashed gangs of ZANU-PF militia across the wake in the wake of
the March 29 elections that showed Tsvangirai beating long time Zimbabwe
ruler Robert Mugabe.
The report come as a surprise to many as during the month of June there had
been a noted decrease in political violence.
Peace Project National Director Jestina Mukoko indicated their figures were
an underestimate as some of the ZPP field workers had to flee from some of
the most violent areas during the month.
Meanwhile, opposition political sources said a driver abducted by armed
soldiers in Buhera South last Thursday had been released by police Friday
Movement for Democratic Change driver Witness Maambire said that after he
was abducted, the soldiers interrogated him then handed him over to officers
at Muzokomba police station where he underwent further questioning before
being released the following day.
Maambire was abducted in Buhera South where he had gone to pick up victims
of violence who had not been able to obtain medical care, and transport them
He said the soldiers never tortured him, but demanded to know why he was in
the area, to which he responded that he was looking to purchase livestock
MDC officials in Manicaland province said said Buhera remains a no-go area
for opposition members despite calls from some ruling party officials for an
end to violence.
Exchange rate to 1 USD Fri 23
May Z$500 million
Exchange rate to 1 USD Fri 6
June Z$2.4 billion A 380% increase in 2 weeks
Exchange rate to 1 USD Fri 20
June Z$20 billion A 733% increase in 2 weeks or a 3 900% increase in the
past 4 weeks.
Exchange rate to 1 USD Fri 25
July Z$700bilion A 3 400% increase in 5 weeks or 139 900% since 23 May (2
Old Mutual (good forex hedge on
the Stock Exchange) share price 1 January 2008 Z$17
Old Mutual share price 20
June $35 billion (35 000 million)....
Old Mutual share price 25
July $1.2 trillion (1 200 billion).... year to date increase 7 million
If the movement in the exchange
rate for the last nine weeks is calculated on a weekly basis (124% per week) and
annualised, then inflation is presently running at....150 000 000 000 000 000
000% (150 with 18 zeros) or 150 Quintillion percent!!!
Incidentally (and hardly
surprisingly) we have a massive shortage of Zimbabwean cash and hence the cash
rate is vastly different from the transfer rate... 1 USD will cost you Z$100bn
for cash AND the daily bank withdrawal limit is $100bn.....which you can do
Have a good
HARARE, July 29 2008 - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon
Gono, is expected to announce a post presidential election monetary policy
statement on Tuesday to address the country's runaway inflation and
insufficient cash withdrawal limits.
The Central Bank is expected to introduce a $500 billion bearer cheque
before the end of this week, barely a week after the introduction of the
$100 billion bearers cheque. RBZ sources told Radio VOP on Thursday that
Gono would announce a plan to alleviate the biting cash shortages and said
the main focus of his statement would be on the low bank maximum withdrawal
limits. The current withdrawal limits are only sufficient for a one-way
commuter omnibus trip to most residential areas. Gono, who was in Gweru at
the weekend to preside over the opening of the Midlands Agricultural Show,
said he was confident this week's monetary review would bring about the
much-needed relief in the national payment system. However, business
analysts have said the second quarter monetary policy statement was long
overdue and poured cold water on Gono's claims that the post election
blueprint would turnaround Zimbabwe's economic misfortunes. They said the
policy statement was likely to be bereft of sound economic solutions owing
to the Central Bank's quasi-fiscal engagements and continued money supply
growth, which they said was inflationary.
The sources said RBZ is not expected to change the daily accommodation
limits by huge margins.
Earlier this month, the RBZ reviewed the capital requirements of
financial institutions, which are to be complied with by September this
year. The Central Bank also increased accommodation rates to levels that
some banks feared would result in a liquidity crunch.
HARARE, July 29 2008 - A Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) police officer
in Mashonaland East has died from injuries sustained after being severely
assaulted by ZANU PF militia and war veterans in the province two weeks ago.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said in a statement King Muteta, a police
officer in Mudzi North, who was heavily assaulted by 12 war veterans after
visiting his home to check on the welfare his parents, died on Friday, 25
"The incident occurred on the 17th of July 2008 at Chimukoko base in
Muteta village under Chief Chimukoko, Mudzi where Muteta was attacked by 12
war vets led by war vets who could only be identified as Kangora and Gafa.
The hooligans were sponsored by Newten Kachepa and Peter Nyakuba, Zanu PF MP
and councillor respectively," reads part of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
Muteta had allegedly visited his parents, who had been assaulted by
war veterans in the area during the wave of the State-organized violence
that preceded the hotly disputed 27 June presidential run-off.
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the
front-runner, boycotted the poll because of excessive violence against his
supporters by government agents. ZANU PF candidate Robert Mugabe was later
declared the winner of the one-man race.
Monday, 28 July 2008 13:17
THE unrelenting economic meltdown has taken a toll on the provision of
basic social services in Harare, where the majority of the residents says
their lives have been turned upside down with many now virtually leading a
With an estimated population of more than three million people,
Harare, once dubbed the sunshine city, is littered with uncollected refuse
and there is neither running water nor electricity in many places.
Urban dwellers now use firewood for cooking or heating while others
resort to any vegetation in greenways or municipal gardens to relieve
themselves because the toilets have no water. In the process the general
health standards in the capital have been dangerously compromised.
Most streetlights ceased working ages ago while in the areas where
there is water, raw sewage flows freely forming permanent rivulets around
homes and onto public thoroughfares and streets. Bare-footed children,
oblivious to the health hazards involved, play in the raw sewage as there is
no other spaces available.
For over a month, residents of Msasa Park have been without running
water while Dzivarasekwa, Budiriro, Kambuzuma, Mufakose and Highfield have
been having erratic water supplies since mid-July.
Equally affected are the posh suburbs of Gunhill, Highlands, Mandara,
Borrowdale and Chisipite, where some residents said last week they last had
running water in 2005.
Other badly hit suburbs include Mabvuku, Tafara and Ruwa, where
certain sections last had clean running water two years ago.
"We have not had running water for the past six months and we have
since stopped using the toilets because they are blocked. People here use
the bush," said Progress Moyo (62), a mother of seven who has lived in
Mabvuku for almost half a century.
Schools regularly turn away pupils away because there is no water for
drinking or water ablution facilities. In some schools, teachers order
pupils to bring a litre of water everyday for use in the toilets.
"We have to do that because if they (pupils) come here without water
there will be an outbreak of diseases. We are just being cautious," said a
Kambuzuma primary school headmaster. In some instances, the pupils fail to
fulfill this requirement because there is no water at their homes either.
But of major concern to the school authorities is that on a number of
occasions, there have been outbreaks of water-borne diseases like dysentery
and cholera, which have claimed scores of lives in the past year.
Kathy Warnich of Greengrove in Greendale said they last had water on
July 13 and Zinwa failed to live up to its promises that supplies would be
"We last had water on the 13th of this month and we were assured that
water would be restored but up to now, nothing has happened," Warnich said.
She also lamented the fact that Zinwa had failed to provide water
bowsers to the area despite a public undertaking to do so. Warnich, who
lives with her husband and an elderly woman, said the water crisis was now
beyond her capacity to cope with while the monthly charges keep on rising
"I don't have any idea what we are paying for every month. Our bills
keep on rising yet we are not getting the water," Warnich said.
The city's largest residents' representative body, the Combined Harare
Residents' Association (Chra) has slammed the general deterioration in
provision of services in the Harare metropolitan area.
It said it was deeply concerned by the persistence of the water crisis
despite the countless assurances by Zinwa that its service delivery would
improve. Chra chief executive officer Barnabas Mangodza fears the absence of
water could soon result in a serious health catastrophe.
"The persistence of the water crisis simply means the constant
exposure of the residents to a health disaster," he said.
Mangodza deplored the government's decision to give Zinwa the mandate
to manage the water supply system for Harare and other cities. He said it
was self-evident Zinwa does not have the capacity to run and manage the
water supply system for the city of Harare.
"This was a reckless decision, which continues to haunt residents in
all towns; as well as threaten their dear lives," Mangodza said.
Residents of Glen View last week petitioned Zinwa over the water
The Glen View Residents' Trust demanded that Zinwa stop the collection
of revenue "for services it does not offer."
"We are also demanding that water management responsibility be
surrendered to our local authority, the City of Harare," said GVRT deputy
co-ordinator Fortune Munyonga.
But water is not the only scarce commodity in Harare.
Sections of Highfield, Kuwadzana, Budiriro and Mabelreign have been
without electricity for the past three weeks.
"We have made several calls to Zesa but nothing has materialised. At
one time I was told there was no fuel. And now they are saying thieves
drained oil from a local sub-station," said David Gudyanga of Highfield's
A senior Zesa official said power cuts were likely to worsen as the
authority has no foreign currency with which to import electricity from
traditional suppliers such as South Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
Apart from that, he said, the shortage of foreign currency means that
the authority cannot import spare parts and other accessories that need to
"We should actually brace for a more difficult time ahead," he said.
Zesa public relations manager Fullard Gwasira was not immediately
available for comment.
Compounding the problems of city residents is the fact that
uncollected rubbish is piling up in both high and low-density suburbs as
well as the central business district.
Street alleys reek of human waste and rotting garbage that has lain
untouched for months as council fails to collect the waste due to alleged
mismanagement exacerbated by the country's crippling fuel shortage and
breakdowns at power stations.
Harare's roads are riddled with potholes and the newly elected council
only recently started to work on some of the major roads.
Raw sewage has been allowed to spill into Harare's main water sources
such as Lake Chivero, to the west of the capital, threatening an untold
health catastrophe for its residents.
Government took control of Harare after voters elected Elias Mudzuri,
of the MDC, as mayor in 2002. All efforts by Mudzuri to run the city
efficiently were blocked by the government, which later dismissed him and
appointed its own commissioners, handpicked by Local Government Minister,
Ignatius Chombo, to run the capital.
But the new Harare Mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda, is reaching out to
residents of the capital to work together for the good of the city.
"I am under no illusions about the matters that have to be achieved
and attended to and it's a question of all of us constructively engaging
each other towards one goal and that is to make our city work," he told The
By Caiphas Chimhete
Monday, 28 July 2008 13:15
THE government is mulling taking over sugar distribution and arresting
anyone found selling outside its designated distribution points.
Industry and International Trade deputy minister, Phineas Chihota
stunned business leaders at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce
congress last week when he announced that the government is going to take
over all the sugar on the market and anyone caught selling the commodity
would be slapped with a five-year prison sentence without the option of a
He accused the business sector of fraudulently exporting sugar to
neighbouring countries and pointed out that most sugar was being sold on the
ZNCC past president, Luxon Zembe told the deputy minister that the
planned move demonstrated that the government was unwilling to work with
"Your announcement is a clear statement to us that government has no
faith in the business sector, we are worried and concerned," Zembe said.
He warned that the move could have disastrous consequences and could
be abused by government officials to "line their pockets".
In response, Chihota said fears that the decision would be an avenue
through which government officials would benefit at the expense of the
general public were only assumptions and that as government they would
implement the decision.
Sugar is currently being sold at between $300 and $400 billion for a
2kg packet on the parallel market. Sugar producing companies could not be
reached immediately for their comment.
Meanwhile Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) officials said
last week the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between
Zimbabwe's political rivals, Zanu PF and MDC, should encourage global
financiers to start working with Zimbabwe and help the country out of an
ongoing economic meltdown.
Addressing journalists last Wednesday, CZI president Callisto Jokonya
urged the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African
Development Bank (AfDB) among others to appreciate Zimbabwe politicians'
efforts to restore unity in the country.
"We encourage them to take this as a positive step and start now to
work with Zimbabwe so we can craft a turnaround package for our economy,"
Jokonya said. "We do not have to wait for two weeks of negotiation," he
Zanu PF's President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara last Monday signed a MoU and pledged to
strike a political settlement deal after two weeks of negotiations.
Jokonya, together with former CZI bosses Pattison Sithole and Anthony
Mandiwanza welcomed the development, saying business pegged its hopes of
economic revival on it.
Zimbabwe's economy has been on the decline in the past eight years and
economic analysts say the situation is being worsened by lack of access to
international credit lines among others.
Analysts accuse Mugabe's government of disqualifying the country from
global funding through undermining some of the requirements, among them loan
"We expect Zimbabwe to be restored into the international community
and we hope to access lines of credit and to be able to penetrate some
markets which were difficult to penetrate," Sithole said.
Mandiwanza said while pushing for global funding, the business
community should also prioritise discipline in their operations and fight
corruption which had been robust.
The business leaders said they also expected a new political
dispensation which will give birth to sound economic policies that will
favour business growth.
They said the country still has robust infrastructure that can be
turned around in the short term and be fully utilised to restore high
productivity and growth levels of the 1990s.
"We cannot wait to see our shelves full of basic commodities to feed
our people," Mandiwanza said. "Zimbabwe must produce what it consumes."
But economic commentator John Robertson said the biggest challenge
will be to regain trust within the global economy.
"People do not trust Mugabe because he has broken promises before," he
said. "Tsvangirai sets a higher moral tone and with him in charge financiers
will take a chance and lend to us."
Monday, 28 July 2008 13:13
IN the majority of cases the threat of operating in a hostile media
environment comes from a paranoid state that is unsettled by the constant
prying of pesky newspapers.
However, the latest threat to publications such as The Standard, the
Zimbabwe Independent and the Financial Gazette appears to come from an
Readers of the three publications will have noticed that the cover
price changes on an almost weekly basis. The latest round of increases puts
the price of the three newspapers at $500 billion each - five times the
maximum daily cash withdrawal banks will allow an individual.
The increases come on the back of massive price hikes by the printing
factory. The cost of printing has risen by 6 414% from June 27 to July 26.
All the three newspapers The Standard, the Zimbabwe Independent, and
the Financial Gazette provide the bulk of the inputs that go into the
printing of the three titles - newsprint, films and plates. This raises
serious concerns about the justification for such stratospheric increases.
The Zimind group, publishers of the Zimbabwe Independent and The
Standard, has a 25% shareholding in PrintCo, the printers of the newspapers.
That stake, however, does not translate into a cover price that readers can
Last Wednesday the printers "advised" that printing charges for this
issue of The Standard had gone up to $226 trillion per section for a
quantity of up to 10 000 copies. For a quantity of up to 15 000 the charges
are $312 trillion per section and for up to 20 000 $398 trillion per
Subsequent quantities are pro-rated to the nearest thousand.
"However," said the printers, "we are offering a discount for amounts
paid in cash of which the discount would be negotiated at the time of
payment. If you are willing to pay for this week's publication using cash
before the job is done, we can stick to last week's charges."
Saying the Zimind group appears to have no say in the escalating
printing charges, Group CEO, Raphael Khumalo described what is happening at
the printers as "cost opportunism run riot" that could result in the
shutting down of the two newspapers. "There is no plan to close right now,"
he said, "but the price hikes are unsustainable and a threat to our
well-being as a business".
"There is absolutely no justification," Khumalo said. "Their overheads
are taking over 80% against consumables including inks which take below 20%.
There is need for urgent intervention."
The printing charges provide for fuel, salaries, wear and tear,
electricity, water etc. However, it is clear from the breakdown of their
overheads that their salary and fuel bills are more than similar costs
incurred by the Zimind group and Financial Gazette even though they have
fewer numbers of employees.
Khumalo feared a "sinister motive" behind the spiralling printing
At the time of writing, questions sent to the chairperson of the print
company - Tunatemore - Jethro Goko, who is based in South Africa had not
been responded to.
Iden Wetherell, chairman of the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, said
of the printing price escalations: "This is suffocation by other means."
Monday, 28 July 2008 13:11
Lecturers at state universities, who have been on a go slow for the
past three weeks, demanding salaries of US$1 200 for the least paid academic
staff have threatened to down tools this week if their grievances are not
The Zimbabwe State Universities Union of Academics (Zisua), which
represents lecturers from the seven government-run universities met at the
National University of Science and Technology (Nust) on Friday where they
made the demands.
The academics join a long list of professionals who are now rejecting
remuneration in local currency, whose value is depreciating on a daily basis
against major currencies.
"We will inform the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education by
Monday of our intention to go on strike indefinitely if our grievances are
not met," said a Zisua official on condition he was not named.
"The lecturers want their salaries pegged at the prevailing interbank
rate or US$1 200 for the least paid and this is a big climb down from the
US$2 000 that we had asked from the ministry."
The least paid lecturer is said to have earned $80 billion last month,
an amount not even enough for a two-way commuter bus fare.
The academics are also demanding vehicle loans and housing stands
before they can resume their duties. Similar benefits were recently extended
to health professionals who were given cars by government through the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
"The government demonstrated that it had the ability to meet these
demands and we are not going back to work until they are met," said the
official. "If it can embark on such an extensive farm mechanisation
programme and offer such incentives to health workers, what is stopping it
from extending those benefits to people who are helping train vital manpower
for the nation?"
The disgruntlement among academics at the universities reached fever
pitch this month as they started a go-slow in frustration.
The official said operations were almost at a standstill at the
University of Zimbabwe, Nust, Lupane State University, Chinhoyi State
University, Masvingo State University and Bindura University of Science and
"I can confirm that even non-academic staff members have stopped
coming to work because they are not happy with what their employer is paying
them," said Nust Educators' Association chairperson, Sam Chabwira.
Stan Mudenge, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, was not
immediately available for comment.
Standards at state universities continue to suffer from a serious
brain drain that has seen lecturers migrating to neighbouring countries in
search of greener pastures.
By Nqolwani Nyathi
Monday, 28 July 2008 13:06
THE United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee on Friday
honoured 19 Zimbabwean students who recently won scholarships to pursue
undergraduate studies at various US universities and colleges.
The students, drawn from all the country's provinces, were offered
fully funded four-year scholarships with a combined value of more than US$5
million. They were funded through the United States Student Achievers
Programme (USAP), which identifies and assists talented but less privileged
high school graduates. The students are given full scholarships covering
tuition and fees, accommodation, stationery and other expenses for
In brief remarks to the students, McGee said the scholarships offered
the students "a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in Zimbabwe".
"You have the future in front of you and you have been offered such a
wonderful opportunity to make a difference in Zimbabwe," McGee said. "You
are the future of Zimbabwe . . . I know each and every one of you will do
Unlike in the past where USAP beneficiaries were drawn mostly from the
capital, Harare, this year the students were drawn from across the country,
covering such high schools as Thornhill, Regina Mundi and Guinea Fowl High,
Murehwa and Kutama College, Goromonzi, Monte Cassino and St Dominic's,
Highfield, Seke I and Zengeza I.
The US Educational Advisor in Harare, Rebecca Zeigler-Mano, said this
year's group was the "most outstanding" since the establishment of the
programme in 1999.
The students were offered scholarships to such highly acclaimed
universities as Harvard, Brown, Yale, York and Tufts, among others.
Monday, 28 July 2008 13:02
Jostling for posts in a future government has witnessed the
resurfacing of serious divisions among senior Zanu PF leaders in
Matabeleland that has seen them accusing each other of trying to endear
themselves to President Robert Mugabe through gossip.
A number of influential Zanu PF politicians are likely to be left in
the cold when a new cabinet is announced after they lost their bids for
House of Assembly seats during the March elections.
Sources said this has led to political back biting that has escalated
into public spats akin to those that marred Zanu PF's campaigns ahead of the
Vice-President Joseph Msika hit a raw nerve three weeks ago when he
organised victory celebrations for President Robert Mugabe at his Gumtree
business centre in Bulawayo.
He lashed out at politicians from Matabeleland who were allegedly
gossiping about their colleagues from the region, in what he said were
efforts to curry favour with Mugabe.
"There are some of you who work with people in Harare so that you can
impose your stooges on the region," Msika said. "You are reckless in your
thinking, you are careless.
"Others are gossiping with people in Harare and they hope that they
will be given ministerial posts."
Msika's comments were published in the state-controlled Sunday News
and it reportedly sparked complaints by some of the politicians who felt
that they were the targets of Msika's barbs.
Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu and Bulawayo
governor Cain Mathema were the most senior Zanu PF officials who were not
invited to the party, which was ostensibly for the ruling party leadership
Sources said the two were the targets of Msika's outbursts following
suspicions that they were spreading information questioning the loyalty of
former PF Zapu leaders to President Mugabe.
Last weekend Mpofu, who was one of only four Zanu PF candidates who
won seats in the House of Assembly from Matabeleland North, organised his
own "victory celebrations" where his address sounded like a reply to Msika.
"We were chosen by the people," he told his supporters. "We don't go
looking for posts because our posts are here with the people.
"There are some people who want to divide us by holding meetings
without us yet they are in my constituency."
Gumtree is in Mpofu's Umguza constituency. The presence of war
veterans' leader, Jabulani Sibanda at the event, which was held at
Nyamandlovu Primary School also sent tongues wagging.
Sibanda was expelled from Zanu PF in 2004 for disobeying the former PF
Zapu leaders from Matabeleland.
Attempts to bring back the former Zanu PF chairman for Bulawayo
province through the back door almost split the ruling party as Msika and
national chairman, John Nkomo, strongly protested.
In the run-up to the March elections, Mpofu ruffled feathers in
Matabeleland when he told Mugabe that some leaders were campaigning for
independent presidential candidate, Simba Makoni.
Mpofu and Mathema also drew Msika's ire when they labelled former
Zipra intelligence supremo, Dumiso Dabengwa a sellout after he openly backed
The two almost walked out of last year's Zanu PF special congress that
endorsed Mugabe's candidature in the March elections after attempts were
made to give Sibanda the podium.
Zanu PF heavyweights have also clashed over the distribution of
maize-meal in Bulawayo prompting Mugabe to plead with them to end their
By Nqobani Nyathi
Monday, 28 July 2008 13:00
THE local and international media presented the choreographed
"serious" side to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by
the three political leaders on Monday last week.
The Standard, which had a ringside seat to the unfolding developments,
can present the other side of the coin of events which took place at a hotel
in Harare when President Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara signed the MoU in the presence of South African President Thabo
What remains unknown to many is that Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara
had signed the MoU without shaking hands.
The three only shook hands after an alert journalist asked why they
had not done so and if it was an indication that relations were still
South African President Thabo Mbeki diplomatically played down the
gaffe saying: "In fact, they shook hands, you did not see them because you
were hiding behind the podium but they will do it again."
When the programme ended, Tsvangirai, Mbeki, Mugabe and Mutambara
stood up to depart amid howls of protest from the journalists who wanted to
see the combatants shaking hands for a possible award-winning picture or
Mbeki, realising the oversight quickly summoned them to get together
and shake hands.
A glum-looking Mugabe then seized the moment and shook hands with his
rivals before raising their hands in a show of unity.
The programme started with Mbeki sauntering into the conference hall
and cracking jokes with hordes of journalists.
He announced that the political leaders would arrive separately with
Mutambara coming first, followed by Tsvangirai then Mugabe.
"They are all definitely coming. They have assured me that they will
come," he said apparently addressing possible fears that Tsvangirai would
pull out at the last minute.
When the signing was done, Mbeki was faced with a dilemma.
Each of the political leaders was supposed to make a short statement
but nobody appeared to have thought of the order in which they would speak.
"I don't have a coin to decide who will speak first," he said.
The wily Mugabe who seemed disinterested in the process suddenly came
alive and offered an immediate solution.
"What about in the order in which we came in?" his baritone voice
boomed, drawing laughter from diplomats, journalists and politicians who saw
through his suggestion which would put him at an advantage as he would be
the last to speak.
Former St Mary's MP Job Sikhala light-heartedly protested about Mugabe's
"Chamisa, Chamisa, mudhara uyu akangwarisa ave kutotitsotsa.
Totokangwarira pama talks (Chamisa, Chamisa, we have to be wary of this old
man, he is already out-foxing us. We have to watch him when it comes to the
talks)," he said to MDC-T spokesman, Nelson Chamisa warning him that they
needed to guard against being outmanoeuvred by the world's oldest president.
Senior politicians from the three different political parties seemed
to be ready to reconcile as they hugged.
One MDC-T politician chided a Zanu PF official saying somebody
appeared to be neglecting Mugabe as his long hair needed the urgent
attention of a barber.
The tensions between Mugabe and Tsvangirai were obvious, especially
after the MDC-T leader described Mugabe as the president of Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai appeared to rub it in when he said Mugabe was leader of the
ruling party while he (Tsvangirai) represented the winning party.
He however came unstuck when he mistakenly said the last time he had a
face-to-face meeting with Mugabe was in 1978.
The journalists had a good laugh.
Politicians from the Mutambara faction laughed in exaggerated glee.
As Tsvangirai corrected himself and said he meant 1998, Mugabe smiled
for the first time, relishing Tsvangirai's discomfort.
The president must have either dozed off or lost concentration because
when his turn came to speak, he did not seem to know it until loud whispers
were made to him.
Naturally he spoke about the need for the talks to cast away the
influence of Britain and the United States.
Following the signing of the MoU, Zimbabweans who have managed to see
humour even in their hardships are already coming up with speculative
suggestions on what exchanges could have taken place when Tsvangirai and
Mugabe met for the first time in a decade.
By Foster Dongozi
Monday, 28 July 2008 12:57
ONLY four percent of companies in the manufacturing sector are
operating above 75% capacity as the economic crisis takes a toll on the once
vibrant industry, a report released on Wednesday shows.
The revelations, contained in the CZI Manufacturing Sector Survey 2008
report, reflect that the industry is under pressure from the harsh operating
The report noted that over 75% of the sampled companies are operating
at less than 50% capacity utilisation.
"There are therefore unprecedented levels of idle capacity in the
economy," it said.
The weighted capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector dropped
to an all time low of 18,9% compared to 33,8% and 35% in 2006 and 2005
"This confirms that industry continues to be under pressure from
operating environment," the survey said.
The report said the economy is slowly dollarizing as all prices were
pegged to a more stable currency.
It said at the point of transactions local manufacturers were forced
to factor in depreciation of the local currency between them invoicing and
having access to the funds. The result is their local currency pricing
"appears" to be too high in real terms, it said.
"This has led to aggressive de-industrialisation as more companies are
opting for direct imports as opposed to buying from local suppliers," the
"Dollarisation within a rapidly devaluing currency is accelerating
The manufacturing sector contributes 17% to the Gross Domestic
Product. At its peak between 1980 and 1990, the sector was the biggest
contributor to GDP at 22%.
The survey estimates that the manufacturing sector's domestic content
inputs are a maximum of 60% from agriculture and 40% from the mining sector.
"Ironically, the below potential performance of the agricultural
sector over the last few years owing to droughts has contributed to the low
capacity utilisation in manufacturing," it said.
The survey said due to the constraints, the manufacturing sector's
contribution to exports has declined to 17% last year from a peak of 45%
between 1980 and 1990.
The report says employment levels in the sector have dropped by 28%
compared to 12,2% in 2006.
". . . it can be deduced that idle time at work has increased
significantly," it said. "Unfortunately the combination of idleness and a
wage lower than a living wage can lead to higher levels of pilferage at work
In his opening remarks Callisto Jokonya, CZI president, said
distortions industry spoke about seven years ago were still outstanding.
"Issues are still relevant today. We have ears and we can't hear, we
have good advice but we can't take it," Jokonya said.
Jokonya blasted the manufacturing of inflation by the monetary policy
through endless printing of money and said Zimbabwe was a nation that was
"good at pointing fingers at each other".
"We lack credibility. We no longer have values," Jokonya said.
But Phineas Chihota, Industry and International Trade deputy minister,
said the central bank did not enjoy printing money.
"It is not exciting that people are printing money. They are not happy
with it," Chihota said.
Jokonya said the brain drain facing the nation was a result of
pittance wages and salaries paid to employees.
"The minimum wage is $1,5 trillion and it means that at the end of the
month, one is receiving less than US$2," he said.
The report says at all levels, the workforce is intrinsically and
subconsciously demoralised and has lost any drive for work thereby affecting
It recommends the streamlining of the workforce "and then aim to pay a
living wage equivalent of US$30 for the staff as a minimum".
By Ndamu Sandu
Monday, 28 July 2008 12:54
SMM Holdings (UK) company secretary Barry Lewis says AMG Global
Nominees, the company used by the government to takeover assets from
businessman Mutumwa Mawere, has not disclosed its true identity adding a new
twist to the ongoing wrangle ahead of the 3 November court case.
In November the UK Court will hear an appeal by AMG Global Nominees,
which is seeking a rectification order of the shareholder register of
Shabani Mashaba Mine Holdings, a company registered in London.
This follows a May ruling by a UK Court that threw out AMG's bid to
buy SMM Holdings from its former owners after the government took over
Mawere's assets in 2004 accusing the businessman of externalising foreign
In October 2004, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) paid US$2 million
on behalf of AMG to buy the share warrants to SMM Holdings, a subsidiary of
Africa Resources Limited (ARL), from its former owners Turner and Newell Ltd
ARL had originally purchased SMM, whose assets included two
Zimbabwe-based asbestos mines, for US$60 million in March 1996 from the
Manchester-based T&N. It paid US$37 million leaving an outstanding balance
of US$23 million.
After buying the share warrants from Kroll, the Zimbabwe government
took AMG to the London courts, where ARL is registered, to try and force
Mawere to divest share control in the company.
But in a stunning revelation Lewis told Standardbusiness that
non-disclosure by AMG as to its true identity is material and significant to
the legal proceedings in the UK.
"AMG is a shelf company with no assets," Lewis said.
Lewis questioned the involvement of the RBZ in AMG's bid to take over
SMMH and THZ Holdings.
"It is significant that at the meeting of 27 October 2004, AMG was
represented by Mr Chiremba, an employee of the Reserve Bank," Lewis said.
"Why would the RBZ be involved in the affairs of a private company?"
He said the government of Zimbabwe had no problems busting sanctions
in the UK and procuring the services of UK nationals to pursue illegal
"It is instructive that Mr Chiremba was instrumental in negotiating
the deal that would have resulted in the government of Zimbabwe perfecting
the nationalisation of SMM Holdings Limited and THZ Holdings Limited, both
being companies incorporated in the UK, without any compensation," he said.
Minutes obtained by Standardbusiness showed that RBZ was represented
at one such meeting to hammer out a deal in which AMG would take over both
SMMH and THZ Holdings Limited.
The meeting was held on 27 October 2004 and was attended by executives
from Kroll, DentonWildeSapte, SMM Holdings and RBZ. DentonWildeSapte is the
English law firm while Kroll were the administrators of T&N, the former
owners of SMM Holdings and THZ Holdings.
When it was said at the meeting that AMG has to pay US$2 million in a
one-off payment to get the share warrants, RBZ said "this would be difficult
and there were constraints on foreign currency all the time but sometimes
one has to just put one's head on the block". "They did not want to waste
anybody's time," the minutes said.
Arafas Gwaradzimba, AMG chief was unreachable last week. His office
said the he was out of town and would be back in office tomorrow.
By Ndamu Sandu
Monday, 28 July 2008 11:22
THE background music couldn't have been better chosen. Tunes included
all time favourites such as:
*"Everybody's talking at me, / Don't hear a word they saying, / Only
the echoes of my mind."
*"I talk to the trees, / But no one's listening to me."
*"To dream the impossible dream."
*"There's a place for us, / Somewhere a place for us."
The entirely neutral referee warmly welcomes the contestants. He
points out that there can obviously be only one winner -the comrade with the
most politically correct ideology, the comrade who's prepared to protect the
nation's sovereignty against the evil machinations of western
neo-imperialism. The reference team members are somewhat perturbed by this
observation, but then, in the absence of mum's authorisation to do
otherwise, they decide to remain mum.
The ref observes that the proceedings are deliberately being held at a
clandestine venue (the basement of the Kokstad Imperial Palace Hotel). He
says the negotiations will take place in the utmost secrecy, and any
agreement reached is never to be disclosed to anyone else, particularly
silly persons from civil society organisations, members of which are often
far from civil. The ref then introduces the proceedings:
For those of you who can't spell, let me spell out everything you need
to know about negotiations. A "negotiation" is "a discussion intended to
produce an agreement or a bargaining (give and take) process between two or
more parties (each with its own aims, needs, and viewpoints) seeking to
discover a common ground and reach an agreement to settle a matter of mutual
concern or resolve a conflict." However, you can forget about any gouging
out of each other's eyes, biting off pieces of ears, Mike Tyson style,
striking low, painful, below the belt blows and suchlike. I want a good
clean contest with a lot of give from the one side and most of the take by
the other. What we need is a truly African solution to African problems,
without creating any African difficulties. No hyper-extravagant or
hyper-insulting language will be permitted. Just leave the hyper to the
thriving domain of monetary inflation.
Now, as the Queensberry rules require, I'll proceed to lock you all up
in a room, which we affectionately refer to as the Torture Room. There'll be
no food, water, alcoholic beverages, mistresses, comfort girls or internet
access. You'll only be liberated from this room when you announce that you've
reached a mutually acceptable agreement or, alternatively, you've knocked
out your opponents or worse, or forced them to submit. So let's get ready to
To start off with, those outside the room could only hear
imprecations, threats, insults and abuse. Eventually the tone became less
raucous and bellicose, probably due to increasing exhaustion and hunger.
The mediator and spooks had a far better insight into what was going
on. They were closely monitoring proceedings, having commissioned Mr Ben
Menashe to install a secret spy camera inside the room. Unfortunately the
sound and picture quality were very poor, and only snippets of the
discussions could be picked up. Nonetheless this videotape remains a rich
source of information about what actually happened during the negotiations.
Here is a selection of sound bites:
*What on earth do you mean by a people-driven Constitution?
*If you want to play fast and loose, why don't you enter the Beijing
*Don't you realise that as land is the economy and the economy is
land, each Chef must have many farms?
*Taking into account hyperinflation, surely now you should be talking
about trillion percent empowerment and quadrillion percent independence.
*If you show me your liberation war credentials, I will show you mine.
*You must surely know by now that the only source of reliable
information is the ZBC news.
*The best way to deal with our economic crisis is to expropriate
*If we accept your terms, we would be as naïve as Neville Chamberlain
thinking he could enter into a binding deal with Mr Adolph.
*A fool and his political party are easily parted.
*We cannot answer that question until the Generals have told us what
*I would kill for a few stiff whiskies right now.
*If you want to negotiate with us, wouldn't it be a good idea to
instruct your goons to stop killing us?
*Tell your tea boy to stop serving tea to his obese puppet masters.
*Negotiating with you is like Dr Faust negotiating a deal with the
*Traitors should go hang a thousand times.
*Let's sign this agreement with a gun rather than a ballpoint pen
because a gun's more powerful.
*Only the Almighty can remove those whom He ordained.
*There must be no JOCkeying for power in the new Zimbabwe
*What on earth is wrong with the old Zimbabwe?
The negotiations were completely successful. Everyone heartily shook
hands and then immediately went to wash off the contamination. Everyone was
satisfied with the outcome, but no one was pleased with it; everyone got
exactly what he or she wanted, but no one got what he or she desired; the
future was now assured, but no one was confident that it would be good.
As the delegates departed, one was heard plaintively singing: "Fly me
to the moon and let me play among the stars, / Let me see what life is like
on Jupiter and Mars."
The nation let out a gigantic sigh of relief. It was indeed eternally
grateful for the deal struck by its wise statespersons. But there was still
a nagging question, would the deal stop people being struck?
Monday, 28 July 2008 11:18
THERE is a sense, after the so-called "Historic Handshake" between
Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe on 21 July 2008, that Zimbabwe has
reached an "oasis moment".
It is that point in a long and treacherous trip in the Sahara when,
thirsty and weary, one suddenly sees a canopy of palm trees in the distant
horizon, a sign that, perhaps, finally you have come across an oasis, a
source of renewal.
Such moments invoke an eclectic mixture of emotions - hopes, dreams
and also, fears. One is energised by the thought of salvation from the
torture of the desert elements. But there is also the fear that the oasis
may be no more than a mirage; that fatigue may be the great impediment to
reaching the oasis. That is why, in the language of the desert, they talk of
dying of thirst when the palm trees appear in the horizon.
And so it is that for the first time in 10 years, a troubled journey
of few highs and many lows, Zimbabweans can see the palm trees in the
horizon. But their reaction to the signing of the Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) for negotiations between the country's political rivals
is laced with cautious optimism or to put it more bluntly, scepticism.
That is not surprising. For a people failed so many times before by
politicians, scepticism is the best insurance policy against likely
disappointment. You do not raise your hopes too high. You always leave room
in your heart to say, "Anyway, I knew it would never work". Zimbabweans have
been mentally scarred too many times before; they have seen lofty dreams
turn into nightmares. So, now, they say, simply, "tege-e tichiona" (we will
wait and see).
But beyond questions over the sincerity and genuine will of the
politicians, there is something else that is not obvious in the equation of
Zimbabwe's future that will determine the success or failure of this current
It is the fact that Zimbabwean politicians, let alone the Zimbabwean
citizens generally, no longer hold the country's economic fate in their own
hands. One of the consequences of Zanu PF's failures is that it has so
impoverished the people and made them so powerless and left the country ever
more vulnerable to the whims of external forces.
There is the circumstance, therefore, that a political deal between
Zimbabweans will, ultimately, depend on whether it is deemed acceptable by
the international community and in particular, the economically powerful
West. And there is no guarantee that it will. Zimbabweans thus face a
scenario where their politicians might agree to do a deal but find,
ultimately, that it will not be deemed acceptable by some members of the
community of nations. Africa is likely to take any deal that ensures some
stability. It is not clear that the West would take the same position.
Zimbabwe's economic collapse has resulted largely from poor policies,
incompetence and corruption on the part of government. But in later years it
also suffered heavily from financial and economic ostracisation in the
community of nations.
Although the mantra is that Zimbabwe is subjected only to targeted
travel and financial sanctions against select members of the Zimbabwe
government, the reality is that Zimbabwe as a country has largely been
ostracised by the international financial institutions and multi-lateral
development banks. By September 2000, international financial institutions
and multi-lateral development banks, including the IMF, had effectively shut
avenues for financial support and credit to Zimbabwe, except, perhaps for
humanitarian purposes. They certainly had their good reasons for taking
those measures but this exclusion combined with local incompetence and
corruption to cause a brutally slow and painful demise of the Zimbabwean
A closer look at one of the key legislative instruments that provide a
backdrop to the financial ostracisation, namely the US Congress' Zimbabwe
Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), gives some indication as to
why the outcome of the talks is, ultimately, dependent on the goodwill and
support of the international community.
ZIDERA effectively blocks, through the executive directors
representing the US in international financial institutions, "support that
is intended to promote Zimbabwe's economic recovery and development, the
stabilisation of the Zimbabwe dollar, and the viability of Zimbabwe's
democratic institutions". This is, it must be emphasized, a separate set of
measures from the targeted travel sanctions against individuals as provided
for under Section 6 of ZIDERA and which this article does not specifically
Any change to the US policy in respect of economic support from the
international financial institutions under this law ultimately rests on the
certification by the US President that certain conditions have been
satisfied in Zimbabwe. These conditions include:
* restoration of the rule of law, which includes respect for property
rights and the cessation of government-backed violence;
* that there is an internationally-monitored and recognised free and
fair presidential election in accordance with international standards;
* equitable, legal and transparent land reform programme consistent
with agreements of the 1998 Donors' Conference;
* Demilitarisation of the civil arms of government and subordination
of the military to the civilian government.
It follows, therefore, that, unless these conditions are satisfied,
there remains the possibility that US policy would not change. In this
particular case, it is unlikely that an internationally monitored and
acceptable presidential election will be held in the short term and may, at
best, only come at the end of a transitional period. If the US were to
insist that this condition must be fulfilled to the letter before dispensing
with the financial/economic restrictions towards Zimbabwe that might well
strangle the new baby at birth. If the transitional authority remains
cut-off from the channels of support from international financial
institutions and multi-lateral development banks, its stability and
prospects of economic recovery will be severely limited.
The trouble is neither Zanu PF nor the MDC have the capacity to
determine the policy decisions of the US and the EU in these matters. They
have their own reasons for imposing the sanctions and they also have their
own domestic constituencies to account to for their actions. For this
reason, the situation is that talks will have to address the issues raised
not simply by Zimbabweans but also those issues that may be raised by the
West. The possibility of clashes is not insignificant.
Yet the threat of sanctions requires careful treatment. It remains a
potent tool for the MDC in the negotiations, a dagger above the head of Zanu
PF which impels them to negotiate and find common ground. That's because the
sanctions regime effectively strengthens the hand of Zanu PF's greatest
challenger - the economy.
Mugabe can fight his human foes. He has shown that. But he knows also
that there is one foe; one dogged challenger who won't give up - he knows
the economy is the hardest of punchers. In boxing parlance, they would
probably say the economy is now throwing a series of combinations and Mugabe
is hanging on the ropes, unable to defend, let alone fight back, waiting
desperately for the bell. Because that bell will give him a breather. That
bell will energise him to, perhaps, make another remarkable comeback. That
is why talks are important to him and Zanu PF. The talks are to Mugabe what
the bell is to the beleaguered boxer.
But will the transitional arrangement survive the vagaries of the
two-year dry economic season, if the West does not accept the deal? The
conception of the talks was paraded amid smiles and handshakes; the birth
and immediate aftermath could be a more sombre affair; a lot, perhaps, like
the millions of African babies who appear only briefly to catch a glimpse of
the world and then are seen no more. . . But, as always, we wait in hope,
cautious hope that the "oasis" is not simply a mirage.
Alex Magaisa is based at The University of Kent Law School and can be
contacted at email@example.com
Monday, 28 July 2008 11:16
WHILST the MOU will undoubtedly be a positive step forward towards a
negotiated settlement in Zimbabwe, many pitfalls still lie ahead and we will
need Mandela-like wisdom to negotiate them.
A few weeks ago in London Nelson Mandela commented on the Zimbabwean
crisis using four words which are profoundly significant as we move towards
a negotiated settlement. He said that the Zimbabwean crisis was, and I
quote, a "tragic failure of leadership". At that time many took his comments
as an attack on Robert Mugabe alone. However I do not believe that his
comments were directed solely at Robert Mugabe. I believe that he was
referring to a collective failure of leadership in Zimbabwe not just this
year but over a protracted period.
It is just over 50 years since Garfield Todd's tenure as Prime
Minister of Southern Rhodesia ended on the 17th of February 1958. In his
farewell statement Todd said "we must make it possible for every individual
to lead the good life, to win a place in the sun. We are in danger of
becoming a race of fear ridden neurotics - we who live in the finest country
on earth". Those wise words have been disregarded by a succession of
political leaders in Zimbabwe for the last 50 years. Zimbabwe has been
blighted during the last 50 years by political leaders of all races and of
all ideologies who have been guilty of the following errors of judgment:
Since the early 1960s Zimbabwean political parties have generally been
led by men who believe that physical force is more important than moral
force. The 1961 Constitution would have led to a gradual and orderly
transition from white minority rule to majority rule but it was derailed by
both black and white politicians who did not believe in compromise and who
preferred to place their faith in the use of force and violence either to
retain power or to acquire it.
The politics of the 1960s and 1970s were marked by a shocking lack of
commitment by most political leaders to seek non-violent means of resolving
the then political crisis. Since 1980 we have been led by a regime that has
a deep-rooted belief in and commitment to the use of violence to achieve
political objectives. Tragically as so often happens under tyrannical
regimes, those who oppose tyranny sometimes get poisoned by tyranny and
themselves replicate or mirror the methods used by the very tyrannical
regimes they oppose. Zimbabwe has been no exception and I have no doubt that
the struggle for freedom has been compromised periodically when we in the
opposition have lapsed into the thinking that our problems may be resolved
through the use of physical force and violence.
I was horrified to read recently statements made by a few senior
opposition leaders which betray this thinking. One threatened a "shooting
war" and went on to say that the MDC should not be blamed "when we start."
Another wrote that an option was to "pick up arms of war" and drive Mugabe
Whilst I fully understand the deep sense of frustration which leads to
statements like this being made, these utterances are irresponsible. War, or
the threat of war, should never be part of our lexicon, especially during
any negotiation process. That is the language we expect to hear from
Mugabe - it should never come from a democrat at this juncture of our
ll democratic political leaders must consider the legacy of the last
50 years of violence in Zimbabwe. We need to all understand that it is this
continual reversion to violence which has brought our great nation to the
sorry state is in today. Unless all political leaders unequivocally revoke
the use or threat of violence there will never be a meaningful negotiated
settlement in Zimbabwe.
And it is simply no excuse for opposition leaders to threaten the use
of violence or war in response to the shocking brutality exercised by this
regime against the Zimbabwean people. All those threats will do is
perpetuate the horrifying cycle of violence this country has experienced in
the last 50 years. In short war or the threat of war is simply not an
option. If the talks, which are about to commence, are to succeed that
threat should never be used by anyone, certainly not by the democrats.
Accordingly if we are to negotiate a settlement there must be a
profound commitment to refrain from the violence of the fist, tongue and
heart by the opposition, irrespective of what Zanu PF leaders have done or
are planning to do. We must recognise that we occupy the high ground morally
as we enter this process and we must not lose that position by making
foolhardy threats at this critical juncture.
2. They are concentrated on either the retention or acquisition of
power rather than the national interest I question what has happened to all
our patriots? It seems to me that our nation has been blighted by a
succession of leaders who are more concerned with their personal interests
or the narrow interests of their own political parties and supporters then
they are in the great nation state of Zimbabwe. This should be a great
nation; it is richly endowed with bright articulate hard-working people;
with rich natural resources; with the best climate in the world; it is a
country of stunning natural beauty. As Garfield Todd said over 50 years ago
it is indeed the finest country on earth. How can it then be that the finest
country on earth is the location of one of the world's worst nightmares? I
believe that is primarily because our political leadership has for decades
put selfish personal interests ahead of the national interest.
One of the reasons the Lancaster house talks did not provide a
long-term resolution to Zimbabwe's problems is because white rights were put
before the entrenchment of universally recognised human rights. Instead of
ensuring that the new Zimbabwean Constitution deeply rooted democratic
principles there was a concentration on protecting white interests. In
contrast both FW De Klerk and Roelff Meyer in the South African negotiations
recognised that it was more important to entrench democracy for all than it
was to seek to protect white privilege.
Likewise the reason the December 22, 1987 Unity Accord has come
unstuck is because it accommodated the interests of the political leadership
of Zanu PF and PF Zapu rather than the general interests of the Zimbabwean
people. One of the reasons there is such antipathy in Zimbabwe today
regarding a government of national unity is because of the 1987 Unity
Accord. The Unity Accord is viewed by most people, certainly in
Matabeleland, as a settlement which benefited a few leaders and did not
entrench democracy and so lay the foundation for meaningful economic
development which would benefit all Zimbabweans.
Sadly that attitude continues to this day and applies to both Zanu PF
and the MDC. I fear that the current negotiations may focus on who gets what
instead of what structural reforms are needed to put Zimbabwe back on the
road to recovery. If the negotiations focus on how much power is either
retained by Zanu PF or acquired by the MDC rather than the policy reforms
needed then any settlement that arises from the negotiations will not be
wholeheartedly embraced by the Zimbabwean people.
To this extent who leads the country and who is in any Cabinet is
irrelevant. Let me be quite clear what I mean. Obviously the democratic will
of the people of Zimbabwe as reflected in the 29 March 2008 elections must
be respected. However the problems Zimbabwe face are so severe and
intractable that we cannot allow petty bickering about who gets what to
derail the negotiations. All national leaders must recommit themselves to
the national interest and be prepared to subordinate their personal goals
and ambitions to what is in the best interests of Zimbabwe. This means that
in the interests of compromise there may have to be some power-sharing
mechanism during a transitional period.
In this regard let me briefly respond to the statement issued by the
civil society organisations on 17 July 2007 in which they call upon a
transitional government to have "leadership by a neutral body" and a
transitional government "headed by an individual who is not a member of Zanu
PF or MDC". Once again whilst I appreciate the sentiment which lies behind
the statement one cannot just disregard the wishes of the Zimbabwean people
as expressed on 29 March. Our society remains deeply polarised and we cannot
ignore the fact that leaders on both sides of the political divide enjoy the
passionate support of their respective supporters. They have been given a
mandate by their supporters and that mandate must be respected in the
negotiation process. However it is because of that deep polarisation that I
believe we will have to consider some interim power sharing mechanism. And
it goes without saying that power-sharing involves compromise on both sides.
But the tragic consequences are not solely confined to economic
collapse. Almost of greater concern to me is the collapse of the moral
fabric of our society. We need to consider the effect of 50 years of
violence on our national character. In this regard and I am not only
speaking about the victims of violence but also about the perpetrators. In
the last few weeks I have seen horrifying injuries inflicted on Zimbabweans
by young men. Doctors say that some of these injuries are so severe that
they would never occur, for example, in a traffic accident. Bones had been
broken repeatedly by young men acting on the instructions of their political
leaders. I have no doubt that they will be haunted by what they have done in
the years that lie ahead. Scientific studies show that those who inflict
violence on political opponents often go on to inflict violence on those
they love including spouses and children. It is also a fact that we now have
a deeply ingrained culture of violence. If negotiations are to succeed then
not only must this violence stop immediately but other measures must be
taken to ensure that violence does not derail either the talks or the
In these circumstances the demand by the MDC that all violence should
stop, that political detainees should be released and that is NGOs be
allowed to distribute food are reasonable. However I would qualify these
demands by recognising that even if Zanu PF gives undertakings it will be
difficult to verify the compliance of those undertakings in the short term
and to change the mind set of a generation of youth militia overnight. I
believe that SADC has a key role to play in this regard. I think the state
should immediately deploy civilian monitors to report back to the
facilitators regarding whether militia camps have been removed, whether NGOs
are able to function and other legitimate issues of concern have been
addressed. I think that if such a commitment is given by SADC then
negotiations should commence without further ado. But we must recognise that
unless there are neutral SADC monitors deployed in the country eruptions of
violence are more likely to occur and these may have the effect of
disrupting the talks.
It follows as well that a crucial aspect of the talks must be how to
tackle the culture of violence so that it does not derail any transitional
period agreed to in the talks. Suffice it to say that we must not
underestimate how serious this problem is and our need for an ongoing
presence of SADC monitors even during the transitional period.
For the reasons I have outlined above a government of national unity
will be viewed with extreme scepticism by most Zimbabweans. The fear of
Zimbabweans is that the government of national unity will draw in
unscrupulous political leaders who then become part of a corrupt system. The
fear is that those leaders are then compromised and that they will fail to
deal with the fundamental problems facing Zimbabwe.
It is for this reason that a transitional authority should be agreed
to and I would like to discuss a few aspects of this authority. Before I do
so let me respond to those who may say that there is no difference between a
GNU and a Transitional Authority. Some argue that this is just about
semantics. I disagree - the difference is all about emphasis. A GNU focuses
on "unity"; substance is secondary and the notion of a transition to
something different is completely subordinate to unity. A Transitional
Authority focuses on "transition". There can, and must of course, be unity
in transition but the emphasis is on a transition to something new, not just
a changing of the guard at the top.
My own belief is that any transitional authority emerging from the
talks should generally respect the will of the people as expressed on 29
March 2008. As stated above because our nation is so deeply polarised there
will have to be a power-sharing arrangement during the transition including
all the political parties given a mandate by the electorate in March.
However during the transition civil society will have to play a major role
in certain aspects of the transitional authority's mandate, especially
regarding the process which should culminate in a new democratic
Any transitional authority agreed to should have a finite mandate. It
must be made clear that the authority will not have a mandate to govern
indefinitely. In addition the duration of the authority should be as short
as possible; and it should be understood that it is to govern in the short
term - I would hope for no longer than 18 months to two years.
It seems to me that there are four critical areas that need to be
addressed by a transitional authority.
The transitional authority should be mandated to stabilise the
economy, to seek balance of payments support, to tackle inflation by
engaging institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF. It will need to
draw on technical expertise from qualified Zimbabweans and others who can
introduce the necessary economic policies to stop Zimbabwe's economic
Zimbabwe is arguably suffering the world's greatest humanitarian
crisis at present. The country faces a severe food shortage; our hospitals
are devoid of qualified personnel and medication. An absolute priority of
the transitional authority should be to engage the international community
to ensure the importation of the necessary food and drugs and introduction
of policies which will attract qualified personnel to return to Zimbabwe to
address the food and health crisis.
At the root of the political, economic and humanitarian crises is our
deeply flawed Constitution. The transitional authority should immediately
engage all Zimbabwean political parties, civic organisations that trade
union movements, churches and other interested organisations to recommence
the constitutional debate and to agree on an all-inclusive process which
will culminate in a new constitution.
Once the economy has been stabilised, the humanitarian crisis
addressed and a new constitution enacted the transitional authority should
hand over to a genuinely, and objectively verifiable, Independent Electoral
Commission which will then conduct and genuinely free and fair elections
supervised by SADC and the AU.
Zimbabwe has reached a political stalemate. There is no way out for
Zanu PF. Its nemesis is now the economy. It has no solution to
hyperinflation. It knows that in the coming weeks and months it will not
even be able to feed key elements of its support base. To that extent it has
no choice but to negotiate. Likewise the combined MDC in respecting its
moral and practical commitment to a non-violent solution to the Zimbabwean
crisis must recognise that it to too has no choice but to negotiate, no
matter how unpalatable that may be in certain respects.
Despite our fears and reservations we must see this as a unique
opportunity to negotiate a peaceful settlement for our nation. Our country
is in great peril today. We can either allow it to continue down its present
slide to destruction and oblivion or we can all work together to seize this
opportunity to lay the foundations for a great nation. I reiterate again the
words of Garfield Todd made over 50 years ago - this is indeed the finest
country on earth. It is missing one key ingredient at present - democracy.
When that ingredient is rooted I have no doubt that the Zimbabwe will yet
become the jewel of Africa.
*David Coltart is Senator-elect for Khumalo Constituency. This is an
abridged version of a Speech given to Bulawayo Agenda meeting on Friday July
Monday, 28 July 2008 11:12
WHAT is significant about last week's signing of the Memorandum of
Understanding by the MDC formations and Zanu PF is that it marks the
beginning of an attempt to resolve Zimbabwe's eight-year-old crisis.
But essentially it will be a stop-gap measure to shepherd us from a
wilderness whose political and economic status has become unsustainable.
It is a welcome development because it is pregnant with potential and
promises real recovery. In welcoming the agreement between the two parties
on how to narrow their differences we are reminded about areas of conflict
where years later the original strife remains untackled: the DRC, Sudan and
Somalia are immediate examples.
The parties engaged each other last year, therefore in setting a
two-week period within which to seal a final agreement, the suggestion is
that significant ground has already been covered.
But several considerations could have given impetus to last Monday's
agreement: South Africa, which is heading the mediation process wanted to
attend the EU-South Africa Summit in Bordeaux, France, on Friday without
having to field awkward questions about Zimbabwe's unresolved crisis, just
as it did at the G8 Summit in Japan earlier this month.
The EU's response to President Thabo Mbeki would appear to support
this view. The other consideration is that China, which is hosting the
Olympic Games in Beijing beginning on August 8, did not want its support for
the Zimbabwean regime in crisis to overshadow the games.
A third consideration is that the two-week deadline is an admission of
the realisation that the crisis should not be allowed to last a day longer
than is necessary because of the damage to the economy. The cash crisis and
the acute shortage of goods on the supermarket shelves spoke very clearly
that while Zanu PF claimed victory based on the June 27 one-contestant
presidential election run-off, it no longer had control over the economy.
The continued threat of instability to the region and in particular to
South Africa's hosting of the 2010 World Soccer Cup, was one of the drivers
in the parties agreeing to a two-week deadline.
However, the outcome that everyone is hoping for will be delivered by
willingness to secure the greater interests of the people of this country
and not an elitist minority.
The problem with negotiations is that they do not have a predictable
outcome - only an indication of the direction in which they may proceed. The
case of the DRC talks provides several instructive lessons. They were
protracted and President Joseph Kabila remained head of state at the end of
the process. This was not the outcome the other contestants envisioned.
For many, the worry is that Zanu PF's idea of an outcome is what it
did to PF Zapu during the process of hammering out the Unity Accord. The
suggestion that Morgan Tsvangirai could be offered a senior ministerial
position has a familiar ring to it. Dr Joshua Nkomo was once senior minister
before he became co-vice-president.
The worry is also that Zanu PF has not seen it fit to release
supporters who were arrested, those wanted by the police for allegedly
committing acts of political violence or others with charges hanging over
their heads. If it is negotiating in good faith it should have at least
removed these obstacles to real political reconciliation.
Whatever deal is hammered out in Pretoria one thing is certain: Zanu
PF needs the MDC more than the MDC needs it. And world opinion seems to be
on the MDC's side.
Monday, 28 July 2008 11:01
THE signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) among the key
political parties in Zimbabwe on 21 July 2008, presented a unique and
historic occasion where national leaders showed political maturity by
committing themselves to a dialogue process.
It is important to make a few observations that will allow all of us
to put everything into perspective and context. There is always the danger
of not seeing the wood for the trees.
The MoU we signed in Zimbabwe is a very important document as it
allowed us to begin negotiations on matters affecting our people. There is a
political, economic and humanitarian crisis of immense proportion in our
country. More importantly, there is an unprecedented political stalemate.
The process we have started will result in a political settlement to the
impasse, thus allowing Zimbabweans to fashion a new beginning.
This outcome we are determined to accomplish within two weeks from 21
July. Let me emphasize that the agreement we seek to achieve in these
negotiations is nothing but a short term measure and a stop gap effort in
pursuit of the resolution of our national challenges. It is neither the
sustainable answer nor the long term solution to our dire circumstances.
Beyond the political agreement we need to execute a programme of
national healing and rehabilitation for our people. This cannot be done in
two weeks. What happened in our country in the past four months has
traumatized our citizens.
Our people have been brutalized and dehumanized. The culture and
practice of our country's politics have been taken back 20 years. There is
need for public meetings such as the one we had in Harare on 21 July 2008,
throughout the country in every city, and in every village. The Zimbabwean
political leaders we had on that hotel stage, Robert Mugabe, Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, must address rallies together and say
jointly to the people of Zimbabwe: "It is OK to belong to different
political parties. It is OK to vote for whom so ever you wish, and yes the
will of the people shall be supreme, respected, and sovereign." This has to
be the jointly presented message from these political leaders to all
citizens. Only then can the healing process start.
The political settlement we seek to achieve in the current dialogue
process is nothing more than a stop gap measure. We need a longer and more
inclusive conversation among Zimbabweans. In addition to agreeing on the
borders of our country, and agreeing on the name of the country, why can't
we have a constitution that we all defend and revere? A people- driven
democratic constitution should be the basis of a sustainable solution to our
With this foundational legal framework in place, the journey towards a
peaceful, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe can then begin. Such a
constitution cannot be achieved in two weeks, only a commitment to the
requisite processes and timeframes of its development is possible.
Furthermore, why can't we have a shared economic vision, a 20-30 year
economic vision for our country? This, the Promised Land, must be developed,
discussed and agreed upon by all political parties, civic society
organisations, the business community, and the general population at large.
There must be total buy-in and ownership of this uniquely Zimbabwean
economic vision by all national stakeholders.
However, the conception of the vision must be buttressed by creative
and intelligent borrowing and learning from other successful economies and
cultures. Can't we envisage a globally competitive Zimbabwe in 20 years'
time, in terms of GDP, per capita income, entrepreneurship, business growth,
exports, productivity, competitiveness, financial literacy, and quality of
life? We can then disagree and compete on strategies and tactics of
achieving that common vision. The envisioning process cannot be done in two
weeks. The most we can do is commit to the concept and principle, while
defining the necessary processes.
In conclusion, the pursuit of the political settlement we are
currently engaged in, and the efforts to address the long term issues I have
outlined above, must be driven by the national interest. This is not about
Mutambara and his small political party. It is not about Tsvangirai and his
party. It is not about Mugabe and his party. It is about the people of
Zimbabwe. As we negotiate and discuss amongst ourselves, we must put the
national interest first, before self interest and petty party political
ambitions. We must be driven by what is good for the people of Zimbabwe. The
best interests of our current and future citizens should be at the core of
our value system. We must start thinking in terms of a cross-party
generational agenda where we subordinate partisan interests to the national
Resolving both the short-and long-term problems affecting our country
constitute our generational mandate. We shall rise to the challenge.
* Prof. Arthur G.O. Mutambara is the President one of the MDC
formations in Zimbabwe.
Why All The Fuss About Talking ?
Monday, 28 July 2008 11:51
I am shocked to see that international headlines are about President
Thabo Mbeki's job well done, with pictures of Morgan Tsvangirai and
President Robert Mugabe shaking hands.
Either the world has been starved of anything good to say about
Zimbabwe, or the mere sight of the two foes in the same room is so rare it's
considered news. Talking about our problems is the way forward and we all
want that. But celebrating an agreement to talk is something I don't
understand. It's just an agreement to talk, not an agreement to agree on
We had attempts at talks many times before, beginning with brother
Olusegun Obasanjo. And these talks changed to talks about talks and then no
talks and then a rejection of talks and so on. So what is new here? We are
still queuing for our worthless trillions, we are still seeing one-sided
state controlled propaganda, we are still hungry, we are still unemployed,
we are still buying bread from Mozambique and South Africa, and we are still
seeing unelected storm troopers, masquerading as ministers (though we have
no cabinet) frothing at the mouth when describing opposition people.
Can anyone please tell me what the hype is all about then?
MSU Denies Using Guards
Monday, 28 July 2008 11:46
IN the article, "Guards invigilate exams after MSU lecturers strike,"
(The Standard July 13 2008) your reporter claims that she interviewed Denzel
Mushayi a Bachelor of Arts in History and Development Studies student and
Didymus Dhewa, whom she claimed is a teaching assistant at MSU.
The two gentlemen deny ever granting your reporter any interviews. The
MSU denies that it is using guards to invigilate examinations. This
aspersion is clearly false.
The MSU further denies that its lecturers are on strike. It has not
been given any notice by the lecturers that they are on strike. To its
knowledge, the said lecturers are reporting for duty and are invigilating
Apart from lecturers, MSU is also using its Administration and
Secretarial staff to invigilate and run the examinations. The story as it
stands conveys to a reasonable reader that standards at MSU have fallen to
the extent the degrees it is certifying are suspect if not worthless.
The MSU has a duty to protect its image and to instill confidence in
the public who want to pursue an education at MSU and indeed the employers
who employ its graduates and also the government of Zimbabwe which has
pumped money and continues to pump money into tertiary education.
Midlands State University
Charge Zinwa With Criminal Negligence
Monday, 28 July 2008 11:44
THE Combined Harare Residents' Association chief executive would do
well to check his facts before he writes to newspapers, however
well-intentioned his letters may be.
In his letter, "Harare water crisis worsens," (The Standard, July 20)
he states that several suburbs, and here he included Chisipite, "have gone
dry for the past week" and that "Mabvuku/Tafara is the most hard-hit, where
an area called New Stands last had running water in 2006."
It may interest him to note that most parts of Chisipite last had
running water three years ago, since which time there have been occasional
short bursts and occasional equally short trickles. For most of the past few
years there have been long dry spells, usually lasting several months, with
absolutely nothing coming through. Parts of Chisipite and Greendale have not
had water through the taps since 2005. The piping infrastructure is probably
now almost totally decayed!
Over in other parts of Harare there are huge numbers of burst pipes,
with water gushing for long periods of time (in the case of the one in East
Road, Belgravia/Avondale, this was the case for six months, then it was
repaired and three weeks later it all burst again!). No apologies are
offered to residents of these areas and Zinwa implies to callers that water
is a luxury and that people should be extremely grateful for Zinwa's
generosity when they do get it. Amazingly, bills arrive from time to time
(even these are haphazardly produced), demanding payment for water received
(and fictitious figures of consumption included on these invoices).
Zinwa has failed the people of Harare and has a track record that
makes them one of the most appalling of all utilities in this country (this
takes some doing, in the company of ZESA etc). It is a body that needs to be
investigated by, among others, the new Harare City Council, and its
management should be both removed and charged with criminal negligence.
The CHRA should not minimise the suffering of the people this city
with inaccurate statements, whether deliberate or inadvertent, and should
really get its facts correct if it wishes to be seen as a credible body with
any relevance and value.
More Pressure On Mugabe
Monday, 28 July 2008 11:41
I welcome the fact that the parties in Zimbabwe have now declared
their agreement on the framework for negotiations to find a solution to the
deep crisis in Zimbabwe.
This is an important first step. However, in order to succeed the
parties need to be serious in their desire to achieve results.
If Zimbabwe is to have a legitimate and democratically accepted
government it is important that the negotiations are based on the outcome of
the parliamentary elections on 29 March and that that result is respected.
Continued international pressure is also required. As regional
organisations, the AU and the SADC in particular have a key role to play in
I remain concerned about developments in Zimbabwe and the people
there. Every day we see examples of human rights violations and the
humanitarian situation is becoming increasingly serious.
The prohibition against humanitarian organisations operating in
Zimbabwe must be cancelled as soon as possible. The government-sponsored
violence against the civilian population and members of the opposition must
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Tuesday, 29 July 2008 06:17
Peter Muchengeti, an activist based in Gweru, has been released by a
Gweru magistrate Rosa Chakuva on bail of 2 trillion dollars after having
been detained since last Friday when he was picked up by state security
agents. Muchengeti, the regional chairman of the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations, is being charged with possessing documents
prejudicial to the state and for spreading falsehoods in connection with
documents found in his office detailing incidents of political violence,
pictures showing the victims and the names of the perpetrators.
Relating his ordeal, Muchengeti, said that he was interrogated naked
and suspended upside down, an issue raised during the hearing. He also said
that one of his interrogators was an army officer identified as Lt Col.
Kahuni which he said was highly irregular. Agents ransacked his office which
had been closed since June after police ordered all NGOs closed on the basis
of a letter from the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Nicholas Goche
suspending their field operations. During the raid board members and staff
were chased out. The raiders took documents and equipment that included
computers, digital cameras and recorders that belonged to Kudzai Musengi, a
journalist, who was working from Muchengeti's office.
Also affected were four victims from Nkayi who had come for treatment
after being assaulted at a Zanu PF base. They apparently had with them
police case reports confirming the assaults at the base that has since been
moved into Nkayi police camp. The case is going to be heard on the 25th of
August and Muchengeti's bail conditions include reporting to Gweru Central
police station twice a week. Peter Muchengeti is among a list of activists
that had been targeted at a meeting of security officials in Gweru last
June. His movements were being watched resulting in him going underground in
the past weeks until his arrest. His arrest last Friday led to most
activists based in Gweru fleeing the city in fear.
HARARE, July 29 2008 - The Central Bank has reviewed small scale
miners loans in a bid to save the industry from total collapse due to lack
of financial resources.
RadioVOP on Monday learnt that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe reviewed
small scale miners loans to $800 trillion from $10 billion, which has been
massively eroded by inflation and is not enough to buy a single tomato.
Machinery needed in the mining sector is worth quintillions. Sources
in the mining sector said most small scale miners had since stopped
approaching the RBZ, in protest over the paltry loans they were being
Zimbabwe Miners Federation chief executive, Wellington Takavarasha,
confirmed that the Central Bank had reviewed the loans given to small scale
miners, but said the late review had resulted in most small scale miners
downsizing operations or ceasing operationg altogether.
Takavarasha called for periodic loan reviews given the current
hyperinflation, to save the troubled sector from total collapse. The mining
sector, like other facets of the economy, is facing numerous challenges.
The government says mining contracted 14.4 percent last year, with
official forecasts estimating the growth rate for this year to be about 4.9
percent - a figure mining experts cast doubt on due to the uncertainty that
is prevailing in the mining sector.
The government has come up with stringent requirements for small scale
miners to furnish authorities with environmental impact assessments.
Government suspended the operations of small-scale miners two years ago in
an effort to bring sanity to the sector, where massive environmental
degradation was occurring as well as smuggling of precious stones outside
It ordered the miners to comply with the requirement to acquire EIAs
before they could be allowed to resume operations. Only 40 percent of
small-scale miners have since resumed operations, with the remainder still
battling to raise funds to engage the environment assessors.
Gold remitted to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the country's
central bank, in February declined to 768 kilograms from 819 kilograms in
January, according to the mining chamber
Gold production accounts for 52 percent of total mineral production
and a third of the country's gross domestic product in Zimbabwe.
29 July 2008
By Mike Davies
In a major victory scored by the democratic movement, the 6 year battle to
establish the illegitimacy of the mugabe regime beyond question has been
won. No country (or individual) of any standing will now recognise the
regime and it can no longer pretend to hold even a shred of legitimacy in
the aftermath of the fraudulent presidential run-off. This is a major
development and a success we must celebrate.
It opens the door to a process for the restoration of legitimacy to the
Zimbabwean State, a route which can only be legitimate if it includes a wide
range of players. It is clear that only a government elected in a free and
fair election will enjoy an undisputed mandate.
Such an election can only be the end event of a process that includes a
transitional authority leading to the development of a new constitution
approved through a national referendum.
Any elite pact that arises from closed door discussions between zanu-pf and
the MDC will not restore any genuine legitimacy but some hybrid beast that
will perhaps end the violence and overt political repression but will not
usher in a new Zimbabwe.
Some argue that we must settle for this, citing 'pragmatism' or for some
more sophisticated proponents, 'a two-stage democratic process' that will at
least expand the democratic space and allow us to pursue deeper democratic
principles. Generally people who support the first position are either
already part of the elite or aspiring members. They generally have no
interest in social justice, or accountability but are merely on the
democratic bandwagon to achieve or restore access to the trough.
Those comrades who propose a two stage formula are perhaps the biggest
threat to genuine democracy. They ignore the lessons of history and fall
into the trap of an incrementalism which invariably results in either the
co-option of our comrades or their marginalisation and exclusion. Our own
elite pact in 1980 demobilised democratic forces for many years while South
Africa's version unveiled in 1994 (demonstrated by Mandela's explicit call
to civics to stand down) saw the former beneficiaries of apartheid become
even wealthier under a democratic government.
The elite will advocate a general amnesty for perpetrators of human rights
violations, perhaps with some token prosecutions of the most egregious
villains, in the interest of 'national unity' or 'reconciliation' but really
to preserve the status quo and to take up their places at the trough. The
specious reconciliation of 1980 (so eagerly embraced by the white minority)
should serve as a warning that hollow rhetoric is meaningless. Without
practical steps on the ground to address and ameliorate genuine grievances,
there can be no healing, no restorative cleansing that will allow survivors
of gross human rights abuses to move on. The sight of war criminals from the
white settler regime continuing to enjoy the good life after independence
was an insult to many who sought a more substantive re-structuring of our
State and society.
So where does this leave us?
Mugabe and his cohorts claim to be defending the "sovereignty" of Zimbabwe.
What does this mean? Sovereignty is defined in my Shorter Oxford dictionary
1. Supremacy or pre-eminence in respect of excellence or efficiency
2. Supremacy in respect of power, domination or rank; supreme dominion,
dominion or rule
3. The supreme controlling power in communities not under monarchical
government; absolute and independent authority
4. A territory under the rule of a sovereign or existing as an independent
Supremacy or pre-eminence in respect of excellence or efficiency
Zanu-pf certainly cannot claim to exercise sovereignty in the first sense.
Indeed their track record in 40 years of existence has been marked by a
conspicuous absence of excellence and efficiency. During the Liberation
struggle, zanu-pf sought to establish itself as the pre-eminent liberation
force through terror and coercion. It utilised illegal detention and
assassination to quell internal opposition (Check out the ZIPA saga) and in
many ways liberation was delayed because of mugabe's thirst for power.
Its successive cabinets during 28 years in power have been characterised by
venality, corruption and endemic incompetence, epitomised in a long list of
such paid buffoons as Enos Chikowore, Dim Matonga, Tobiaiwa Mudede, Herbert
Ushewokunze et al ad nauseam.
Even accepting the somewhat implausible allegations that Britain wishes to
re-colonise the country, Zanu-pf has failed miserably to counter such a
conspiracy (unless their policy is based on reducing the country to a
wasteland that no self-respecting imperialist would wish to occupy). The
regime's constant anti-imperialist posturing is in stark contrast with its
eagerness to transfer asset ownership from western imperialists to eastern
neo-colonialists such as the Chinese.
Supremacy in respect of power, domination or rank; supreme dominion,
dominion or rule
Certainly mugabe uses sovereignty in the second sense to infer a supremacy
of power, a monopoly of political and coercive control.
Nothing new there, and it is obvious that he has never forsaken his
one-party ambitions that were momentarily defeated in the late Eighties.
Mugabe is not a democrat and has never been guilty of democratic behaviour.
He is a traditional autocrat, in power not because of any democratic mandate
conferred by the people through a democratic process but rather because of
divine intervention (as enunciated by Kunonga, Gara et al) or liberation
credentials (Chihuri and others). He is, to deconstruct the word, the
Sovereign in power to Reign over us.
Of course Zimbabwe exists nominally as an independent State but in a
post-colonial world, a supposed 'global village', such a concept is
increasingly out-dated. No country is an island entire to itself.
Perhaps North Korea exists as an independent State with full Sovereignty but
I doubt it: the hermit kingdom is generally shielded from international
assaults by its big brother China in much the same way as South Africa
protects the mugabe regime. The client state surrenders its 'sovereignty' in
return for such protection: it cannot claim meaningful independence. The
recognition of inter-dependence is a hallmark of the modern state. Our
economies, peoples, cultures are so intertwined and inter-dependent that any
denial of such a reality is just delusional.
As for the imagined 'regime change' agenda, all countries pursue their
national self-interest. At most, all we can hope for from other nations is a
degree of 'enlightened' self-interest which perceives a longer-term interest
based on goals other than immediate or short-term profit. The West pursues
goals that will give them access to our raw materials in the short-term and
markets in the medium to long-term.
If the West pursued only their short-term interests, they would accommodate
any regime that supported these, irrespective of 'democracy' or other
liberal principles. Look at Equatorial Guinea or Angola for cosy
relationships between the USA and anti-democratic despots. That this didn't
happen in Zimbabwe was the result of mugabe's ill-fated 'land reform'
policies which directly challenged western interests.
The West was quite comfortable supporting mugabe during the Eighties despite
the blatantly genocidal atrocities of Gukuruhundi. Democrats should not be
fooled by rhetoric around 'democracy' and 'rights' currently camouflaging
western agendas. Western governments will no doubt jump into bed with a
reformed zanu-pf/MDC elite accommodation that falls short of most democratic
standards they take for granted, saying that 'this is Africa, we must be
realistic' etc etc.
The supreme controlling power in communities not under monarchical
government; absolute and independent authority.
Certainly the mugabe regime meets this definition, although probably by
default rather than intention.. It is absolutist. It is independent.
Absolutist = belief in a divine right to rule as a despot. Independent in
the sense of refusing to interact with a range of players. Mugabe's idea of
democracy is "I will be democratic as long as you agree with me".
A territory under the rule of a sovereign or existing as an independent
There is a fear amongst some that, as our sovereign leader, Mugabe will hang
on long enough to crown his son as successor and thereby establish his
dynastic ambitions in the true spirit of despotism. It is unlikely but
The nation state has been a dominant political model since the nineteenth
century. The conventional image of the development of the nation state was
as a democratic counter to autocratic monarchy (and its extension,
imperialism). Prior to the rise of the nation state, the idea of a stable
political entity with fixed borders respected by its neighbours simply did
not exist. Might was right and no one questioned the rights of empires to
expand and contract through conquest.
In reality, nation states emerged as the hegemonies of local elites who
through the suppression of competing elites and ethnic groups established a
territorial monopoly of State power. Zimbabwe has certainly experienced the
trauma of this 'nation-building' model as the Zezurus established their
As for territorial integrity, Mugabe was happy to pursue what he determined
were our national interests by intervening in the Congo to protect his
client leader, Laurent Kabila, or in Mozambique in the Eighties to protect
the Beira corridor and his Frelimo allies. The regime cannot utilise the
doctrine of non-interference in its defence.
In conclusion, the concept of Sovereignty as espoused by Mugabe and his
minions is a hollow rhetorical device lacking any grounding in objective
reality. It should be exposed as a sham. Zimbabweans aspire to be respected
Citizens, endowed with intrinsic rights, living in a free Republic under a
genuine Constitution, not the abject, materially and spiritually
impoverished subjects of a despotic Sovereign.
Mike Davies is the outgoing Chairman of the Combined Harare Residents