At the request of Zimbabwe's authorities, an International Monetary Fund
(IMF) staff mission led by Vitaliy Kramarenko visited Harare during June 22–30,
2009 to review progress in implementing the government's Short-Term Emergency
Recovery Program, and to discuss the forthcoming mid-year revision of the 2009
budget and the underlying macroeconomic outlook. IMF staff met with Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, and other senior officials, as well as
representatives of the financial, business, and diplomatic communities. Mr. Vitaliy Kramarenko, IMF Mission Chief for Zimbabwe issued the following
statement today in Harare: As a result of improvements in macroeconomic policies, a nascent economic
recovery appears to be underway. A more liberal economic environment, price
stability, a deepening in financial intermediation, and increased access to
foreign credit lines underpinned a pickup in economic activity. The public
finances benefited from the recovery in economic activity and consumption. The
government matched expenditure to revenue during January-May 2009; and
significant increases in budget revenue in recent months have made it possible
to start implementing nonwage expenditures in critically important social areas.
To sustain positive economic trends and improve living standards, reform and
stabilization efforts need to be stepped up. In particular, the authorities
would need to create sufficient fiscal space for nonwage expenditures in social
spheres and critical infrastructure, establish workable coordination mechanisms
for attracting direct donor financing of priority social programs, improve
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governance, further promote financial intermediation,
and strengthen the business climate. IMF staff will continue to provide policy advice and targeted technical
assistance in the context of regular visits. Access to IMF financing would
require donor financial support for arrears clearance to official creditors and
a sustained track record of sound policies. The mission would like to thank the authorities for close cooperation and
Press Release No. 09/249
At the request of Zimbabwe's authorities, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff mission led by Vitaliy Kramarenko visited Harare during June 22–30, 2009 to review progress in implementing the government's Short-Term Emergency Recovery Program, and to discuss the forthcoming mid-year revision of the 2009 budget and the underlying macroeconomic outlook. IMF staff met with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, and other senior officials, as well as representatives of the financial, business, and diplomatic communities.
Mr. Vitaliy Kramarenko, IMF Mission Chief for Zimbabwe issued the following statement today in Harare:
As a result of improvements in macroeconomic policies, a nascent economic recovery appears to be underway. A more liberal economic environment, price stability, a deepening in financial intermediation, and increased access to foreign credit lines underpinned a pickup in economic activity. The public finances benefited from the recovery in economic activity and consumption. The government matched expenditure to revenue during January-May 2009; and significant increases in budget revenue in recent months have made it possible to start implementing nonwage expenditures in critically important social areas.
To sustain positive economic trends and improve living standards, reform and stabilization efforts need to be stepped up. In particular, the authorities would need to create sufficient fiscal space for nonwage expenditures in social spheres and critical infrastructure, establish workable coordination mechanisms for attracting direct donor financing of priority social programs, improve Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governance, further promote financial intermediation, and strengthen the business climate.
IMF staff will continue to provide policy advice and targeted technical assistance in the context of regular visits. Access to IMF financing would require donor financial support for arrears clearance to official creditors and a sustained track record of sound policies.
The mission would like to thank the authorities for close cooperation and warm hospitality.
Thursday, 02 July 2009 21:25
ZIMBABWE and China have entered into a US$5 billion deal involving the
mortgaging of the country's platinum resources worth US$40 billion which
will benefit Beijing more than Harare.
The deal - which secures half of the US$10 billion that Zimbabwe is
desperately looking for to fund economic recovery - is likely to cause
controversy in parliament due to lack of transparency and massive financial
prejudice to the country.
Information to hand shows that Finance minister Tendai Biti has signed
a cautioned Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Eximbank of China
(Eximbank) for the platinum-backed US$5 billion loan on condition of
explicit legal documentation and declaration of the obligations of the
"Zimbabwe and China have reached a US$5 billion platinum-backed deal,"
a government source said. "But the problem is that the loan facility
benefits China far more than Zimbabwe. This has caused problems in certain
circles of government and will definitely become an explosive issue in
The deal is structured in a controversial manner. Zimbabwe will get
US$5 billion from Eximbank of China and in return the Chinese get 50% equity
in a US$40 billion platinum concession without paying anything.
The US$5 billion will be converted into equity for the Chinese,
although it falls US$10 billion short of the total value of their
Since the platinum concession is worth about US$40 billion, this means
the Chinese will collect US$20 billion out of their 50% equity - a whopping
US$15 billion profit - at the end of the transaction.
Sources said Eximbank was very happy with the deal. The Zimbabwe
government is said to be sulking but has no choice but to go along since it
Eximbank is the official export credit agency of the Chinese
government. It was founded in 1994, and is now the world's largest export
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said this week Zimbabwe had secured a
US$950 million loan from the Chinese. China also donated 4 000 tonnes of
soyabean seed which sources described as "sweeteners" to the mega-buck deal.
Zimbabwe's inclusive government has secured about US$3 billion since
it came into office in February. Tsvangirai recently toured Europe, the
United States and Scandinavia in search of money, but only brought home
pledges of a modest US$500 million.
Sources said Biti held a meeting at his offices on June 8 with Reserve
Bank officials to discuss the US$5 billion deal with China. They said
although Biti has already signed the MoU, he was worried about the skewed
structure of the deal which prejudices Zimbabwe of billions of dollars.
"In fact, the deal is badly structured because in the end Zimbabwe
loses the sort of amount of money (US$15 billion) which can make this
economy the most vibrant in Africa outside South Africa," a senior Ministry
of Finance official said. "It's a major deal but a financial rip-off in many
Sources said at the meeting with Biti, central bank representatives
also said the deal was exploitative. Biti tasked Reserve Bank experts to
come up with a blueprint on how Zimbabwe can get maximum benefit from its
A paper is also being worked out on mining legislation to provide a
workable framework and clear lingering controversies which beset the
money-spinning sector of the economy.
Zimbabwe has more than 40 different types of precious minerals which
make the country potentially one of the richest in Africa. However, the
country is currently going through a major crisis. Analysts blame leadership
and policy failures for the country's failure.
Thursday, 02 July 2009 21:21
THE Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo and his staff are locked in a
cold war with MPs in the parliamentary select committee over the
constitutional reform process, further jeopardising the exercise.
The fight between parliament administration and the MPs' committee has
exposed the cracks within the constitution-making process which has been
widely condemned by civic groups. Critics of the process controlled by the
three political parties in parliament say it is not inclusive, participatory
Information obtained this week shows there is a major rift and
tensions are rising between parliament staff and MPs.
The fight is over the control of the constitution-making process,
including the planning of the stakeholders' conference slated for July 9-12,
invitation and accommodation of delegates, tender for the conference
organiser and the guest speaker at the stakeholders' conference. Parliament
wants Moyo to be the guest speaker while MPs are pushing to invite prominent
South African politician and business magnate Cyril Ramaphosa.
Parliament's staff, who include presiding officers and the management
committee, budget committee and the Standing Rules and Orders committee
(SROC), and the all stakeholders' conference subcommittee held a tense
meeting on Monday to discuss contentious issues.
Another meeting was held on Wednesday at which the select committee of
MPs clashed with parliament staff and rejected their proposals, creating an
At the Monday meeting, the all stakeholders' conference subcommittee
was asked by presiding officers of parliament to present its report on the
progress it has made in preparing for the conference.
In its report the conference subcommittee said it had scheduled the
event for July 9-12. It also said a tender advert for the conference
organiser had been prepared and presented to the MPs' select committee which
approved it with minor amendments. What was left, it said, was funding to
flight the advert.
The subcommittee said accommodation for delegates was being identified
with some hotels having confirmed the numbers of rooms they are offering,
while others had just made promises.
The subcommittee further reported the MPs' select committee needed a
secretariat for the conference, thematic committees, facilitator and a woman
chairperson of the event.
After that there was a fierce debate. The presiding officers said MPs
could not decide dates of the conference alone. They said the SROC must be
consulted. The officers also said the number of delegates could not be left
to the MPs' committee alone because it had budgetary implications.
The presiding officers said the steering committee of parliament must
give guidance and "a political decision must be made because there are
budgetary implications of the number of delegates invited".
The officers also said there were delays in placing an advert for
engaging a conference organiser due to budget constraints. They said hiring
an outsider as was the case with the media consultant required a
Apart from this, there were clashes on the consultation process, the
outreach programme and the number of days for the conference. The presiding
officers said the conference, to be held at the Harare International
Conference Centre, should be one and half days, not three as had been
suggested by the MPs. Delegates should be 1 500, not 5 000 and the gender
ratio should be 50:50.
The issue of 70 consultative teams and thematic committees of about 40
people per committee should be brought to parliament staff since it had
budgetary implications. The conference facilitator and chairperson should
also be left to SROC to decide. A joint caucus of all parties in the process
should be held to whip MPs into line.
The administration of parliament must organise accommodation,
registration and accreditation for delegates, instead of the event
organiser. Allocation of delegates for parties must be based on their
representation in parliament.
However, presiding officers' proposals were rejected by MPs, leaving
the stage set for a major showdown.-Staff Writer
Thursday, 02 July 2009 21:19
GOVERNMENT will from this month start paying civil servants salaries
instead of allowances after it emerged that its coffers had improved.
Finance minister Tendai Biti is expected to announce the change when
he presents his mid-term policy statement on July 16.
Civil servants have been getting a monthly allowance of US$100, which
many said was not enough to sustain them.
Biti this week confirmed that the government would start paying a
salary with effect from this month end.
He could not reveal the minimum salary that civil servants would earn
but said government was working from a narrow budget.
"We are working at decompressing and rationalising the wage bill of
civil servants and this review will ensure that civil servants start
receiving a salary but we are working from a narrow budget," Biti said.
The salaries, unlike allowances, will differ according to positions.
Sources said the government's decision on salaries was designed to avert a
looming strike in the public sector.
"There is a brewing storm in the civil service especially from
teachers. There was fear that if nothing was done urgently the teachers
would strike. This was going to be a blow to the all inclusive government
which measures its successes on restoration of normal services in the public
sector," said one source.
The sources said teachers were likely to receive starting salaries of
about US$300. - Staff Writer.
Thursday, 02 July 2009 21:16
LAWYERS representing freelance journalists barred from covering a
Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) Summit in Victoria Falls
despite a High Court ruling the Media and Information Commission (MIC) null
and void are seeking confirmation of the provisional order as permanent
after Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu opposed the
ruling out of time.
Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai & Hwacha legal practitioners told the
Zimbabwe Independent that Justice Bharat Patel's ruling still stands
according to the law after Shamu and his secretary George Charamba failed to
submit a notice of opposition within the stipulated 10 days of the ruling.
Hwacha said Shamu and Charamba were supposed to apply for condonation
from the High Court and give reasons why they did not file for opposition
within the specified time.
The lawyer argued that since Shamu and Charamba challenged the
application out of time and did not apply for condonation, Patel's ruling
was still valid.
He said: "Presently the application for interim relief is still not
opposed because High Court rules on these matters are very clear. The
respondents (Shamu and Charamba) did not file notice of opposition within
the required time. They filed their notice of opposition five days later and
didn't apply for condonation. We are moving for confirmation of the
provisional order as permanent."
The journalists - Stanley Gama, Valentine Maponga, Jealousy Mawarire
and Stanley Kwenda - successfully challenged the legality of the MIC
following the enactment of the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Amendment (Aippa) No 20 of 2007.
The amendment, according to the journalists, rendered the MIC a legal
nullity and replaced it with the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).
Justice Patel ordered Shamu and Charamba to retract in writing and by
broadcast statements issued by their ministry relating to the accreditation
of the journalists according to the MIC before they could cover the Comesa
In his notice of opposition filed with the High Court on June 24,
Shamu claimed that owing to the Aippa Amendment Act, MIC's name was changed
to the ZMC and that "otherwise (there was) no change in the status of the
commission as a legal entity" with full corporate powers.
Meanwhile, 89 applicants have shown interest in becoming commissioners
of the ZMC. Among those who lodged their applications with parliament are
MIC CEO Tafataona Mahoso, academics Claude Mararike and Vimbai Chivaura, and
pastor Gift Mabaudi.
lThere has been a major editorial shake-up at the Zimbabwe Newspapers
Group (Zimpapers), the publishers of The Herald, The Chronicle, The Sunday
Mail, The Sunday News and other publications.
Sources in the Zimpapers stable told the Independent yesterday that
editors of the newspapers were reshuffled and that the new appointments were
with immediate effect.
According to the sources, The Sunday Mail editor William Chikoto has
been moved to The Herald in a similar capacity, while Chronicle editor
Brezhnev Malaba has been moved from Bulawayo to replace Chikoto at the
Sunday Mail. Malaba will be deputised by Nomsa Nkala.
Innocent Gore, who was the editor of the Southern Times in Namibia,
has been called back home to edit The Chronicle. Gore was replaced by
Makuwerere Bwititi, who was the editor of The Manica Post.
The Herald assistant editor (business), Hatred Zenenga, will take over
Former Sunday News news editor Herbert Zharare is now news editor of
The Herald. Paul Mambo remains as editor of The Sunday News.
Itai Musengeyi was appointed Herald assistant editor while Ceasar
Zvayi is the night editor. Other changes include that of Sarah Tikiwa who
has been appointed editor of Zimbabwe Travel.
BY CHRIS MURONZI
Thursday, 02 July 2009 21:09
PETER Michael Hitschmann, the former police reservist who was jailed
after the discovery of an arms cache on his property, was released on
Thursday and vowed not to be a state witness in the trial of Roy Bennett,
the MDC Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate.
State prosecutors say Hitschmann is the key witness in the trial of
Bennett, facing charges of attempting to commit acts of sabotage, banditry,
insurgency and terrorism.
Bennett's trial will start on October 13 this year. He faces life in
jail if convicted. Bennett dismisses the charges as politically motivated.
But Hitschmann told journalists in Mutare he would not be a state witness in
This will be a blow to the state's case against the MDC treasurer as
Hitschmann is the principal witness.
He said Bennett has nothing to do with the arms cache that was found
on his property.
Hitschmann was initially charged with attempting to assassinate
President Mugabe and key Zanu PF politicians in Manicaland. The charges were
thrown out due to lack of evidence. He was then convicted on lesser charges
of possessing arms without a licence.
He was sentenced to four years in jail but served three years and
"I was surprised to hear that I was a state witness (in Bennett's
case)," Hitschmann said. "I am certainly not going to be a state witness. I
find it surprising. Bennett has nothing to do with it."
Hitschmann added: "He has not been to my premises and there is no link
between Bennett and the firearms."
He said he was forced to incriminate Bennett during torture by
"On the night of 6 March 2006 we were taken to Adams Barracks where
we were tortured and forced to make certain confessions and one of the
confessions incriminated Roy," Hitschmann said.
Adams Barracks is an army camp on the Mozambican frontier.
"According to that confession, Roy and I were plotting sabotage
specifically of radio and communication equipment in the area of Bromley
somewhere outside Harare."
He said some of the forced confessions were that he was plotting to
assassinate President Mugabe as he celebrated his birthday in Mutare.
Hitschmann said he was also forced to confess that he was planning to
assassinate key Zanu PF members in Mutare, Esau Mupfumi, a wealthy
businessman and Enock Porusingazi, also a businessman and former MP for
Chipinge South. - Own Correspondent.
Thursday, 02 July 2009 21:08
CIVIL society is split on the constitution-making process with key
members of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition - the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions - planning to
boycott a two-day "peoples constitutional convention" that begins in the
The convention is facilitated by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and the
National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) who are
accused by the NCA and the ZCTU of backing the "parliament-driven"
Sources in civil society told the Zimbabwe Independent that the
convention would be attended mainly by organisations backing the MDC and the
current constitution-making process.
The sources said the split was also motivated by donor funds as civil
society organisations jostle to outwit each other for money to bankroll
activities surrounding the constitution-making process.
"The convention has been organised by MDC fronts in the civil society
and donor organisations," one of the sources said. "The organisations
support the current parliament-driven constitution-making process because
the MDC is involved."
According to information at hand, the purpose of the convention is for
civil society to define and adopt "fundamental and key principles on both
the process and content of the new constitution" and also to decide what
course of action to take if the yardsticks are not met.
But the ZCTU and the NCA, according to the sources, were against what
they see as a meeting to discuss the "flawed" process.
The NCA and the ZCTU have since last September - when the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) was signed by the country's three main political
parties - campaigned against the spearheading of constitutional reforms by
The GPA states that a parliamentary select committee will lead the
process. A 25-member committee has been selected by parliament and last week
conducted provincial consultative meetings.
A four-day all-stakeholders conference is expected to start on
Thursday under the command of the select committee.
This process is what the NCA and the ZCTU opposed, arguing that it was
not people-driven and hence their decision to boycott the civic convention.
The recent controversy over the Kariba draft constitution - the strong
Zanu PF statements endorsing it and the MDC-T repudiation of it - has
heightened the NCA and the ZCTU's fears that the parliament-driven process
would produce an unsatisfactory political compromise.
In a letter to Nango on Wednesday, ZCTU secretary-general Wellington
Chibebe said the country's labour organisation would not attend the
convention or send delegates because it "does not have faith" in the current
The letter was copied to the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network,
Christian Alliance, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Heads of Christian
Denominations, Zimbabwe Aids Network, Bulawayo Agenda, Zimbabwe National
Students Union and others, key allies of the ZCTU and the NCA.
"We made it clear to everyone that we are for a genuine people-driven
constitution-making process not one driven by and controlled by parliament,"
read Chibebe's letter in the possession of the Independent.
"We further submit that we are now worried to see the supposedly
umbrella organisations performing functions or encroaching in areas which
are the responsibility of specific organisations."
In this case, Chibebe contended, the NCA was the most suitable
organisation to deal with the issue of the constitution, whether they were
in agreement with the process or not.
"We are therefore extremely worried that it would appear your two
organisations would want to snatch the baton from the NCA and unfortunately
'head for the mountains' instead of heading for the finishing line," Chibebe
said. "Having stated the above we further advise that we will not stop
anybody or an individual union to attend the gathering as long as they do
not purport to represent the ZCTU. We wish you well in your newly found
responsibilities and endeavours."
Lovemore Madhuku, NCA chairperson, yesterday confirmed that the
assembly would not attend the convention.
"We are not attending the convention. We share different strategies,"
he said. "We are in the process of consulting like-minded societies with a
view to call for a real peoples' convention for a people-driven
Efforts to get a comment from Nango were in vain at the time of going
to press as the association's spokesperson Fambai Ngirande was reportedly
out of the capital and not reachable on his mobile phone.
Ngirande, however, was quoted by a local weekly yesterday saying the
convention was historic and important as it would "focus on developing a
robust, meaningful and well coordinated civic society engagement with the
A group of lawyers affiliated to the organisations to attend the
convention, Veritas, yesterday said today's convention would be split into
14 working groups to look into various issues in relation to the
constitution, among them the political environment, the national economy,
gender and women, freedom of expression and the media, youth and children,
transitional justice and national healing, national values, social welfare,
land, judiciary, elections and security services.
The groups, Veritas said, would reflect on the themes that various
"clusters" of civil society organisations have been working on.
The working groups would then meet in plenary to arrive at the
convention resolutions that will be taken back for ratification by the
participating organisations and then presented to the parliamentary select
"It is also hoped that the convention will result in building
understanding and strategic cooperation between the broad spectrum of civil
society organisations holding different views, ranging from those who are
fully committed to engagement in the parliamentary-driven process, to those
who are engaging in it with caution and with "bottom line" provisos already
worked out, to those who will be working outside it on educating the public
on constitutional principles," said Veritas, which will attend the
BY CONSTANTINE CHIMAKURE
Thursday, 02 July 2009 21:00
A COMMONWEALTH committee on Zimbabwe will next week host a roundtable
discussion in Johannesburg which the group of former British colonies hopes
will result in the mobilisation of humanitarian aid for the country and pave
way for a possible re-admission into the 54-nation club.
The three-day meeting starts on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth in a huff in 2003 after the group
suspended the country after a flawed 2002 presidential poll characterised by
rampant intimidation and widespread violence.
But the Commonwealth remains keen to see the diplomatically isolated
state, which also has fractured relations with the European Union and United
States, re-engaged in the group provided democracy and rule of law are
The discussion, an effort to re-engage Zimbabwe on the humanitarian
front, was organised by the Commonwealth Committee on Zimbabwe amid hopes of
establishing a special fund to advance humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe.
Carl Wright, chairman of Commonwealth Committee on Zimbabwe, said:
"Our aim will be to marshal the Commonwealth's professional and other
networks in support of existing aid efforts, and the medium to long-term
prospects for reconstruction and development in Zimbabwe.
"We hope that the roundtable will result in practical action plans and
the identification of the necessary resources to take these forward.
Furthermore we hope that the issues arising out of the roundtable will be
brought to the attention of Commonwealth Heads of Government when they meet
in Trinidad and Tobago later this year."
The Commonwealth committee says time is now ripe for an initiative to
bring together Zimbabwe civil society and Commonwealth partners with three
core aims to consult with Zimbabwe partners about their urgent needs to
formulate concrete and coordinated plans for practical action and
identifying resources for this work with a view to establishing a Special
Commonwealth Fund for Zimbabwe.
According to the programme, various working groups would examine the
immediate humanitarian crisis across key sectors in the country and
formulate responses on a national and international level.
Regional Integration minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga would
participate in the discussion.
Other notable participants at the roundtable are Moeletsi Mbeki,
deputy chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs,
Cephas Zinhumwe of Zimbabwe National Association of NGOs, Christine Platt,
president of the Commonwealth Association of Planners, Fanie du Toit of the
Institute for Justice & Reconciliation, Jay Naidoo, chairman of the
Development Bank of Southern Africa, and Cyril Ramaphosa of the Commonwealth
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 and quit the
54-nation group in December 2003 after President Thabo Mbeki failed to get
the country's suspension lifted.
BY CHRIS MURONZI
Thursday, 02 July 2009 21:00
SIXTEEN villagers from Nyanga District, Manicaland, have approached
the courts seeking to recover their property allegedly looted by Zanu PF
supporters in the countdown to last year's bloody presidential election
The complainants -- who hail from Mutandiko, Koromora, Jani, Chikata,
Gohoto, Chibvembe and Renzva villages -- want an order from the Nyanga
Magistrates' Courts compelling the suspected Zanu PF activists to return
their possessions, among them maize, sorghum, guinea fowls, cattle, goats,
chickens, ploughing chains and groundnuts.
In the event that the suspects fail to return the assets, the
villagers want a total of US$853 as compensation.
The villagers are represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
In court case number 46/09, villagers Eddison Njanji, Calebo Chikata,
Leonard Mugambiwa, Timothy Kamuruko and Jamiya Mubaya alleged that after the
peaceful March 29 2008 harmonised polls, Zanu PF supporters illegally,
unlawfully and forcefully took their property from their homes.
This, the villagers allege, took place in the rundown to the run-off
pitting President Robert Mugabe and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the race citing violence, but the election
went ahead and Mugabe was declared winner after polling 85% of the votes in
the one-man poll.
The villagers identified the alleged Zanu PF supporters as Tichaona
Kadyamusuma, Gibson Nyakuba, Chenjerai Mukoko, Martin Njanji and Loveness
According to the court papers, the Zanu PF supporters "planned and
masterminded the unlawful deprivation of plaintiffs' property as
punishment/fines for being MDC supporters and for voting against Zanu PF (in
the March poll)".
Kadyamusuma and Nyakuba are alleged to have been the leaders of the
Zanu PF activists taking livestock and grains "to eat and sustain their
"bases", namely Chawagonahapana and Avilla Business Centre in Ward 2 in
Eddison Njanji claimed in the court papers that he lost eight chickens
and three buckets of maize to Martin Njanji while Chikata and Mugambiwa
alleged that Kadyamusuma took his three goats and three buckets of maize.
The plaintiffs alleged: "Attempts to obtain assistance of members of
the Zimbabwe Republic Police at Ruwangwe police were of no use as the police
refused to render such assistance or arrest defendants for their criminal
and unlawful conduct."
In a similar case, (case number 45/09) Givemore Chengetai Renzva
alleged that Zanu PF activists Kadyamusuma, Peter Masenza and Martin Njanji
forcibly took from him a spraying broom and a ploughing chain.
Clemence Mawere claimed that the Zanu PF supporters took him to their
Avilla Business Centre base where he was interrogated and assaulted by
Nyakuba and ordered to bring livestock and grain.
In case number 44/09, Pedzisai, Charles and Gift Kambarami, Sarudzai
Kanhere, Edward Sanyamwera, Esnath Nyagunyu, Godfrey Gohoto, Lovemore Jambo
and Esnath Gororombe alleged that Zanu PF supporters looted their property,
which included sunflower seeds, maize, guinea fowls, goats and chickens.
The Zanu PF supporters were identified as Tichaona, Courage, Mike and
Obert Kadyamusuma, Richard Bulawayo, Fungai Nyakurega, Paul Teta, Samuel
Sanyamwera, Rhoda Biasi and Peter Nyambo Masenza.
The accused were yet to respond to the civil court cases against them
at the time of going to print yesterday.
Meanwhile, in Bikita a court granted seven villagers an order to claim
about US$7 000 in damages for property looted by alleged Zanu PF supporters
during the campaign for the run-off.
The villagers -- Zinyimo Taruona, Kufakunesu Ngorima, Idah Murigo,
Christopher Pakayi, Albert Mudisi, Catherine Marakata and Rugare Chipfumo --
alleged that 17 Zanu PF supporters led the looting.
BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA
Thursday, 02 July 2009 20:56
PARENTS of pupils who fail to pay school fees and levies could lose
household property and other valuables after schools in the capital set debt
collectors on them to compel payments.
Many Harare parents woke up last week to scary threats from debt
collectors after various schools engaged their services.
The parents were served with letters from debt collectors after some
failed to pay fees and levies.
One letter from a debt collector to a parent reads: "Your account has
been handed over to us for collection. An amount of US$26 in respect of
levy/fees is now overdue and payable.
"In the circumstances, we have been instructed to demand as we hereby
do, payment of the sum of US$26 at our offices within 48 HOURS, failing
which we will instruct the messenger of court to attach and sell your
property without further notice."
A Mabvuku parent told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that they
were afraid of having their property and valuables attached after schools
ordered parents to top-up fees and demanded higher levies.
But Education minister David Coltart this week said admission fees
government announced in May for the second term of the schooling year were
enough while schools and parents needed to agree on levies.
The fees were set at US$10 for secondary schools and US$5 for primary.
Rural schools were exempted from charging fees.
He said: "The admission fees we announced were deemed as enough this
term. What school authorities then need to do is to determine levies that
should be collectively agreed to by parents in a meeting."
Coltart emphasised the need for school authorities to consult with
parents in coming up with amounts that should be paid as levies. But schools
have engaged debt collectors on parents who failed to pay levies.
BY CHRIS MURONZI
Thursday, 02 July 2009 20:52
THE case of six MDC-T activists and a freelance journalist accused of
terrorism was on Wednesday referred to the Supreme Court amid revelations of
how they were allegedly abducted and tortured by suspected state security
agents in violation of their constitutional rights.
MDC-T activists Kisimusi Dhlamini, Zacharia Nkomo, Regis Mueyi,
Mapfumo Garutsa, Chinoto Mukwezaramba Zulu, Gandhi Mudzingwa and journalist
Andrison Manyere were due to be tried on Monday in the High Court, but their
lawyer Alec Muchadehama made an application before Justice Charles Hungwe
for referral of the matter to the constitutional court.
In the application, Muchadehama said the applicants' constitutional
rights to personal liberty, protection from inhuman and degrading treatment,
and protection of the law were violated when they were allegedly kidnapped,
tortured and kept incommunicado last year.
The activists and journalist are accused of bombing police stations
and railway lines last year.
If the Supreme Court is satisfied that the activists' rights were
violated, Muchadehama said, it should stay prosecution of his clients.
Muchadehama said the state did not have any evidence against the
"The state does not have any evidence against the applicants. All
violations that were done, were done firstly as a way of trying to extract
confessions from applicants," he said.
However, state prosecutor Chris Mutangadura argued that the applicants'
application was "frivolous and vexatious" in that (abduction and torture)
allegations raised by the applicants have not been proven before the court.
"The applicants must establish certain facts before the court.
Otherwise it cannot make a proper determination," Mutangadura argued.
"Should it be established that their rights have been violated, then they
should pray that the case be taken to the Supreme Court."
Mutangadura submitted an uncommisioned and unsigned affidavit which he
claimed was authored by the Minister of State for National Security Sydney
Sekeramayi, denying that the applicants were abducted and kidnapped by state
The affidavit accused the applicants of raising abduction and torture
claims to escape prosecution.
Justice Hungwe, however, did not see the activists' application as
"frivolous and vexatious".
The judge said the affidavit the state produced did not show that the
MDC-T activists and Manyere's application was frivolous and vexatious.
"Give me evidence to show that this is a frivolous application,"
Hungwe said. "That is not a frivolous application at all. There is no need
for all this argument therefore I refer this case to the Supreme Court."
In his founding affidavit, Dhlamini -- the director of security in the
MDC-T -- said he and other applicants were between November 25 and December
8 last year abducted by state security agents, a move he claimed violated
their constitutional rights.
"We were taken to secret detention which we later got to know was
Goromonzi Prison. There we were granted no access to family or medical or
legal assistance. In fact we were held completely incommunicado," reads
Dhlamini's affidavit.He said while in detention, police and state security
agents tortured them using various methods.
"The attacks ranged from severe body assaults 'falanga-style',
psychological intimidation, excessive interrogation, drowning 'water
boarding' and several other methods whose particulars appear in our
affidavits. We were for most of the times kept in solitary confinement."
BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA
Thursday, 02 July 2009 20:52
FAILURE by the President's Office to gazette the Ministerial
Responsibilities for Acts of Parliament is creating accountability problems
over which ministry is responsible for executing certain parliamentary acts,
it has emerged.
The Ministerial Responsibilities for Acts of Parliament clearly
demarcates which minister is responsible for executing which specific Act of
The President's Office is supposed to gazette the customary statutory
instruments listing ministerial responsibilities for administering Zimbabwe's
Acts of parliament when and if new ministries are created.
However, the setting up of the all-inclusive government almost five
months ago, saw several new ministries being created while others were split
in two and others were combined creating a crisis over which ministry
presides over which Act.
Parliamentary sources said delays in gazetting the Ministerial
Responsibilities for Acts of Parliament will lead to scenarios where
President Mugabe will have to intervene in determining which minister
executes which Act as and when the need arises.
"As it is at the moment President Mugabe can decide that one minister
administer an Act that belongs to another ministry for political expediency
and as long as that is not cleared there will be problems in future," said
The sources said there was a lot of uncertainty over which ministry
has jurisdiction over which act of parliament. Already two ministers have
clashed over control of ministries leading to the intervention of President
Mugabe in the matter.
Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu and
Information Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa clashed at the
inception of the new government over the control of communication
parastatals, forcing President Mugabe to direct that the communication
portfolio be controlled by another ministry.
Zimbabwe has over 300 Acts of Parliament which have to be administered
by several ministries.
Cabinet secretary Misheck Sibanda was not reachable for comment.
BY LOUGHTY DUBE
Thursday, 02 July 2009 20:44
This edited version of a report released by the National
Constitutional Assembly analyses the Kariba Draft Constitution, a document
negotiated in September 2007 and referenced in Article 6 of the Global
Political Agreement between Zimbabwe's three primary political parties.
IN November 1999, a Constitutional Commission led by Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku unveiled a proposed Constitution for Zimbabwe. The National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), along with partners in civil society and
opposition political parties, organised the NO Vote campaign, which led to
the defeat of the proposal in a February 2000 referendum.
The NCA and others alleged that the will of the people, as expressed
during months of public consultation, had not been reflected in the
Constitutional Commission proposal.
Specifically, it was argued that the proposal, if enacted, would
produce an unworkable system of government with an unchecked executive, a
weak parliament, and inadequate protections for fundamental rights and
In September 2007, representatives of the ruling Zanu PF and the two
formations of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change met in secret at
Lake Kariba and drafted a new constitutional proposal. This document, which
is now known as the Kariba draft constitution, was referenced in the Global
Political Agreement signed on September 15 2008. Article 6 of the agreement
establishes a 19-month constitution-making process.
Many have speculated that certain politicians want to use the Article
6 process to impose the Kariba draft on the people of Zimbabwe. In
February 2009, President Robert Mugabe seemed to confirm these suspicions by
"There is already a draft that the three parties agreed on. They
call it the Kariba draft because that is where they came up with the
document. We shall all look at it and when we are all satisfied, it shall
be put to the people in a referendum."
The Kariba draft was written during a clandestine meeting between the
principal negotiators of Zimbabwe's three primary political parties. For
this reason, very little is known about the process that went into the
creation of the draft.
It has been suggested that no more than six individuals assumed
primary responsibility for writing the draft. The content of the Kariba
draft indicates that the framers of this document used the Constitutional
Commission proposal as the basis of the draft, with portions being rewritten
or imported from Zimbabwe's current constitution.
The process that led to the creation of the Kariba draft is
inappropriate for two broad reasons:
a.. First, and most importantly, Zimbabweans must be given the right
to determine the rules by which they will be governed. This view is
reflected in the Zimbabwe People's Charter, which calls for a
"people-driven, participatory" process of constitutional reform spearheaded
by an inclusive All Stakeholders Commission. The writing of the Kariba
draft by a handful of political elites without consulting the public is an
undemocratic usurpation of the right of Zimbabweans to write a constitution
a.. Secondly, the Kariba draft should be rejected because it is
based on the Constitutional Commission proposal, a document that has already
been rejected by the people of Zimbabwe. Moreover, as described below, the
ways in which the Kariba draft differs from the Constitutional Commission
proposal generally reflect compromises of democratic principles of
governance and further divergence from the will of the people.
Substance of the Kariba draft
As described above, the content and structure of the Kariba draft are
closely tied to the content and structure of the Constitutional Commission
proposal. Over half of the articles in the two documents are identical, and
most of the changes that have been made are extremely minor. Therefore,
nearly all of the weaknesses that led to the rejection of the Constitutional
Commission proposal are replicated in the Kariba draft.
Despite the broad similarity of the two documents, a number of major
changes to the Constitutional Commission proposal were made by the framers
of the Kariba draft. In many cases, these changes involve the replacement
of a provision of the Constitutional Commission proposal with one from the
In some places, changes have been made which clarify or strengthen
provisions in the Constitutional Commission proposal.
For example, the Kariba draft adds Section 121, which specifies the
composition of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, a matter which
the Constitutional Commission proposal did not address.
However, there are many places where changes have been made which
weaken the draft. Extremely worrying are many small changes that appear to
be insignificant but may open the door for political manipulation of
government structures. For example, the Kariba draft makes the removal of a
member of parliament automatic after he or she is absent from 21 consecutive
sittings, whereas the Constitutional Commission proposal makes removal
contingent on a vote of the Senate or House of Assembly.
This change appears inexplicable, but given Zimbabwe's history of
violence and intimidation in the political arena, it is possible to imagine
that the change was crafted to allow the expulsion of opposition politicians
after they have been arrested or forced into hiding. Many seemingly minor
changes reflected in the Kariba draft raise similar questions about the
intent of the drafters.
The following analyses the provisions of the Kariba draft as they
relate to major constitutional issues.
Structure and powers of the executive
Under the Kariba draft, all executive authority rests in the
president, who "takes precedence over all other persons in Zimbabwe," and
his cabinet. Alternatively, the Constitutional Commission proposal suggests
that the president shares executive authority with a prime minister.
Although the prime minister's role under the Constitutional Commission
proposal is relatively weak, the complete absence of this office in the
Kariba draft removes a vital check on the power of the president.
Under the current constitution, the president enjoys expansive,
unchecked powers that can be used for political advantage. These powers are
not diminished under the Kariba draft. The draft allows the president to
unilaterally declare a state of public emergency and suspend human rights
protections. Even if parliament fails to approve such a declaration, the
president may cause the state of emergency to remain in effect for up to 21
The Kariba draft also maintains the president's ability to grant
pardons or reprieves to those convicted of criminal offences. It eliminates
many of the checks on presidential power that were included in the
Constitutional Commission proposal. For example, the Kariba draft removes
the need to consult with another office or gain Senate approval when
carrying out many executive functions. Moreover, the draft adds a section
from the current constitution which limits the ability of courts to inquire
into the manner in which executive powers are exercised.
In addition to these deficiencies, the Kariba draft allows the
president to unilaterally appoint many public officers and provides for the
structural dominance of the other branches of government by the president.
These problems are discussed below.
Generally, the Kariba draft retains the current constitution's
framework for presidential appointments. Appointments are most often made
after "consultation" with some other individual or body. In most cases,
that person or body is also appointed by the president.
Whereas the Constitutional Commission requires the Senate to approve
most presidential appointees, the Kariba draft contains very few limits on
the president's power to appoint individuals of his choice. The draft also
eliminates checks on the president's power to appoint by eliminating the
office of prime minister. For these reasons, very few public institutions
would operate independently under the Kariba draft.
In addition to presidential appointments to the legislature and
judiciary (discussed below), under the Kariba draft, no individual or body
has the authority to block a president's appointment to the following
offices or bodies: vice-presidents; ministers; cabinet members; diplomats,
ambassadors and "principal representatives of Zimbabwe abroad"; Judicial
Service Commission; Attorney-General and Deputy Attorney-General;
chairperson of the Public Service Commission; permanent secretaries;
Commander of the Defence Forces and commanders of particular services of the
Defence Forces; Defence Forces Service Commission; Commissioner-General of
Police; Police Service Commission; Commissioner of Prisons; Prison Service
Commission; Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission; Chairperson of
the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission; Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission;
Public Protector and Deputy Public Protector; Auditor-General; Governor of
the Reserve Bank; Provincial Governors; Chiefs.
Under the Kariba draft, the legislature is dominated by the executive.
Whereas the Constitutional Commission proposal suggests a Senate comprised
of 60 elected members, the Kariba draft replicates the current structure of
the Senate, with its 17 presidential appointees.
This provides an almost insurmountable senatorial majority for the
president's party. The Kariba draft, like the Constitutional Commission
proposal, permits the president to dissolve parliament at any time, allowing
him to override proposed legislation that he opposes and perhaps escape
He may also unilaterally extend a term of parliament during times of
war. Moreover, the draft makes it very difficult for parliament to pass a
vote of no confidence. In fact, the draft removes the subsection in the
Constitutional Commission proposal that specifies that if a president fails
to comply with the requirements of a vote of no confidence he must resign,
allowing a president to simply ignore such an action.
The Kariba draft also departs from the Constitutional Commission
proposal in a number of significant ways that do not directly touch upon
executive power. For example, the draft envisions a National Assembly
composed entirely of members elected by a single constituency.
This eliminates the Constitutional Commission proposal's establishment
of 50 seats for members elected under a system of proportional
representation, a provision which may have helped minority groups in
Zimbabwe gain parliamentary representation.
Additionally, the Kariba draft makes it easier to alter some
provisions of the constitution. Many of the departures from the
Constitutional commission proposal in the chapter on parliament seem
inexplicable, except that they may be evidence of efforts by politicians to
open the door for manipulation of the legislative system for political
The Kariba draft, like the current constitution and the Constitutional
Commission proposal, fails to ensure the independence of the judiciary.
Whereas the Constitutional Commission proposal requires Senate
approval of the president's judicial appointments, the Kariba draft only
requires that the president select an appointee from a list provided by the
presidentially appointed Judicial Service Commission or gain approval of his
own choice from that group.
Moreover, the president closely controls the procedure for removing
judges from office.
The president may initiate an inquiry into a particular judge and
personally appoint a three-member tribunal to consider his or her removal.
The Kariba draft in many places adds to the provisions on the
judiciary contained in the current Constitution and the Constitutional
Commission proposal. In some instances, the changes give the president or a
presidential appointee additional control over the structure of the
The Kariba draft, the current Constitution and the Constitutional
Commission proposal establish frameworks for elections, which are very
similar. Where the Kariba draft differs from the other two documents, it is
usually for the purpose of filling in procedural details rather then making
significant substantive changes.
What all three constitutions have in common is the establishment of an
electoral commission that is insufficiently independent.
Each one gives the president ultimate authority in selecting
commission members. Whereas the Constitutional Commission proposal requires
approval of appointments by the Senate, the current constitution and the
Kariba draft only require insignificant "consultation" with the
presidentially-appointed Judicial Service Commission and the Committee on
Standing Rules and Orders, or in some cases, appointment from a list
provided by the former group.
Rights and national objectives
The Kariba draft maintains the structure and most of the content of
the Constitutional Commission proposal in regard to the protection of
fundamental rights and freedoms.
Therefore the weaknesses of that proposal are replicated in the Kariba
draft. Specifically, the Kariba draft fails to protect many vital rights,
such as the freedom of the media and the right of workers to strike.
Although the draft adds a section making some rights non-derogable, this
provision does not apply to internal limitations or limitations authorised
during a period of public emergency.
Moreover, social and economic rights such as the right to housing,
education and health are dealt with in a "National Objectives" section that
is merely "directory in nature," meaning that compliance is not mandatory.
The Kariba draft strengthens a few of the rights contained in the
Constitutional Commission proposal. For example, pregnant women are added
to the classes of persons protected from unfair discrimination. However,
most of these changes are relatively minor and just as often the Kariba
draft weakens rights protections by including additional exceptions or
Of particular significance is the Kariba draft's word-for-word
incorporation of the sections in the current constitution that deal with the
right to property.
This portion of the current constitution has been scarred by numerous
amendments and fails to protect anything except the state's unchecked
ability to acquire and distribute land.
The complete reproduction of this text demonstrates that the Kariba
draft is a hastily negotiated document that reflects narrow political
considerations rather than a rigorous analysis of rights protections or
consideration of the will of the people.
Local government and the devolution of powers
The Kariba draft provides for the establishment of provincial councils
and local authorities.
The functions assigned to these bodies, though very limited, are
greater than those provided in the current constitution or the
Constitutional Commission proposal. However, these powers are not
guaranteed and can be taken away by the central government at any time.
Provincial and local bodies may be manipulated by the central
government, which, through an Act of Parliament determines their
composition. Furthermore, provincial governors, who chair provincial
councils, are presidential appointees.
Size of government
The Kariba draft opens the door for the establishment of a bloated,
inefficient government. Compared with the Constitutional Commission
proposal, all three branches of government are potentially larger.
The Constitutional Commission proposal contains a clause limiting to
20 the number of ministers that the president can appoint.
This clause is dropped in the Kariba draft, allowing the president to
appoint as many ministers as he chooses and create a cabinet of any size.
Both the Senate and National Assembly have more members than are provided
for in the Constitutional Commission proposal.
The Kariba draft provides more detail than the Constitutional
Commission proposal on the composition of the Constitutional Court and
Supreme Court, but unlike that proposal allows the president to appoint as
many judges as he likes to the High Court.
The Kariba draft constitution is an undemocratic document in terms of
both process and content. The draft was written in secret, usurping the
right of the people of Zimbabwe to write a constitution for themselves.
If the draft were enacted, it would establish a government that would
be dominated by the executive. parliament, the judiciary and numerous
public offices and bodies would be subject to political manipulation and
Many of the fundamental rights and freedoms to which Zimbabweans are
entitled would not be protected.
For these reasons, the Kariba draft should play no role in
constitution making in Zimbabwe. The country's political leaders should
publicly reject the use of the Kariba draft as the basis for constitutional
reform and embrace people-driven solutions to Zimbabwe's crisis of
Thursday, 02 July 2009 18:37
ZIMBABWE'S inclusive government should make far-reaching media reforms
soon to inspire confidence in and outside the country, analysts have said.
Media pressure groups have called for more plurality and diversity in
the media and an end to laws that impede the free practice of journalism.
Delays by the new administration to free the airwaves and grant
licences to new players undermine the democratic ideals captured in the
September 15 2008 Global Political Agreement that resulted in the formation
of the inclusive government between President Robert Mugabe, Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
"We want an immediate repeal of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa)," Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ)
president Mathew Takaona said.
"Aippa should be replaced by a Freedom of Information Act which makes
information accessible to everyone. We also need to bring down monopolies in
the media because they are dangerous. They perpetuate corruption, social
ills, patronage and create false realities."
Takaona said government had promised to take on board recommendations
made by media practitioners at the Kariba media conference in April.
"Self-regulation of the media is also imperative. The media cannot be
regulated by the state which is an interested party because there is a
conflict of interest," said the ZUJ president.
The government has remained adamant that statutory regulation will be
George Charamba, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Media,
Information and Publicity, is reportedly drafting media regulations for the
industry which will soon be tabled in parliament.
These focus on freedom of information and media practitioners,
outlining procedures for the regulation of journalists.
MDC-T legislator Settlement Chikwinya said he was "disturbed" by the
slow pace of the inclusive government in repealing or amending repressive
laws affecting the day-to-day life of journalists.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe Chapter has also
criticised steps taken so far by the five-month old inclusive government
towards media reform.
The National Governing Council of Misa said last week that the
"failure by the inclusive government to urgently allow more private
newspapers and alternative radio or television stations to operate in the
country severely limits the citizen's rights to access to information and
diversity of views".
Apart from Aippa, which has become synonymous with media repression,
media experts argue that a cocktail of laws continue to curtail media
The country's supreme law guarantees freedom of expression but there
is no express guarantee of media freedom. Given the key democratic function
served by the media, a specific guarantee of press freedom would be
Constitutional law expert Prof Geoff Feltoe cites a plethora of laws
that inhibit press freedom. The Civil Defamation law, according to Feltoe,
does not draw a "reasonable balance" between protection of reputation and
freedom of the press.
"When a paper publishes information believing on reasonable grounds
that it is true, it is still in danger of having to pay large amounts of
money in damages if the information turns out to be inaccurate," he argues.
"We should adopt the position in South Africa, where it is a defence
to a defamation action that the paper took reasonable steps to check the
information it publishes in the public interest."
This defence applies even if the information turns out to be untrue,
"The position for newspapers would be eased if there was more ready
access to information held by government agencies," he said. "The highly
restrictive official secrets legislation needs to be completely overhauled.
The access to information provisions in Aippa are so qualified and hedged
about that they do little to open up access to government information. We
need real freedom of information legislation along the lines of legislation
in South Africa."
Citing the shortcomings of the Criminal Defamation law, Feltoe further
argues that the law can be used as a "weapon to deter legitimate criticism"
of people in high office.
Any sector of the media can find itself a target of this offence. A
few months ago the editor and a reporter on the Chronicle newspaper were
charged with this offence for publishing an article alleging that senior
police officers were involved in a GMB maize scam. They were charged with
making a false statement prejudicial to state interests.
Journalists still risk facing a one-year sentence for making
statements about the president that could be viewed as false or engendering
feelings of hostility or cause him to be ridiculed or held in contempt.
Media experts argue that this offence may be appropriate to protect
the dignity of a ceremonial president but an executive president like Mugabe
who is actively involved in political activities should not be above
Last week's utterances by top officials in the Ministry of Media,
Information and Publicity that the yet to be constituted Zimbabwe Media
Commission (ZMC) would merely be a replica of the now defunct Media and
Information Commission, signals the turbulent path that lies ahead for the
media reform agenda.
Challenging an interim High Court ruling protecting four freelance
journalists who challenged sections of the controversial Aippa, Minister
Webster Shamu and his permanent secretary George Charamba filed court papers
last week defending the law.
They argued that the MIC would be reincarnated as a new constitutional
commission. The Tafataona Mahoso-led MIC was dissolved by Constitutional
Amendment No 18 in January last year.
"There was otherwise no change in the status of the commission as a
legal entity possessed with full corporate powers," Shamu averred in his
Indicating a void that could result after the formation of the ZMC,
Shamu said "there was nothing in the Aippa amendment (No 18) that suggests
that a new successor body was created under the amendment, or that there was
any intention by the legislature to affect the rights and obligations
created by or under or otherwise acquired in terms of the principal
Act.Consequently there exists a situation at present where two commissions
exist in parallel under separate legislative provisions, with the
constitutional commission still in limbo because of the absence of a
legislative and operational framework which is to be provided under an Act
of Parliament still to be enacted."
The MDC-T however has lambasted this notion.
"A donkey does not become a cow by simply being renamed. These enemies
of press freedom are either genuinely naïve or are being mischievous by
trying to impose the old MIC secretariat on the ZMC," said MDC spokesperson
Nelson Chamisa. "The likes of Tafataona Mahoso and other media hangmen who
have left a legacy of five banned newspapers, bombed radio and television
stations must never be allowed to be part of the board," he said.
Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma told a press conference last month
that former commissioners were still eligible to fill posts arising in the
Remarks by Charamba that he would investigate the publication of a
newsletter being run by Morgan Tsvangirai's office could be a bid by the old
guard to block reforms.
The growing suspicion between the prime minister and the permanent
secretary demonstrates the mistrust, political plotting and moves being made
by parties in the inclusive government ahead of an anticipated poll. In the
midst of this war of attrition, the fate of media freedom in this country
will be determined.
BY BERNARD MPOFU
Thursday, 02 July 2009 20:04
THE Minister of Economic Planning and Development Elton Mangoma said
the local currency was not coming back on the market as the economic
environment was not conducive for it to be re-introduced.
Speaking on the sidelines of a press conference to announce the
inaugural Zimbabwe International Investment Conference scheduled for July 9
and 10, Mangoma said the Zimbabwean dollar was dead.
"There is no argument on that. The Zimbabwe dollar is not coming back.
If there are such signals it is important to take into consideration where
and who said it," Mangoma said.
""Remember we are politicians. Ask yourself was it said at a rally? To
achieve what?" he questioned.
Against all that, the position is it (Zimbabwe dollar) has been
shelved and not coming back anytime soon," Mangoma said.
Last week the media quoted President Mugabe saying he wanted to
re-introduce the local currency soon.
"People in rural areas were forced to trade with their livestock
instead of money.
We can not have a country like that. We are considering going back to
our own currency soon," Mugabe said.
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is also on record saying the
local currency was not dead and people should continue to use it.
"Discussion or debate around the Zimbabwe dollar is work-in-progress.
Such claims are ridiculous. It is a nonsensical and unacceptable concept to
even say the Zimbabwe dollar is dead or dead for a year," Mutambara was
quoted in May.
This week Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said there were no plans or
discussion for the "return on the local currency".
"If the local currency was to be re-introduced today, economically we
will go back to were we where last year," Mangoma said. Meanwhile government
has extended to July 31 the waiver for the importation of basic commodities
BY PAUL NYAKAZEYA
Thursday, 02 July 2009 20:01
GOVERNMENT has withdrawn the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill which
demanded foreign owned mines to cede 51% of their shareholding to locals as
it seeks to lure external investors.
Informed sources yesterday said government had withdrawn the Bill
which was scaring away foreign investors in the mining sector and forced
mining firms not to embark on long term plans.
"The bill was withdrawn. With the current programme to revive the
economy, it could not have come at a better time," a government official
The bill among other investor unfriendly facets sought to transfer a
majority stake to locals, including giving the Zimbabwe government a free
President Robert Mugabe had thrown the economic future of stressed
Zimbabweans into greater uncertainty and confusion with a declaration that
the state intended nationalising all 500 of the country's mines.
Mugabe at the time said the bill "would broaden participation in the
sector by indigenous players".
The bill spooked mining firms and analysts warned it could backfire
and hurt the mine sector, now the country's leading foreign currency earner,
worsening an economic crisis that has devastated Zimbabwe's economy.
Foreign firms that would have been affected include the world's second
biggest platinum producer, Impala Platinum, which has widespread operations
in Zimbabwe. Rio Tinto which has diamond interests and the world's top
platinum producer, Anglo Platinum, which is developing a mine in the
country and Metallon Gold owned by South African tycoon Mzi Khumalo were to
Several mines in Zimbabwe have shut down in the past year, suffocated
by hyper-inflation, shortages of skills, power outages foreign currency
shortages and lack of investment.
Critics had previously warned that if empowerment was not handled
carefully, the country could see a repeat of the "chaotic" land reforms.
Mining has become a pillar of the country's economy, following the
collapse of commercial farming, with gold alone generating a third of all
Thursday, 02 July 2009 19:55
AT least he tried. This is probably the best that can be said about
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's trip to the West.
Sadly some of his colleagues, or perhaps rivals, in the coalition
government are trying to downplay the importance of that visit. To measure
the success or failure of the trip by the amount of money received will be
completely missing the point.
In any case the US$500 million financial support pledged by the West,
although falling far short of the required US$8 billion, is not a small
amount considering that the projected total revenue for the year is US$1
According to the recent revelations by the Ministry of Finance total
collections for the five months to May this year were US$174 million, which
makes half a billion a fortune.
Whereas aid or some financial support is required to jumpstart the
economy, an improvement in the world's perception of Zimbabwe is paramount.
In fact, a good perception can be much more important than aid because it
enhances the country's ability to attract investment.
To have top government leaders hosted by leaders in influential
countries in the West, after almost a decade of isolation, should be seen as
a first step in unlocking the co-operation of these countries.
One hopes that during the meetings both sides had an opportunity to
spell out their expectations and what they would do to build on the renewed
For Western countries re-engagement provides an opportunity to play a
key role in the reconstruction of the country.
While their concerns on outstanding matters of the global political
agreement are genuine and have to be expeditiously resolved, withholding
support to the country because of these issues would have been tantamount to
missing a good chance to influence progress in the country's rehabilitation.
With the pledges they gave during the PM's visit and promise of more
support if the country adopts more reforms, it would be unfair to say the
West did not respond positively to the call for re-engagement.
It is imperative for leadership in the country to show commitment to
fully implementing its own agreement if it wants to be taken seriously.
The deliberate delays in resolving those issues which come on the back
of the alleged lack of the rule of law; disrespect for investment
agreements; and supposed violation of property rights do not give confidence
to prospective financiers.
It is for this reason that the West is demanding more reforms before
more aid can be availed. Even in banking, clients with a history of
defaulting on their loans and other untoward behaviour are subjected to
tighter borrowing conditions.
Whilst the debate on the merits of the trip to the West was going on,
there were two instances of rare positive development this week. The first
was the announcement of a US$950 million loan facility from China and the
second the successful hosting of an investor conference by Imara.
What was intriguing about the Chinese loan was that it was announced
by the PM at a press conference in which he was giving feedback on his trip
to Europe, Scandinavia and the US.
It is not clear whether or not the facility is a result of the Look
East Policy embarked upon by the government when relations with Europe and
the US soured.
If it is, then why would those who championed it have missed an
opportunity to claim its success, especially after the West pledged a
"paltry" US$500million? Or was it a shift in allegiance by the wise men from
Unlike the Europeans and Americans who openly refuse to give
assistance to countries led by perceived enemies, the Chinese consistently
maintain that they support the people without trying to influence the
politics of this country.
The pledged loan of US$950 million, if it materialises, will further
strengthen Chinese involvement in the country given their appeal to both
sides of the political divide.
The second positive occurrence during the week was the staging of an
investor's conference which attracted several investors from across the
globe who wanted to hear the Zimbabwean story.
Local companies had an opportunity to showcase their businesses to
prospective foreign investors, most of whom did not know what to expect
given the negative reportage in the media of their countries.
Presentations by most companies were impressive with the ones from
Delta, Murray & Roberts and PG exceptional as they were detailed and had
carefully thought out strategies.
Many companies expressed cautious optimism on the political and
economic reforms undertaken this year which they said had had a positive
impact on their business. Capacity utilisation for many improved from 5%-10%
in January this year to around 30%.
This is good for the country as government revenue dramatically
improved from US$4m in January to US$65m in May as economic activity
increased. This shows that promoting investment in the country through
supportive regulation; reducing taxes; and guaranteed private property
rights can turnaround the economy quicker than aid.
That should not be too much to ask for. However, with politicians even
simple things can sometimes turn out to be difficult to achieve.
BY RANGA MAKWATA
Thursday, 02 July 2009 19:45
WAGE negotiations for the second quarter of the year between the
Chamber of Mines and the Associated Mine Workers' Union of Zimbabwe have
broken down and the two parties are now heading for arbitration.
The workers union president Tinago Ruzive told Businessdigest that
negotiations had hit a brickwall after the Chamber proposed a minimum wage
which was less than that of the first quarter.
"Mineworkers are wallowing in poverty and were earning only US$100 per
month for the first quarter and we had put forward a minimum wage of US$454
for the second quarter which is stipulated as the Poverty Datum Line, but
were ready to negotiate downwards recognising the difficulties the industry
is experiencing," Ruzive said.
"But the Chamber proposed to reduce the minimum wage for the second
quarter from US$100 to US$80 citing inability to pay, but we cannot accept
such a paltry offer," said Ruzive.
Ruzive said when the Chamber proposed to pay a minimum wage that would
cater for basic requirements, they had calculated a figure of US$174. He
said the Chamber had said they could not pay that figure resulting in the
"We have registered our first, second and third deadlock and are now
heading for the process of conciliation at the Ministry of Labour. If we
fail to agree, then we will go for arbitration," he said.
Ruzive said failure to reach an agreement on wages could have a
devastating impact on the sector which is the country's largest foreign
currency earner and could descend into chaos as their membership is becoming
"I hope this issue is resolved quickly because the workers are
becoming impatient. I will not be able to keep the lid on the boiling pot
much longer," he warned.
BY KUDZAI KUWAZA
Thursday, 02 July 2009 19:41
THE Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) says the government
should urgently resolve outstanding issues contained in the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) so that they focus on economic development.
ZNCC president, Obert Sibanda told delegates attending the chamber's
annual general meeting in Bulawayo last week that the three principals to
the GPA, Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF, Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T and Arthur
Mutambara of MDC-M should put their house in order for the benefit of the
"Government should move with speed to address these outstanding issues
as they affect business and indeed the nation negatively," said Sibanda.
ZNCC is the country's second largest business organisation after the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.
The chamber has pledged to join the inclusive government in its
efforts to spruce up Zimbabwe's battered image and bring back critical
Issues that government of national unity has been failing to agree on
include, re-introduction of the local currency, tariffs, drafting of the
constitution, indigenisation law, tax charges and payment of civil servants
"We advise the parties to finalise the outstanding issues in the GPA
and resolve them amicably so that the country can focus on economic
development, which is desperately needed," he said.
This year's congress was held under the theme "Smart Stakeholder
Partnerships for Economic Revival".
The purpose of the GPA is to ensure that the country's economy, whose
Gross Domestic Product has declined by 60% over the past decade, starts
The GPA's major objective is to ensure that the country's political
environment becomes stable paving the way for all major sectors of the
economy - mining, agriculture, manufacturing and exports - to start
The other objectives of the GPA are to ensure that the local currency
becomes stable, arrest high inflation, create employment, improve education
and health standards and to ensure that there is reliable and affordable
electricity and clean water supplies.
However, the fragile unity government has been dogged by infighting
and backbiting which is slowing the country's economic revival.
The latest infighting in the new government was the boycotting of a
Cabinet meeting by MDC legislators on the pretext that Mugabe had
unilaterally shifted the meeting from the mandated day of Tuesday to Monday.
The MDC argues the decision to move the Cabinet meeting day was Mugabe's
plan to deny Tsvangirai recognition as the chair of Cabinet when the
president was away.
Mugabe is away in Libya attending an African Union summit of heads of
"Government should waive unrealistic taxes and import duties to aid
local industries that are failing to reclaim the market share from cheap
foreign imports," Sibanda said.
He said although local companies needed to increase their capacity
utilisation, their efforts were being hampered by the unrealistic cost of
electricity, rentals, telephones, water and other utilities.
"Our companies need to increase capacity utilisation and we have been
trying to do that in the last months but our efforts are being held back by
unrealistic taxes and duties, which are not in line with the regional
average," Sibanda said.
Locally produced goods are becoming more expensive, making them
uncompetitive on the market because the local industries would be trying to
offset high production costs, duty regime and tax charges.
Thursday, 02 July 2009 19:38
LONZIM PLC says it will commence operations for a Fly540 airline in
Zimbabwe to service domestic and regional markets. The company said its
flights are scheduled to start from September.
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) junior announced that FLY540 is being
rolled out across Africa with local partners in each country to service the
domestic and regional African markets. The company did not name its local
partner in Zimbabwe in the venture.
Fly540 is a Lonrho PLC-owned airline on lease to LonZim.
Fly540 is set to offer Air Zimbabwe competition for market share in a
move that could see other airlines setting up shop in the country.
Pioneer Airlines (PA), a planned airline project by transport and
logistics group Pioneer Africa Corporation, suffered a still birth after
government did not grant the group an operating licence a few years ago. Mid
Airlines also failed to take off in Zimbabwe in 2003.
Until recently, government had been very protective of the aviation
sector and happy to see Air Zimbabwe have a larger share of the market
Meanwhile LonZim stands accused by AMB Ireland, a 22,12% shareholder
in the company of gross corporate governance shortfalls because of its
business reliance on Lonrho.
Miffed by apparent corporate governance concerns and poor investments
at LonZim, AMB called for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to remove
the Alternative Investments Market listed company's four directors off the
board but the requisition to convene an EGM has been ignored.
Should LonZim convene the meeting, AMB Ireland will seek to remove
four directors from the board and reconstitute the board to pave way for the
sale of the company's "non profitable and start-up" investments.
In April, AMB Ireland sought an EGM through the registered owner of
its LonZim shares, Pershing International Nominees Limited but LonZim is
seemingly ignoring the demands.
LonZim said then that the "EGM would most likely be held in June" but
no date has been set yet.
"AMB Ireland does not believe it is right and proper for the board to
ignore a duly served shareholder requisition in this way," the company said.
Damille Partners IV, a 6,46% shareholder in LonZim, has also thrown
its support behind AMB Ireland and will support all its resolutions.
AMB capital alleges there is a blatant conflict of interest on the
part of LonZim directors.
The financial services firm says of the £18,96 million capital that
LonZim deployed in investments, £9,78 million, approximately 51,6% of the
total capital, has been invested in related party transactions or
transactions involving Lonrho and or its employees, "either immediately or
in the future."
The company cited Lonzim's acquisition of Lonrho shares in a private
placement without shareholder approval as another case in point.
The AIM company also acquired Blueberry International Services Limited
from Lonrho and the lease by LonZim to Fly 540 Uganda, a Lonrho subsidiary,
of the two aircraft purchased by LonZim in October 2008.
LonZim also bought a 79% shareholding in Aldeamento Turistico de
Macuti, SARL (ATdM), the holder of a Beira property on which a hotel will be
developed, which will be "operated and managed by an entity owned by Lonrho
plc" as announced on 20 February 2008.
BY CHRIS MURONZI
Thursday, 02 July 2009 19:29
RECENTLY, we have heard and read interesting things about national
healing. A substantial amount of information, mostly from political figures,
has been disseminated about this special process in the media.
Ministers John Nkomo (Zanu PF), Sekai Holland (MDC-T) and Gibson
Sibanda of MDC), have been appointed to lead this task. Quite interestingly,
they are state ministers, not Cabinet members, which means their importance
is not quite up there with the rest.
The three parties have, as they have done with many national issues,
taken it upon themselves to decide the national healing course.
The pronouncements made recently by the three parties give the
impression that Zimbabweans will one day wake up and find themselves healed
from some obscure ailment that seems to be taboo to pronounce.
Healing, I suppose, in the medical and even biblical sense, generally
presupposes an injury or ailment of some sort, either to the physical being
of a life, or to the soul. The healer (who is qualified either by trust or
practice) then prescribes certain measures or implements them on the
patient, who responds by reverting to a state or condition closest to his
condition prior to the ailment.
Such healing often begins at diagnosis level, where the healer
identifies or approximates the problem bedevilling the patient. After this,
the healer prescribes a medicine or a concoction of medicines that might
help overcome the victim's problem. When the patient takes these medicines,
they have in earnest begun the process of treatment during which they begin
to heal or recover from their disease.
In Zimbabwe's case, what is the diagnosis? And what is the treatment?
These are questions that our leaders in the inclusive government seem not to
The healing our politicians describe is some miraculous "stand up and
walk" routine that we have only witnessed at religious crusades or, at
least, read from the Holy Bible.
The overwhelming desire from our leadership is that we be healed
quickly before a full diagnosis of the problem has been made. Instead of
giving us relief, this attitude only inclines us towards suspicion.
The world knows that Zimbabweans have suffered untold trauma on
different fronts - political, social and economic. We have suffered so much
that we are even afraid to say it is not a headache we have but a stomach
ache. We have fallen so ill with docility that we cannot stand up against
anything forced down our throats by our politicians-cum-medical
For over 10 years, more than half of Zimbabwe's population has lived
and died like paupers because of the unprecedented economic decline that
this country has become synonymous with. Yet, there was a government that
presided over this decline, stubbornly declaring Zimbabwe could go it alone
while blaming economic sanctions for its failures.
The country had become so impotent that the only thing it could
produce was a worthless assortment of bank notes.
Since 2000, Zimbabweans have suffered injuries and deaths during
election time and their will has not been allowed to carry the day, because,
President Mugabe once told us, "the bullet is mightier than the ballot".
The Matabeleland atrocities of the 1980s are still fresh in the minds
of many, more than two decades after they were committed. Parents still talk
about what their sons and daughters could have grown up to become had they
not been so viciously killed during the days of Gukurahundi.
Recently, in 2005 thousands of families were displaced under Operation
Murambatsvina and many are yet to find their feet since then. Some lives
were lost too during this unfortunate exercise.
But most recently, in June 2008, scores of people were maimed, killed,
abducted or vilified for political reasons. Many are yet to be found while
some remain incarcerated in various detention centres under merciless
At least four newspapers were shut down under repressive laws during
that time, while many journalists were harassed for seeking and writing the
truth. The country remains at the mercy of a very boring and partisan
broadcaster while applicants are denied licences to open up new stations.
In all these cases, the guilty party is the state and its various
apparatus. It is the state that presided over the killings in Matabeleland,
the destruction of homes under Murambatsvina and the closure of newspapers
daring to oppose its views and policies.
It is the same government, now reincarnated as some "inclusive" form
that continues to muzzle the media and pretend it is willing to give us
many, many choices in the not so foreseeable future.
In short the illness has been inflicted by our politicians.
Yet, ironically, it is the state that tells us we need healing. As if
that is not enough, the same creature presides over that healing process.
Has commonsense become not so common these days? How can the perpetrator of
an offence claim to lead its investigation without partiality?
It should not be government's responsibility to make noise about
Likewise, it should not be the responsibility of politicians in the
three ruling parties to claim that they have begun the process of national
If this national healing is to be a genuine exercise, Zanu PF, MDC-T
and MDC (in that order of extremity) should confess to their wrongdoings and
ask the people how they think they need to be compensated for the harm done
Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara should say "we are
sorry" to Zimbabwe and not appoint supposed ministers to "lead" some obscure
Zanu PF and the two MDC formations need to admit their complicity in
the loss of lives in elections since 2000. The MDC might claim it was more
the victim than the perpetrator, but for letting its supporters risk, and
indeed, lose their lives in the party's name and cause, the MDC is guilty as
For convincing supporters to don its regalia and campaign for it even
under the most dangerous of conditions is culpability in its furthest
Zanu PF and MDC must each admit to their contributions to the
suffering of the people.
Zanu PF must admit and apologise for the thousands of lives lost under
its rule, at the hands of its apparatus - in Matabeleland, in June 2008 and
in any other elections.
In fact, Zanu PF has a lot to apologise for. This is not to absolve
the MDC, which was also often on the wrong side of arson and murder
accusations. The same party has also led its supporters to believe that Zanu
PF was so bad that the MDC could never work with it. Now that the bosses of
the party are having coffee together, what happens to ordinary villagers who
had barricaded each other's paths with thorn branches?
A book of apologies cataloguing the numbers of victims, their
locations and possible compensation must be opened by an impartial body such
as the church, whose congregations span the political divide.
After apologising, these parties must then take corrective measures.
The traumatised must be rehabilitated into society and taught to again trust
the government, the police and the army. The military should reconstruct
where they have destroyed.
They should help locate and excavate bodies buried in some secret
graves and hand them over to their families for proper interment. Hopefully,
these souls will then rest in peace.
Ureke is a Harare-based journalist.
BY OSWELLED UREKE
Thursday, 02 July 2009 18:04
OUR thanks to Morgan Tsvangirai for firmly putting the kibosh on
President Mugabe's off the wall scheme to revive the Zim dollar. With the
exception of a coterie around the president, nobody wants to see a return of
that painful symbol of national decline.
"For economic reasons, there is no way you can resort to the
Zimbabwean dollar in a situation of low production," Tsvangirai told a news
conference in Johannesburg. "You have to increase your productivity levels
from the current 10% to about 50-60%, otherwise you slide back to...
inflation. "It is impracticable to talk about even resorting to a currency
which is worthless at this stage."
A day earlier Mugabe had been posing as a friend of the poor who had
no access to hard currency. But it was of course his ruinous policies that
ensured the poor stayed poor.
"Yes, prices may have gone down but the people should have the money,"
the Herald quoted Mugabe as saying. "If they don't have the money, how will
they buy the goods? We can't run a country like that. We are considering
changing that and reverting to our own currency."
Just when everybody thought they had escaped the nightmare of
inflation and state controls!
Mugabe's address to the National Consultative Assembly illustrated
just how difficult it will be to convince Western donors that he is a
changed man. His speech was redolent in the sort of populist demagoguery
that has so damaged the economy and isolated Zimbabwe over the years.
"Imperialists can never be friends of those countries and people that
desire freedom," he told his audience with reference to Tsvangirai's recent
trip. "I fought for freedom. Only a dead imperialist is a good one (sic).
Colonisers can never be friends so we turn our backs on them and face the
It will be interesting to see in that connection how much Emmerson
Mnangagwa's fishing expedition trawls in. The government media is still
keeping his visit a secret.
As for the president's war record, we advise those who wish to learn
more to consult Edgar Tekere's book. It provides a fascinating insight.
Given his excellent command of English it was surprising to see Mugabe
getting his aphorisms mixed up. "The only good imperialist is a dead
imperialist," is the expression he was probably looking for. But who, apart
from a tiny recidivist gang around the president, goes around talking about
"imperialists" any more? As for poor Irene Khan, did she really deserve to
undergo a sex change?
Mugabe described her as a "little fellow". But he then corrected
himself saying: "I don't know where this little woman came from - always
shouting. Was she bewitched? And in our country anyone can come and talk
Is this the language of a reformed leader? Does this sound like
somebody seeking engagement with the international community and who
understands what needs to be done to improve human rights? And, in this
context, why does he think white farmers are not also Zimbabweans?
"The Zimbabwean land is for Zimbabweans," he told the central
committee. "Others can only be recipients of it if we, Zimbabweans, say so."
What sort of country is it where the head of state targets citizens
from a specific ethnic background for dispossession; who unleashes his
followers against productive farmers and then expects the world to reward
him with investment and aid?
We hope at least Tsvangirai got the message during his tour that
expropriation of somebody's life's work on the grounds of race is simply not
acceptable in today's world.
Tsvangirai has foolishly been characterising farm invasions as a storm
in a teacup. They are in fact emblematic of Zimbabwe's lawlessness.
And Arthur Mutambara was quoted on SW Radio Africa as saying of his
fact-finding visit to Mashonaland West where violent farm invasions have
taken place that he wouldn't be doing anything about it. He told the farm
invaders on Mt Carmel Farm, the property of Mike Campbell in Chegutu, they
had to leave.
He said they were giving their sponsor, Nathan Shamuyarira, a bad
They left for one hour, then came back.
Mutambara said he would take no action on the issue, claiming it was
sufficient that he could say: "I saw it for myself'."
But Arthur, this is delinquency writ large. If you saw it and then
pledge to do nothing about it your national rebranding mission will fall at
the first hurdle. And it deserves to. Look at the wave of scepticism
swirling around Tsvangirai because he took the same evasive line, pandering
to the hardliners in Zanu PF.
At least the Campbells' story will be told around the world following
the award made to the documentary film account of the ordeal the Campbells
have been through. Described as "intimate" and "moving", it was unanimously
judged the winner of the Sterling World Award at the "Silverdocs"
International Documentary Film Festival in Washington.
The judges said the film "elevates a resonant story to a global stage".
They particularly liked the solidarity shown by the farm workers with their
The criminal brutality of the events at Mt Carmel Farm exposes the
real face of "land reform" which Tsvangirai failed to get past world leaders
recently when he spoke about isolated incidents!
We were amused by Patrick Chinamasa's claims that his colleagues in
the inclusive government now see things in "a different light".
"They were previously academic and now see things in a different
light," he said at the Chinhoyi Press Club. "Our colleagues now see reality
as we saw it before the inclusive government."
Not difficult to imagine who this was aimed at. But as for current
realities, it is surely Chinamasa's party that has woken up to the fact that
it has lost public confidence and cannot survive by means of brute force
alone. It is Zanu PF that realises nobody buys its silly propaganda about
external threats any more. Zimbabweans want to be friends of the West, not
victims of the new colonisers from the East.
Zimbabwe would emerge as "a beacon of success", Chinamasa suggested.
But he didn't say what it was emerging from and who put it there in the
Nothing more clearly illustrates the need for open media than the
Herald's front-page story on Tuesday about the MDC-T's boycott of this week's
The Herald waxed indignant about the "highly disrespectful" move and
the "narrow agendas of individual political parties".
Only when we got to paragraph 11 were we told of the reason for the
boycott. The meeting had been moved to Monday to prevent deputy prime
minister Thokozani Khupe from standing in for President Mugabe, who would be
in Libya on Tuesday, and Morgan Tsvangirai who was still in Johannesburg and
had sent his apologies. He and Vice-President Joyce Mujuru arrived home
later on Monday. It was a snub and no amount of huffing and puffing by the
Herald could change that.
The boycott was an appropriate response.
Cabinet usually meets on a Tuesday. The MDC-T understandably saw the
change in arrangements as a move designed to prevent their most senior
members from chairing the meeting. That's exactly what it was about and
usefully illustrated Mugabe's insincerity on the issue of the inclusive
government. Could he not let go for a single day?
But this was also a lesson for Tsvangirai. Should he really travel the
world singing praise for Mugabe when the president undermines him at every
We warned recently that the state's propaganda machine was gearing up
to declare the Zimbabwe Media Commission a reincarnation of the sinister
MIC. Now we have confirmation of this attempted confidence trick with Media
minister Webster Shamu declaring in court papers that the amendment to Aippa
last year did not alter the MIC's powers but simply changed the regulatory
body's name to the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
It will be interesting to see how the court responds to this
legerdemain. The minister acknowledged that the MIC ceased to exist on
January 11 last year when the amendments to Aippa came into effect.
"However, that event did not mean that a new commission called the
Zimbabwe Media Commission then became a successor body to the MIC," the
minister said in his affidavit opposing the application brought by four
freelance journalists seeking to cover the Comesa summit, and upheld by
Justice Bharat Patel.
He said the effect was the change of name from MIC to Zimbabwe Media
"There was otherwise no change in the status of the commission as a
legal entity possessed with full corporate powers," the minister declared in
his affidavit. "The legal institutional and operational framework of the
commission remained as it was in terms of its definition as set out in
Section 2 (1) of the principal Act (Aippa)."
Board members appointed to the MIC already had running contracts,
Shamu pointed out. "As such they continued to be members of the renamed
There seems to be some wriggling here on the legal hook. The Media
ministry acknowledged in March that the MIC ceased to have legal effect with
the promulgation of amendments to Aippa. But now it claims the MIC is
effectively still operational.
Shamu said there had been a misunderstanding over the word "accredit".
There was a distinction, he said, between journalists applying for a
12-month accreditation enabling them to practise in Zimbabwe, and the sort
of accreditation that enables journalists to cover workshops and
If that is the case, why does Tafataona Mahoso say he is only carrying
out "routine" business at the MIC? If it is merely a matter of a name change
why has that prevented him from registering newspapers?
There is much misinformation about what both the GPA and the Kariba
draft contain, Trudy Stevenson has pointed out. For clarification, the GPA
"Article VI Constitution:
"Acknowledging the draft constitution that the parties signed and
agreed to in Kariba on 30th of September 2007, annexed hereto as Annexure
"B"; Determined to create conditions for our people to write a constitution
for themselves, and mindful of the need that the new constitution deepens
our democratic values and principles and the protection of the equality of
citizens, particularly the enhancement of full citizenship and
equality of women;
"6.1 The parties hereby agree .to table (their) draft constitution to
a 2nd All-Stakeholders Conference; that the draft constitution recommended
by the Select Committee shall be submitted to a referendum.."
There is no indication whatsoever in the GPA, Trudy points out, that
the "Kariba draft" will be used either as the reference point for the
writing of the new national constitution, or as the document to be submitted
to the referendum. It has merely been acknowledged as a document drawn up
and signed by the three parties in the then negotiations as part of the
package they would put on the table to be agreed upon or differed with, but
as a possible starting point.
"It must be pointed out that the Kariba draft was drawn up and signed
in September 2007, six months before the March 2008 election, on the
understanding that all the three parties, in particular Zanu PF, were
genuinely desirous of change and of a truly free and fair election in terms
of Sadc standards," Trudy says.
"Events, in particular events between 27 March and 29 June 2008,
showed that this was far from the case, as Zanu PF first delayed the results
of the first round. despite (the) public outcry, and secondly because the
nature and extent of violence in the 'run-off' period March-June were such
that there is no possibility of any conclusion other than that the violence
was deliberate, planned and intended to ensure that the incumbent remained
in power despite the wishes of the majority."
Muckraker is having difficulty following the Herald's maths on the
status of the country's dams. On Monday, June 22 it said that Harare's major
dams, Lakes Chivero, Manyame and Harava, now hold an average of about 90% of
their capacity. It then went on to say Lake Chivero is 100% full, Manyame
98,8% and Harava 100%.
So that's an average of 90%? Glad these guys are no longer running the
Thursday, 02 July 2009 17:52
ALMOST every economy that has achieved major growth has, as an element
of that growth, had a concentrated drive to establish small and micro
enterprises (SMEs), inclusive of many coming into being as informal sector
operations, but progressively facilitated and motivated to formalise their
Prime examples of economies which have used SME development as a
catalyst for economic development include India, China, South Korea and
Malaysia, but there are many others who have done likewise.
In virtually all instances, vast numbers of the populations were
without gainful formal sector employment, and subject to pronounced poverty.
The respective governments sought to address those critical
circumstances by encouraging and facilitating the creation of home
industries and other small-scale operations, ranging from production of
basic items of clothing and footwear to carpentry and associated production
of small furniture items, from food production to manufacture of pottery,
from the provision of services such as plumbing and electrical repairs to
hairdressing, and from vending to engaging in transportation and cartage
operations (be it horse, donkey or cattle driven, or usage of bicycles).
In so doing, not only were the governments enabling large sectors of
their populations access to incomes, with progressive enhancement of
standards of living and reduction of poverty, but also fuelling considerable
downstream economic activity and, in many instances, some creation of
employment and - as the enterprises developed and grew - direct and indirect
However, in pursuit of the SME development strategy, the governments
also recognised the desirability of a progressive transition of the
enterprises from the informal sector.
This was necessary if the ventures were to grow and expand, have
access to capital for that expansion and growth, were to be compliant with
law, and were to be substantive fiscal contributors.
Therefore, the governments strove to minimise the bureaucracy and the
fiscal hindrances to formal sector entry. Concurrently they intensively
focused upon relaxation of laws that were obstacles to informal sector
operations save to such extent as necessary for national security, community
health, and like considerations.
They also tried to ease the establishment and operation of SMEs by
establishing appropriate cluster areas for the location of the ventures, at
low cost, to facilitate access to capital. Of major importance to their
vigorous efforts to encourage and enable informal sector economic activity,
they ensured minimum regulation and control.
They did likewise, to a considerable extent, to motivate and
facilitate movement from the informal to the formal sector, concurrently
with the creation and provision of significant incentives for such
In particular, they recognised that one of the biggest factors which
motivated informal instead of formal sector operations was that operators
sought to avoid the incidence of taxation and other imposts and, to counter
that consideration, minimised taxation and like charges on small
enterprises, concurrently with the provision of compensatory incentives.
Those incentives were of a nature and extent as would induce SME operatives
to be willing to be subject to formal sector constraints, as benefits would
be perceived to outweigh disadvantages.
Zimbabwe is currently striving to reverse the massive economic decline
that has been the principal characteristic of the last decade, and in the
last few months (mainly after the establishment of the "inclusive"
government), has made some significant initial progress in doing so.
Foremost in the achievements is the elimination of the most pronounced
hyperinflation ever sustained by any country, with the first five months of
2009 each experiencing deflation in contrast to gargantuan month-on-month
inflation throughout most of 2008.
Government has also succeeded in sourcing some considerable
international funding (presently approximately US$955 million, although more
than eight times that amount is required).
In addition, it has begun to successfully motivate foreign investor
interest, although much of that interest has yet to be converted from
interest to intent. All indications are that the economy is at last, very
belatedly, set upon a path of recovery. Nevertheless, the economic upturn is
inevitably very slow and it will take many years for complete recovery to be
Despite the first stages of economic recovery progress, the economy is
still greatly debilitated, with intense poverty and suffering being norm for
a considerable majority of the population. The Poverty Datum Line for a
family of six was assessed in May 2009 at approximately US$427 per month, as
compared to US$82 in South Africa.
Almost 90% of the population is believed to be struggling to survive,
let alone make ends meet, to levels very markedly below the PDL, whilst more
than half the population barely exists at below the Food Datum Line. As a
result, extreme poverty, hardship and suffering are the order of the day,
with many dying of malnutrition or of ill health.
It is critically important, therefore, that Zimbabwe very urgently
takes a leaf out of the book of those nations which have successfully
enabled economic growth and wellbeing for the majority of their populations
by rapid and intensive enablement of an exponential development and growth
of its informal sector, and of progressive transition from the informal to
the formal sector.
It has long talked of doing so, but action is now needed, and not
talk. As a matter of urgency, in order not to "reinvent the wheel",
Zimbabwe needs to study the policies and strategies which have so
successfully achieved large-scale SME development in other countries, and to
obtain requisite guidance and advice from experienced experts within the
Undoubtedly, those policies and strategies will required adaptation
and modification to fit Zimbabwean circumstances, but they will be effective
guidelines to achieve that which is so very necessary for Zimbabwean
circumstances, and to bring about economic vitality. The study must not be
limited solely to informal sector economic development, but also to the
motivation and enablement of progressive enterprise movement from the
informal to the formal sector.
Although only one example of the pro-active measures that could be
pursued, it is very notable that, with effect from last Wednesday, South
Africa is using its taxation legislation as one way of stimulating SME
development. With the intention to enable small (and medium-sized) business
ventures to obtain capital required to fund establishment or growth, the
South Africa Income Tax Act now provides for a liberal tax incentive to
those who invest in venture capital companies that engage in the provision
of funding to small business enterprises.
That tax incentive comprises tax deductibility of the entirety of
amounts invested in venture capital companies that provide SME funding.
In the case of individuals, the deduction allowed is ZAR750 000 in any
one year, subject to an aggregate maximum of such deductions over the years
of ZAR2, 25 million, whilst listed companies and their 70% or more
controlled subsidiaries are accorded deductibility of the entirety of
investment in approved venture capital companies.
The legislation prescribes that the venture capital companies must be
engaged in investment in the small business sector to an extent of at least
90% of its total investment capital. Such an incentivisation strategy may,
or may not, be apposite to Zimbabwe, but it is indicative of the innovative
thinking that could vigorously stimulate SME development.
Yet another could be significant tax relief in the first years of
operations of the SMEs, including pronounced leniency on the imposition of
indirect taxes impacting upon SMEs in general, and those within the informal
sector in particular (instead of the heavy-handed, oppressive indirect tax
enforcement recently resorted to by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Zimra,
in raids on informal sector traders).
Encouraging formal and informal sector SME development, followed by
the progressive transfer of those in the informal sector to the formal
sector, needs to be a high priority in government's drive to re-establish a
healthy, virile Zimbabwean economy.
Thursday, 02 July 2009 20:35
THE legitimacy and credibility of the controversial constitutional
process further waned this week after clashes between parliament
administrators and the select parliamentary committee spearheading the task.
The situation was worsened by chaos which characterised the committee's
restricted outreach programme.
Leaders of the committee are now stumbling and stammering in a bid to
defend the increasingly unpopular process.
Problems bedevilling the process are varied and many. For a start, it
is now clear the process itself is flawed.
There are also disputes about methodology, budgets, number of
delegates to the stakeholders conference, the role of parliament
administration, mandate of the select committee and interface between
parliament, political parties and the public.
The select parliamentary committee is digging in, while rejecting
calls for an open, participatory and democratic process. In essence the
committee believes that the 25 MPs in charge of the process are the only
ones qualified to write a new constitution.
Other political parties except Zanu PF and the combined MDC, civil
society, interest groups, professional organisations, students, churches,
women and key stakeholders have not been fully consulted.
A stakeholders' conference is being organised for July 9-12 in a bid
to impose the committee's dubious findings.
The committee wants to have us believe that it consulted people during
its fleeting tour around the country. But we now know that the tour was a
disaster in many respects because some of the meetings were either chaotic
or just poorly attended. This is contained in the committee's own report
after the visits to Harare and Matabeleland North provinces. Imagine in
Harare some of the meetings were attended by as few as 10 people, while
others were cancelled due to non-attendance!
In Matabeleland North there were concerns about why politicians were
leading the process. People wanted other stakeholders to be involved. This
is what we have been saying all along. In fact, according to the committee's
report itself, "there were also concerns whether the consultative process
and referendum would be democratic (or not)."
This is the crux of the matter. The committee is trying to square a
circle by hoping to come up with a democratic and legitimate constitutional
draft out of an undemocratic and illegitimate process. The process is not
legitimate in the view of the public because it is dominated by
self-interested politicians who are pursuing power politics and
The process and referendum cannot be said to be democratic when they
are firmly under the control of parties which signed an agreement to impose
a flawed constitutional document, the Kariba draft. Whatever the MDC says,
it is clear the Global Political Agreement makes the Kariba draft the
reference point. The draft "acknowledged" by the agreement takes precedence
over other drafts and submissions.
The MDC is now trying to wriggle out of its agreement with Zanu PF
simply because it can now see the Kariba draft is shoddy and unpopular, a
move which is both opportunistic and self-serving.
Zanu PF is clinging to the Kariba draft in terms of the agreement, but
is also driven by self-interest. If the Kariba draft is adopted Zanu PF
benefits because it leaves President Robert Mugabe's powers intact. If
Kariba is rejected, we go back to the current defective Lancaster House
constitution which Mugabe loves even more. It's a win-win for Zanu PF,
unwittingly promoted by the MDC. Once again, it's clear we are likely to
remain stuck with Lancaster House, courtesy of the MDC. In 2000 that was the
case and now it's likely to be the same.
This is why attempts by MDC co-chair of the committee Douglas Mwonzora
to say that if this process fails people must blame the NCA and civil
society are quite strange. If it fails, we will blame Zanu PF and the MDC
for trying to impose a flawed document on the nation. It's clear where the
problem lies: the bid by politicians to clumsily impose a rigidly-controlled
process and its outcome on the people via a dictatorial framework. The
problem is not the people, but those trying to manipulate the people.
How can a 25-member committee of MPs from three parties bound by a
self-serving, defective political agreement negotiated behind closed doors
and in dark rooms write a constitution for a whole country? By their own
admission, the political agreement is transitional and flawed. Why should
that be a basis and only framework for writing a constitution? Why are these
MPs and their parties so afraid of an open, participatory and democratic
What have they got to hide? It's an open secret that they want to
impose Kariba, never mind the MDC's exaggerated protestations, through a
dubious process. If indeed they don't want to smuggle that draft through the
political door, why are they refusing to have an open process?
From what has been going on, it is becoming increasingly evident that
the limited consultations done through a whirlwind tour were a smokescreen.
The reality is that the process is a sham. Even if Zanu PF and the MDC
eventually succeed in imposing a new constitution and their political will,
the outcome will suffer from a paucity of legitimacy and credibility.
Mwonzora's address to the Press Club in Harare this week was
instructive. It was clear from his remarks that the parliamentary committee's
agenda is untenable. It now appears that there could well be a sinister
political agenda behind this charade.
BY DUMISANI MULEYA
Thursday, 02 July 2009 20:32
THE anti-reform proponents in the inclusive government are now coming
out of the woodwork and seem not to be embarrassed at all to flaunt their
Right at the formation of the inclusive government three months ago we
expressed worry that elements within Zanu PF would conspire to either
sabotage or frustrate the reform process. We were right.
Nothing exemplifies the machinations of this lobby more vividly than
attempts by Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu to
legitimise the now defunct Media and Information Commission (MIC).
In an affidavit deposed with the High Court last week the minister,
who is challenging an interim High Court ruling protecting four freelance
journalists who challenged the need for accreditation under the MIC, Shamu
said the commission, whose mandate was nullified by the amendment to the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, had changed its name to
the Zimbabwe Media Commission, a constitutional body.
He said there "was otherwise no change in the status of the commission
(MIC) as a legal entity possessed with full corporate powers".
He also said board members of the MIC had running contracts which were
not terminated by the Aippa amendment. He said the members of the MIC
therefore continued to be members of the Zimbabwe Media Commission until the
expiry of their contracts.
In other words he is averring that the MIC led by Tafataona Mahoso has
morphed into the ZMC and should therefore continue to carry out its duties
which include accrediting journalists and registering media houses until
such a time as the ZMC is reconstituted.
"There is thus no gap or vacuum created by the promulgation of the
constitutional amendment insofar as the existence of a commission to perform
the functions prescribed under Aippa is concerned," said Shamu. "That
commission.is carrying out its functions and should be left to carry out its
That is giving Mahoso & Co a new lease of life to continue to regulate
the media even after the High Court said this arrogation of authority should
not be allowed.
The issue here is about the legitimacy of the MIC. Raising loopy
technical issues does not give the MIC any iota of legitimacy. What we have
here is an attempt by Zanu PF to breathe life into an organisation whose
tenure ended with the amendment to Aippa.
The process of selecting members of a new commission is moving at the
speed of a glacier; all the better for those vouching for Mahoso.
There are no proper timelines for this initial process of appointing
the commissioners. Then last month the Speaker of Parliament, Austin Zvoma,
revealed that an enabling law will be promulgated to govern the operations
of the ZMC; another delay which favours those keen to stall the media reform
We consider this an affront to the quest for media reform and a
reflection of the debilitating discord in the inclusive government.
Therefore putting up a defence for the MIC is defending the old order.
We will not be surprised at all to learn that Shamu and his colleagues
in Zanu PF are seeking to retain Mahoso in the ZMC. He has become the de
facto voice of an unreconstructed Zanu PF on issues of media freedom and
state regulation of the profession. This particular leopard is not about to
change its spots.
He believes in statutory control of the media. He does not believe in
the free press. He is generally opposed to the opening up of the media. He
is a yesteryear denizen of Zimbabwe's dark past. His beliefs are at variance
with national aspirations. He does not represent the national ethos. But
Mahoso and those of his kind are useful to Zanu PF's power project.
This is clearly encapsulated in this extract from his recent article:
". in the scheme of regime change politics, it is suicidal for a country to
liberalise its media policy in the immediate aftermath of sanctions or while
still enduring and fighting illegal sanctions," he said. "This is because
the immediate liberalisation of media policy is consistent with the
objective of illegal sanctions and of illegal regime change."
So the attempt to readmit Mahoso through the ZMC back door is all
designed to retain the old party entrenchments which have become an
embarrassment. Considering Shamu's disclosures in last week's affidavit Zanu
PF can no longer pretend that it is for reform that is consistent with the
formation of the unity government. It is trying to defend the indefensible.
Zimbabweans have been demanding media plurality and not control.
They need more diversity on national television and radio and not the
current soporific diet of repeats and shoddily produced magazine programmes.
They want to read alternative views in the print media. This is the time to
do away with relics of media repression and not ring fence them.
"We can't solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when
we created them." - Albert Einstein
Thursday, 02 July 2009 18:14
THE furore over President Robert Mugabe's "unilateral" decision to
move a cabinet meeting forward from Tuesday to Monday this week would have,
in itself, been a storm in a teacup were it not for the deeper issues that
have enveloped the inclusive government and continue to paralyse it.
The move by Mugabe saw MDC-T ministers boycotting the cabinet meeting,
contrasting sharply with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's claims on his
whirlwind tour of the United States and Europe that the inclusive government
was working perfectly.
The cabinet issue was simply a triggering event which brought to the
fore the discord in the operations of this government.
In itself, and shorn of the background, the boycott would be quite
irrational in that there is nothing irregular in cabinet meetings (or any
meetings) being moved forward or postponed by whoever is mandated to chair
them. In virtually all instances, this is the chairman's prerogative.
The more fundamental problem is that the "jelly-like" global political
agreement (GPA) is built on good faith; it is a gentlemen's agreement.
Therefore, without good faith the whole edifice is in peril. It may well be
that the decision to bring forward the cabinet meeting was inspired by bad
faith which has now comprehensively affected the workings of the inclusive
What the MDC-T ministers' boycott of cabinet brought to the fore was
that little has been achieved in fully implementing the GPA and that there
are no real reforms taking place.
The saga also exposed Tsvangirai's shortcomings.
During his international tour, the premier told the world that the
unity government had embarked on reforms that would lead to full
democratisation of the country. With a straight face, he claimed that there
were no farm invasions, no political prisoners, no human rights abuses and
no state-sanctioned abductions.
Tsvangirai even had the gall to appeal to the international community
not to exert pressure on Mugabe to go because he is "part of the Zimbabwe
solution" and without him this country would degenerate into chaos. What is
now common cause is that his pronouncements did not go down well with his
party and ministers.
Last week, the MDC-T national executive held an emergency meeting
where it resolved that Sadc expeditiously deals with the deadlocked
outstanding issues of central bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General
The executive also said the inclusive government should urgently deal
with the appointment and swearing-in of provincial governors, ambassadors
and the deputy Agriculture minister Senator Roy Bennett as agreed by the
principals of the three parties in the GPA.
It also stated that the continued arrests, detentions and human rights
violations be referred to the guarantors and that the inclusive government
urgently deals with public media reform and the facilitation of media
freedom in general.
The same concerns by the MDC-T national executive were raised by the
ministers from the party on Monday. Tsvangirai at a press conference at his
Munhumutapa offices on Tuesday endorsed the decision of his ministers to
boycott the cabinet meeting, but could not reconcile his utterances abroad
with statements issued by his party and ministers.
What has happened clearly shows that senior members of the MDC-T have
doubts about Tsvangirai's stances on certain political and policy issues and
on Tsvangirai's interpretation of the working relationship between him and
Some close to Tsvangirai have argued that the premier while abroad
showed a lot of maturity by keeping to the old adage that you do not wash
your dirty linen in public. However, the 85-year-old leader seemed not to
reciprocate when he addressed his Zanu PF central committee meeting last
This in itself strongly suggests that Mugabe was trying to appease an
internal party constituency that has been viscerally opposed to the GPA and
its offspring -- the inclusive government.
Mugabe is trying to navigate in crocodile-infested Zanu PF waters,
hence the statements that were directed at Tsvangirai and his party. Mugabe
has lashed out at Tsvangirai's trip and celebrated the premier's failure to
woo the needed financial aid to revitalise the economy. The ageing veteran
leader forgot that the trip was necessary for one main reason: to facilitate
Zimbabwe's re-engagement with the West.
It is no secret that Zimbabwe has had an estranged relationship with
the West, arising mainly from the land reform programme and the human rights
problems that surrounded that programme and the flawed elections since the
There has been hostility and this needed to be resolved and the
starting point is setting up steps for dialogue. The trip was the beginning
in a long process because key issues such as trust and confidence have to be
re-established and these do not just appear overnight, especially in view of
the fact that the dominant players in Zimbabwe and the West that
collectively authored the sour relationship are still very much in
Secondly, Zimbabwe needs an injection of liquid resources to
resuscitate the economy. The West can provide some of this help and it is
necessary to promote the re-engagement in order to facilitate the aid and
assistance that Zimbabwe needs in the short and long-term.
BY CONSTANTINE CHIMAKURE
Cutting Power Takes Nation Backwards
Thursday, 02 July 2009 20:40
REPORTS that Zesa has been given the go-ahead to cut off power to
those who fail to pay show how much out of touch our so-called unity
government is with its electorate.
I would happily pay my Zesa bill or any other of the utilities if I
had received a salary.
Since February I have received an allowance of US$100 per month, which
has barely managed to keep my family fed and clothed.
We have no medical aid, no insurance and have not managed to pay last
term's or this term's outrageous school fees.
We already live in abject poverty and now they want to cut off the
electricity -- which will be followed rapidly, mark my words, by water and
Can I remind the minister who has given this go ahead and who more
than likely gets all the above mentioned facilities free, that our money is
still there in the banks -- just a number on a ledger -- because the
government scrapped the Zimbabwean dollar.
I did not see any directive from the government to convert all our
banked money into a useable currency.
All our hard earned savings were just scrapped by a stroke of a
Can I also remind the minister that most businesses had to start with
a nil balance in February and some sectors are only now starting to recover
and make some money and starting to pay their staff.
Have the people of this country not been through enough in the past
two to three years without the government sanctioning further misery and
Zesa's woes are as a result of their inefficiency. Surely we should
not be made to suffer some more because putting us in the cold and dark will
not help this country recover any time soon.
Streamline Govt Departments
Thursday, 02 July 2009 18:33
ERIC Bloch's revelation that the 42 embassies are costing us US$20
million per month is staggering.
This equates to two thirds of our fuel requirements in normal
conditions. Looking at the traffic now it is probably nearly double our
What does Zesa need to keep the country on full power - probably not
as much as this US$20 million? This all begs the question how can embassies
around the world on average spend US$500 000 (R4 million) per month? An
average budget could be, say, office rent US$15 000, 10 staff wages US$20
000 (tax free), 10 house rents US$10 000, vehicles US$10 000, running
expenses US$15 000. So where does the other US$430 000 per month go?
Our TelOne telephone charges are the highest in the world at 42c per
minute. Marange diamonds are reported to be earning someone US$200 million
per month. When the ministries were being divided (or should I say grabbed)
I wondered why Zanu PF was so determined to hang onto mines, telecoms and
foreign affairs ahead of other ministries. On face value it seemed that
they had motives of political and security control but now it seems they
were hanging onto the cash cows.
The government should investigate closely where this massive foreign
expenditure on the embassies is going - surely into the pockets of Zanu PF
chefs. Is this also the reason that Gideon Gono has to be retained in power
at all costs?
Nothing to do with what the country's needs - just to safeguard the
cash cows and distribution of their wealth to keep the party financed in the
face of total political collapse?
Bloch also makes the point that we do not need a large army, three spy
agencies, a senate, governors and so many ministers and deputy ministers
when the social service ministries like health and education are so
understaffed and underpaid.
The Minister of Finance in his next budget should look at reducing or
eliminating expenditure on bloated or irrelevant ministries and not budget
around what the existing bloated structures are asking for. Education and
health should, in all fairness, be given the biggest slice of the cake, the
army the smallest.
It is time for Zanu PF to get real and start working with the MDC
factions to create a better future for all Zimbabweans and not devote all
the time to entrenching themselves politically or lining their pockets. If
they want to safeguard what they have looted they better wake up and smell
They will never win a free election, the world will not accept another
rigged one, so give up gracefully while you are ahead and start thinking of
the citizens of the country for a change.
Machipisa Police Station Conduct Cause for Concern
Thursday, 02 July 2009 18:29
I AM not pleased at all by the manner in which the police station at
Machipisa shopping centre operates, especially the neighbourhood watch
committee members. They have abandoned their duty to protect members of the
public and their property but have instead turned against them.
Recently a 12-year-old girl was locked up for shoplifting along with a
vendor and some drunkards who were caught drinking in public.
It is true that vending is an offence so is public drinking but what
are they doing about the touts, dangerous parking and the tendency by
commuter omnibus drivers to stop where there is no stop sign?
The perpetrators of these crimes are not being arrested because they
give the police free rides. Vendors and public drinkers are thus easy prey.
There are a lot of criminals on the run in Highfield but they are
failing to apprehend them which shows how poorly organised they are.
Corruption is the order of the day at this station. If they arrest
vendors they confiscate their goods and share among themselves or solicit
bribes from victims for their freedom. They are now becoming enemies of the
residents. Some of them act as if they are above the law.
My question is what criteria does the Home Affairs ministry use to
recruit these people in the police force?
Thursday, 02 July 2009 18:27
I ACKNOWLEDGE receipt of the complaint against the police and wish to
make the following comment.
Most police stations in Zimbabwe have a single block of cells and the
block of cells is fenced to allow for feeding and exercises.
At times we use the fenced area as a screening ground before suspects
are locked in the cells. Shoplifting, illegal vending are offences under
the laws of the country.
The Liquor Act also prohibits the drinking of beer in a public place.
ZRP is mandated to enforce all laws of the country. In that light I see
nothing wrong if police officers arrest people for engaging in unlawful
activities as cited above.
It s unfair for anyone -- let alone a resident in Zimbabwe -- to
suggest that the police are not enforcing traffic legislation. The Zimbabwe
Republic Police has a section that is dedicated to deal with all
traffic-related issues, the Traffic Branch.
The "tired" resident is free to visit any traffic station -- just as
an eye opener -- to see the extent of workload that the police has in
respect of the traffic offences that are cited in the complaint document.
Let me take this opportunity to inform the public that all goods that
are seized by the police as exhibits to an offence are disposed of following
laid down procedures. The seized goods do not belong to the arresting
officers or to any other police officers for that matter.
May I remind the resident and other members of the public on the
importance of making formal complaints to the police in the event that they
are not satisfied with the conduct or behaviour of police officers. The
habit of just generalising and writing letters to newspapers does not help,
as it is difficult for the police to take corrective action thereafter.
We encourage members to make use of our suggestion boxes, hotlines or
to approach a police station and seek to see the officer in charge so that
their grievances can be attended to promptly and professionally.
We rely on information and support of the public in our operations.
The police are busy hunting for "wanted persons" and would be more than
happy if the resident could lead them to the criminals that are said to be
staying in Highfield.
Acting Staff Officer Press and
Police General Headquarters.
Kombayi a True National Hero
Thursday, 02 July 2009 18:24
IT is with a sad heart that I learnt of the death of Senator Patrick
Kombayi. He was indeed a true son of the soil. He fought for the liberation
of Zimbabwe and deserves to lie at Heroes Acre as much as those who have
been buried there.
Kombayi played a role in the struggle to liberate Zimbabwe from
colonial rule and also in the fight to democratise Zimbabwe. Rest in peace
Cde Kombayi, we the children of Zimbabwe will always remember you for your
strength and courage.
School Levies a big rip off
Thursday, 02 July 2009 18:20
I WANT to express my gratitude to Education minister David Coltart for
cutting the school fees we have to pay.
However, that will not stop schools such as Avondale Primary from
making up for it somehow by calling an extra civvies' day, tie day or a
tracksuit day or maybe even another teachers' comfort levy as the schools
rip us off at every possible chance.
We even had to pay for extra classes during the holiday to make up for
the time when the teachers were not there.
May I point out to the minister that it is not the school fees that we
cannot afford but the levy.
Yes we know that they are agreed to by the majority -- but at Avondale
Primary, those of us who are correctly zoned for the school are being out
voted by all the richer parents that bus their kids in from outside the
If we complain we are told to move our kids to a rural school. I work
and live in Avondale, why should I be parted from my children? It is
because the school prefers children of richer parents who don't live
anywhere near Avondale.
Maybe you should sit in on the next PTA meeting and hear for yourself
how we are laughed at and shamed into accepting the will of the so-called
SMS The Zimbabwe Independent
Thursday, 02 July 2009 18:22
I AM appealing to the committee spearheading the constitution-making
process to use local languages for the particular area they will be in. In
Gwanda they addressed the people there in Shona. Was it sabotage or mere
WE should not worry about the constitution-making process or the draft
to be used but should worry more about the contents thereof. We should
advocate for the devolution of power, proportional representation and a bill
THE Kariba draft constitution is a non-starter and it's high time
people participate in the making of a better Zimbabwe. No one should impose
it on the people because a constitution has nothing to do with political
parties but the people of Zimbabwe. Hypocrites should keep their hands off
the constitution and let the people decide their fate.
HOW can Morgan Tsvangirai say Robert Mugabe is irreplaceable? Is
Mugabe God who is not expendable? Now they are fighting over the Kariba
constitution draft issue and it is evident that Lovemore Madhuku was right
in saying that politicians cannot be trusted. We want a say in how it is
IF Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are sincerely democratic as they claim --
particularly when it suits them -- they should let the people determine the
constitution they want. Down with the Kariba draft!
HOW can a country's constitution be drafted without the people's
input. Mugabe and Zanu PF's arrogance is astounding. This GNU just provided
them with an opportunity to get themselves off the targeted sanctions list
and resume their shopping escapades overseas. It's pretty clear addressing
bread and butter issues is at the bottom of the list for these guys.
THE Prime Minister must leave Zanu PF to fight the issue of sanctions
alone until Zanu PF lifts the various sanctions it has imposed on the people
WE live in a really funny part of the world. Morgan Tsvangirai's visit
and meeting with world leaders should have been the main story but the
denial of a visa to Obert Mpofu becomes the major story according to the
THE rhetoric of sticking to the Kariba draft is certainly Zanu PF's
strategy to prevent the making of a new constitution that reduces Robert
Mugabe's hold on power and therefore perpetuates the abuse of state power
and resources for the benefit of a few. Now that Mugabe has spoken you will
see how his blind followers will fall over each other supporting the Kariba
draft and MDC will not do anything to stop it. This is where Lovemore
Madhuku's NCA will be proved right and the democratic transition will fail.
Tsvangirai's political career might be hanging in the balance if this
process fails because he told us that he is an equal partner in the GNU.
Equal my foot!
HAVING gone through the hell on earth of the past 29 years, I don't
see the reason why a normal person would support Zanu PF.
WHY doesn't the unity government prioritise buying garbage removal
trucks before buying MPs luxury vehicles?
ZIMBABWEANS are becoming confused about the issue of sanctions. The
media, the GNU and political analysts are calling for the removal of
sanctions which we thought were targeted. Can someone clarify on the nature
of the "illegal" sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe? I know of sanctions imposed
on the Rhodesian government and would like to know if those were targeted as
GIDEON Gono saved Zanu PF from collapsing instead of the country. That's
why Zanu PF protects him. We need a non-partisan governor of the central
bank. Zimbabweans need him to go and not the West as Zanu PF propagandists
CAN Zesa please explain why Kuwadzana five, six and seven has no power
and yet they are asking us to pay bills equal to those who always have
power. We are using more money on firewood and candles.
THE manner in which Econet lines were sold by its staff in Mutare is
very bad. I think it is better if it uses its other methods of distribution.
The number of lines sold on the black market would be reduced.
IN with so much hype and out with a whimper! A hint of Spain's
mediocrity was once again shown at the Confederations Cup.
Published: July 3 2009 03:00 | Last updated: July 3 2009 03:00
From Dr Denis Worrall.
Sir, Your assessment of Morgan Tsvangirai's recent visit to western capitals
to raise investment funding for Zimbabwe is correct ("Morgan's dilemma",
June 25). He gained positive sympathy and media attention wherever he went,
but no hard funding. And that, aside from not helping his country and its
people, weakens his political position at home. Sadly, you say, this was
inevitable. I have a different view.
The day before your editorial you carried an extensive report of a London
Mining Conference on Zimbabwe ("Harare seeks to lure mining investors", June
24), which Mr Tsvangirai keynoted. Other platform participants at the
conference, which was very well attended by mining investors and analysts,
included both well-established and new mining companies in Zimbabwe. What is
important is that by the end of the conference there was a strong consensus
among those present that the process of what is in effect regime change in
Zimbabwe is irreversible. But how smoothly this will happen depends very
largely on the attitudes and actions of western countries and international
The reluctance of governments and international organisations to donate
funds directly to the Zimbabwe state as presently constituted, as opposed to
making laudable donations to non-governmental organisations, is
understandable. But why not appoint one of the top four auditing firms
represented in Zimbabwe to receive and manage all funding from governments
and international organisations?
The firm would also be responsible for supervising and awarding any tenders
and contracts which relate to that funding. I believe this is something that
Tsvangirai and his MDC colleagues would welcome but they can't make the
proposal themselves because of the risk of being accused of detracting from
Zimbabwean sovereignty. How about the European Union or the International
Finance Corporation suggesting this?
It is in everybody's interest to see Zimbabwe on its feet; and given that
western countries and international organisations are in any event going to
provide the funding, they have a political and humanitarian responsibility -
especially given Africa's lack of imagination - to ensure that the process
presently underway occurs with all deliberate speed.
A genuine strategy of "construction engagement" is what is needed.
Omega Investment Mining Partners,
Cape Town, South Africa
July 3, 2009 President Robert Mugabe WHENEVER we Zimbabweans in Lilongwe get together, we invariably end up
talking about home. I assume that is the case with Zimbabweans in other parts of
the world. People share experiences about how Malawians talk about our predicament with
glee. It has to be remembered that during the federation Malawi was a dormitory
for cheap labour for our farms and mines. We derided them as “Manyasarandi” – a
term derived from Nyasaland, Malawi’s name during the Federation of Rhodesia and
Nyasaland. We talk of the shame of being fed by the 14th poorest country on the
planet and how we ended up in this mess. What fascinates me about these discussions is they always end with several of
my compatriots proclaiming “Smith was a much better than Mugabe”. Those prepared
to say this usually do so in the company of a few trusted friends. I always
laugh at how their voices are lowered to mere whispers once they start mimicking
that line. Whenever I challenge them to vocalise these sentiments in the
presence of all and sundry I always get told; “It’s not done.” The late Ian Smith I first heard the line “Smith aive nani” meaning (Smith was much better)
being said publicly many years ago. Ironically it was said by an ex-combatant
of the war of liberation. The occasion was the burial of some national hero. As
usual, President Mugabe presented his lengthy diatribe against “enemies of the
state”. Then from the blue, this war vet whose name I forget shouted on top of
his voice, “Aiwawo, kutaura zvisina maturo. Smith aive nani” literally meaning
“All you said was just nonsense. Smith was much better.” Needless to say the gentleman was hastily shunted away by the police and
taken to the cells. It was later reported that, having been kept in police
custody without charge for a couple of weeks, the offender was released because
after a thorough perusal of our statute books, they could not find the
appropriate offence under which to charge him. However, in order to plug that
loophole a law was put together which now makes it an offence to bring the
person of the head of state into disrepute, read, he cannot be criticised in
words deemed insulting. The next time I heard similar sentiments being expressed was in January of
2007. My two siblings and I visited a homestead which lies at the border with
what used to be Jock Kay’s farm. Sadly, the proud new owners now grow grass
where world class tobacco used to be grown. The roads that used to be maintained
by the farming community were so bad that it took us three times longer than it
used to complete the journey. After the usual routine of enquiring after each other’s health, my sister’s
father in law, humorous as ever, whispered in my ear, “Regai ndikutaurirei
chokwadi maiguru vaDudley, Smith aive nani. Ini kubva ndichiberekwa ndanga
ndisati ndamboita Christmas isina chingwa. Zvakatouya naivo vaMugabe”. This
means “To be honest with you, Dudley’s aunt, Smith was much better. Never before
had we ever celebrated Christmas without bread. Mugabe started all this”. When I burst out laughing, the old man urgently begged me not to repeat what
he had said because those around could not be trusted not to report him to the
“war vets”. He said one could be killed for expressing those sorts of
sentiments. Here is the crux of the matter. Where other democracies are at liberty to
critique their leadership, in Zimbabwe, merely voicing the opinion that the
white prime minister was better than his successor can result in death. How did
we become so barbaric? I will give my views of Ian Smith first. An unrepentant white supremacist
right up to his death, he plunged Zimbabwe into an unnecessary civil war which
resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives. Egotistic as ever, at
independence he chose to continue at the helm of white leadership even though it
would have been in the interest of his constituency to be led by someone capable
of reconciling with blacks. Having proclaimed over and over again that blacks
would not rule “in a thousand years”, he was determined more than ever to prove
that the new political leadership would fail dismally. Having excluded blacks from fully participating in the affairs of the country
and thereby denying them the desperately needed experience, he knew that failure
was a real possibility and he had no intention of being a magnanimous leader.
Mugabe expressed his disappointment over the white vote for Smith in the 1985
elections, (even though he had, in all fairness, bended backwards to accommodate
them) by sacking Dennis Norman as Agriculture Minister. This is where I see similarities between Mugabe and Smith. Just as egotistic
as Smith, he viewed the white vote as a personal rejection by whites of his hand
of reconciliation. He sought revenge by sacking a man who had proved that his
interests lay in serving Zimbabwe. When after a decade of fairly good
performance Mugabe realised that things were starting to go downhill, he like
Ian Smith, still chose to continue running the country. It also has to be pointed out that Mugabe, from the onset, never acted as a
national leader. We had a foretaste of things to come when in 1980, after being
confronted by Lord Soames regarding the fact that his supporters were denying
PF-Zapu supporters the right to campaign in rural Masvingo, he unashamedly
retorted that it was the right thing to do because that was his “back yard”. He
argued Joshua Nkomo was at liberty to campaign in Matabeleland. It therefore has to be said neither Mugabe nor Smith was a national leader in
the true sense of the word. Smith catered for the interests of the white
community while Mugabe was quite happy, even at independence, to seek the
legitimacy of only a segment of the population. The only difference is that
while Smith never hid his disdain for the black population, Mugabe sought to
portray himself as someone who cared for all his people. Yet, even when fighting
broke out between former ZANLA (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army) and
former ZIPRA (Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army), at Entumbane in late 1980,
Mugabe failed to display the national leadership that was expected of him. The similarities of the two men do not end there. Both resorted to the use of
repressive legislation to remain in power. Where it was expected that Mugabe
would dismantle the battery of repressive legislation that Smith used to
suppress the rise of Black Nationalism, Mugabe kept the laws firmly in place,
using them against the very people he had promised liberty. Sadly, such
legislation as AIPPA (the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act)
is even more repressive than Smith’s media laws. The Citizenship Act is
primitive and an embarrassment to those who have seek to portray Mugabe as a
Pan-Africanist. Interestingly, it was only after independence that we had students getting
seriously injured or even killed during the course of demonstrations. I sadly
remember how one student, Batanai Hadzizi, died at the hands of the riot police
in April 2001 during a demonstration at the University of Zimbabwe. Mugabe, as
Chancellor, did not express regret at the unnecessary demise of such a young
life whose only crime was to behave like students do around the globe –
demonstrate as a way of expressing dissatisfaction. While white Rhodesians from all walks of life were extremely proud to send
their offspring to study at the University College of Rhodesia, neither our
President the chancellor of state universities, nor any members of his
government are proud enough of the University of Zimbabwe and the host of other
institutions of higher learning that they established after independence. These
are the same people who never get tired of telling us that they are the
supremely patriotic. The other thing that I find interesting when comparing Mugabe and Smith is
how they viewed state resources. Mugabe, after winning the elections in 1980,
invited Smith for a meeting at his house in Mount Pleasant. It is quite
revealing that Smith drove himself to meet the Prime Minister designate in a
Peugeot 404. Prime Minister Mugabe, while he started with more modest types of
Mercedes Benzes, has since graduated to one of the most expensive models, always
escorted by one of the longest motorcades of any head of state on the
planet. I believe it is also necessary to look at the sort of country that one of the
protagonists handed over to his successor and the sort that the current
protagonist is likely to handover. Ian Smith bequeathed to Robert Mugabe a nation divided along racial lines. I
deeply resent the fact that Rhodesia classified me as a second class citizen.
The country’s resources were disproportionately allocated, to the extent where
the whites had the best and more of everything. It hurt terribly for those in
employment to be paid only a fraction of what whites earned for similar
jobs. It however has to be acknowledged that the country’s institutions and
infrastructure were in top notch condition. I recall how during the mid-eighties
my niece’s school organised a trip that took her and her class mates to Victoria
Falls. The headmaster made an impromptu decision to take the children across the
border into Zambia. They went up to the town of Livingstone. Upon their return,
my niece talked about the many pot holes that they had seen in Livingstone as
one of the highlights of her trip. They were a novelty because she had never
seen them in Zimbabwe. Our public transport was virtually unmatched on our continent. The then
United Omnibus Company’s buses ran on a reliable time table. At independence
Mugabe figured that since the bus company was owned by government, it meant
Zanu-PF did not have to pay for services provided. All they needed was to
announce that their supporters could be picked “at the usual pick up points” and
the company was obliged to do it for free. In place of buses we now have a fleet
of far from road-worthy private owned mini buses. Public transport is now in
such a dire state that many workers only get home towards mid-night. The
National Railways of Zimbabwe is a shadow of its former self. Metered taxes were available all over town at affordable prices while Air
Zimbabwe had a fleet of nearly two dozen planes. We were also viewed as a
country with very minimal corruption. Power cuts were virtually unknown. How did
we end up having our airport built for us by a company which lost the tender and
at twice the cost that had been quoted by the winning company? Theirs was going
to be twice as big. Short of an unprecedented and miraculous recovery, Mugabe is going to
bequeath to his successor a wreck of a country, not only divided along racial
and ethnic lines, but sadly, a politically polarised one too. The gap between
the poor and the rich has widened many times over. Mugabe made cholera a reality
and the worst such epidemic on the African continent in 15 years. This in a
country whose children only used to learn about it at school less than a decade
ago! Painful as it is, and much as I resent both Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe for
what they did to our country, I have to admit that Robert Mugabe, the man who
sacrificed so much for the liberation of Zimbabwe, has proved to be a worse
ruler than Smith. The suffering that he has wrought on his people has proved to
be much worse than under white rule. That is the very unfortunate truth. He
promised liberty and prosperity and nearly three decades later delivered
repression and abject poverty. Please, dear reader, do not expect me to accept
repression and deprivation just because the man in charge is black. I do not
believe that racial discrimination is necessarily worse than that based on
ethnicity or party affiliation. All forms of discrimination are evil. If you were a white Rhodesian and opposed to Smith’s policies, he could cause
you a lot of discomfort and the worst that could happen to you was deportation.
If you are black and opposed to Mugabe’s policies, you could end up permanently
disabled, lose your property or even your life. If you are white, the
probability of getting killed for opposing Mugabe is actually lower than if you
are black. That is the irony. Ian Smith bequeathed a country, which though dependent on South Africa for
vital trade routes and raw materials, was an industrial giant in its own right.
Mugabe is going to deliver a de-industrialised country which has effectively
become South Africa’s bantustan. Our people now work in South Africa and other
countries in their millions and send money home to enable relatives to buy South
African goods that fill our supermarkets. That is an unforgivable injustice to future generations. It is tempting to want to blame sanctions for our predicament. The truth
however shows that our country started its downward descent in the early
nineties. Our power infrastructure started showing signs of distress way back
then due to poor maintenance and lack of investment in the energy sector. The
plunder of the War Victims Compensation Fund, the DRC adventure, the huge and
unbudgeted pay outs to war vets, unbridled greed and corruption and the chaotic
land reform exercise amongst many other blunders have no link whatsoever to
ZIDERA or the travel bans. And now the Marange diamond fields saga! It is time to be
July 3, 2009
President Robert Mugabe
WHENEVER we Zimbabweans in Lilongwe get together, we invariably end up talking about home. I assume that is the case with Zimbabweans in other parts of the world.
People share experiences about how Malawians talk about our predicament with glee. It has to be remembered that during the federation Malawi was a dormitory for cheap labour for our farms and mines. We derided them as “Manyasarandi” – a term derived from Nyasaland, Malawi’s name during the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. We talk of the shame of being fed by the 14th poorest country on the planet and how we ended up in this mess.
What fascinates me about these discussions is they always end with several of my compatriots proclaiming “Smith was a much better than Mugabe”. Those prepared to say this usually do so in the company of a few trusted friends. I always laugh at how their voices are lowered to mere whispers once they start mimicking that line. Whenever I challenge them to vocalise these sentiments in the presence of all and sundry I always get told; “It’s not done.”
The late Ian Smith
I first heard the line “Smith aive nani” meaning (Smith was much better) being said publicly many years ago. Ironically it was said by an ex-combatant of the war of liberation. The occasion was the burial of some national hero. As usual, President Mugabe presented his lengthy diatribe against “enemies of the state”. Then from the blue, this war vet whose name I forget shouted on top of his voice, “Aiwawo, kutaura zvisina maturo. Smith aive nani” literally meaning “All you said was just nonsense. Smith was much better.”
Needless to say the gentleman was hastily shunted away by the police and taken to the cells. It was later reported that, having been kept in police custody without charge for a couple of weeks, the offender was released because after a thorough perusal of our statute books, they could not find the appropriate offence under which to charge him. However, in order to plug that loophole a law was put together which now makes it an offence to bring the person of the head of state into disrepute, read, he cannot be criticised in words deemed insulting.
The next time I heard similar sentiments being expressed was in January of 2007. My two siblings and I visited a homestead which lies at the border with what used to be Jock Kay’s farm. Sadly, the proud new owners now grow grass where world class tobacco used to be grown. The roads that used to be maintained by the farming community were so bad that it took us three times longer than it used to complete the journey.
After the usual routine of enquiring after each other’s health, my sister’s father in law, humorous as ever, whispered in my ear, “Regai ndikutaurirei chokwadi maiguru vaDudley, Smith aive nani. Ini kubva ndichiberekwa ndanga ndisati ndamboita Christmas isina chingwa. Zvakatouya naivo vaMugabe”. This means “To be honest with you, Dudley’s aunt, Smith was much better. Never before had we ever celebrated Christmas without bread. Mugabe started all this”.
When I burst out laughing, the old man urgently begged me not to repeat what he had said because those around could not be trusted not to report him to the “war vets”. He said one could be killed for expressing those sorts of sentiments.
Here is the crux of the matter. Where other democracies are at liberty to critique their leadership, in Zimbabwe, merely voicing the opinion that the white prime minister was better than his successor can result in death. How did we become so barbaric?
I will give my views of Ian Smith first. An unrepentant white supremacist right up to his death, he plunged Zimbabwe into an unnecessary civil war which resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives. Egotistic as ever, at independence he chose to continue at the helm of white leadership even though it would have been in the interest of his constituency to be led by someone capable of reconciling with blacks. Having proclaimed over and over again that blacks would not rule “in a thousand years”, he was determined more than ever to prove that the new political leadership would fail dismally.
Having excluded blacks from fully participating in the affairs of the country and thereby denying them the desperately needed experience, he knew that failure was a real possibility and he had no intention of being a magnanimous leader. Mugabe expressed his disappointment over the white vote for Smith in the 1985 elections, (even though he had, in all fairness, bended backwards to accommodate them) by sacking Dennis Norman as Agriculture Minister.
This is where I see similarities between Mugabe and Smith. Just as egotistic as Smith, he viewed the white vote as a personal rejection by whites of his hand of reconciliation. He sought revenge by sacking a man who had proved that his interests lay in serving Zimbabwe. When after a decade of fairly good performance Mugabe realised that things were starting to go downhill, he like Ian Smith, still chose to continue running the country.
It also has to be pointed out that Mugabe, from the onset, never acted as a national leader. We had a foretaste of things to come when in 1980, after being confronted by Lord Soames regarding the fact that his supporters were denying PF-Zapu supporters the right to campaign in rural Masvingo, he unashamedly retorted that it was the right thing to do because that was his “back yard”. He argued Joshua Nkomo was at liberty to campaign in Matabeleland.
It therefore has to be said neither Mugabe nor Smith was a national leader in the true sense of the word. Smith catered for the interests of the white community while Mugabe was quite happy, even at independence, to seek the legitimacy of only a segment of the population. The only difference is that while Smith never hid his disdain for the black population, Mugabe sought to portray himself as someone who cared for all his people. Yet, even when fighting broke out between former ZANLA (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army) and former ZIPRA (Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army), at Entumbane in late 1980, Mugabe failed to display the national leadership that was expected of him.
The similarities of the two men do not end there. Both resorted to the use of repressive legislation to remain in power. Where it was expected that Mugabe would dismantle the battery of repressive legislation that Smith used to suppress the rise of Black Nationalism, Mugabe kept the laws firmly in place, using them against the very people he had promised liberty. Sadly, such legislation as AIPPA (the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act) is even more repressive than Smith’s media laws. The Citizenship Act is primitive and an embarrassment to those who have seek to portray Mugabe as a Pan-Africanist.
Interestingly, it was only after independence that we had students getting seriously injured or even killed during the course of demonstrations. I sadly remember how one student, Batanai Hadzizi, died at the hands of the riot police in April 2001 during a demonstration at the University of Zimbabwe. Mugabe, as Chancellor, did not express regret at the unnecessary demise of such a young life whose only crime was to behave like students do around the globe – demonstrate as a way of expressing dissatisfaction.
While white Rhodesians from all walks of life were extremely proud to send their offspring to study at the University College of Rhodesia, neither our President the chancellor of state universities, nor any members of his government are proud enough of the University of Zimbabwe and the host of other institutions of higher learning that they established after independence. These are the same people who never get tired of telling us that they are the supremely patriotic.
The other thing that I find interesting when comparing Mugabe and Smith is how they viewed state resources. Mugabe, after winning the elections in 1980, invited Smith for a meeting at his house in Mount Pleasant. It is quite revealing that Smith drove himself to meet the Prime Minister designate in a Peugeot 404. Prime Minister Mugabe, while he started with more modest types of Mercedes Benzes, has since graduated to one of the most expensive models, always escorted by one of the longest motorcades of any head of state on the planet.
I believe it is also necessary to look at the sort of country that one of the protagonists handed over to his successor and the sort that the current protagonist is likely to handover.
Ian Smith bequeathed to Robert Mugabe a nation divided along racial lines. I deeply resent the fact that Rhodesia classified me as a second class citizen. The country’s resources were disproportionately allocated, to the extent where the whites had the best and more of everything. It hurt terribly for those in employment to be paid only a fraction of what whites earned for similar jobs.
It however has to be acknowledged that the country’s institutions and infrastructure were in top notch condition. I recall how during the mid-eighties my niece’s school organised a trip that took her and her class mates to Victoria Falls. The headmaster made an impromptu decision to take the children across the border into Zambia. They went up to the town of Livingstone. Upon their return, my niece talked about the many pot holes that they had seen in Livingstone as one of the highlights of her trip. They were a novelty because she had never seen them in Zimbabwe.
Our public transport was virtually unmatched on our continent. The then United Omnibus Company’s buses ran on a reliable time table. At independence Mugabe figured that since the bus company was owned by government, it meant Zanu-PF did not have to pay for services provided. All they needed was to announce that their supporters could be picked “at the usual pick up points” and the company was obliged to do it for free. In place of buses we now have a fleet of far from road-worthy private owned mini buses. Public transport is now in such a dire state that many workers only get home towards mid-night. The National Railways of Zimbabwe is a shadow of its former self.
Metered taxes were available all over town at affordable prices while Air Zimbabwe had a fleet of nearly two dozen planes. We were also viewed as a country with very minimal corruption. Power cuts were virtually unknown. How did we end up having our airport built for us by a company which lost the tender and at twice the cost that had been quoted by the winning company? Theirs was going to be twice as big.
Short of an unprecedented and miraculous recovery, Mugabe is going to bequeath to his successor a wreck of a country, not only divided along racial and ethnic lines, but sadly, a politically polarised one too. The gap between the poor and the rich has widened many times over. Mugabe made cholera a reality and the worst such epidemic on the African continent in 15 years. This in a country whose children only used to learn about it at school less than a decade ago!
Painful as it is, and much as I resent both Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe for what they did to our country, I have to admit that Robert Mugabe, the man who sacrificed so much for the liberation of Zimbabwe, has proved to be a worse ruler than Smith. The suffering that he has wrought on his people has proved to be much worse than under white rule. That is the very unfortunate truth. He promised liberty and prosperity and nearly three decades later delivered repression and abject poverty. Please, dear reader, do not expect me to accept repression and deprivation just because the man in charge is black. I do not believe that racial discrimination is necessarily worse than that based on ethnicity or party affiliation. All forms of discrimination are evil.
If you were a white Rhodesian and opposed to Smith’s policies, he could cause you a lot of discomfort and the worst that could happen to you was deportation. If you are black and opposed to Mugabe’s policies, you could end up permanently disabled, lose your property or even your life. If you are white, the probability of getting killed for opposing Mugabe is actually lower than if you are black. That is the irony.
Ian Smith bequeathed a country, which though dependent on South Africa for vital trade routes and raw materials, was an industrial giant in its own right. Mugabe is going to deliver a de-industrialised country which has effectively become South Africa’s bantustan. Our people now work in South Africa and other countries in their millions and send money home to enable relatives to buy South African goods that fill our supermarkets.
That is an unforgivable injustice to future generations.
It is tempting to want to blame sanctions for our predicament. The truth however shows that our country started its downward descent in the early nineties. Our power infrastructure started showing signs of distress way back then due to poor maintenance and lack of investment in the energy sector. The plunder of the War Victims Compensation Fund, the DRC adventure, the huge and unbudgeted pay outs to war vets, unbridled greed and corruption and the chaotic land reform exercise amongst many other blunders have no link whatsoever to ZIDERA or the travel bans.
And now the Marange diamond fields saga! It is time to be self-critical.