Friday, 06 July 2012 10:54
AS the Zanu PF succession battle continues smouldering, Defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa’s attempt to strengthen his presidential bid has suffered
a huge knock after Vice-President Joice Mujuru and hardliners in the party
aligned to the powerful Joint Operations Command (JOC) influenced President
Robert Mugabe to disband District Co-ordinating Committees (DCCs).
Investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent reveal several cliques in Zanu PF
and big hitters in JOC, which brings together army, police and intelligence
chiefs, aligned to Mujuru’s faction, lobbied Mugabe to abolish DCCs after it
became apparent the Mnangagwa faction had gained control of most provinces.
Some JOC hardliners and senior party officials also wanted the DCCs to be
disbanded for their own self-interest. Those in JOC not supporting Mujuru
wanted the structures dissolved to reinforce the security forces’ grip on
Zanu PF as the DCCs were making that difficult, while some individuals, like
Matabeleland North provincial governor Thokozile Mathuthu — who actually
made the proposal to abolish the DCCs — did it for self-preservation.
Mathuthu was battling fellow politburo member, Obert Mpofu, who wanted to
push her out of the provincial structures using his allies who controlled
the DCCs in the province.
“There are many reasons why the DCCs were disbanded,” a source said.
“People had a convergence or confluence of interests on the issue. What
actually happened was that after the secretary for the commissariat (Webster
Shamu) had presented his report on DCCs, saying the problem had been sorted
out, Mathuthu took the stage and condemned the structures before suggesting
they must be dissolved. She got a round of applause and from there it was
one way — the resolution to disband the structures followed.”
While the Mujuru faction had done its own lobbying, there were individuals
and forces fighting for DCCs to be dissolved for different reasons than
stemming Mnangagwa’s ascendancy. In fact, some Zanu PF heavyweight had been
pushing for their dissolution months ago, mainly in May when an internal
proposal was made.
However, Mathuthu, who moved the motion, and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, who
seconded it, are both Mujuru allies.
Party insiders said the plan to have the DCC elections nullified and the
structures abolished was well-orchestrated and by the time the issue was
discussed in the politburo meeting, Mugabe was already on board.
Mugabe told the Central Committee last Friday: “As we discussed the matter,
we decided that the Central Committee should look at the issue of the DCCs
and we came to the conclusion that they are serving a divisive process. They
are an organ which must go.
“The politburo came to the conclusion that DCCs must be repealed. A
recommendation would be made to the Central Committee so that it could
remove the organ called the DCC from the party,” he said adding that “we are
worried the DCC has become a weapon used to divide the party”.
The Mujuru faction took advantage of the fact that Mnangagwa was not at the
politburo meeting as he was in China, while Mujuru herself was around
although she later left the meeting when Shamu was presenting his report on
the state of the party and contentious DCC elections. Mnangagwa was also not
there during the recent extraordinary politburo meeting where Mujuru lashed
out at his faction.
A senior politburo member said: “The whole thing was well-planned. The idea
to have DCC elections nullified and disband the structures originated from
the Mujuru faction after they realised they had lost in most provinces,
including in Amai Mujuru’s backyard, Mashonaland Central.”
“It is interesting that the matter was discussed when Mnangagwa was not in
the meeting and obviously there was no one from his camp who could speak out
against disbanding DCCs.”
Influential top army commanders and police chiefs campaigning for Zanu PF in
Manicaland Province, who are said to be sympathetic to Mujuru, had
reportedly submitted a dossier to Mugabe recommending that DCCs be
The dossier was said to have been authored by a team led by deputy police
commissioner-general Godwin Matanga which included Major-General Martin
Chedondo, Air Vice-Marshal Shebba Brighton Shumbayaonda, Brigadier-General
Herbert Chingono, Brigadier-General Mike Sango, 3 Brigade commander
Brigadier-General Eliah Bandama and members of the provincial Joint
Operations Command (JOC).
A top Zanu PF official in Manicaland said: “Deputy commissioner-general
Matanga submitted a huge dossier to the president on DCCs in Manicaland.
They spoke very strongly about the need to disband DCCs from party
structures, arguing that some party bigwigs were manipulating the DCCs to
gain control of the grassroot structures.”
The commissariat department, headed by retired Air Vice-Marshal Henry
Muchena and former Central Intelligence Organisation director-internal,
Sydney Nyanhongo, accused of running an elaborate smear campaign against
Mnangagwa, also pushed for the nullification of the DCCs.
The disbandment of DCCs came amid intense infighting in the districts as the
tussling between the two main factions fighting for control of strategic
party structures to pave way for their candidate to take over from Mugabe in
the next Zanu PF congress in 2014.
Friday, 06 July 2012 10:47
BARELY a fortnight after the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s departure
from Zimbabwe after its annual Article IV consultation visit where it warned
of the “destabilising effects” of indigenisation on the banking sector, the
battle for foreign-owned banks has intensified, with Finance minister Tendai
Biti yesterday emphatically declaring the latest empowerment regulations “a
In General Notice 280 of 2012, gazetted last Friday, Youth Development,
Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere laid down rules
for the implementation of indigenisation in nine sectors which include,
finance, tourism, education and sport, arts, entertainment and culture,
engineering and construction, energy services, telecommunications, transport
and the motor industry.
The gazette gave all foreign-owned banks with a minimum net value of $1 a
year to increase indigenous shareholding to at least 51%.
However, Biti said this was unlawful.
“The regulations are a nullity. They are void ab initio (invalid from the
outset),” Biti told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday. “The law is very
clear. There has got to be sectoral consultations and thresholds. The
financial sector is sui generis (unique or special), so we need to be
careful about how to proceed, otherwise we destabilise the economy. Those
regulations are void; they are of no legal effect, an absolute nullity. In
any case, if you indigenise a bank what are you indigenising? A building or
Economic analyst Professor Tony Hawkins has also been quoted as saying:
“What is being indigenised? Is it money or brand names? The truth of the
matter is that the majority of Zimbabwe’s banks are already indigenised.”
The battle for the fate of foreign banks has also escalated the fight
between Kasukuwere and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono.
Kasukuwere wants to seize foreign banks, while Gono says that would be
destabilising to the economy. Biti and the IMF have also warned of the
negative consequences of grabbing banks.
Outraged by Kasukuwere’s latest move, Gono on Wednesday stepped up attacks
on the minister (Kasukuwere) over the issue.
“We regard the regulations gazetted as devoid of detail and rationality as
they are contradictory in many respects with existing laws in the country
such as the Banking Act and the RBZ Act,” Gono said.
“Both the RBZ and the Banking Acts have not been amended to exclude the RBZ
from final responsibility of running Zimbabwe’s financial sector.Gono
suggested government needed to be careful about Kasukuwere and National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board chairman David Chapfika, as
they are associated with bank collapses.
“The fact that the two main proponents (apparently Chapfika and Kasukuwere)
of the recent illogical moves have presided over the failure of their two
banks before, namely Unibank and Genesis (respectively), calls for Solomonic
wisdom on the part of Zimbabwe’s population and leadership,” he said.
“Ordinarily, anyone who was near a failed bank is not a fit and proper
person to deal with banking matters or to ever own, run or talk about the
ownership of a bank again until cleared by the central bank; this is a
“As the Reserve Bank, we repeat our earlier invitation to any Zimbabwean
wishing to start a bank to come forward with their application and we will
give them a licence to join the sector at 100% ownership, rather than waste
money taking over other people’s banks,” Gono said.
Friday, 06 July 2012 10:53
CONTROVERSIAL army commander Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba stunned top
Zanu PF, military and government officials last weekend when he declared
Marondera West MP, retired Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri,would succeed
President Robert Mugabe.
Deafening descended on Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Constantine
Chiwenga’s homestead in Hwedza when Nyikayaramba made the declaration on
Nyikayaramba was interjected at a memorial by a visibly irate Zanu PF
national commissar, Webster Shamu,who said the “joke” was not funny and
should never be repeated. Shamu reminded Nyikayaramba, a loose cannon, there
was no vacancy for the post of president, as Mugabe was still in charge. —
Friday, 06 July 2012 10:52
ZANU PF resolved to amend the party’s constitution last week apparently to
deal with Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ambitions to succeed
President Robert Mugabe ahead of his bitter rival Vice-President Joice
Mujuru. This follows his seizure of the District Co-ordinating Committee
(DCC) structures after recent internal elections, in a move which shows the
2004 “Tsholotsho ghost” is still haunting the party.
The Mnangagwa faction was poised to take firm control of the provinces
through the DCC structures after winning in most areas against the Mujuru
faction. Controlling the DCCs would have enabled him to influence the
provinces and central committee and politburo as well as congress, meaning
they were of strategic importance on succession.
The DCC polls were, however, tarnished by acrimony, protests over
intimidation, vote-buying, flawed voters’ rolls and ballot rigging, forcing
Mugabe to publicly denounce factions and their leaders saying they were
destroying the party.
As infighting, fuelled by succession battles, spread across party
structures, Zanu PF was recently forced to hold an extraordinary politburo
meeting to deal with the issue. In that meeting, Mujuru breathed fire and
vowed to crack down on those opposed to her leadership. The politburo met
again last week on Wednesday and resolved to dissolve the DCCs after it
became clear Zanu PF would approach the next elections deeply divided,
risking losing elections and sabotaging Mugabe’s prospects of re-election
like in 2008.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said the DCCs were
disbanded because they were being used by those fighting to succeed Mugabe
and had resultantly become destabilising.
After suffering defeat in DCC elections in its own backyard, Mashonaland
Central, and in most of the other provinces, the Mujuru faction resorted to
the same strategy it used in 2004 to stop Mnangagwa when it proposed,
through the Women’s League, an amendment to the party constitution to
stipulate that one of the vice-presidents should be a woman. This was done
after it became apparent Mnangagwa had the support of seven out of 10
provinces, giving him enough nominations to take up the position of
The party constitution was subsequently amended to state that one of the
vice-presidents had to be a woman, effectively knocking Mnangagwa out of the
race. The amendment then also meant the only way Mnangagwa could be
vice-president was if the late vice-president Joseph Msika had resigned or
lost the nominations.
Mnangagwa’s faction tried to fight back by fielding the late Women’s League
chairperson, Thenjiwe Lesabe against Msika, but she lost. — Staff Writer.
Friday, 06 July 2012 10:47
CHIEF Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has reserved judgment in the case in which
President Robert Mugabe is challenging a Bulawayo High Court decision passed
by Justice Nicholas Ndou in October last year directing him to gazette a
date for by-elections in Nkayi South, Bulilima East and Lupane East.
The three constituencies fell vacant after legislators Abednico Bhebhe,
Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu were dismissed from Welshman Ncube’s MDC
formation which resulted in them losing their parliamentary seats.
However Chidyausiku dismissed Mugabe’s argument that there was no money to
hold by-elections in the three constituencies.
The case was heard before Supreme Court judges Chidyausiku, Vernanda
Ziyambi, Paddington Garwe, Anne-Mary Gowora and Yunus Omerjee.
According to provision 39 (2) of the Electoral Act, the president shall
within a period of 14 days after he or she has been notified of this section
publish a notice in the Gazette ordering a new election to fill the vacancy.
Chidyausiku said: “Why should we accept that there is no money. Is money
needed for the publishing of the Gazette? What the Act requires from him
(Mugabe) is very simple, to publish in the Gazette. It does not say you need
to see if resources are available. You have to persuade us that in the
context of this Act the word ‘shall’ does not have any ordinary meaning.” —
Friday, 06 July 2012 10:40
ZIMBABWE’S external debt overhang is now estimated at US$10,7 billion and,
at 111% of GDP, has become an impediment to external sustainability,
according to an IMF report seen by the Independent.
This debt overhang was as at end of 2011, with the equivalent of 59% of GDP
The fund warned of a financing gap before any measures of around US$838
million for the year 2012, a development it said needed an urgent policy
response. This is because projections of a balanced budget for 2012 made by
Finance minister Tendai Biti last year are now in doubt due to revenue
shortfalls and expenditure overruns.
The IMF projected a total revenue shortfall of US$640 million as total
revenue collection in the first five months of 2012 was US$200 million lower
than anticipated, mainly due to low diamond dividends.
The report was compiled by an IMF team headed by Alfredo Cuevas and
comprising Murna Morgan, Christian Henn, Eliza Lis and Futoshi Narita, which
visited Harare from June 13-27 to conduct routine Article IV consultations
with the country’s authorities.
The fund strongly cautioned against government’s collateralisation of
mineral revenues to access more debt.
Meanwhile TN Holdings’ shareholders have approved the demerger of TN Bank
from the holdings company, which will see telecoms company Econet get a 45%
stake in the bank. All shareholders voted for the resolution, which comes at
a US$20 million cost to Econet. Chief executive Tawanda Nyambirai said the
bank will take advantage of Econet’s strength and stability with products
such as Ecocash expected to be key drivers of growth going forward. — Staff
Friday, 06 July 2012 10:39
SERIOUS infighting has rocked Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition over the Global
Advocacy Campaign (GAC) project which the organisation is spearheading for
the MDC-T to ensure the next elections are free and fair.
The internal strife started after the youth committee passed a vote of no
confidence in the organisation’s chairperson Okay Machisa, accusing him of
The youth membership is said to be resisting the GAC, alleging that only a
few individuals namely Machisa and the organisation’s director, McDonald
Lewanika, want to impose the project on them.
Youth committee chairperson Wellington Zindove yesterday said there was a
lot of mismanagement in the organisation and that he feared Crisis Coalition
was abandoning its core business.
Zindove said: “When we met last month there were a lot of issues thrown
around and one of them was that people wanted more information on the Global
Advocacy Campaign. The general membership feels that the GAC must be stopped
until certain issues are cleared.”
Sources within civil society said there were serious divisions among members
of the Crisis Coalition with some alleging corruption and abuse of resources
The coalition’s spokesperson Thabani Nyoni yesterday dismissed allegations
that there was a crisis in the organisation.
“When the coalition was set up people knew there would be situations where
members would disagree and it does not amount to a crisis,” said Nyoni.
“The coalition has mechanisms to deal with differences and those mechanisms
do not include going to the press. Once that happens, there will be a
communication breakdown.” — Staff Writer.
Friday, 06 July 2012 10:38
POLITICAL tensions are running high in the faction-riddled Zanu PF over the
militarisation of the commissariat where officials with security backgrounds
are accused of forming parallel structures resembling those of the politburo
to undermine the role of certain party bigwigs, while propping up others as
part of President Robert Mugabe’s simmering succession battle.
The militarisation of the commissariat, brought under direct control of
security sector actors, has rattled senior party leaders who now feel the
increasing number of retired soldiers, police and intelligence officers
occupying influential positions in Zanu PF could end up destabilising the
party while further alienating it from voters.
Former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), police and army officers are
gradually tightening their grip on Zanu PF. The commissariat is now driven
by security forces, fronted by retired Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena and
former CIO director-internal Sydney Nyanhongo, who were Zanla guerillas
during the liberation struggle. Party structures are also teeming with
cadres from security backgrounds.
Zanu PF insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that when Muchena
took over the commissariat in 2010, he set up his own structures similar to
those of the politburo dominated by retired CIO, police and army officers.
While Webster Shamu is the party’s national commissar, Muchena and his team
have virtually taken over and are running the show. This has opened the
floodgates for people with security experience to come to the party, some
demanding to be candidates in the next elections. Muchena’s structures are
accused of fuelling infighting as they are being used to support certain
factions and candidates, insiders say.
“The commissariat under Muchena is being accused of supporting certain
factions and candidates, particularly the (Vice-President Joice) Mujuru
faction,” said a party insider. “When the new commissariat took over, it got
rid of people who were working with (the late Elliot) Manyika. The top 10
posts are now held by securocrats. It seems they have created parallel
structures similar to those of the politburo, and this has angered the party’s
leadership — people are certainly not happy with that.”
The situation has been worsened by the circulation last week of a report,
which purportedly emanates from within the CIO, saying Muchena and his team
are working to undermine Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The report,
seen by the Independent, has caused ructions within Zanu PF as it (report)
heightened suspicions about the activities of Muchena and his group.
The report suggests the Muchena group has embarked on a well-planned smear
campaign against Mnangagwa, using state institutions to investigate him for
alleged corruption and discredit him to damage his presidential ambitions.
Top Zanu PF officials and war veterans strongly believe a group of
securocrats, including those in the commissariat, were trying to push their
own political agenda by campaigning for certain individuals in Mujuru’s camp
during the disbanded district coordinating committee (DCC) elections.
The DCC polls unleashed a wave of internal strife within Zanu PF as the
Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions went head to head battling for control of the
structures which were abolished last week following demonstrations in
provinces against imposition of candidates, vote buying, fraudulent voters’
rolls and ballot rigging. Mugabe also complained publicly that factional
leaders and their supporters were destroying (his) party.
“One such case was when securocrats unsuccessfully campaigned for Jonathan
Kadzura’s candidature in Zimunya-Marange district. Kadzura is a close ally
of Muchena and Nyanhongo,” a source said. “Muchena and Nyanhongo are working
with a team of army officers — code named ‘Boys On Leave’ — who are
scattered around the country tasked with overhauling party structures which
Shamu described as shambolic
in 2010. Their main task is to revive the crumbling party structures ahead
However, in a bid to contain the rampant infighting, the Zanu PF politburo
last week cancelled the DCC elections and dissolved the divisive structures
seen as key in determining who controls the party and eventually succeeds
Besides securocrats in the Zanu PF commissariat, army generals and top
police chiefs, some of whom want to be candidates in the next elections,
have taken over Zanu PF’s preparatory poll campaigns across the country and
have been demanding party leaders include them in all their meetings.
Top army officers campaigning in Manicaland include Major-General Martin
Chedondo, Air Vice-Marshal Shebba Brighton Shumbayaonda, Brigadier-General
Herbert Chingo, Brigadier-General Mike Sango, 3 Brigade Commander
Brigadier-General Eliah Bandama, and members of the provincial Joint
Operations Command (JOC). Police Deputy Commissioner General Godwin Matanga
heads the team.
JOC, which brings together army, police and intelligence chiefs, is the
force behind Mugabe and Zanu PF, especially during elections.
The army has proved loyal to Mugabe and effectively carries out political
tasks on his behalf and has been pivotal in keeping him in power during the
2002 and 2008 elections, although its role in politics and elections has
been significant since 1980.
The politburo resolved following the March 2008 elections, after the party
lost control of parliament and Mugabe was defeated in the first round of
polling, to use a more “warlike” strategy to win elections. The military was
thus heavily involved in the bloodyJune 2008 presidential election runoff
between Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai which was marred by
widespread violence and killings.
The army practically played a commissariat role for Zanu PF to save Mugabe
from outright defeat after he had lost the first round of polling. Army
commanders have of late become even more vocal in their support for Zanu PF
and Mugabe, while denouncing his rivals.
Thursday, 05 July 2012 18:03
Brian Chitemba/Herbert Moyo
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has rebuked senior officials for violating
the party’s rules leading to defections of over 80 members in Bulawayo’s
Tsvangirai, who is also Prime Minister, last Friday summoned the party’s
Bulawayo leadership to the provincial headquarters, where he lambasted them
for frustrating members who subsequently defected to the MDC led by Welshman
Ncube. Tsvangirai and Ncube’s parties are fighting for the control of
Bulawayo and other regions in the next elections.
Some officials who attended the meeting told the Zimbabwe Independent
Tsvangirai was in a “no-nonsense mood” and sharply castigated the leadership
for frustrating the party’s efforts to mobilise support.
The officials said Tsvangirai asked them to write anonymous letters
highlighting problems rocking Bulawayo province after it emerged that
members were disgruntled over “imposition of branch and district members by
senior party members, which triggered the Makokoba defections”.
“The PM warned that he would not tolerate senior officials behaving like
they own the party, which was formed with the support of the masses,” said
The tense meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe,
(Tsvangirai’s second-in-command), organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, MPs,
senators and provincial executive committee members.
MDC-T deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo confirmed Tsvangirai lashed out
at his aides, but declined to elaborate.
“The president (Tsvangirai) and Chamisa addressed the issues which are
affecting supporters, especially (those) which forced defectors to ditch the
party,” said Khumalo. “However, I cannot go into details of the meeting.”
Tsvangirai was also furious at top officials who were fingered in the
violence that rocked MDC-T in the run-up to the 2011 congress held in
Bulawayo. The senior officials were named in a report by a commission of
inquiry which investigated the clashes.
Senior MDC-T officials in Bulawayo have, however, said the defections were a
case of chickens coming home to roost, after Tsvangirai repeatedly ignored
pleas from members to rein-in Khupe and her supporters in Bulawayo.
The officials said Tsvangirai was warned in 2007 in meetings and through
affidavits and petitions written by disgruntled party members to censure
Khupe and her ally, Dorcas Sibanda, for flouting party procedures in
elections within the MDC-T’s Bulawayo East structures.
Khupe stands accused of dictatorship and tribalism — charges which she
denies — in Bulawayo province with officials alleging she replaced all Shona
party activists in the Bulawayo East district party structures with
“We implore you to reprimand Miss Khupe and Miss Sibanda and show us as
members of the party and the world at large that the MDC still holds up the
original manifesto which held corruption in all forms as despicable and
inimical to democracy,” reads a 2008 petition addressed to Tsvangirai,
signed by the party’s Bulawayo East structures.
Swithern Chirwodza, in charge of policy and research in the party’s
Bulawayo province, in 2007 wrote a letter of complaint after being assaulted
by Dixon Mohammed and Themba Moyo, allegedly at the instigation of Khupe and
Sibanda, at a meeting to deal with internal problems.
Mohammed and Moyo each paid Z$40 000 in admission of guilt fines at Bulawayo
Central Police Station under case number CR96.11.2007.
When contacted, Chirwodza declined to comment insisting he could only do so
after clearance from the national executive.
Khupe referred all questions to Bulawayo provincial chairperson, Gorden
Moyo, who dismissed the allegations saying they had a “Zanu PF odour”.
“I’m convinced that those people who rushed to you with such claims are not
genuine members of our party of excellence,” said Moyo. “It is the work of
those who are afraid of the vice-president (Khupe) who beat them in
elections and has been outstanding in her party and national contribution.”
Moyo denied reports that Khupe had been singled out in the MDC-T findings on
intra-party violence, saying the report had not even been discussed, let
alone seen by senior party officials. He also denied reports of defections.
Thursday, 05 July 2012 18:02
THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is facing accusations by a civil society
monitoring organisation of distributing rotten maize to villagers hard-hit
by drought mainly in Chinhoyi, Mhangura and Banket.
A recent report released for the period January to March 2012 by Civil
Society Monitoring Mechanism (Cisomm), a group of non-governmental
organisations dedicated to monitoring and evaluating implementation of the
Global Political Agreement, said although the humanitarian situation in the
country had stabilised, there were key vulnerabilities that still need to be
“Villagers in Chinhoyi, Mhangura and Banket, who are going through a lean
spell, have found themselves the unfortunate recipients of the maize which
the GMB said in November had deteriorated due to poor storage at its 44
depots and silos,” reads the report.
The dry, damaged maize classified as “top grade” and bought at US$285 per
tonne last year has been written off and is now being sold as stock feed to
cattle farmers at an average price of US$175 a tonne, the report further
Thursday, 05 July 2012 18:02
WHILE most of the 200 recommendations made by Zanu PF to the
constitution-making process have been dealt with, negotiators are still
battling with some issues, particularly the creation of a constitutional
Zanu PF made a series of recommendations, some of which would fundamentally
change the document. Most of its demands are geared towards preserving the
current imperial presidency and institutional arrangements.
Some of the demands include that the military should be allowed to play an
active part in national politics; the president should appoint commissions
without parliamentary approval; there should be no constitutional court as
demanded by the people, but a “division” of the Supreme Court; there should
not be devolution of power to the provinces; executive authority must only
vest in the president and the president shall not be answerable to
parliament on deployment of troops, among other things.
But a compromise has been reached on most of the issues except mainly on the
consitutional court, according to negotiators.
Zanu PF is demanding the proposed constitutional court must be deleted from
the draft and replaced with “constitutional division of the Supreme Court”
in a move seen as designed to retain its control of the judiciary. — Staff
Thursday, 05 July 2012 18:00
ZANU PF has been accused of crippling the functions of the Joint Monitoring
and Implementation Committee (Jomic) by not sending representatives to the
organ’s meetings and activities countrywide.
Jomic co-chairperson Thabitha Khumalo said this week Zanu PF has been
“Zanu PF has destabilised Jomic because they still want to perpetrate
violence ahead of the elections,” said Khumalo. “I can confirm that Zanu PF
has not been attending meetings and it’s a sad development because it
becomes difficult to address issues raised by the people. It’s pure sabotage
if one of the parties is not there.”
However, Zanu PF Jomic co-chairperson Oppah Muchinguri said chaos erupted in
Mashonaland Central after the two MDC formations refused to accept a
representative seconded by her party’s provincial chairperson, Dickson
Mafios, when he was away on business.
She said Zanu PF would not entertain MDC-T officials who insult Mugabe. Zanu
PF Matabeleland South chairperson Andrew Langa recently boycotted a Jomic
meeting over remarks about Mugabe.
“We are yet to meet and finalise problems in provinces as Jomic leadership.
But we question the sincerity of MDC representatives who are always
complaining,” said Muchinguri. — Staff Writer.
Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:57
JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa is set to railroad the Electoral Act
Amendment Bill (EAAB) and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill (ZHRCB)
through parliament next week after cabinet agreed on Monday that the
proposed laws should be passed as part of Global Political Agreement (GPA)
The cabinet meeting, which was brought forward by a day to accommodate
President Robert Mugabe’s medical check-up trip to Singapore, decided to
bring finality to legislative reforms as stipulated by the GPA before Sadc
facilitator South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team jets in
The cabinet decision comes hot on the heels of the Luanda Sadc summit which
exhorted the coalition government to urgently complete the draft
constitution, legislative reforms and elections roadmap before the holding
of new polls. The summit also urged GPA parties to fully implement agreed
Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube confirmed this in an interview
with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, saying his party would support both
bills when Chinamasa steers them through parliament next week since they
have never had any objections to them.
“We have no problem with both bills because they were negotiated and agreed
to at the negotiators’ forum,” Ncube said. “Our position has always been
consistent that we should stick to the deal we signed during negotiations.”
Ncube, who is also MDC president, last week said elections were likely to be
held by September next year, a position he has been insisting on since last
While Ncube says parties agreed on electoral reforms, the MDC-T – which
initially agreed to the electoral amendments, has raised an objection
demanding that the proposed laws should not contain a clause calling for the
creation of a polling station-based voters’ roll and a cut-off date on
investigations of rights abuses by the Human Rights Commission.
The EAAB proposes to establish a polling- station-specific voters’ roll
while the ZHRCB bars the commission from investigating atrocities committed
before February 13, 2008.
This exonerates President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF from liability for
atrocities committed during the 1982 - 1987 Gukurahundi era, and bloody
elections held in 2000, 2002 and 2008, among others.
United Nations human rights commissioner Navi Pillay, who was recently in
Zimbabwe, urged the parties to finalise these issues, mainly the Human
Rights Commission. She said it was better for the commission not to work in
retrospect, but also noted past human rights violations could be
However, on polling station-based voters’ register the MDC-T argues the
clause could further increase election-related violence as it becomes easier
for Zanu PF and its militias to follow up on how people voted at a
particular polling station.
But MDC-T national executive committee member said this week the party would
now support the bills, albeit with reservations. “Since Sadc insisted that
the two bills should be dealt with urgently, we will participate in their
passing,” the member said. “However, legislators from Matabeleland are
The climb down by the MDC-T comes after Sadc and Pillay urged the GPA
parties to set aside their endless disputes and move ahead to pass the
The polls roadmap, including the two bills and draft constitution, are the
three main outstanding GPA issues which would pave way for elections once
Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:57
OUTGOING United States ambassador Charles Ray has said his country’s
government would not prescribe trading partners to Zimbabwe as it would be
risky to have “exclusive business relations with a single country”.
Ray was responding to questions from the Zimbabwe Independent on what the US
thought of Zimbabwe’s “resources for arms” deal with Russia which would
ostensibly see the country being supplied with military helicopters and
other hardware in exchange for platinum mining claims.
“It’s not for my government to decide or disagree on business arrangements
which this country (Zimbabwe) should make with any country,” said Ray.
“Russia is a sovereign country and if Zimbabwe wants to make deals with
them, who are we to say they should not,” Ray asked, saying it would be a
mistake for the country to put its investment trust on one source.
Ray ends his three-year tour of duty at the end of the month.
A report carried by the Russian Kommersant business daily and online
publications said officials from the former superpower visited Zimbabwe in
April and all but secured an inter-governmental agreement on stimulating
investment and defence, under which a state corporation, Russian
Technologies, would supply military helicopters in exchange for mineral
rights to platinum deposits in Darwendale.
The reports said Ruschrome Mining, a company jointly owned by Zimbabwe and
the Russian government’s Centre for Business Cooperation with Foreign
Countries, received a 25-year licence for the exploration and development of
However, checks by the Independent with Russian diplomats in Harare
indicated the military helicopters in question may actually be old ones
which had been taken for repairs, in the world’s largest country in terms of
Reports say the Darwendale mining area which has attracted the Russians’
interest in the mineral-rich Great Dyke has platinum reserves as well as
other valuable metals such as gold, nickel, copper and palladium, among
A mining executive confirmed last week the Russians’ visit in April but
warned a major sticking point could however be differences in valuation of
the resource between government and the Russians.
He said the Russians wanted government to take into consideration
investment, financing and operating costs to extract and process the mineral
in evaluating the deal.
Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:53
ZIMBABWE seems to have shot itself in the foot once again following the
publication of controversial indigenisation regulations which threaten to
deal the country’s recovering tourism industry a body blow.
Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere last Friday
published the contentious General Notice 280 of 2012 in the Government
Gazette, directing companies investing in the tourism industry to comply
with the damaging Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act which compels
businesses to surrender a 51% shareholding to indigenous people within a
Zanu PF politicians and their local business cronies are pushing for the
expropriation of foreign-owned companies under the guise of a selective
indigenisation and empowerment policy.
While the campaign is hurting business, it is feared the latest regulations
threaten investment in tourism and the successful hosting of the 2013 United
Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly to be co-hosted
by Zimbabwe and Zambia in Victoria Falls and Livingstone, a major
opportunity to revive the sector.
Government has already ruined commercial agriculture and is undermining
finance and banking, mining, manufacturing and other sectors of the economy
through its indigenisation policy widely seen as mostly benefitting
political bigwigs and the well-connected in Zanu PF.
Kasukuwere’s latest indigenisation push is likely to scare away potential
investors, particularly when it comes to construction of the proposed
Victoria Falls Convention Centre and other infrastructure ahead of the UNWTO
assembly to be held from August 24 to 29 next year.
The event is expected to spur infrastructure development and tourism growth
in Zimbabwe, but the heavy involvement of China in the preparations has
raised fears the country will mortgage more resources to the Asian giant.
Zimbabwe does not have the financial resources to build a convention centre,
upgrade the Victoria Falls and Harare International airports, improve health
and hotel facilities, upgrade border posts and invest in power
infrastructure and dualisation of roads.
Critically, the national flag carrier, Air Zimbabwe, has virtually collapsed
and something needs to be done about it if the UNWTO event is to be a
success. With the troubled Air Zimbabwe almost grounded, the country would
have to depend on foreign airlines to fly the expected delegates and
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi told parliament a fortnight ago that China
was providing much of the funding for the conference.
“We have signed a concessional loan agreement of US$150 million with China
Eximbank (Export and Import Bank) for the expansion and refurbishment of
Victoria Falls Airport,” said Mzembi. “This would allow big long haul
planes to fly directly to the resort town.”
However, Mzembi neither disclosed the conditions of the loan nor gave
indications as to when the loan deal would be brought before parliament for
China, which seems exempt from indigenisation laws, has been heavily
involved in funding most of the country’s current infrastructural projects
such as the Harare-Norton road dualisation, construction of dams
countrywide, the National Defence College and building of a new hotel
adjacent to the National Sports Stadium.
In return, Zimbabwe has mortgaged some of its mineral wealth like the
Marange diamond fields, platinum resources along the Great Dyke and vast
amounts of gold and chrome mining claims.
Zimbabwe is currently in election mode ahead of polls likely just before or
after the UNWTO event, and Mzembi warned parliament a violent campaign would
cost the country dearly.
“In Zimbabwe, the need to maintain the current peace and security cannot be
over emphasised. Without peace and stability, we can kiss goodbye to any
hopes we may be entertaining of a tourism boom, including the hosting of the
UNTWO General Assembly in 2013,” Mzembi said.
The indigenisation regulations affecting tourism are likely to achieve
exactly what Mzembi fears — undermining the tourism sector which was almost
decimated by the political and economic crisis between 2000 and 2009.
Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:40
STARTING this week, the Zimbabwe Independent, which has been investigating
the goings-on at Marange diamond fields for years now, will be running the
latest Global Witness report, Financing a Parallel Government?, which makes
interesting revelations about Chiadzwa.
The report by Global Witness, a UK-based non-governmental organisation which
campaigns against natural resource-related conflict, corruption and
associated environmental and human rights abuses, sheds light on activities
unfolding at Marange diamond fields, detailing who is involved and the
intricate networks comprising the Chinese and Zimbabwe’s security forces,
the army, police and intelligence services, dealing in diamonds, cotton and
property sectors. The report follows:
This report reveals how Zimbabwe’s feared secret police, the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO), appears to have received off-budget
financing from Sam Pa, a businessman based in Hong Kong; and how members of
the CIO are directors of a group of companies, Sino Zimbabwe Development,
registered in Zimbabwe, Singapore and the British Virgin Islands.
Several well-informed sources have told Global Witness Sam Pa (AKA Antonio
Famtosonghiu Sampo Menezes, Xu Jinghua and Sam King) holds leadership
positions in a network of companies known as the Queensway syndicate. The
syndicate was the subject of a detailed study by the Economist in 2011. This
study concluded that syndicate has a track record of opaque “resources for
infrastructure” deals across sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite the official sounding names of its companies, such as China
International Fund and Africa Development Corporation, the syndicate is
largely owned by private Hong Kong business interests.
Until recently some of the key companies, such as China Sonangol
International Ltd, were also partly controlled by a leading Angolan
politician, Manuel Vicente, the former head of Angola’s state oil company
Sonangol. Finally, the Economist highlighted that two companies in the
syndicate, China Sonangol International (S) Pte Ltd and CIF Singapore Pte
Ltd, are noted for an ethically dubious deal with the Guinean military junta
in 2009, signed just weeks after security forces killed over 150 protestors
and raped over 100 women in a stadium.
This briefing extends the Economist’s analysis of the Queensway syndicate’s
activities in Zimbabwe. Several reliable sources within the secret police
have passed information to Global Witness demonstrating how Sam Pa appears
to have provided a significant sum of money, said by one CIO document seen
by Global Witness to be $100 million, to the CIO. The same sources,
corroborated by another source with firsthand knowledge of the deal, also
describe how Sam Pa provided 200 Nissan pick-up trucks to the CIO. In
return, Sam Pa received diamonds and accessed business opportunities in the
cotton and property development sectors.
We also use company registry records and sources within the secret police to
identify three Zimbabwean directors (Gift Kalisto Machengete, Pritchard Zhou
and Masimba Ignatius Kamba) of Sino Zimbabwe Development in Zimbabwe,
Singapore and the British Virgin Islands who are members of the CIO, and
which we therefore believe to be companies which are controlled in part by
members of the Zimbabwean secret police. Global Witness invited Sam Pa and
the directors of Sino Zimbabwe Development to comment on our findings, and
they have not done so.
There are three reasons why these developments are of concern. In this
document we refer to ‘Sino Zimbabwe Development’ as shorthand for three
companies: Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd, registered in Zimbabwe; Sino
Zimbabwe Development (Pte) Ltd, registered in Singapore, and Strong Achieve
Holdings Ltd, registered in the British Virgin Islands. In the Zimbabwean
media and other public sources there are also occasional references to Sino
Zimbabwe Holdings (Pvt) Ltd and Sino Zimbabwe Cotton Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, but
there is no record of these companies at the Zimbabwean company register.
We have been informed by reliable sources that these unregistered companies
are in effect the same company as Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd ––
assertions backed by the fact that Jimmy Zerenie, a known director of Sino
Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd, represented Sino Zimbabwe Holdings (Pvt) Ltd
in the media during a cotton dispute in 2010.
Finally it should be noted that “Sino Zimbabwe Development” is unrelated to
other companies with similar names: Sino Zim Cement Company (SZCC),
registered in Zimbabwe, and Sino-Zim Mining Corporation Ltd and Sino-Zim
Mining Resource Company Ltd, both registered in Hong Kong.
In this document any reference to “Sino Zimbabwe” or “Sino Zimbabwe
Development” should be taken to mean companies with connections to the
Queensway syndicate rather than SZCC, Sino-Zim Mining Corporation Ltd or
Sino-Zim Mining Resource Company Ltd.
First, by its very nature any off-budget financing for the secret police
undermines democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe. Off-budget
funding subverts civilian and democratic control of the CIO, and allows the
secret police to set, and fund, its own agenda.
Second, Sam Pa’s likely financial support for the CIO may undermine
Zimbabwean democracy more directly.
According to two sources, one senior Zimbabwean government official and one
source within the CIO, the secret police is engaged in “Operation Spiderweb”,
covert activities designed to discredit senior figures from the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) including Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangarai, Finance minister Tendai Biti, and Industry minister Welshman
Ncube. According to the single source within the CIO Sam Pa’s money was
allocated specifically to Operation Spiderweb.
However, by their very nature, such claims about secret intelligence
agencies are difficult to verify and should be treated with caution.
Third, members of the CIO have been repeatedly identified as perpetrators of
violence in the recent past, and therefore Sam Pa’s apparent material
assistance may fund future human rights abuses in the run up to the
Anjin is likely part-owned and part-controlled by the Ministry of Defence.
This report also revisits earlier Global Witness research into a large
diamond mining company, Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd. Our last report
established the partial control exercised by figures from the Zimbabwean
military, police and Ministry of Defence over the firm’s executive board.
This current briefing reports the results of research into Anjin’s
ownership. Zimbabwean company records reveal that a senior military lawyer
in the Ministry of Defence holds 50% of Anjin’s shares.
Together with factors such as the presence of the Permanent Secretary of the
Ministry of Defence on Anjin’s executive board, these company records have
led Global Witness to conclude that half of a large diamond-mining company
is likely part-owned and part-controlled by the Ministry of Defence,
military and police. (To be continued)
Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:23
THE mafia may enjoy an image romanticised by blockbuster movies such as
Sopranos and The Godfather, but in real life they are reportedly Italy’s
biggest business with an annual turnover of €140 billion, according to a
report released in January by that country’s business group Confesercenti.
The report also claims that with about €65 billion in cash, the mafia is
more liquid than any other Italian bank.
Extortion, coercion and blackmail are the biggest sources of revenue for
these organised criminal gangs who routinely intimidate businesses and for
those who refuse to co-operate, violence and cold-blooded murder are handy
tools in the mafia’s gory toolbox.
Although intimidation and violence are not common in the Zimbabwean business
environment, blackmail and murky multi-million dollar mining deals involving
shadowy Chinese and Russian business networks could signal the increasing
foothold of shady underworld criminal webs in local business and political
With the discovery of diamonds and other minerals, there are so many
Chinese, Russian, Israeli and Lebanese networks — which overlap and are
intertwined in many areas — doing business, mainly gangland-style, while
siphoning and salting away the proceeds of corrupt transactions offshore.
The involvement of the Zimbabwean military and other security networks in
the underworld deals seems to be aiding and abetting the looting, especially
of the Marange diamond fields.
As a result, proceeds from the sale of diamonds from the rich Chiadzwa
fields remain largely unaccounted for, at least according to Finance
minister Tendai Biti who has lately been complaining diamond proceeds fall
short of revenue projections.
A recent report on Zimbabwe by Global Witness, titled Financing a Parallel
Government in Zimbabwe?, exposes the military’s dodgy involvement in diamond
mining at Chiadzwa.
The military seems to be working closely with the Chinese mainly involved in
Marange and Russians in mining deals where there is no transparency and
accountability. The Russians are involved in diamond mining at Charleswood
Estates in Chimanimani, as well as exploring and mining diamonds and
platinum along the mineral-rich Great Dyke.
Charleswood Estates were seized from MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett by
International media reports have linked Russians to the supply of military
hardware to Zimbabwe in return for minerals. The Chinese are also said to be
doing the same.
The Chinese have invested in Zimbabwe through Sino-Zimbabwe Development, a
company registered in Zimbabwe, Singapore and the British Virgin Islands,
although it has now ceased operations in Marange.
According to Global Witness, Sino-Zimbabwe is owned by a shadowy Chinese
character, Sam Pa — who also uses the aliases Antonio Famtosonghiu Sampo
Menezes, Xu Jinghua and Sam King — and Zimbabwe’s dreaded spy agency, the
Central Intelligence Organisation.
Pa controls companies generally known as the Queensway syndicate. The
Queensway syndicate is a shadowy Hong Kong-based syndicate accused of a
range of crimes including corruption, profiteering with African natural
resources while breaking terms of licence agreements, fuelling conflicts,
interfering with elections, illegally trafficking diamonds and, less
plausibly, being a secret arm of the Chinese government.
Global Witness says Sino-Zimbabwe is involved in diamond mining, cotton and
property sectors. Among the properties Sino-Zimbabwe owns are Livingstone
House, Gecko Gardens Hotel, the Pangolin Lodge and Imba Matombo Lodge — all
located in Harare.
Another prominent figure in Sino-Zimbabwe is Russian-Israeli diamond magnate
Lev Leviev, renowned as the world’s biggest cutter and polisher of diamonds.
In 2010, Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu admitted certain
officials associated with Mbada and Canadile — the two companies he
personally approved to joint-venture with government to mine diamonds in
Chiadzwa — had “questionable records”.
He told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy this was
normal as it was “virtually impossible to find reputable partners in the
Mpofu’s admission provided an insight into the otherwise increasingly murky
world of joint ventures in Zimbabwe.
Mbada is a joint venture between the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
and Grandwell Holdings, a company registered in Mauritius and a subsidiary
of New Reclamation Group (Reclaim), a South African scrap metal-recycling
The corporate ownership and shareholder structure of Mbada and Canadile
remains largely cloaked in mystery.
Canadile is now defunct.
Until 2011, Grandwell was wholly-owned by Reclaim. In the last financial
year, 25% of Mbada was passed on to a third party, Transfrontier, which has
an opaque company structure shrouded in secrecy. The beneficial owners of
Transfrontier are unknown.
The fact that Mbada, Transfrontier and associated companies are in places
with zero rates of corporate tax such as Mauritius, Hong Kong, British
Virgin Islands and Dubai, raises questions on where these firms pay their
taxes and whether these arrangements are good deals for Zimbabwe.
In 2010, Zimbabwe blacklisted Core Mining shareholders and directors from
the country for their alleged involvement in corruption, bribes and fraud at
Marange. The blacklisted individuals include Robert van der Merwe, Yehuda
Licht, Arnold Neil Lange, Subithry Naidoo, Kuberin Packrisamy, Marco
Chiotti, Minesh Bungwadeen, Viken Arslanian, Komalin Packirisamy,
Vejayanakumar Pickirisamy, Adrian Taylor and Allan John Sawyer.
Political analysts say the emergence of shadowy organisations and dodgy
characters does not augur well for Zimbabwe’s economic development and
Media Centre director Earnest Mudzengi said diamonds could eventually have
disastrous consequences for Zimbabwe.
“This is a potentially disastrous development that, if not checked, may take
us to the extremes of a failed state. Remember what happened in Sierra
Leone, Somalia and such other states?” Mudzengi said.
“We may end up on the fringes of warlordism if this orgy of unrestrained
looting, unprofessional and unethical behaviour is not nipped in the bud.”
South African-based analyst Ricky Mukonza said these developments are
symptomatic of the sanctions-busting activities similar to those of the
Rhodesian era, and they only profit a few brave and risky merchants.
“The primary motive for a regime facing sanctions is survival and for the
dealers, it’s money. Because of the high risks involved, they make huge
profits. So the events in Marange are nothing new but something that
emanated from the sanctions period,” he said.
Another political analyst Jonathan Gandari concurred, saying the mafia are a
danger to the state as has been witnessed in Mexico.
“The mafia and corruption are cousins,” said Gandari.
“The emergence of the mafia should not only be frowned at, but be nipped in
the bud because it is a cancer on the soul of society. Mafia has ruined
countries like Mexico beyond repair.”
Thursday, 05 July 2012 15:57
THE current impasse between cotton growers and ginners has seen disagreeing
parties point fingers at each other as the marketing season progresses
without the crop being sold. Cotton growers in the 1980s were respectable
farmers as they got good returns from cotton and were able to buy basic
farming implements like ploughs, cultivators and scotch-carts, while sending
their children to boarding schools.
What has gone wrong as they can no longer afford this, why is there so much
fighting over the producer price and why are cotton farmers living in
Cotton is produced by 300 000 small-scale farmers from the drier parts of
the country like Gokwe, Chiredzi, Sanyati, Mutoko, Mudzi, Muzarabani and
Mount Darwin. It is a drought tolerant crop and farmers are able to realise
reasonable yields even during drought. The crop is a low feeder compared to
other traditional crops like maize. Most farmers apply a bag of compound L
and another bag of top dressing fertiliser per hectare and expect to harvest
about 700 kgs. But cotton is a labour-intensive crop as it is handpicked.
There has been debate over whether the current basic package is adequate or
not and ginners have since come up with other packages that provide more
fertilisers and expect a higher yield per hectare. The issue of improved
varieties has often been discussed as there are indications that some time
back the country produced some improved cotton varieties but sold the
During the 1980s, cotton was a controlled crop and the Cotton Marketing
Board (CMB) had a monopoly over its marketing. CMB was privatised together
with other marketing boards like Dairy Marketing Board and Cold Storage
Commission with the advent of economic reforms in the 1990s.
The lack of competition then meant CMB was in control of the situation as
regards the inputs scheme, buying the crop and payment to farmers. The
liberalisation of the market has since seen the emergence of 14 players in
the industry. Since this deregulation, there was a manifestation of
fly-by-night players, mainly from the Asian region, who would come into the
country at marketing time and entice farmers sponsored by other players to
sell the crop to them.
This led local ginners to persuade government to come up with Statutory
Instrument (SI) 142 of 2009, which essentially prohibits any buyer who has
not sponsored any farmer from buying the crop. It also established the
Cotton Marketing Technical Committee that falls under the Ministry of
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development and is made up of
ginners’ representatives, representatives from the four farmers’ unions, as
well as other stakeholders who use cotton products like oil expressers.
Over the years the local ginners/merchants have formed a grouping under
Cotton Ginners Association of Zimbabwe (CGA) that operates under a
secretariat. That secretariat makes sure all contracted farmers are
registered with CGA and no farmer gets inputs (double- dips) from more than
one ginner, and only those who have sponsored the growing of the crop are
allowed to buy it. CGA has also established common input distribution and
buying points in the cotton growing areas.
Cotton lint is traded on the Liverpool market and the prevailing prices have
a bearing on the producer price in the cotton growing regions of the world.
When the prices on the Liverpool market falls, there is definitely a
knock-on-effect on the cotton producer prices world wide. In order to reach
a producer price, the local ginners and growers have agreed on a formula.
The formula takes into consideration factors like the prevailing Liverpool
market prices, the cost of growing the crop and the ginning costs, among
other things. Ginners provide the cost of ginning, whilst growers provide
the cost of production. This year the two parties got deadlocked over these
two figures, with growers accusing ginners of having inflated their ginning
cost whilst ginners also questioned the cost of production.
When the two parties agree on a producer price, they also agree on prices
for grades A to D. When a farmer delivers his/her cotton to a buying point,
he/she is paid using the lowest grade, D, as there are no grading facilities
at these buying points. The cotton is then moved to a grading facility where
it is given a grade and the farmer then gets a supplementary payment, which
is the difference between grade D (what was paid at collection point) and
the final grade.
There are provisions in SI 142 of 2009 for independent graders to be used in
cases of disputes. Previously ginners would also pay a bonus at the end of
the marketing season to their growers if they reaped a “windfall” in their
marketing of the crop. Growers have complained some ginners have not paid
the top-up prices after grading and very few, if any, ginners have paid a
bonus in the past few years.
The row over the producer price dates back to 2010 when world price started
falling. Government had to intervene to set the price then. Due to disasters
in some cotton growing areas during 2011, the world price shot up to around
2,34 pounds per kg, resulting in local farmers being paid about US85 cents
/kg, which was almost double what had been paid the previous season.
This year the Liverpool price fell to a low of 0,69 pounds per kg, leading
to ginners offering a producer price of about US29 cents/kg for grade D.
Producer price negotiations are normally held under the auspice of
Agricultural Marketing Authority and the parties will only refer the matter
to the minister of agriculture after failing to agree. When they refer the
matter to the minister, they also include all the relevant facts like the
prevailing Liverpool price index, the ginning as well as cost of production.
They also give recommendations for the ministers consideration.
This year, after the deadlock, they referred the matter to the minister and
also recommended he considers paying a “subsidy” over and above what the
ginners/merchants were able to pay. The minister refused this recommendation
and instead proceeded to issue a statutory instrument declaring the crop to
be a controlled product.
Once a crop has been declared a controlled product, its marketing becomes
controlled by a body given the responsibility. You will recall that maize
and wheat used to be controlled products up until 2009 when government
liberalised their marketing. Anyone who wanted these products then had to
approach the Grain Marketing Board, which had the sole right to buy from
One of the most contentious issues in this country has been policy flip-flop
by government. Government previously allowed the trading of maize and wheat
on the open market and that saw the setting up of Zimace, a market-based
commodity exchange which sadly is no more.
Today a lot of market proponents are saying we should bring back the
commodity exchange in order to stabilise the marketing of maize and wheat.
What exactly do we want as a country; do we want government to meddle in
marketing, or do we want government to simply be a facilitator, more like
what happens in tobacco marketing?
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board licenses auction floors and contractors
to buy the crop but also acts as the referee in cases of dispute. The
marketing of tobacco in this country provides an example of how agricultural
marketing should be handled. The prices provide an incentive to farmers to
grow the crop and the area planted has been steadily increasing over the
years. It is simple market economics: provide the platform and let market
forces determine prices.
Government has previously tried to intervene in tobacco marketing with
disastrous results. Due to the stability that exists in the tobacco sector,
contractors are increasingly willing to contract farmers. More than 50% of
the tobacco crop is now contract-farmed and this has helped liquidity in the
The cotton industry is one of those agricultural sectors where almost 100%
of the crop is grown under contract-farming. Ginners use offshore funding or
borrow from banks to buy inputs that they give to contracted farmers. This
is done without any collateral; after all the crop is grown by small holder
farmers in communal and resettlement areas and these farmers do not have the
kind of required security.
By declaring cotton a controlled crop, the minister risks destabilising that
arrangement — cotton ginners and banks will hesitate to finance the crop
next year. This change in policy is coming midstream, when changes should
have been made at the beginning of the season.
Government is already failing to provide enough resources to boost
production of essential cereals like maize and wheat. So where does it
expect to find money to fund the production of cotton. Whilst government
could not find US$20 million to finance inputs for the current winter wheat
programme, the cotton crop was sponsored by ginners to the tune of US$42
million. Financiers provide funding to cotton ginners on the basis that it
will yield increased benefits at the end of the season.
Why would any financier provide funding to a cotton ginner for nine months,
only for the ginner to be told to go and collect monies they invested from
GMB which is already struggling to pay farmers for delivered maize and
Government is failing to meet its revenue targets and pay civil servants
adequately. Government should instead try to bring ginners and producers
closer together on the producer price, fully aware that it does not have the
resources to buy or subsidise the crop.
Politicians will always say they cannot stand by while their electorate are
being “cheated by unscrupulous merchants” when elections are around the
corner, but if interventions are to be made at all, they must be sustainable
in the long term. Policy contradictions and inconsistencies do not
Peter Gambara is an agricultural economist and consultant with AgriExpert, a
local consultancy firm. He writes in his personal capacity. Email:
Thursday, 05 July 2012 16:54
THE rehabilitation of Hwange thermal power station is set for completion by
end of 2013 and this should significantly address erratic power supply in
the country, incoming permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and
Power Development Patterson Mbiriri said this week.
The on-going rehabilitation of the project, which started in 2007, is
expected to lift power output to 700MW by August this year from the current
500MW, after the completion of repair to Units 1 and 2 of Hwange power
Mbiriri said treasury had so far injected more than US$50 million, with
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) pumping US$40 million into the project.
Part of the project to repair the ash and handling plant at a cost of US$35
million was being financed by the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (Zimfund)
and was also expected to be complete by 2013.
The EU-sponsored fund is administered by Africa Development Bank (AfDB),
with ZPC as the implementing agent.
AfDB is also administering under Zimfund, an urgent water supply and
sanitation rehabilitation project for the municipalities of Harare,
Chitungwiza, Mutare, Masvingo, Kwekwe and Chegutu in line with the
government’s Short-Term Emergency Recovery Programme (Sterp).
Mbiriri said in order to address the erratic power supply holistically, the
ministry would have to focus more on the transmission and distribution grid.
However, this would be a challenge, given the archaic primary equipment
available, he said.
“A lot of primary equipment is very old and urgently needs to be
refurbished,” Mbiriri said. “Key equipment such as reactors are out of
service due to their old age as most of these were installed in the 1960s.”
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company is also set to
embark on a roll-out programme to install 5,5 million compact fluorescent
lamps in homes and institutions to save electricity.
Mbiriri said the exercise would save about 180MW of power, adding this would
also help the prepaid metering programme to be launched this year.
Zimbabwe is facing chronic power shortages, where output is about 1300MW
against national demand of 2200MW, albeit total installed capacity is 1960
MW. According to a Medium-Term Plan review report, domestic power generation
declined by 1,2% to 1280MW in January and February from the 1295MW
registered in December 2011.
Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:33
IN a totalitarian state every aspect of public life is governed by the state’s
rulers. While it may appear that civic activists have room to operate, in
reality they are squeezed out and sometimes persecuted.
Last Friday the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) had
been due to host the Joshua Nkomo Memorial lecture at which Nkosana Moyo
had been due to speak.
Moyo, it may be recalled, had served in government as Minister of Industry
and International Trade. His frustration at being unable to make progress as
a minister led to his resignation in a fax sent from Johannesburg.
We don’t know what he proposed to say in his speech on Friday night but
clearly the authorities deemed it potentially subversive. Nust was told to
cancel the event which was to be hosted by their media department, headed by
media commissioner Nqobile Nyathi, in tandem with ANZ and the Joshua Nkomo
What does all this tell us? Obviously a paranoid regime cannot allow
freedom of speech that may embarrass it. The cancellation was a clear
attempt to suppress any potential discussion that might have proved
uncomfortable for a government thrashing around for legitimacy.
In this context the reading public can’t have missed the way in which Joshua
Nkomo’s legacy in the days leading up to July 1 had been hijacked by a state
keen to cover itself in the mantle of nationalist glory which Nkomo
represented and Zanu PF manifestly doesn’t. The lecture was being delivered
in a part of the country where Nkomo’s popular support had held up to the
end of his life. When he died in 1999 most of his supporters transferred
their allegiance to the emergent MDC.
His autobiography revealed the extent to which he was persecuted by Zanu PF
in the early 1980s, an episode conspicuously airbrushed out of the glowing
hagiographies being carried in the state media. The dishonesty of those
attempting to acquire his nationalist mantle by republishing expurgated
episodes of his book that fail to mention the ordeal he suffered –– along
with his chief lieutenants –– underlines why we need a free press including
broadcasters that tell the truth.
Muckraker came under fire in parliament last week when Tourism minister
Walter Mzembi thought he should respond to a point raised in this column.
“Zimbabwe tourism,” he said, “has the capacity after bouncing back to
actually blossom and in fact, according to the World Travel and Tourism
Council Economic Impact Report, it has been projected to be the second
fastest growing tourism sector in terms of contribution to GDP after China.
“Unfortunately, writers of some newspaper columns like Muckraker of the
Independent weekly seem to find this difficult to believe leading them to
suggest that I perhaps created these projections yet these are made on the
basis of research and analysis done by the WTTC in collaboration with Oxford
“We have amongst us some people still stuck in the colonial mind-set where
they cannot see a prosperous Zimbabwe,” Mzembi charged.
So we have a prosperous Zimbabwe now, do we Cde Mzembi?
We were interested in remarks made at the opening of the Jin’an Buddhist
temple in Chiadzwa attended by President Mugabe. Master of the temple Ki Hui
said President Mugabe was a great person just like chairman Mao and deserved
the respect of everyone.
“Chairman Mao freed us from the old China,” he said, “and was the founding
chairman of the modern China, and just like our chairman, President Mugabe
freed Zimbabweans from the old world of poverty.”
This is revisionism at its most radical. Chairman Mao was responsible for
mass starvation with his Great Leap Forward. It was a disaster, millions
died. And his violent Cultural Revolution caused widespread suffering with
families torn apart. Children were encouraged to denounce their parents as
reactionary “running dogs”.
Chinese leaders paid a visit to Hong Kong this week to mark 15 years of
Communist rule. The police kept demonstrators well away from where the
leaders were staying. But their voices could be heard miles away.
The fact is modern China is the product of Deng, not Mao. Deng famously
described his attitude to reform: “I don’t care what colour a cat is so long
as it catches mice.”
China has progressed rapidly since then (1978) but only by learning from the
China today runs a successful market economy based on Deng’s philosophy, not
Mao’s. Zimbabwe is headed the other way.
The Herald carried an interesting piece on Tuesday about a Chinese
delegation visiting Zimbabwe. They met SK Moyo and Rugare Gumbo during their
tour, we are told.
“Cde Gumbo bemoaned the propaganda attack the country is being subjected to
by Western countries,” the Herald reported.
“The West is highly advanced in terms of technology and propaganda and after
imposing the illegal sanctions on us they want the whole world to believe we
are a rogue state.” He called for more Chinese assistance to counter Western
This is a significant admission. Here is Zanu PF with the whole apparatus of
the state at its disposal calling on the Chinese to help them.
They have just increased their grip on radio and television so they can
dominate the airwaves but it apparently hasn’t done the trick.
They still feel they are losing the propaganda war. And of course they are.
The last thing Zimbabweans want to hear is more of what they are fed by ZBC.
As for the Chinese, they should not be interfering in our internal affairs.
Meanwhile ZBC has signed yet another MoU, this time with Chinese state
broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).
The move, according to ZBC, is aimed at “strengthening relations” between
the two state-controlled broadcasters.
However, under the agreement, ZBC will air CCTV news programmes and not the
other way round. Clearly even the Chinese don’t want the drivel that passes
for news at ZBC.
Finance minister and MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti took time out of
his supposedly busy schedule to embellish President Mugabe to Sunday Mail
“He (Mugabe) is very calm and seductive: I am sure every woman is in love
with him,” Biti gushed.
Biti was not done, shocked readers were to discover, adding: “He is a
fountain of experience, fountain of knowledge and, most importantly, a
fountain of stability. There are a lot of horrible things that would have
happened in this country if he had not said ‘No’.”
Victims of Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina as well as of the June 2008
run-off election violence will have a very different opinion to that of the
As recently as April, Mugabe was quoted saying: “now is the time to remove
all the snakes on our way and ensure that Bulawayo and the whole of
Matabeleland is vibrant”.
These words were a chilling reminder of Mugabe’s statement in the early
1980s in which he stated that:
“Zapu and its leader, Joshua Nkomo are like a cobra in a house, the only way
to deal effectively with a snake is to strike and destroy its head.”
How reassuring it must be for long-suffering Zimbabweans, who have borne the
brunt of 32 years of abuse, to hear the secretary-general of an alternative
party vouching for their tormentors.
Biti is not alone in the lickspittle crusade with MDC-T Organising Secretary
Nelson Chamisa saying Mugabe “provided leadership from the cockpit and we
are prepared to be the passengers”.
Chamisa had said Mugabe’s “wisdom makes sure the plane does not crash”.
These sentiments are being expressed in a country which no longer has a
currency, an airline and whose industries lie moribund thanks to Mugabe and
Zanu PF’s policies.
The Johannesburg Sunday Times has commented on President Zuma’s “second
phase of transition” that would mean the adoption of radical policies to
speed up social transformation.
“But it is not new concepts and revolutionary sounding buzz words that South
Africa needs to turn around its fortunes,” the paper points out. “We have
too many of those.”
“Bad planning, corruption, and the lack of political will rather than the
compromises reached during the multiparty negotiations at Codesa are to
blame for the government’s failure to deliver textbooks to public schools in
“Instead of dodging the real issues by introducing new concepts at every one
of its five-yearly national conferences, it is about time the ruling party
did some serious soul-searching as to why after nearly two decades in power
it has done so little to reverse the legacy of apartheid.”
Muckraker drew attention recently to the anarchy in the administration of
Harare with arbitrary structures going up all over the city.
A good example, we said, was the car-sales yards which have been planted on
municipal property opposite Prince Edward School. It is shocking that these
were given approval by the city planners.
This week we can report that brick walls have been built around the
In other words permanent structures are being erected on what one assumes is
Some well-connected individual will benefit. As we said, this is part of the
breakdown in city administration at a time when the council is declaring its
“shared vision” for a “world class” city. Purleez!
Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:26
ONE of the many factors underlying the distress of the Zimbabwean economy is
the magnitude of corruption that prevails in almost all sectors. Most
Zimbabweans are inherently honest, but when a man is constantly hungry, that
honesty disappears and is replaced by desperate recourse to crime in
general, and corruption in particular, in order to survive.
Moreover, the tendency to abandon the straight and narrow ends up being
institutionalised through usage. With Zimbabwe’s economy having withered and
increasingly decimated for most of 15 years, save for some very modest
recovery between 2009 and 2011, Zimbabwean poverty is intense.
Unemployment has risen to about 80%. Significantly, more than half of the
population is struggling to survive on incomes very markedly below the
poverty datum line. Thousands are homeless and cannot afford education for
their children, while even more cannot afford health care.
The streets of cities and towns have many beggars who can also be found
loitering at traffic-light intersections, and outside supermarkets and
banks. Most community-service trusts and other organisations are strapped
for cash, as need for their aid and assistance intensify exponentially,
while traditional donors become less and less able to provide for them due
to financial problems in their home countries. International donors are
battling to overcome the consequences of economic and financial recession in
most first-world countries. Meanwhile, Zimbabwean enterprises struggle to
survive the deluge of the country’s ills.
Therefore, more and more Zimbabweans have resorted to crime and corruption
in their desperate efforts to make ends meet. They justify their actions on
the basis of survival unlike national leaders who resort to crime and
corruption for self-enrichment.
I recall travelling to Harare from Bulawayo some years ago seated next to a
government minister. The minister asked: “Why are you travelling to Harare?”
to which I replied that I was to participate in and speak at a conference on
corruption. The minister immediately responded: “That’s a very good thing,
because by now there are only two honest people left in Zimbabwe!”
My immediate response was: “Really! Me and who else?” The minister had the
grace to stop the conversation forthwith, for many a true word is spoken in
It is common knowledge that there is massive corruption in many ministries,
government departments and parastatals. Contracts are often awarded on the
basis of “hand-backs”, euphemistically referred to as “commission”. Money
is wasted in paying people in ministries, government departments or
parastatals “commissions” for furtherance of the purposes for which their
Another prime example of wasted resources is the frequency of international
travel. Here it’s not only the delegate that travels, but a host of others
accompanying him who invariably end up doing nothing abroad but shop and
Many assets of the public sector entities are not used for their intended
purpose but for personal benefit of employees with access to them. This
ranges from relatively minor items such as stationery, to reckless usage of
telephones including personal international calls, to the use of state-owned
vehicles for wholly-private purposes. These are but a few examples of many
corrupt practices in the public sector.
A stunning example of corruption was the disclosure approximately 16 months
ago that the public service was employing more than 40 000 “ghost workers”.
This involved having fictitious names on the government’s payroll, where the
creators of this bogus payroll are the beneficiaries of the monthly
pay-cheques. Insofar as known, a year after that disclosure, ghost-worker
payments are still being effected.
Yet another prevailing corrupt practice is that pursued by some members of
the Zimbabwe Republic Police. Whilst many police officers fulfill their
duties with utmost probity and correctness, there are those who blatantly
resort to corrupt practices. All too frequently, one hears of spurious
charges being imposed at road blocks (mainly on national highways) for
Those range from demands that drivers have reflective vests — whereas no
such requirement has been gazetted, in contrast to the valid gazetting of
the requirement every vehicle must have fire extinguishers and red warning
triangles — to allegations of over-speeding, or traversing continuous
centre-lines where no such lines exist. Not only are spot fines unlawfully
imposed, but the payment of those fines is pocketed by
the police officer, without the issue of a receipt.
Yet other public sector corrupt practices are those of some MPs who
unreservedly draw their salaries and allowances, notwithstanding their
almost total failure to attend parliamentary sessions. Some of them
unhesitatingly make claims for expenditure reimbursements for expenses not
incurred by them. Yet others have no qualms or reservations about using
their positions and influence to obtain business opportunities.
Recent key examples are those who have secured expropriated farms under
Zimbabwe’s chaotic land reform programme, or equity in businesses pursuant
to the equally abhorrent manner in which indigenisation and economic
empowerment are being pursued. Similarly, several of them as well as the
military and others in the public sector domain have allegedly amassed
proceeds from the massive diamond resources in Marange.
But corruption has not been the sole preserve of the public sector. Many in
the private sector are equally culpable. Many of the “new” farmers were
assisted by government and the Reserve Bank with agricultural equipment and
inputs, but failed to utilise them for the intended enhancement of Zimbabwe’s
Instead, immediately upon receipt the goods were sold, including many sales
(especially so during the pre-multicurrency period) to farmers in
neighbouring countries. Likewise, many employees in commerce and industry,
the financial and other sectors have emulated (and continue to do so) those
in the public sector in the expropriation of stock-in-trade, manufacturing
inputs, consumable commodities, and stationery.
They are also involved in the unlawful and unauthorised usage of employers’
assets such as motor vehicles, endless private telephone calls and the like.
Years ago, government established the Anti-Corruption Commission, but to
date the only evidence of action by that commission is the pursuit of
vendettas of those with political connections.
If the economy is to not to be continuously weakened by ongoing corruption
government, or the Anti-Corruption Commission must urgently, without fear or
favour, take forceful actions to contain the cancer of corruption.
Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:20
WHILE it should not be our business to talk about the way other parties
operate internally, it would be remiss to ignore certain events, especially
those within main political parties in the inclusive government given that
their actions affect people’s welfare and future of the nation.
This is particularly important with regards to Zanu PF as it has been in
government for decades and still retains control of the levers of power
through state security organs and other key institutions.
It is public knowledge that important national processes like the
constitution-making exercise have suffered serious setbacks due to the
internal power dynamics within Zanu PF as each of the rival factions
battling to produce a successor to President Robert Mugabe continue to
scramble to consolidate their positions. This inevitably has led to a
situation where the Zanu PF factions have used national institutions and
processes to fight each other. Using national institutions and processes for
intra-party power struggles and internal conflicts is a danger not only to
the party but also the nation.
In the process of succession tussles, which have spilled into the national
and public domain, there has been a blatant disregard for national interests
and the future of the country.
Government business has also been seriously affected by the infighting
within Zanu PF to an extent where government programmes have been sabotaged
or derailed by competing forces.
It is in the context of this background that the dissolution of the Zanu PF
District Coordinating Committees (DCCs) becomes an important subject for
public discourse. This debate on the disbanding of these structures is
important in three different ways. First, it confirms the obvious: that Zanu
PF is an undemocratic political party which will not accept the outcomes of
any electoral process, including their own internal ones.
Indications from media reports and other sources show how the faction led by
the party’s legal affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also Defence
minister, had outmanoeuvred the group reportedly led by Vice-President Joice
Second, it shows how fractured and fragmented Zanu PF now is and that it is
unable to resolve internal contradictions and clashes using credible
conflict-resolution mechanisms which produce satisfactory outcomes
acceptable to the wrangling parties.
Last, the disbanding of the DCCs after internal elections apparently won by
Mnangagwa paints a dismal picture about Zanu PF’s willingness to embrace
democracy internally and nationally. Further, it rasies questions about the
party’s ability to run its own elections, let alone national ones. Mnangagwa
has over the years projected himself as a strong man with political muscle
and sheer force of personality to do the impossible, but events in the past
few years have eroded that myth, leaving him exposed and appearing weak and
This is now breeding contempt for him in his camp as he is slowly being seen
as a general betraying his troops or worse still, a bulldog without teeth.
Simply put, Mnangagwa is proving he does not have strong leadership
qualities, tenacity and character to be a national leader, besides a brutal
disposition and reputation which is working against him.
The litany of his failed bids for ascendancy is now stuff of legend. Some
are now writing him off, although he must be given the benefit of doubt.
However, the disbanding of the DCC polls, which insiders say his group had
won, offers a stern test of his leadership qualities and resolve. Remember
the incident when he was “awarded” an Honorary Doctorate by the Midlands
State University (MSU) and was literally removed from the list the night
before the graduation ceremony. So bad was the situation that the employees
of the university spent the whole night “tippexing” his name from the
booklet of graduands. In some instances the “tippexing” was so badly done
that one could see his name below the white tippex ink.
Then there is the 2004 “Tsholotsho fiasco” when his foot soldiers staged a
major upset by delivering about seven out of 10 party provinces in the
battle for the vice-presidency and again he failed to grab power despite the
overwhelming support. After that most of his lieutenants were heavily
victimised and he did nothing to protect them.
Then now his people had done so much groundwork to ensure they control the
lower structures that produce congress delegates and then the central
committee and the politburo, but again his rivals outmanoeuvred him; dealing
him a heavy blow by dissolving structures which he had seemingly taken
If things continue moving this way and he does not show a new impetus, he
might eventually lose his base and support, surrendering his bid for the
presidency. His supporters are obviously frustrated with what has happened
and also angry at him for showing lack of leadership.
However, the most important point here is not Mnangagwa’s dismal performance
per se but that Mugabe’s succession battle, which is destabilising the party
with far-reaching consequences, has become a national issue rather than
internal. It is precisely for this reason that scrutiny of the events within
Zanu PF, which is a coalition government partner, becomes a useful or
necessary part of national debate.
There is overwhelming evidence that important national processes like the
constitution-making exercise are now intertwined with Zanu PF’s internal
power struggles, which means the issue now deserves public attention. Zanu
PF’s insistence and bulldozing of the issue of two vice-presidents is both
an internal matter and a national issue as it has implications on the
structure of government and allocation of resources. But this also has
something to do with succession as it locks the country into a self-centred
structure which produces and protects a president from one region and
deputies from elsewhere.
What has come out of the Zanu PF DCC fiasco is that the party is in turmoil
and the debris of its explosion is scattered across the coalition government
and the nation. It is thus important and urgent to ensure that government
institutions insulate themselves against this. This is now critically urgent
given that the party’s warring factions might sooner rather than later,
engage in a suicidal scramble for power as Mugabe grows older and
Mugabe’s fast-approaching end is likely to wreak havoc in Zanu PF and
consume the whole country. So this volatile political situation needs to be
watched closely, checked and carefully managed to prevent a chaotic
Moyo is the director of policy and research co-ordination in the MDC led by
Professor Welshman Ncube. E-mail: email@example.com
Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:18
THE decision by Zanu PF central committee to endorse a recommendation by its
communist-style politburo to disband the district coordinating committees of
the party over factional infighting poses serious questions about the
existence and appreciation of democracy within this crumbling political
The astonishing decision which overlooks the human agency in the problems
facing Zanu PF raises the query of which model of democracy the party
follows, if any.
There are different models of democracy, but given Zanu PF’s history,
politics and context, this analysis limits itself to two broad types of
democracy advanced by David Held: direct or participatory and liberal or
Direct or participatory democracy means a system of decision making in
public affairs in which citizens are directly involved, while liberal
democracy is a system of rule entailing elected officers who undertake to
represent the interests of people within the framework of the rule of law.
In Africa, most countries use a mixture of these two variants in terms of
the structures of the state and the system of governance. Many countries,
including Zimbabwe, purport to embrace democracy in one form or another.
While that ought to be the case, the ideal is not problematic but the
This is the problem that Zanu PF is grappling with which has led to the
disbanding of a party structure without investigating the human agency
attendant to the disturbances.
Certain processes and criteria should take place in order to determine a
democracy. Robert Dahl argues there should be effective citizen
participation in policy formulation,that is, when policies are made citizens
should have voting equality and within reasonable limits have equal and
effective opportunities to learn and understand the policies and their
consequences on their lives.
It is argued the inclusion of adults as a criterion for democratic practices
ironically rules out many cases that political philosophers have regularly
taken as great historical models of democracy. Dahhl, therefore, contends
Greek and Roman polities, among others, which all built their political
models by excluding slaves, women and paupers, should be critically
Advocates of procedural democracy, however, caution that if elections are a
non-competitive sham and an occasion to bash opponents,then they fail the
test of democracy. But if they cause significant governance changes, they
may be a sign of the presence of democratic practices.
It is difficult to understand the kind of democratic practices Zanu PF
embraces. It’s undemocratic actions through the disbanding of the district
coordinating committees and the failure to adopt credible internal electoral
processes explain why it has failed to administer free and fair elections at
the national level.
It is generally agreed a state is governed democratically if government
offices and positions are allocated on the basis of competitive popular
elections. The idea of administering credible polls that offer citizens
varied choices in an environment where civil liberties are not stifled are
characteristics all democracies have in common and that undemocratic forms
of government lack. The current practices and state of affairs in Zanu PF
are far from meeting the basic tenets of democracy. So what type of
democracy does Zanu PF practise?
Another leading democratic scholar, Samuel Huntington, sees elections as a
barometer for defining democracy. In his view, democracy could be understood
as a means of constituting authority and making it responsible.
A modern state could be perceived as having a democratic political system if
its most powerful political officers are chosen through fair, honest and
periodic elections in which candidates freely compete for votes in a system
which allows universal suffrage
“According to this definition, elections are the essence of democracy. From
this follow other characteristics of democratic systems. Free, fair and
competitive elections are only possible if there is some measure of freedom
of speech, assembly, and press, and if opposition candidates and parties are
able to criticise incumbents without fear of retaliation,’’ Huntington
It is, however, questioned whether elections alone could adequately capture
the essence of the concept of democracy. Larry Diamond elaborated a key
distinction between liberal democracy and electoral democracy. Liberal
democracies not only have elections but also other important benchmarks of
democracy. They have restrictions on the power of the executive, independent
judiciaries to uphold the rule of law; protection of individual rights, and
freedoms of expression, association, belief and participation, consideration
for minority rights, limits on the ability of the ruling party to manipulate
the electoral process, effective guarantees against arbitrary arrest, and
minimum state control of the media.
Most electoral democracies lack these safeguards. The failed Zanu PF
internal electoral processes and disputed elections in Zimbabwe pose
critical questions about existence or depth of democracy in the country.
In Zimbabwe, electoral processes are only used as part of what Cameroonian
anthropologist Benjamin Nyamnjoh described as “face powder democracy” meant
to legitimise the continued rule of the political elite while citizens’
rights are trampled upon, without a deepening democratic culture and respect
for fundamental civil and political liberties of citizens in electoral
Whatever the definitions, democracy is a desirable form of government Zanu
PF and other parties should fully embrace. Instead of suppressing the views
and electoral preferences of its members by banning the district
coordinating committees, Zanu PF should adopt open processes of leadership
renewal that has the legitimacy of its members in various communities.
The Zanu PF leadership and indeed other political players and parties in
Zimbabwe should realise that democracy is critical as it celebrates
diversity and tolerance. The idea of democracy is important because it does
not just represent one value among many such as liberty, equality or justice
but values that can link and mediate among competing issues and interests
in society. It is a process that can assist Zanu PF in its battle for
Suppressing political dissent in order to stop either Emmerson Mnangagwa or
Joice Mujuru from political ascendancy in the current succession battles is
undemocratic, parochial and myopic.
Another critical factor of democracy is that it does not pre-suppose
agreement on diverse values but rather it suggests a way of relating values
to each other and leaving conflict resolution open to participants in a
public process. Zanu PF succession battles which led to the disbanding of
the district coordinating committees have stifled democratic processes in
the party and silenced people temporarily but the menace of infighting
remains. It will manifest itself in other organs of the party and if Zanu PF
thinks that disbanding its vibrant structures is the solution then it will
surely end up dissolving itself!
Ruhanya is a PhD candidate on Media and Democracy at the University of
Friday, 06 July 2012 11:20
THE relentless attempt by Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere to
subject the banking sector to the same model of empowerment where the banks
will be forcibly made to surrender 51% of their equity to several shady
“institutions” under the guise of transformation begs thorough examination.
For starters, if Kasukuwere does in the end manage to take over the banks,
what in effect would he have indigenised? The buildings in which these
banking halls are housed? The deposits or the assets in the form of loans?
After all, many of the banks do not own the buildings which house their
banking halls, apart from their head offices, and even if they did, bank
customers are mobile. So taking over, for instance, Barclays Bank’s
soon-to-be opened Kamfinsa branch will not lead to any acquisition of the
bank’s assets, because the building is actually owned by Pearl Properties.
Lest we forget, a bank’s real assets are the loans that it advances to
borrowers. The depositors’ funds, which the banks on-lend to borrowers are
in effect liabilities and these are extremely “timid”.
The forcible takeover of foreign-owned banks will naturally lead to a flight
of capital, not only from the targeted banks but from the country at large.
Banks that have good corporate governance as has been the case with most
foreign-owned financial institutions have attracted deposits.
That may be the attraction for the Kasukuweres of this world, but again,
those deposits are not assets but liabilities.
Why should anyone want to rush to take over a business with substantial
liabilities? Should a bank exercise prudent lending and extend a smaller
proportion of these depositors’ funds means it will be having more
liabilities. More importantly, should depositors have no confidence in the
owners of the bank, they will naturally withdraw their funds from it, what
is generally termed as a run on banks or “flight to quality”.
So that which the indigenisation agents will be left with will at most
consist of the US$12,5 million statutory requirements. Unless of course this
is the myopic objective of the exercise.
If we consider that there are about 26 financial institutions and with an
average capitalisation of US$10 million each, this will translate into some
US$260 million, or US$300 million if we round off.
We shudder to think why a responsible government would want to upset the
very vital banking sector so that a few of its individuals can lay their
hands on very fickle assets. It is telling that such desperate measures are
being taken now, as elections are likely within the coming 12 months. If on
the one hand they really intend to take over these banks as they say, this
may be the last chance by those in power to loot before they are kicked out
of power by a legitimate, democratically-elected government.
These desperados, seeing international pressure for free and fair elections
closing in on them, are having a last-ditch attempt to amass illicit wealth.
If not, the empty threats are clearly destructive and may be an attempt to
ruin the economy by dealing a lethal blow to make it difficult for the
incoming government to restore growth.
Either way, the actions and rhetoric are severely damaging and can only lead
the economy down the path of destruction.
It might well explain why they are prepared to destroy Zimbabwe’s legacy of
education by also helping themselves to private schools, under the pretext
of indigenisation. Zimbabwe has been reputed to have a well-educated
populace, that in spite of the destruction of public education still remain
the envy of many on the continent and internationally. Many of the private
schools are owned by churches and trusts.
The church-owned mission schools are the very ones that helped today’s
political elite to attain a decent education under colonialism –– a case of
biting the hand that fed you. By implication, taking over these mission
schools means taking over the churches that run them. As for the
non-church-owned private schools, the majority of them are owned by private
trusts or family trusts.
Government is targeting the financial, tourism, education and sport,
engineering and construction, energy, services, telecoms and transport
sectors. Indigenisation has now descended into a scorched-earth policy.
Friday, 06 July 2012 11:17
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti’s interview in the Sunday Mail, which on the
face of it seems to be awash with indulgent praise-singing for President
Robert Mugabe and nationalist posturing, has provoked a storm of controversy
The interview elicited different sorts of reactions, ranging from
appreciation to criticism.
Those who agree with Biti say the interview shows he is now mature and
strategic in his thinking and handling of national issues. They also note he
has become statesman-like and a consensus-builder.
However, his critics say he was trying to put lipstick on a pig –– making a
superficial analysis of the situation with cosmetic remarks –– while
gratuitously indulging in hero-worshipping bordering on hagiography. They
also say he failed the test of humility and being reflective, in the process
exposing his thinly-veiled political ambitions and manoeuvres.
Biti’s interview covered a whole range of key issues; historical events,
Mugabe’s contribution to the liberation struggle, his national significance
as founding leader and legacy, what it means to be Zimbabwean in his view,
generational challenges, political questions, including rule of law,
violence and tolerance, and economic issues, as well as GPA and MDC-T
But the most controversial remarks he made centred on Mugabe whose
contentious leadership and policies have polarised society.
Mugabe, in power for 32 years without a break, is many different things to
many different people. To some he is a liberator and hero; yet to others he
is a freedom fighter-turned-tyrant. Admittedly, he is a complex and
sometimes paradoxical character.
The dark side of Mugabe’s character emerged early during the 1980s with the
ruthless crushing of bitter rival, Joshua Nkomo and Zapu in pursuit of a
one-party state agenda and command economy. His contemporaries and
colleagues during the liberation struggle say Mugabe has always had a
ruthless streak which first manifested itself during his days in exile in
Edgar Tekere and Wilfred Mhanda’s autobiographies show this. Mugabe is still
using the same authoritarian methods to remain in power. In recent years,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC officials, including Biti, have
borne the brunt of his repression. Arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture
and killings have largely characterised his rule.
That’s why many ask: Is Mugabe an African hero or a ruthless dictator
consumed by hubris and self-righteousness? Is he that evil or just
misunderstood? Now that he is facing an endgame of potentially horrifying
dimensions, how will he be remembered?
“His importance in this country will be seen once he’s gone. When he’s gone
that is when you will see that this man was Zimbabwe. Some of us who came
from different parties have had to learn a lot from the man. He is a
fountain of experience, fountain of knowledge and, most importantly, a
fountain of stability,” Biti says.
“There are a lot of horrible things that would have happened in this country
if he had not said ‘No’. History will prove the correctness of this
statement. He has been the number one symbol of stability. There are people
who would have wanted to destroy this country internally, but his value has
been to say ‘No’. Even this GNU; there are people who wanted to destroy it
within two months, and it would have died. Where would we have been with a
hyperinflation of 500 billion percent? So, I think us younger generations
are lucky to have gone through his hands.”
This was the most controversial part which led critics to say Biti is
suffering from a battered woman syndrome or what they call in psychology the
Stockholm syndrome –– a phenomenon in which hostages end up expressing
empathy or having a positive attitude towards their captors, sometimes
However, Biti is an intelligent man, lawyer and shrewd politician. There
must be something he was conveying, especially given the interview was in
the Sunday Mail where ordinarily he would hesitate to be interviewed given
he has choice on other platforms.
Besides, the journalist who interviewed him recently had a splash on Grace
Mugabe. The question is, was the interview by accident or design? What was
the coded message Biti was delivering and who is the target audience? Did
Biti achieve his objective or not?
Whatever the case, Biti’s thought-provoking interview stirred controversy
and debate in equal measure, perhaps the most important thing after all.
Friday, 06 July 2012 11:14
READING about some treacherous deal last week to trade Zimbabwe’s platinum
reserves to the Russians in return for some Russian helicopters really got
one’s stomach turning.
Only a week earlier, we had learnt about how the Chinese were creaming this
nation of its diamond endowments in Chiadzwa in return for some supposed
military gain by Zimbabwe.
This doesn’t make sense at all, given all this talk bandied about in some
circles about selling-out the nation’s sovereignty, ideals blah blah. What
about selling-out the country’s finite resources, shouldn’t that count for
something? These arms for resources deals are the proverbial selling of one’s
birthright for a mess of pottage.
Were he still alive, Walter Rodney, famed for writing a treatise entitled
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, might as well have gotten ready to pen a
sequel entitled “How Brics underdeveloped Africa.”
While Africa, Zimbabwe in particular, has been battling to rid itself of the
shackles of European colonialism, it is instead going into bondage under the
so-called Brics countries; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Brazil’s place is not yet evident, but so far it’s clear that it’s diamonds
to the Chinese, platinum to the Russians, iron to the Indians (remember the
Essar deal?) and manufacturing to the South Africans.
A summary visit to the newly-opened Pick n Pay will show that more than 90%
of the products sold therein are made in South Africa.
The same goes for Spar. Zimbabwean products in these shops are minuscule,
including kapenta fish and madora/macimbi.
In short, behind every one of those shops, which sell the regular needs of
consumers, are profits and jobs for South Africa’s factories, not Zimbabwe’s.
In order to compete, local retailers such as OK have confirmed they have to
import 60% of their products, mainly from South Africa. But our focus is
more on resources where we are being short-changed by the Russians and
Chinese, our friends from the liberation struggle.
We hope some clandestine arms for resources deals were not signed during the
liberation struggle that similarly pledged our resources for a song. For it
is now known that at the peak of the cold war, which is when our liberation
struggle was prosecuted, the most fancied arm, the AK 47, invented in the
Soviet Union, was being produced at 50 US cents a unit by the Chinese.
This begs the question, what is the real value of the military hardware that
we are exchanging for our minerals? Isn’t this equipment not cheaply
produced and isn’t it obsolescent?
Aren’t we, as Rodney would have put it, exchanging undervalued minerals for
overpriced rubbish goods?
And what really is the story with this military build-up?
We cannot deny that any nation needs defence, but we seem to be going
In any case, the superpowers will never sell us arms that will allow us to
defeat them, be they the Russians, Chinese or Americans.
The feared enemies, the US and its allies, have more arms than we have
thought to give form, and barring us having nuclear weapons, which we’re not
advocating, we don’t stand the slightest chance.
The Iraqis and Libyans can bear testimony, and they even had more resources
than we do.
So why not in spite of the flawed deals, redirect the proceeds to more
beneficial areas like healthcare, education and more importantly support for
the economic sectors of the country, such as infrastructure (and by this we
don’t mean military complexes) such as roads, railways, dams etc? Why not
direct some of the funds to developing manufacturing and SMEs? Will the real
sellouts please stand up!