by Cuthbert Nzou Thursday 09 July 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe's constitutional conference has been delayed to Monday
after President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party objected to the meeting taking
place tomorrow as had been scheduled.
Douglas Mwonzora, a co-chairperson of a special parliamentary committee
leading the constitutional reform process, said the committee met yesterday
and resolved to change the date of the conference and to also cut its
duration to two days instead of the originally planned four days due to
"Having taken into considerations the concerns of ZANU PF and the timeline
given in the global political agreement (GPA), the committee decided to move
the conference to Monday," Mwonzora told ZimOnline in an interview.
"We had no mandate to vary the timeline in the GPA. We were confined by the
GPA to have the conference on or before July 13. The conference will run for
one-and-half days," said Mwonzora, who is a member of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's MDC party.
Mwonzora chairs the parliamentary committee along with ZANU PF's Paul
Mangwana and David Coltart, a legislator from the smaller MDC formation led
by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.
The move by the parliamentary committee to shift the conference dates was a
major climb down after it initially met on Tuesday and refused to bow down
to ZANU PF's request.
The committee apparently backed down fearing further delay after ZANU PF
legislators wrote to the party's leadership requesting that Mugabe,
Tsvangirai and Mutambara meet to resolve the dispute over dates of the
conference, a development that would have caused even more delays and
probably throw the constitutional reform exercise of course.
In demanding postponement of the conference, ZANU PF said there was need to
determine who were the stakeholders to send representatives to the key
convention and also said logistical matters had to be ironed out before
delegates could start travelling from around the country to Harare.
Meanwhile, the government controlled daily newspaper - The Herald -
yesterday quoted unnamed ZANU PF lawmakers complaining that the
Tsvangirai-led MDC had hijacked the constitution-making process.
Some of the lawmakers accused ZANU PF members in the select committee of
allowing "MDC-T legislators in the Select Committee to run the show by
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the country's largest labour body and
the National Constitutional Assembly pressure group are boycotting the
Parliament-led constitutional reform process saying politicians control the
process and will manipulate the outcome.
Once a new constitution is in place, the power-sharing government is
expected to call fresh parliamentary, presidential and local government
Zimbabwe is currently governed under the 1979 Constitution agreed at the
Lancaster House talks in London.
The constitution has been amended 19 times since the country's independence
in 1980 and critics say the changes have only helped to entrench Mugabe and
ZANU PF's stranglehold on power. - ZimOnline
by Nokuthula Sibanda Thursday 09 July 2009
HARARE - A delegation from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS)
has called for a temporary ban on trade in diamonds from Zimbabwe's Marange
fields after unearthing gross human rights violations and other illegal
activities at the notorious diamond fields.
In a damning report, the delegation called for: "A suspension on production
and exports from Marange . . . until effective security, internal control
measures and resources are in place in a manner that indicates that Zimbabwe
has control and authority of the Marange fields."
The KPCS team that was headed by Liberian deputy mines minister Kpandel Fiya
visited Zimbabwe last week to probe reports by human rights groups that the
country's military used brutal force to control access to Marange and to
take over unlicenced diamond mining and trading following discovery of the
gemstones there in June 2006.
In a report ahead of the KPCS visit, New York-based Human Rights Watch
accused Zimbabwe's military of conscripting villagers - both adults and
children - to mine diamonds at Marange.
Harare denies allegations of human rights abuses at Marange and says calls
to ban diamonds from the fields were unjustified because Zimbabwe was not
involved in a war or armed conflict.
But Fiya's team said it had discovered abuses of civilians in Marange which
it said must be stopped. In a damning report the team also said it had
discovered and observed a variety of illegal diamond mining and processing
activities in Marange.
"Our team was able to interview and document the stories of tens of victims,
observe their wounds, scars from dog bites and batons, tears and on going
psychological trauma," Fiya said in a statement to Zimbabwe Mines Minister
He added: "I am from Liberia, Sir I was in Liberia throughout the 15 years
of civil war, and I have experienced too much senseless violence in my
lifetime, especially connected to diamonds. In speaking with some of these
people, Minister, I had to leave the room. This has to be acknowledged and
it has to stop."
Fiya's team said Zimbabwe must acknowledge that diamond mining at Marange
had not complied with KPCS minimum standards and urged Harare to act
urgently to ensure compliance with prescribed standards.
During its tour of Zimbabwe, the KPCS team met with senior government,
police and defence officials. It also met officials from diamond mining
firms as well as traditional chiefs, human rights activists and lawyers and
groups involved in counselling of victims of violence.
The KPCS is a joint government, industry and civil society initiative to
stop trade in conflict diamonds - rough diamonds used by rebel movements and
other rouge groups to finance wars against legitimate governments. -
By Blessing Zulu
08 July 2009
Zimbabwe's power-sharing cabinet issued an ultimatum Wednesday to the three
principals in the national unity government to resolve numerous issues that
have been straining relations between the Movement for Democratic Change and
ZANU-PF sides of the government.
MDC and ZANU-PF sources told VOA that Wednesday's cabinet meeting was tense
with extended and heated debate as members from the MDC formation led by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai clashed with their ZANU-PF counterparts.
The latter were said to have been agitated over last week's MDC boycott of a
The MDC raised the stakes this week demanding compliance in full with the
Global Political Agreement signed in September 2008 by President Robert
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and now-Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. Senior
members of the Tsvangirai MDC formation accused ZANU-PF of attempting to
torpedo the unity government.
Contentious issues include an ongoing judicial crackdown on MDC and civic
activists, the delay in swearing in MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy
agriculture minister, the appointments of provincial governors and the
failure of the National Security Council to convene.
Government sources said the three principals will brief the cabinet next
Tuesday on how much time they will need to settle the outstanding issues.
From Johannesburg, human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga told reporter Blessing
Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the principals must resolve the
issues which continue to jeopardize the longevity of the unity government.
By Chris Gande
08 July 2009
The head of Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers Union said Wednesday that there
was probably no political motive in the axe murder Friday of white
commercial farmer Bob Vaughn-Evans, a director of the organization, who was
attacked at his home in Gweru with his wife.
Vaughan-Evans's wife Jean was reported to be in serious condition at Gweru
Hospital. It was the third attack on the couple and an earlier assault left
Commercial Farmers' Union President Trevor Gifford told reporter Chris Gande
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that preliminary investigations suggest the
couple was attacked by criminals who have attacked and robbed vulnerable
residents in the Gweru area.
Vaughan-Evans, a well-known agriculturalist and conservationist, represented
the farmers union in Midlands province, of which Gweru is the capital.
By Patience Rusere
08 July 2009
Reported comments by Zimbabwean Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara on
Wednesday returned a dispute within the country's fractious national unity
government over the tenure of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono to the
political front burner.
Mutambara was quoted in the state-controlled Herald newspaper as urging
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to work with the central banker, accused by
many of stoking hyperinflation and misappropriating funds, instead of
demanding he be sacked or step down.
Reached by VOA, Mutambara said he could not comment as he was in a meeting.
The Herald said Mutambara made the remarks Tuesday in a meeting with
small-scale miners. The paper said Gono himself was present along with other
The comments brought a statement from Mr. Tsvangirai's formation of the
Movement for Democratic Change saying Gono must depart as agreed under the
Global Political Agreement signed in September 2008 by President Robert
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara.
Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Patience Rusere of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Gono's departure is needed to bolster
President Barack Obama has told African leaders it is time to stop blaming
colonialism and "Western oppression" for the continent's manifold problems.
By Alex Spillius in Washington
Published: 12:28AM BST 09 Jul 2009
Ahead of a visit to Ghana at the weekend, he said: "Ultimately, I'm a big
believer that Africans are responsible for Africa.
"I think part of what's hampered advancement in Africa is that for many
years we've made excuses about corruption or poor governance, that this was
somehow the consequence of neo-colonialism, or the West has been oppressive,
or racism - I'm not a big - I'm not a believer in excuses.
Mr Obama, the son of a Kenyan, added: "I'd say I'm probably as knowledgeable
about African history as anybody who's occupied my office. And I can give
you chapter and verse on why the colonial maps that were drawn helped to
spur on conflict, and the terms of trade that were uneven emerging out of
"And yet the fact is we're in 2009," continued the US president. "The West
and the United States has not been responsible for what's happened to
Zimbabwe's economy over the last 15 or 20 years.
"It hasn't been responsible for some of the disastrous policies that we've
seen elsewhere in Africa. And I think that it's very important for African
leadership to take responsibility and be held accountable."
Mr Obama told AllAfrica.com that he chose Ghana for his first trip to the
continent as president to highlight the country's development as a
Providing glimpses of a speech to be delivered in Accra on Saturday, he
explained: "Ghana has now undergone a couple of successful elections in
which power was transferred peacefully, even a very close election."
Mr Obama made it clear that Kenya's ongoing instability had ruled out his
father's homeland as an initial destination, despite the euphoria it would
July 8 2009
HARARE - Workers at President Robert Mugabe's farm, Gushungo Dairy Estate
Holdings, have poured cold water on recent reports that the veteran
president and his wife Grace, a former typist, are model farmers. They said
this after Mugabe commissioned a new state-of-the-art milking parlour
sourced from South Africa last week, amid praises from his fawning ministers
that Zimbabweans needed to emulate the Mugabes for "taking farming
The farm in Mazowe, formerly known as Foyle Farm, was seized from Ian
Webster and was at the time one of the best dairy estates in the world.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, workers told The Zimbabwean this week
that the Mugabes' "success" was based on free money acquired from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, and free labour taken from government-run
agricultural enterprises such as ARDA.
A former manager at Gushungo Dairy Holdings, told this newspaper that over
the last four years and on the instruction of Grace Mugabe, he and other
managers applied for loans amounting to several million South African Rands
from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in their individual capacities.
"When we asked Grace if we would not end up being saddled with her personal
debts, she would always tell us that she had already spoken to people at the
Reserve Bank and that the money was awaiting collection," he said.
Several employees had accompanied Grace to South Africa to identify the
milking parlour, one of the top two in Africa.
"The highlights of our visit to South Africa to identify different farming
equipment were the shopping binges that we would do as the woman was
generous with the free funds," added the manager, who, although he was
contracted to and paid by ARDA, spent all his time working for the Mugabes.
"So really for the politicians to mislead the nation that the First Family
are good farmers is simply not true. For quite a long time we provided free
labour at the expense of the taxpayer, while money was being taken from the
An current employee at the farm said the trend had not changed. Agricultural
experts from state enterprises were still being seconded to work at the
"It is so crude to the point that agriculture minister, Joseph Made, is
essentially the President's farm manager. He spends most of his time
supervising workers from government agricultural institutions," said the
Local government minister, Ignatius Chombo, was at a loss for words after
seeing the equipment sourced using free RBZ funds.
"I have never seen a dairy of this kind. It's a major challenge to all
farmers. It has to be emulated. I am extremely impressed," he said.
Mashonaland Central governor, Martin Dinha, also became tongue-tied after
touring the complex.
He was quoted in a local newspaper as saying: "Gushungo dairy gives us a lot
of proud (sic) as a province."
by Lizwe Sebatha Thursday 09 July 2009
BULAWAYO - Foreign exhibitors from Western countries and the Far East
have snubbed this year's edition of Zimbabwe's annual mining and engineering
exhibition, Mine Entra.
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) general manager Daniel
Chagaru on Wednesday said the ZITF company had only received responses from
two southern African countries over participation at this year's Mine Entra.
"There are three foreign companies participating, two from South
Africa and one from Zambia," Chigaru told journalists at a press briefing.
This year's Mine Entra runs from July 22 to 24 under the theme
"Providing a platform for Dynamic Take-off".
"We have not received any bookings from countries in Europe, the Far
East and the West to exhibit at the 2009 Mine Entra," Chigaru added.
The annual mining and engineering trade exhibition has over the years
experienced a flight of exhibitors from the West and Europe over the country's
Chigaru said a snub of the Mine Entra "does not augur well for the
resuscitation of the mining and engineering sector as the exhibition forms
an ideal marketing forum for mining and engineering companies".
The mining industry is still failing to attract new investment because
of government's controversial policies such as last year's proposed law to
compel foreign-owned mines to surrender 51 percent stake to indigenous
businessmen or the state.
The proposed law triggered uncertainty in the sector, which is already
handicapped by low exchange rate and foreign currency shortages.
Meanwhile a two-day international investment conference expected to be
attended by 100 world-renowned financiers opens in Harare tomorrow.
According to the ministry of economic planning and investment
promotion, 700 delegates are expected to attend the conference, part of the
inclusive government's effort to showcase the nation's investment
opportunities and revive the country's comatose economy. - ZimOnline
At least 144,000 asylum seekers will be allowed to stay in Britain due to a
backlog of claims.
By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Published: 7:00AM BST 09 Jul 2009
More than 63,000 of the 450,000 historic cases that were found to have
slipped under the radar for years have now been told they can stay.
Many are because they have been in the country for so long hat the Home
Office would have difficulty trying to remove them on human rights grounds
because they have effectively settled here.
Officials working through the so-called legacy backlog have so far examined
197,500 cases and there has been a 32 per cent approval rate, Lin Homer, the
chief executive of the UK Border Agency, told MPs yesterday.
If that continues then some 144,000 will be able to stay once all the cases
files have been looked at, in what the Tories have labelled an amnesty by
the back door.
Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, said: "Any progress is
painfully slow on this."
The 450,000 files in the Case Resolution Programme were unearthed in 2006
after the foreign prisoners scandal.
Among them are claimants who should have been deported as far back as the
Ministers have promised to work through all the cases by 2011, while also
having to deal with all fresh asylum claims and those failed cases still
Miss Homer told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that she is
confident that target will still be met.
Human rights laws will be the reason most cases were approved, either
because it is unsafe to return the asylum seekers or because they have been
here so long they now have families and are protected under the right to
The list includes 5,150 from Zimbabwe, 4,900 from Pakistan and 4,500 from
Miss Homer revealed that at least 7,000 so far may never be traced and their
files have been archived.
July 09 2009 , 6:10:00
Manelise Dubase, Washington
The US has downplayed the latest confrontation between Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe and the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa,
Johnny Carson. Mugabe reportedly referred to Carson as "an idiot" during
their private meeting in Libya last week. According to the State Department,
Carson expressed concerns about continuing human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
That comment reportedly irritated Zimbabwe's veteran leader. But the State
Department brushed aside Mugabe's characterisation of Carson as an idiot.
"Johnny Carson is one of our best diplomats. I know he has very
strong feelings about the development of democracy in Zimbabwe but beyond
that I'm not going to add any adverbs beyond the fact that Johnny Carson is
a very strong and a committed advocate for US policy," says Spokesperson for
the US State Department; Ian Kelly.
Kelly implied that Mugabe's outburst was a ploy to divert attention
from the real issues. "I think what we're focusing on is to get this global
political agreement fully implemented. You know that the Secretary and
President met with Mr Tsvangirai, and so we're looking forward to getting
that CPA agreement fully implemented," Kelly added.
In a separate interview earlier, US President Barack Obama said the US
and the West are not responsible for what has happened to Zimbabwe's economy
in the last few years. President Mugabe has been insisting that the US and
its allies are responsible for Zimbabwe's economic crisis. He has cited
targeted sanctions against him and his top officials as the reason
09 July 2009
Zimbabweans living in and around the Central Methodist Church in the
Johannesburg city centre have mixed feelings about returning home. They all
agree, however, that lack of jobs drive them to South Africa.
Linah Zuma, 21, from Masvingo in southeastern Zimbabwe, said she arrived in
Johannesburg yesterday morning after boarding a train at Musina in Limpopo.
"There is a train in Musina that ferries people with asylum papers for free.
I came here because there is no money in Zimbabwe. I don't know anyone here
but I am sure I can find a job, any job," she said.
Asked why she decided to leave Zimbabwe while Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai was trying to encourage people to return home, Zuma said: "There
is peace, yes, but life is tough."
Her spirit was deflated within hours of arriving in Johannesburg when she
met fellow Zimbabwean Jacob Ndlovu.
Ndlovu, a welder, has been in Johannesburg for four months. He says despite
his daily efforts, he is still jobless.
Steven Tarwirei has also been pounding the streets looking for a job without
"Before the police started chasing us away, I used to sleep outside the
church with no blanket," he said.
But Peter Kani said: "I will not return home. There are no jobs in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai does not know what he is talking about. He is not suffering like
151 helped to restart lives in Zimbabwe
THE International Organisation for Migration has, since May, helped 151
Zimbabweans return home to restart their lives.
They lived at the Central Methodist Church. Among them were 76 adults, 20
babies and unaccompanied minors.
The first bus left on May 27 with 28 adults, eight unaccompanied minors and
infants. The second bus left on June 24 with 48 adults and 12 babies and
unaccompanied minors while the third left on July 3 with 55 adults and an
infant on board.
"Two recent assessments by IOM in Limpopo shows that the main reasons for
coming to South Africa are lack of employment opportunities and the state of
the economy back home," said Nde Ndifonka, IOM spokesperson.
IOM provides humanitarian assistance to displaced groups in Zimbabwe. -
By Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye
08 July 2009
Zimbabwe Cricket has appointed former captain Alistair Campbell the new
chairman of the national team's player selection committee - a decision in
line with recommendations by the International Cricket Council aimed at
returning the team to international test play.
One of the ICC's recommendations was to bring former players back into the
organization. Many key players departed Zimbabwe Cricket earlier this decade
over issues ranging from the deterioration of the rule of law in the country
to alleged organizational corruption.
Campbell retired from Zimbabwe Cricket in 2003 having captained since 1996.
Zimbabwe Cricket Managing Director Ozias Bvute told reporter Marvellous
Mhlanga-Nyahuye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Campbell, who will take
up his post at the beginning of August, will bring a wealth of experience to
by Toendepi Shonhe Thursday 09 July 2009
OPINION: The manifestation of structural issues in Zimbabwe's power sharing
government has tended to negate the purpose and intention of last September's
Global Political Agreement (GPA) between President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF
party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy Premier Arthur
Mutambara's MDC formations.
The two main structural issues are the institutional architecture as the
central vehicle driving government policies and programmes, and power
dynamics within the polity in Zimbabwe.
Institutions are governance structures based on rules, norms, values and
systems of cultural meaning. They are the set of working rules used to
determine the ruling elite; action allowed and constrained, aggregation
rules applicable, procedures allowable, available information, rewards for
performance, creating checks and balances, facilitating political
cooperation and reducing political uncertainties.
The rules include characteristics such as the public degree of access to
decision-making, availability of information from government agencies or
sharing of power between national and provincial authorities.
The institutional architecture, in creating constraints and facilitating
success for given actions, tends to determine outcomes through institutional
organisation of the polity while economic structures tend to privilege some
interest while demobilising others.
Historical institutionalism is grounded on the assumption that political
institutions and previously enacted public policy significantly structure
political behaviour of bureaucrats, elected officials and interest groups
during the policy-making process.
Institutional configuration of governments and political party systems
condition politicians and social groups' behaviour, defining institutions as
the formal and informal procedures, routines, norms and conventions embedded
in the organisational structure of the polity or political economy,
emphasising also the asymmetries of power associated with the operation and
development of institutions.
Historical institutions attempt to explain in relatively explicit terms how
power is currently configured in the GNU - by elaborating how institutions
give some groups or interests disproportionate access to decision-making
processes, stressing how some groups of interests lose while theirs win.
They also emphasise the contextual features of a given situation often
inherited from the past, mediate and influence outcomes and as such ZANU PF
is better placed to gain as its interests are well captured by the existing
Susan Boyden (2009) defines state institutions to compose of legislative
bodies and parliamentary and subordinate law-making institutions, executive
bodies including governmental bureau and departments of state, judicial
bodies (primarily courts of law), located at national regional and local
The continued grip by ZANU PF in these spheres particularly at bureaucratic
levels ensures that ZANU PF intentions see the day.
As already elaborated through my emphasis on the historical assumption that
institutions and public policy structure bureaucratic behaviour, there
exists tilted institutions favouring ZANU PF, directing decision making at
national, regional and local level.
The GPA signed on September 15, 2008, created consensus on the need to build
institutions that support and consolidate democracy in Zimbabwe through
attaining commitment from the three main political parties in the country.
These institutions are supposedly intended to create a framework for easy
development of policies that deepen democracy "in multi dimensional,
incorporating the effects on public policy, on citizenship and social
justice, extending effectiveness, responsiveness, accountability and
capacitating to resolve conflicts among competing interests" (Ingram & Smith
The envisaged policies are intended to foster the goals and rationale
through the implementation structure, rules and tools, effect on values,
beliefs and social constructions correcting existing imbalances amongst
political actors and society and Zimbabweans as a whole.
It would appear as if the policy-making process within the GNU (which should
have been placed in the Prime Minister's Office after the reconfiguration as
per the GPA), has remained plugged mainly within Cabinet and has tended to
emerge within a context of degenerative pluralism, characterised by hyper
competitiveness, strategic and manipulative behavior, hidden agendas, a
focus on "winning" and gaining credit or "placing blame" discrediting one's
"opponents" without a willingness to search for common ground.
In particular, ZANU PF continues to capitalise the existing legal framework
to advance and guide illogical, deceptive, divisive constructions of
targeted persons, systematically over-representing, undeserving of its
supporters, disregarding democratic political rationality and
instrumentality rationality (Ingram & Smith 1998).
The institutional framework propagated by the GNU also reconfigured power
dynamics within the government structure to the effect that decision-making
within institutions at national level was significantly changed.
The provision for the creation of a Prime Minister's Office responsible for
policy formulation, the establishment of a Council of Ministers and the
envisaged establishment of a Security Council and Council of State all help
to demonstrate and elaborate the case in point.
Robert Dahl (1957) defines power as when "A has power over B to the extent
that he can get B to do something B would not otherwise do."
Bacharach & Banta (1962) assert that "power is exercised when A devotes his
energy to creating or reinforcing social and political values and
institutional practices that limit the scope of the political process to
public consolidation of only those issues that are comparatively innocent to
Within the Zimbabwean context, power can easily be traced through
decision-making processes that in this case continue to reflect ZANU PF
positions, while suppressing those of the MDC.
The unilateral appointment of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon
Gono and the Attorney General Johannes Tomana, governors, permanent
secretaries and ambassadors are cases in point.
Further, the continued arrests of opposition MPs, activists and arbitrary
detentions through invoking Section 121 subsection 3 exposes that ZANU PF
continues to do what MDC does not want.
This demonstrates that ZANU PF holds the power within the GNU. There are no
existing examples where MDC has exercised power, without consent by ZANU PF.
Where announcements by MDC on policy issues were made, ZANU PF has tended to
quickly countervail them through outrageous statements.
ZANU PF does not even hide its intention to undermine the GPA and GNU
through overstatement of its powers for decision-making through non-decision
making, and manipulation of dominant community values, myths and political
institutions and procedures.
ZANU PF's blatant refusal to abide by the court-directed abolishment of the
Media and Information Commission (MIC) and its provisions and the continued
dominance by the Public Service Commission, both of which are manned by pro-
ZANU PF cadres and the presence of similar individuals in other government
departments, ministries, commissions and parastatals at bureaucratic level
tilt decision making in its favour, much to the frustration, disadvantage
and embarrassment of the MDC and the broader democratic contingent,
resulting in protest actions such as the recent Cabinet boycott.
Perhaps, in attempting to establish the feasibility of institution building
for the re-establishment of democracy, it may be prudent to establish how
power is distributed in the country: whether power is up for grabs; whether
it is fragmented; or whether the situation is closed with power already
controlled by one group.
Institutional reform or reconstruction is difficult in a closed situation,
such as that of Zimbabwe where despite the GPA, ZANU PF continues to have
better leverage and control of state institutions.
Zimbabwe is both a de jure and de facto state, as it enjoys international
recognition and the ruling elite exercises power over the people, but does
not uphold the rule of law and therefore fails to attain the Weberian status
due to weak institutions.
The GPA presupposes a failed state in its prescriptions, focusing on setting
up democratic institutions, political reconstruction based on a new people
driven constitution, new electoral laws, deepening of independent electoral
framework/infrastructure, election monitoring mechanisms, strengthening of
parliamentary institutions, independent judiciary, strengthening of civic
society organisations, upholding of rule of law, accountability and police
and military accountability to civilian authorities as applied by
multilateral organisations on collapsed states.
The construction of power and its location within the Zimbabwean context
probably point to the fact that it may be premature to emphasise
The over-reliance by ZANU PF on "raw power" for governing points to the fact
that the MDC will need superior powers to enforce institutional
transformation in Zimbabwe.
The MDC needs to focus on grabbing power en-route to institutions and state
reconstruction. Institutional building may be good in the long run but
perhaps not in the short term, because in the short term power trumps
The entrenched power of ZANU PF seems only susceptible to the strong
countervailing force of the international community, because clearly there
is no incentive for ZANU PF to limit its hold on raw power by developing
Examples elsewhere in Africa demonstrate that regimes easily survive in the
absence of institutions for long periods. Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire (now
DRC) stayed in power for 30 years and Emperor Haille Selassie in Ethiopia
for 50 years without institutional support.
The rush for institutional reconstruction may easily lead to the ruling
elite, controlling the whims of power, retaining authority or consolidating
their hold to it using the institutions as was the case in Uganda where
leadership retained control of central government but constructed local
government institution to consolidate their hold.
The fear for quick construction of institutions is that it increases chances
of creating hollow institutions of democracy without significance due to
irrelevance and lack of establishment, due to lack of time for consolidation
through problem solving.
The challenge within the Zimbabwean experience cannot be separated from the
very basis of the negotiations that led to the inclusive government (GPA),
which was itself a result of a failed electoral process, where the people's
voice could not determine the ruling elite.
The Pretoria negotiations were a negation of the people's will, a reversal
of democratic gains, centred now on the views of a few individuals, and
disregarding the aspirations of the majority of Zimbabweans.
The intended purpose of deepening democracy through institutional
architecture that promotes such reform needs to be underpinned on the desire
for economic development, growth and stability, necessary for the attainment
of a developmental state.
A developmental state is essentially one whose ideological underpinning is
developmentalist, in that it conceives its mission as that of ensuring
economic development, usually interpreted by high rates of economic growth
and structural change in the productive system, both domestically and in its
relationship to the institutional economy.
At institutional level, emphasis is placed on the state's capacity to
implement economic policies unencumbered by the claims of private interests.
Do existing institutional arrangements support economic policies for
development in Zimbabwe?
This by far is the relevant question today within the context of the
inclusive government. Strides have been made through the Short Term Economic
Recovery Programme (STERP) launched by the inclusive government, to engender
currency stabilisation, inflation control, economic growth, reviving
production, restoration of social services and business confidence.
The response by multi-national institutions will either spur growth or
constrain it. Yet such a response is based on political processes either
perceived as developing democracy or retarding the exercise of human rights
By and large the international community's view is that no major progress
has been made to develop democracy. Institutional support and tilt of power
dynamics continue to favour ZANU PF and this needs to come to an end.
**** Toendepi Shonhe is the Director General of the MDC-T. He writes in his
personal capacity - ZimOnline