Friday, 15 June 2012 08:56
SADC leaders are reportedly disturbed by Zimbabwe state security service
chiefs’ brazen meddling in local politics ahead of watershed elections and
are pressing the facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma, to tackle
the issue at his next meeting with GPA principals.
This means pressure is mounting on military commanders to stop interfering
in politics and electoral issues ahead of crucial polls. Security forces
have been propping up President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, mainly since 2000
following the emergence of the MDC. They were largely central to elections
in 2002 and 2008. They are currently on the campaign trail.
Informed diplomatic sources say in the aftermath of the regional summit in
Luanda, Angola, where Sadc leaders resolved that Zimbabwe’s GPA parties must
implement the GPA, associated reforms and the roadmap, the role of the
military in elections has come into sharp focus. Some of the principals have
been in touch with Sadc leaders last week over the issue, sources said.
Sources say regional leaders are anxious to ensure the next polls in
Zimbabwe are held in an environment free of heightened political
intolerance, polarisation, divisions and conflict. They say Sadc leaders are
troubled by the military’s manoeuvres and want to move to contain the
“After the Luanda summit, a lot has been happening. Apart from the visit
this week by the facilitation team and the Sadc team expected to work with
Jomic, there has been a lot of other developments,” a senior Sadc diplomat
said this week. “One of those issues is the role of the security forces in
politics and elections Zimbabwe. There is rising concern, after recent
remarks by army commanders, about the behaviour of the military and that’s
why Sadc leaders want this issue confronted as soon as possible. Zuma is
expected to deal with that issue during his next visit.”
Zuma is scheduled to meet President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and MDC leader Welshman
Ncube soon after the negotiators and the facilitation team has finalised the
agenda for the meeting.
Zuma’s facilitation team was in Zimbabwe this week in a bid to ratchet up
pressure on GPA parties to implement the agreement, reforms and the
“Zuma’s meeting with meeting with principals will be key in tackling
critical issues on which there is some disputes, including the issue of
security services,” on negotiator said. “It’s time for Sadc leaders to take
the bull by its horns as they did in Luanda.”
The security forces, particularly the army, are blamed for spearheading the
campaign of brutality to rescue Mugabe in the run-up to the June
presidential election run-off. Fearing for his life, Tsvangirai pulled out
in terror and even fled the country. He also had to seek refuge at the Dutch
embassy in Harare as violence spread and intensified.
Sources say Zumaand other Sadc leaders want Section E of the election
roadmap which deals with the rule of law implemented and is expected to
press the principals to stop the military from meddling in politics and
Section E(i) of the election roadmap reads: “Consistent with theprincipals’
agreement of 8th June 2010, there is a reaffirmation by all the parties to
their commitment under articles 11 and 13 of the GPA. There will be meetings
of the principals with the Attorney-General, Commissioner-General of the
Police, heads of the other security and intelligence institutions to ensure
full commitment to operate in a non-partisan manner consistent with the GPA”.
Sources said Zuma is expected to pressure the principals to hold meetings
with security service chiefs to clear the air on their constitutional and
legal roles in relations to politics and elections.
However, Zuma’s international relations, Lindiwe Zulu, a member of the
facilitation team,yesterday said she was not aware whether security sector
issues would be on the agenda of the principals’ meeting with her boss. But
negotiators insist it would be tackled.
Sadc sources said the issue of military interference in politics and
elections in Zimbabwe also grabbed the attention of regional leaders after
the recent warning by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi last month when she was in Haare on a human rights fact-finding
mission. Pillay warned the polarisedenvironment could lead to a repeat of
the 2008 bloodshed unless reforms are implemented.
“Concern is also rising both inside and outside the country that, unless the
parties agree quickly on some key major reforms and there is a distinct
shift in attitude, the next election which is due sometime in the coming
year could turn into a repeat of the 2008 election which resulted in rampant
politically-motivated human rights abuses, including killings, torture,
rapes, beatings, arbitrary detention, displacements and other violations,”
While senior army commanders have made meddlesome remarks in the past,
recent pronouncements by Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) chief-of-staff
(quartermaster) Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, chief-of-staff(general
staff) Major- General Martin Chedondoand last week by Major-General Trust
Mugoba have sent alarm bells ringing across the region.
At the Luanda summit,Tsvangirai and Ncube expressed concern on the role of
the military in politics and warned that the country risked sliding back
into violence. They also called for all agreed reforms in the GPA and
election roadmap to be implemented before polls.
In FebruaryBotswana Defence Forces commander Lieutenant-General Tebogo
Carter Masire visited Zimbabwe and is said to have urged his peers to desist
from meddling in politics. Botswana President Ian Khama, who has a strong
military background, is reportedlyconcerned about Zimbabwe’s aggressive army
interference in politics.
Sadcleaders are known to be against coups, and apart from Lesotho and DRC,
the region has not had sustained military rule.In January 1986 Lesotho army
chiefGeneral Justin Lekhanyaousted Prime Minister Chief Leabua Jonathan in a
military coup. Lekhanya was, however,dislodged in another military coup in
April 1991 by Colonel Elias TutsoaneRamaema. Ramaema announced a schedule
for Lesotho’s return to democracy which was fully restored in 1993. The army
has had intermittent takeovers in Lesotho despite strong regional
Coop attempts in Zambia in 1997 failed dismally. Sadc also acted swiftly a
few years ago and refused to recognise former disc jockeyAndryRajoelina who
grabbed power from Marc Ravalomananain Madagascar with the backing of the
military. The international community, including the African Union and
United Nations, are also averse to coups.
Thursday, 14 June 2012 17:51
WHILE stories about the recent visit to Zimbabwe by UN Human Rights
Commissioner Navanethem Pillay have been well-covered by the media, the
implications of her trip, which will linger for a long time to come, need
The visit thrust Zimbabwe and its human rights record under the
international spotlight, stirring debate about what needs to be done to move
the country forward.
Zimbabwe has had grave human rights abuses since 1980 and there is need to
boldly tackle and bring closure to the situation.
However, Pillay’s trip was not without controversy as the Zanu PF side of
the unity government and the state media went into over-drive to manage and
influence Pillay’s mission, albeit in vain. This was revealing as far as
the human rights situation in the country is concerned. Zanu PF was worried
because it has a lot to hide, contrary to what its ideologues claimed during
The statement by Pillay at the end of her visit, in which she noted the
continued climate of fear in Zimbabwe, stalling of the reform agenda,
existence of obnoxious laws that violate human rights and her calls for an
end to politically-motivated violence and impunity was refreshing.
In essence Pillay’s visit set the tone and benchmarks that the international
community needs to note as part of a continued lobby for reform in Zimbabwe’s
body politic before the next elections. Civil society and political actors
need to take advantage of her statement and her report to advance the debate
on human rights.
Pillay’s visit must therefore not be treated as an event, as it already
appears to have been, but the beginning of renewed and direct interaction
between Zimbabwe and the international community on the seemingly
never-ending, man-made crisis in the country.
Her remarks laid the foundation for debate and engagement on issues that
need attention in Zimbabwe, more importantly the need to end violence and
deal with lingering human rights issues. Civil society therefore has an
obligation to keep the UN, Sadc and AU fully informed to maintain pressure
on authorities to ensure a paradigm shift, change of political culture and
fundamental reforms before process-driven free and fair elections can be
All this, as Pillay said, should be preceded by the conclusion of the
constitution-making process, referendum and adoption of the new
constitution. For Sadc, Pillay’s visit is another endorsement of its
mediation process as led by SA President Jacob Zuma. What Sadc wants to see
happen in Zimbabwe is what the UN also envisages.
The outcome of the recent Sadc summit in Luanda, Angola, should thus help
keep the spotlight on Zimbabwe to ensure the country is steered through the
current turbulent transition towards free and fair elections and hopefully
democracy. The human rights discourse must remain central to this process.
The tendency to deny the existence of human rights violations in Zimbabwe by
some countries in the region is no longer sustainable as Pillay’s visit has
shown. Sadc must therefore remain engaged in Zimbabwe and resist Zanu PF’s
propaganda and threats, while acting subject to the mandate of its own
resolutions and those of the AU, to find a solution to the country’s
extended political stalemate and resultant woes. The UN Human Rights
Commission, and by association, the whole UN, is now formally part of the
process of engaging Zimbabwe on human rights issues and elections. Hence,
this has not become a truly multilateral process.
However, for this process to keep unfolding and succeed, political parties
and civil society must remain closely engaged with the people, regional
bodies and the international community so as to seize opportunities for
Zimbabweans must thus organise themselves internally to maintain pressure on
their political leaders, Sadc and the AU to ensure this process, which could
be derailed by reactionary forces, is seen through. There is need to keep
Zanu PF and its leaders under scrutiny to remove further human rights
violations and pile pressure for reform and change. Pillay’s visit has
provided that basis.
The Luanda meeting and events preceding the summit, including the recent
deployment of high-level envoys to the region, shows Mugabe is determined
to have elections this year without necessary reforms.
Consequently, Sadc insisted in Luanda that political parties to the GPA must
within the next 12 months implement the GPA, roadmap and reforms before
elections. What Mugabe’s envoys told regional leaders before the summit is
now irrelevant because Sadc’s position has been reasserted.
The visit to Harare by Zuma’s facilitation team this week in the aftermath
of the Sadc summit resolutions on Zimbabwe — which are subject to vicious
contestation by Zanu PF and the two MDC parties — will add momentum to the
process. That, taken with Pillay’s visit, must fuel debate and action on
Zimbabwean issues to ensure free and fair elections.
While during the Luanda summit Mugabe’s envoys and his team claimed that
political and economic stability have been restored and the environment is
now conducive for free and fair elections, the correct assessment is the one
made by Pillay who warned of a possible repeat of the 2008 bloodshed during
elections, unless reforms are fully implemented. This was the same warning
Mugabe got in Luanda.
Given recent remarks by military commanders who insist on meddling in
politics on Mugabe and Zanu PF’s side, it is not difficult to see why Sadc
and Pillay fear a repeat of 2008.
The army has no business in politics and Zimbabweans must start speaking out
loudly against its interference, in violation of the laws of the country.
While Zimbabwe needs to hold elections to resolve the current political
stand-off, it is important to ensure the country goes to credible elections
which are not marred by political violence, intimidation and manipulation of
the voters’ roll, constituency boundaries and the subsequent results. If
these issues are not dealt with through comprehensive reforms, the country
would end up caught in a vicious cycle of disputed elections, stalemates and
At the same time, it must be appreciated that elections are not the solution
to Zimbabwe’s long-running crisis, but the holding of convincing polls would
help in resolving the situation. It must always be remembered there are many
issues which the country needs to sort out if it is to move forward as a
united and progressive entity. For a long time many issues have been left
hanging and that is not helping matters, but fuelling tensions and conflict.
The Pillay visit and Sadc summit resolutions have laid a solid basis for
Zimbabweans to seriously engage their own situation and find a way forward
for the sake of the nation. All stakeholders must now start treating these
issues seriously for the sake of national self-preservation and progress.
Thursday, 14 June 2012 17:48
THE cash-strapped government of national unity (GNU) is increasingly
becoming a gravy train on which top government officials and senior civil
servants enjoy fully-funded foreign trips that they treat like holidays,
while driving luxury vehicles at the expense of service delivery to
Since the advent of the GNU in 2009, there have been high expectations that
the culture of governance will change for the better since the two MDC
parties were now part of the ruling coalition. The MDC formations have for
years been preaching good governance, transparency and accountability before
they got into government, but now it seems they have just jumped onto the
gravy train and are enjoying the ride, while they have conveniently
forgotten their promises to the electorate.
Besides being accomplices in Zanu PF corruption and incompetence, the
parties are failing to curb waste in government. Government has been
splashing on luxury vehicles for ministers, the army, police and
intelligence services, while failing to pay civil servants decent salaries
and ensure adequate and smooth service delivery to taxpayers.
Education minister, David Coltart, has been quoted as saying the coalition
government spent three times more on foreign junkets by top government
officials last year than on schooling. Government spent US$14,8 million on
its 3 000 schools, excluding salaries, but wasted more money on foreign
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, along with
their hangers-on, used up to US$45 million in travel expenses abroad. “It’s
shameful,” Coltart said. “The infrastructure in our schools is in a crisis.
We are undermining the education of an entire generation.”
While the country’s infrastructure continues to deteriorate and the economy
remains stuck in the woods, despite modest recovery, millions of taxpayers’
money are being spent on ensuring government chefs live in luxury surrounded
by a sea of poverty stricken masses.
Last week the Independent exclusively revealed the Zimbabwe Republic Police
has splurged over US$7,5 million dollars on luxury vehicles ranging from BMW
328i saloon cars, Range Rover Sport, Nissan Navara LE double cabs and Ford
Ranger LXT double cab Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs).
The police purchase of cars overshot by three times the department’s US$2,6
million budget for cars this year. This is despite the police facing
perennial shortage of resources, resulting in their stations using manual
typewriters, cops hitch-hiking to attend crime scenes and a shortage of
Police are not the only government institution facing lack of resources amid
serious waste by officials. The military, prisons, parastatals, clinics and
hospitals, state-owned universities and colleges, schools and other crucial
departments like immigration, registrar generals’ office and central vehicle
registry are also in a similar situation. In fact, the whole government is
reeling from financial problems.
Hospitals are understaffed, have limited supplies of medicines and broken
down or dilapidated equipment. Some schools have poor classrooms and
teachers' houses resulting in most trained teachers shunning them, while
tertiary institutions have dilapidated buildings. Students are dropping out
due to exorbitant fees. They are also understaffed as most lecturers left
for greener pastures in neighbouring countries as well as Europe, US,
Australia and New Zealand.
Besides, government is currently locked in a stand-off with civil servants
who are pressing for salary increments which authorities say they cannot
afford due to lack of funds. Most civil servants earn way below the poverty
datum line of US$504 per month. Government employees have threatened
industrial action and recently petitioned President Robert Mugabe to have
their salaries reviewed.
While government is unable to pay its workers, it has also lost several
millions of dollars through the corruption-ridden Constituency Development
Fund. Investigations into embezzlement of the fund by MPs have not secured a
single conviction to date, even though more than six arrests have been made.
Corruption is still rampant in government. Diamond revenues are not properly
accounted for, while looting by various means including tender manipulations
and brazen theft continues.
Political analysts say while Zanu PF’s corruption and waste is well-known,
the MDC parties’ complicity in the profligacy characterising the coalition
government is most surprising.
Political commentator and social activist Blessing Vava said the premise of
the coalition government was wrong as it was not about service delivery, but
“From the outset, it was clear that this government was extravagant and the
partners were only interested in serving their own political and material
interests. The size of government at the formation of the GNU clearly showed
it’s about political accommodation and wealth accumulation, not serving the
people,” Vava said.
The coalition government has a president with two deputies, a prime-minister
with two deputies, 52 ministers and 18 deputy ministers governing a
population of about 14 million people.
The size of the government is shocking when compared to bigger economies
like the United States which has 14 secretaries (ministers) and less than
six others who hold the equivalent rank, including the Attorney General,
Chief of Staff and head of Environment Protection Agency.
Neighbouring South Africa, which has a population of 50 million, has about
35 ministers, showing Zimbabwe’s cabinet is bloated.
Commentator Jonathan Gandari said the situation showed that Zimbabwe’s
government needs streamlining to ensure accountability and efficiency.
“This is what happens when you have public offices that are not accountable
to the public,” said Gandari. “Actions like these (profligacy) should be
understood in the context of lack of accountability by public offices in
Gandari said the lack of strong checks and balances was encouraging
wastefulness. “Without the policy framework to guide government expenditures
and adequate checks and balances, the MDC parties do not have a basis to
either restrain themselves or others. So they can’t resist joining the
bandwagon. The MDC parties are in government but have not changed the
culture of governance and other issues because they have no real power and
Finance minister Tendai Biti has in the past complained in parliament about
the government’s foreign travel bill and purchase of expensive luxury
vehicles ahead of capital projects investment.
However, his advice has fallen on deaf ears as both Mugabe and Tsvangirai
continue to make foreign travels with bloated delegations.
Biti says due to limited revenues, salaries would only be reviewed if
revenues from diamond sales start flowing properly into the fiscus. The
minister has of late been complaining that diamond mining companies,
especially Anjin, which is owned by the Chinese and the military, have not
been remitting proceeds due to government.
While government officials and senior civil servants enjoy their gravy
train, civil servants remain suffering and service delivery stalling or
Thursday, 14 June 2012 17:30
SINCE the advent of the multicurrency regime and exchange rate
stabilisation, as well as macro-economic stability three years ago,
following a decade of meltdown and hyperinflation, enquiries by American
investors on Zimbabwe have accelerated, US ambassador Charles Ray said this
Ray said American investors were now frequently enquiring on opportunities
in the country. “With rapid growth in Zimbabwe’s economy for three
successive years, my embassy has seen increased enquiries from US businesses
interested in exploring new opportunities,” Ray told the Zimbabwe
“In October 2011 at the ‘Doing Business in Zimbabwe’ forum in Washington,
DC, I made a point of saying, ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ and encouraged
US companies to take a closer look. From 2002 through 2011, the annual
average nominal value of Zimbabwe’s exports to the US was US$75 million, and
annual imports from the US averaged $64 million. Trade indicators show
significant scope for growth in this bilateral trade.”
Ray said regional and international economic integration was key for shared
growth and prosperity.
“In three weeks, the US will celebrate 236 years of independence. No matter
how much we Americans cherish our independence, we know that our prosperity
depends on an increasingly interconnected global economy,” he said.
“Zimbabweans have learned the same lesson. Even during the days of the Zim
dollar and high tariff barriers, Zimbabwe could not completely insulate
itself from external economic forces. Today, with a more open trade regime
and the multi currency arrangement, Zimbabweans are more (immediately)
affected than ever before by the ups and downs of the world’s economy,” Ray
“Even though the US economy is more than 1 000 times larger than Zimbabwe’s,
citizens of both countries must each day face the reality of economic
interdependence. Recent lowering of expectations for economic growth in
Europe, for example, has reduced confidence in the US.
“Similarly, reduced global demand for cotton has caused the market price to
slump, and that is bad news for cotton growers in Zimbabwe,” said Ray.
Ray said growing integration and interdependence now posed a challenge to
“The reality of interdependence creates a challenge for national leaders
across the globe. Their responses to that challenge vary according to their
individual outlook, the expectations of their people, and the nature of
their ties to other countries. A central goal of American foreign policy is
to promote international trade, encourage cross-border investment, and help
build a global economy that is open, free, transparent and fair,” he said.
Ray said more trade and investment between the US and Zimbabwe would help
— Staff Writer.
Thursday, 14 June 2012 17:18
ZANU PF says it will not tolerate its MPs moving motions in parliament
through the back door without first consulting the party’s caucus for debate
Zanu PF House of Assembly chief whip Joram Gumbo said this week his party
would not put up with motions moved without consultations with its caucus,
as that would promote indiscipline and abuse of parliamentary privilege.
This has created political tensions within the party’s caucus as some MPs
felt intimidated and muzzled.
Gumbo’s remarks followed Goromonzi North MP Paddy Zhanda’s bid last week to
move a motion to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration
against the Reserve Bank and its governor Gideon Gono. The move was thwarted
by Zanu PF political heavyweights after they whipped Zhanda into line.
“The motion was stopped since most of the party members had not been
consulted,” said Gumbo. “We cannot have a situation where MPs just move a
motion without the party scrutinising it and putting its input at caucus
Zhanda, also parliamentary committee on budget and finance chairman,
unexpectedly broke ranks with his party by giving notice to move a surprise
motion calling on parliament to “set up an adhoc committee in terms of
Standing Order 157 to investigate allegations of corruption at the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe and to table its findings in the House”.
The motion, seconded by MDC-T Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure, said
parliament was “concerned at the high levels of corruption, shady deals,
acts of economic sabotage and poor corporate governance principles at the
Reserve Bank and was worried by the Anti-Corruption Commission’s apparent
involvement in the matter”.
Zhanda was pushing for investigations into the controversial activities of
the central bank from 2003 when its debt rose by more than US$700 million to
the current US$1,2 billion amid claims the central bank was used to prop up
President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF during the political and economic
meltdown between 2000 and 2009.
However, senior Zanu PF legislators, including politburo bigwigs Emmerson
Mnangagwa, Sydney Sekeramayi, Didymus Mutasa, Oppah Muchinguri, Webster
Shamu and Jonathan Moyo, as well as Midlands provincial governor Jason
Machaya, MPs Isheunesu Muza, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Makhosini Hlongwane,
shot down Zhanda’s motion at the party caucus.
Gono has previously told parliament he was not afraid of any investigation
since all his actions were above board and were sanctioned by authorities.
Last week he said he was ready for the probe anytime, as long as it was not
motivated by “malice and ulterior motives”.
Gono and Zhanda have been involved in a protracted personal dispute amid
allegations of extortion by the latter. Zhanda was last year forced to
recuse himself from dealing with the Reserve Bank debt issue in parliament
after Gono had complained that he was pursuing a “personal agenda” against
him. The clash between the two — and subsequent removal of Zhanda from the
issue in terms of Standing Rules and Order No. 13 — emanated from parliament’s
probe of the farm mechanisation programme, financed by the central bank,
part of a wider inquiry into central bank’s affairs, including the bank’s
$1,2 billion debt.
Political analysts say the motion was blocked because Zanu PF was
uncomfortable with what the probe might unearth. Political commentator and
public management lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology in
Pretoria, South Africa, Ricky Mukonza, said Zanu PF opposed such motions
because it had “skeletons in its cupboards”.
Senior Zanu PF officials, including ministers and MPs, benefitted from the
bank’s policies between 2003 and 2009. Among the Reserve Bank interventions
were the funding of new farmers, farm mechanisation, bailing out of
industries, parastatals and private companies, as well as supporting almost
all state operations. Zanu PF is adamant that this period should neither be
reviewed nor investigated. However, Zhanda, who did not accept being
thwarted, has vowed to persist with his motion.
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:34
WAR veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda has threatened to deal with Zanu PF
faction leaders ex-combatants accuse of fanning internal strife and
divisions in the party ahead of crucial elections.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent in Harare last week, Sibanda
said the war veterans would not allow a few people wreak havoc in the party
in an attempt to bulldoze their way to the top.
Sibanda also said war veterans would crush any plots to oust President
Robert Mugabe as the leader of the party and candidate in the next polls.
“We will deal with people who want to substitute Mugabe as our leader and
candidate,” said Sibanda. “We uphold the party constitution and our party
has only one president, therefore we will not tolerate that millions should
suffer at the expense of a few individuals who are power hungry.”
Sibanda said “bad apples” would be removed from the party before elections.
“We hear statements that there are some who are planning to take over from
the president but we as war veterans are saying, President Mugabe has no
substitute. We want the party to remove bad apples before they spoil the
whole fruit bowl,” he said.
Zanu PF is currently plagued by factionalism and infighting fuelled by
Mugabe’s protracted succession battle. The main factions are led by
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. Sibanda
demanded those linked to factions must desist from their actions as they
were destroying the party.
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:33
ZANU PF seems to be heading for a “marriage of convenience” with the
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) to fight the two MDC formations if
the Copac draft constitution goes to a referendum.
Although Zanu PF and NCA are not allies, unfolding events surrounding the
constitution-making process could force the two to work together to defeat
the draft constitution they both do not want for different reasons. Zanu PF
appears determined to go to the next elections under the current
constitution, which would lead to it voting against the Copac draft, while
the NCA has been opposed to the process, saying it was inherently
unrepresentative and not people-driven.
While Zanu PF, which is opposed to the draft, has been mobilising its
supporters to reject it if its views are not included, NCA resolved at its
extraordinary national consultative assembly last Saturday to intensify its
campaign against the controversial draft constitution.
The Zanu PF politburo has rejected the Copac draft and instructed its team
led by legal affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa to seek to overhaul the
document, a move being resisted by the MDC parties, jeopardising the draft
which may eventually not even go to referendum unless a breakthrough is
found and all GPA issues are implemented as demanded by Sadc leaders during
their recent summit in Luanda, Angola.
The NCA says it was disturbed by the manner in which Copac has handled the
constitution-making process, blowing close to US$45 million and yet unable
to produce a workable, consolidated draft.
One of the resolutions of the NCA meeting demanded Copac to immediately
release its final draft for a referendum so people can decide, showing the
group is geared to mobilise for the rejection of the document.
The NCA has consistently criticised the process,saying it was not
people-driven as only the three parties that form the coalition government
are driving it. Similarly, Zanu PF has been complaining about the Copac
draft. Patrick Chinamasa, Zanu PF negotiator and member of the Copac
management committee, told a Sapes Trust public seminar last week the
current constitution-making process had taken too long and was not going to
produce any meaningful result.
Chinamasa said Zanu PF had hoped the Copac exercise would be concluded in a
short period as the Kariba draft constitution, negotiated by three parties,
was supposed to form the basis of the process.
“If that had taken place, naturally this constitution-making process would
have been concluded sooner,” said Chinamasa. “What in fact has happened is
that it has become very expensive, very protracted and very argumentative,
and one would not be sure at the end of the day whether this process itself
will produce an outcome,” he said.
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:29
MINISTERS clashed at a stormy high-level government meeting yesterday over a
range of issues, including diamond revenue, indigenisation, re-introduction
of the local currency and foreign travel by VIPs.
Sources said the most vocal officials at the gathering included Emmerson
Mnangagwa of Defence, Saviour Kasukuwere of Youth, Indigenisation and
Empowerment, Vice President Joice Mujuru and Prime Minister Morgan
The meeting was convened to discuss the slowdown in the economy, which has
been blamed for underperformance in tax revenues resulting in budget
Finance minister Tendai Biti presented a report on the state of the economy
and proposals to deal with leakages in revenue collection and wasteful
expenditure by VIPs, among other issues.
So tense was the meeting that some ministers passed notes to each other
accusing Biti of being “insensitive” and “vicious”, and described parts of
his presentation as “outright cruelty”.
This, sources said, was after Biti had proposed the introduction of land tax
to increase productivity on land as well as penalise those holding idle
farms. This was rejected by Zanu PF ministers, who said Biti should instead
provide funding for farmers.
The sources said Mnangagwa took umbrage to dismiss Biti’s allegations that
the ministry had illegally recruited 10 000 staffers, among them 4 600
soldiers, through the Public Service Commission (PSC) between January and
May this year.
Biti had proposed that the PSC freeze all new appointments. Kasukuwere,
whose indigenisation policy came under attack, spoke about the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) Joint Ventures Model, disposal of
government assets, foreign direct investment (FDI) and the proposed
establishment of a national investment company, sources said.
On FDI, Kasukuwere said his ministry had injected more than US$30 million
into the economy through the youth empowerment fund. What seemed to have
irked Kasukuwere, the sources said, was Biti’s assertion that indigenisation
and economic empowerment legislation is perceived as a risk to FDI.
Kasukuwere accused Biti of seeking to attract FDI at all costs, irrespective
of the meagre benefits accruing to the country. He said Biti’s push for FDI
just to create jobs and generate revenue for government through taxes
without meaningful participation by indigenous Zimbabweans was premised on a
neo-colonial development paradigm.
Kasukuwere said conflicting messages on indigenisation is what really scared
FDI, and not the programme itself. As a result, potential investors adopted
a wait-and-see attitude hoping for regime change and policy reversal.
Kasukuwere was opposed to the establishment of a national investment
company, saying it would duplicate roles with the National Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment Fund (NIEEF), which he said was being deliberately
undermined to ensure it fails.
He said in the 2011 budget, the NIEEF was allocated US$5 million, but
Treasury released US$1,5 million, and this year only US$400 000 has been
disbursed out of an allocation of US$6,4 million.
NIEEF currently warehouses Blanket Mine, Zimplats, Mimosa and Unki shares on
behalf of the state. Zanu PF ministers are said to have also complained
about alleged bias in budgetary allocations, accusing Biti of favouring
ministries under his MDC-T party.
However, Biti fought back and the ministers agreed to implement a wide-range
of proposals and upheld the shareholding structure of 51% to locals and 49%
to foreigners, community trusts and youth empowerment.
Biti won the battle on diamonds as it was agreed all proceeds from mineral
sales should go to Treasury after he complained only US$40 million from an
anticipated US$600 million in diamond revenue had been remitted.
Cumulative revenue for January to May 2012 stands at US$1,274 billion
against a target of US$1,469 billion. The meeting agreed this was a
reflection of under-performance by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority as well
as diamond dividends.
They agreed to comprehensively review revenue streams such as VAT, corporate
tax, pay as you earn, import duties and other non-tax revenue sources with a
view to enhancing revenue collection and plugging existing leakages.
The meeting resolved to review import duties on luxury goods, such as
vehicles, as well as excise duties. A policy enabling the ZMDC or any future
diamonds agency to have a 50% shareholding in existing diamond houses
similar to the Anjin model would be formulated.
The meeting also concluded government should review and renegotiate some of
the agreements with mining companies to address the gap between income
accruing to them and the benefit to the country.
The ministers also proposed securitisation of minerals, like in the DRC,
Sudan and Angola saying this would be used to source funding for economic
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:20
AN official investigation into the operations of Interfin Banking
Corporation (IBC) unearthed wholesale looting that left the bank reeling
from non-performing insider loans of US$60 million, poor corporate
governance and general abuse of depositors’ funds by the bank’s shareholders
and individuals linked to them, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
According to sources close to investigations into the affairs of the bank,
now technically insolvent, major shareholders who included the bank’s
founders Farai Rwodzi, Timothy Chiganze and Jerry Tsodzai, as well as their
cahoots, siphoned depositor funds by granting themselves loans to the tune
of more than US$60 million which were not being repaid.
The bank had a concentrated shareholding structure in which founders Rwodzi,
Chiganze and Tsodzai owned a combined stake of 54,21% through various
investment vehicles. Rwodzi and Chiganze chair the boards of Interfin
Financial Services (IFS) and the bank, respectively.
According to sources, problems at the bank arose primarily because the
boards of the parent company, Interfin Holdings Ltd and the subsidiary bank
were compromised by the presence of these controlling shareholders on both
boards. This severely limited the board’s independence and compromised their
oversight and that of management.
The sources told the Independent this week as a result the bank was
technically insolvent, with a negative core capital of US$92,9 million as at
June 8 2012.
Insider loans amounted to US$59,914 million, while the bank had deliberately
understated its bad loan provisions by more than US$44,342 million. These
“prudential adjustments” left the bank’s core capital at minus US$92,9
A recent four-day investigation by the central bank’s licensing, supervision
and surveillance units established that while Interfin Banking Corporation
reported insider loans of only US$2,9 million as at December 31, 2011 , the
investigation reportedly determined the bank had understated the level of
insider loans which were non-performing.
The position had further deteriorated and as at March 31 the institution had
negative core capital of US$49,32 million, stemming largely from insider
loans of US$63,29 million.
“This means that the bank was involved in creative accounting, designed for
the sole purpose of concealing the level of insider and non-performing
loans”, the sources said, adding that the bank’s management and board had
not proffered a satisfactory explanation for the alarming rise in insider
As the bank now has a capital deficit of US$92,9 million, and given the
minimum capital requirement of US$12,5 million for commercial banks,
Interfin’s shareholders or prospective investors would need to invest around
US$105,4 million just to comply with minimal capitalisation requirements and
capital adequacy ratios.
The investigation also established that Interfin Bank had a negative
liquidity gap of US$86,49 million in the critical zero to seven days time
band. This means the bank was unable to meet withdrawals from clients and to
make payments on their behalf, or meet its own administrative obligations.
Owing to its failure to refinance maturing liabilities, Interfin had
accumulated outstanding payments of US$12 million in unpaid RTGS transfers,
US$22 million in fixed deposit maturities not honoured and US$2,2 million in
bank drafts it was failing to clear, rendering the bank technically
The sources said apart from abusing depositors’ funds through exposing
Interfin to non-performing insider loans, the investigations also
established the bank had, in the past five months, been paying expenses for
an associate company, Interfin Management Services (IMS), to the tune of
US$172 500. The expenses had been accounted for as fees in the bank’s book,
the sources said.
The probe found Rwodzi had illegally and irregularly pledged his bank shares
as security for a US$3 million loan from Al Shams Global, an outfit
represented by businessman Jayesh Shah. It was this loan which Rwodzi used
to acquire CFX Bank and was repayable over two years.
Al Shams is now said to be claiming US$3,679 million or 41% of Interfin.
This transaction, which had the potential to alter the bank’s shareholding,
was neither disclosed nor approved by the authorities.
The Independent’s own investigations established that Rwodzi had since
February been under pressure to surrender share certificates to Shah.
According to sources, Shah wrote several e-mails to Interfin’s company
secretary demanding the share certificates.
The bank’s management and board was found to have presided over gross
violations of prudential lending limits, with sources saying exposures to
insiders were well above the 25% regulatory threshold.
For instance, the bank’s exposure to Interfin Nominees was 125,5%,
StarAfrica was 88,29% and ZimAlloys stood at 136,88%, the sources said.
These are all entities in which Rwodzi had major interests.
Interfin Nominees, an investment vehicle for Interfin Holdings, was owed a
total US$14, 214 million which was advanced to fund the underwriting of the
Star Africa and Art Corporation Rights Issues. This loan was not performing
and the facility had expired in January 2012 but not repaid. IBC told the
central bank the shares acquired through the underwriting transactions had
since been pledged to various institutions to secure deposits. (In most
cases, proper procedures were not followed in the granting of these loans).
Liquidity and Solvency Status
Interfin was technically insolvent with a negative core capital of US$92,9
million as at June 8, 2012
No explanation was given for the huge increase in insider loans, which
amounted to US$63,29 million at March 31, 2012 and were reported as US$2,9
million at December 31, 2012
The bank had a negative liquidity gap of US$86,49 million and outstanding
payments of US$36,5 million.
The bank’s shareholders are required to inject US$105,4 million for the bank
to comply with prescribed minimum capital requirements
–– Staff Writer.
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:56
MINES and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu this week said his
ministry would not subscribe to the cabinet resource mobilisation
committee’s Zimbabwe Mining Revenue Transparency Initiative (ZMRTI) which he
claims would be detrimental to the sector if the country remained on the
US-EU sanctions list.
The ZMRT is a government initiative towards consolidating the provisions of
the Medium Term Plan (MTP), which state that Zimbabwe must by 2015 adopt the
Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The EITI is an international best practice system in the extractive as well
as other industries, aimed at improving transparency, accountability and
responsibility in the exploitation of natural resources. It requires full
and public disclosure of mining sector revenues and receipts by government.
Mpofu, who was speaking at a conference on transparency in the mining
sector organised by Centre for Public Accountability, said his ministry
would not subscribe to such an initiative while the country was still
He said full disclosure, especially on diamond mining activities, would be
detrimental to the sector, particularly given that there were countries
which had Zimbabwe under sanctions.
“We cannot speak of full disclosure while we have these sanctions. If
we were doing that we could have been getting nothing from the
mining sector, which is literally running this economy, as those who
slapped us with sanctions have made it clear to include on their sanctions
list those who trade with us in diamonds,” Mpofu said.
Mpofu’s remarks come after Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s statement that the
deficit in revenue collection was because of poor contribution from diamond
firms. Diamond revenue’s contribution to the fiscus in the first quarter
of this year amounted to US$30,5 million against a target of US$122,5
Biti last month blasted Chinese company, Anjin Investments, for not
contributing anything to the fiscus and questioned the firm’s shareholding
structure. Anjin is the biggest diamond mining company in the country but
its contribution to government revenue raises questions on transparency.
Mpofu however came to the defence of the mining companies, insisting they
were remitting their contributions as obliged, hence the problem was with
treasury. “I am Minister of Mines and Mining Development and my
responsibility has nothing to do with revenue collection,” he said.
“The responsibility of the line ministry is not to complain, but to do the
work.” Zimbabwe’s mineral exports for 2011 surged to US$2,45 billion from
US$1,6 billion in 2010, driven by platinum, gold and diamond production.
Mpofu said diamond production would rise this year beyond the Medium-Term
Plan target of 12,1 million carats, following the green light from the
Kimberley Process Certification System.
Commenting on mining fees, Mpofu said the hike in the fees was a positive
development as treasury was getting US$10 million a month. He said
complaints by big mining companies on the fees were unjustified as these
companies had the capacity of paying even more.
Mpofu however said his ministry was in dialogue with the Chamber of Mines to
review mining fees for small scale miners.
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:50
ZIMBABWE’s financial sector is likely to change dramatically if plans by the
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to set up a credit bureau are seen
through.BAZ, through its president George Guvamatanga, recently advised the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono in a letter seen by
businessdigest, that the bankers were at an advanced stage of establishing a
credit bureau, working with an international technical partner, TransUnion.
“We recognise that the absence of a credit bureau has created information
asymmetry which is being exploited by borrowers who commit against the same
cash flows from different banks. This is resulting in the discounted cash
flows of the said borrowers not being able to service debts.
“We estimate that most firms and individuals in the market could be
overborrowed and this may be contributing to the current state of acute debt
overhang and cases of unsustainable levels of default in the banking
sector,” Guvamatanga said.
The bankers said this phenomenon was a major driver of non-performing loans
in the banking sector, estimated to be 7% of advances. However, the figures
could be higher if debt rollovers or the restructuring of loans to
overdrafts were included in the calculations.
The bankers’ association said it believed a credit bureau would decrease
information asymmetries between borrowers and lenders and allow lenders to
more accurately evaluate risks and improve portfolio quality.
This would eliminate the adverse selection problem that was present and
ultimately lower costs of credit for the good borrowers, while increasing
availability of loans to a wider clientele.
A professional credit reference system will also support automated
underwriting, lower operational costs and ultimately increase profitability
for banks, BAZ said.
Guvamatanga observed that non-performing loans were also contributing to
liquidity challenges in the market, a sentiment that he shared with BAZ CEO
Sijabuliso Biyam, who said there was more than US$3 billion in loans in the
market, but the money lent out was not circulating.
Expanding on the plans for a credit bureau, Biyam said: “Unfortunately we
are bound by certain confidentialities but we are working with an
international technical partner to set up a credit bureau, which should be
operational by September of this year.”
Biyam said the new credit bureau would maintain a database of all borrowers
in the economy, enabling banks and other third party creditors to avoid
BAZ was committed to working with the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve
Bank to maintain stability in the banking sector and to ensure that banks
fully assume their intermediation role in the economy.
— Staff Writer.
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:43
WHEN the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), one of the oldest in the
US, announced the great famine in Ethiopia in 1985, the anchorman’s opening
lines were: “And there’s been yet another famine in Africa, and this time it’s
As an African, one felt that the world was looking at my species as some
ever-doomed and gloomed one. Apparently, news of the Ethiopian famine took
long to make it to the American networks because famines were such a regular
occurrence on the continent: they were not newsworthy until they were
another Biafra, Nigeria’s secessionist’s state where more than a million
people died from starvation after central government closed off food
channels to what later remained a province of the central state.
In Zimbabwe, however, we have our own version of the ABC anchorman’s opening
line: “And there’s been yet another bank collapse in Zimbabwe and this time
it’s Interfin Bank.”
Given the recurrence of such incidents, one begins to question the capacity
of the Reserve Bank to effectively monitor and supervise the banking sector.
And mind you, this is not questioning the bank under the current governor
because similar events took place under the helm of his predecessors. As a
reminder, banks, or rather financial institutions, that faced the same fate
as Interfin included Time Bank, CFX, First National Building Society,
Zimbabwe Building Society, United Merchant Bank, Universal Merchant Bank and
more recently, ReNaissance Merchant Bank, to name but a few, that is if this
can be said to be a few. We are told Genesis Investment Bank is next in
If you dig up all the financial institutions that fell by the wayside in
this country since the beginning of this century, you may come up with an
average of one a year. Anyone want to place a wager on whose turn it is next
Bank failures do happen, even internationally, but not with the frequency
they do in Zimbabwe. Pray we don’t get to the stage where bank failure doesn’t
make it into the news unless humongous sums are involved, i.e. more than the
US$100 million we understand might be the total prejudice to Interfin
Back to our question, where was the Reserve Bank when all the looting at
Interfin was taking place? Wasn’t it only six months ago when the central
bank promised that it would tighten its surveillance of the financial sector
by conducting regular stress tests, among a plethora of banking jargon?
Because as far as things stand, who needs stress tests are the Interfin
depositors, many of whom have started going to the courts to demand their
To expand on our famine analogy, perhaps the Reserve Bank also needs an
early warning unit, like Sadc has to deal with imminent famine. Not that it
will be listened to, as happened with the Sadc unit’s warning on the
1991-1992 drought, but at least if it exists, it might leak information to
the press and the Reserve Bank could follow up with action. Has anyone
noticed that it’s generally when information about faltering banks is put
out in the media that the central bank responds? And when it does, it has an
accurate picture of what happened?
Prevention is better than cure. But before this happens, opening a bank
still remains the best way of making a quick buck. After all, the governor
has said the doors are open. And when you’ve finished lending the public’s
money to yourself, deep-pocketed Nssa will recapitalise your bank shell and
you go scot-free. If the deposit protection board is capitalised, even
better! So what are you waiting for?
By Itai Masuku
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:40
CRUEL fate has once again hit Zimbabwe’s banking sector with the failure of
two more banks, Interfin Banking Corporation and Genesis Investment Bank.
Interfin was placed under “Recuperative Curatorship” while Genesis
“voluntarily surrendered its banking licence. On the face of it authorities’
decisions in the case of Interfin and that of the Genesis board, which chose
the noble path of surrender, appear well-conceived and in the public
interest, but behind that lies the real story.
After the shenanigans unearthed at ReNaissance Merchant Bank (RMB) last year
where, again, a Reserve Bank investigation unearthed wholesale looting of
depositors’ funds, the public might have thought such an occurrence was now
a thing of the past. But, alas, it has been proven wrong by reports that
Interfin Financial Services’ major shareholders and their cahoots looted
Interfin Bank to a shell.
While the goings-on at both RMB and Interfin border on the criminal and one
dare say, obscene, as depositors’ hard-earned funds are abused willy-nilly,
there seems to be no punitive action by the authorities to dissuade would-be
offenders from doing the same.
It is beyond debate that, had this infamy been committed elsewhere in the
world, the culprits would already have been put behind bars, with heavy
sentences and/ or fines. They would wish they had not touched a dime.
However, in Zimbabwe, we never learn from the past and we have always
ignored the signs, even when they were there for all to see.
Against such a background, one wonders whether abuse of depositors’ funds,
as we have witnessed in the Interfin and RMB cases, are lesser crimes that
can easily be pardoned with a little regulatory spanking from the Reserve
Bank and not the country’s justice system.
If this ghost is not exorcised now it will soon become acceptable that in
Zimbabwe, a banking licence is in fact a “licence to steal”. This will be
tragic as the banking sector is key to mobilising both foreign and local
investment critical to the country’s economic recovery.
As one of our readers quipped, these are the results of having too many
overrated briefcase bankers with no ethics at all. Others have suggested
that all insider (directors/executives) loans should be banned. And if
these directors are forced to go to another bank for loans, then proper risk
assessments should be carried out. As it stands, these executives just dish
out funds to themselves with reckless abandon, in many cases from a pool of
The scale and modus operandi of the looting at RMB and Interfin leaves one
wondering, where were the authorities? Where were the lawmakers, and more
importantly where are the law enforcement agents? Clearly, in order to stop
this wanton abuse of the public’s trust and confidence in banks, authorities
now need to start taking tough action against bank shareholders and managers
who steal depositors’ funds. This cannot go unpunished.
It is time the authorities drew a clear bold line between an insider loan
and outright theft and ensure offenders face the music for their misdeeds.
At present, this line is blurred and the fuzziness allows looters of peoples’
savings and public funds to get away with a little more than the
embarrassment associated with few adverse newspaper reports, a slap on the
wrist by the regulators and off they go in luxury cars to their posh houses,
to enjoy their ill-gotten wealth, with no penalties.
This is not merely crying over spilt milk, these events are fresh and real
and there is an opportunity for the authorities to re-look at the precedents
that have been set for previous offenders in this country. If anything,
authorities’ failure to bring these crooks in suits and ties to book last
year has openly buoyed other indigenous bank owners to go for the easier
route of making money — steal depositors’ funds as nothing serious will
happen to you.
Unlike the petty thieves roaming the streets, indigenous bank owners, have
been legitimised by a banking licence, an opulent boardroom where decisions
to steal more money are made and banking halls filled with beautiful smiling
clerks. This has become the new legalised theft. Authorities must stop this
systematic economic sabotage and halt dead in their tracks these thieves in
imported designer suits masquerading as bank executives.
Zimbabweans now need to know that the next bank they put their money into is
not just another Ponzi Scheme.
Friday, 15 June 2012 09:38
AFTER the inconclusive and disputed 2008 elections, characterised by a
bloodbath during the June presidential poll run-off, a unity government was
formed under the aegis of the GPA, brokered by Sadc through former South
African president Thabo Mbeki.
The GPA committed bitter rivals, Zanu PF and the two MDC parties, to work
together towards restoration of economic and political stability and
facilitate rebuilding of a “democratic society” free of the sea of troubles
the country had been going through.
Necessarily, the end game for the GPA was going to be free and fair
elections and hopefully transition from dictatorship to democracy. That is
why the centrepiece of GPA reforms is a parliamentary committee-driven
constitution-making process under the direction of Copac. While drafting of
a new constitution has begun, steps leading towards an all-stakeholders’
conference, parliamentary approval and a referendum and back to parliament,
presents new pitfalls and perils.
By most accounts, the GPA has managed to stabilise the situation and restore
some normalcy. On the surface, the situation now is dramatically different
from what it was before 2009, although beyond the veneer of peace and
stability lies the reality of an unreconstructed authoritarian system and
political maelstrom — a turbulent transition underway.
However, one of the biggest problems of the GPA, which has not been closely
scritunised, is some of its inherently undemocratic dimensions and rough
Although the GPA was useful for its original purpose, its premise was not
suitable for rebuilding democracy.
The issue of the constitution-making process, by-elections and expected
general elections help to illustrate the point. Perhaps a question does that
even better: how can an undemocratic framework be used to restore democracy?
The ongoing Copac constitution-making process shows beyond reasonable doubt
the GPA is undemocratic in certain respects and thus problematic in terms of
background, context and structure. The exercise is driven by a parliamentary
committee whose members are selected from the three parties in parliament.
This means only Zanu PF and the two MDC parties are represented in the
process, while all other parties outside parliament are not. Civil society
and other stakeholders were only incorporated after making noise as a
The reality is Copac by its very nature is controlled by the three parties
in the GPA. The rest of the groups and so-called experts were co-opted to
mask the unrepresentative nature of the process. Thus Copac is undemocratic
in character and content. It is a democratic smokescreen.
The other thing is by freezing by-elections, the GPA undermined the
constitutional, legal and democratic rights of people living in 27
constituencies who have not been able to choose new MPs. Tie this to the
constitution-making process which is controlled by MPs, it means some
Zimbabweans were actually closed out of the process even if the
stage-managed outreach programme was taken to their constituencies where
they have no elected representatives.
How can an agreement between three parties in which the constitution-making
process — a historic exercise of national significance that seeks to shape
the future and destiny of a country and people — monopolised by a narrow
section of society at the expense of vast swathes of varied and competing
interests help to restore democracy? Indeed, how do you restore democracy by
freezing democratic processes, in this case by-elections.
Even though there were extraordinary political circumstances used to justify
the aberrations in the democratic process, still you can’t restore democracy
by icing it up.
While GPA still offers the most workable and coherent framework for credible
elections, it has also helped stymie democracy by shutting out other voices
from the unfolding political processes. Evidently, the three GPA parties are
negotiating in their own interests and cutting deals to suit their political
designs ahead of elections.
Thus attempts to level the playing field may end up making it even more
patchy and bumpy for other parties.
That is why the facilitation team has conceded small parties outside the GPA
and government should participate in these national processes, including the
constitution-making project and preparation for elections.
Zuma’s team on Monday met Zapu, MDC99, Ndonga and the Democratic Party, an
admission of GPA flaws.
By Dumisani Muleya
Thursday, 14 June 2012 17:56
I WOULD like to introduce the idea of a new paradigm in international
relations, which was introduced by the work of the drafters of the Rome
Statute and the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
This idea is that of law as a global tool contributing to world peace and
I believe in law as power for all; it is the ultimate weapon that the weak
have against the strong. Indeed, when implemented equally and fairly, the
law sets one standard for everyone; it empowers all peoples and provides
justice for all. It does not allow any individual or any segment of society
to override or manipulate it, if backed by good institutions.
As Aristotle once said: “Law is order, and good law is good order.” Good
order can only be brought about by good institutions. But what about the
international context? How are we supposed to counter and prevent massive
crimes of global character such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war
crimes? We need institutions: more comprehensive institutions of
The Rome Statute that created the ICC is a reflection of this idea: a
judicial institution to contribute to the prevention of massive atrocities
by adding an independent and permanent justice component to the world’s
efforts to achieve peace and security. To quote William Sloane Coffin: “We
must be governed by the force of law, not by the law of force.”
Justice William Douglas said: “Law is essential if the force of arms is not
to rule the world. “The most important aspect of the rule of law, both in
the international and domestic contexts, is the protection of individuals
Similarly, with the advent of the ICC, the individuals that are nationals of
states are protected not only at the domestic level, but also at the
international level. Today, 2,4 billion people are under the protection of
the Rome Statute system of global justice.
However, it is important to note that states themselves benefit from ICC
protection. The make-up of the states parties of the court is quite
revealing. Our 121 states parties come from the three regions that have
taken the lead in terms of international justice efforts: Africa, Europe and
South America. Their decisions were not just based on principle but realism.
These regions have suffered from massive crimes and eventually learnt that a
national state acting alone cannot protect its citizens from these
Europe has seen how massive crimes spilled over during the Nazi regime and
the Balkan conflicts, whereas South America and Africa witnessed similar
atrocities throughout the Cold War. Africa also suffered the Rwandan
genocide, which resulted in the death of almost one million people and flows
of refugees into neighbouring countries. This exodus was the root cause of
the Congo wars, which killed four million people.
A few years ago, the Ambassador of Costa Rica to the UN explained why his
country was so active in the Security Council on the issue of Darfur and why
Costa Rica had shown leadership on an issue apparently so far from its
interests: “There are 26 countries with no armed forces in the world; Costa
Rica is the biggest among them”.
Thus, Costa Rica perceives promoting the rule of law on an international
level as a matter of domestic security.
Similarly, Christian Wenaweser, Liechtenstein ambassador to the UN and
former ICC president, said states parties are under ICC protection,
indicating the rule of law is a fundamental cornerstone of the international
criminal justice system.
The answers to the questions of how to stop the genocide in Darfur, or how
to prevent a new cycle of violence during the next elections in Kenya, lie
with the preventive ICC impact.
Since the inception of the ICC, the office of the prosecutor has opened
investigations and brought cases in seven situations: Uganda, the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), Darfur, Kenya,
Libya and Côte d’Ivoire (and lately Liberia). The office is also engaged in
preliminary examinations in Honduras, the Republic of Korea, Afghanistan,
Nigeria, Guinea, Colombia and Georgia. These cases reverberate across the
For instance, quite recently, the court rendered its decision on Thomas
Lubanga Dyilo and found him guilty of enlisting and conscripting children
under the age of 15. Even before the final decision, the trial process had
helped trigger debates on child soldiers and child recruitment in countries
far from DRC like Colombia and Sri Lanka. Nepal and Somalia started taking
measures against the conscription of children.
This is the effect of what UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has depicted as
“the shadow of the court” — its preventive impact.
The Jean Pierre Bemba case is also illustrative of the preventive impact of
the court. According to our evidence, Bemba clearly failed his
responsibility to stop and prevent his militia forces from using rape as a
weapon of war. The ICC’s decision will influence the behaviour of thousands
of military commanders from the 121 states parties, and beyond.
This is what we have been doing for millions of victims of ICC crimes in
Uganda, DRC, CAR, Darfur, Kenya, Libya and Côte d’Ivoire. We have done it
with the strong co-operation of African states parties, and African civil
However, this is unfortunately not the story relayed in the media. Instead,
we hear criticism about our so-called “focus on Africa”. Anti-ICC elements
are working very hard to discredit the court.
But with due respect, why should we focus on the propaganda of a few
powerful, influential individuals, and forget about the millions of
anonymous people that suffer from their crimes?
Indeed, the greatest affront to victims of these brutal, unimaginable crimes
is to see those powerful individuals responsible for their sufferings trying
to portray themselves as the victims of a “pro-Western” court.
Our focus is on individual criminal behaviour against innocent victims. My
focus is on Joseph Kony, Bosco Ntaganda, Ahmed Harun, Omar al-Bashir.
The world increasingly understands the role of the court. As Africans, we
know that impunity is not an academic, abstract notion.
International justice gives power of leadership to small and medium
countries, not the power of arms, to protect their citizens and their
territories. Political leaders can lead efforts for international justice in
the global arena by supporting the ICC.
Senegal was the first country to ratify the Rome Statute in 2002. South
Africa refused to invite President Omar al-Bashir to the inauguration of
President Jacob Zuma in 2009. Botswana President Ian Khama has consistently
expressed his strong support for the work of the court. Just recently, the
Foreign Affairs minister of Zambia stated that al-Bashir would “regret the
day he was born” if he tried to enter Zambia. These countries, these
leaders, are showing leadership.
The ICC sets a very clear and basic limit: violence cannot be used to gain
or retain power. These leaders have understood this, and factored it into
their relations with others. Cases in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire sound a
Bensouda is ICC prosecutor-elect. This is an abridged version of a keynote
speech she delivered at a recent conference in Cape Town.
Thursday, 14 June 2012 17:44
A KEY requisite for a viable, successful and growth-oriented economy is
business confidence. When a businessman lacks confidence in the viability
and future of the economic environment in which he operates, he becomes
despondent and depressed, thereby diverting attention from the requirements
of his business.
This interferes with decision-making and stimulates myopia to circumstances
and developments which necessitate such decisions. Consequently, the doom
and gloom perceptions concerning the future of the business become
The lack of substantive confidence in the survival and enhancement of the
economy in general, and that of the business in particular, has been a
pronounced characteristic of most of Zimbabwe’s business community for many
years. The absence of this confidence has progressively intensified that it
has wholly absorbed the minds of a great majority of the Zimbabwean
population in general.
The causes are manifold, and for a long time wholly justified the negative
perspectives of most in the business world. Many people became increasingly
convinced that there could not be, and would not be, any change to the
adverse circumstances. The ensuing pessimism has provoked continual
disbelief in any of government’s declared intents to address the negative
causes of economic depression, with the result that the business community
fails to exploit such changes to economic policies.
The negative perceptions on the economy have been caused by many factors and
Rampant hyperinflation that prevailed during 2006 to 2008. Inflation
soared upwards exponentially, to unprecedented global levels that exceeded
maxi-trillions per cent, virtually unmeasurable by statisticians. As a
result, most of the populace became increasingly impoverished consumers
whose purchasing power continuously diminished, thereby reducing business
revenues, whilst very severely increasing operational costs. Enterprises
which had operated successfully for many years became weaker, their asset
bases and capital resources continually eroding and becoming insufficient to
assure the survival and future viability of operations. Key factors driving
business despondency included:
Pronounced government authoritarianism and bureaucracy, including
intense exchange controls, gravely hampering importations, intensifying
operational costs, restricting crucial changes in business policies.
Decline in the productivity of employees, whose attentiveness to
effective fulfillment of their duties progressively declined as the
economic pressures impacting upon them overrode their focus on jobs, duties
and obligations. This circumstance was further compounded by many employees
peremptorily terminating service to seek greener pastures.
Intense deterioration in the provision of service by state utilities,
parastatals and local authorities. This included diminished and erratic
availability of energy, water supplies, services such as refuse removal, and
deterioration of infrastructure such as roads.
Aggressive, domineering, actions by government ministries and agencies
related to business operations, including the imposition of direct and
indirect taxation, and compliance therewith.
General inability to source funding to replace lost working capital,
with that available being at prohibitive costs, and usually available for
very limited duration.
Aggressive, irrational, and destructive pursuit of government policies
of indigenisation and economic empowerment, resulting in well-founded fears
of losses of business ownership and control, concurrently with absence of
any just and fair compensation for the enforced divestment of business
Endless friction and conflict within the political environment, creating
ever-increasing private sector conviction of intensifying political
instability and concommitant national unrest, with allied economic
Fears of intensifying crime including corruption, theft,
asset-misappropriation, as more and more of the population became
Markedly deteriorating labour relations as economic ills and hardships
intensified the demands of employees, where they had total disregard for
the inability of employers to meet such demands while retaining operational
These are but a few of many factors which have occasioned the despondency,
depression and pessimism of most of the business community to such an extent
that it has, with a few exceptions, been unable to recognise any positive
developments ameliorating the extent of the ills, and creating barriers to
recognition of opportunities to strengthen and enhance business.
But the reality is that, notwithstanding that Zimbabwe is still plagued by
many ills including continuing political instability and friction, many of
such ills have considerably diminished. Of the positive changes (which are
not receiving due recognition) is the total cessation of hyperinflation,
with Zimbabwe’s inflation levels now being considerably lower than
prevailing almost anywhere else in Africa, and very considerable relaxations
in exchange controls.
Little or no recognition is given to such positive developments, focus being
narrow-mindedly concentrated upon those ills that still exist. Therefore,
business confidence continues to wane, thereby constraining the pace of
economic recovery. All bad news is taken as fact, even if not verified,
whilst any good news is cavalierly dismissed as being devoid of foundation
By Erich Bloch
Thursday, 14 June 2012 17:40
MUCKRAKER’S attention was drawn last Saturday to a front-page picture in the
Herald which showed ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe looking distinctly
uncomfortable as he tried to wriggle free of the clutches of the president.
President Mugabe was welcoming Mantashe to a regional meeting of former
liberation movements. Mugabe had hoped the ANC would help him deal with the
South African judiciary which has proved persistent in pursuing Zimbabwean
human rights offenders. South Africa would abide by the rule of law, he was
It may be recalled that the last time he was here, Mantashe promised
assistance to Zanu PF’s election campaign. He got into so much trouble with
that pledge, which was immediately dropped on his return, that he clearly
decided to keep his mouth closed on this visit and to avoid too much in the
way of smiles and hugs.
Hence a rather severe looking Mantashe who has taken a tip from Thabo Mbeki
who mastered the art of being slippery when finding himself locked in a
presidential embrace. Mbeki used to do a funny little dance to escape.
Anyway, we would be intrigued to know what came out of the liberation
movements’ deliberations. Not a lot we gather. None of them want to be too
closely associated with a rogue party. Ask Mrs Banda! And by the way, what
is Botswana’s status? One minute the BDP was in with the comrades, according
to the Herald, the next it was out.
We loved the Zapiro cartoon of Ludwick Mamabolo winning the Comrades
Marathon in Durban. “At last a comrade we can be proud of,” the caption
It was interesting to hear that the president is not only active in office
but hard-working at home as well. He is up at 5am, according to a puff-piece
on Grace Mugabe appearing in the Sunday Mail and Herald and clearly designed
for election purposes.
“It is my husband who gets up out of bed first,” the First Lady relates.
“Obviously because he is the man of the house he has to open the doors for
workers to come in. He does that every day. I do not have to get up. He
wakes up at around 5 o’clock and wakes the children up,” she says.
“I always tell him that he is spoiling them, they are grown-ups. I am
telling you,” Grace says, “he will go to their rooms, knock on the door,
enter, wake them up, run the tap for them.”
The president is also punctilious in attending gym. He does his exercises
religiously, we are told.
The Mugabe household is very quiet. Mum is quiet, Dad is quiet and the kids
are quiet. But there is obviously the occasional chastisement. “Spare the
rod and spoil the child,” Grace believes.
Grace represents herself as “a very humble person who likes to dress well”.
But on the “alleged” shopping sprees, she said: “They will say that because
if they can’t get at (President) Mugabe they have to find a soft spot to get
at him.” But she is not as soft as people think, she says.
On the upcoming elections: “I think with the ways things are at the moment
and if what I hear is true, our party (Zanu PF) stands a better chance.”
Better than what, we wonder?
Asked about the 2008 election campaign she said it was her duty as a
Zimbabwean “to rally the nation against Western aggression”.
The country was almost overrun by “the enemy”, she declared in her Sunday
“So I decided I could not watch things take the direction that had not been
anticipated and I had to play my part as a citizen of this country. Of
course a lot of people said a lot of things putting words into my mouth.”
Grace reminds us that she and her husband have been empowered through the
land reform programme. They have about 2 000 head of cattle and the second
largest dairy in the region with advanced milking equipment. There is also
the Grace Mugabe Orphanage and primary school funded by a US$7 million grant
she sourced from the Chinese government.
She rebuts reports that there was a flourishing orchard when they
dispossessed the elderly couple who lived there at Iron Mask Farm. “There
was nothing, absolutely nothing. The oranges that are there today are the
ones I planted four years ago.”
It was useful to have this on the record. Here is the public media being
used as a platform for President Mugabe’s election campaign. Headings such
as “The president is my best friend” and “President still fit says First
Lady” tell the story, although we found the heading “Man-Woman Iron Lady” a
tad curious. The Iron Lady is of course the title of a film launched
recently on the career of Margaret Thatcher!
The Mugabes will soon be adding value to their milk products, we gather, so
they can “make a little bit more money for ourselves and of course the
workers”. That will be an opportunity for the purchasing public to make
decisions about what products they want to buy.
We would have also wanted to know of the progress in the payment of the
reportedly more than US$345 000 the Mugabes owe Zesa since business seems to
be going so well.
For those with short memories, Grace in 2008 went to Shamva where huts had
been burnt and denounced Morgan Tsvangirai saying he would never be allowed
to set foot in State House.
“Even if people vote for the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai will never set foot
inside State House,” she said. “He will only hear what it looks like inside
from people who have been there. Even if Baba loses, he will only leave
State House to make way for someone from Zanu PF.”
Nobody put that in her mouth!
Leaving that aside, has anybody ever asked Zanu PF and political militarists
why they are bothering with elections if they don’t intend to respect the
outcome? That is surely the question we all should be asking the president
and his followers? Isn’t it the antithesis of democracy?
And abusing South African judges, calling them “Boers”, does nothing for
Zimbabwe’s reputation, nor South Africa’s as Mantashe has obviously
President Mugabe said the time is now ripe for the holding of elections as
the propaganda onslaught sponsored by Britain has continued with the
“pirate” radio stations.
ZBC reports that Mugabe said though the Global Political Agreement clearly
states the need to stop hate speech, pirate radio stations continue to
“assault” Zanu PF.
“The British government decided to create through its Westminster Foundation
the MDC, he said.
“Subsequently, the British went on to fund an explosion of print and
electronic media, all to assault Zanu PF. This is against the principles of
the GPA,” Mugabe said.
The only “pirate” broadcaster we see is ZBC which masquerades as a public
broadcaster while pandering to the whims of Zanu PF. They continue to demand
the outrageously exorbitant US$50 licence fee despite the ubiquitous
satellite dishes, testimony to viewers’ revulsion at their programming.
Clearly very few, if any, still watch ZBC and for them to continue to reap
where they do not sow is tantamount to extortion. ZBC are the real pirates!
‘Renowned human rights activist and former United States Congressman,
Reverend Jesse Jackson has commended the Head of State and Government and
Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe
for spearheading economic empowerment programmes, saying equitable
distribution of resources is fundamental in addressing poverty,” ZBC crowed
These sentiments were reportedly expressed during an impromptu meeting with
Zimbabwe’s head of delegation to the just-ended 2012 KP Intersessional
meeting in Washington DC, Mines and Mining Development minister, Obert
The word “renowned” was continuously used in the report in describing the
civil rights leader.
Reverend Jackson “spoke highly” of President Mugabe, we are told, stressing
that equitable distribution of resources is critical in addressing poverty
as well as social inequalities and expressed his support for the land
This would be an about-turn on the reverend’s part considering his previous
views on Mugabe were far from flattering.
Speaking on CNN in 2008, Jackson described Mugabe as a “heresy to democracy”.
This was after Mugabe defied international pressure to cancel a run-off
election marred by allegations of intimidation and the withdrawal of his
“Well, he was a hero,” Jackson said.
“Now, he’s kind of a heresy to democracy. That’s why the AU and others must
step up their diplomatic initiatives, one, to get humanitarian relief back
into Zimbabwe; two, to get a free press back in to talk to both leaders
about some kind of reconciliation.
“The opposition withdrawal today is really a way of saying they cannot take
the heat of violence. And so the people there deserve an open, free and fair
democracy. And we must somehow reconcile these two extremes. We cannot, as
it were, leave Zimbabweans suffering in isolation,” Jackson had said.
He wasn’t so “renowned” then in ZBC circles, we are sure!
The Michael Sata “comedy” show was in London last week and Zambian Foreign
Affairs minister Given Lubinda was at pains to defend his boss’s sycophancy
to bemused Zimbabweans living in the United Kingdom.
“President Sata must be commended and not condemned for the role he is
playing in bringing democracy back to Zimbabwe,” claims Lubinda.
“Mr Sata has a special gift of calling a spade a spade, which is the only
way to proceed right now as Sadc tries to find a lasting solution to
political problems in that country,” he said.
We would rather pass up on Cde Sata’s “special gift”, thank you very much
He also said the level of engagement between Sata and his Zimbabwean
counterpart is a “healthy and productive one”, which will eventually result
in the democratisation of Zimbabwe for the benefit of Zimbabweans.
We tend to agree with Zimbabwe Vigil coordinator Dumi Tutani who said Sata
should take a cue from his previous job before he joined politics.
“Mr Sata used to sweep the floors clean (at Victoria Station) and we want
him to clean his mouth when he talks about Zimbabwe,” Tutani said.
“We will not stop until he changes and starts respecting Zimbabwean people.”