A host of British business leaders, including Sir Richard Branson, the
creator of the Virgin brand, and Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP,
yesterday met Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister of Zimbabwe, to explore
the possibility of private investment into the troubled country.
By Rupert Neate
Published: 9:22PM BST 20 Jun 2009
Mr Tsvangirai told the meeting, chaired by David Miliband, the Foreign
Secretary, that Zimbabwe has made substantial progress towards rebuilding
the economy and is actively seeking investment from multinational companies.
"Over the last few decades Zimbabwe has radically changed, but the people,
natural resources and some of the basic infrastructure are still in place
and ready to be invested in once again," Mr Tsvangirai said. "We have a real
chance to turn Zimbabwe into a success story in partnership with the
Mr Tsvangirai said the country has brought inflation down from 500bn pc to
just 3pc in the four months since he formed a coalition government with
Sir Richard said: "Zimbabwe is at a critical turning point and needs the
support of the global community. This isn't just a job for aid
organisations, and governments. There is a lot business can do to help bring
humanitarian support and inspire investment."
Other business leaders at the meeting included James Hussey, of De La Rue,
Ian Farmer, of Lonmin, and Dr Nicholas Blazquez, of Diageo.
By: ANGUS SHAW
06/20/09 6:40 PM EDT
HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Conservationists raised the alarm Thursday for Zimbabwe's
rare rhinos after a sharp increase in poaching because of a breakdown of law
enforcement in this troubled southern African country.
Organized criminal gangs kill rhinos to sell the valuable horn that is used
as a traditional medicine in Asia and carved for ceremonial dagger handles
in the Middle East, Raoul du Toit, head of southern Zimbabwe's Lowveld Rhino
Trust, said in a telephone conference call with reporters.
Zimbabwe's rhino population declined from about 830 in 2007 to 740 at the
end of 2008 despite an excellent birth rate in monitored herds, London-based
Save the Rhino executive director Cathy Dean said during the conference
Save the Rhino said at least 90 rhino were poached in 2008, twice the toll
of the previous year, and conservation groups had counted 18 killed so far
in 2009. It called for concerted action by the Zimbabwean government and
Conservationists also reported a surge in poaching of zebra for their hides.
These, alongside illegal diamonds, gold and other contraband, were smuggled
through Zimbabwe's porous borders.
Some zebra hides ended up as upholstery in Europe and the zebra poachers
were likely to encounter rhino in the same habitat and know their value, du
Du Toit said the rhino poachers were people with "cars, cell phones and
expensive lawyers" and not villagers desperate for food.
Poaching "increased because of our lack of ability to investigate, higher
market prices and the growing Asian footprint in southern Africa," he said.
Du Toit spoke of investigators lacking gasoline to drive suspects to court.
He said authorities were short of money but paid too little attention to the
"The repercussions for the country's international image and the economic
implications are a lot more serious than the politicians and the ministers
realize," he said.
He said conservation groups in southern Zimbabwe planned to relocate about
60 rhino from areas vulnerable to poachers.
Tourism and photographic safaris have dropped sharply in several years of
political and economic turmoil since the often violent seizures of thousands
of white-owned farms began in 2000, disrupting the agriculture-based economy
in the former regional breadbasket.
Longtime ruler President Robert Mugabe blames Western sanctions for the
economic crisis that has led to acute shortages of food, gasoline and the
most basic goods.
Poaching of small animals has intensified, with villagers torching the bush
to drive even rodents and rock rabbits into traps for food, conservationists
Saturday, 20 June 2009 21:47
MPs are demanding US$30 000 car loans from government, it emerged
The demands by the MPs came shortly after they declined a car scheme
negotiated by Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
Under the scheme, MPs who have been clamouring for vehicles, would
have received Mazda BT-50s from Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries.
Biti negotiated the deal after stopping the MPs from getting second
hand cars that were offered by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Despite public
outcry, the MPs refused to surrender the vehicles arguing that ministers had
benefited from vehicles bought by the RBZ.
Sources said after spurning Biti's offer, the MPs had demanded cash
so they could buy vehicles of their choice.
Sources said yesterday the Finance Ministry was left with no other
option but to accede to the demands by the MPs for cash after they
complained that the BT-50s were not durable for rural roads.
The MPs also argued that since they were receiving the cars under a
loan scheme, they had to choose the cars themselves.
According to the sources, the Ministry of Finance has agreed to give
the MPs money to purchase vehicles. If it does that, it would have to
release almost US$6 million to meet the MPs demands.
"The government has agreed to provide $30 000 per MP although some MPs
would have wanted more," said a parliamentarian who preferred anonymity.
"There are some who require robust cars like Land Rovers and Land
Cruisers for rough terrain but the position is that they will have to top up
from own resources.
"This is a good arrangement for some of us who have always refused to
take cars under the Gono scheme because we have always felt that for us not
to be compromised, we should be provided for under the fiscus."
No official confirmation of the new arrangement could be obtained
yesterday. Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo's phone was unreachable. His
counterpart in the MDC-T, Innocent Gonese referred all questions to the
"I cannot confirm that," Gonese said. "Talk to the finance ministry.
They are the ones who give the money."
Acting Minister of Finance Francis Nhema said he was not aware of the
"I am only acting and I am not aware of anything like that," Nhema
said. "I never communicated anything like that to any MP and no one ever
told me of it either."
RBZ Governor Gideon Gono two months ago sparked a political storm when
he issued vehicles to MPs saying they needed them for their work. The
gesture torched controversy and brought to the public spotlight the widening
rift between Gono and Biti.
MPs from across the political divide - including some MDC legislators
who were vocal in accusing Gono of quasi-fiscal activities - eagerly
accepted the vehicles. Biti, however, pressured them to return the cars,
arguing that providing for MPs was not Gono's business. He got the backing
of his superiors in the MDC-T, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his
deputy Thokozani Khupe.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 20 June 2009 21:36
EIGHTEEN Zimbabweans behind last year's gruesome election violence
face arrest in South Africa.
Their names have been submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority
(NPA) for arrest when they next visit that country.
The docket submitted to the NPA focuses on and documents numerous
instances of torture which were perpetrated in a systematic fashion against
elements of the civilian population.
The docket and evidence regarding international crimes committed was
presented to the NPA by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) on
behalf of the numerous victims of these international crimes in Zimbabwe.
The evidance establishes the commission of crimes against humanity by
The intervention by SALC is in respect of a proposed domestic
prosecution before a South African court.
Under the ICC (International Criminal Court) Act the NPA may commence
proceedings and issue warrants of arrest prior to the presence of the
accused in South African territory.
The evidence gathered by SALC shows that Zimbabwean officials are
guilty of the crime against humanity of torture. It also shows that the
officials in question from time to time visit South Africa. South Africa has
a duty under international law and under the Implementation of the Rome
Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, No 27 of 2002 (the ICC Act)
to apprehend and prosecute the drivers of the 2008 violence.
The NPA's function under the ICC Act is to discharge that duty on
behalf of the state. As a result it has been asked to institute an
investigation and prosecution in South Africa of Zimbabwean officials guilty
of the crime against humanity of torture, committed in Zimbabwe.
The ICC Act is limited to providing South African courts with
potential jurisdiction in respect of crimes committed after 1 July 2002, the
date on which the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 1998 (the
Rome Statute) became operative.
Focus has been to hold Zimbabwean officials accountable in South
Africa under the ICC Act for the alleged human rights abuses perpetrated by
or under them.
At the end of her first visit to Zimbabwe Amnesty International
Secretary General Irene Khan said that there does not appear to be "any real
urgency to bring about human rights changes on the part of some government
Khan said contrary to the Global Political Agreement's pledge to bring
perpetrators of political violence to justice some ministers she met during
the six days of her fact-finding mission confirmed that "addressing impunity
is not a priority for government right now".
But an MDC-T lawyer in government said there were more violence
perpetrators than the 18 on the docket now with the NPA.
"There are a lot of them - hundreds of them," the lawyer said, "who
should be answerable."
The Ministry of Justice is unaware of the docket in South Africa, with
the lawyer adding: "They (NPA) wouldn't preannounce an intention to arrest
Despite an undertaking by the NPA spokesperson to The Standard to
release the names of the 18 Zimbabweans, this has been followed by deafening
But some of the perpetrators are from the police Law and Order
The evidence contained in the docket lists the Zimbabweans implicated
in acts of torture on a systematised and/or widespread basis.
Crimes against humanity are prohibited under Article 7 of the Rome
Statute of the International Criminal Court and now prohibited in South
African law by the ICC Act in precisely the same terms as the Rome Statute.
Documents seen by The Standard say: "The perpetrators inflicted severe
physical or mental pain or suffering upon one or more persons. Such person
or persons were in the custody or under the control of the perpetrator.The
conduct was committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed
against a civilian population. The perpetrator knew that the conduct was
part of or intended the conduct to be part of a widespread or systematic
attack directed against a civilian population."
The documents show that the acts of torture committed by the Law and
Order Section officials amount to "crimes against humanity", under
international law because the criminal acts have been committed as part of a
widespread or systematic attack against the civilian population.
The requirement that the attack has a widespread or systematic nature
does not mean that a crime against humanity cannot be perpetrated by an
individual who commits only one or two of the designated acts of torture, or
who engages in only one such offence against only one or a few civilians.
Documents seen by The Standard indicate that there is prima facie
evidence that torture as a crime against humanity was committed and named
perpetrators in the Law and Order Section. "The torture is of a widespread
or systematic nature, and appears to have been committed primarily against
political opponents and those suspected of being opposed to the ruling
"We submit that the acts of torture have been committed pursuant to a
policy conceived by and propagated through the Zanu PF, and aimed at
opposition party members or persons who are suspected of being opposed to
the ruling regime.
The abuses are catalogued in the dossier and indicate that the acts of
torture committed by the named perpetrators are part of an orchestrated
attempt by the government that gave way to the inclusive government to clamp
down on and punish dissidents and opposition members.
"A policeman that tortures his victim is responsible for violating a
norm of international criminal law. However responsibility does not end
there. As is often the case with international crimes, the crimes that are
carried out by lower-level state officials potentially implicate superior
A legal opinion says that in considering the potential prosecution of
the named perpetrators under the ICC Act for any international crimes
committed in Zimbabwe after July 1, 2002, the NPA must focus on the doctrine
of command responsibility in international criminal law.
In terms of the customary international law principle of command
responsibility drawn from military law: "as long as a superior has effective
control over subordinates, to the extent that he can prevent them from
committing crimes or punish them after they committed the crimes, he would
be held responsible for the commission of the crimes if he failed to
exercise such abilities of control".
The Rome Statute expresses this principle in similar terms by holding
that liability for punishment still arises even if the offender only
"orders, solicits, or induces the commission of the crime".
The Law and Order Section either ordered (explicitly or implicitly) or
failed to prevent the commission of torture and might still be held
responsible for such crimes.
The Rome Statute was adopted on 17 July 1998. The treaty came into
force in 2002 and allows the International Criminal Court jurisdiction over
crimes committed after 1 July 2002. South Africa is a party to the Statute
and has been a vocal endorser of the International Criminal Court. This is
one reason why the Sudanese leader could not attend President Jacob Zuma's
inauguration on May 9.
South Africa incorporated the Rome Statute into its domestic law by
means of the ICC Act.
In other words, the ICC Act allows for the prosecution of crimes
against humanity, genocide and war crimes before a South African Court.
The issuing of an arrest warrant in such circumstances by the NPA in
relation to Zimbabwean suspects of torture is seen an important step by
South Africa in showing its commitment to the principles of international
criminal law mandated by the ICC Act which gives effect to South Africa's
obligations under the Rome Statute.
The Act is a means by which universal jurisdiction might effectively,
practically and realistically be exercised over Zimbabwean officials
suspected of committing the worst international crimes.
BY DAVISON MARUZIVA
Saturday, 20 June 2009 21:27
THE raid on the home of the Minister of Integration and International
Co-operation Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga was politically motivated, a
family spokesperson said yesterday.
Zacharias Mushonga, a brother who is nursing Dr Christopher Mushonga
at his home in Glenara Avenue, said yesterday the assailants openly told
their victims they were "Zanu PF activists out to fix the MDC members".
Zacharias said a cousin who witnessed the raid told him the intruders
made it clear their raid was political.
"He told me that the robbers said: 'muri vemachinjaka imi isu tiriZanu
tatumwa kuzokugadzirisai, (You are from the MDC we are Zanu PF and we have
been sent to beat you up)."
The robbers who pounced on the Mushonga family on Friday disarmed the
police guard and severely assaulted the minister's husband and got away with
the minister's official Toyota Prado, seven cellphones and US$156 in cash.
They even had time to open the freezer and help themselves to some
beers. They also smoked cigars during their raid.
Zacharias said that the minister's husband was in a stable condition
despite the head injuries he sustained during the brutal attack.
"My brother couldn't even fight for himself because he is very weak
because of his age. He is very frail."
Dr Mushonga told The Standard yesterday: "I am feeling better but
cannot remember what happened. When I was beaten I just blacked out."
Zacharias said: "You cannot run away from the fact that this might be
politically motivated. These guys left laptops, televisions and all the
household goods. Now what do you say to that?"
He added the Toyota Prado was recovered in Waterfalls intact.
"They did not take anything. They just dumped the car in Waterfalls
and police have notified me that it is being kept at Southerton Police
Station. This is really fishy in my view."
However police spokesperson superintendent Andrew Phiri could not
confirm that the vehicle had been recovered and was still verifying this by
time of going to the press.
Renson Gasela, the MDC's deputy spokesperson said: "I am not aware of
what really happened because I am in Gweru but this was a terrible act on
the old man.
"We cannot rule out foul play but we obviously await the police's
report which will lay bare the circumstances that led to this."
Minister Mushonga is presently out of the country on government
BY JOHN MOKWETSI
Saturday, 20 June 2009 21:21
I have heard about "tokoloshes" as creatures that bring fortunes or
misfortunes to families. In all those discussions I have ended up even more
That is why most people crave for an encounter with the malevolent
mythical human-like creatures.
Last weekend I went to my village in Mazvihwa in Zvishavane district
in the Midlands. I wanted to reconnect with my roots.
On arrival on Friday evening I was greeted with news of the arrival of
a "prophet" in the village who had come to conduct a cleansing ceremony.
They said it was an awesome spectacle. I was not sure that I was prepared
for this sort of thing.
I decided to walk the 5km journey to a mountainous range on Saturday
morning where "Prophet" Jeremiah was conducting the cleansing ceremony.
My cousin Peter helped me negotiate the maze of footpaths to the
We met scores of other people on the way - from youths walking
energetically to those whose pace was usurped by age.
"I am going to get my problem solved, my son," a frail old man told me
expectantly. I walked past many people who carried their food and water.
This was obviously going to be a lengthy process.
We arrived just in time. Peter is a very resourceful young man. He
negotiated so I could capture the cleansing ceremony on my digital camera.
A short stout youth in a white bib with stars came back to announce:
"You are most welcome to get into the ring and do your business."
About a thousand people formed a crescent. In the middle were five
people who had brought their "bags". They were lining up to be cleansed of
The "prophet" poured some white powder into water that was in a bucket
and then conducted a prayer.
Jeremiah then asked the individuals to stand by their bags. We waited
with bated breath for Jeremiah was asking the owners to own up to having
'tokoloshes' in front of a whole community.
Jeremiah then took his wooden staff and pointed at the bags. He
sprinkled "holy water" on the bags.
On approaching the first bag Jeremiah appeared to go into a trance.
His assistant, opened the next bag , but it appeared the process went awry.
He collapsed, as if struck by something invisible to those of us watching
this drama. The others rushed to his rescue. He was able to dip the
"tokoloshe" in the "holy water", rendering it "powerless".
The remaining bags were checked but nothing was found. It was
suggested they had failed to trap the "tokoloshes".
Fooled or was this real?
We were invited to draw closer to see the "creatures". The first was a
snake - a dead snake, grey in colour and metre-long but curiously wrapped
"This snake has just engaged in a sexually activity with a human
being," Jeremiah claimed. "Hmmm," I wondered.
The next "tokoloshe" was rather bizarre: beaded black stockings in
half and garishly decorating a calabash with a carved head of a person.
This was the work of beautiful art turned gory, I muttered to myself.
My thoughts were interrupted by an announcement from Jeremiah: "This has
blood in it and it survives on human blood." The cleansing process was
repeated several times with spectacular "findings". The "tokoloshes" were
then taken away to be burnt. I followed at a distance, emotions of fear and
One of the men accompanied by his octogenarian mother, his wife and
three female members of his family said they had undergone a transformation.
There was a sudden change on their faces. They were fresh smiling. It was as
if a heavy burden had been lifted off their shoulders.
Peter told me about his experience too. But he could not find a ready
Jeremiah said he was born Meryward Marara 30 years ago in Mount
Darwin, Mashonaland Central. He is married and has two children who live in
I left with more questions than answers. I need another take.
BY BOLD HUNGWE
Saturday, 20 June 2009 21:00
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has appealed to Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora to return and help rebuild the country, ahead of his meeting with
UK Premier Gordon Brown tomorrow.
This weekend Tsvangirai will hold a meeting in Southwark Cathedral for
exiled Zimbabweans living in Britain, of which there are an estimated one
He says he wants them to come home and help rebuild the country. "The
government needs these professionals," he told one UK newspaper in an
interview, "and we also need whatever savings they made to help economic
development. It is time to come home."
However, yesterday a leading human rights activist appealed to Britain
not to increase aid to the country's unity government.
Jenni Williams, whose Women of Zimbabwe Arise movement (Woza) has been
at the forefront of protests against President Robert Mugabe's government,
denounced the power-sharing coalition as a "failure" and warned expatriate
Zimbabweans not to return home.
Williams condemned the initiative. "How can he ask Zimbabweans to come
home when his own people are being beaten for saying they are refugees in
their own country?" she said.
Other groups echoed Williams' warning that little has changed in
Zimbabwe. "I am very much afraid that Tsvangirai is being used by Mugabe as
a facade to attract EU donor money and that they will do away with him and
his party once they have got what they want," said Fambai Ngirande, from
Zimbabwe's national association of non-government organisations.
On the last leg of his eight-nation tour of Europe and the US to drum
up support for the four months old coalition government, Tsvangirai scoffed
at the suggestion that he was on President Robert Mugabe's errand.
"Firstly, this trip was my initiative because after four months I
wanted Western leaders to hear first hand what was happening in Zimbabwe.
Secondly, the process is under way and after a constitutional referendum,
the president and the prime minister will decide when the elections will
Tsvangirai's tour, which has taken him to the United States of
America, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Belgium is meant to raise
funds to revive the economy.
At least US$132 million had been pledged so far. But the money will
not be channelled through government structures but non-governmental
organisations as humanitarian assistance. Western countries, sceptical of
President Mugabe's commitment to reform, are unwilling to give aid directly
to the government as long as outstanding issues from the Global Political
Agreement remain unresolved.
Monday's meeting is unlikely to loosen UK's purse strings after Mark
Malloch-Brown, junior foreign minister said Britain would only lift
sanctions when Zimbabwe's transition to democracy "has reached a point of no
Zimbabwe requires US$10 billion to finance the implementation of the
revival plan, Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme launched in March by
Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
Tsvangirai was in Brussels on Thursday at the official launch of the
Zimbabwe/EU Dialogue meant to revive the country's relations with the
27-member EU bloc.
An outcome of the dialogue was an EU pledge of transitional support to
Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe broke ranks with Brussels in 2002.
Thursday's meeting with the EU officials had its lighter moments too,
according to information from the PM's office.
After the EU had pledged transitional support for Zimbabwe, Foreign
Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi is said to have remarked: "VaPrime
Minister kuda zvimwe midzimu yeZimbabwe inokudai ("Mr Prime Minister, it
appears Zimbabwe's ancestral spirits love you)."
Tsvangirai's visits are a diplomatic coup for Zimbabwe which had
endured a decade of isolation.
Tsvangirai's delegation comprises Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi,
Biti, Elton Mangoma (Economic Planning Minister), Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga (Regional Integration Minister), Mumbengegwi and
Chinamasa, Biti and Mumbengegwi were not part of the US tour but
joined the delegation in Brussels.
Despite offering aid to Zimbabwe, Denmark, Germany, Norway and US said
the financial floodgates would be opened if the country undertakes
Zimbabwe's relations with western capitals deteriorated due to the
country's human rights violation.
The issue of human rights violation will be discussed tomorrow when
Tsvangirai meets Amnesty International secretary general Irene Khan who was
recently in Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission.
Khan who addressed a press conference on Thursday gave a grim outlook
of the human rights situation in the country four months into the inclusive
Khan said she would discuss with Tsvangirai a wide range of issues and
the findings of her one-week visit in Zimbabwe.
Government sources say western countries have shown willingness to
assist Zimbabwe get out of the mud.
MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said while the tour was
government-sanctioned, the party sees the sojourn as a success.
"As a party we feel that it is a successful tour basing from the
reports we're getting," he said adding that the party is confident the
diplomatic engagement will bear fruits.
"Zimbabwe will benefit from what the Prime Minister has done," said
John Makumbe, a political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe.
"He (Tsvangirai) is bringing back a strong message that sanctions will
stay as long as there is no meaningful power-sharing."
Makumbe said the re-engagement of western capitals is an important
step to reconstruct Zimbabwe.
Since President Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara formed a
coalition government in February, things seem to be moving in the right
direction for the southern African nation.
Global lending institutions such as the International Monetary Fund
and the World Bank have pledged to open lines of credit if Zimbabwe clears
Saturday, 20 June 2009 20:55
THE wife of an army chief who died in mysterious circumstances two
years ago yesterday made a startling announcement: she said her husband was
"killed by some people either on their own accord or on the orders of those
Tatenda, the wife of Brigadier-General Armstrong Paul Gunda, said the
killers would face justice one day or God would punish them.
The grieving wife made an unprecedented move - paying for a full page
advert to announce to the nation that her husband, declared a national hero,
had not died a natural death.
She also raised several questions that could be followed up by
investigators, if ever there is an inquiry into his mysterious death.
Gunda, a former commander of 1 Brigade, died on June 20, 2007 after
his car reportedly collided with a goods train at Watershed School, outside
Gunda was declared a national hero and buried at Heroes' Acre. At the
time of his death, Gunda was linked to an alleged coup plot to overthrow
President Robert Mugabe.
At least six civilians and serving army officers were arrested in 2007
on these allegations. Two generals also allegedly involved in the coup were
Brigadier-General Fakazi Muleya and Retired Major-General Gideon Lifa, who
died in the same month as Gunda.
Commemorating her husband's death, Tatenda said in the advertisement
those who took her husband's life would be punished.
"Those who carried out the killing of the late Brigadier-General
either on their own accord or on the orders of those higher-ups must know
that one day God will punish them or one day they will face justice," she
Tatenda, who says the army chief told her on the fateful day that he
was going to Bulawayo for a meeting said: "The last call came from someone
who said that you were wanted in Harare. Your phone was not reachable the
whole night. Where did you sleep that night? Who knew you were going to pick
(up) your son from Watershed the following morning? Where did you report
when you arrived in Harare that afternoon? Whom did you tell about your
Tatenda further questioned the type of train her husband was involved
in a collision with and why he was found lying on the passenger's seat.
"Who drove you to Watershed? Why was your cellphone ringing in a
suitcase? Your clothes which you were wearing the day you left Bulawayo were
full of blood from your head but were in your suitcase at the back of your
Tatenda also said she was surprised to see her husband wearing
different clothes from the ones he was wearing before and indicated that
someone might have killed him and put him in the car.
"To my surprise you were dressed in different clothes when they found
you lying in passenger's seat and there were no blood stains in the car,"
In 2007 marking the 29th day of his death Tatenda also placed an
advert saying Gunda's mysterious death had left her speechless.
The results of his post mortem were not made public. At the time of
his death he was also believed to have been under house arrest.
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 20 June 2009 20:50
THE inclusive government has started a process to reform perennial
loss-making parastatals, a cabinet minister has said.
Joel Gabbuza, the Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals, said
the reforms would be in line with government's Short Term Emergency Recovery
He said his ministry, with the help of the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP), was drafting a corporate governance framework which would
provide guidelines to the professional running of the institutions.
"We are also developing a performance monitoring framework which will
bind boards to achieve the objectives of their respective entities," he
"This will see all senior managers and board members being engaged on
contracts and if one fails to deliver, they will be fired without any
"Our vision is to see these parastatals begin to declare a dividend
for the shareholder, something they have not been doing for a while now."
Gabbuza said while some entities will be privatised, others will
simply be commercialised or restructured.
"Although we have not yet implemented privatisation, the plan is that
those companies of a strategic nature like Zesa and ZBC will not be
privatised but will be re-organised either through encouraging them to
restructure or commercialise and be run along professional lines like what
happened with CMED.
"Entities like the Grain Marketing Board and the National Oil Company
of Zimbabwe may be re-organised in terms of ownership and operations.
"All we need to do is capacitate them and make sure that they are
ready to face competition, then open them up to competition."
Already, the inclusive government has started reforming Air Zimbabwe
which has been rocked by labour disputes following the announcement that
half of the workforce would lose their jobs.
"We realised that Air Zimbabwe's problems were more of organisational
problems and recommended that they cut down on their operation costs,
including salaries but we emphasised that they should follow labour laws and
consult the workers and their representatives," Gabbuza said.
"We cannot have 1 000 workers for just four aeroplanes, that is not
"But the problem is that the company has chosen to get rid of
low-remunerated people while retaining people with high salaries."
Gabbuza said other recommendations were that Air Zimbabwe re-organises
its routes and gets rid of loss-making ones while also reducing on external
posting of managers through rationalising some of the international offices.
The parastatal will be monitored over three months beginning last
month to see how it responds to the reforms, he said, adding that there had
already been some notable changes over the past three weeks.
"There is some positive impact in that, instead of half a million
dollars loss recorded last month, the company as of this week recorded just
US$100 000 loss and we look forward to a stage where they will record zero
He said long-term reforms for the company would include partnerships
and improving on cargo service which seemed to be making more money than the
But consumer groups and civil society have spoken against
privatisation, saying it will encourage commercialisation and hence lead to
exorbitant prices of basic services like water and electricity.
"Such companies as Dairibord and Cottco should serve as examples that
it is not true that privatisation leads to expensive products," he said.
Gabbuza said in order to realise revenue, government would also have
to allow such companies as Hwange, where it has a major stake, to run
independently and only worry about getting its dividend.
"Hwange is a private company which is listed on the stock exchange and
if ever government's footprints are to be seen there, they must be there in
good faith," he said.
"We do not want a repetition of the past scenario whereby government
frustrated other shareholders through interfering with the running of the
company to an extent of suppressing coal prices to below production cost.
"The argument which has been given is the need to ensure lower
electricity prices but we would rather have proper pricing and have Zesa
running to everyone's satisfaction.
"If government needs to maintain subsidies, which are there in many
countries anyway, it will have to create a subsidies account and pay for
that subsidy otherwise the current position is that this government is not
going to fund these entities which have been given money before but threw it
down the drain.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 20 June 2009 20:46
POLICE on Friday refused permission to gender activists from all over
the country who had intended to march in Harare yesterday to demand greater
women's involvement in the constitution-making process.
On Friday more than 1 500 women from all over Zimbabwe gathered at the
Harare International Conference Centre for a consultative conference on the
constitutional review process. The conference was organised jointly by the
Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Women's Affairs, Gender
and Community Development.
The conference had been scheduled to end yesterday morning with a
march from Africa Unity Square followed by a press conference.
An official from the Ministry of Women's Affairs who spoke on
condition of anonymity confirmed to The Standard the police had reportedly
prevented the march saying there were "too many marches" scheduled on the
The police were referring to the MDC-T-organised Day of the African
Child Commemorations in Africa Unity Square.
"If police had really wanted us to hold this march we would have but
clearly they did not," said the official.
"As far as we know there were only two events scheduled at the African
Unity Square, ours and the Day of the Africa Child by the MDC-T and I am
sure these two if done at two different times would not have caused any
commotion at all.
"Our march was going to be peaceful. Police must have felt our issues
as women were not important and this is why we are embracing the opportunity
for a new constitution as women to guarantee our basic freedoms."
Speaking at the one-day conference, the national co-ordinator of WCOZ
Netsai Mushonga said women wanted to take half of the positions available in
the sub-committees that will spearhead the constitutional review process.
At the present moment there are only 32% of women in the parliamentary
select committee while appointments for the sub-committees and drafters are
"We want consultation to include 50% women so that they capture their
concerns and allow for all women to actively take part. We want consultation
times to be gender-sensitive," Mushonga said.
There are 10 reasons set out by the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers
Associationwhy women need a new constitution. Among the reasons is the fact
that the current Lancaster House Constitution does not provide for social
and economic rights of women.
It also does not give an enabling framework for the inclusion of women
in decision-making positions such as parliament and cabinet as it does not
set out quotas for female representation, leaving political parties to set
out their own parameters.
The women also argue that the constitution prohibits dual citizenship
because married women are forced to renounce their citizenship if they marry
foreigners. If foreign women marry Zimbabwean men they must also renounce
their citizenship. Mushonga said these are some of the issues they will be
BY BERTHA SHOKO
Saturday, 20 June 2009 18:21
BULAWAYO - King Lobengula must be turning in his grave at the way his
last royal residence, a few kilometres from the present day's "City of
Kings", has deteriorated.
The alarming state of neglect of Old Bulawayo, which has angered
Ndebele traditionalists, first came to light during a recent state visit by
Swaziland's King Mswati III whose scheduled tour of the site was cancelled
at the last minute by authorities who feared embarrassment.
Touted as Zimbabwe's first cultural theme park when it was officially
opened by Vice- President Joseph Msika in 2006, the monument is now an
Old Bulawayo was rebuilt along the lines of settlements in King
Zwelithini's kingdom in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal by the department of
National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe in order to attract tourists.
But a visit to the site last week showed that the reconstructed
beehive huts that were once inhabited by King Lobengula and his inner circle
were caving in.
There is no evidence that the royal residence has been maintained
after the official opening.
Pathisa Nyathi, a prominent historian who has written extensively on
the Ndebele state, said the collapse of the monument had stymied a number of
important cultural events.
"The original plan was to create a theme park at the monument where
people would live and lead a Ndebele lifestyle," Nyathi said.
"This means that the people would conduct traditional ceremonies such
as umbuyiso (bringing home ancestral spirits), weddings, and installation of
"All this was aimed at ensuring that the Ndebele culture is preserved
and people keep on being reminded of their cultural values."
Bulawayo Publicity Association's Valerie Bell said the country could
be losing millions of dollars in potential revenue as tourists interested in
visiting the cultural site were not able to do so.
She said the road leading to site was in a deplorable state, further
diminishing Old Bulawayo's potential as a high-profile tourist attraction.
Critics blame the NMMZ for the neglect of the theme park but the
department's director for the western region, Darlington Munyikwa, said the
site is a victim of the country's unending economic problems.
"As a parastatal, we depend on government funding and so far we have
not managed to get any money from the government and this has made our
operations a bit difficult," Munyikwa said.
"It is not that we are neglecting our monuments.
"We are conserving these sites but we have a lot of challenges that
we are facing in our effort to manage the sites."
He said the department had started cutting grass at Old Bulawayo and
there were also moves to start reconstructing the fence at the king's
Munyikwa said Lobengula's descendants were still being allowed to hold
traditional ceremonies at the site.
"To let that monument die just like that would be the most tragic
thing ever to happen to a society and a country in general," Nyathi warned.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 20 June 2009 18:05
MASVINGO - The Zanu PF Women's League provincial chairperson, Shylet
Uyoyo, was last week arraigned before the magistrates' court for allegedly
threatening a journalist from a weekly paper that published a story linking
her to a spate of armed robberies.
Uyoyo, who claims to be a war veteran, told Tatenda Prosper Chitagu, a
senior reporter at the Masvingo Mirror, that she would make his life in the
This was after the journalist reported that the politician, who has
lost two consecutive parliamentary elections in Masvingo on a Zanu PF
ticket, had been linked to armed robberies have that rocked the city since
early this year involving her Mazda B1800 truck.
The vehicle was allegedly used as a getaway in the robberies.
She was not asked to plead when she appeared before provincial
magistrate Walter Chikwanha who remanded her out of custody on free bail to
tomorrow (June 22) for trial.
Uyoyo is facing assault charges.
It is the state's case that on April 2, Uyoyo in the company of Zanu
PF youths, descended on the Masvingo Mirror offices in the city centre.
They demanded to know why Chitagu and the newspaper had published a
story linking her to armed robberies.
Sensing danger, the newspaper's editor, Golden Maunganidze locked
Chitagu in one of their offices as Uyoyo was reportedly seething with anger
and threatening to mete out instant justice on him.
The state further alleges that Uyoyo went on to threaten that she was
going to make Chitagu's life in the city unbearable.
Uyoyo reportedly screamed: "If ever I get to see him, he (Chitagu)
will never walk freely in the streets of this city.''
Maunganidze then immediately made a report to the police at Masvingo
Central leading to Uyoyo's arrest.
Tineyi Matenga appeared for the State.
This is not the first time that Zanu PF militias in the province have
Two years ago this reporter was abducted and held captive for more
than five hours by Zanu PF militia on the outskirts of Mupandawana Growth
point in Gutu.
BY GODFREY MUTIMBA
Saturday, 20 June 2009 15:26
MUTUMWA Mawere is set to reclaim his seized assets following
indications that the government wants to return SMM Holdings to the
businessman on the basis that the company was expropriated on spurious
The move to return Mawere's assets comes hard on the heels of calls by
Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara for government to grant amnesty to
exiled businessmen as a way of restoring investor confidence in the country.
On Friday, Standardbusiness heard the process to return the assets
began after President Robert Mugabe was advised that Mawere's assets were
Mawere lost his empire in 2004 after the government said his companies
were indebted to the state and were seized using the Reconstruction of
State-Indebted Insolvent Companies Act.
At that time, SMM owed government owned institutions such as RBZ,
ZESA, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Treasury money that had been negotiated
through various ways.
Information obtained last week shows that Mugabe had been advised that
SMM's takeover was irregular as the government-owned institutions that SMM
owed money were legal entities.
"President Mugabe was told that although the institutions are owned by
the state, they had advanced money to SMM on different terms and that it was
wrong to say that SMM was indebted to the government," said a source
familiar with the developments.
"The President was told the grabbing of Mawere's assets was not in the
national interest but for some politicians trying to score some cheap
points," another source said.
It was not immediately clear what would happen to Mawere's previous
stake in ZSE-listed Zimre Holdings Limited.
Government took advantage of Mawere's specification to increase its
shareholding during the 2005 capital-raising initiative.
This paper understands that FSI Agricom, a subsidiary of SMM would be
returned to Mawere's empire.
FSI was taken over in 2005 on claims it owed quasi-government agencies
But while there are plans to return Mawere's seized crown, a fierce
resistance has gathered momentum with SMM administrator Arafas Gwaradzimba
leading the pack.
In a May 19, 2009 letter to Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
Gwaradzimba said there were attempts to tamper with the reconstruction
process in a bid to hand back Mawere his assets which he said was
"The reason for this was that we have come a long way on the SMM
"An Act of Parliament had to be passed to deal with the special
circumstances of SMM -The Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent
Companies Act," he wrote.
Gwaradzimba told Chinamasa that they should let the reconstruction
process be followed to the letter.
"After that, if GOZ (Government of Zimbabwe) see it fit they can give
back to MDM (Mutumwa Dziva Mawere) the control and ownership of SMM, for
whatever reason," he wrote.
"I have already discussed with Your Honourable Minister, MDM's alleged
approaches to people in GOZ lying that he had the liquidators of South
Africa on his side, and they were wondering why his companies had been put
Gwaradzimba said the process had to be concluded.
"Now, there is the request to stop/postpone litigation! Is the SMM
story, the story we would want repeated in Zimbabwe, one which we can be
proud of as leaders passing on to our children and those beyond, one
But Gwaradzimba's move to halt the return of Mawere's assets is not
without reason, this paper heard on Friday.
Managing SMM has been one of AMG's cash cows. As administrator, he
rakes in 6% of the company's group earnings.
This is more than the money received by the shareholders of the
Mutambara told Parliament on Wednesday that the new dispensation will
struck off statutes that drive away from the country enterprising
He said government should not have laws that are vindictive and
retrogressive but should salute its own superstars who have excelled in
their business endeavours.
Mawere acquired SMM in 1996 from British firm T&N.
At acquisition in March 1996, SMM had three business entities
operating in Zimbabwe that was part of the transaction, African Associated
Mines, the mining division of SMM op erating two mines - Shabanie and
Mashaba Mines - Tube & Pipe Industries and Turnall Fibre Cement.
After wrestling SMM from Mawere in 2004, the government through AMG
Global nominees took the case to the UK courts for them to be registered as
the owners of the company.
SMM is registered in the British Virgin Island.
Mawere said Gwaradzimba has no role in SMM.
"The foreign creditors including Petter, Coma, HCR and others have not
been settled to date.
"The liquidators of the companies have not had any access to
Gwaradzimba who as a creature of statute has powers that go beyond the
normal liquidators. He has helped himself to 6% of the gross income of SMM
"This can hardly be described as helping SMM from collapse," he said.
Gwaradzimba's office said the AMG boss is away and will be back in
office tomorrow (Monday).
Chinamasa is in Europe as part of the Zimbabwe delegation re-engaging
the European Union.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 20 June 2009 15:20
A STEERING committee has been set up to spearhead the creation of a
structure that will push for the streamlining of processes prospective
investors undergo to set up business in Zimbabwe.
Under the One Stop Shop (OSS) project proposed by the Zimbabwe
Investment Authority (ZIA) all processes that investors must follow should
be housed under one roof.
Richard Mbaiwa, ZIA chief executive officer said a steering committee
chaired by the authority had been set up to recommend the most appropriate
structure that could be adopted in the transformation to a OSS.
The committee has members from the departments of immigration, deeds,
registrar of companies and the Intellectual Property Office, Ministry of
Labour and Social Services, ZESA, and City of Harare.
"In doing so there was am urgent need to harmonise the processes and
procedures of ZIA and those of other relevant organisations from where
investors seek permits to operate business, with the objective being to
expedite the investment approval process and other processes linked to
this," Mbaiwa said.
The OSS has been adopted elsewhere on the continent with success.
The Rwanda model was chosen as the ideal one that could be implemented
Under the Rwanda model, senior officials drawn from various government
departments meet once a week and make decisions on applications for
different permits by investors.
The decisions made at these meetings are final and binding.
There is general agreement amongst the stakeholders on the
establishment of ZIA as a one-stop-shop along the above lines and this will
be implemented immediately.
Mbaiwa said there is need to capacitate the relevant institutions in
terms of human resources and Information Communication Technology in order
to enhance their capacity to process licences and permits in shorter
turn-around periods and to improve communication among all stakeholders who
interface with investors.
BY ROBINA MANGADZE
Saturday, 20 June 2009 15:20
FINANCIAL institutions that fail to raise the required minimum capital
by September 30 will be forced to merge or go under as the monetary
authorities move in to bolster confidence in a sector battered by years of
Sources last week revealed that only two out of 28 players had met the
minimum capital requirements when the Reserve Bank carried out an audit of
the financial sector in March.
In a circular to financial institutions a fortnight ago, RBZ governor
Gideon Gono announced a phased plan for enforcement of the minimum equity
Banks would have to satisfy 50% of the requirements by September 30
while the remainder must be settled by March 31 next year.
Commercial banks must have a minimum capital of US$6.25 million by
September 30 and US$12.5 million by March 31.
Building societies and merchant banks should have US$5 million by
September 30 and US$10 million by the close of business on March 31 next
Finance and Discount Houses should have US$3.75 million this year and
US$7.5 million by March 31.
Asset managers are supposed to have US$1.25 million as minimum capital
by September 30 and US$2.5 million by March 31.
Information obtained last week show that there is a flurry of activity
in the sector as players plot the way forward.
Gono said institutions that fail to comply with the prescribed levels
were required to have submitted a detailed recapitalisation plan to the
central bank by Monday.
Information gathered last week showed that the RBZ's move to set
minimum capital requirements had the blessing of Finance Minister Tendai
In the past, Biti said if banks were to undergo stress tests, very few
Governments the world over are bolstering the banking sector after
they were blamed for triggering the global meltdown.
Officials at the central bank told Standardbusiness, the apex bank
insists that institutions should meet the minimum capital requirements.
"There is no going back on the minimum capital requirements, they have
to meet them, merge or in the worst case go under," the official said.
Sources say the central bank had also proposed a plan for banks to
merge to create strong institutions.
A banking executive said the sector is depressed as the economy is not
He said there are "too many banks for an economy like Zimbabwe".
There are 15 operating commercial banks, six merchant banks, three
discount houses, four building societies and 17 asset managers for an
economy that has been posting negative growth during the past three years.
Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe chairman, John Mangudya said the
industry felt that the minimum capital requirements were reasonable and the
sector had requested for the figures to be attained gradually.
Mangudya said capitalisation was an important benchmark in banking
"We are saying yes to capital and yes to a phased approach," he said.
Asked what would be the fate of institutions that failed to adhere to
the regulations, Mangudya said such decisions rested solely with
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 20 June 2009 15:20
POOR supervision and the acute brain drain have delayed the completion
of major government projects by the more than 14 years, a new audit report
released by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (OCAG) has
The audit, which covered construction projects for the period 2003 to
2008, said delays in the completion of construction projects ranged from
three to 14 years a move that has seen costs going through the roof.
At least 11 projects were reviewed and they include the Criminal
Investigation Department; Harare Central Registry; Interpol Sub-Regional
Office; Harare Central Hospital, Marondera Central Hospital; and
Progress on the construction of Tafara, Dzivarasekwa, Mutoko, Murehwa
and Hwedza District Offices; Budiriro 1&2 High Schools; and Mazowe Cell
Block was also assessed.
"The delays in supervision were partly caused by acute shortage of
architects who left government service for greener pastures," the report
"Those still in employment could not cope with the ever increasing
number of projects."
According to the report, at the time of the audit there was one
architect for 83 projects against the international standard of one
architect to five projects.
It is a requirement that supervision of projects be carried out by
architects and the technical team.
"However, I noted that the department has been hard hit by high staff
turnover as technical expertise is highly sought after in neighbouring
countries," said Comptroller and Auditor General Mildred Chiri.
She said that while there was a high turnover of staff, construction
projects were increasing.
Chiri said the efficiency and effectiveness of the Public Works
Department had been compromised due to work overload on the part of its
"I am concerned that the quality of work by the department's
architects could be compromised which would negatively affect the quality of
the construction works," the report said.
"On the other hand I was concerned that projects costs continue to
increase due to delays by the PWD to timeously carry out project
supervision, site visits and meetings because of shortage of architects."
The OCAG reviewed 11 project files to obtain information on
construction progress of contracted and in house projects in the respective
Work on the CID block started in September 1999 and was scheduled to
be completed by September 2001.
As of November last year, 83% of the project had been completed.
The purpose of the CID project was to provide adequate office
accommodation for CID staff and for storage of security information.
The OCAG said at the time of the audit, there was no evidence of
adequate supervision of the project being undertaken on a monthly basis and
the technical team did not attend site meetings held on April 25, June 28
and December 6, 2005, the report said.
During the period under review, the contractor was not carrying out
construction work but he charged Ps &Gs (Preliminaries and Generals) of Z$11
727 000 (being Z$643 000 per month for crane hire and Z$660 000 for forklift
hire) as per rates.
"The Ps & Gs were an additional cost to the project which had to be
met from state funds," the report said.
The Harare Central Hospital project started in October 2003 and its
intended date of completion was May 2005.
As of November last year, only 35% of the project had been completed.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 20 June 2009 15:57
MY cousin, Bessie died last week. She was only 37. She had not been
very well for a long time.
She had been away for a lengthy period. Her husband, our mukuwasha
brought her back to the village in her fragile state. She stayed there, in
her place of birth until her final moments being cared for by maiguru, her
mother and the extended family.
There is very little in the village. Things are tough. It is here
where a forgotten tribe of Zimbabweans reside and try to eke out a living -
the tribe of the rural dwellers.
As usual funerals are the rare occasions when the city-types meet with
this forgotten tribe. They come to pay their last respects. They also come
with provisions to cater for the mourners. The city types come face to face
with the sad reality of rural life. There is no US dollar here. There is no
But the sense of community remains intact. You have to admire the
spirit. Men and women come from all corners to bury one of their own. And so
on this occasion, they came together to bury their daughter for everyone
here is everyone's child.
An uncle from the city went down to the village cemetery. There he
found the usual types - the men who whenever communal duty calls, drop
everything to attend to the chores attendant upon a funeral. These were the
grave diggers, taking turns to dig the dry and hard earth with their basic
If they are lucky in these days someone gets them some opaque beer to
get them going. That is why they are happy when they see the city boys -
surely one of them can spare a dollar or two to get a few litres of the good
waters. They were happy to see uncle; even happier with the alcoholic
beverage they had been waiting for.
One of the diggers called uncle away for a private conversation.
It took a while for uncle to recognise him.
They had been together in primary school centuries ago. But a
combination of the elements and time had registered heavily on uncle's
ex-schoolmate. Here was a man who had clearly had to bear the heavier load
of life's burdens and they had left him a broken man. He reminded uncle
about the old days.
He chuckled and laughed as he told uncle how large he had become over
the years. He was pleased to see his old mate. His name is Champion. No one
knows why his father had chosen that title for him.
As the conversation progressed he apologised. Champion apologised for
the request that he was about to make. Like every man here, he is proud and
tries hard to work his way through life so even the thought of making this
request made him uncomfortable. Uncle urged him to feel free.
"Shamwari," Champion started "Ndinokumbirawo dhora. Dhora chete" ("My
friend, can I please ask for one US dollar. Just one US Dollar.") He was
pleading. He wanted a dollar; a single US dollar. Uncle asked why just a
dollar and what he wanted it for.
Champion explained, "Shamwari, zvinhu zvakaoma kuno kumaruzevha.
Hatina mari iyoyi yakauya iyi. Ini nemhuri tapedza two weeks tichidya mangai
because hatina mari yacho yekugaisa chibage.
Saka hatikwanisi kudya sadza" ("My friend, things are tough for us
here in the rural areas. My family and I have been surviving on a daily diet
of boiled maize because we have no money to process the maize into
maize-meal. So we haven't had Sadza for ages"). Sadza, a thick porridge made
from maize-meal is the staple diet in Zimbabwe.
But tell me Champion, how have you survived all along, uncle enquired.
He was keen to know more about how the rural folk have been surviving since
the introduction of the new money and Champion seemed to be a willing
Champion explained, "Well, in the beginning the millers accepted
barter trading. To process a bucket of maize into maize-meal, we would give
the miller a smaller bucket of maize as payment. It worked for a while. We
got maize-meal and he got some maize in return.
At least we could cook sadza and have a decent meal" He paused for
moment as he lit his chimonera (rolled cigarette) and took a quick pull,
then shook his head as he continued. "But now the miller has changed.
Perhaps he now has too much of the maize. So he now demands either US
dollars or Rands.
Trouble is, us folks don't have that kind of money. I have never seen
a US dollar. I do not even know what it looks like. But, my friend, my
children also want sadza. It's embarrassing my friend to be in a position
where the children cry and you, as the man of the house you cannot provide
for them. That is why I ask for a dollar. Just one dollar will do because I
can go to the miller tomorrow to process some maize-meal. Just one dollar,
shamwari. At least the family will eat sadza for a few days", he pleaded.
Uncle felt pity for Champion, his old mate. He took out two dollars
and handed it to Champion. The man was grateful - almost going down on his
knees to dramatically register his gratitude.
To have asked for just one dollar and then got two dollars seemed like
a miracle. He looked long and hard at the two, wrinkly notes - they have
been exchanged so much between so many hands they are barely recognisable.
He was pleased. He was happy to have finally got a US dollar in his
hands. "I am probably the richest man among my friends at the moment", he
quipped, pointing to his fellow grave-diggers. "I bet none of them has ever
seen a US dollar, let alone used it!" he said with a chuckle; the laugh of a
very relieved man. He offered uncle a bucketful of maize but uncle declined.
He said the two dollars was his gift.
There are many 'Champions' in the rural areas of Zimbabwe. They are
the forgotten tribe of Zimbabweans; a tribe of the economically impoverished
for whom dollarization of the currency was a catalyst for a harsh
displacement from the formal economy. Whatever little they had in the
zillions of Zimbabwe dollars was lost when the conversion occurred without
adequate notice or the facility for exchange.
Of course even Zimbabweans in the urban areas where affected,
particularly pensioners. But at least in the cities the 'kiya-kiya' culture
(wheeling-dealing) facilitates opportunities for urban-dwellers to get
access to the new currencies. The situation is markedly different in the
rural areas where the opportunities are severely limited.
It is here where Zimbabwe's poorest reside. It is in these rural areas
where the harsh effects of a severely broken economy have registered more
vividly. They have little, if any, access to the multi-currencies in use
elsewhere. They are virtual spectators; bystanders whose options are
severely limited. They have been reduced to the basic barter-trade economy
where you exchange one good for another. It may work sometimes as Champion
explained but it is unsustainable in the long run.
Champion may have earned two dollars from his begging enterprise but
it is not enough to serve him and his family for the long term.
Meanwhile, they buried my cousin. They say by the time she passed on,
she was in a bad state. They had cared for her in the village. There was
nothing else that could have been done. They could do no more at the local
clinic. So at 37, sisi Bessie was liberated from this world - a young life
She leaves young children. Our mukuwasha had stayed on in the village
after he brought her back. He is a man of limited means. He could not even
mobilise bus fare to return to his home. So the family put together the
little that was available and sent him away.
Scenes like this are not isolated. They are a daily occurrence across
Zimbabwe; especially in rural Zimbabwe, where the US dollar is still to
arrive. There are many who, like Champion are asking for nothing more than
just a dollar. There are many who like sisi Bessie are departing in the
prime of their lives; many like my community, who continue to plod on toward
an uncertain future. They are the forgotten tribe of Zimbabwe - the rural
Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and
can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, 20 June 2009 15:45
LAST week's announcement that 40 more commercial farmers had received
offer letters under the government's chaotic land reform programme is
Several factors forced the government to make the move. The first was
that the issue of farm invasions and eviction of commercial farmers from
their properties was threatening to overshadow the Prime Minister's tour of
Hardliners in government realised that the tour would yield little
except expressions of concern.
The second reason is that because of Zanu PF's insincerity in
implementing the Global Political Agreement in full, government ministers
from that party were going to be denied travel visas to Europe. One of them
had already been embarrassed on the US leg of the Prime Minister's
Three of the government ministers from Zanu PF were likely to be
denied travel visas to Europe. The last minute issuance of visas to three of
the ministers suggests a climb-down by Harare. But there is also desperate
competition by ministers from that party to be among the first to be granted
permission to travel to Europe.
So that's how we ended up with this charade, which sees the majority
of the beneficiaries being wildlife conservancy operators. The truth is that
ordinary land-hungry rural Zimbabweans presently do not have the resources
to operate conservancies. The government is therefore intent on misleading
If there was a genuine desire on the part of Zanu PF elements within
the government to allow white commercial farmers back on the land, the wave
of fresh farm invasions would have ceased, prosecution of commercial farmers
for remaining on their farms would have stopped and the government would
respect the recent Sadc Tribunal ruling on 70 commercial farmers whose
properties the government wants to expropriate.
The government is insincere because it is allowing disruptions to farm
operations even though it is aware that the country faces a crippling wheat
shortage. Common sense would dictate encouraging capable farmers to increase
hectarage under wheat and save Zimbabwe from imports.
Common sense would also caution against disrupting farm operations
ahead of preparations for the 2009/2010 agricultural season.
Fresh farm invasions have continued over the past two months despite
the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) on September 15 last
year calling for the restoration of order in the agriculture sector.
The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) contends that at least 170 of its
members face prosecution for remaining on the land with Mashonaland Central,
Manicaland and Masvingo the most affected areas.
Two weeks ago the Sadc Tribunal dismissed an application by the
government to postpone a contempt application against it by Zimbabwe
The Tribunal, ruled that Zimbabwe's land seizures are in breach of the
Sadc Treaty's human rights provisions.
Zimbabwe, according to the Tribunal, not only breached the November
order, but was in contempt. It singled out public statements by President
Robert Mugabe that Zimbabwe would continue to prosecute farmers protected by
the Tribunal's order.
Consequently, the Tribunal referred Zimbabwe's contempt to the Sadc
Summit for measures to be taken against it under the Treaty. The measures
include sanctions or expulsion from Sadc. These are the real drivers of the
"offer letters". If the government was sincere it would cease the racist
persecution of productive and law-abiding citizens which creates an
impression of lawlessness. Is that the reputation government wants?
Zimbabweans, not the West, Want Gono to go
Saturday, 20 June 2009 16:22
EVERYONE is now familiar with the Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana
The well-worn out Zanu PF rhetoric is that it is the West that wants
Gono and Tomana out. The latest of the converts is Reverend Trevor Manhanga,
whose support for the embattled governor of the Reserve Bank says volumes
about his political leanings.
During his maiden speech at Glamis Stadium Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai was confronted with chants of "Gono! Gono!" I am not good at
shouting but I was in total agreement with the audience. I am not from the
Zanu PF is well known for ignoring the voices of over a million
Zimbabweans while hearing only voices of the West.
Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs somehow
rightly pointed out that those who were against Gono were against Zanu PF.
Indeed, Gono is an asset to Zanu PF and not the nation.
I am no economist but I do not believe that zero economics (adding and
subtracting zeros) needs much imagination or a genius. Neither does giving
chiefs cars for their personal use when rural hospitals have neither
ambulances nor medicines.
The loudest voices clamouring for Gono's head are from Zimbabweans and
not the West.
In the courts there is even a clause that attempts to stop selective
application of the law. It is the law of precedence.
When I was in court with leaders from the ZCTU after the September 13,
2006 arrest we appealed to the Supreme Court challenging the
constitutionality of the Act under which we were charged.
Our appeal was rejected by the magistrate. Alec Muchadehama, our
lawyer did not quote any legal statutes but brought another judgement in
which refusal to grant an appeal to the Supreme Court was taken as the
reason for appeal to the same court.
In other words, an unchallenged judgement subsequently carries the
weight of law. This principle damns people like Tomana whose selective
application of justice defeats the very spirit of law.
But the greatest controversy lies not in the performance of these
characters. It is in their re-appointment.
I agree with those in Zanu PF who insist that in re-appointing them
President Robert Mugabe broke no law and indeed the MDC formations are not
appealing to any law courts. The re-appointments broke the letter and spirit
of the September 15, 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) - period.
The GPA document specifically state that the agreement comes into
effect with the signing of the document. Except for the accreditation of
diplomats and granting of pardons, the President is not mandated to make
arbitrary decisions and/appointments. The document specifically states that
the appointment of the Attorney-General and the Reserve Bank Governor should
be done in consultation with the Prime Minister.
The re-appointments of Gono and Tomana were done in blatant violation
of the GPA. To suggest that the GPA is silent on these issues is wishful
thinking. Mugabe re-appointed the two to full terms. No transitional
arrangement has the right to make long-term decisions.
I have outlined what the majority of Zimbabweans think. The opposite
of this is what the Zanu PF leadership thinks. So it is absurd to say that
more people have come out in support of Gono when quoting the likes of
Joseph Chinotimba and those he purports to represent.
Gono and Tomana's tenures are inconsistent with the GPA.
Rev Nqobizitha Khumalo
Getting Disillusioned by the Inclusive Govt
Saturday, 20 June 2009 16:20
AFTER the first 100 days of the new government of national unity in
office, the high expectations that people had at first are starting to fade.
The majority of people are still confused as to whether the new
government is different from the previous administration which was riddled
with corruption, incompetence, mismanagement, poor service delivery,
arrogance, brutality, among other inadequacies of modern democracy.
Most people are still convinced that with well over 100 days in office
for the new administration, little has changed for the better. In fact, many
believe that the two MDC formations which now form part of the new
administration run the risk of also being corrupted.
Electricity, water and other basic human necessities essential for
survival continue to be major challenges to the ordinary people and there is
no sign that the new government is working towards rectifying the problems.
What makes it worse is that the new government's Zesa and Zinwa have
even the audacity to send us exorbitant bills when we rarely have water and
electricity for the better part of the month.
If you dare to ask them how they came up with those high water and
electricity bills when we spend the better part of the month without them,
they threaten you with cutting off water and electricity supply.
How do they explain water and electricity bills of more than US$300 a
month when most people earn far below that?
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority and the Zimbabwe National
Water Authority must not justify their poor service on lack of financial
resources when they are giving themselves hefty salaries while the whole
nation is bleeding.
The bills they charge us are not commensurate with the services they
provide. It is incumbent upon the new government to make sure people get
real value for their money and try to improve service delivery and therefore
distinguish itself from the previous government that was only preoccupied
with its own interests.
No matter how hard times are, the new government will be judged by its
results and the way it responds to people's concerns. The new government
cannot afford to ignore people's demands because it is there to serve the
people and it is the people who made it.
ZBC: Allegations 'unfounded and mischievous'
Saturday, 20 June 2009 16:17
A letter in The Standard issue of June 7-13 refers:
As has become the norm with The Standard, the letter was published
without ZBH being given the opportunity to respond as normal journalistic
ZBC as an organisation observes the principles of corporate governance
which demand transparency accountability, integrity and probity. This is a
public institution which publishes its financial statements in accordance
with the required standards and governing statutes.
Allegations of looting and corruption are supposed to be detected by
our auditors who audit these financial statements. It is gratifying to note
that "Professional" has unearthed these corrupt activities which our
auditors failed to detect.
As an experienced and skilled worker as he alleges, it is common
knowledge that such evidence as he purports to have could easily be availed
to the Anti-Corruption Commission and the law enforcement agents for further
ZBC as a national broadcaster serves the national interest and
provides balanced reporting which can be proved by the Media Monitoring
statistics elsewhere in the pages of The Standard.
The corporation regards its workers as its greatest assets who are
treated fairly in accordance with labour laws and our code of conduct.
"Professional's" allegations of victimisation of some employees on political
grounds is (sic) unfounded and mischievous. Contrary to what "Professional"
is alleging, staff moral (sic) is at acceptable levels, considering the
challenges facing every company under this economy.
It is surprising to note that "Professional" alleges that ZBC is
failing to broadcast due to obsolete and archaic equipment when in fact we
have managed to broadcast all our programmes including national events with
The operations of ZBC are guided by its policies, procedures and
systems promulgated by the board of directors in concurrence with the
shareholder. Any deviations to these set procedures are subject to audit
queries from our auditors.
Hiring of vehicles and any other equipment is normal practise in any
business activity especially when the institution is subjected to shortages
of such equipment, surely this cannot be regarded as looting or corruption
when even the CEO does not have an official vehicle and depends on pool
Why does "Professional" not even sympathise with some of our general
managers who have resorted to use their own personal vehicles to service the
organisation without compensation. These personal vehicles are now being
regarded as hired vehicles giving a false impression to the public. Some of
"Professional's" allegations concerning fuel display his ignorance with the
provisions of the conditions of service of management as agreed with the
board of directors.
The Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity is the parent
ministry of ZBC which represent (sic) the interest of the shareholder.
Sharing of assets and resources is common practise (sic) that should be done
procedurally. Allegations of fuel drawn by ministry official's relatives and
girlfriends are malicious.
PR Manager (ZBH Holdings) Harare.
Saturday, 20 June 2009 16:15
PLEASE help the students at St Mary's college in Dzivarasekwa, Harare.
A great number of last year's "A" Level candidates are yet to collect
their results because the college is withholding them.
Students are being asked to pay US$150 for bricks and purported
balances on fees. One student I met said he had been told to pay US$300
before he could collect his results.
Please help these children otherwise the college will cash on the
desperation of these students who want their results. I call upon the
authorities to investigate this issue and intervene as soon as possible.
They Have it in Black & White
Saturday, 20 June 2009 16:09
THE one good thing coming out of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
overseas visit is that Zanu PF is getting it from the horse's mouth what
must be done for sanctions to be lifted.
Everywhere Tsvangirai went he was told in no uncertain terms by his
Western hosts that until they see genuine political reforms that guarantee
press and other freedoms, the sanctions are staying.
I also find it puzzling what part of the demand for full compliance
with the letter and spirit of the GPA Zanu PF does not understand.
Persecution of MDC supporters and civic activists has continued while farm
invasions have assumed an even more brazen approach.
Surely, these are not the actions of people serious about
re-engagement with the rest of the world.
SMS The Standard
Saturday, 20 June 2009 16:25
PEOPLE should not be fooled by the so-called delays by Zanu PF MPs,
who claim they want allowances for the constitution-making mobilization
process. I have discovered that the party is busy trying to mobilize or
influence the grassroots because their vehicles and officials are traversing
the length and breadth of the country. Their mission is unclear. I suggest
civic groups move around ensuring that people are not intimidated into
writing a Zanu PF constitution because the party is aware of the type of
constitution that is likely to come out if the process is not rigged. I am
sure they want to avoid that outcome by whatever means. Just look at what
they are doing to the Global Political Agreement. They mean no good to
WITHIN the government of national unity one party is fighting to save
the people and the country from collapse but the other is fighting to save
itself and serve its kleptomaniacs. The smallest party is fighting to save
itself from extinction and serve its leadership. - Cleka.
ZESA should note that with all the candles and firewood we are buying
in New Canaan, Highfield everyday due to extreme load-shedding in our area
we will not be able to pay their bills at the end of the month. We go for
two weeks without electricity and when power returns, we barely have it for
four hours. - Disgruntled, Highfield, Harare.
LAST week on Monday we hurriedly borrowed from friends and neighbours
so we could pay what Zesa claimed was due to them before June 20. We hoped
this would save us from the Zimbabwe Electricity is Sometimes Available's
power disruptions. How have we been rewarded? We have returned home every
evening to be greeted by darkness. Do we need this unaccountable creature
and its over-paid baggage? - R Fedup, Harare.
ZESA is a walking disaster. Is cutting power their only work? The long
periods we are without electricity are getting serious and there are not
specified times. It is so haphazard. Their function should be to supply and
not to disrupt power supplies. - Irate consumer.
WE want elected provincial premiers who will implement policies
formulated by provincial legislatures. - Mamjiji, Kutama Mission, Zvimba.
WE don't want a president with executive powers. Once bitten twice
shy. The new constitution-making committee needs to know about that and bear
this in mind. - Shikota, Hwange.
LET'S advocate for devolution of power and proportional representation
in the new people-driven constitution. - Tozivepi, Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe.
THE issue about the new constitution is not about the process. In the
end what matters is the content. So let's all participate in the process so
that our views can be included. - Solomon Mguni, Bulawayo.
LET'S have seven provinces - Manicaland, Masvingo, the Midlands,
Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Mashonaland East, and Mashonaland
West. Bulawayo should be the legislative capital hosting the national
parliament while Harare remains the national capital. - Anon.
THE Governor of the Reserve Bank needs to go if he has the interests
of Zimbabweans at heart. We can't have one person blocking all the foreign
investment that should be coming to this country and intended to develop
Zimbabwe while creating much-needed employment. Zanu PF is not serious about
the government of national unity. They should implement everything in the
Global Political Agreement. - I M.
DONOR nations should tell Harare to reform before aid can trickle in.
Once Zanu PF fails to remove its leader it is going to be the same old story
of refusing to go. - Zvamatongwa naMwari.
I think there is too much worry about the Governor of the Reserve Bank
without focus on the real issues like unemployment. No wonder why crime is
on the increase. - Mash.
WHY pity kombi drivers when they pack you like sardines in their rusty
vehicles and make it their solemn duty to avoid giving you change? - Chinja.
THERE is a well-organised gang of pastors. They are definitely not
what they are supposed to be. Three and half months ago they lured a man who
was looking to set up a business centre. He bought all the machines he
needed to operate a business. But up to now he and the workers he had
employed have not been able to operate.-Distraught, Harare.
I AM surprised that the government is taking no action on the country's
busiest highway - the "butcher road" - the Harare - Beitbridge road. We have
lost many lives, property and it's getting worse. Please do something. -
FOOD for thought for the state media: What is needed is the removal of
the conditions that caused targeted sanctions and restrictive measures in
the first place. -Cleka weDowasuro.
THE government of national unity has done a good job but there really
is little left for them to do. Like any coalition the problem is that it is
run by two different drivers. Our only hope of taking convincing steps
forward is in the 2011 elections. Right now Zimbabwe is like a frail body
bearing two heads, each facing in a different direction, while perched on a
weak neck. - Ibim.
MANY thanks to the Prime Minister's office for the weekly newsletter.
It keeps us well informed. - Grateful.
THE Caps United defence needs to improve urgently otherwise the team
will be out of the race. - Kepekepe Bhora, Harare.
MAY The Standard editorial team get serious and not take readers for
granted. Match reports have silly errors. They also reported a false 1 - 0
Highlanders/Highway score line when the teams drew 2-2. We are your readers.
Do not take us for granted. - M Nyatanga.