Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:47
ZANU PF has resolved to block the ongoing constitutional reform
process if the Kariba draft is abandoned by the select parliamentary
committee driving the controversial task, further jeopardising the exercise.
The move could scuttle the constitutional reform agenda and with it
the hope of fresh, free and fair elections which were initially anticipated
to come immediately after a new constitution had been adopted.
Informed sources said President Robert Mugabe wants the Kariba draft
to prevail because it leaves his powers intact. If that does not happen,
Zanu PF is prepared to stall the whole process to avoid going into new
elections. Even though Mugabe has claimed there would be elections soon
after a new constitution has been adopted, Zanu PF insiders say Mugabe does
not want the elections for fear of almost inevitable defeat by his main
rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (right).
As a result Zanu PF resolved at its central committee meeting on
Wednesday that it would stick to the Kariba draft - which it wants adopted
wholesale - or else sabotage the process. Zanu PF, sources said, does not
even believe in the ongoing public consultations which resumed this week
because it wants a blanket endorsement of the Kariba draft.
Sources who attended the central committee meeting said Zanu PF took a
decision to undermine the process unless it got what it wanted, which is the
Kariba draft and retention of the reins of power.
Informed sources said a motion was moved for the party to immediately
pull out of the process by senior party members who claimed that the MDC was
not sincere and had failed to campaign for the lifting of sanctions. They
also said the process was not a priority and there were no resources.
Those who spoke at the crucial meeting included Claudius Makova, Joel
Biggie Matiza and Godfrey Malaba.
However, Mugabe urged caution, saying Zanu PF did not need to pull out
of the Sadc-guaranteed process now because it had a good opportunity to
block the process in parliament if the MDC "hijacks" the agenda.
The party eventually said it would bring to a halt the process in
parliament if the MDC abandons the Kariba draft as it has now done. The
Global Political Agreement which led to the inclusive government indicates
the Kariba draft would be the basis for the constitution-making process. But
the Kariba draft has provoked widespread opposition from civil society and
The Zanu PF decision followed a report to the central committee by
party stalwart and point person on constitutional reform Olivia Muchena
which had indicated that there were divisions between Zanu PF and the MDC on
the way forward. The same report was presented to the politburo last week.
Although Zanu PF and MDC MPs initially said the Kariba draft had been
thrown out, the Zanu PF politburo recently tasked Muchena to go to the
parliamentary select committee to enforce the Kariba draft as the reference
document, triggering open clashes between Zanu PF and the MDC.
This week Zanu PF and the MDC intensified the growing infighting.
A day after the MDC resolved to abandon the Kariba draft, Zanu PF
decided to cling onto it.
At its extra-ordinary National Executive meeting on Tuesday, the MDC
resolved "to reject any attempts to have the Kariba draft, one of many
drafts available, adopted as the Alpha and Omega of the constitution-making
"The MDC believes in a truly people-driven constitution-making process
where the unfettered will of the people must be reflected," the party said.
Since Mugabe and smaller MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara want the
Kariba draft, drawn up by the three parties' negotiators in 2007, in line
with their political agreement, main MDC leader Tsvangirai faces a difficult
task to ensure his party's resolution and position prevail.
Powerful civic groups, including the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, as well as a whole range of
other organisations, have said they were opposed to this current exercise
and are demanding a "people-driven process".
The NCA this week intensified its attacks on the Zanu PF/MDC process
and their Kariba draft.
The NCA said the Kariba draft leaves the current executive power
"Under the Kariba draft, all executive authority rests in the
president, who "takes precedence over all other persons in Zimbabwe", and
"Under the current constitution, the president enjoys expansive,
unchecked powers that can be used for political advantage," the NCA said.
"These powers are not diminished under the Kariba draft."
The NCA said the Kariba draft highlighted the flaws and defects of the
ongoing process which is not participatory, open and democratic.
"The Kariba draft constitution is an undemocratic document in terms of
both process and content. The draft was written in secret, usurping the
right of the people of Zimbabwe to write a constitution for themselves. If
the draft were enacted, it would establish a government that would be
dominated by the executive. Parliament, the judiciary and numerous public
offices and bodies would be subject to political manipulation and control,"
"Many of the fundamental rights and freedoms to which Zimbabweans are
entitled would not be protected. For these reasons, the Kariba draft should
play no role in constitution making in Zimbabwe. The country's political
leaders should publicly reject the use of the Kariba draft as the basis for
constitutional reform and embrace people-driven solutions to Zimbabwe's
crisis of governance."
BY DUMISANI MULEYA
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:44
ZANU PF has dispatched a team led by Defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa to the East to seek financial and other material resources for the
country in a counter-move to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's three-week
trip to Europe and the United States.
President Robert Mugabe told a closed session of the central committee
meeting in the capital on Wednesday that Mnangagwa's team, which includes
Women's League chief Oppah Muchinguri, was sent to the party's traditional
friends when it became apparent that Tsvangirai was failing to get financial
aid during his recent tour.
Mugabe made this disclosure after central committee members expressed
concern that Tsvangirai seemed to have embarked on the trip to raise money
for social ministries which were under the control of ministers from his
Central committee members who confided in the Zimbabwe Independent
said the Zanu PF team would, among other countries, visit China, Russia and
Malaysia, in search of financial and material aid to revive the comatose
Mugabe, the sources revealed, said Tsvangirai had sought the trip and
promised to secure the U$8,3 billion to revive the economy.
"They (Tsvangirai and his entourage) said they will bring (back)
US$8,3 billion, but nothing came," one of the sources quoted Mugabe saying.
"That is the weapon we now have. They have gone West, now we go East.
Already we have people who went to lay the way. This is a party delegation
which has gone led by Emmerson Mnangagwa and Muchinguri."
The sources said Mugabe was upbeat about a favourable response, adding
that the aid would be used to prop up Zanu PF and present it to the
electorate as the only party that delivers on their wishes.
"We will certainly be delivering much more than they (MDC-T) are able
to deliver," Mugabe was quoted as saying.
Tsvangirai's three-week tour of the US and Europe yielded mainly
promises of aid only after the inclusive government meets benchmarks such as
upholding of human rights, media and legal reforms, drafting of a new
constitution and the holding of free and fair elections.
At the start of his trip, Tsvangirai's party suggested that he would
be able to mobilise between US$700 million and US$1 billion, but he managed
to raise just over US$200 million - most of which would be channelled
through non-governmental organisations and is mostly humanitarian aid.
Besides the US, Tsvangirai visited Denmark, Germany, Norway, the
Netherlands, Britain, France, Sweden and the Belgian capital Brussels, seat
of the European Union. He was expected to end his tour in France last night.
Meanwhile, there was discord in the Tsvangirai delegation, which
comprised Tourism minister Walter Mzembi and Economic Development minister
Reports suggested that the delegation lacked a well-thought out plan
on who attends which meetings and there was no liaison between the team and
Zimbabwean embassies they visited.
BY CONSTANTINE CHIMAKURE
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:43
THE African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights has recommended
that government should "decriminalise" offences relating to the
accreditation and the practice of journalism in Zimbabwe.
The commission ruled in favour of the Independent Journalists
Association of Zimbabwe (Ijaz), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR),
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) in a case challenging
sections of the controversial Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa) promulgated in 2002.
Government has however relaxed this section through Constitutional
Amendments 18 and 19, which abolished the Media and Information Commission
(MIC) and replaced it with a constitutional body, the Zimbabwe Media
The applicants lodged a complaint to the commission in 2005
challenging provisions of Aippa which state that "no journalist shall
exercise the rights in Section 78 in Zimbabwe without being accredited by
the Commission (MIC)".
Ijaz, ZLHR and Misa argued that the emphasis on the right to freedom
of expression in ensuring democracy is such that regulation other than
self-regulation, is undesirable in a democratic society.
They argued that Aippa was aimed at "controlling and even obstructing"
the work of journalists.
"In view of the above reasoning, the African Commission recommends
that the respondent state repeal Sections 79 and 80 of Aippa," reads the
ruling dated June 4.
Government, the African Commission adjudged, should "bring Aippa in
line with Article 9 of the African Charter and other principles and
international human rights instruments; and report on the implementation of
these recommendations within six months of notification thereof".
The commission also advised government to adopt legislation providing
a framework for self-regulation.
The complainants submitted that the registration requirements and
procedures were "unduly intrusive and burdensome" arguing that intrusion
into an individual's private details militated against journalism.
"They (Ijaz, Misa and ZLHL) argue that the accreditation forms have to
be examined and approved by both the permanent secretary and the minister,
thereby establishing control of journalists by central government," the
The complainants also urged the African Commission to "draw
inspiration" from legal precedent developed in other regional human rights
The annual accreditation process, according to Ijaz, Misa and ZLHR had
a "chilling effect" on the journalists' ability to freely practise their
trade, adding that this could lead to self-censorship.
The state however argued that the complainants had failed to establish
a violation of Article 9 of the Charter stating that it was misleading to
suggest that the MIC is "susceptible to political manipulation and control".
"It is incorrect, the respondent state argues, to suggest that Section
80 of Aippa unreasonably restricts the right to freedom of expression and
dissemination of information. According to the respondent state, Section 80
restricts not all falsehoods, but only those that are willfully published
and that are likely to injure public interest," read the documents.
BY BERNARD MPOFU
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:40
THE Attorney-General (AG)'s office yesterday admitted that former
television newscaster and human rights activist Jestina Mukoko was abducted
and illegally detained by state security agents.
Fatima Maxwell, a senior official in the AG's office, made the
admission after the Supreme Court bench made up of Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku, and Justices Wilson Sandura, Luke Malaba, Vernanda Ziyambi, and
Paddington Garwe sought the state's legal opinion on whether Mukoko's
detention from December 3 to 22 last year was consistent with the law.
Mukoko is seeking permanent stay of prosecution on charges of
recruiting or trying to recruit people to overthrow the government. More
than a dozen other MDC-T activists face similar charges.
Defence lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa and Advocate Jeremy Gauntlet from
South Africa argued that Mukoko's rights to liberty, protection of law and
from torture had been trampled under foot when she was abducted by state
security agents from her home and kept incommunicado for 19 days.
"The process (of her arrest) is so contaminated that you should order
a stay of prosecution," Gauntlet told the court, adding that prosecutors
were solely relying on evidence extracted from Mukoko during torture to
The court reserved judgement on the matter indefinitely. If it rules
in Mukoko's favour, it would affect the other activists who have made the
same applications at the Supreme Court.
Maxwell, in response to a question from Chidyausiku, said the state
did not dispute Mukoko's evidence and had not questioned the security agents
who had allegedly abducted her.
Asked if she was conceding that Mukoko's abduction and detention were
illegal, Maxwell told the court: "Yes my Lord."
On whether Mukoko had been tortured, Maxwell added: "The allegations
as they stand and if proved are a clear violation of the three rights in the
These are the right to liberty, protection at law and protection from
But Maxwell said the violations should not prevent Mukoko from being
prosecuted, rather there should be a separate inquiry to investigate the
"We respectfully submit that yes the violations are serious, multiple
and were protracted ... the only meaningful redress in this case is a stay
of prosecution," Gauntlet argued.
Meanwhile, High Court Judge, Justice Tendai Uchena, on Monday cleared
the way to allow four MDC members - Concillia Chinanzvavana, Fidelis
Chiramba, Violet Mupfuranhewe and Collen Mutemagawu - to challenge their
abduction and torture at the hands of state security agents before their
In his ruling, Justice Uchena granted an application for referral to
the Supreme Court of the matter involving the four who are seeking a
determination on several of their constitutional rights, which were
allegedly violated as a result of their abduction, torture and detention. -
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:38
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Wednesday put an end to the succession
debate in Zanu PF ahead of its December congress by asserting that he will
stay put and declaring that there will be no change of guard in the party's
top leadership until there is "better unity".
Impeccable sources in Zanu PF told the Zimbabwe Independent that the
ageing Mugabe told his party's central committee that he will not vacate
office when "enemies" were waging a war against him -- halting the
succession debacle that has threatened to split the party down the middle
over the past five years.
Mugabe's declaration, the sources said, also laid bare last month's
appointment by the politburo of a committee headed by national chairman John
Nkomo to come up with a succession plan.
There are two factions in Zanu PF battling to influence the party's
successor to Mugabe who has been at its helm since 1977.
Politburo member, retired army general Solomon Mujuru, allegedly leads
a faction pushing for his wife Joice to replace Mugabe, while another camp,
reportedly headed by party legal secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa, wants the
defence minister to take over from the octogenarian president.
The succession crisis in Zanu PF reached a crescendo on May 20 during
a politburo meeting when bigwigs attributed problems besieging the party to
infighting and divisions by senior officials bent on grabbing power from
Party heavyweights who clashed during the heated meeting were, among
others, Vice-president Joice Mujuru, Solomon Mujuru, Mnangagwa,
administration secretary Didymus Mutasa, women's secretary Oppah Muchinguri,
and politburo members Rugare Gumbo, Thokozile Mathuthu and Saviour
The clash prompted the convening of another politburo meeting on May
28 where Nkomo's committee, among others, was appointed to come up a
The plan, Zanu PF sources said, would not be in place before the party's
six-day congress that begins on December 18 and that Mugabe's declaration on
Wednesday had put an end to the succession issue for the time being.
During the central committee meeting -- which also discussed the
constitution-making process, the work of the all-inclusive government and
the recent trip to Europe and the United States by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai -- Mugabe spoke about jostling for power in Zanu PF.
The sources said the 85-year-old Mugabe claimed there were also
exogenous forces who wanted him out of power.
One of the sources quoted Mugabe saying: "The British are saying
Mugabe must go, but I am saying, where are they saying go? I will not go.
When people are united, when people have ownership of their resources like
land, there is no reason why we will not decide to have a new leadership.
But not when enemies are waging a war against you. You don't go."
The source added that Mugabe implied that there should be no change of
leadership in Zanu PF -- a move that may result in Joice Mujuru retaining
her post as vice-president of the party at the congress and avert current
efforts by Muchinguri and members of the Women's League from ousting her.
This also entails that ailing Vice-President Joseph Msika, whom Mugabe
described in the central committee meeting as "very weak", would be forced
to retain his position. Nkomo would also remain national chairperson.
"We must be united. People (in Zanu PF) are preoccupied with planning
who will be where, by such a time. That will be decided when we are better
united," Mugabe was quoted saying.
Last week, the Independent wrote that the Mujuru camp wanted to seek
an audience with Mugabe to stop the ouster of Joice and other members of the
faction from the politburo and the central committee during the congress.
Mugabe, according to the sources, said the push for a new constitution
was another ploy by the MDC and the West to effect regime change.
"You see how the West hates you, how they hate me and they hate Zanu
PF. You see the love between the MDC and the West," the source quoted Mugabe
saying. "All these issues about a new constitution are processes by people
who think this is what will get them into power."
Other sources in Zanu PF said despite Mugabe's declaration on
Wednesday, the succession crisis was expected to intensify at various
forthcoming events leading to the congress in December.
Zanu PF will hold its Youth League congress from July 17-19, the Women's
League congress on August 26-29 and the main congress from December 8-13.
Sources said Mugabe's position may influence the outcome of the youth and
"From a constitutional point of view, Mugabe's declaration is null and
void as the provinces nominate people to occupy offices in the presidium,"
one of the sources said. "But as you know, whatever Mugabe says goes. No one
can challenge him in the party."
Before Mugabe's declaration, sweeping changes were expected to take
place in the youth and women's leagues that would have resulted in
Muchinguri being elected vice-president of the party at the main December
congress ahead of Mujuru who is accused of working with the Tsvangirai-led
MDC-T and of backing last year's independent presidential candidate Simba
Muchinguri was expected to fight it out with cabinet minister Olivia
Muchena to head the Women's League and automatically secure membership in
the politburo as secretary for women affairs. Muchena is linked to the
The leadership of the Youth League is also expected to be overhauled
in line with the party's constitution that states that office bearers should
be below the age of 30.
BY CONSTANTINE CHIMAKURE
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:35
THE constitution-making process got underway this week with most
people who attended provincial consultative hearings expressing fear that
politicians will hijack the process.
The suspicious public who came from various social, businesses,
traditional and political groups demanded to know how the 25-member
parliamentary select committee to spearhead the process would work with
ordinary Zimbabweans to craft the new constitution.
Provincial hearings were held on Wednesday in Harare, Mashonaland
East, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Manicaland. On Saturday, the
hearings will take place in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Matabeleland North,
Matabeleland South and Midlands.
In Harare, people questioned members of the select committee on the
guarantees in place that politicians would not tamper with their views in
coming up with the draft constitution and whether Zimbabweans in the
diaspora will be allowed to participate in the process.
Participants at the hearing also questioned the committee on the
source of funds to bankroll the labourious exercise.
Civil society groups like the National Constitutional Assembly, the
Zimbabwe National Students Union and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
have said they would oppose the constitution-making process because it is
Responding to some of the questions, co-chairperson of the select
committee, Douglas Mwonzora, said MPs and other stakeholders in the process
would not deliberate on views from the people in private, adding that an
international body would be set up to monitor the transparency and
accountability of the process.
He said MPs constituted a small percentage of the stakeholders in the
process, thus would not dominate the process.
"An all-stakeholders' conference to be held on July 10 to 12 will
have 5 000 delegates from 10 provinces, each province will be represented by
500 people," Mwonzora said. "There are 210 MPs and if the delegation will
constitute 5 000 people the MPs will only make four percent of the
all-stakeholders' conference. It's not correct to say all stakeholders will
be dominated by MPs."
The conference will form 12 thematic sub-committees consisting of 40
people working on a certain subject on the constitution.
Mwonzora said: "For example, a sub-committee will work on the land,
talking about issues of the land that would have come out of the people. MPs
will constitute 30% while stakeholders will be 70%. Civil society dominates
and not parliament."
During the consultation phase teams, mostly from civil society, would
for four months consult with the public and each constituency will have 30
days of consultation with the people where each ward will hold three public
"Different ideas from the consultations will be sent to the thematic
committees and for three months the committee will be debating with the help
of experts. Each thematic committee will come out with a report which will
be made into three copies," Mwonzora explained. "We will join all their
reports and make a draft constitution which will be then taken to the second
all-stakeholders conference for debate. No one can change the people's
views. The three copies will be the basis of any future dissension."
He said parliament would debate on the reports of the select committee
and not the draft committee.
When asked why there were plans to use the Kariba draft constitution
as a reference document, Mwonzora said: "The draft is one of the proposed
constitutions among the NCA draft, the MDC draft, Margaret Dongo's Four Day
draft and the "Zimbabwe We Want" document.
"What is happening is that because there was a lot of mystery
surrounding them we decided to publish them. All the drafts are going to be
circulated and their ideas only will be brought on the table."
Mwonzora said a website for Zimbabweans in the diaspora has been put
in place and consultations with them would be done through it.
The people questioned the select committee why there was an 18-month
timeframe to come up with the draft supreme law, to which the lawyer
replied: "If we are to change the timeframe, then we have to open up
negotiations (of the global political agreement), which you know takes time.
This project is time-bound."
BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:35
KWEKWE Mbizo legislator Settlement Chikwinya has moved a motion in
parliament for urgent reforms of the country's media laws in line with the
Global Political Agreement that resulted in the formation of the inclusive
Chikwinya last week challenged MPs to push for the repeal or laws
affecting the media after accusing the executive of dragging its heels in
promoting press freedom. Nyanga North MP Douglas Mwonzora seconded the
"I therefore want to call upon the executive, in particular the
Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, to bring on pieces of
legislation for amendment or repeal in this House," said Chikwinya.
"While I appreciate that there are plans to put in place the Zimbabwe
Media Commission, this noble idea will not be able to operate to our
expectations because the prevailing media backgrounds prohibits so."
His motion came two days before the clerk of parliament Austin Zvoma
said a parliamentary sub-committee of the Standing Rules and Orders
Committee -- the Law and Procedure Committee -- would this week start to
shortlist candidates to fill posts for the four public commissions including
the ZMC. Other statutory bodies are the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption
Chikwinya criticised public media and the state-controlled
broadcaster, ZBC, for unfair and biased coverage of the former opposition
party, which is now a partner in the four-month-old coalition government.
He said the coalition government would go "nowhere" if existing media
laws exist, adding that parliament should summon Media, Information and
Publicity minister Webster Shamu to introduce reviews or amendments to the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act before the end of the
inclusive government's 100-day plan on August 6.
Chikwinya challenged Shamu "to constitute the Broadcasting Services
Board which should immediately start granting licences to other players by
He added that the constituting of the Zimbabwe Media Commission be
quickened and brought to finality by mid-July.
Chikwinya said Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa should also bring to
parliament "amendments of all clauses" of the Criminal Law (Reform and
Codification) Act, which he blames for curtailing media freedom.
"Madam Speaker, allow me to call upon the executive and in particular
the co-ministers of Home Affairs to bring before parliament for amendment or
repeal all clauses contained in the Public Order and Security Act by 6th
August, 2009," he said.
Parliament, the MDC Mbizo MP added, should also repeal or amend the
Interception of Communications Act.
"The ZMC is not in the best of conditions but people should appreciate
that we are a step towards achieving our set goals," Chikwinya said.
BY BERNARD MPOFU
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:28
MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe and other party officials last
week attended a celebration rally for MDC Nkayi South MP Abednico Bhebhe
that was also attended by MPs from Arthur Mutambara's formation who are
facing disciplinary charges.
This has renewed speculation that the MDC legislators have switched
allegiances to Morgan Tsvangirai's camp.
The celebration rally held last week in Nkayi was also attended by
MDC-T Bulawayo mayor-designate Seiso Moyo and Luveve MP Reggie Moyo.
The MDC leadership last month wrote letters to structures in
constituencies where there are suspended MPs warning them to desist from
associating in any way with the suspended MPs.
MDC MPs who attended the rally in defiance of their party directive
are Nomalanga Khumalo, the deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly who is
also the MP for Mangwe, Norman Mpofu (Bulillima East) and Njabulo Mguni
MDC party members at the rally took turns to lambast party leader
Arthur Mutambara over his leadership.
The district chairperson of Nkayi South, Jabulani Ncube, told the
gathering that the people of Nkayi had defected to the MDC-T while the Nkayi
Rural District Council chairman Kufakwezwe Ncube confirmed media reports
that all the 23 MDC councillors from Nkayi South had defected to Tsvangirai.
District officials who spoke at the rally said they would stand in
solidarity with Bhebhe throughout the whole disciplinary process.
Bhebhe is among five legislators and officials from MDC who were
suspended from the party last month.
The suspended legislators are Tsholotsho South Member of the House of
Assembly, Maxwell Dube, Thandeko Mnkandla (Gwanda North), Mpofu (Bulilima
East) and Bhebhe.
Also suspended were the party's secretary for defence Job Sikhala,
national youth chairperson Gift Nyandoro, and Matabeleland South provincial
treasurer Alex Goosen.
Meanwhile MDC spokesperson Edwin Mushoriwa has warned councillors from
constituencies where MPs have been suspended of instant dismissal from the
party if they continue co-operating with the "rebels".
The warning comes after all the 23 councillors from Nkayi South
attended Bhebhe's victory celebration on Saturday in defiance of the party's
Last month, the party's secretary-general Welshman Ncube wrote to all
councillors in the constituencies held by the suspended MPs, directing them
to cease cooperation with suspended legislators.
Speaking to the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Mushoriwa said the
party was still gathering information on who attended the rally. He said the
party would take a "very stern" position on those who attended in defiance
of the party's directive.
"We have heard rumours of the so-called victory rally on Saturday and
we are still to get the finer details," said Mushoriwa. "If it's true that
some of our councillors attended the event, the party will take a very stern
position on them."
BY LOUGHTY DUBE/HENRY MHARA
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:28
RECENT pledges during Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's tour of the
US and other Western countries to increase humanitarian aid channelled
through local and international non-governmental organisations have been met
with scepticism with analysts saying such assistance will not solve the real
problems faced by the average Zimbabwean.
The Prime Minister's tour - aimed at re-establishing ties with the
international community - managed to raise about US$200 million, most of
which will come through NGOs. The amount is a far cry from the US$10,3
billion needed to revive the country's battered economy. All the countries
visited by Tsvangirai would not commit to giving direct aid to the inclusive
government citing the need for more reforms.
"There is a difference between humanitarian and development aid," said
National Constitutional Assembly chairman, Lovemore Madhuku. "Zimbabwe right
now needs development aid which can support the budget and open credit lines
for companies to start operating at full capacity."
He said humanitarian aid is only a relief and cannot move the country
from where it is right now. Donor countries have however said they would not
give Zimbabwe development aid until the democratic processes were enhanced.
This, analysts argued, is justified in light of precedents set in the
previous years when funds intended for health and other humanitarian needs
"So far NGOs are the only trustworthy channel of any aid to Zimbabwe
because if the money comes through government, it's most likely to be
diverted because we are not yet sure about who will be controlling it. If it's
Gideon Gono, he can divert the money and he is known for that," said
Bulawayo-based political analyst Themba Dlodlo.
Last year there was an outcry over the diversion of the Global Fund
financing to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe. The Global Fund said it would no longer fund humanitarian
programmes in Zimbabwe. They said the Zimbabwe government had damaged its
efforts to fight Aids, TB and malaria by diverting money intended for that
US ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee was quoted by the Voice of
America saying: "We do not want to see the people of Zimbabwe, who need this
money, disadvantaged. What we do want to see however is a surefire system to
safeguard the money that is coming into Zimbabwe. So the move that the
Global Fund has made is an excellent move."
US investors echoed the same sentiments saying: "As US business we do
have the standpoint as our government, for us to invest in any country we
seek a nation that follows the rule of law so that when we invest we know
that we will be dealt with justly and fairly," said CEO of the Corporate
Council on Africa, Stephen Hayes. He said it was important for Zimbabwe to
have investor-friendly laws so that investment or funding can be extended to
The US Embassy public affairs office said channelling aid through NGOs
and other multilateral agencies was a matter of policy and had proven
effective and the US has already channelled US$175 million, which it said
was reaching the people.
Dlodlo said that the onus was on the government to reform because
there was need for more aid which should come directly to government.
"This aid that is being pledged can help ease the food shortage,
cholera and other humanitarian concerns as we have seen in the recent years
but Zimbabwe can only progress when jobs are created, agriculture, mining
and manufacturing are improved," said Dlodlo. "This is only possible when
money is provided to the government but not a government of corrupt people."
Unicef communications officer Tsitsi Singizi said channelling
humanitarian aid should not be about who is doing it, but how it is done
because the ultimate goal is reaching the most vulnerable in a transparent
and effective way.
"This can be done by the government, multilateral institutions or
non-governmental organisations who must have effective and transparent
channelling means to achieve aid effectiveness," she said.
Politicising and diversion of aid money and other provisions by the
government has seen donor countries and other institutions losing confidence
in the government and thus opting to channel their funding through NGOs,
analysts said. They argued that this has seen a mushrooming of charity
organisations, some of which were equally untrustworthy as only a fraction
of the money they got reached the intended beneficiaries.
Most NGOs, it has been argued, have become mere lobbyists with money
going towards their salaries, advertisements and organising press
conferences when Zimbabweans need basic things like health and education.
"The government has a duty to provide certain services to its people.
Robert Mugabe's government was in an intensive care situation," said an
analyst. "Instead of these NGOs celebrating Mugabe's failure and lobbying a
broke government to do certain things, they could have played their real
humanitarian role and intervened in the hospitals before they closed."
Madhuku however dismissed this view saying the issue was not about the
effectiveness of NGOs because there could be budgetary limitations.
"The issue of NGO effectiveness is difficult to judge unless we know
the money they are given and the percentage that reaches the people,"
Madhuku said. "Otherwise in my view their effectiveness or lack thereof
could be a result of funding."
Analysts who questioned the effectiveness of the NGOs cited lack of
intervention in desperate situations, saying some organisations had become
more interested in politics than humanitarian issues.
"If they genuinely want to help Zimbabweans they could pay teachers in
rural schools," said another analyst. "We cannot have donor countries giving
them money to increase their salaries and lobbying without reaching out to
BY MELODY MBIRA
Thursday, 25 June 2009 20:52
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai wound up his hectic three-week tour
of Europe and the United States this week where he was seeking to
re-establish cordial relations and canvass aid to prop up the inclusive
The trip was mired in controversy from the start over Tsvangirai's
mandate with government spin doctors saying the MDC-T leader was sent by
Mugabe to lobby for the lifting of economic sanctions and to raise capital
to revive the country's comatose economy.
On the other hand, MDC-T insisted that Tsvangirai and his entourage
had a mandate from cabinet to re-establish severed relations with the West
in his official capacity as the "leader of government business".
Tsvangirai told the media in Germany that the trip was his own idea.
"I was not sent by anyone, it was my own initiative," he said. "I told
the president that it was time to reengage with the rest of the world
following a cabinet resolution on reengaging the EU and other Western
countries. I took the initiative -- I would have stayed at home, no-one
would have sent me so I think it's just a myth cultivated to promote a
certain position which is not the objective of the inclusive government."
The whirlwind tour took Tsvangirai and his team to Belgium, France,
the United Kingdom, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Norway and the US.
Besides the controversy over Tsvangirai's mandate, the tour has also
sparked fierce debate in political circles over the manner in which the
prime minister defended the inclusive government and political reforms so
far, and downplayed disturbances on farms and human rights abuses.
During his trip, Tsvangirai was told categorically that donor
countries wanted to see meaningful reforms before loosening their purse
strings to bankroll economic revival.
European countries and the US only pledged US$180 million. The money
falls far short of the US$8,3 billion the government says is needed to
rebuild the shattered economy.
The Western countries that made pledges to Zimbabwe said they would
not give the aid directly to government, but channel it through
non-governmental organisations and the United Nations.
They also told the prime minister that they want Harare to take
further steps towards democratisation and economic reform.
The issue of a new constitution, media reforms and free and fair
elections were some of the benchmarks set before more substantial aid would
Analysts this week gave varying views on the Tsvangirai trip,
especially on its mandate and achievements.
Lovemore Madhuku, a political analyst and National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) chairperson, accused Tsvangirai of jumping the gun during the
tour and of lowering the threshold of democratic forces by claiming that the
government was making meaningful reforms.
"Claiming that the inclusive government is working on media and
constitutional reforms when that has not happened on the ground is
dangerous," Madhuku said. "The current reforms are below standard and it is
too early for Tsvangirai to attribute any success to the all-inclusive
Madhuku argued that Tsvangirai should have limited himself to
explaining why he entered the unity government with Mugabe and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara, president of the MDC.
The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) was also incensed by some of the
utterances the premier made, especially on farm invasions.
Trevor Gifford, the president of the CFU, this week said Tsvangirai
was "playing a game" in order to raise financial support for the unity
government after the premier said cases of farm invasions were being blown
out of proportion by the media.
John Robertson, a Harare-based economist, said while the aid provided
by the West would go a long way in dealing with the humanitarian crisis, it
will not change the economic pressures the country was facing.
"Zimbabwe does not need to always think of aid but we need credibility
that will enable us to borrow and use the money to resuscitate
infrastructure, provide industrial funding, improve water supplies and help
the financial sector," Robertson said. "For our credit rating we need to
carry out the reforms the West is demanding."
Robertson was optimistic that the US and the West would fully commit
themselves to Zimbabwe once media reforms have been embarked on, a new
constitution is in place and free and fair elections are held.
"The message (to Tsvangirai) was loud and clear," Robertson said.
"There is need for rapid reforms and Tsvangirai had an opportunity to
explain why change is not fast."
He said besides the Western countries, Zimbabweans abroad also showed
that they were not happy with the progress of the inclusive government when
in London they booed Tsvangirai when he asked them to return home and
rebuild the country.
Germany pledged 25 million euros in development aid and indicated that
the money would be channelled through the World Bank and NGOs.
Chancellor Angela Merkel added that Berlin would give Zimbabwe more
support if there were tangible reforms. US President Barack Obama promised
US$73 million in humanitarian aid and no development aid. Swedish Prime
Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told Tsvangirai that all politically motivated
violence taking place in Zimbabwe should be stopped while the rule of law
and freedom of the media must be established before the Scandinavian country
reconsiders aid to Zimbabwe.
Reinfeldt made it clear his country was not happy to give support to
Zimbabwe with Gideon Gono at the helm of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
"Zimbabwe must provide greater transparency in its financial system
and start reforming its central bank," he added.
However, the conditions attached by the West to Zimbabwe before the
resumption of development aid have irked Harare with Zanu PF's politburo
reacting angrily to the conditions.
Zanu PF's deputy secretary for information and publicity Ephraim
Masawi, reading a statement from the politburo on the conditions attached by
the West last week, said: "These governments, in an imperialist and
neo-colonialist way, are bent on their regime-change strategy and appear to
ignore in an arrogant way not only the sovereign right of the Zimbabwean
people, but also the fundamental decisions taken by the Sadc community on
Zimbabwe and its appeal and demand for sanctions to be lifted."
BY LOUGHTY DUBE
Thursday, 25 June 2009 19:47
THE crisis in Zimbabwe's mining sector has been brewing for several
years. Initially the crisis was said to be a result of declining production
and investor wariness due to the country's rapidly worsening economic
But the sector's continuing deterioration is now punctuated by
political faction-fights over public and private assets, deals involving the
takeover of mineral producers by quasi-state organisations, and more
recently, proposed laws to nationalise mines under which foreigners will be
required to cede 51% of their shareholding to a local partner.
Businessdigest reporter Chris Muronzi (CM) last week spoke to the new
Chamber of Mines president Victor Gapare (VG) about issues surrounding the
CM: Is Zimbabwe ready for empowerment in the current economic and
VG: The best conditions for empowerment entail a functional economic
and political situation. Empowerment entails that those being empowered have
to raise capital on the market to buy into existing businesses or to
establish new businesses. In South Africa, for instance, the financial
sector was ready to fund BEE transactions. In addition, there were strong
public sector institutions which assisted a number of deals and some of
these include the Industrial Development Corporation, the Public Investment
Fund and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
In the case of Zimbabwe, at the moment financial institutions don't
have the resources to finance economic empowerment transactions. In fact,
the banks are struggling to finance working capital for existing companies,
let alone provide buyout debt. Foreign financial institutions have been
hesitant to fund Zimbabwean companies mainly because of the perceived risk
associated with the country at the moment. Where debt has been provided, the
interest rates have been near diabolical at over 14% per annum and the
tenure has been very short up to say 90 days. Buying equity in a company
requires long-term debt as in most cases the returns are over a long period
of time. It's impossible to fund empowerment with 90-day debt.
In short, what we need is a stable political and economic environment
to ensure that economic empowerment deals are successful. In the current
unstable political and economic environment, it's difficult to see how
empowerment deals can be done successfully.
CM: Does the country's financial services sector have the capacity to
back black economic empowerment (BEE) deals should government introduce
VG: Banks rely on constant flows of deposits from the public for them
to be able to advance loans to companies and individuals. We know that the
whole economy is working at less than 20% of capacity at the moment. At that
low capacity, there are few individuals in full employment, which means
there is less disposable income and less is deposited into banks. Banks will
therefore have very little to lend. In fact most people withdraw their money
from the banks as soon as it is deposited. Companies that are working are
still trying to build their working capital and they use their revenues as
soon as they receive them. It follows that financial institutions will
therefore not have funds to advance to individuals and companies wanting to
carry out empowerment deals at the moment.
As already alluded to, the banks need to be recapitalised to support
working capital requirements of existing operations. It will take time for
Zimbabwean financial institutions to be able to finance long-term capital
required for the empowerment deals.
Those individuals currently looking at empowerment deals will need to
look at other alternatives as financial institutions are currently not in a
position to finance them.
CM: What is the chamber's view of how best to pursue an indigenisation
policy which promotes growth in the mining industry?
VG: Let me say from the outset, the Chamber is not against empowerment
in the mining industry. What we want is a process which will result in the
industry growing rather than the growth of the industry being stunted. There
are less than 10 foreign-owned mining companies in Zimbabwe, so the existing
mines do not provide much scope for many empowerment deals. The principle
which we want to achieve is to share a bigger cake rather than a smaller
The bulk of empowerment deals have to come out of the creation of new
mines and these have to be partnerships between local people or consortiums
and foreign investors who will bring the capital.
The Chamber of Mines has a subcommittee which is dealing with the
issue of empowerment in the mining industry. Broadly speaking, the
principles being discussed cover the various ways in which empowerment can
be achieved and include equity ownership, assistance in the development of
small-scale miners to graduate them into formal mines, sourcing goods and
services from local suppliers, skills development, infrastructure
development etc. Equity participation, while important, is not the only way
to achieve empowerment in the mining industry and invariably equity holders
are the last to get income from a business.
CM: Where does capacity utilisation stand in the sector as an industry
and in sub-sectors?
VG: Out of say 88 mines in the country, only three are operating at
near full capacity. Most minerals other than gold have been hit by low
prices as a result of the slump in demand in response to the global economic
crisis. In addition, the adverse economic conditions that existed in the
country in the last few years where exporters were having to give up a part
of their export earnings at subeconomic exchange rates contributed to the
crisis that mines face today.
The two platinum mines and Murowa Diamonds are operating near full
capacity. While platinum prices have somewhat recovered, the mines could do
with higher prices as these will aid the cash flows for expansion. Platinum
mining is still in its infancy and is in the expansion phase in Zimbabwe.
The base metal mines are virtually on a care and maintenance basis in
response to the dramatic fall in global metal prices following the global
economic crisis. As metal prices recover, we expect to see most of these
mines coming back on line but it may not be too soon. The nickel and chrome
mines have been hit hardest.
Virtually all gold mines had closed following the RBZ-induced crisis
but most of them are slowly limping back into life and capacity utilisation
is still less than 20%. However, it's still a long way before we see
capacity utilisation rising significantly. Over the last few years when the
RBZ failed to pay miners their dues for gold sold, most mines stopped
exploration and development and virtually closed. As you are aware, gold
production peaked at 27 tonnes in 1999 but fell back to just over three
tonnes in 2008. This is an indictment on the policies pursued by the RBZ
with regards to gold. For production to get back to reasonable levels, gold
producers will need to recapitalise and carry out exploration and
development. This is not something which will happen overnight. I have
already spoken about the difficulties being experienced in securing working
capital and this is not making it any easier to restore production.
CM: Had it not been for the country's political and economic crisis
how much would have been realised from gold production and sales in the last
VG: Estimates made in 1999 based on gold mines' future plans suggested
that with adequate investment in exploration and development, Zimbabwe was
capable of producing up to 50 tonnes within a 10 to 15-year period. On the
contrary, 10 years later we only produced just over three tonnes. I am
optimistic that with a stable political and economic environment, we can
still achieve these production levels over time.
CM: How much gold did Zimbabwe produce between January and May this
VG: The total gold production for the period 1 Jan to 15 June 2009 is
861kg with about 600 kg having come out of primary producers and the balance
from the small-scale producers.
CM: Have gold miners been paid the outstanding payments (US$30
million) for gold deliveries in the past few years and what impact has the
unavailability of these funds had on the gold sector on an operational
VG: The amounts owed by the RBZ are still outstanding and regrettably
no progress has been made on this particular subject. Ultimately gold
producers have been made forced lenders to the RBZ. We were promised gold
bonds but to date none have been issued. But again even if they had been
issued, would there have been a market to trade the bonds?
What is unfortunate is the fact that gold producers are struggling to
secure working capital and yet they are owed a substantial amount by the
RBZ. Ultimately the rate of recovery of production is being slowed down at a
time when the nation needs to see production going up. The stock levels are
either very low or non-existent and the restart of operations is a real
The effective interest rate supposedly being earned on the bonds is
less than what gold producers are having to borrow from the banks.
CM: What initiatives has the chamber made to secure external funds to
revive the gold sector after getting the nod from authorities to market gold
directly to the international market?
VG: The new marketing arrangements where producers have control over
the marketing of their gold means they can use the gold as security for
borrowings. Afreximbank for instance has already offered gold loans to gold
producers using future gold production as security. When we recommended to
government the current marketing arrangements for gold, the securing of
foreign loans by producers was one of the objectives.
The chamber has been talking to banks and we have seen some facilities
being offered to individual companies. Ultimately, the discussion is between
the banks and the individual producers.
The difficulty at the moment is most foreign financial institutions
still regard Zimbabwe as a high risk country and are unwilling to play in
this market. However, as confidence in the political and economic situation
picks up, we should see more money flowing into the country.
Thursday, 25 June 2009 19:42
ZIMBABWE has so far earned US$81 million from 28,1 million kg of
tobacco that have gone under the hammer since the auction floor opened last
month, the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) said yesterday.
If the average prices and selling pattern prevail until end August,
the country would expect to earn about US$160 million. The amount is nearly
two percent of what Zimbabwe needs to turn around the economy that has been
unstable for the past decade.
Sales are expected to be complete well within 80 selling days or at
the latest by 28 August.
In its latest weekly update, TIMB said 28,1 million kg of flue-cured
tobacco worth US$81 million had been sold at the country's three auction
The money achieved so far is a 22,68% increase from US$72,1 million
sold from 22,9 million kg during the same period last year.
Tobacco is the country second largest foreign currency earner after
The Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) auction floors have so far handled the
largest volume of tobacco, with 4,1 million kg valued at US$12,1 million
being traded. The average price was US$2,90.
The Burley Marketing Zimbabwe (BMZ) auction floors have to date
handled 3,1 million kg valued at US$9,2 million at an average price of
US$2,96 while the Zimbabwe
Tobacco Auction Centre (Zitac) handled 3,5 million kg valued at US$9,7
million at an average price US$2,74.
A total of 17,3 million kg valued at US$49,9 million has gone under
the hummer under contract farming at an average price of US$2,88.
Zitac usually caters for large-scale tobacco farmers, while TSF mainly
accommodates smallholder farmers. BMZ attracts medium to large-scale tobacco
Auction floors opened last month and the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association
estimates that 45 million kg of tobacco will be sold this year, down from 48
million kg sold last year.
TIMB acting chief executive officer, Andrew Matibiri said this year's
process was running smoothly, unlike the previous years were farmers ended
up side-marketing their crops to black market buyers.
Tobacco production has been declining since 2 000 due to late
disbursement of funds, rising production costs, excess rains and
inexperienced farmers soon after the land reform.
Tobacco auction floors outside premises in Harare have been turned
into a flee market as enterprising businesspeople have set up stalls to lure
free spending tobacco farmers who are paid in hard currency.
Tobacco is being sold between US$2 and US$5 at three auction floors
and farmers are painting the town red as they are paid up to US$1 500 cash
on the spot.
The balance is deposited on their bank accounts. Last year farmers
spent weeks sleeping in the open hoping to get paid in the valueless
Zimbabwean dollar only to be paid using agro-cheques which were not accepted
by shops. However, it is the spot payment that caused black farmers go
An ordinary blanket is sold at US$35 but in shops in town the blankets
only cost just US$12. To justify they spending spree farmers said they do
not have time to go into town for shopping.
Zimbabwe is the largest producer of tobacco leaf in Africa and the
world's fourth-largest producer of flue-cured tobacco, after China, Brazil
and the United States of America. Since cigarette production in Zimbabwe is
on a small scale, the major activities in the tobacco industry are the
growing, curing and subsequent handling and distribution of tobacco leaf.
The country does not have a large tobacco manufacturing industry and
produces only enough cigarettes to supply domestic demand and provide a
relatively small volume for export. Therefore 98 percent of all tobacco
production is exported.
Tobacco production makes an important contribution to GDP and to
export revenue, and plays a major role in the national economy. The crop
normally accounts for more than 50 percent of agricultural exports, 30
percent of total exports and nearly 10 percent of GDP. All tobacco grown in
Zimbabwe is sold on the auction floors in Harare as unprocessed green leaf.
In terms of revenue to farmers, total annual sales since 1990 have ranged
between US$270 million and US$593 million. Tobacco sold through the auctions
then undergoes further processing by merchant companies to remove stems and
tips from the leaf, before being shipped abroad. This adds 30 percent to 50
percent to the crop's final export value. In 1998, the total value of
tobacco exports was roughly US$582 million.
BY PAUL NYAKAZEYA.
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:25
I WAS baffled at the Southwark Cathedral last Saturday. Thousands of
people booed their leader in an unprecedented move of defiance and
The people in there stopped Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai midway
through his speech and started chanting that "Mugabe must go". I went out of
the hall at that time to answer the call of nature but some MDC supporters
followed me up the corridor and pulled my jacket. They demanded to know why
the MDC UK leadership had "failed to advise Tsvangirayi properly".
As I started to respond a group of other youths wearing "vigil" attire
started singing around me: "Tsvangirai usaite fun fun nevanhu" (Tsvangirai,
don't play games with the people).
I left the cathedral grounds and made an early trek to the venue of
the dinner that evening. At the hotel I had a one-to-one discussion with the
prime minister about what he had said at the cathedral and his views about
President Robert Mugabe. He explained that Mugabe is committed to the deal
but does not trust him. He said the sporadic attacks on people and farm
invasions were the brainchild of remnant forces who want to see the failure
of the inclusive government because they know that the success of the
transitional government means their death.
He said these people were in the minority and they will shortly fizzle
out. The acts of banditry were not sanctioned by government but by some
criminal gangs sponsored by hard-line remnants in Zanu PF.
The same happened in 1980 when remnants of the Rhodesian security
forces and Selous Scouts and Pfumo Revanhu continued to brutalise people
until 1982 when hard-line remnants stole aeroplanes from Thornhill Air Base,
to fly to apartheid ruled South Africa. They did not want the will of the
people to prevail but they fizzled out. They also planned to assassinate
Mugabe in an operation code named "Operation Quartz". They were against
Mugabe becoming the prime minister of Zimbabwe.
So what was behind the cathedral defiance to Tsvangirai by his
supporters? The area of contention was the way Tsvangirayi says things about
Zimbabwe dictator Mugabe and how he seems to have downplayed human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe, giving information which, if picked up by the Home
Office, would devastate asylum applications and put at risk the ability of
those who fail to regularise their stay to claim benefits, housing, get jobs
and live normally in Britain.
Some people want to bring their families to the UK which is only
possible if they get asylum, something they feel is being threatened by
Tsvangirai's statements. Many Zimbabweans expected Tsvangirai to actually
come and assist them to get asylum by demonising Mugabe and painting a bleak
future of the inclusive government. That's where the fire is mostly coming
I understand the problems faced by asylum seekers in the UK. They live
second-class citizens. I understand their grievances against the party
but I must also say that it is undemocratic to silence anybody from airing
their views and this includes everyone, king or pauper, rich or poor, prime
minister or asylum seeker. It is, therefore, very unfortunate that people at
the cathedral that Saturday afternoon decided to silence someone from airing
Tsvangirai should have been allowed to finish and answer questions
about all our grievances and his relationship with Mugabe butwe decided to
deny him his democratic right to do so.
But he managed to do that at the dinner in the evening. Most people
who attended the dinner now back what he is doing unconditionally. This is
so because we allowed him to speak and we asked him all the questions we had
and as usual he did not disappoint.
A young lady asked Tsvangirai what he would give her if she takes his
advice and goes to Zimbabwe. She said she is looking after five people.
Tsvangirai said that he was inviting people to Zimbabwe not to give them
things but for them to give something to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is in a
"non-runner" state and nothing can be taken from it.
The problem is that we want someone to do the work but not ourselves.
We want to go there when Zimbabwe's roads are all tarred by someone, when
clinics are working and when schools and universities are flourishing. We
want God in heaven to offer Tsvangirai the personnel to sort out the country
for us then we fly back just to enjoy it. We have been wired to look to
donors and foreign leaders like Mbeki and Bush to sort our problems for us.
I was born in Buhera South at Muzokomba Clinic. The clinic was built
by donors. My father and mother survived on food donated by foreign donors.
I grew up doubling breast-feeding and donated powdered milk which was
donated to the Ministry of Health by the European Economic Community in
Brussels, Belgium. When I was one year old I started feeding on donated
cereals from the department of Social Welfare at Murambinda Growth Point.
I received free medical immunisation and I do not even know where all
those vaccines came from. My mother does not know who donated the vaccines
that saved my life either. From the age of two to seven I had food at
feeding points and we ate very highly nutritious porridge donated by
Kellogg Foundation based in London. At the age of seven I went to primary
Here again there was popular mahewu donated by the Red Cross Society
whose headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. That was my main diet. The
water that all the school children drank was wholly pumped and piped to
school by donors who provided the funds to DDF.
I had this donated mahewu for seven
years at primary school. I then went to secondary school. The school
was started by missionaries but all the important buildings like the
laboratory, the administration block and dormitories were built by funding
donated by the Japanese government. The equipment and chemicals in the
laboratory were also donated by the Japanese embassy in Harare using funds
After this I went to the University of Zimbabwe. The donors paid my
fees. There were many other students whose fees were paid by donors, both
local and international ones. We preferred foreign donors to local ones,
although the Harare City Council was actually a better donor than some
foreign sponsors at UZ.
After graduation I went to work but there again my office and all the
safes, vehicles, tents, were donated by Unicef. All the fuel I used was
donated. My salary and the salaries of my eight subordinates came from
donors. Even my boss's salary was paid by donors.
Then Mugabe became a problem in Zimbabwe.
We started looking up to George W Bush, Tony Blair, Kofi Annan and
Thabo Mbeki to sort Mugabe out. Instead of joining mass action and final
pushes we hid in our houses and looked out through the windows to see if
someone was on the streets when demonstrations were called. We decided to
run away from the country and plan to go back when Mbeki, Obama, Bush and
Blair have sorted out Mugabe and the country. I am not the only one like
There are many like me, as evidenced by some of our comments at the
Cathedral. We have a warped thinking that someone must do the work and we
must go there to enjoy. Someone must sort out the sewerage pipes in
Chitungwiza before I set foot there.
The prime minister is saying; let us build our country together. Let
us together fight for our freedom. Let us not be selfish. People inside
Zimbabwe want their clinics to function and he wants to deliver. The quality
of lives of people must improve. But all the skilled workers are gone.
Unless sacrifices are made then clinics won't open and services won't
be delivered and cholera will worsen. He is doing the correct thing and he
is not selling out. The prime minister said that groundwork is being
prepared for free and fair elections with international supervision in the
next 18 months. The choice is yours. If you want to assist rebuild you
country this is the time. We need to make a clean break from depending on
donations to doing our own things. Those who are out of step are being left
as we continue to journey towards our freedom.
Maruzani is MDC secretary for international affairs, UK and Ireland.
BY FARAYI MARUZANI
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:24
THIS is an open letter to the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Morgan
DURING your recent trip, it was encouraging that you made an effort
to engage Zimbabweans abroad to come back home. You initiated an important
conversation which must be continued. This was important in that the
government admits there is a role to be played by Zimbabweans abroad. The
minor problem was the timing and packaging of the call for Zimbabweans to
return home. Zimbabweans who left their country did so out of necessity and
a lot of their grievances have not yet been addressed.
These include, but are not limited to, basic freedoms, media freedom,
respect of human and private property rights. In this letter, I will try to
be less formal and will address you by your totem as Honourable Save (Hon
Save). I will also address the president as Cde Gushungo.
It is unfortunate you were not able to finish delivering your speech
in London. However, it was also important that Zimbabweans were bold enough
to let you know how they felt about your message. Fortunately, there were no
shoes thrown at you, a la George Bush in Iraq!
Zimbabweans expected you to be on their side in terms of saying
Zimbabwe remains unstable and on a challenged path. It requires
international assistance, and some of that assistance includes asking the
international community to continue accommodating Zimbabweans until the
country is stable. Under the US's Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery
Act (Zidera), I am sure you could have even asked for the Americans to grant
more scholarships to Zimbabweans based in America. These Zimbabweans would
in future be expected to contribute in Zimbabwe's development.
As prime minister, it would be good if you could stand up and
encourage host governments to be accommodative to Zimbabweans abroad. The
choice of returning to Zimbabwe, let it be an individual choice. What
matters is that someone still identifies with their motherland and still
contributes in whatever way they can. There is no need or urgency for
Zimbabweans abroad to all flock to Zimbabwe. There are many Jewish people
all over the world, in the United States in particular and all over Europe.
Whilst they are encouraged to return home once in a while, there is never a
push for them to abandon their current residency.
Non-resident Zimbabweans must be allowed to vote. No taxation without
representation! This is where your party should show leadership and
difference with the opposition. Zimbabweans were expecting that you would
make a major announcement that Zimbabweans can vote from wherever they are,
as long as they go and register at the embassy or consulate.
Non-resident Zimbabweans must be allowed dual citizenship or
nationality. This is a critical step that needs to be included in the
proposed new constitution. This is a worldwide trend to be accommodative to
former residents and allow them to hold dual nationalities. It is just
unacceptable for someone born in Zimbabwe to be forced to try and get a visa
to be allowed to visit Zimbabwe.
Whilst there is a shortage of skilled personnel, it is also correct
that there is unemployment of close to 80%. Therefore, to call for the
return of more workers before those at home are fully employed cannot be a
clever policy. A relevant and related fact is the return of exiled business
people and entrepreneurs. As you will recall, in my May 2009 letter to you,
I mentioned some of these individuals by name.
These are some of the people that should be encouraged and given
incentives to return to Zimbabwe. Most of these people have skills and the
ability required to create jobs which Zimbabweans desperate need. When they
return and create jobs, a call such as the one you made in London is like
preaching to the converted Hon Save. Currently, all civil servants are still
earning US$100 per month regardless of their rank or experience.
When most Zimbabweans were growing up in Magwegwe, Emakhandeni,
Kambuzuma, Warren Park and other neighbourhoods, these places had
functioning social services such as fully staffed schools and clinics. Many
won't mind returning to these places. However, to ask someone with a young
child who is attending a fully-functioning school in one of these Western
nations and expect them to pull out their child and send them to some school
at present day Magwegwe or Sakubva may be asking too much.
Whilst we have seen various efforts to attract foreign investors to
Zimbabwe, we have yet to see a direct and sustained effort to try and
re-attract Zimbabweans as investors and tourists. Charity begins at home Hon
Save. There is need for a clear government programme on how these
Zimbabweans will be treated when they come back home. There are a few
specific areas such as waiver on import duties, tax breaks for those who set
up businesses and proper guarantees on the rule of law and respect for
private property. These may seem trivial issues but these are some of the
basic things that most non-resident Zimbabweans take for granted and readily
expect because they have been fully exposed to the workings of a normal
representative government which listens to its citizens.
The communication process is correctly a two way one. From the events
in London, it was apparent that there may have been some in your team who
were taking non-resident Zimbabweans for granted. Hon Save, when people say
they want change, they want such attitudes to change as well. The people
want to be consulted well in advance, especially when it concerns their
future. Had the people been consulted, I doubt you would have called for
Zimbabweans to return home. Rather, Zimbabweans expected you to encourage
the host governments to make life a little easier for Zimbabweans by
granting them work permits and other relevant immigration status that would
allow them to work, study and continue to contribute as they have always
done in the development of the country. This is where your team should have
done its homework, and asked Zimbabweans what they expect to hear from the
The Western nations are still reluctant to release aid because they
know things are not okay. You as the prime minister could have simply
requested that these host governments deliberately pursue policies that will
allow Zimbabweans to continue self-development whilst things stabilise.
The government should consider a truth and reconciliation commission
to handle grievances. It is only when people see such developments that they
will begin to really believe the change is irreversible, and justice has
come. The nature and mandate of the TRC is not to be vindictive but rather
to close a sad chapter in our great nation's history. In addition, just
calling for the return of Zimbabweans without proper signed
government-to-government agreements can complicate matters. Zimbabwe can
easily get direct assistance linked to the return of non-resident
Zimbabweans. This assistance has to be properly negotiated and documented
before any call is made to ask people to go back and stare hunger and being
jobless. I hope you won't find these letters annoying. They are meant as
Muponda is a co-founder of 3MG Media.
BY GILBERT MUPONDA
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:06
IN a sense Morgan Tsvangirai deserved the drubbing he got in Southwark
Cathedral last weekend.
This was due to be the highlight of his overseas tour. While the
Europeans and Americans had been expected to sit on their wallets, offering
little more than goodwill, the British government and the huge population of
Zimbabweans in London were expected to shower the prime minister with praise
It wasn't quite like that. Tsvangirai had clearly failed to gauge the
mood of his audience in the East End of London. Instead of praise he
garnered boos - probably the first time he has heard such heresy. His
invitation to the audience to return home where there was now "peace and
stability" inspired scepticism, not confidence.
They didn't buy it. And when he started quibbling with them over
exactly what he had said, the derision started.
The Herald was disingenuous in failing to report on its front page on
Monday that the audience was chanting "Mugabe must go". Those of us watching
it on TV heard it loud and clear.
This is significant because it was Tsvangirai's naivety in waxing
lyrical about his "extraordinary" working relationship with President Mugabe
that transformed his meeting into a rout.
He hasn't got it yet that MDC supporters are deeply uncomfortable with
the inclusive government. And they see their leaders as gullible in
suggesting things have improved back home.
Tsvangirai was pursuing this line on the BBC on Sunday, just a few
days after a small group of Woza demonstrators had reportedly been set upon
Zimbabweans, at home and abroad, want to know what steps the MDC is
taking to curb state violence and end repression. They want to know what
steps have been taken to free the media. Recidivist elements are still in
charge. The farm invasions continue.
The audience in Southwark Cathedral know this. And they resented the
wool being pulled over their eyes by a starry-eyed leader who gives the
appearance of having been compromised.
The one good thing to have come out of the EU and US tour was the
wake-up call Tsvangirai received. Nobody is interested in hearing about his
cosy relationship with a leader who is blocking reform on every front. They
want to see results. That includes media reform.
Did you see how the embryonic Zimbabwe Media Commission has become the
seamless successor to the ill-fated MIC in the Herald's report on the new
parliamentary bodies? A paragraph had been slipped in to say "the MIC will
be known as the Zimbabwe Media Commission".
So it's a chip off the old block is it? This won't help. And reports
that Tafataona Mahoso has applied to be a media commissioner will be the
kiss of death for the new outfit. If it's credibility the commission needs,
this is not the way to go about it!
Everybody noted that as soon as Tsvangirai's Bulletin hit the streets
last week, the Herald rushed to fill its pages with colour pix of the Prime
Minister and reports of his meetings, although they omitted the praise
heaped on him.
What strikes us about the political meddling in the state media is
that no lessons appear to have been learnt. All the stale propaganda that
lost Zanu PF last year's elections is being wheeled out and dusted off to do
service next year. You would have thought the party's mandarins would have
understood that the public rejected its mantras on land and sovereignty.
None of them produced jobs or food.
There is obviously a need for a new message that engages the voting
public. Instead, every failed policy is being repeated. And where policies
fail, fists will no doubt follow. Is this the way to win hearts and minds?
And what of Zimbabwe's reputation? Tsvangirai hopefully got a taste of
that during his overseas tour. This is not a chinja government but a
"no-change" regime. Please, let's have less naivety and more substance.
At least Tsvangirai, countering reports in the state media back home,
made it clear he was not taking his marching orders from Mugabe in
undertaking the tour. It is symptomatic of our suborned public media that
they kept repeating the claim despite Tsvangirai's denials, in the same way
they keep saying "illegal" sanctions long after Barack Obama has said there
was no such thing.
Are government journalists permitted to say "sanctions" without
prefixing them with "illegal"? How far do the tentacles reach?
Muckraker's attention was caught by an article in the Business Herald
last week saying "Chegutu offers free land to lure investment".
"Quite a number of people" were making inquiries including Zimbabweans
in the diaspora and the Chinese, we were told.
Muckraker is confused. Is this the same Chegutu where Zanu PF thugs
severely assaulted members of Ben Freeth's family last year? Is this the
same Chegutu where Freeth and his parents-in-law were dispossessed after
their bones had been broken by marauding thugs? Are these among the
"attractive incentives" offered by the town?
Investors may wonder what will happen to them if the same predatory
thugs arrive on their doorstep.
Businesses could "take advantage" of "downstream industries" like
David Whitehead and Zimplats, the report said.
Don't we recall Zanu PF interfering in the management of David
Whitehead a few years ago? We are sure anyone investing in Chegutu will be
"taken advantage" of at some point!
The "assassination attempt" on Mashonaland Central governor Advocate
Martin Dinha doesn't appear to have attracted much attention. Even the
Financial Gazette which carried the story consigned it to the back page.
But it did provide a platform for Dinha to parade his loyalties.
"I will not be intimidated for my unwavering support for President
Mugabe, the party and the revolution," he was reported as saying. "I remain
steadfast in defence of the gains of the liberation struggle."
Amazing isn't it that we have lawyers in this country that can spout
such fawning drivel. We are delighted that Dinha survived the attempt if
only so he can do more to illuminate us on the "values" he holds dear - and
we can all have a good chuckle!
Leslie Gwindi, on the other hand, is no laughing matter. Tackled on
the shocking state of refuse collection in the capital, he makes the lame
excuse that "the city's last investment in refuse collection vehicles was
nine years ago and it is a general rule that these vehicles be replaced
after a maximum of three years of service".
If that is the case there has been serious profligacy by past
councils. It is scandalous that refuse vehicles were so poorly maintained
that they needed replacing every three years.
With due care and maintenance they should have lasted at least 10
years without too much difficulty.
Muckraker saw on TV a couple of years ago a Bedford fire truck in the
UK dating from the 1950s being used by the army during a fireman's strike.
It had been perfectly maintained and was ready for action.
It is typical of local officials to say a job can't be done because
the equipment is too old and "broken". It never occurs to them to look after
The city needs not less than 60 collection vehicles, Gwindi claimed as
if money grew on trees.
Who was responsible for maintaining the previous fleet and what
salaries did they earn?
There has been much talk recently of the "devastating" impact of
sanctions. All the country's woes are attributed to them. But President
Mugabe didn't seem to mind at the time of their imposition.
Speaking to reporters after addressing the Malaysia Business
Fellowship in August 2002, he said: "The British say I should not come to
Britain. I should not go to Germany, to Europe as a whole. What do I want
Europe for? I've got my own country which is more beautiful."
Let's hope all those anxious to propitiate Mugabe will recall these
words of satisfaction with the status quo. Let's not push him where he doesn't
want to go!
It is also worthwhile at this juncture to recall other remarks made by
our leaders over the last decade. In an interview with Reuters in March
2000, Mugabe warned that white farmers would suffer "very, very, very severe
violence" if they provoked war veterans who had occupied their farms.
This would happen if the farmers "start to be angry and start to be
violent" in response to the land invasions.
Patrick Chinamasa, speaking to church leaders on why the government
was failing to arrest rampant political violence in July 2001, said:
"Violence is a necessary tool for a successful land reform programme."
John Nkomo, speaking to the same audience at the Victoria Falls,
declined to assure them that there would be no violence during the following
year's presidential poll.
The French, ever anxious to please, may not have seen these remarks.
Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer certainly had.
"The determination of Robert Mugabe, not only to kick people off their
land on the basis of race but also to force the country into starvation, is
a simply appalling thing for any head of state to do," he said in June 2002.
And it's still going on seven years later!
What has Arthur Mutambara, who has been so anxious to secure visas for
Chinamasa and Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, done to prevent the seizure of farms
since his fact-finding visit to Chegutu?
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:03
ON February 18, very shortly after being appointed Minister of Finance
of Zimbabwe's new "inclusive government", Minister Tendai Biti reviewed
Zimbabwe's 2009 national budget.
Being well aware of the devastating economic consequences which had
been afflicted upon the nation by the endless profligate spending of the
preceding governments, he very commendably pronounced a policy that Zimbabwe
should only "eat that which it gathers". He was emphatic that Zimbabwe had
to vigorously curb state expenditures, containing them to the extent of
available resources. He stated categorically that expenditures should not
exceed revenues, and that deficit budgeting was untenable and unacceptable
if a Zimbabwean economic recovery was to be achieved.
It is undisputable that the magnitude of the spending excesses of his
predecessors had tragically contributed, to an exponential extent, to
Zimbabwe progressively sustaining the most pronounced hyperinflation than
ever before experienced anywhere in the world. That expenditure was not only
funded by grossly excessive, unsustainable borrowings, but also by forcing
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to engage in diverse quasi-fiscal operations far
beyond the mandate and functions of any central bank, and that in turn
fuelled massively excessive money-printing, unsupported by reserves. This
was a major stimulus of inflation, destroyed investor confidence, undermined
the credibility and substance of Zimbabwe's currency, and impacted
negatively upon all facets and sectors of the economy. Hence, the Minister
of Finance was unequivocally correct in his declared intent to limit
governmental spending to available resources.
However, whilst determining upon such a policy was not only very
necessary (and long overdue), implementation could not easily be
forthcoming. The magnitude of the governmental infrastructure and its
attendant fiscal commitments, and of critical needs, is so gargantuan that
expenditure reduction is an extraordinarily difficult task, and particularly
so as concurrently with the spending containment policy, government was
(belatedly but very rightly) discontinuing the imposition of quasi-fiscal
operations upon RBZ, enabling RBZ to revert exclusively to core central
bank activities, but necessitating governmental assumption of some of those
At the same time, the distraught state of the economy could not
possibly yield an immediate, adequate enhancement of state resources, and
inevitably there would be some substantial elapse of time before significant
international funding support would be forthcoming, for the international
community would not be speedily convinced of the reality and continuity of
governmental transformation to the fundamentals of good governance,
including absolute democracy, unlimited respect for, and adherence to,
human and property rights and the rule of law.
Drastic and courageous cost-cutting is a prerequisite for attainment
of Minister Biti's declared objectives. It was therefore very heartening
that last week the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Gorden
Moyo, advocated a substantive reduction in Zimbabwe's diplomatic
representation abroad. It is incomprehensible that a country with a
population of less than 12 million (excluding those abroad), and with a
government recently declared by the Prime Minister to be "bankrupt" should
be expending in excess of US$20 million per month to maintain 16 embassies
in Africa, nine in Europe, five in the Far East, and eight in other
countries, together with one at the United Nations, and three consulates.
Zimbabwe cannot afford (and does not need) - 42 diplomatic presences around
Many other countries in need of governmental expenditure reductions
have resorted to having fewer embassies to represent them, focusing upon
regionalised representation. Thus, years ago, New Zealand closed its
embassies in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia, and
facilitated its embassy in South Africa to represent it throughout the
region. Israel did similarly, and Denmark and Belgium's interests in
Zimbabwe are addressed by their South African-based embassies. Zimbabwe
should engage in similar diplomatic consolidation. Its interests in Europe
would be readily and fully addressed by embassies in Brussels (headquarters
of the European Union) and, having regard to the numbers of Zimbabweans in
those countries, and extensive investment and trade linkages, in the United
Kingdom and Germany. That would reduce Zimbabwe's embassies in Europe from
nine to three, with not only the concomitant reduction in costs, but also a
saving in critically needed foreign exchange.
In like manner, Zimbabwe could probably be well-served by two
embassies in the Far East, instead of five, and by approximately eight in
Africa, instead of 16. Admittedly, the scaling down of the number of
embassies will reduce the number of opportunities of creating sinecure posts
for favored friends, but the expenditure and foreign currency savings for
Zimbabwe would be considerable and of immense value in progressing economic
However, the drive to cut state expenditures needs many other vigorous
actions. It is incomprehensible that a country with a population smaller
than that of the city of New York should have over 120 000 civil servants
(including teachers, healthcare personnel, and administrators) and armed
forces, unless much of that number comprises, as widely rumoured, numerous
"ghost workers". Such fictitious employees, a drain upon the near-empty
state purse, must be speedily eliminated, and the armed forces markedly
reduced. Zimbabwe does not need monolithic defence forces, for it is at
peace with all, save and except that it is fighting a war of economic
recovery. And why does it need a Central Intelligence Organisation in
addition to a Criminal Investigations Department, a Ministry of State
Security, and a ministry that extensively monitors telecommunications?
Judging by the magnitude of traffic police roadblocks, and the number of
police present at a peaceful protest rally, and using uncalled for,
oppressive force thereat, suggests that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is also
The Parliamentary Committee for the development of Zimbabwe's new
Constitution should also give very serious consideration to the desirability
and necessity for a two-tiered legislature. How can Zimbabwe justify the
immense cost of a senate, in addition to a 120-seat parliament, when it has
a population of less than 12 million and cannot afford to effect adequate
expenditures on education, health services, social welfare, and the like?
Similarly, should not the new constitution limit the number of ministers
and deputy ministers to realistic levels, and reduce the number of
provincial governors to a maximum of five (if, in fact, any are needed).
Government must also speedily pursue a major drive to contain public
sector corruption. Such corruption prevails worldwide, to varying degrees,
but it is widely perceived, with probable justification, as being very
pronounced within Zimbabwe. There has been much media coverage recently of
alleged massive numbers of ghost workers receiving state salaries and
allowances, but undoubtedly there are diverse other corrupt practices. These
can range from falsified expenditures to expropriation or unauthorised usage
of state assets, or to acceptance of "commissions" for directing contracts
to certain suppliers (who increase their charges appropriately to recover
such "commissions"). There have been various instances of government
unhesitatingly specifying private sector individuals under the Prevention of
Corruption Act, often for very prolonged and highly prejudicial periods
without evident justification, and yet minimal evidence of containment of
public sector corruption.
Heretofore it appears that the focus of pursuit of "eat which we
gather" has been exclusively upon intensified efforts by Zimra to generate
tax and like revenues, including excessively harsh and inhumane actions
against informal sector, small-scale vendors struggling to survive, and
dogmatic disregard for cash flow constraints of many mining, industrial and
commercial operations. Short-term enhanced collections are being pursued at
the jeopardy of economic recovery and greater future revenue inflows to the
state. Whilst tax compliance must be pursued, practically and realistically,
with equity, government's primary focus in achieving fiscal revenue and
expenditure parity must be on cost containment.
BY ERIC BLOCH
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:19
AS the constitutional reform process rumbles on amid growing divisions
between the two main political parties driving the exercise, it has now
become clear the country is heading for a dead-end unless a major rescue
At the beginning of the process, we were at pains to point out that
the exercise was deeply flawed and lacked legitimacy and the credibility
that it ought to have in order to succeed. A defective process can't lead to
a desired outcome, critics of this process argued.
Civic groups and commentators noted the process was partisan and
myopic because it was driven by self-interested parties pursuing narrow
power politics. They argued MPs, who lead the current process, are not
representative enough to preside over the process as they are drawn from
only three parties representing a narrow section of society and would
necessarily be driven by those narrow, short-term interests.
Besides, MPs are vulnerable to political manipulation and may only
write a constitution designed to serve their partisan agendas.
MPs are not elected to write constitutions, but represent their
constituencies and legislate. All over the world credible and durable
constitutions are made via constitutional assemblies or such broadly
The legitimacy and credibility of a constitutional process and
constitution itself is measured by the degree to which the process is
participatory, open and democratic. The current process is anything but
participatory, open and democratic. However, all those voicing concern over
this process have been drowned out by vocal but naive party hacks and
apologists working in cahoots with parties to impose a terrible draft
constitution on the country. As people now know, the controversial Kariba
draft constitution is not worth the paper it is written on. It basically
leaves the current imperial presidency in place, and along with it the
existing power structure.
Under the Kariba draft the president basically retains all his
overbearing powers, including those of making numerous appointments. These
sorts of things were done away with by the 2000 draft that was rejected by
voters. In others words, the Kariba draft is evidently worse than the 2000
However, Zanu PF and the two MDC factions agreed in terms of the
Global Political Agreement to use the Kariba draft as a basis for a new
But the parties are now fighting each other over how to proceed and
the chickens are coming home to roost.
The MDC-T wants to dump the Kariba draft, while Zanu PF is clinging
onto it. The fight is going to get nastier and dirtier as the process
unfolds. This is what some party loyalists and sycophants failed to
anticipate at the start.
The reason the MDC-T is trying to abandon the draft is because it has
now realised the shoddy document can't find public purchase and sticking to
it despite swelling opposition will further alienate it from its civic
Already there have been public spats between the MDC-T and the NCA and
ZCTU over this process and the Kariba draft. But instead of telling its
allies that there is need to find common ground, the MDC-T is shifting its
position to occupy the same space which the NCA and other groups wanted to
as part of their strategy to mount a challenge against the process.
If the MDC-T succeeds in its manoeuvre, the NCA and other groups could
be rendered impotent and irrelevant.
However, what will sabotage the current constitution-making process is
not going to the row between the MDC-T and its civic allies. It is going to
the fight between the MDC-T and Zanu PF. That's where the process is likely
As we report on the front page of this paper today, the tussle between
Zanu PF and the MDC-T over the constitutional reform process is going to
rapidly intensify into a crisis after both parties this week made opposing
resolutions on how to proceed.
As part of resolutions of its extraordinary National Executive meeting
held on Tuesday, the MDC-T decided: "To reject any attempts to have the
"Kariba draft", one of many drafts available, adopted as the Alpha and Omega
of the constitution-making process".
"The MDC believes in a truly people-driven constitution-making process
where the unfettered will of the people must be reflected," the party said.
The day after, on Wednesday, Zanu PF resolved at its central committee
meeting it would stick with the Kariba draft. In fact, the party wants the
Kariba draft adopted wholesale. Some senior Zanu PF members actually
suggested that the party should withdraw from the process if the MDC is now
After this was rejected by President Robert Mugabe, the party then
took a position that it will shoot down the new draft in parliament unless
it comes undiluted in the form of the Kariba document.
The MDC factions don't have a two-thirds majority required to pass
through the draft. Zanu PF has got to agree for that to happen. In this
case, Zanu PF has resolved to block whatever draft is brought to parliament
if it does not meet its expectations.
Mugabe wants the Kariba draft because it leaves his powers intact and
does not stop him from running for office again. It is not clear why the MDC
in the first place agreed to that draft. Whatever the reason, the MDC now
has a problem of how to dump the draft when it is part of the political
agreement without collapsing the process.
With all these contradictions, manoeuvres and infighting, the process
is now heading for failure. Only new compromises, which are unlikely, can
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:17
HOW times have changed! Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who this week
wound up his trip to Europe and the US now believes that the saga
surrounding missing supporters of his party, allegedly abducted by the
state - is a "speculative story".
He also believes that farm invasions are not that widespread. He
naively contends that there is no more repression in this country and that
the inclusive government is working well and initiating reform.
This is deception writ large. The prime minister on this trip has been
a huge disappointment. He now appears detached from reality and seems bent
on running a private project which is out of kilter with his party's
position and the generality of his supporters. He was booed and heckled in
London last weekend -- for the first time in his 10-year political career --
and he should not expect to be received at the airport in Harare any more
warmly. His supporters want to know what he is up to and what games he is
playing. He is simply off message and is fast becoming a victim of his own
naivety. In a BBC interview this week he played down the issue of the
alleged abductees who have still not been accounted for. He disclosed that
the issue has become "a speculative story .because we have read (about) so
many people who have run away from Zimbabwe, ended up in Botswana and South
Africa, so you cannot say they have disappeared. So you have to take those
facts very, very (much) with a pinch of salt."
Really, Mr Prime Minister? The fate of Fanwell Tembo, Larry Gaka,
Gwenzi Kahiya and others is no longer an issue now because of your
"extraordinary working relationship" with President Mugabe.
We have not forgotten that just five months ago, the issue of the
"abductees" was Tsvangirai's bargaining chip before the inauguration of the
GPA. Addressing a press conference in Gaborone, where he had been in exile
for weeks at the beginning of the year, Tsvangirai said: "If these
abductions do not cease immediately, and if all the abductees are not
released or charged in a court of law by January 1, 2009, I will be asking
the MDC's National Council to pass a resolution to suspend all negotiations
and contact with Zanu PF."
"There can be no meaningful talks while a campaign of terror is being
waged against our people," Tsvangirai said.
When did the campaign of terror end and is he happy with the issue of
His party subsequently issued a statement saying it was "deeply
concerned by the abductions of its members and civic society activists,
which flies in the face of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by
the three major political parties on 15 September 2008".
The party at the time (January) said it had put in place a team of
experienced legal attorneys and at a political level the party has sought
the support and guidance of Sadc, the AU and United Nations, to ensure that
the rights and freedoms of the abducted people were protected.
The fate of the abductees is not a speculative tale. It is a
fundamental issue because it involves human lives. It is the duty of the
government - of which Tsvangirai is a member - to protect its citizenry and
ensure that the rule of law is protected. Tsvangirai's recent statements do
not offer any comfort to those whose properties are under threat and mere
mortals whose rights are at the mercy of state excesses. Tsvangirai knows
the true story of Zimbabwe and sweeping the mess under the carpet in order
to propitiate his coalition partners is just an act of dishonesty that will
not help the country in any way. In fact on his trip, Tsvangirai - whatever
his brief was - only managed to dilute the impact of his message to Western
governments by naively trying to convince them that all was well. Those
listening to him saw through his antics. Their responses were consistent and
concise. They want to see more reform which is what we expect the prime
minister to champion on his return. He must come back to work and ensure
that there is reform of media laws, archaic security laws and other
repressive statutes at the state's disposal. We want to see more business
for parliament being generated from the prime minister's office. Currently
there is very little work going on as evidenced by parliament adjourning
last week after sitting for just a week. We want to see his office taking a
lead role in ensuring that disturbances on the land stop forthwith and that
there is a bankable plan for the 2009-2010 faming season.
Failure to deliver on these issues and making statements that give
hostages to fortune will be Tsvangirai's undoing. Cynics have already
started to say Tsvangirai has suffered irreversible damage. Perhaps it's too
early to say; but he must deliver on his quest to change Zimbabwe. He rose
as a political force pledging a crusade against repression, graft and
lawlessness. That is the change we want. Zimbabweans are not interested in
hearing about how many cups of tea the prime minister has with the
president. That is small talk which only trivialises Tsvangirai's role in
government. It is time to get real and spell things out. What obstacles
remain and why are they not being addressed?
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:08
THE public provincial consultative hearings for the crafting of a new
constitution started on Monday amid contestations between political parties,
civil organisations and other stakeholders on how best the supreme law
should be drafted.
The hearings, which will culminate in the national stakeholders
conference on July 10, are expected to draw 5 000 participants, began as
expected with many people questioning the wisdom of embarking on a
constitution-making process driven by a 25-member parliamentary select
committee and on the efficacy of prioritising the process when the
government is battling to stabilise the economy and provide food to the
Opponents of the process -- led by the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) -- have dismissed it as antithetical to a people-driven
process and have vowed to campaign against it.
They perceive the constitution-making process as a political tool
aimed at capturing the needs and wants of the three parties to the Global
Political Agreement inked last September. This, they argue, will culminate
in a constitution that lacks "constitutionalism".
Many debates have taken place on what procedure should be followed in
coming up with a democratic constitution and on how to define a
While the concerns of the NCA and other interest groups are
understandable, it was and it is still ill-advised on their part to take a
bold and inflexible stance at this early stage by insisting they will
de-campaign the current process.
Recently, a newspaper columnist Alex Magaisa advised that the NCA
should participate in the constitution-making process on a "without
This means they can always participate under protest and exercise
their right to oppose the final product should they deem it to be
unrepresentative of the "wishes of the people".
"I agree absolutely that the process is important, but so is the
product. For me the devil is in the detail," Magaisa said.
"They can spend hours and weeks consulting the people but at the end
of the day, all those views must be reduced to the written word. It is at
that point where vigilance will become very necessary.
"The other thing is that we must appreciate that there can be no
perfect constitution. Yes, we must strive for perfection but the result can
never be. It does not require a rocket scientist or a n'anga to throw bones
to predict that some people will be unhappy with the final product. Some
delude themselves by thinking that constitution-making is not political.
Well, it is!"
So whilst we can have politicians leading the process through
parliament, we have to remain vigilant because it is in the nature of man to
do that which favours him most.
What the NCA and other civic organisations should do is to guard
against the monopolisation of the process by the parliamentary select
But the question of what a people-driven constitution-making process
really is remains unanswered.
A "people-driven" constitution-making is a commonly used phrase that
means many things to many people and unless it is concretised, it is
What it symbolises to me is a constitution that is created through
active involvement and participation of members of the public.
Ultimately, however, the actual process has to be led by someone or
more appropriately, by a selected committee. To be truly representative,
this committee must comprise people who have been nominated by key
stakeholders, among others, parliament, civil society organisations, the
business community and others.
Second, the process must begin with extensive consultation -- the
committee must draw up a consultation paper, which raises issues, makes
proposals, etc, which is then put forward to the public for robust debate
and analysis. The responses of the public must be collated, analysed and
given legal form.
The committee must then report back to the public, setting forth their
findings and calling on the public to comment on whether or not their
representations are properly reflected in the draft constitution.
These representations, if any, must be taken into account in preparing
the final document which should then be put forward to a referendum where
the people will make the final decision.
After that, parliament's role must only be to endorse and give legal
status to the constitution via the stated procedures but at no point after
the people have decided at the referendum should the constitution be changed
by parliament. If that must be done, it should always be with the consent of
Zimbabweans must thus resist clauses or a framework which allows for
parliament or anybody else to amend the constitution without prior approval
otherwise the whole process of making the constitution is rendered useless
if parliament can easily change the document.
These elements, for me, constitute the key aspects of what constitutes
a people-driven constitution.
People must not only be involved in making it, it must be seen that
they are involved and they must feel that they are involved.
BY CONSTANTINE CHIMAKURE
GNU must not stifle debate
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:16
THE thrust of the inclusive government whose term began in February is
towards addressing the political polarisation in the nation, fostering
national healing and leading the drive towards economic revival.
However, we should always bear in mind that it is a negotiated
settlement between the MDC and Zanu PF.
This has resulted in a scenario in which all key reform issues and
activities are negotiated and not openly debated. This means that the
majority of the population have been disqualified in participating in this
discourse by these parties.
It is a political environment that few understand, save for those
involved in the closed door negotiations. Institutions like parliament, the
media, civic society and the judiciary are reduced to mere spectators and
cheer leaders. It is a Munhumutapa affair.
Even court cases -- such as those of Roy Bennett and Jestina Mukoko --
have been used to gain leverage on the negotiating table.
The unfortunate result is that the inclusive government has bestowed
upon itself the role of bringing about the political and economic
transformation of Zimbabwe.
It is all about the capacity to manipulate the machinery of power --
Zanu PF using its control of the security forces, and the MDC its wide
support base and perceived access to international capital.
Genuine parliamentary debate has thus been excluded from this set up.
Zanu PF fears a society where truth and justice prevail is trying to
engineer change that ensures that it remains in control.
The MDC is trying to squeeze all of the power and leverage it can from
Zanu PF's 29 year grip.
The problem with this scenario is that it becomes a deterrent to the
achievement of progress. Civil society and all other platforms for dialogue
therefore risk breaking down as intermediaries between the state and the
More than ever Zimbabweans need now to be vigilant in demanding space
for debate. This will allow us to guard against the trappings of power that
the inclusive government is susceptible to. Otherwise what passes for
temporary might become permanent.
However, the inclusive government is much better than Zanu PF's
Yet, even the best form of government is susceptible to betraying the
people it serves.
Moyo, Charamba resist media reform
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:14
IT was sickening to say the least after reading the Sunday Mail this
week when George Charamba and Jonathan Moyo were trying to pour scorn on
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Bulletin that was launched last week.
The two were seriously showing they were against any forms of media
reforms in the country and Charamba used the Sunday Mail as a platform to
lick his wounds after the recent High Court ruling which stated that the
Media and Information Commission was no longer a legitimate body.
Charamba and Moyo should realise that the Global Political Agreement
has brought some democratic changes to the country.
And the move by Prime Minister Tsvangirai to have a publication is one
of the moves that show that the country is on a transitional path to
It is a shame that Charamba, Moyo and Tafataona Mahoso are finding it
hard to comprehend that the country is heading for democratic change.
Their reaction has shown that they are not happy that the PM has met
with world leaders such as Barack Obama when their boss can only get that
opportunity in his dreams.
Tsvangirai should be commended for taking the initiative of publishing
the publication and this will give the people of Zimbabwe an opportunity to
know what is happening in the country despite the continued black-out that
his activities are getting from the state media.
The state media has been quiet in reporting that Tsvangirai received
astounding accolades and acknowledgement from the Western leaders for his
relentless resolve to bring back democracy in Zimbabwe.
TelOne abusing its monopoly
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:14
AFTER reading Alan McCormick's letter about TelOne's charges "TelOne
charges outrageous" (Zimbabwe Independent, June 19), I checked my telephone
account for April, and confirmed that one unit did indeed cost 21 cents.
Since this is indivisible, the claim by TelOne that local calls cost
seven cents a minute is, as McCormick claimed, a distortion of the truth.
Any fraction of that first three minutes would likewise cost 21 cents.
Unlike the water and electricity bills where you can go out and read your
meter to check on the charges, one cannot read TelOne's meters.
Not only that but one cannot even obtain a detailed account which
would allow them to see where and when the calls were made. This is a clear
abuse of monopoly and it's time it was ended!
Tsvangirai's trips crucial for Zimbabwe's recovery
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:12
ZIMBABWE has gone through a lot of challenges which include
hyperinflation, high HIV/Aids infection rates, the fastest shrinking economy
on the planet, closed schools, and collapsing health and social welfare
systems. All the above were threatening the very survival of a country that
once was very vibrant and promising.
The advent of the inclusive government brought some form of stability
and hope to the country which many had written off completely. Most
importantly Morgan Tsvangirai was at the centre of this process of bringing
about change supported by Arthur Mutambara and other foot soldiers in the
revolution. The people of Zimbabwe are beginning to see a glimpse of a
normal political system in the form of a coalition or alliance of former
Some have branded Tsvangirai Robert Mugabe's errand boy for the
removal of the sanctions against the country but this view is as nonsensical
as the people who are supporting it. What is at stake in Zimbabwe today is
the survival of a country that has vast potential to rescue itself with
initial support from outside countries.
Tsvangirai's overseas trips are just meant to achieve that very
important objective and the fruits of his visits abroad will soon be
realised a few months or years down the line.
First, it was important that someone of the PM's stature and position
went abroad to re-establish the good relations Zimbabwe once enjoyed with
the international community during the honeymoon days of our Independence.
Second, having rescued Zimbabwe from the jaws of a failed state, Tsvangirai
needed to go further and approach willing members of the international
community to support the inclusive government financially.
It is encouraging to see a Zimbabwean leader being welcomed abroad
with the grandeur and embrace that is normally accorded to other so-called
democratic members of the international community. Zimbabwe deserves a place
in international fora in view of what we once stood for and the progress we
once registered in the fields of education and health in Africa.
However, it is worrying that the response of the international
community has not been rapid enough in view of the desperation of the
Zimbabwean situation. What we are hearing these days are warm words of
encouragement, support and solidarity but none of these have translated into
tangible results except for a few handouts here and there.
What Zimbabwe needs today apart from the very urgent humanitarian aid
is tangible action and commitments such as balance-of-payments support,
opening of lines of credit to the private sector, manufacturing sector
revival, technical assistance in agriculture and telecommunications, debt
relief and a moratorium on loan repayments, trade and investment, joint
ventures in mining, forestry and construction as well as acceptance into
trading arrangements such as Nepad, Agoa, London and Paris Donor Conferences
and IMF and World Bank programmes.
It is understandable that we are meeting obstacles towards achieving
some of the above objectives. These include conditionalities such as
reforming our land policies as suggested by Angela Merkel, reforming the
legal system with a view to improving human rights, constitutional reform,
stopping fresh farm invasions, restoring the rule of law and a free press.
It is within our control to improve on most of the issues cited by
potential financial backers as contentious and needing urgent change. Again,
it was important for Tsvangirai to go abroad and express commitment towards
achieving the above changes and the need for the international community to
consider supporting Zimbabwe now instead of waiting for Mugabe's departure
before aid can be given.
It is true that Tsvangirai has a Herculean task to convince the West
and to push for more reforms back home against the background of a very
defiant group of Zanu PF politicians who view him (and Mugabe) as sell-outs.
There is no other way that this country can be turned around without
convincing the international community that Zimbabwe has now returned to the
fold and needs support.
Diaspora can 'return' in various ways
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:10
THE Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Interface (ZDDI) hails the Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's call for Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom to
consider coming home because the message resonates with our aspirations.
Whilst Tsvangirai's genuine call may not have gone down well with a
section of the Zimbabwean diaspora community, there are many other
Zimbabweans in the diaspora who are keen to explore ways to contribute to
the reconstruction of Zimbabwe. We wish to clarify that not all Zimbabweans
in the UK are exiles and this media stereotype does not help the public
understand the Zimbabwean diasporans.
We recognise the undeniable fact that Zimbabwe has suffered a serious
brain drain over the years and that skills in the diaspora can be tapped
into if there is a clear mechanism and programme to plough back into their
We urge better communication between the inclusive government and the
We wish the PM well in his quest to re-engage Zimbabwe with the
international community as well as the diaspora.We are ready to share ideas
on best practice in various fields in order to enable Zimbabwe to compete in
the global society.
Returning home can be done in various ways as visitors, tourists,
locum workers, and investors and returning home permanently. As the prime
minister said, it will always be an individual decision.
Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Interface.
SMS The Zimbabwe Independent
Thursday, 25 June 2009 21:11
KARIKOGA Kaseke has failed to turn around the tourism industry in
Zimbabwe. It has gone from bad to worse on his watch. Even Fifa has since
lost confidence in Zimbabwe because of the poor administration.
WILL the University of Zimbabwe open I wonder? Former students like
Tendai Biti, Arthur Mutambara and others must help us.
I AM a UZ student and it pains me to see Zanu PF policies destroy my
future. All they care about is power and money. What is Stan Mudenge doing
about our plight? He is just dead wood like the rest of his party.
CAN Zesa please explain to us why an area in Marlborough called "red
roofs" has electricity always when the rest of Marlborough is switched off
everyday. Is it because there is a Zesa manager who lives there? If so I am
willing to move to my cottage and let your senior managers live in my house
for free. Please explain why you never follow your load -shedding schedule
ever since you started it when it comes to Marlborough.
THE move by Elias Mudzuri for consumers to pay US$30 or more per month
for electricity or risk supplies being cut is pure extortion. It is still
very expensive. May someone come to our rescue?
WHY do mobile phone service providers claim that they are not making
any profit when one cannot phone for five minutes from a dollar? Travelling
has become cheaper than phoning yet it is supposed to be the other way
round. The relevant ministry should do something.
ARE the ministries of Finance and Agriculture aware of Agribank
employees' plight? We have been mistreated for far too long.
WE need to prioritise three issues in the new constitution. These are
the need for the devolution of power, proportional representation and a Bill
WE should declare Gweru the new capital city and reside the Supreme
Court in Bulawayo whilst Harare retains the legislature. There should also
be devolution of power to five provinces.
I ADVISE the GNU to do away with appointing governors because they are
a waste of money.
PEOPLE must stop criticising Professor Jonathan Moyo. He is just
giving an honest analysis of the shortcomings of the GNU. People might hate
him but he is the only man to show the people what can be done if a man is
given a government post in terms of development. Tsholotsho could have gone
very far today if he had not been disturbed by the politics of hate and
Remember that the situation we find our country in today was foretold
by him in the early 1990s.
TENDAI Biti should stop harassing Gideon Gono because he had to apply
desperate measures to quell a desperate situation. He saved the nation from
total collapse and I wonder where Biti was at that time?
GIDEON Gono should write letters of complaint to Robert Mugabe who
appointed him and not to Morgan Tsvangirai who is against his appointment.
GIDEON Gono is trying to use Morgan Tsvangirai as a boat after he
created the river. Tsvangirai should let him drown.
Top Shatta, Belvedere.
THE Sunday Mail should rise above their gutter journalism. If Morgan
Tsvangirai was given a brief by Robert Mugabe and cabinet to go and
campaign for the removal of sanctions why are they trying to demean his
PLEASE Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, we want a rally in Rusape.
MDC for life.
ARTHUR Mutambara does not support Robert Mugabe but he refuses to be a
British puppet like what we see in some MDC-T officials.
A CHANGE of leadership in Zanu PF would renew the people's hopes in
it. If that happens we will vote for it because it represents total
independence as opposed to neo-colonialism.
IT is ungodly to punish the innocent whilst the crooked walk free. But
it seems that Robert Mugabe's government does exactly that. Jestina Mukoko's
issue being a case in point.
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1. KARORI FARM UPDATE
The soldiers from the Zimbabwe National army have remained on the farm
since March. Under instruction from Brigadier Mujaji they stopped all
farm operations for five weeks including maize reaping and tobacco
grading. Three Lorries were sent to the farm to try and load maize for
delivery to the Jesuit ProvincialFood Programme who contracted the crop,
however all the lorries were denied access and sent back.
The Police have refused to intervene or uphold any of our Court orders
and Charles Lock was told by the DISPOL that the Police had been
instructed by police general headquarters not to render assistance.
Lock then took the matter to Court again and got a spoliation order
against Mujaji and his soldiers. They were to be removed by the Deputy
Sheriff forthwith. This is really just a duplication of existing Court
Orders. In his replying affidavit the Brigadier denied many of the
accusations against him including the fact that there was a writ for his
arrest. He even said Lock no longer lived on the farm and had no workers
Lock actually went to the farm with the German Ambassodor and witnessed
the shut down , the presence of soldiers, and the lorry being turned back
The messenger of Court was sent on Friday to effect the eviction, but
Mujaji stopped it and returned all the soldiers and then attempted to
have the farm workers themselves removed. The Police did nothing to
As it stands now there are no operations on the farm, clearly Mujaji is
desperate to reap what he has not sown and the Police support this
In the meantime there is an attempt by the Attorney general to charge
Lock's wife for being on the land unlawfully. This is quite unbelievable
as Lock has already been acquitted and can never be charged again. He
owns the crops and equipment and farms the land.
The State now wants to charge his wife .This indicates the extent to
which the law has collapsed in Zimbabwe. Imagine a person being charged
for murder for example and he is tried and found not guilty, so instead
they now charge his wife for the crime in an effort to rectify the first
failed attempt even though she has nothing to do with it.
It is quite unbelievable that the Prime Minister down plays these issues
as exaggerations. He flies around asking for money when the crops Lock
has produced legally are being stolen by the National Army. It appears
the GNU has no intention of dealing with any hot issue even though they
are at the root cause of our problems in this country.
2. Stockdale Citrus Estate
The entire early variety of citrus has been reaped, so far about 4000
tons with 25 people; when we employed over 150 people to reap that same
crop, it just goes to show how much has been stolen by the masses from
Chegutu (well Done)!
According to one official they have been over 200 bags of AN stolen; when
we left on the 16th March there were +300 bags in the locked in the
storage shed (some one WILL pay for that that i can promise) the
beneficiary Edna Madzongwe has reported the matter to CID Chegutu,I am
sure there will be an investigation There was 1000 ltrs of diesel
delivered to the farm by Jamia (Senator Kadoma) and that has gone
missing, SHAME! And there seems to be a bit of a rift between the 2
beneficiaries. Farming in Zimbabwe is not just about planting and waiting
to grow it is a business that requires a LOT more FOOT work
By Blessing Zulu
25 June 2009
Soon to depart his Harare post, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee in
an interview with VOA on Thursday described as "wrong-minded" those who
argue that the national unity government formed in February might need to
stay in place for four or five years given the hurdles to organizing a new
round of elections on a horizon of 18-24 months.
McGee, scheduled to conclude his Harare assignment in early July, was asked
if he believed free and fair elections could be held within 18 to 24 months
as some in the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change formation
led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have suggested is desirable given
the the troubled course of the unity government.
"That I think is going to be a little bit optimistic," McGee said. "We're
starting to fall behind on the constitutional (revision) timetable, first of
all. Unfortunately there's nothing in the Global Political Agreement (for
power-sharing) that says you have to have that election in 18 months to two
years. We're already hearing too many voices saying that it may be necessary
to maintain this current government of national unity for four or five
years. Now that's just absolutely wrong-minded thinking and the type of
thinking that creates problems for us in trying to deliver assistance,
development assistance, to this government."
U.S. officials including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton told Mr. Tsvangirai earlier this month when he was in
Washington that expanded financial support to the Harare unity government
depends on progress in restoring and protecting human rights and the rule of
law. McGee said Mr. Tsvangirai had heard an "unequivocal message" from U.S.
and other Western officials, "but we need to see both sides of this unity
government engaged in forward movement, and that's just not the case so
Mr. Tsvangirai shares power in an uneasy accommodation with President Robert
Mugabe and his long-ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front,
The unity government was formed to end a political deadlock following 2008
elections marred by widespread, deadly violence, and a presidential runoff
in which Mr. Mugabe claimed victory amid widespread challenges to the
legitimacy of the uncontested second-round ballot.
Asked if there had been any meaningful progress on human rights or the rule
of law since the unity government was installed, McGee replied:"Let me give
you a very short answer: no."
The ambassador offered some final thoughts to the Zimbabwean people as he
prepares to return to Washington.
"Without the people, there is absolutely no need for government. Government
exists to meet the needs, the welfare of the people. And government has to
be responsible to those needs, or the government should be ousted - throw
the rascals out," McGee said.
"When I look at the ongoing problems here in Zimbabwe, it tells me that
there is a lack of leadership. The government of national unity is one that
needs to work, but until we have both parties truly committed to forward
movement here in Zimbabwe, it's not going to work. I want to say to the
people of Zimbabwe, your country has unlimited potential. But the people of
Zimbabwe need to step up and demand better from their government."
When he took up his post in November 2007, succeeding the outspoken
Christopher Dell who drew personal invective from Mr. Mugabe, McGee
indicated he wanted to rebuild bridges to the Harare administration. But
that was not to be as the 2008 elections unleashed a wave of politically
motivated violence aimed in particular against rural supporters of Mr.
Tsvangirai's MDC formation, which had scored major inroads in former ZANU-PF
McGee was outspoken in denouncing the violence and visited victims both in
Harare and in the provinces, leading to confrontations with police and
criticism by government officials.
In reporting his scheduled departure, the state-controlled Herald newspaper
ran a lengthy diatribe taunting McGee. The paper said he was leaving
Zimbabwe "bruised and battered" because he had not been able to block the
formation of the unity government.
In an interview with reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
McGee said the United States and other Western countries want to see a
commitment to reform by both sides of the government - including ZANU-PF -
but this has not been happening.
By: Oscar Nkala
26th June 2009
The Zimbabwe govern-ment says it is in the final stages of imposing a new
regime of hefty levies aimed at ridding the gold-mining sector of companies
and individuals who are holding onto unused mining claims.
Mines and Mining Develop-ment Minister Obert Mpofu tells Mining Weekly there
is a huge number of mining claims not being used as the owners do not have
the resources to start mining or are simply holding onto the claims for
“We have just completed the process of identifying all redundant claims
nationwide and we are feeding all this into a database that will be used to
check on and call the concession holders to account for the state of their
claims . . . We want to discourage speculators and economic saboteurs,” he
Many locals own multiple gold-mining claims but have neither the resources
nor the technical know-how to venture into mining. ″Sources in the Ministry
say more than 1 000 claims, mostly for gold, have been identified thus far.
However, Colin Chigumira, of the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation, which
represents small-scale gold-miners, says government’s intended move
threatens to derail locals’ participation in the gold-mining sector, which
is starting to show signs of revival.
He says many members of his organisation have unexploited claims because
they could not raise capital during the past nine years, a period
characterised by political and economic difficulties.
“Government is missing the point. Everyone knows that the mining industry
was knocked out cold by the
economic crisis, over which people like Mpofu presided.″
“We find it particularly dis-turbing that this seems to be targeted at
small-scale miners,” says Chigumira.″
He says small-claim holders need at least two years to develop their claims.
The intended move is likely to add to uncertainty in an industry already
upset by various legislative restrictions, both mooted and enacted.″
Foreign mining companies are waiting to see the implementation of the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, which seeks to give locals a
51% stake in all foreign-owned mining ventures with no money changing hands.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
By Patience Rusere
25 June 2009
Zimbabwe this week launched the public participation phase of a process
intended to lead to a new draft constitution in a little over a year as a
parliamentary select committee held public hearings on the matter aiming to
hold a referendum on the document by October 2010.
But the process has begun under a cloud of controversy with the National
Constitutional Assembly arguing it should be driven by the people, not by
members of parliament.
President Robert Mugabe's pronouncement this week that the so-called Kariba
draft, which would significantly expand presidential power, should be the
touchstone for the revision process, also stirred concern. The NCA and
others oppose adoption of the Kariba document saying it was written in
secret in 2007 by the parties now sharing power in government.
For perspective, reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
turned to Madock Chivasa, spokesman for the NCA, and Douglas Mwonzora,
co-chairman of the parliamentary select committee, who insisted the process
is inclusive and will not be manipulated.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
25 June 2009
With Zimbabwe's constitutional revision consultative process officially
launched this week with hearings in Harare and other centers, the National
Constitutional Assembly said it would step up its advocacy work to include
education of the public on the pitfalls of the process now led by the
parliament rather than by the independent commission it would prefer.
The non-governmental organization in April launched a campaign called "Take
Charge" to rally opposition to the parliamentary led constitutional revision
process, joined by several other leading civic organizations, including the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
NCA spokesman Madock Chivasa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe that Zimbabweans need to know the dangers of allowing
politicians to lead the process of updating the country's basic document.
Correspondent Arthur Chigoriwa reported from the Mashonaland West capital of
Chinhoyi that residents who gathered Wednesday for a consultative assembly
expressed mixed feelings about the constitutional revision process as it was
explained to them.
Moses Mudzwiti Published:Jun 26, 2009
THE University of Zimbabwe, which has been closed for five months, could
reopen its doors next month.
University authorities have informed the government that the university will
reopen on July 6. However, lecturers at the institution have poured cold
water on the claim. They said they were not willing to resume lectures until
their salary disputes were resolved. Some lecturers said they had not been
paid since November last year.
Besides salary problems, the university still has no water. New boreholes
drilled on campus are contaminated.
More than 6000 local and foreign students are enrolled at the institution.
The closures have resulted in some students falling a year behind in their
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1. Dear Jag
I note that our Prime Minister is saying that there have only been "a few
isolated" recent incidents on Commercial farms. How recent is "recent"?
Perhaps some people need to be reminded -
David Stevens, a Commercial farmer in Macheke, was brutally murdered on
16th April 2000. Five farmers with him sought sanctuary in the Murewa
police station where they were beaten and tortured by the police.
Afterwards the war veteran leader, Hunzvi said: "We don't want to be
provoked and we don't care what the British are going to say. If they
want to fight with us, we will fight them..." Maria, David's widow, son
and daughter, and young twin boys, tried living in Zimbabwe for a while,
but it became too traumatic for them and they now live in Sweden.
On the 18th April 2000, Martin Olds was murdered in his home on the farm
in Nyamandhlovu. His wife Cathy, (a polio paraplegic), daughter Martine,
and son Angus, were assisted by many people, enabling them to emigrate to
the UK. The CFU Matabeleland Branch formed a fund for the family which
assisted them tremendously whilst they were still in Zimbabwe. Cathy is
now settled and works as a legal secretary.
Then on May 7th 2000, Alan Dunn was beaten to death by "war veterans"
with chains and bricks outside his own back door as his wife listened
helplessly, to his calls for help. He died on his way to hospital.
Then apart from the three mentioned above, the murders of Willem Botha in
May 2000, John Weeks 13 May 2000, Tony Oates 31 May 2000, Henry Ellsworth
12 December 2000 and Gloria Olds 4 February 2001. Then the world saw the
traumatic photograph of the little Jack Russell dog lying next to his
murdered "boss", Terry Fords's body, outside his Norton farmhouse.
Then what about the times when whole districts were targeted by "war
at one time, e.g. the tragedies of Mhangura - Doma - Chinoyi - Banket,
the Wedza and Mutare areas. There are many other names of all races and
districts that could be named - the Prime Minister says that he can
It is not just the effects on Commercial farming and farmers and also on
the workers and their families that are so sad, but also the knock on
effect of the run down industries in the cities.
"Recent" indeed - the only thing that is happening recently is the
starvation of a once prosperous country.
2. Dear JAG,
More noise in response to the correspondent below!
Honour the spirit of peace and reconciliation? Does the author seriously
believe that the Mugabe regime will ever reciprocate? How can refusing to
collude with a shameless and brutal dictatorship that has brought nothing
but ruin and misery be equated with wanting our `stores empty
again' or `closed schools' or `wanting to suffer
until things are perfect'. The Zimbabwean people, including those
who jeered Tsvangirai, have never demanded perfection, but change. What
they do want - and have a right to demand - are their basic
human and democratic rights, the rule of law, and justice. None of these
are remotely near resolution. There is not even a hint of political will
on the part of ZANU(PF) to resolve these issues.
Instead of working to remove draconian legislation, getting rid of the
architects of our economic ruin, stopping the land invasions and human
rights abuses - the MDC as done nothing but give in and cozy up to
Mugabe. The problem is that the MDC has entered into an unworkable
partnership with a dictatorship that will `share' power only
when it is in its own interests to do so. The MDC is powerless. It could
not even stop the land invasions, so it accepts and downplays them.
While Tsvangirai and ZANU(PF) cronies wear their broad smiles to convince
Western governments to support Zimbabwe, the same governments are mocked
and vilified by Mugabe and our public media - over which his
stranglehold is as secure as ever. It is sad and pathetic to see Morgan
Tsvangirai defending a monster like Mugabe. He really does look like the
errand boy of the Big Man - which is precisely as the state media
has portrayed him.
Instead of justice, we have `healing'. None of those who
committed heinous crimes against innocent and decent people have been
brought to justice. When elections come and ZANU(PF) once again smells
defeat, they will unleash their thugs and murderers again in a wave of
violence. Mugabe will deplore MDC violence and call for peace, while SADC
leaders fold their arms and do nothing. Doing business with the Mugabe
regime is not, never was, and never will be part of the solution.
The truth is simple: Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC lost the respect and
support of their followers when they capitulated and did a dirty deal
with Mugabe. He and his party have become tainted with the dictatorship
they once bravely (even if incompetently) fought. That is why donors will
not give his government any money, that is why he is jeered by his
would-be supporters in England, that is why the ordinary Zimbabwe, who
looked to Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC for hope, feel so betrayed. But
the MDC has stopped listening.
And another thing: many times we have proposed peaceful alternatives to
this cul-de-sac of collusion, only to be told precisely what the author
says - there is no alternative. It is a pity that he/she repeats
the mantra of the MDC about `perfection' and
`alternatives' that are now standard fair for the MDC's
own ineptitude. The `Chinje' the people yearn for has not
Voice for Democracy
From: Prince Edward [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 6:46 AM
Subject: so much noise
This is from the PM's website People's Forum. I agree with it. k
Angry? Quit complaining. Come up with solutions. 10 Hours, 4 Minutes ago
Some people at Southwark Cathedral shouted down the Prime Minister. Some
people on the internet blogs are saying it sounds in London interviews
like he is being too accommodating to President Mugabe.
They are angry, some even feeling betrayed. Without doubt, many are true
victims and may God bless them.
But let's be honest with ourselves, if we wanted real dramatic
change, when the election was stolen in 2002 or 2008, then we could have
done what the people in Iran have done.
But we didn't. A few people like WOZA get arrested time and again for
peaceful public activities. Sometimes NCA does, too. I don't know who
else, not many images of Zimbabweans on the streets protecting their
So I say, if we aren't going to be part of the solution, like the people
of Iran, then really, what good does it do to be part of the problem by
picking away at leaders who have pragmatically committed to
reconciliation? Including President Mugabe. Enough already.
Things are not perfect. My friends are still struggling mightily. 150
days cannot undo 150 months.
When I hear the hecklers I think we are actually saying to the Prime
Minister, "I want the stores empty again, as a matter of principle. And
since things aren't perfect, why not let's close the schools again, until
they are. Why? Because we just think you are being too nice to the
President and we all want to suffer suffer suffer until things are
perfect. Perfect or else!"
Friends, we could have marched through Harare with signs saying "where is
our vote?" We didn't. I for one was too scared. Now I see on TV every
minute these brave people. But that is not the path we took, is it? No.
We were too afraid, or too something. I don't know what. We thought
somebody would solve our problem for us. And when they didn't, we started
fighting and finger pointing amongst ourselves. (Never pointing the
finger at our own selves.)
Politics in Zimbabwe doesn't need to a zero-sum game. When we, the
people, change the Constitution, it does not have to be Winner-Take-All
like it is now. It can be a proportional representation like in South
Africa. It's better for stability. Worse for accountability. Is anyone
talking about this?
I'm sorry people but it seems like we always are acting like victims for
this reason or that reason. "The old government is bad", we said. "The
new government is bad", some say now. These people in London. How rough
is life for them there? Maybe that's one reason they heckled the PM. I
bet they don't want to return because they have got used to being in
England. Some might be afraid, true enough, but let's be honest, it might
be expensive but it's an interesting life.
In close, I ask these people who fled to the streets of London (who
complain to each other in bars and on safe street corners far from
danger) about our leaders and their cars and so on and so forth, I ask
all Zimbabwean citizens with so many complaints in their mouths -- "where
were you on 30 March 2008"? or on March 12 2002? Were you on the streets?
Right. So, let us try to honour the spirit of peace and reconciliation
and quit being permanent victims. Yes, we were victims. Beaten, tortured,
lost our livelihoods, family members. I write from experience. But for
now comrades let's come up with solutions. I am so tired of hearing
people think they can do better than this govt. But no one ever says
how!! What is the alternative???
3. Dear JAG,
I'm a Denver scientist and Director of the Sand County Foundation. I have
made a dozen trips to Zimbabwe since 1999 and, since 2000, worked in
community-based conservation there.
I have been an eyewitness to the entire decline of that country.
I found articles across the newspaper world so misleading so as to
confound me. One sub-headline quotes Robert Mugabe as blaming the British
for his country's economic collapse. Mugabe being quoted as saying."I
cannot sleep with a clear conscience if there is any cheating." (In
Focus: Suffering in the Wrecked Economy of Zimbabwe, by Angus Shaw,
Assoc. Press.) [There was no analysis of this quote, as though blindly
The last [many] months demonstrate that America and the Media live in a
vacuum, utterly ignorant of African governance.
I'd like to speak truth to the media and government lies. In my work in
Zimbabwe, supporting wildlife conservation and the livelihoods of
indigenous people, this is what I have seen.
In 1999, Zimbabwe was a thriving, budding democracy, the fourth largest
agricultural exporter in the world! A rising Black middle class combined
with the best race relations I have witnessed in my world travels. The
small white minority were the greatest entrepreneurs I'd met anywhere.
Zanu-PF, the communist revolutionary party of Robert Mugabe almost lost
the 2000 election to MDC the budding pro-democracy opposition.
In order to stay in power, Robert played his last and only-hole card:
Twenty years earlier he had threatened to confiscate all 'white' farms,
but failed to do so through benign neglect. In April, 2000, he pulled the
trigger. His "War Veterans" invaded [those] farms, murdered a few whites
and drove the rest out of their homes. 50,000 agricultural workers, all
black, protested. The great "Land Reform" had begun.
In May, 2000, I interviewed War Vets on the 250,000 acre private wildlife
conservancy, Bubiana (subsequently destroyed by land invasions). They
were farmers and wanted more land to grow maize. The southeast low veldt
where they lived is a semi-desert, poorly suited to farming - perfectly
suited to wildlife. In time they would poach all the wildlife out of the
once thriving private land conservancies, and their crops would fail 5 of
the 6 years since they ploughed the sand.
Zanu-PF gave the commercial farms to their political cronies, generals
and higher-ups in the national police. The politicos expected to cut
deals with the white farmers to skim the profits. The whites refused to
play ball, so all that was left was to sell off the farm equipment for
Thus, the Zimbabwean agricultural economy collapsed. W heat production
dropped 90% in three years. This is "Gangster Government" (Africa
Unchained, George Ayittey) at its worst.
Since then, whenever I've thought it could not get worse, it has. In
June, 2007, while I was there, I watched Mugabe enforce "price controls"
while his central bank created the worst inflations since 1922 Germany,
by printing money and stealing foreign exchange as fast as they could.
The prices were rolled back by six weeks (400%) and the shelves emptied
in days. The price police would close a store, reset the prices and
reopen the store. Like as not, the police, army officers and politicians
would be standing in line, first to buy. Businesses went broke and the
economy further collapsed. Don't believe me? I sat in a Harare shopping
center in June, 2007 and watched it happen.
Robert Mugabe, Zanu-PF, the army and police have stolen everything. They
have converted their soon to be worthless Zim dollars to U.S. and shipped
it all offshore. I have purchased large quantities of Zim dollars on the
black market to pay for conservation efforts. I know of what I speak.
The world has stood by and done nothing. Why not? Southern African
governments cannot intervene. They are all Gangsters themselves, more or
less. I have had Ministers in Namibia tell me Robert Mugabe is doing the
right thing. "We will take back the white farms in our country someday."
Mbeki of South Africa is a thief. All of them are. It is cultural. They
do not understand the creation of wealth. They think you get rich by
taking from someone else. Why haven't we stepped in? My friends, they are
Black and they have no Resources we covet.
-The opposition has been beaten and murdered.
-Over three million black Zimbabweans, the entire black middle class have
left the country.
-Many college graduates are working cleaning toilets in South Africa.
-Two million Zimbabweans have died of AIDS. The average life span is
-The population has dropped from about 14 million to maybe 10 million
yet, Zanu-PF claim 5.9 million on the voter rolls in a country where the
average age is less than the voting age. You do the math.
The world could have intervened in Zimbabwe and set Africa on a better
course. Instead, we have sat back and watched an entire continent unravel
in a matter of years: Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Congo, Sudan and
-irrational borders imposed by colonial powers.
- all fuelled by guns donated by Russia and the West during the cold war
have led to the collapse in Africa.
Robert Mugabe, for the moment is the worst of them. By sitting back and
doing nothing, the West insured that he will be neither the worst nor the
Following Mugabe's thugs being confounded to discover they really did
lose the election, -they violated their own constitution and ran the
election runoff, not 21 days later, but 90 days.
-Enough time for them to viciously attack their own constituency the
majority of whom had finally had enough and voted against Mugabe.
-Sure they attacked and murdered MDC politicians, but mostly the sacked
and burned Shona villages - their own people.
We now know that Gangsters will not give up power. The election was
stolen. SADC, the Southern African Development Community and the African
Union, have wrung its collective hands and done nothing substantive.
Western governments decry the results and do nothing as well.
The U.N. is incompetent to act, a bloated bureaucracy that feeds at the
Only military intervention will overthrow this government and no one has
the stones to do it.
In lieu of invasion, I suggest complete embargo. Let the refugees out and
nothing in. Let the bastards sit in the dark with nothing to eat. Let
them live like their own people. To paraphrase Alan Paton: "Cry, the
When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work
because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other
half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is
going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of
any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
- The late Dr. Adrian Rogers , 1931 to 2005 ---
June 25, 2009
AFTER seemingly endless debate on how Zimbabwe's problems are threatening to
overwhelm its weary population because of their sheer magnitude, we need to
guard against making yet another big mistake.
By allowing every one of Zimbabwe's numerous problems to be subjected to
such energy-absorbing analysis, we can too easily overlook the existence of
readily available practical answers.
Zimbabwe needs ideas that work. Plenty of Zimbabweans have the ability to
make good ideas work, but the country has damaged its links with people who
know how to work and can distinguish between good and bad ideas. And the
country's difficulties will be best overcome by restoring production.
So we need workers, not freeloaders. We must be alert to the arguments of
the "something-for-nothing" brigade, which gained the ascendancy in recent
years. Some good ideas were accepted, but restrictions were applied to
ensure that if anyone was to succeed, it should not be those who succeeded
before. The "something for nothing" brigade carefully protected their
territory, and if the challenges proved too difficult, its members were
influential enough to grant themselves subsidies, special exchange rates and
While privileged individuals made fortunes, these ideas were not an answer
the country's problems. In fact they were the country's problems. And such
problems can now be overcome only by having everybody work for what they
get, working to the same rules, paying the same prices and meeting the same
exacting and unforgiving demands of the same competitive markets.
While this clique was calling the shots, Zimbabweans were told to look East
and told to look left. Bombarded with constant reminders of historic
imbalances, we were even told to look backwards. And the leadership demanded
that, no matter what they did or said, to them we must look up. What we
actually needed to do was to look forwards. We need to do that now in our
efforts to put in place the requirements for a better tomorrow.
Whether we seek or receive advice from the East, or the West, or from the
Left or the Right, or whether we really need cautionary notes from a history
that cannot be changed, all our tomorrows lie in the future. We can do the
most to fix the future by allowing the people who can - who know how to -
take the initiative needed to rebuild Zimbabwe's economy for all of us.
Countries can offer incentives to investors, and investors might be
persuaded to commit their funds because they are happy to accept incentives.
So you can offer people incentives. But instead, we should recognise the
very special qualities of people who are capable of taking initiative.
Initiatives are not offered or accepted, they are taken, and sometimes even
seized. In every case, the people involved are very different from the rest
of us. And we need them, but a curious fact is that politicians are often
scared of such people. Perhaps it is because the possible success of
initiative-takers is considered likely to empower them. For the kind of
politician we are talking about, any powers held by those other than the
political elite are seen as a potential threat.
For such politicians, the purpose of striving for political power is to
wield power, not to share power with anybody. So their reaction to people
with unusual abilities is always to try to control them. But these are the
very people any and every country needs the most. Far from letting our
politicians try to control them, we should be demanding they be offered
conditions that encourage them. If we succeed, they will use their rare
skills in our own country on behalf of our own communities.
All that the administration needs do is to ensure that everyone has equal
access to the available resources. In essence, that means that all the
resources should be in the market and all those who need them should pay for
them at the market prices.
When capable people are taking initiatives, entirely different processes are
involved from when other people are merely reacting to incentives. However,
they share a common link of development. In every case, development requires
investment, and investment calls for investor confidence. Whether they are
responding to incentives or seizing initiatives, the different investors are
trying to invest their own, or somebody else's knowledge, time and energy,
plus their savings or other people's savings, to try to develop something.
Whoever they are, these investors will hopefully have confidence in their
own abilities already, but all of them will also want to feel confident that
issues over which they have little or no control will not derail their
efforts. They will want to feel that the investment climate within the
country and region concerned is acceptable and will remain acceptable.
Those people who take the initiative to accomplish something, however, show
levels of energy, vision, enterprise and courage that set them apart. They
usually see potential that others missed. They certainly do not wait for
others to identify them, repackage them with enticing incentives and then
offer lists of them at development conferences. But if they are unsettled by
arbitrary political interference, the initiatives they can take will be
taken somewhere else.
In the world's prosperous countries, ideas have been more readily adopted
and adapted, and growth has been more self-sustaining because the people who
could take initiative were left to get on with it. In every case, the most
successful of the countries were those that ensured the climate was
supportive of those willing to make such commitments. In such countries, aid
has seldom featured.
Zimbabwe is in danger of getting hopelessly entangled in endless details of
the things that need to be done and in trying to decide who should do them.
If the challenges were placed in the laps of the country's capable
initiative-takers, these people would soon generate workable solutions and
get them working. And for the rest of us, that is all we need!