June 29, 2007, 06:15
Water shortage has hit Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, with about half the city
going for nearly a week without supplies. The latest crisis resulting from
maintenance works at the sole reticulation plant has resulted in households
sourcing water from unhygienic sources creating a serious health time-bomb.
Harare has run dry and families are in crisis. Water supplies to all western
suburbs have been cut as authorities grapple with maintenance works. Scores
of women searching water with buckets and tins in suburbs of Budiriro,
Glenview, Mufakose and Glen Norah have become common sights.
They are turning to any source of water. Wells in wetlands, sewer systems,
anywhere where the precious liquid can be extracted. The desperate citizens
know that the water is not fit for consumption and are breathing fire.
Government admits that the situation is critical. Munacho Mutezo, the water
resources minister, says that there are technical problems at Morton
Jeffrey, the sole reticulation plant, and it may take time before supplies
Recurrent power cuts
"There is a valve failure which we are working on, but as you know, the
lines are low and it takes time to identify where exactly the problem is,"
said the minister.
The plight of Harare residents has been compounded by recurrent power cuts
which have seen households going for days without electricity. As a result,
firewood and generators have become a popular source of power for many. With
no water and electricity, tough times rarely come worse than this.
June 29, 2007
By Tom Robbins
Cape Town - Pick 'n Pay's Zimbabwean chain, TM, would work with the
government of President Robert Mugabe to resolve "the practicalities" of
complying with an order to slash retail prices, the local retailer said
On Tuesday Mugabe ordered retailers and food processors to cut the selling
prices of basic foodstuffs by up to half. The government said security
forces would enforce the order.
Prices of basics go up on a daily basis in Zimbabwe, with an annual
inflation rate believed close to 5 000 percent.
"Currently the retailers, including TM, are working closely with wholesalers
and authorities to work through the practicalities of compliance," a Pick 'n
Pay spokesperson said yesterday.
However, according to the Independent Foreign Service, most retailers have
instead chosen to withdraw their goods and some manufacturers have stopped
Other alternatives include selling products at current prices, risking
possible government sanction, or compliance with the order, selling goods
for less than the retailers paid for them.
A source with reliable knowledge of the situation said business executives
feared severe punishment if they defied the order.
On Wednesday Mugabe said some businesses were profiteering from inflation.
He threatened to nationalise retailers and manufacturers that did not halve
Shoprite chief executive Whitey Basson said the company, which had only one
store in Bulawayo, "will sell at the government recommended prices; we have
to". If the store became unviable, the company would re-evaluate the
situation, but it had a responsibility to staff and shareholders, he said.
Pick 'n Pay has a 25 percent stake in the TM supermarket group but has been
forced to write down the value of the investment by as much as R64 million,
to just R9 million.
Because of worsening economic conditions "and a lack of foreign exchange,
the possibility of remitting funds from Zimbabwe is currently remote", said
Pick 'n Pay .
TM is controlled by the Meikles group, with 75 percent.
Basson said Shoprite had been forced to put a stop to "quite big" expansion
plans in the country after the economy nosedived. He noted that the country
had good infrastructure and supply lines.
Last updated: Thursday, June 28, 2007
Zimbabwe's health service is no longer in danger of collapse but has
collapsed, a doctors' group said Monday.
"It's chaotic. Don't get sick right now," said one Zimbabwean doctor who
asked not to be identified as strike action left sick and infirm patients at
a main government hospital Monday uncertain they would get attention, even
for minor ailments.
Some drifted away from the outpatients' lobby at Parirenyatwa hospital in
Harare as work stoppages by junior doctors, nurses and hospital-staff over
pay and deteriorating working conditions continued and were spreading.
Doctors and staff who showed up for duty were overwhelmed and could not
bridge the gap left by striking colleagues, hospital officials said.
A doctors' group said Monday the government had failed to "address the
prevailing emergency in the public health sector." The Zimbabwean
Association of Doctors for Human Rights said the crisis left all the
nation's major referral hospitals unable to function.
"It can no longer be said the health service is near collapse. The emptying
of central and other hospitals of staff, and therefore patients, means the
health service has collapsed," the group said in a statement.
Transport fares unaffordable
It said even if staff were not on strike, most could not afford transport
fares to reach their posts that now exceeded monthly incomes.
Several other clinics and public health facilities were also affected by
strike action that has been sporadic for the past month. Zimbabwe is also
facing acute shortages of drugs and basic medical equipment.
The petrol price rose last week and commuter bus fares generally doubled.
From Monday, a hospital cleaner earning the equivalent of about US$25 a
month, less than one dollar a day, expected to pay up to US$3 a day on
transport to and from work.
Business executives also reported growing absenteeism.
The doctors' group said absenteeism by doctors and health staff in the same
predicament across the country was causing loss of life. No details of
increased deaths were immediately available.
Hospital officials, however, confirmed details of the reported case of a
50-year-old woman who was admitted to one state health facility on Wednesday
after falling and dislocating her hip.
She was discharged on Friday without being examined by a doctor and told go
to a functioning private medical practice - and there were other cases like
it, said officials not permitted to speak without authority of their
superiors or be identified.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, after whose father the main Harare
hospital was named, acknowledged Monday the government health service was
broke and appealed to businesses and corporate interests to "rescue" it, the
official Herald newspaper reported Monday.
Medical professionals leaving
"It is a question of social responsibility," he told the newspaper, a
He said many key Zimbabwean medical professionals found jobs outside the
country after suffering "burn out" caused by watching helplessly as patients
suffered or died through the lack of staff, medicines and equipment.
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980,
with record inflation of 3,714 percent, the highest in the world, and severe
shortages of food, hard currency and gasoline.
The brain drain of experienced medical staff "seriously compromised" the
health service which itself lacked enough working ambulances and other
transportation for the sick, Parirenyatwa said. - (Sapa)
29 June 2007
By Pedzisai Ruhanya
EVENTS relating to an alleged military take-over of the government need a
thorough interrogation in order to explain the continued deterioration of
the political and economic crisis that Zimbabwe has been grappling with for
the past seven years.
While the ingredients for a military take-over are there for everyone to
witness, the question is whether indeed such a plot was foiled or whether
there are other explanations such as the possibility of a coup, the raging
succession war in Zanu PF or the party's usual diversionary tactics when
faced with critical national issues such as the continued freefall of the
It is important to understand that the military by nature, composition and
design is authoritarian, in most cases extremely undemocratic. Such
qualities help soldiers to serve their constitutional mandate which includes
defence against foreign enemies. The role of the military is to destroy
threats, not to apprehend them for processing through a system that presumes
them innocent until proven guilty.
In most cases elsewhere, the military have cited economic decay, the
prevalence of anarchy or lawlessness, corruption, nepotism and the
possibility of a collapsed state as some of the reasons for taking over the
government from the civilians. The soldiers argue that they are a
mechanised, technical lot with abundant capacity to redress the situation.
One is therefore tempted to argue that a military coup could have been
foiled given that the most critical elements for a military takeover are
currently prevailing in Zimbabwe. This is so because for the past seven
years, Zimbabwe has been experiencing negative economic growth, a shrinking
industrial base and consequently lack of production for the critical export
sector which is very important for securing foreign currency needed to
import necessities such as electricity and fuel.
As a result of the freefall of the economy, people's wages continue to be
eroded to the extent that civil servants including the military are now
receiving pocket-money wages that they are being paid every fortnight. These
people do not have disposable incomes to pay for basic necessities such as
schools and hospital fees as well as groceries for their families.
The military also cites corrupt tendencies by the incumbent government as
one of the reasons for army takeovers.
Zimbabwe's history under the administration of President Robert Mugabe is
littered with numerous cases of corruption ranging from the Willogate
Scandal, the War Victims Compensation Fund, the DRC war and the diamond
looting associated with the adventure, the Pay-For-Your-House Scheme, the
fast-track land reform programme and the piling of farms on Zanu PF leaders,
the Zupco saga, the Ziscosteel plunder, the Noczim fuel fiasco and more
recently the Operation Garikai scheme where senior public officials
benefited from a project that was meant for the poor after their houses were
destroyed during Operation Murambatsvina.
Associated with these cases is the issue of nepotism where relatives of
government and Zanu PF officials benefit from the looting of national
resources. Such cases invite the military to take over purportedly to rescue
the nation from decay.
Cases of lawlessness that form the cornerstone of Zanu PF's role are also
important in explaining the causes of military coups. Usually the army comes
in order to restore law and order after the failure of civilians to maintain
law and order in the country.
The invasion of courts by war veterans, the attack against lawyers,
journalists and ordinary citizens without any recourse to justice have
become endemic in Zimbabwe's political psyche under Zanu PF. Attendant to
this is the glaring selective application of justice where there is one law
for Zanu PF supporters and sympathisers and another law for the rest of the
population. Such unjust and inequitable application of the law also forms
the bedrock of army involvement in civil matters.
Having noted the existence of an environment conducive for the army to be
tempted into violating the constitutional order of the country, it is my
contention that attempts to overthrow the government of Mugabe are close to
remote or somewhere nearer.
It is therefore plausible to argue that the attempted coup plot was
pre-emptive. This seems so given that the establishment through its secret
services such as the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives is
aware that the situation on the ground can create such a scenario. It could
have been the strategy of the government through the CIO to warn those
harbouring such unconstitutional ideas that Big Brother was watching them.
One of the reasons a military coup is next to impossible in Zimbabwe is the
geo-political location of Zimbabwe. The Southern African Development
Community -- bar the former Zaire, now the DRC, and the failed coup in
Lesotho -- does not have a history of military coups.
This factor is important to make the military aware of the difficulties it
faces in the event of such an unlawful misconduct. Most important, the
countries that Zimbabwe share borders with are administered by civilian
governments and some of them such as Zambia, Botswana and South Africa are
Also crucial is the composition of the military in Zimbabwe where both high
and middle-ranking officers are former liberation war fighters with an
umbilical cord with Zanu PF. To infiltrate such an establishment needs a lot
of courage and planning.
More so the big people in the army are part of the patronage system of Zanu
PF. They have amassed a lot of wealth through the allocation of farms and
luxury vehicles to the extent that they have become part of the problem and
cannot overthrow themselves from power.
The other hindrance is the ubiquitous nature of the CIO among the country's
repressive state apparatus including the army to the extent that any such
ideas can be nipped in the bud.
In most cases, such as what happed in Chile when Augusto Pinochet in 1973
overthrew the Socialist government of Allende, there was the heavy
involvement of foreign forces or governments, just as what happened when
Mobutu Sese Seko took over in the Congo.
In the current Zimbabwe scenario, there are no indications that a foreign
power is involved, which further gives credence that the so-called coup was
a child's play at best and imaginary and hallucinatory at worst. This leaves
us with at least two possible explanations for the alleged coup.
The alleged involvement of Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa gives a
political dimension to the whole saga. Mnangagwa, like retired general
Solomon Mujuru, leads a Zanu PF faction that wants to succeed Mugabe.
The mentioning of Mnangagwa in the court papers and the failure by the
security agents to arrest him for such a serious crime gives an impression
that the alleged coup plot is bogus. It seems that the whole issue is part
of the infighting in the ruling party between the two feuding factions.
One of the remote explanations which cannot be ruled out given Zanu PF's
desperation is the idea of trying to create a state under siege that
requires huge funding for the security forces for them to be able to
maintain law and order.
In my view, behind this plan could be the ruling party's intention to deploy
the military in the country for its election campaign as it did in 2002.
Zanu PF has realised that without the assistance of the military and other
repressive state apparatus such as the CIO, their chances of winning the
2008 poll are next to nothing.
Nehanda Radio: Zimbabwe's first 24 hour internet radio news channel.
29th Jun 2007 00:55 GMT
By Pelle Neroth
EARLIER this year Zimbabwe made the news when leading opposition figures to
president Robert Mugabe were beaten by police, during pro democracy rallies
in the capital Harare.
Movement for Democratic Change figures such as leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
foreign spokesman Nelson Chamisa have recovered though, are free to walk the
streets, are contesting next year's elections, and are even said to be set
up for talks with leading figures of the ruling Zanu PF movement under the
benign eye of president Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
Some MDC followers are still paying the price though for the ZANU party
leadership's hostility to the MDC, partly a matter of political
calculation perhaps, but also spiced with a visceral hatred for the MDC's
leading white Zimbabwean member, party treasurer Roy Bennett, who is living
as a political exile in South Africa since he'd he says he would be
"eliminated" by the Zimbabwean secret police had he stayed.
The scapegoat is MDC member Mike Hitschmann, a white Zimbabwean of German
origin, and he, almost certainly innocent, is, languishing in jail.
In the official Zimbabwe press, it was initially a dastardly plot to kill
president Mugabe that was foiled by the clever undercover work of the
regime's secret agency's policemen.
The official story of the plot was so ludicrous and improbable it soon was
dismissed by a judiciary that still retains some of its independence; the
air of buffoonery in the clumsy allegations raises a smile until one is
reminded of how buffoonery and wickedness often cohabit.
According to the government-owned Herald of Harare, the so called "Zimbabwe
freedom movement" (ZFM), whose members included Hitschmann, and Bennett,
plotted to kill four businessmen, bomb the local newspaper the Chronicle's
offices in Bulawayo and pour used oil on the road to derail the Presidential
motorcade ahead of President Mugabe's 82nd birthday celebrations held in the
eastern town of Mutare in February 2006.
The four businessmen's deaths were allegedly going to be a " birthday
present" for President Mugabe.
According to the prosecution chief witness, one Major Israel Phiri, who
allegedly managed to gain the confidence of Hitschmann while posing as a
keen potential co conspirator of the Zimbabwe freedom movement, Hitschmann
recruited him for his military experience, drove him around the Bulawayo
suburbs for target assessment, and paid him a large sum of money to recruit
After playing along for a while to get sufficient information, Major Phiri,
who worked for the secret police, rumbled the plot and Hitschmann and three
other co conspirators were arrested - but one wanted man, Roy Bennett,
This prosecution's case collapsed in court, too ludicrous even for the
loyalist judiciary, and Hitschmann's three co-accused were released. It was
revealed during the court proceedings that in fact the Zimbabwe freedom
movement - supposedly the "commando wing" of the official opposition party
the Movement for Democratic Change, does not in fact exist, and Mugabe never
travels by motorcade outside Harare.
Hitschmann might have been released too, but was instead charged with a new
felony: for illegal possession of weapons under a new public order act that
assumes that nearly all weapons may be used for purposes of terrorism.
This was unfair: Hitschmann, a former Rhodesian Army soldier who had
completely accepted the new dispensation, was regarded as a friend of the
blacks, actually worked with the police - and they knew he possessed the
weapons Hitschmann, who is a guns hobbyist and trained the police in the use
of firearms for a living, only possessed his small cache of fireams -
alleged to be the source of weapons for the resistance against Mugabe -
because they were the latest set of weapons handed in by the white farming
community, with whom he was also a confidante, under the "no questions
asked" policy that accompanied the new ban on weapons.
An accepted go-between, he was about to hand in the cache when was arrested
and has papers to show he did so in the past.
His lawyer says one reason why in particular he was targeted by police
because, when a policeman, dealing with arms smugglers from Mozambique made
him unpopular with the top ranks in the corrupt local police hierarchy.
It's clear that there was a larger picture, related to central government,
and that he may be encouraged to held on up on the trumped up alternative
charge when the original case collapsed because of Mugabe's fury at seeing
Roy Bennett slip through his fingers.
Also alleged to be implicated in the assassination plot, Bennett slipped
through the country's porous borders with Mozambique and made his way to
South Africa, where he is now benefiting from political asylum; he retains
his post and his work involves building links between the MDC and the South
The outspoken, maverick 49-year-old white tobacco farmer-turned-MP who had
just immediately beforehand been appointed to MDC's senior treasury post has
long been a thorn in the Zanu PF party's side, outspoken against the
confiscations of the white farms - and the six successive attempts to take
over his property, despite his carefully acquired legal permissions to
retain it for its profitability and therefore economic contribution to the
A personal enmity between him and the justice minister led to an altercation
in parliament - "due continuous provocations about my ancestry", said
Bennett, who was imprisoned, he told me recently, "in conditions that were
humbling": he had to wear a uniform covered in excrement, and lived in a
cell designed for eight but was occupied by 20.
He was released after eight months and returned to his farm.
I am told by people who know him that Hitschmann is essentially a
straight-forward kind of guy: the typical soldier, one completely reconciled
to, and prepared to build, a multiracial future.
The latest development is that he has confessed to possessing the weapons
for illegal intent, but has also told his lawyer his confession was signed
under torture, including burns and kickings. His bail applications have been
dismissed since he faces a "serious charge" While still under arrest, with
ailing lungs, his wife and child, who are both French citizens, are left
without a means of subsistence.
What can Europe do?
Hitschmann's case has been brought to the attention of the European
parliament, which has issued a wide-ranging condemnation of Zimbabwe for its
human rights abuses, especially, the slum clearances in 2005. It was
probably wise of President Jacques Chirac to uninvite Mugabe from this
spring's Francophonie summit:
France has in recent years sought to engage with Mugabe rather than
ostracise him, which is Britain's position. Doubtless people will say that
France just wants to gain trade and influence, or at least twit its old
imperial rival, but the main reason is the belief that appeasing Mugabe's
sense of outrage at being ignored by Europe will improve his human rights
behaviour; clearly Mugabe still has some work to do.
For similar reasons, it was also wise that the EU in February voted to
continue EU sanctions for another year; recent speculation had centred on
rumours that both France and Portugal were considering voting to end them.
It is often said that sanctions don't alter the behaviour of regimes, but
lifting them might be seen as condoning the holding of political prisoners.
As for Hitschmann, he languishes in jail indefinitely, with no trial date
being set, a reminder, perhaps, to the MDC of the ZANU leadership's hatred
of whites like Bennett (and Hitschmann) who want to be a part of Zimbabwe's
Also, a political warning of the arbitrary power of Mugabe's rule hanging
over the leadership, already beaten and jailed once, as it campaigns in next
year's elections, that it too can be arrested and held indefinitely on a
29th Jun 2007 00:34 GMT
By Nothando Motsipe
POLICE in Harare on Wednesday denied Zimbabwe Law Society members access to
the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs' offices forcing
the protesting lawyers to dump a petition by the minister's door.
The protest was part of a countryside campaign with lawyers uniting and
boycotting Zimbabwe's courts for the first time since the country became
independent. The lawyers were protesting against government brutality
towards them, continued harassment, arrests, beatings and related issues.
Speaking by telephone to zimbabweJournalists.com, prominent human rights
lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said although the march was peaceful and successful,
officers manning the office wing housing minister Patrick Chinamasa's office
refused them entry to present the minister with their grievances.
"We couldn't hand the petition to the minister because the constable who
manned the entrance to the section were minister is housed wouldn't let us
in. But we left the petition by the door," said Mtetwa.
More than fifty legal practitioners on Wednesday slipped a petition under
Chinamasa's offices after ducking police who had attempted to stop their
The lawyers marched from the High Court to the Attorney General's office to
present the petition although the police tried to prevent them from gaining
access to the minister's office.
The lawyers were last month beaten up by riot police as they attempted to
present a petition to the Justice minister.
The petition raises issues surrounding the treatment of lawyers particularly
attacks and arrests of lawyers.
"The Law society of Zimbabwe has for sometime been concerned at the
relentless and unjustified attacks on its members for actions taken during
the course and scope of their mandate as legal practitioners. The attacks in
the main took the form of vilification and threats by the state media and
politicians against those members of the profession who would have taken on
cases and causes which are unpopular with the state," the petition says.
The lawyers said they were concerned with the unjustified attacks on
The LSZ said the harassment of their members began on March 11 after police
arrested more than 50 opposition activists and leaders who were on their way
to attend a Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer meeting in Highfield.
They called on Chinamasa to address the issues raised in the petition.
29th Jun 2007 00:04 GMT
By Dennis Rekayi
VUMBA - President Mugabe no longer has the ability to solve problems
besetting Zimbabwe because he is too tired and short of new ideas after
ruling for such a long time, the outgoing United States ambassador has said.
Christopher Dell told journalists here Wednesday that because he has been in
power for too long, Mugabe was no longer relevant to the country's restive
population and its problems, which he said were of Zanu PF and Mugabe's own
He said after staying in power for almost a generation Mugabe and his regime
no longer had new ideas to rescue the country from total collapse.
But he said there were some individuals within the government and Zanu PF
who were able to offer solutions should they be allowed to rule the country.
"I don't think he (Mugabe) has the answers that the country needs," Dell
said. "Any government that stays in power for 27 years will be tired and
will have no new ideas."
"After 27 years we can not look at the current government to turn around the
The out-going diplomat repeated his predictions that the country was about
to witness key political changes driven by poor economic policies that have
brought the country on its knees.
"I believe political change is coming," Dell said. " Political change driven
by failed economic policies."
He, however, said after the change there was a lot of rebuilding to be done
Dell said he was optimistic the two opposition MDC factions would re-unite
to form one formidable opposition political party to compete against Zanu PF
for political office.
This, he said, was evident by the fact the two MDC factions were pushing one
agenda and speaking with one voice in Pretoria where South African President
Thabo Mbeki has been chairing talks to smooth over the platform for
negotions between the opposition and Zanu PF.
"There is no tremendous rift," Dell said, "The MDC is not represented by two
parties in the Mbeki talks but they have one common position."
"What that tells me is that their core beliefs and values are the same and
are working on one agenda," he said. "It is easy for reunification."
The government on Sunday attacked Dell and described as "malicious" chis
omments saying raging inflation would force Mugabe from office before the
end of the year.
In an interview published by The Guardian on Friday, Dell said Mugabe's
government, which is blamed for an economic crisis exemplified by an
inflation rate above 3,700 percent, was "committing regime change on
Dell, who will soon leave Zimbabwe to take up a diplomatic posting in
Afghanistan, predicted inflation would hit 1.5 million percent by the end of
2007, adding that "the Mugabe government is reaching end game".
Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu accused Dell of celebrating the
misery brought about by economic sanctions imposed by Western nations on
Zimbabwe by countries such as the US and Britain.
"Discredited outgoing U.S ambassador Mr. Christopher Dell has repeated the
hateful utterances against the government of Zimbabwe to a British
newspaper, the Guardian, predicting the fall of the government within six
months on the basis of the British and American-sponsored sanctions and the
resultant inflation," Ndlovu said.
"The government wishes to dismiss ambassador Dell's malicious propaganda
story with the contempt it deserves ... the government of Zimbabwe is in a
much stronger position now politically and economically than ever. Events on
the ground speak for themselves," he added.
eGov Monitor, UK
Source: United Nations
Published Wednesday, 27 June, 2007 - 17:07
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says it is deeply concerned
about increased suffering for everyday Zimbabweans, particularly children,
as a result of grave economic problems facing the southern African country.
"Every day in Zimbabwe the basic elements required for a healthy and happy
childhood -affordable education, three meals per day, clothing and shelter -
are being pushed out of reach for people," said UNICEF's Representative in
Zimbabwe, Festo Kavishe.
With official inflation at 4,530 per cent, the cost of essential goods and
services is increasing every day, in some cases doubling, the agency notes
in a press release issued today. The country is facing "critical shortages"
of drugs, as well as key health and education staff, and has entered another
Last month Zimbabwe's Central Statistics Office said the basic "family food
basket" for a family of six cost $100. However, a teacher's salary equates
to just $18 per month, and that of a nurse $20. Unemployment is reported at
more than 70 per cent.
And yet, UNICEF says, amid these colossal hardships, significant
accomplishments have been made. Ninety-five per cent of orphans continue to
be absorbed by the extended family, while last year Zimbabwe became the
first country in southern Africa to record a fall in the HIV rate - from
24.6 per cent to 20 per cent.
Working across Zimbabwe in areas of child protection, education, health,
nutrition, water, sanitation and HIV prevention, UNICEF says Zimbabweans
have been "nothing short of miraculous" in attempting to cope with the
current economic crisis and in caring for their children.
"This country is full of heroes," said Mr. Kavishe. "The grandmothers who
work 18-hour days to keep half a dozen orphaned grandchildren in school, the
volunteers who devote their time to caring for those racked with pain from
AIDS but without drugs, the millions of Zimbabweans who just refuse to give
At the same time, he cautioned that the country has entered a new phase of
hardship. "These are people who forgo bread for books so as to keep their
children in school, who are uncomfortable with putting their hand out, but
their options are exhausted."
In the past two years, with funding from the United Kingdom's Department for
International Development, the European Commission, and the Governments of
Sweden, Germany, New Zealand, and Australia, UNICEF has increased the number
of orphans in Zimbabwe it reaches tenfold, from 50,000 to 500,000. But it
warned that critical programmes in HIV prevention, health, nutrition and
education remain less than 20 per cent funded.
RURAL Housing minister and Zanu PF politburo member Emmerson
Mnangagwa, who has been linked to a foiled coup plot, has met with President
Robert Mugabe over the saga that has intensified infighting within the
Sources said this week that Mnangagwa met Mugabe on June 18 after the
president's return from Libya and Egypt to clear the air over the divisive
issue which has dramatically raised political temperatures in Zanu PF.
It is said Mugabe told Mnangagwa that he knew he was not involved in
the coup and assured him there was no need for anxiety.
This came against a backdrop of fears that government wanted to arrest
Mnangagwa during Mugabe's absence. Vice-President Joice Mujuru, a bitter
Mnangagwa rival, was acting president. Sources have said Vice-President
Joseph Msika intervened to stop Mnangagwa's arrest.
Mnangagwa is understood to have expressed grave concerns to Mugabe
about the cutthroat politics now at play within the ruling party. It is said
Mnangagwa was anxious about the threatened arrest and worried by the damage
inflicted upon his reputation by the coup plot story.
Mnangagwa's Zanu PF faction suspects the coup story was arranged by
the rival group led by retired army General Solomon Mujuru to tarnish their
camp leader's name and undermine his credibility ahead of the expected
special congress at the end of the year although others believe it has all
the hallmarks of a state-engineered operation.
A series of past alleged coup plots turned out to be political
These include the Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku cases and those
of Ndabaningi Sithole and Morgan Tsvangirai. In all instances the alleged
coup plotters were acquitted by the courts, exposing the political designs
behind the arrests and prosecutions
The Zanu PF power struggle is now increasingly becoming a rough and
dirty game in the run-up to congress which might end up electing a new party
leader if the Mujuru faction manages to block Mugabe's bid for endorsement
as the party candidate in next year's joint March elections. Speculation
abounds within the Mujuru camp that Mugabe could quit before the end of the
Ibbo Mandaza, a Mujuru faction ally, on Wednesday told a South African
Institute for International Affairs roundtable discussion, Zimbabwe: Still
at the crossroads? A perspective on current developments, in Johannesburg
that Mugabe might leave soon.
"My expectation is Mugabe will retire and is likely to do so in
September to give the party time to organise for the elections next year.
The current economic meltdown is causing a political meltdown which is
pushing for change in Zanu PF," Mandaza said.
"Zanu PF members calling for Mugabe to leave office are doing so out
of respect for Mugabe as a founding father of the liberation struggle
together with the late Joshua Nkomo. Contrary to the widely held perception
that such party members are trying to be rebellious and vindictive, the
truth is they're not pushing Mugabe down the shoot.
They want him to retire peacefully and believe that he remains a
source of reference for the nation." Mugabe in February attacked Mandaza in
his birthday interview alleging he was involved in a campaign for Joice
Mujuru to oust him.
"The (Edgar) Tekere/Mandaza issue, ah they are trying to campaign for
Mujuru using a book (Tekere's biography, A Lifetime of Struggle).you can't
become a president by using a biography. Manje vairasa (they have lost the
plot). They don't realise they have done her more harm than good."
Sources said the coup story has further divided Zanu PF because the
two main factions appear involved in the issue as part of the tussle for
power which has become a dangerous affair.
Sources said the purported coup plot reflects the fierce infighting
within government and Zanu PF. It is also said that Mugabe has been
unruffled by the coup claims because he knew it was part of succession
A MAJOR price war is raging between government and producers following
the forced price freeze on basic commodities and the introduction of
subsidies described as damaging by industry stakeholders.
Producers who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday said the
freeze on prices had created serious distortions in cashflows as government
has put a cap on the prices of products but failed to deal with workers'
"Right now our end product is being controlled which means the rate of
price increase will be determined by the government," said an executive with
a milling company. "On the shopfloor, the workers will continue demanding
wages based on CPI. At more than 50% a month this is unsustainable."
In a bid to redress the distortions government has introduced
subsidies in the production chain. Government this week announced price
reductions in selected grocery items in a populist move designed to win the
hearts and minds of a suffering populace.
The move however promises to plunge the economy deeper into crisis as
the cash-strapped government will be forced to print money to finance the
Government sources revealed yesterday that manufacturers of basic
commodities would be subsidised as a means of curbing the recent spate of
Government promised to sell flour to bakers at $10 million a tonne
instead of the market price of $20 million while fuel will be supplied at
$15 000 a litre instead of the prevailing market price of $150 000. All
suppliers of basic commodities have also been assured of the cheap fuel.
The rapidly depreciating dollar fell victim to government activity on
the black market last week as it bought foreign currency to buy fuel for the
subsidies operation. This saw the Zimbabwean dollar lose almost 56% of its
real value against the United States dollar.
Government has continued to scuttle the process of economic recovery.
Its debt stands at over $2 trillion owing to huge borrowings to finance
government departments and parastatals. The fiscal budget has become a dead
letter owing to inflation.
Contacted for comment, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)
president Callisto Jokonya said it was regrettable that government had opted
for this route.
"From a business point of view we have always pushed for prices to
come down provided we have adequate foreign currency and raw materials. If
they are going to subsidise these commodities through the printing of money
we face inflationary challenges of magnitudes we have never imagined," said
A CZI State of the Manufacturing Sector survey released last week
revealed that industry's capacity utilisation had declined to 33,8% in 2006
from 35,8% in 2005. The trend is expected to continue this year.
Jokonya said while CZI shared the same vision with government in
seeing the economy recover, they did not back any measures that were
"Subsidies from balance of payments support are good, but not from
printing money," he said.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Mara Hativagone
said price controls and freezes by the government would affect industry and
commerce and worked against the spirit of the social contract.
"We don't believe that price freezes and controls work. This will
result in shortages of goods on the market," Hativagone said.
Hativagone said the social contract provided for manufacturers to come
up with pricing models and justify why they intended to hike prices.
"That is the only way to go. No price freezes or controls. They harm
the companies and the economy at large," the ZNCC boss said.
Government has already instructed the central bank to print money to
pay salaries for civil servants. The RBZ printing press is now set to go
into overdrive to fund the subsidies. Commodities whose prices have been
reduced include beer, Mazoe orange crush, bread and tissue paper.
Beer went down from $60 000 to $30 000 a pint, tissue paper from $190
000 to $90 000, bread from $49 500 to $22 000 and Mazoe orange crush from
$495 000 to $120 000.
However, most of the commodities have since disappeared from the
shelves as waning confidence on the part of the buying public in the
resilience of the dollar and the sustainability of the plan saw people
hoarding basic commodities this week.
A FACTION in Mashonaland Central backing Vice-President Joice Mujuru
in the Zanu PF presidential succession battle on Tuesday verbally attacked
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono for allegedly
misallocating tractors under the central bank's agricultural mechanisation
Sources told this newspaper that at a provincial development council
meeting chaired by provincial administrator Joseph Jaji held at Bindura
municipal offices, Gono was accused of lack of transparency and fairness in
the recent allocation of tractors and other farming equipment.
The meeting was attended by Vice-President Joice Mujuru, governor and
resident minister Ephraim Masawi, Interactive Affairs minister Chen
Chimutengwende, minister without portfolio Elliot Manyika, members of
parliament and senators in the province.
"Almost everyone at the meeting questioned the criteria Gono and his
bank officials used in selecting beneficiaries of the tractors," a source
said. "There was great concern that the tractors were allocated to the rich
and famous, yet farmers in need of them were those resettled under the A1
He said Mujuru was livid that the central bank was allocating tractors
to favoured recipients.
"Mujuru said it was wrong to give tractors to commercial farmers who
should have the means to buy them using other facilities, such as bank
loans. She said Gono and the RBZ should have given the tractors to groups of
A1 farmers who would have demonstrated their ability to produce," the source
Farmers at the meeting, the source said, alleged some people were
continuing to benefit from agrarian reforms at the expense of A1 farmers.
The source said harsh words were used against Gono and the central
"There was an acerbic attack on the central bank governor," another
source said. "He was called all sorts of names and some people in the
meeting accused him of abusing taxpayers' money by buying tractors and
allocating them to people who do not deserve them."
On Tuesday, Mujuru was captured by a ZBC-TV newscrew telling the
development meeting that the agricultural mechanisation programme launched
by the RBZ should not only look at the creditworthiness of the established
Speaking at the launch of the programme on June 11 in Harare, Gono
said the allocation of the tractors was not easy.
"Much as our emphasis was and will continue to be on productivity. We
know that we will be criticised left, right and centre for this shortcoming
or that; beneficiaries will also be labelled this and that and so life goes
on. We have developed thick skins where our vision and conscience are
clear," Gono said.
THE state's case against Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
activists accused of masterminding and carrying out a spate of alleged
petrol bombings that took place between March and April has fallen apart as
a result of the government's failure to provide concrete evidence to support
Alec Muchadehama, one of the lawyers representing the alleged petrol
bombers, told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the case has collapsed
as a result of the police's failure to prove his clients guilty of any
"Our clients are innocent and did not do anything and the courts have
dismissed quite a number of their cases as the state has failed to provide
evidence to link them to the petrol bombings," he said.
Muchadehama said the state has been using its investigations in South
Africa as an excuse for not having evidence.
"There was no case against our clients as proved by the police failure
to bring any solid evidence against them. All along they have been using
their investigations in South Africa as an excuse for not having evidence
and now that the investigations have hit a brick wall there is no reason for
the state to continue keeping our clients in custody," he said.
So far, 18 of the activists arrested in police raids around Harare in
connection with the bombings have been cleared of the terror charges.
The courts have so far dropped charges against Luke Tamborenyoka, a
former journalist and now information officer for MDC, Zebediah Juaba,
Brighton Matimba and Enock Mukudu.
The charges against the four were dropped after their lawyers
successfully argued that there was no reasonable suspicion that the
activists had committed an offence.
Ian Makone, special advisor to faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai, was
released on $150 million bail on May 30.
Justice Tedious Karwi in granting Makone bail said although he
(Makone) was opposed to the government and wanted to see a change of
government, he was opposed to the use of violent means and as a result he
was found fit for bail.
Piniel Denga and Raymond Bake were released on $50 million and $10
million bail respectively on June 19.
Glen View MP Paul Madzore and 16 others who include Boniface Chivizhe,
Nyasha Chikombe, Kenneth Nhemachena, Ishmael Kauzani, Tonderai Ndira, Shame
Wakatama, Dennis Murira, Morgan Komichi (in hospital), Better Chokururama,
Friday Muleya, Amos Musekiwa, Phillip Mabika, Arthur Mhizha, Peter Chikwati,
George Chindare, and Phillip Katsande are still in custody.
The group is facing charges of allegedly training as bandits and
insurgents in South Africa. They have applied for bail which is due to be
heard before the High Court this week.
Last month three detectives from the Harare Central Police Station
were arrested for allegedly supplying Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni
with false information about the petrol bombing of Zanu PF offices in Mbare.
Elfas Mahuku, Tapiwa Goredema and Lawrence Ndlovu all from the
Criminal Investigation Department's Residential Unit were accused of lying
to Muchadehama and Makoni that there was no bombing at the offices and that
the case was stage-managed by Zanu PF members as a political gimmick.
Tamborenyoka alleged that all the activists who were arrested at
Harvest House on March 28 were tortured while in custody as well as denied
food, medical attention and access to their lawyers.
"We were all tortured while we were in police custody and our lawyers
have since submitted evidence in court to support the claims," he said.
The weapons which the state allegedly recovered from the MDC include
two revolvers, ammunition, loud hailers and communication radios and
t-shirts inscribed with MDC slogans, 53 explosives, 24 detonators, 88 tins
of paint and t-shirts.
THE government has denied that the police illegally detained,
assaulted and tortured leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) last September when they blocked the labour organisation's
demonstration against the worsening economic crisis in the country.
In papers lodged recently with the High Court opposing an over $25
billion lawsuit filed by ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo and 14 others, the
government said the union leaders were arrested for violating provisions of
the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
"The plaintiffs had defied a police order not to go ahead with their
planned illegal demonstration," read the defence plea filed by the Civil
Division of the Attorney General's Office. "Defendants deny ever assaulting
the plaintiffs. Defendants only used minimum force in order to effect arrest
of the plaintiffs who were resisting arrest and were themselves violent."
The ZCTU leaders took the Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi,
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and 19 police officers to court
claiming over $7,7 billion in general damages for unlawful arrest, detention
They also claimed damages for the pain, shock, suffering,
post-traumatic stress and disfigurement to the tune of $9,7 billion.
Further, the union leaders want the government to pay them close to
$6,9 billion for medical expenses they incurred after the alleged torture.
They also demanded special damages of about $66 million for estimated future
The High Court is yet to set a date for the hearing of the case.
Matombo and his colleagues were allegedly assaulted and tortured at
Matapi Police Station, Mbare, after they were arrested on September 13 last
year during an aborted protest march against poor wages, high taxes and
workers' lack of access to anti-retroviral drugs.
Film footage of the assaults, circulated widely on the Internet, shows
police beating up the demonstrators in the city centre before shoving them
into a truck where they continued to beat them.
The government had barred the protests, accusing the ZCTU of pursuing
an opposition political agenda under the guise of fighting for workers'
The assault of the trade unions drew sharp criticism from local and
international human rights organisations and Western governments.
The ZCTU, considered an ally of the main opposition MDC by the
government, said workers had borne the brunt of an economic recession widely
blamed on President Mugabe's rule.
THE Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No18) Bill gazetted at the
beginning of this month has renewed debate on whether or not harmonised
presidential and parliamentary polls should take place in 2010 after it
emerged that President Robert Mugabe can constitutionally remain in office
if the proposed law sails through parliament.
Whether it was by omission or commission on the government's part,
Mugabe could remain in office until parliament is dissolved in 2010 - two
years after the expiry of his six-year term in office in March 2008.
Clause 2 (2) of the Bill states: "The amendments made by subsection
(1) apply to the president in office on the date of commencement of this
Act, notwithstanding anything contained in Section 29 before its amendment
by this Act.
"The amendments made by subsection (1) of clause 28 of the Bill
provide that an election to the office of president must take place at the
same time as general elections of members of parliament."
Analysts believe that the move was well calculated by the Zanu PF
government to give a leeway for the octogenarian leader to continue in
power, while his party finds a solution to its succession debate that is
threatening to tear it apart.
There are three camps in Zanu PF fighting over the succession issue -
one backing Mugabe's continued stay, the other rooting for Rural Housing
minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and the third supporting Vice-President Joice
"My reading of the situation is that if Zanu PF fails to resolve the
succession issue, Mugabe will soldier on as president until 2010," one
political commentator observed. "If a solution is found between now and
March 2008, Mugabe will simply dissolve parliament and call for both the
presidential and parliamentary elections."
Mugabe is empowered by the Constitution of Zimbabwe to dissolve
parliament anytime he feels appropriate.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) in its analysis of the
Bill said: "The effect of subclause (2) is that President Mugabe (who will
be the president in office when the Bill comes into force as an Act) need
not subject himself to re-election until the next general election is held
in 2010, and this applies notwithstanding the current Section 29 of the
constitution, which states that the presidential term is limited to six
years. His term, in other words, is extended to the next general election.
So President Mugabe will not have to face the voters until 2010, unless he
chooses to dissolve parliament before then in 2008."
Zesn was of the opinion that the true import of the amendment needed
to be "clearly understood."
Last year, when some elements in the ruling Zanu PF pressed for the
holding of harmonised elections in 2010, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction
of the MDC launched a campaign: "Say No to the 2010 presidential extension.
Say no to elections under the current constitution. Say No to Robert Mugabe
and Zanu PF".
In current talks between the MDC and Zanu PF being mediated by South
Africa President Thabo Mbeki, the opposition insists that there is need for
a new constitution.
Both formations of the MDC have rejected the Constitutional Amendment
The opposition wants a draft constitution agreed on between Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa and MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube in 2003
to be used as a working draft for constitutional reforms.
Tsvangirai said the Bill was about Mugabe and Zanu PF's
re-consolidation of power at the expense of the suffering Zimbabweans.
"Constitutional Amendment No 18 regrettably is not about food, jobs or
drugs, it is about power, its maintenance, reproduction and re-consolidation
by Zanu PF," said Tsvangirai at a press conference soon after the Bill was
"The national project of Zanu PF is the power equation, it is not
about the suffering of millions of Zimbabweans at home and abroad."
Tsvangirai insisted there was need for a new constitution now.
"As far as we are concerned, Zimbabwe needs a new holistic
constitution that is people- driven and people-owned. Without this there
will be no solution to the burning national question of the day. We reject
the Bill," added Tsvangirai.
It is Tsvangirai's contention that the Bill undermines Mbeki's
"Over and above this, given that the issue of a new constitution and
the contents thereof are some of the things that will be clearly covered in
the Sadc negotiations currently underway, pursuant to the resolution of the
Sadc heads of states in their meeting in Dar es salam on 29 March 2007,
Constitutional Amendment No18 becomes contemptuous of that dialogue," said
the former trade unionist.
He added: "The message that Zanu PF is sending out is loud and clear.
It is oblivious and blind to the Sadc negotiations. It is simply not ready
for genuine dialogue."
Gabriel Chaibva, the MDC Mutambara faction spokesperson, said his camp
was opposed to the postponement of polls to 2010 and also insisted that
there was need for a people- driven constitution.
"We need the polls next year and they should be held under a new
constitutional dispensation," Chaibva said last week. "It will be evil for
Mugabe to cling to power until 2010."
However, some analysts believe that if the MDC insists on a
constitutional overhaul, then the parliamentary and presidential polls
should not take place next March.
"If the MDC wants a presidential election next year it must forego a
new constitution," said political scientist Michael Mhike.
"On the other hand, if they want a new constitution they must be
prepared to forego a presidential election next year. They cannot have it
both ways. There is no way a constitutional consultation process can begin
now and be completed in time for a presidential election in March 2008 as
Zanu PF secretary for information and publicity Nathan Shamuyarira was
quoted this week in the party's official mouthpiece, The Voice, saying local
government, parliamentary and presidential elections would take place next
He said the party was now in the process of selecting the candidates
for the polls.
The Bill also seeks to increase the number of members of the House of
Assembly from the present 150 to 210 of which 200 would be directly elected
and 10 of these will be presidential appointees.
In addition, it intends to increase the composition of the Senate from
66 to 84 members, and of those 84, 10 would be provincial governors, 16
traditional chiefs and six presidential appointees.
Over and above this, the Bill seeks to create and establish a human
rights commission and also establish the office of the deputy chief justice.
VISITING South African clergymen have accused President Mugabe of
serious human rights violations arising from increasing cases of torture in
the country. This comes amid revelations by civic groups that 300 cases of
torture have been reported in the country so far this year.
The South African church leaders were speaking at Saint Mary's
Cathedral in Bulawayo during commemorations to mark the International Day in
Support of Victims of Torture.
Commemorations for the day were also held on Tuesday for Zimbabweans
in London and in Johannesburg.
In London, a service of solidarity was held at St Paul's and was
organised by several organisations including the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum, Amnesty International, Redress, the International Bar Association,
the International Rehabilitation Council for Victims of Torture, and the
The Johannesburg commemorations were organised by the Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition and the Zimbabwe Torture Victims Survivor Project.
The Bulawayo ceremony was presided over by Archbishop Pius Ncube, an
outspoken critic of President Mugabe, and saw several victims of torture
giving shocking testimonies of the torture they went through by state
Bishop Kevin Dowling of the Catholic Diocese of Rustenberg in South
Africa, who led the South African delegation, said President Mugabe's
government was using torture to create fear and silence the people of
"A government that tortures its own people is not a government at all
but a regime, an illegitimate regime for that matter," said Dowling. "Just
as the apartheid government tortured its own people, this government is a
regime because it is torturing its own people," Dowling told a packed St
"Why would a government torture its own people, why would a so-called
government inflict injuries on its own citizens? The Zimbabwe government is
creating fear to make people afraid to do anything."
Dowling said the Zimbabwe government would soon fall just like the
South African apartheid government.
"Pastors from South Africa know what apartheid did to the spirit of
the people, our people suffered, they were tortured some disappeared and
others were killed. We are here to support you.
"God was not with the apartheid regime and God is not with this regime
in Zimbabwe, it will fail," Dowling said.
An opposition activist, Cleopas Chivi, who was abducted from his Gweru
home and left for dead in a bushy area in May this year, gave harrowing
details of the torture he sustained from state security agents. Chivi, who
had difficulty in walking and was helped to stand throughout his long
narration, sustained serious injuries all over the body.
Meanwhile, human rights activists said so far this year there have
been 300 cases of torture compared to 154 cases that were reported during
the same period last year.
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week painted a bleak
picture of Zimbabwe's economic crisis predicting that annual inflation will
hit the five-digits mark by year-end.
The Bretton Woods institution in written responses to the Zimbabwe
Independent on Wednesday said the country was now experiencing
hyperinflation as its month-on-month rate had shot above 50%.
A spokesman from the global financial lender said Harare's official
Consumer Price Index (CPI) which uses a notional basket of goods
"substantially" understates inflation while private-sector indices put the
rate for April and May above 10 000%.
"We believe that official CPI data are likely to substantially
understate inflation because about a third of the basket reflects
price-controlled items and the weights are outdated. Some informal
private-sector indices put annual inflation above 10 000% in April and May.
It seems clear that Zimbabwe is now experiencing hyperinflation (that is,
inflation above 50% a month). In this context, we have not yet finalised our
revised projections, but expect inflation to be well in the five-digits by
President Robert Mugabe's administration is at the centre of fighting
a price war accusing industrialists of fuelling inflation by hiking the
prices of basic commodities to foment a price-induced popular revolt against
"The nonsense of price escalation must come to an end immediately,"
said Mugabe on Wednesday during the burial of Brigadier-General Armstrong
"Tinokutevera. Ende hausi mutambo uchaitwa mutambo wakanaka. (We will
track you down and this game is not going to be a fair one). It's going to
be a rough game."
The IMF said the government was yet to implement its recommendations
to redress the failing economy. It said Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono's
interim monetary policy announced in April was piecemeal as it fell short of
a comprehensive package needed for economic stabilisation.
"The Zimbabwean government has not implemented the IMF's
recommendations to address the economic crisis, which were provided in the
context of the Article IV discussions completed earlier this year.
International experience with stabilising very high/hyperinflation shows
that comprehensive and far-reaching
policy measures are needed to achieve macroeconomic stabilisation and,
more generally, an economic turnaround. Recent ad-hoc policy changes will
not resolve the crisis."
The IMF added: "Changes announced in the April Monetary Policy
Statement fall far short of a comprehensive package that would be needed.
This is also reflected in a widening parallel market premium."
The fund also repeated its concern about the deteriorating economic
and social conditions in Zimbabwe adding it had repeatedly urged the
government to urgently adopt a comprehensive policy package to address
Zimbabwe's economic crisis calling upon government to provide adequate
social safety nets and food security to vulnerable groups.
ZIMBABWE Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH)'s Spot FM Editor-in-Chief
Methuseli Moyo faces dismissal for resisting deployment to the new state-run
radio station, Voice of Zimbabwe (VOZ), it was heard yesterday.
Government sources said Moyo could be fired soon for refusing to take
up a senior position at the short wave radio station in Gweru.
VOZ is a government propaganda station headed by Happyton Muchechetere
to counter so-called negative publicity against government by what officials
call "pirate" radio stations. This refers to the Voice of America (VOA)'s
Studio 7, SW Radio which broadcasts from London, and Voice of the People
(VOP). Officials says the State Department-funded VOA, and SW Radio which
they say is British-financed, as well as VOP which they claim is
Dutch-funded, are on a negative publicity campaign against the government,
hence the setting up of VOZ.
Sources said Moyo rejected an appointment at the controversial station
arguing that he was a professional journalist and not a propagandist.
The row has sucked in President Robert Mugabe's spokesman George
Charamba who is said to have clashed with Moyo whom he accused of being a
relative of former Information minister Jonathan Moyo.
Charamba, it is alleged, has been pressing ZBH boss Henry Muradzikwa
to fire Moyo for his alleged links with the former minister.
Sources said journalist Moyo was now facing the chop.
"Moyo received a letter from his bosses in Harare advising him to
relocate from Montrose studios in Bulawayo to Gweru with immediate effect,
on Wednesday," a source said. "But Moyo rejected the appointment. His
colleagues think the move is a demotion intended to force him out."
Moyo, former Sunday News news editor, has also been under pressure
after Muradzikwa told him there were claims from a senior ministry official
that he was no longer trustworthy because he had "got another job".
Moyo is said to have told Muradzikwa it was untrue, but the Jonanthan
Moyo issue lingers on.
"Charamba confronted Moyo about the issue in March 2005 after former
minister Moyo's dismissal," a source said.
"But journalist Moyo told Charamba in the presence of other ZBH
managers that he was not related to Jonathan Moyo, and that even if he was,
he didn't see anything wrong with that because he and Prof Moyo were not the
same," a source said.
"Charamba suggested Moyo was brought into ZBH by Prof Moyo as part of
the Mnangagwa camp's strategy. Moyo told Charamba that he would never
support anyone involved in Gukurahundi massacres to be president, and said
he wondered why Jonathan Moyo supported Mnangagwa in the first place."
After that their relations soured and now Moyo is facing dismissal.
Moyo yesterday refused to comment.
AT least 40 000 workers have resigned or lost employment in the mining
industry in the past 10 years and more professionals in the sector could
leave Zimbabwe for other regional countries where the mining sector is doing
well, a senior mining executive said this week.
Chamber of Mines president, Jack Murehwa, told a conference on
Zimbabwe's skills crisis in Harare on Tuesday that the closure of mines and
the slump in output have scared away both skilled workers and potential
investors in the industry which in 1997 employed 75 000.
The mining sector now employs about 35 000 but there are fears that
more skilled professionals could leave this year. The bulk of the workers
are destined for South African, Zambian and Mozambican mining industries
which are growing on the back of fresh foreign investment inflows.
"At the height of the relatively good times, which is not so long ago,
formal mining companies had the capacity to employ about 75 000 employees,"
Murehwa told human resources executives from more than 30 companies.
"This figure, unfortunately, has since dropped in the last 10 years to
about 35 000 owing to mine closures and a high vacancy rate in the skilled
and professional rankings.
"There has been a skills flight. Best skills are leaving and most
operations are now manned by second rate managers," he added.
"Mining companies were led by the best brains but we are into a period
where the worst mangers are leading and as we speak second rate and mediocre
managers are leading operations. This applies to all sectors because our
skilled personnel cannot afford houses and cars and their wages are no
longer enough to meet basic needs."
The HR practitioners who attended the conference told businessdigest
this week the country's economic crisis had seriously affected their skilled
staff complements. For instance this year alone the sugar industry has lost
about 900 skilled workers to South African companies that are offering
Figures produced by HR experts this week indicated that at least 3,4
million Zimbabweans have fled the economic crisis. About 37% of them have
settled in the UK, 35% in Botswana, 5% in South Africa and 3,4% in Canada.
Most of them were pushed out of Zimbabwe by work related reasons.
Recent research by a group of economists found that at least 57% of
Zimbabweans have at one time thought about leaving the country while 30% of
recent graduates were considering leaving Zimbabwe six months after
graduation due to high taxation, lack of economic growth and poor salaries.
The HR practitioners warned that a crisis was looming. They said at
the prevailing exchange rate of US$1:$150 000, a senior bank executive who
earns $100 million will have his salary translate to about US$670.
A bank executive who earns $20 million earns the equivalent of US$133,
far below what their counterparts are earning in other countries.
Economist David Mupamhadzi said he was worried that the majority of
workers were earning about $1 million, which translated to about US$4 per
month at the black market rate. This is equivalent of about US 10 cents per
HR managers said this week said 62% of Zimbabweans, including
teachers, nurses, soldiers, journalists, agricultural technicians and
accountants were leaving under the United Nations poverty datum line of US$1
To mitigate the crisis, government this week increased the tax free
threshold by 1400% from $100 000 to $1,5 million but economic analyst
Godfrey Kanyenyenze told businessdigest in an environment where the poverty
datum line had shot up to $9 million, the threshold fell far short of what
was needed to bring food to people's tables.
About 149 qualified Chartered Accountants have migrated since 2002.
Murehwa told the conference which was organised by a local employment
consultants agency, Human Performance Solutions, that the situation was
"It is a sad outlook and nobody can blame these people for their quest
for a (better) life," he said.
"Metallurgists are operating rubbish trucks in Europe, experienced
mining engineers are teaching geography in South Africa and HR practitioners
are nursing the elderly in the UK," Murehwa added.
By Admire Mavolwane
HOW does one explain this? Iran, the country which we were hoping
could bridge our fuel supply gap and which has the world's second-biggest
proven reserves of oil after Saudi Arabia, has started rationing fuel. On
Tuesday, this week around 10pm Iranian time, the government announced that
the rationing was to start at midnight. Under the new rules, drivers will be
restricted to buying 100 litres of petrol a month, or just over three litres
a day. The restrictions will last for four months, with a possible extension
to six months. The Iranian public was understandably enraged and vented
their anger on a number of petrol stations.
The answer to this puzzling development is that while Iran is the
fourth largest producer of oil, after Saudi Arabia, Russia and the USA, it
imports 40% of its fuel requirements. It is anticipated that the United
Nations-led sanctions would cut off this top-up. The country suffers from a
serious lack of refining capacity, hence the significant reliance on
Inquisitively, why is that so? Refining fuel needs serious investment,
particularly in western world developed technology. Lack of investment in
refining technology, patents and ownership which is held by the West -
arising out of the Mid East politics and the country's bad boy image - has
meant that the country cannot boost its capacity, even to meet its own local
needs. This underlines the importance of foreign direct investment,
particularly when the capacity to internally develop the necessary
technology has not been fully developed.
Back home, a lot of things are happening all at the same time,
unfortunately, at the expense of stock market investors. It started off as a
minor weakness last week as the market readied itself for the corporate tax
payments which were due on Monday this week. Also, a close look at the
recently released financials and even activity on the stock market,
companies are now significant players and some of them were liquidating to
meet their obligations to Zimra. On Monday, the money market suffered a huge
outflow in the form of statutory reserve payments and the remission of
taxes. The extent of the deficit in the banking system was estimated at over
$650 billion. Naturally, short-term interest rates strengthened and that had
a negative impact on shares.
Secondly, on Monday, a few hours before the Iranian decree, our
Minister of Industry and International Trade, Obert Mpofu, directed all
manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers to reduce prices. In actual fact
they were supposed to revert to prices they were charging on the June 18.
The primary product that for some reason caught the attention of many was
the two-litre Mazoe orange crush. The President added his weight behind the
price control initiative by further suggesting that the government will not
hesitate to nationalise companies that opt to stop production.
On the same Monday, the Herald ran a story announcing the gazetting of
the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill. The Bill makes provision
for the establishment of an Indigenisation and Empowerment Fund to provide
finance for the indigenous people to assist in the acquisition of shares,
working capital and other forms of finance. Ultimately, it is intended by
the Bill to provide an enabling environment in which at least 51%
shareholding in the majority of businesses in all sectors of the economy is
in the hands of indigenous people.
We can state at the moment that a lot of the legal gurus are in the
process of reading between the lines to establish what it means exactly, its
constitutionality and impact on bilateral agreements. For instance, will all
the Asian businesses being set up, like the coking coal plant under
construction in Hwange, be subject to the 51% empowerment threshold?
What it does, however, is to introduce yet another uncertainty in to
the whole market equation, which incidentally does not operate efficiently
with a lot of unknowns. The result has been the marked weakness in the stock
market, with the industrial having lost 14,83% to Wednesday this week.
The Zimre Property Investments (ZPI) initial public offering opened on
Monday after a two-week delay. To bring it into line with the movement in
share prices that took place during the two-week sojourn, and justifiably
so, the subscription price has been revised upwards from $720 per share to
The takers of the private placement phase of the transaction were
Imara Asset Management, which contributed eight Borrowdale Brooke properties
in exchange for 2% post IPO shareholding, Fidelity Life Assurance which got
a 16% shareholding in exchange for the jewel in its portfolio, the Fidelity
Life Tower, and other buildings in Mutare, Kwekwe and Bulawayo, whilst
Comarton Consultants contributed 516 325 Old Mutual shares. In total, 35%
was parceled out in the private placement and the IPO will be for 22% of
ZPI. Zimre will retain 51% of ZPI.
The IPO unfortunately coincided with weakness in the stock market
which could dampen investor appetite. However, the listing being a much
awaited event, it would imply that investors had already put aside the cash
resources for the IPO and should deploy these with ease. An added bonus is
that the properties that were already owned by ZPI owned properties are
being sold to IPO investors at a huge discount. These properties valued at
US$20,4 million, using the Old Mutual Implied Rate (OMIR) of $2 401,7 as of
the beginning of this year, were valued at US$11,6 million using the OMIR at
31 May 2007 of Z$46 499.57, implying a significant undervaluation.
However, the subscription by Fidelity Life Assurance to the private
placement raises a lot of concern, particularly as to the rights of
minorities. The company swapped 73,57% of the whole property portfolio for
16% of ZPI without reverting to minority shareholders. Furthermore, the
properties included in this transaction are the prime ones. Fidelity's
market capitalisation at May 31 was $148, 5 billion which was less than the
market value ascribed to the Fidelity Life Tower building of $150 billion.
Surely this relationship by itself should have warranted approval for
the transaction by both the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and minority
shareholders. The worthiness of these buildings to the valuation of Fidelity
Life should, in our view, have alerted the board of Fidelity to at least
seek the opinion and consent of shareholders. In our view, the same value
will not translate to the 16% shareholding that the company is getting.
THE Environment Management Agency (EMA) has suspended the construction
of a US$3 million coke processing plant in Hwange by a Chinese firm, South
Mining Company (SMC) saying they should apply for an Environmental Impact
Assessment plan first.
EMA district coordinator, Emmanuel Banda, confirmed that work on the
site had to be abandoned until a proper EIA report has been submitted.
"The EMA has stopped the construction of the coke processing plant due
to the unavailability of an impact assessment plan," said Banda
The Chinese firm was expected to begin the construction of the plant
this week as most of its US$60 000 worth of construction equipment had
arrived in the coal mining town of Hwange.
At the completion of the plant SMC intends to be obtain coal from the
Hwange Colliery Company which will process the product into coke and then
export the end product to the copper manufacturing industry.
Meanwhile, more than 500 small-scale miners have left the mining
sector and have crossed the border into South Africa after failing to secure
the EIA certificate, businessdigest established this week.
Police shut down and arrested over 1 000 registered small-scale miners
before confiscating and destroying millions of dollars worth of mining
equipment under Operation Chikorokoza Chapera which began in November last
The government through the EMA made it compulsory for the closed mines
to attain an EIA certification first and pay a $5 million review fee while
consultants assisting in the assessment were at the time demanding at least
$7, 5 million from miners.
Under the new regulations the miners are also required to obtain a
management plan from the EMA on land rehabilitation.
The miners should also have licences from both the Mines and Mining
Development ministry and from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation president, George Kawonza, this week said
more than 500 small-scale miners had jumped the border into South Africa
failed to secure or meet the requirements for EIA certificates.
"Things are not alright in the mining sector," said Kawonza. "More
than 500 of our members - especially those miners from areas like Maphisa,
Beitbridge, Tsholotsho and Kezi - have dumped the mining sector and
illegally jumped the border into South Africa in search of jobs."
He said his organisation has tried to engage the EMA to relax
regulations and requirements for obtaining EIA but all was in vain.
"The main problem we have is that the government through the EMA does
not consider that we are small-miners and usually their requirements are
difficult to meet." - Staff Writer.
THE Finance Ministry says it will reject requests for funds from
parastatals and state bodies that have failed to submit annual reports and
accounts to parliament as required by law.
Acting Finance minister Sylvester Nguni told businessdigest that the
ministry would demand explanations as to why parastatals were yet to submit
their accounts six months into 2007.
"We want those accounts as soon as yesterday. It is a legal
requirement for those parastatals to submit their account to parliament,"
So far only one institution - the National Aids Council - has
submitted its 2006 accounts to parliament for approval.
"If we are not satisfied without their explanations then they will not
get any additional funding from government. We will block any such
attempts," said Nguni.
Analysts say the tough stance adopted by government could be a result
of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) putting a lid on cheap financing after
a stinging International Monetary Fund (IMF) report lambasting the central
bank for its quasi-fiscal activities.
The RBZ has since taken measures to move quasi-fiscal losses into the
fiscal budget in line with IMF requirements.
However, the success of such an initiative remains in doubt given that
past promises had not been adhered to. The portfolio committee on Public
Accounts and the central bank have failed to force parastatals to submit
their accounts to parliament.
Records obtained this week from parliament show that almost all
parastatals had not yet submitted annual reports and financial statements
for the financial years 2005 and 2006.
Only Tel*One and the Industrial Development Corporation had managed to
lodge their 2005 financial statements with the committee.
The delinquent parastatals include the National Railways of Zimbabwe,
Zesa, the Cold Storage Company, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe,
Zimbabwe National Water Authority, the District Development Fund, and the
Grain Marketing Board.
Air Zimbabwe, the Agricultural Rural Development Authority, Tel*One,
the Industrial Development Company, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Company,
the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and the Central Mechanical
Engineering Department are also yet to submit their accounts to parliament.
Public Accounts portfolio committee chairperson, Priscilla
Misihairambwi-Mushonga said her committee had tried in vain to get line
ministries to force parastatals to submit their accounts.
"They have not been submitting their accounts. They have a long record
of refusing to submit their accounts, some are yet to submit their
statements for the past five years," she said.
The majority of accounts tabled before parliament since July last year
were for the 2002 to 2004 financial years. Zimpost, Zimsec and the National
Arts Council of Zimbabwe have submitted accounts for the period ranging 2000
Parastatals are required by law to submit their annual reports and
financial statements before the parliamentary portfolio committee every year
for inspection on matters to do with accountability of public funds.
THE proposed establishment of a Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission in
the recently gazetted Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No18) Bill - under
the prevailing repressive legislative and administrative environment - is
tantamount to deception and attempts to create an illusory remedial
institution, civic organisations have said.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network (Zesn) both say that without a new democratic constitution
and corresponding changes to the current laws by the government, the
proposed commission will be a totally ineffective institution.
In written responses on the proposed commission, the organisations
said the commission could only play a meaningful role in the human rights
field if the government setting it up was committed to upholding and
protecting human rights.
ZLHR director, Irene Petras said if there are no positive changes to
the current environment, the establishment of the commission is
She said the appointment of the commission chairman and commissioners
by the president, after consultation with the Judicial Services Commission
(JSC) is partisan.
"The president is not neutral as he heads the ruling party and
therefore seeks to protect his own and his party's political interests,"
said Petras. "If one looks at the composition of the JSC and their method of
appointment, most are appointed by the president and therefore it is also
not an independent body.
She said the chairman of the proposed commission will not be
"The same applies to the rest of the commissioners as they are
appointed by the president from a list provided by the Committee on Standing
Rules and Orders in Parliament. This committee is made up of legislators,
and even if the opposition has members on this committee, they will be
overruled by the ruling party representatives and effectively have no say in
those put on the list.
Petras said committee members will always vote along party political
lines. A truly independent process of appointment, she said, which has been
used in other jurisdictions, is public nominations and interviews which
allow for public and civil society input and scrutiny.
"As it stands, those who should rely on an effective and independent
commission have no input in the process," she said.
She said this goes against the provision of the United Nations Human
Rights Commission Paris Principles which stipulate that:
"The composition of the national institution and the appointment of
its members shall be established in accordance with a procedure which
affords all necessary guarantees to ensure the pluralist representation of
the social forces involved in the protection and promotion of human rights,
particularly by powers which will enable effective cooperation to be
established with, or through the presence of, representatives of
non-governmental organisations responsible for human rights, trade unions,
concerned social and professional organisations, trends in philosophical or
religious thought, universities and qualified experts, parliament and
government departments in an advisory capacity."
The Paris Principles provide that a national institution shall have
extensive powers to assist in the protection and promotion of human rights.
As the Bill currently stands, said Petras, the proposed commission
will have powers allowing it in some measure to promote human rights but the
protective mandate is clearly excluded.
At most, it can "monitor and assess the observance of human rights in
Zimbabwe" and only "recommend to parliament effective measures to promote
human rights and freedoms". Whilst the proposed commission may have included
in its constitutive Act powers to "conduct investigations on its own
initiative or on receipt of complaints" and "secure or provide appropriate
redress for violations of human rights and for injustice", the language is
very vague and undefined and does not assuage fears that either these powers
will not be included, or that if they are, it will remain an ineffective
"If the courts of Zimbabwe have struggled to provide redress and
continuously have their orders being defied or ignored by other branches of
government, what more of a commission with unclear powers?" she said.
Zesn echoed the ZLHR sentiments, emphasising the need to consult all
stakeholders on the appointment procedures, roles, composition, tenure,
reporting mechanisms and funding in order to enhance the independence and
autonomy of the commission.
"There is increasing violation of human rights but the government
persistently denies this and refuses to conduct investigations into them,"
said Zesn in written responses to the Independent. "Instead it repeatedly
accuses the Zimbabwean human rights organisations of concocting false
reports to satisfy the hostile governments who fund them. It has also
granted amnesty to human rights abusers and given them legal immunity.
"It appears therefore that the government is not setting up this
commission to try to put a stop to its human rights violations. This
commission will potentially be another ineffective institution. It will be
used by the government to show the international community that it is taking
measures to uphold human rights.
"As it has done with other commissions, by creating a purported
internal mechanism for dealing with human rights abuses, the government will
be able to delay referring cases of abuses to bodies like the African
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. It could do this by asserting that
the domestic remedy should be pursued before resorting to the regional and
international remedies," said Zesn in a statement.
Commenting on the office of Public Protector (PP- currently the office
of the Ombudsman), Petras said the PP will not have powers to investigate
violations of the Declaration of Rights and remain only with the mandate to
investigative powers relating to administrative acts of those in the public
service where there is no reasonable judicial remedy.
However, she said the ZLHR noted that the proposed commission could
take over these powers too on as yet vague and undefined grounds, which
makes it possible that there would be duplication of roles by the two
She said the Paris Principles stipulate that: "The national
institution shall have an infrastructure which is suited to the smooth
conduct of its activities, in particular adequate funding to enable it to
have its own staff and premises, in order to be independent of government
and not be subject to financial control which might affect this
Petras said the state of the judiciary in Zimbabwe today, by its own
public confession, is suffering as a result of the prevailing economic
"The office of the Ombudsman has shirked its constitutional
responsibilities and has also used financial constraints as its excuse. Do
we have the necessary funding to set up a whole new structure before we have
even half begun addressing the challenges we face in the judicial sector,
where magistrates in outlying areas regularly have to postpone court
sessions, and thus justice, because they do not have pens and paper to take
By Arthur Mutambara
THERE has been a lot of debate and discussion about the succession
matter in Zanu PF and its attendant factional activities.
In some quarters the issue of the Zanu PF successor to Robert Mugabe
has been lauded as the key to unlocking the Zimbabwean crisis, while others
have postulated a reformed Zanu PF as the answer to our national challenges.
There is speculation that some of our friends in South Africa prefer a
reformed Zanu PF government with or without the opposition as a junior
The international community and Western governments in particular have
shown a keen interest in the jockeying for positions among Zanu PF factions,
which seems to imply that if any one of the factions were to successfully
replace Mugabe (by whatever method) they will consider normalising
relationships with Zimbabwe. The thinking seems to be that the problem is
Robert Mugabe the person, and that anyone else will do just fine.
We seek to destroy this myth and challenge the efficacy of a reformed
Zanu PF strategy.
First and foremost, the Zimbabwean crisis is bigger than the person of
Robert Mugabe. There are institutional, structural and systemic dimensions
to the challenges we are facing.
Over the past 27 years Zanu PF has developed a distinct
socio-politico-economic culture and value system rooted in political
illegitimacy and poor country governance, economic mismanagement, bad
policies, corruption, patronage, incompetence and disrespect for the rule of
Yes, Mugabe is the personification and cardinal symbol of this
misrule. More importantly, he is the mortar and glue that keeps the rot
However, dismantling this oppressive system and creating a peaceful,
democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe requires more than the demise of Robert
Mugabe, the political player.
There are many individuals and institutions linked to Zanu PF that are
benefiting from the status quo. They seek to continue milking this patronage
system with or without Mugabe.
None of the potential Mugabe successors in any of the factions or
sub-factions have articulated a different value system, institutional
framework, or strategic vision. They have no transformative agenda.
Their value proposition is simply that they are not Robert Mugabe.
Beyond that it is business as usual.
In fact, some of the would-be successors have corruptly and
primitively amassed more wealth than Mugabe, have worse democratic
credentials and have been directly involved in heinous crimes against
humanity in Zimbabwe.
How can those in the international community, including South
Africans, that claim to cherish values of democracy, freedom and economic
prosperity even entertain or fathom such a perverted succession?
We hope we are not witnessing those treacherous tendencies towards
double standards, hypocrisy and duplicity.
A reformed Zanu PF succession strategy must be rejected purely on the
grounds of principles and values. The ANC and PAC freedom fighters would not
accept a reformed apartheid framework. Jewish freedom fighters would not
accept alliances with factions of the Nazi regime.
Consequently, Zimbabweans will not sell their souls on the altar of
convenience and compromise. We seek a total institutional and structural
revolution rooted in radical transformation of our political value system.
The second basis for rejecting a Zanu PF solution centres around the
doctrine of collective responsibility.
Zanu PF has been in power for 27 years and Mugabe has been running the
country through his central committee, politburo and cabinet. Yes, he has
dominated these institutions, but members of these three organs must take
collective responsibility for all of Zimbabwe's problems.
All those Zanu PF leaders involved with Mugabe up to the Unity Accord
of 1987 are collectively responsible for Gukurahundi in Matabeleland where
20 000 innocent Zimbabweans were massacred. How can anyone who had a
position of authority during a period of such heinous violation of human
rights have the moral authority to lead our country?
Over the years Zanu PF has destroyed our economy and violated our
human rights with impunity. All the Zanu PF leaders are linked and married
to these their party's vices.
Currently, there is an unprecedented economic crisis, social
degradation and brutal repression leading towards the complete collapse and
paralysis of our nation. We cannot place responsibility for this on one man,
Robert Mugabe. Those men and women in his organs of power must take
collective responsibility for the fate of our nation.
No one among them is qualified to replace Robert Mugabe as a solution
to our national tragedy.
How can a cabinet minister or a governor of the central bank serving
under this corrupt, criminal and illegitimate regime even contemplate being
a leader of our great country?
How can they de-link themselves from criminal and political
Furthermore, on careful scrutiny all the potential Zanu PF successors
have a disgraceful record of failure in their public careers.
The third argument against the pretenders to Mugabe's throne is that
in addition to being content-free in terms of alternative vision, values and
economic strategy, they lack courage. They are spineless cowards.
Assuming that some of them have disagreed with Mugabe on strategy why
have they not challenged him?
The current crisis is a case of the chickens coming home to roost.
Where were these unimaginative cowards, opportunists and morons who now wish
to replace Mugabe? Even today where are they?
The economy is in freefall and the population is going through
unprecedented suffering and turmoil. They are silent.
Political activists and their leaders are being brutalised, tortured
and murdered. They don't say a word.
If you cannot stand with the people in their bitterest hour of need,
how dare you envisage yourself as a potential leader of the Zimbabwean
If you cannot stand up for your beliefs or what is just because you do
not want to sacrifice your position at the feeding trough or because it will
endanger your political ambitions, then you are nothing but a spineless
coward. The integrity and true character of a person is judged by where they
stand during invidious moments of crisis.
Zimbabweans will not be led by a coward.
In conclusion, it is not our intension to disqualify Zanu PF leaders
from the democratic process.
We are saying let us make the electoral processes transparent, level
the political playing field and create conditions for free and fair
elections. The future of Zimbabwe will then be determined by its citizens.
Those that govern must do so with the consent of the governed.
Considering the arguments presented against a reformed Zanu PF within
the context of a devastated economy, an impoverished majority and
dehumanised electorate, while taking cognisance of the level of discontent
in the country, it is clear that people will choose a clean break with the
disempowering past as they seek to build a new Zimbabwe - a peaceful,
democratic and prosperous nation.
The people should and will reject a reformed Zanu PF in a free and
Professor Arthur Mutambara heads one of the two Movement for
Democratic Change factions.
By Patrick Laurence
THE recent talks in Pretoria between the main political adversaries in
Zimbabwe mark the first public sign of progress in President Thabo Mbeki's
quest to facilitate a peaceful settlement of the potentially incandescent
political dispute in Zimbabwe.
Mbeki, of course, is acting with the backing of the Southern African
Development Community which, at a summit of heads of state in Tanzania in
March, gave him a mandate to assume the role of peacemaker.
It is easy to scoff and observe that a preliminary meeting between the
main adversaries - President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF and the majority and
minority factions of its main political opponent, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) - is not a significant achievement. But the task of
persuading the main political parties to meet at all almost certainly
required a finely matched combination of tact and persistence.
Nevertheless, a long and hard road still lies ahead. As the Chinese
proverb has it, even a 1 000-mile journey has to begin with a first step.
But there are many obstacles and one is undoubtedly Robert Mugabe,
Zimbabwe's wily and increasingly unpredictable octogenarian president. While
he seems to have given his blessing to participation in the
Mbeki-orchestrated settlement talks by sending a Zanu PF delegation powered
by two cabinet ministers, his actions in Zimbabwe raise doubts about his
These actions include the seizure of the passport of Arthur Mutambara,
the leader of the minority faction of the MDC, on the eve of his departure
to a Save Zimbabwe campaign meeting in Europe. Justifiably it is described
as a display of heavy-handedness that does not augur well for a successful
outcome of Mbeki's initiative.
Further actions calculated to harass and alienate opposition
politicians include, according to Mutambara, the abduction of two MDC
activists who were later found dead and the continued detention by police of
MDC stalwarts, one of whom is a member of parliament, on trumped-up charges.
Referring to "detention, abduction, torture and murder" of MDC
activists, Mutambara says: "What is happening right now is an indication
that Mugabe is not ready for any serious talks with the opposition."
While apparently seeking to disrupt and intimidate the MDC, some of
whose activists are still suffering from injuries inflicted on them by
Zimbabwean police and soldiers in March, Mugabe is simultaneously involved
in wooing the MDC. As a recent report on Zimbabwe on the News24 website
notes, Mugabe departed from the text of his speech at a function marking the
handing over of tractors to farmers when he spotted MDC political opponents
and welcomed them with these words:
"We are happy they are here. They are part of us in the (Zimbabwean)
nation and (political differences) can never make them alien . . . After
all, we eat together."
Mugabe might be pursuing a two-track policy with the MDC, striving
simultaneously to intimidate and woo them, adopting a hard-cop, soft-cop
stratagem, to lure and drive them into his camp, a gambit which, if
successful, will enable him to tell Mbeki that Zimbabwe can and will solve
its problems without the South African president as an honest broker.
As long as Mugabe clings to power, as he seems intent on doing by
standing for re-election as president next year and thereby prolonging his
presidential tenure for another seven years, he risks being toppled in one
of two ways: either in a sudden and dramatic implosion or in a military or
With inflation running at 4 530%, it does not require the intelligence
of an Einstein to realise that the implications are extremely ominous.
The departing United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell,
has left no one in doubt about the fragility of the situation: he said the
"economic madness" had made it impossible for Mugabe to remain in power much
The other threat to Mugabe is a palace coup to replace him as Zanu PF's
leader and as Zimbabwe's president. The threat emanates - in theory if not
yet in practice - from two different camps led by rival contenders to
The first is headed is by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former Zimbabwean
security generalissimo who, after reportedly carving out a fortune for
himself as a carpetbagger in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the late
1990s, is now biding his time as Minister of Rural Housing.
The public face of the second is Vice-President Joice Mujuru, though
many observers believe she is a front for her husband Solomon Mujuru, the
former commander of the Zimbabwean African National Army and now an
immensely wealthy businessman.
Mugabe's decision to stand for re-election next year puts the chances
of Mnangagwa and the Mujurus succeeding him in jeopardy, as it could
precipitate an implosion that would bury all of them and impoverish the
entire nation, including Mujuru. The prospect of a palace coup by either
camp or even both camps acting in concert increases as the situation
The past fortnight has witnessed the leaking of information about a
pre-emptive strike by Mugabe loyalists against an attempted coup by a former
army officer and several serving officers, all of whom have appeared on
charges of treason in an in-camera court hearing. The alleged conspiracy,
which some observers have described as an attempt by Mnangagwa's rivals to
denigrate him in the eyes of Mugabe, is rightly seen as a sign of the
febrile atmosphere in Zimbabwe.
If Mugabe persists in pursuing his ambition to serve another seven
years as president, he risks more than displacement in a coup. A successful
coup could be the prelude to Mugabe's indictment for crimes against
The British minister responsible for Africa, David Triesman, warns
that it is a possibility. Perhaps he has in mind the ruthless crushing by
the Mugabe government of the "Matabele rebellion" in the 1980s.
Triesman refers pointedly to the indictment in the International Court
of Justice in the Hague of Charles Taylor, the ousted dictator of Liberia.
If Mugabe wants to avoid the possibility of an implosion, being the target
of a coup or the accused in a trial on charges of gross abuse of human
rights, he would be well advised to help Mbeki put together a settlement
that offers him a retirement package and indemnity from prosecution.
Independent political analyst Patrick Laurence is a contributing
editor to The Star.
by Vincent Kahiya
WHAT is Zimbabwe really set to gain from South Africa's hosting of the
2010 soccer World Cup? Perhaps US$50 million from tourism receipts if
football tourists think of coming to Zimbabwe in between matches or at the
end of the World Cup.
Government technocrats spearheading the strategy to attract business
to the country have spoken of ambitious projects like sports tourism,
dualising the Harare to Beitbridge highway, upgrading airports and sports
infrastructure and so on. They also hope to increase employment by 5%
through public works and increased business in the hospitality sector. Very
few of these huge tasks will be achieved before 2010 because the capacity
and financial resources to achieve them are just not there.
Just to illustrate this point, road construction projects on either
side of the Beitbridge Border post provide an apt example of the difference
in capacity between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Both countries have been
widening the roads leading to the bridge across the Limpopo River. During a
recent road trip to South Africa three weeks ago, it was all too evident
which of the two neighbours has the capacity to carry out the work. On the
South African side, work was progressing so well that by now, the stretch of
the road to Musina should be open to traffic.
On our side, obsolete plant equipment - some of it looking like museum
pieces - were labouring to cut through the hard and dry earth. Work has been
progressing at the speed of a glacier. Beitbridge, perpetually a dust bowl
due to unpaved roads is in sharp contrast with Musina which is bristling
with business brought in by Zimbabweans. It has literally become a
Zimbabwean town where the Asian traders there speak fluent Shona and Venda.
Shop assistants there are Zimbabweans, so are taxi drivers, petrol
attendants, illegal roadside vendors and even the beggars.
They see opportunities on the other side of the river where they are
prepared to carry out menial work for the rand. The major capital projects
in South Africa in preparation for the World Cup have increased
opportunities for Zimbabweans. Worryingly though, it is not cheap labour
that is now in demand. Construction companies contracted to build roads, the
Gautrain rail project and stadiums around that country are recruiting highly
skilled workers from our construction and mining sectors. This is a major
negative spin-off for Zimbabwe from the Word Cup.
Last week a large vacancy ad in the Herald sought applications from
Zimbabwean technicians to take up posts in South Africa. The numbers sought
should be a wake-up call to our rulers who have no control over this
haemorrhage. According to the ad, wanted in South Africa were 75
electricians, 50 fitters, 50 boilermakers and 25 riggers. These are 200
professionals who will be leaving this country soon. The South African
companies have gone into overdrive to attract our artisans, draughtsmen,
estimators, geologists and plant operators among others. The recruitment
drive will not stop until the jobs to hand are competed. Elsewhere in this
paper, we report that the mining sector has lost 40 000 professionals in 10
Apart from technicians, support staff in the form of accountants, IT
technicians and lawyers are also migrating south But our government,
opportunistic as ever, believes it should also benefit from this
brain-drain. As reported in the businessdigest last week, government wants
an agreement with South Africa "in order to facilitate systematic and legal
provision of these services to the mutual benefit of both countries". This
is to say that South Africa should compensate Zimbabwe for the loss of
personnel or that our government believes it can run a cross-border
employment agency, exporting manpower to South Africa. I do not think that
the architects of this funny plan themselves believe that it is going to
This is another futile attempt to turn Zimbabwe's professionals into
exportable commodities with government as brokers. I just wonder how
government intends to execute this. Perhaps create communist-type building
brigades which are shipped across borders to work to raise money for a
corrupt and oppressive aristocracy? Making capital out of a crisis!
It is prudent to note that Asian migrant workers to high-income
countries have helped to build economies back home. Last year, the UN
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific estimated that
migrant workers remitted more than US$167 billion to their families.
In countries such as Bangladesh and the Philippines, annual
remittances exceed official development aid and foreign direct investments.
The same cannot be said of the professionals leaving this country.
They want to leave because they can't stomach government policy which is
rendering professionals destitute.
Eric Bloch column
SOARING inflation is far from a new phenomenon in Zimbabwe. From an
annualised 16% rate in April 1996, it more than trebled in the next four
years to April 2000, to 56%. Over the following two years, to 2002, it rose
to 139%. Then it surged upwards to 385% in 2003, and to 624% in 2004.
A very marginal decline in 2005 saw the annual inflation rate in April
of that year fall to 586%, but in the following year it increased to 1 281%,
and then it reached a horrendous 3 714% in April, 2007 and is irrefutably
spiralling upwards at an exponential pace. Moreover, there is little doubt
that those officially determined rates, computed by the Central Statistical
Office, (CSO) are markedly lower than actual inflation.
The disparity between computation and reality is due to diverse
factors, including utilisation of a 2005 average "spending basket" which no
longer accurately reflects spending patterns of the majority of the
population. Moreover, understandably, no regard is had to black market
prices, and yet an increasing number of commodities are only obtainable in
that market. Compounding the CSO understatement of inflation is that it is
grievously under-funded, and therefore under-resourced, constraining the
efficacy of its operations.
In contradistinction to the CSO data, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
(CCZ) calculates the inflation rate, for the year to May, 2007 to be 11
067,22%, based upon the movement of prices of the basic essentials for a
family of six persons. Such a family needed $3,3 million to survive in
April, 2007, and $5,5 million only one month later, representing an
inflation in May of 65,6% (That one month's inflation was greater than the
inflation in any entire year during the first 21 years of Zimbabwean
As the inflation burgeons upwards at an ever greater pace, poverty for
the overwhelming majority of the population grows ever greater, with
accompanying escalating misery, discomfort and distress.
More and more are suffering the pangs of hunger and increasing
malnutrition, cannot afford healthcare, or education for their children, and
are reduced to nothing other than an endless struggle for survival.
Inevitably most give vent to their distress, and associated anger, against
suppliers of goods and services, be they industrialists, wholesalers,
shopkeepers, street vendors, or others. They are unhesitatingly perceived as
unscrupulous, callous, self-centred profiteers, and are increasingly the
targets for the fury and vitriol of the anguished, embattled populace.
Government, which is the real culprit that should be unreservedly
condemned, is very quick to support, and even encourage, the outcries of the
embittered, struggling masses, in order to deflect any possible realisation
that it is actually government that is responsible for the pronounced
economic morass wherein misery grows apace, and survival is increasingly
The near-total destruction of the economy is, without exception,
attributable to the combination of government's gross mismanagement, and of
its abysmal policies.
Those policies have destroyed agriculture, undermined industry,
discouraged investment, alienated the international community, demolished
the value of Zimbabwe's currency, brought the infrastructure to near total
collapse, and fuelled an intense brain drain which has denuded Zimbabwe of
critically necessary skills.
Any government with even a smattering of ethics, integrity and
self-respect would resign, or resolve determinedly to recognise and
acknowledge error, learn therefrom, and reform and transform.
But the Zimbabwean government has demonstrated a total inability to do
that, or anything else that is right. Instead, everything that is wrong is
the fault of others, either resorting to evil machinations to displace the
government, or focused solely upon self-enrichment.
Thus, government endlessly ascribes all Zimbabwe's ills to the
machiavellian ploys of the United States (and of its irrefutably
well-intentioned ambassador, Christopher Dell), the European Union in
general, and United Kingdom and its Prime Minister (until two days ago),
Tony Blair, to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and many others.
In this specious endeavour to divert blame to others, government is
strongly supported by the state-controlled media, whose fantasies and
fictions are greater than the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson, the
Grimm Brothers, Aesop's Fables, and others, but drastically less
entertaining, and devoid of credibility. The mind boggles at the thought
that the editors and journalists of the media can even remotely imagine that
any rational, thinking person can believe the far-fetched stories of US-led,
devious stratagems to fuel hyperinflation, cause economic collapse, and the
like, in Zimbabwe.
Because government, and its media, have lost all credibility, they are
desperately seeking to reinforce that the economic collapse in general, and
hyperinflation in particular, is not the fault of government.
To do so, they increasingly ascribe spiralling prices to private
sector profiteering Isn't it amazing that on the last five occasions that
the state-controlled newspapers increased their prices, on the same days, or
the very next following, they published editorials and articles scathingly
attacking the business sector for price escalations! Very evidently, that
which is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander!
Similarly, there is no outcry from Zimbabwe's ministers in government,
or the non-independent media, when TelOne, NetOne, Zimpost, Zesa, NRZ, Air
Zimbabwe and other parastatals raise their charges, or that is done by
governmental departments, but President Mugabe, his Vice-Presidents,
Minister of Industry and International Trade, Obert Mpofu, and others have
no reservations upon castigatingly attacking the business sector.
The reality is that that sector has two choices. It can raise its
prices, or it can shut down. It is faced with an endless upward surge in
production and operational costs, primarily due to:
Non-availability of foreign currency in the interbank market, as all
surrendered export proceeds are taken by government to fund imports of food,
energy, fuel, antiretrovirals, agricultural inputs, other essentials, and
boundless governmental travels abroad.
As a result, the business sector is unavoidably increasingly dependant
upon sourcing import requirements through alternative currency markets,
wherein demand massively exceeds supply, with resultant never-ending
escalation of costs. And, the supply and demand imbalance has been greatly
exacerbated by the extent that the Reserve Bank has been in the market to
buy "free funds".
By way of example, the retail prices of petroleum products has doubled
in a month, severely impacting upon operating costs of business, and most
other costs have escalated to a like, or greater degree.
Productivity has fallen sharply. A recent study by the Confederation
of Zimbabwe Industries identifies that capacity utilisation of industry has
fallen to 33,8% in 2006, with 80% of industry experiencing a volume decline,
and the manufacturing sector's contribution to gross domestic product
reducing from 24% in 1991 to 15,5%. As a result of shrinking production,
unit costs have unavoidably risen.
Although inadequately to surmount poverty levels, salaries and wages
and attendant costs such as medical aid and National Social Authority
contributions are constantly rising, driven by inflation, thereby in turn
driving prices upwards.
Business financing costs are soaring upwards, with prime overdraft
rates having risen from about 230% per annum to 550%, and more, in the last
Concurrently, businesses now need far greater working capital than
heretofore, in view of the increased costs that they are subject to. Just as
the populace is struggling to survive, so too does business, but it is
increasingly difficult to do so when inflation has gone berserk and
government does nothing constructive to address the crisis.
Zimbabwe's economy is in crisis. Even its political managers admit to
that. What they and the rest of society disagree about are the causes of
Government insists it is the victim of an external conspiracy inspired
by vengeance over land reform policies. The opposition, civil society and
external lenders believe the crisis is the direct consequence of bad
policies and institutional failure.
Obviously government would want us to believe that foreign meddling is
at the root of the problem. That would excuse their persistent misrule and
provide a pretext for repression.
Britain, the former colonial power, has engineered a world-wide
coalition against Zimbabwe, it is argued, to unseat President Mugabe's
regime and recolonise the country.
This theory of course ignores 60 years of determined decolonisation by
Britain, sometimes unloading dependencies that weren't altogether happy to
go. And it accords Britain more clout in the world than it actually
possesses. But with elections pending, the ruling party sees political
mileage in well-worn, if threadbare, mantras that it can use to claim a
legacy which it doesn't rightfully own.
It is significant that some of the loudest and most uncouth voices in
the state media bellowing about independence and sovereignty belong to
commentators who made no contribution whatsoever to Zimbabwe's freedom. But
they can't ignore certain facts on the ground.
Those facts begin with the reckless award of vast sums the state didn't
possess in 1997 to silence an inconvenient constituency, the war veterans.
It was followed by a wholly predictable crash in the value of the currency
and a break in ties to traditional development partners and international
In the years that followed Zanu PF resorted increasingly to repressive
policies to prevent criticism of its increasingly delinquent rule. A pattern
of contempt for court orders was established after the illegal abduction and
torture of two journalists from the independent press.
In the 2000 general election and 2002 presidential poll there was
extensive state-supported violence and coercion including the murder of
opposition election agents. The accompanying land redistribution programme
saw attacks on white farmers and their workers, a suborned law-enforcement
system and growing international isolation that, following the expulsion of
EU election observers, resulted in the imposition of sanctions.
The economy has now experienced 10 years of severe recession as a
direct product of failed agrarian policies which have impacted on downstream
industries. The economy has contracted by 60%. Every attempt to get
agriculture back on its feet has been thwarted by the voodoo economics of a
small coterie around Mugabe.
That the country has been held to ransom by ideological dinosaurs has
meant that funds that could have been obtained from a successful
agricultural sector have been spent instead on food imports. Money that
should have gone to development and social investment has instead been spent
on the upkeep of a spendthrift post-liberation aristocracy.
Diminishing forex receipts have in turn fuelled inflation as have
tax-and-spend policies, or more recently print-and-spend.
Bolstered by an array of laws designed to curb dissent the ruling
party thinks it can proceed without a national consensus.
That is what the talks in Pretoria are designed to change.
But Zanu PF's heart is not in it. Having excoriated the opposition so
viciously for so long, it now finds sitting down to talk with them
predictably uncomfortable. The Rhodesian Front went through the same
experience at Lancaster House.
But talk they must if they want the country to be rescued from the
decline-and-fall it is now experiencing.
It is becoming more and more obvious that Zanu PF are on their own
unable to find their way out of the morass their rule has spawned. But if
there is to be any recovery in the economy or support from the international
community there has to be a commitment to institutional reform and a vision
for the country that supersedes any one party's interests.
Zimbabwe needs change urgently. Above all it needs to rejoin the
international community, a prospect which only a national settlement can
If Sadc is to be of any use it must show its friends in Harare the way
ahead. Otherwise we are all doomed, not simply to more of the same but to
much worse to come.
by Dumisani Muleya
SOUTH African President Thabo Mbeki's government has reportedly
imposed a blackout on the ongoing talks between the ruling Zanu PF and
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to protect the process of
negotiations from the glare of the media spotlight.
All the parties involved in the talks, Mbeki's team, Zanu PF and the
MDC, have given their word that they will not leak any details of the talks
to the media.
The main reasons for this secrecy are said to be the need to safeguard
the integrity of the dialogue and avoid leakages of information which would
give Zanu PF a pretext to withdraw from the talks leading to their collapse.
The ruling party is said to have hinted at the start of the negotiations
that media leaks could force them to walk out.
President Mbeki and the MDC are understood to have been worried that
if the details of the talks leak, Zanu PF would carry out its threat.
As a result Mbeki and the MDC have been frantically trying to locate
the leaks of information to the media, especially the Zimbabwe Independent
which has been breaking news on the talks, to ensure Zanu PF does not walk
South African Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa confirmed last
week Mbeki's cabinet had taken a decision not to comment on the talks. They
would not even confirm a meeting which has taken place even though it would
be known by everybody to have occurred.
But Mamoepa also admitted that leaks were unstoppable.
"You should ask who is leaking.somebody is leaking despite our
commitment not to say anything," he said.
South African Deputy Foreign Affairs minister Aziz Pahad showed how
Mbeki's government is committed to the blackout when he pretended he was not
aware Zanu PF and the MDC had met in Pretoria on June 17-18. "As Foreign
Affairs we are not aware of any meeting that has taken place," Pahad said.
What has been happening in others words is that the parties to the
talks have conspired to censor the media to supposedly protect the process
Censorship is defined as the removal or withholding of information
from the public by a controlling group or body. The withholding of official
secrets, commercial secrets and intellectual property and privileged
information such as bank-client or lawyer-client details is not usually
described as censorship because censorship carries with it nuances of
untoward and repressive secrecy. This is the case in the current embargo on
information on talks.
Last week there was a paranoid bid by certain elements - who should
know better - to block the Independent from publishing exclusive details of
the talks agenda. The argument that Zanu PF would walk out if details of the
talks leaked was used to try to gag us. We politely but emphatically
rejected that because we think the argument lacks credibility.
We simply don't believe it is a good idea to agree to conspire on a
media blackout on such issues. This is even more strange, especially coming
from a government like that of South Africa that apparently believes in
Mbeki on June 17 met a delegation of senior South African editors at
the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria in a bid to promote good relations
with the media. This means he understands the best way to deal with the
media is not to adopt a hostile approach but a civil one in which the media
respects the role of government and vice-versa.
A blackout is a poor media strategy by definition because it's
premised on frozen thinking. In this day and age - when there is the
so-called information superhighway - it not possible to impose blackouts.
What Mbeki and others in this case should be doing is at least to try to
manage the flow of information by having briefings designed to keep the
public in the picture about the talks, while limiting room for media
speculation. This is how they do it elsewhere in the world.
Otherwise, talks must be conducted in a reasonably transparent way to
ensure that those involved are accountable to the public. While it is not
possible to negotiate in the glare of media publicity, it is also unhelpful
to put an iron curtain around talks and have an opaque process in which Zanu
PF can withdraw without any political price to pay in the court of public
opinion. If Zanu PF is to be held to account for its actions during talks,
it must be known what in the first place has been happening.
The argument that Zanu PF would walk out if details of talks are
published is therefore not just threadbare but patently spurious.
If Zanu PF withdraws from talks because of newspaper stories, it means
the process is not credible in the first place. It's a dead cert that Zanu
PF would try to wriggle off the hook but the strategy to keep them around
the negotiating table can't be a media blackout. Mbeki and the MDC must try
something else. Censorship and blackouts don't work anymore in this hi-tech
age of advanced communication technology and media diversity.
ZANU PF has the effrontery to tell the MDC that it must declare its
acceptance of the president and government's legitimacy as a condition for
talks. They have also demanded, in a position paper submitted to President
Thabo Mbeki, that the opposition must "drastically reorientate its attitude
towards national events", stop forthwith its "promotion of violence", commit
itself to the "irreversibility of land reform", "respect the country's
sovereignty and its national laws", call for the lifting of sanctions, and
"stop calling for outside interference in Zimbabwe's domestic affairs".
This from a party that daily seeks the approval of other nations in
its domestic affairs.
Thankfully, Mbeki has since knocked heads together at the Pretoria
talks and secured approval for an agenda that both sides can live with. But
as an insight into Zanu PF's delusional thinking the ruling party's position
paper submitted to Mbeki several weeks ago is useful to have on record.
There can be no question of opposition parties reorientating their
attitude towards national events so long as those events are used for
partisan purposes and as occasions where opposition parties and their
supporters are routinely insulted by the president. Nor can they be expected
to recognise as legitimate those whose legitimacy is the subject of national
As for violence, it must be clear after the release of MDC supporters
accused of petrol bombing and militia training that the whole stew of
charges against them was cooked up by those in power. Indeed, who was
responsible for the attacks on Morgan Tsvangirai at a police station and
Nelson Chamisa at Harare airport, not to mention the abduction, torture and
killing of lower-ranking MDC members? What has happened to those responsible
for that violence?
As for respecting national laws, who in their right mind would respect
a flawed law like Aippa or Posa? They are widely recognised as bad laws and
there is no reason why they should be regarded as anything else. Let's hope
that Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti disabused Mbeki of the impression that
the MDC had voted for Aippa. Where did that story start?
No doubt Zanu PF will be advancing these claims in its election
campaign. The MDC needs to be a good deal more robust in rebutting them than
it was in Pretoria!
Have you noticed how government spokesmen can no longer simply dismiss
statements they disagree with? They have to dismiss them "with the contempt
The latest example is Sikhanyiso Ndlovu's response to US ambassador
Christopher Dell's comments on the economy. What appears to have enraged the
government was Dell's observation that "by carrying out disastrous economic
policies the Mugabe government is committing regime change upon itself".
This was a fitting rebuke to a regime that has dishonestly tried to
convince the nation that it is the victim of an external conspiracy. What we
are suffering now is entirely home-made. And if anybody is looking for
evidence as to how that is done they need look no further than the
Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill which will sabotage any attempt by
Gideon Gono and others to attract foreign investment.
At the same time the Interception of Communications Bill gives to the
world the impression of an Orwellian regime monitoring the correspondence of
its citizens to detect sources of disloyalty.
Big Brother is alive and well and living in Zimbabwe!
Did Ndlovu stop for one minute to ask how such a brazen interference
with people's privacy will be seen abroad? This is clearly not a government
safely ensconced in the affections of its people!
"The government of Zimbabwe is in a much stronger position now
politically and economically than ever," Ndlovu implausibly claimed in his
response to Dell. "Events on the ground speak for themselves."
Indeed they do, as the following paragraph in the Reuters report of
Ndlovu's statement reveals: "The southern African country is in the grip of
a deep economic recession - now in its eighth year -- and is struggling to
feed itself, while four in five Zimbabweans are out of work and foreign
currency shortages persist."
A "stronger position" with inflation at 4 500% and heading north
because a gang of economic illiterates has hijacked the government?
Another salient point made by Dell needs to be underlined. People have
lost confidence in the currency and in the government that issued it.
Ndlovu must be delusional if he thinks things are looking up for the
government when it doesn't have a clue how to remedy the situation and
things are getting worse by the day. He thinks the National Income and
Pricing Commission will save the day by "stabilising" the economy. He
forecast a drop in inflation to 25% by year-end.
The government had imported enough grain to feed the nation, Ndlovu
So why is government holding out its begging bowl to the donor
community? And why are prices continuing to rocket?
We challenge Ndlovu to tell us in December what happened to his 25%
forecast and to apologise to the country for misleading it. Inflation will
not come down to 25% this year or next so long as we have a delinquent
regime determined to ignore macro-economic fundamentals.
What has probably ruffled Ndlovu's feathers is the realisation that
even Zanu PF's core supporters are beginning to understand where the problem
Meanwhile, the CZI, Emcoz and ZNCC see no evil, speak no evil and hear
no evil. Like the Consumer Council, they have been bought.
The begging bowl was very much in evidence in Nyamapanda last week.
"As government our hands are stretched out to the donor community,"
Mashonaland East governor Ray Kaukonde told the Canadian ambassador, Roxanne
Dube, at a function to mark Canada's support for a women's self-help
project. "We need funds."
Kaukonde lamented the slide in the Zimbabwe dollar, the Standard
reported, saying the current exchange rate was "shocking".
"It's so shocking, we need more help," he was reported as saying. He
made it clear that such help would have to be forthcoming from NGOs and the
"Don't worry about the media. Those boys always write what they want.
Otherwise government needs more funds."
Kaukonde appears to be under the impression that he is on a mission
"God has chosen us as leaders to lead this nation," he told a stunned
audience, "so we don't have to be selfish."
While the government welcomed donors, they had to be cleared first, he
"Our president has always said that they should concentrate on that
area and leave the political field to the animals of that political field."
He wasn't feeling so well, he said, but felt he should attend because
it was "to our advantage that the electorate benefits".
So all is clear then. The government wants donor funds but doesn't
want donors intruding into the field that belongs to politicians. And we can
safely assume their exclusion zone is restricted to the ruling party.
Donor projects will help local politicians get elected, Kaukonde
suggests. Let's hope the Canadians take note.
Kaukonde admits that the economic situation is serious but wants more
money for development, presumably because government is no longer able to
allocate funds for development because it has destroyed the means to
generate those funds.
Anyway, as an admission of state bankruptcy it sits nicely alongside
Ndlovu's fantastic forecasts.
Meanwhile, what news of the diesel-bearing formations in Chinhoyi?
Strange isn't it that we haven't heard a peep from Sydney Sekeramayi's
taskforce set up to explore this miraculous occurrence. That may have
something to do with the fact that there is a more prosaic explanation.
Has the taskforce discovered yet where the diesel originates? If they
look hard enough, we are told, they might find a large cave nearby where
stockpiles of equipment were stored in early 1980 pending an operation that
was subsequently aborted. The diesel was not removed together with the other
equipment because it was too heavy to transport. Instead, the hatches of the
tanks were opened and the fuel was left to drain into the rest of the cave.
It has taken all these years to seep through the rock.
Muckraker is not at liberty to publish the full story of the Chinhoyi
diesel deluge at this stage. But if the taskforce remains coy we may be
obliged to revert to our sources for permission to tell more. And we promise
not to wait 27 years.
Another slow learner is Minister of Industry Obert Mpofu who thinks he
can wave a magic wand and halt the escalation of prices. Sadly, it doesn't
work like that. Prices are determined by inputs and the cost of production.
When manufacturers can't recover the cost of production they will
understandably stop production. That leads to three things: empty shelves,
unemployment and a thriving black market.
That is what will happen here within days of this clumsy, economically
ignorant decision. Price controls haven't worked here or anywhere else they
have been tried. Mpofu, we understand, was advised against this course by
every industrialist who he consulted. He proceeded regardless.
Now watch those shelves empty. Populist demagoguery doesn't keep
prices down. It merely distorts the economy. And once again we have here a
warning to investors: ministers will interfere with the market if they think
there are electoral dividends to be had, with dire consequences for the
Some sections of the South African press and international
publications were peddling "falsehoods" about the situation in Zimbabwe,
visiting South African judge Moses Mavundla told the Herald this week. "They
have not been telling the truth."
Do these "falsehoods" include reports of court orders that have been
ignored; of detained individuals refused access to families and lawyers; of
lawyers abducted and beaten; and the "aggressive vilification of lawyers by
the state media" reported by the International Commission of Jurists
recently after a fact-finding mission to the country?
Were all these stories "falsehoods"? And what about those detained for
lengthy periods whose cases fell away before plea because there was no case
The ICJ said it was astonished by the cavalier attitude of the
attorney-general who told them he had no plan to investigate reports of
police mistreatment of lawyers.
"We were shocked by what we found," the ICJ said. The beatings of
lawyers by police, the beatings of people and in particular the refusal of
the police to carry out court orders was shocking."
What is Justice Mavundla's view of these very serious state abuses?
And what can South Africa expect from judges who, it would appear, see
nothing remiss in all this.
Zinwa accounts department must wake up
MUCH has been said about Zinwa's unsuitability to provide water to
Harare. Just looking at their accounts department seems to verify these
concerns. For example:
They do not have offices of their own but operate out of municipal
offices. The question is how much rent do they pay?
Their reference numbers are so large that they can cater for 24 x ten
thousand billion account holders, or alternatively lead to mistakes when
making payments and being credited with same.
They cannot bill sewerage and water on one bill.
They send more than one invoice for the same service.
They are charging two months in arrears.
They have a due date that is a month before the billing date - look at
your April account. Billed in June and due in May!
They can take up to a month to bank cheques for payment.
They do not know which are their genuine receipt numbers.
They advertise on their accounts hot line telephone numbers that
belong to private firms. (The patience of the operator at one number is
commendable. He must have had thousands of calls and he has remained
All this and they inherited a system that functioned well.
How many organisations get given for free a functioning company the
size of our city's water supply network? They must now deliver without any
hitches like any normal company.
WITH reference to a letter published in your letters to the
editor section (Independent, June 15) entitled "Beat errant NRZ staff into
line" the NRZ comments as follows:
We would like to thank our valued customer for taking trouble to
highlight issues he observed during his recent visit to our Harare railway
station. This enables us to address issues of concern to our valued
travelling passengers who may assist us as to correct shortcomings which may
create negative perception towards our rail services.
We want the writer to know that following the alleged ticket
scam that was reported in Harare recently, the NRZ sent a team of senior
officials from NRZ headquarters to investigate among other things the
alleged ticket scam, laxity and arrogant behaviour amongst our staff.
The NRZ values and appreciates the travelling public's
contribution toward both our intra- and inter-city passenger train services.
Furthermore, the NRZ does not condone the harassment of
customers by front line staff and any employee reported or found to be
mistreating the public will be dealt with accordingly.
It is true that the television sets in our upper class waiting
rooms are meant for the convenience and comfort of our travelling passengers
and not for relatives and friends of our staff as alluded to by the writer.
May I assure our valued customer that all the issues which he
observed during his travel are being addressed and staff in the Eastern Area's
Reservation and ticket offices have been moved to other areas and new staff
members were deployed at Harare station.
Concerning the issue of a substantive manager in Harare, the
writer may also wish to know there is now an area manager for the Eastern
It is also pertinent to mention that the security department
referred to by the writer has since been revamped following the recruitment
and training of new personnel, as well as the introduction of refresher
courses and retraining of all security details.
The department is now manned by a team of professionally and
highly trained officers, who are committed to duty and the protection of NRZ
property and its customers.
During the recent visit to Harare by senior officials from
headquarters, the security services manager was part of the team that went
to Harare to investigate and correct shortcomings and any misdemeanor among
our staff in Harare.
Some security details have since been removed from Harare and
new security personnel were deployed there. Investigations will be
intensified in order to weed out any bad apples among our staff in the
reservation, ticket and security offices.
I apologise for the inconvenience and unpleasant experience
caused to the writer and valued customers.
NRZ public relations manager.
Nkomo/Ncube comparison offensive
I WOULD like to register my displeasure with one Kurauone
Chihwayi in a letter titled "Tsvangirai needs Mutambara" (Independent, June
The writer made an unsettling comparison that Welshman Ncube is
the Joshua Nkomo of Matabeleland. I found this comparison disturbing and an
insult to the late Joshua Nkomo and the people of Matabeleland.
Welshman is not a Nkomo. Nkomo was a uniter not a divider. All
he wanted was for the nation of Zimbabwe to unite.
On the other hand, Welshman Ncube is a rabble rouser. The MDC
split was never about the senate elections. There was a sinister underlying
Ncube is not in the best position to talk for or represent
Ndebeles. This is his seventh year as the legislator for Bulawayo
North-East. What has he to show for being the MP for this constituency, does
he wield any influence in this constituency? Recently a former Bulawayo
deputy mayor and several councillors from his constituency defected to the
other MDC faction.
Ncube does not stay in Bulawayo. He stays in a leafy suburb in
Harare. Nkomo stayed among his people. He was humble.
Ncube has never contributed anything to his constituency ever
since his election in 2000 despite all the donor funds that he gets. Nkomo
as we all know although he faced obstacles was passionate about development.
The Zimbabwe Development Trust among other projects was his brainchild.
If Ncube is the spokesperson for Matabeleland and in touch with
people there, he could have known better about the senate elections. I was
in Mangwe during the ill- fated senate elections, people were against the
senate. That's why those who contested lost dismally.
Ncube and his faction friends are driven by political ambition
and self interest, nothing else.
Umdala wethu was a consensus builder, a beacon of unity and
should not be disrespected.
Asher Tarivona Mutsengi,
Incompetence, corruption or deception?
THE recent dishing out of farm implements smacks of the usual
incompetence that we are getting so used to from the Zanu PF government.
The Herald listed several people who do not even own a farm.
This is how the whole land reform exercise has been carried out - sheer
incompetence. Farms have been given to people who have no desire to farm or
knowledge of how to. It was just a case of "give, give, give at the
taxpayers expense". It defies logic.
Maybe it is not incompetence but corruption. Give to your
cronies so they will look after your own selfish interests and they all get
rich together. This looks more like it when you see that other beneficiaries
are government ministers, war vets, et al.
There is another explanation for the granting to opposition and
civic society members of these wonderful gifts - deception. Deceive the
electorate by handing out these implements to the very people who we see as
our saviours from Zanu PF's normal corruption so that the electorate becomes
disenchanted with them. It will never get published by the Herald that they
did not actually receive their allocated gifts and the damage is done.
Whatever the reason for dishing out this monumental expense so
generously to undeserving members of our society, one thing is for sure, the
electorate is unimpressed with the rampant inflation this extravaganza is
The arrogance of Gono and his masters in dishing out scarce
forex and tax dollars on publicity campaigns is now beyond measure.
I MAKE reference to a letter by Kurauone Chihwayi (Independent,
It is apparent that Chihwayi is a great admirer of Prof Welshman
Ncube. Fair and fine. However, to compare him with the great Joshua Nkomo is
taking a very simplistic approach to Zimbabwean politics and trying to
rewrite our history.
Joshua Nkomo's contribution to the liberation struggle and post
Independence democracy is unquestionable.
The only achievement that Prof Welshman Ncube has made that is
unquestionable is his academic excellence. Apart from that all that he has
done most of us have also done. He was lucky to be at the right place at the
right time when the MDC was formed.
If indeed he is popular as Chihwayi says then why unite? Let him
go it alone. Let the two MDC factions go to the elections as different
political entities. Whether Zanu PF takes advantage of it is neither here
nor there because what we want is democratic change.
Zifa must be innovative
I AGREE with Darlington Majonga (IndependentSport View, June
22). Inflation really affects everything. The corporate world has to be
commended for giving back to society taking into account the harsh business
environment they are operating in.
But again they aren't the ones to blame for this wayward
inflation. The challenge is upon the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to
strategise with sponsors on ways to best make their donations make monetary
It is my humble submission that the CBZ FA Cup period and number
of teams be shortened because it's uneconomic to involve more than 10 teams
because the rate of inflation is going up on the tick of every second.
It's upon this basis that I therefore urge the sponsors and our
strategy-deficient Zifa to be innovative.
Itai G Watinaye,