The men behind the
alleged Equatorial Guinea coup plot represent a who's who of South Africa's
mercenary market - but key players also have links to the American and
British security establishments. In Harare, where 67 suspected mercenaries
were arrested last Sunday, Zimbabwean Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi
claimed later in the week that Britain's MI6 intelligence service, the United
States's CIA and the Spanish secret service had been involved. This, Mohadi
said, had been confessed by Simon Mann, one of the mission's principal
planners. Mann was arrested in Harare alongside his "troops", who had arrived
separately by Boeing 727 from South Africa. Mohadi 's claim should be taken
with a pinch of salt, as the Zimbabwean government has made a habit of
implicating the United Kingdom and the US in latter-day colonial plots. But
it is intriguing that both Mann and his alleged principal co-conspirator, Nic
du Toit, do have direct or indirect links with the security establishments in
Mann, a former British special forces soldier who
has been resident in Cape Town and who is known for his association with
disbanded South African mercenary company Executive Outcomes, was earlier a
senior member of Sandline International, a private military firm which has
been regarded as close to the UK security establishment. Du Toit was arrested
with 14 cohorts earlier on Sunday in Equatorial Guinea. On Wednesday he
"confessed" on national television that the plan had been to remove the West
African country's President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, from power to
make way for exiled opposition leader Severo Moto Nsa. The latter has denied
his involvement. Du Toit is a director of Miltary Technical Services (MTS),
a Pretoria company whose founder, Tai Minnaar, worked for the CIA in the
1970s and seems to have retained contact with the organisation until
his mysterious death in 2001.
The Mail & Guardian has obtained
more information putting Mann and du Toit at the centre of the alleged plot.
Mann's offshore company, Logo Logistics, co-ordinated the operation. Logo is
understood to have signed contracts in recent months with Du Toit's MTS, and
with a close corporation of which Du Toit is the only director, Triple Option
Trading 610. Logo, which has, via a UK spokesperson, denied the coup plot,
saying the men were en route to fulfil a mining security contract in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, has the profile of a mercenary company. Its
website reportedly advertises its services as including "risk intelligence
and assessment, support helicopter operations, service support in harsh
environments, rough field and parachute air re-supply". MTS's role in this
operation, according to the M&G's information, was to supply "trained
professionals". Various reports have put Mann, Du Toit and an unidentified
third individual at the scene of earlier negotiations for arms in Harare.
Their shopping list, presented to Colonel Tshinga Dube, the head of the
parastatal Zimbabwe Defence Industries, allegedly included AK-47s and
hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammnunition.
The Boeing and
alleged mercenaries' stopover in Harare, en route to Equatorial Guinea,
appears to have been to collect the arms, for which $180 000 had allegedly
already been paid when the men were arrested. The bulk of the alleged
mercenaries are South Africans, Namibians and Angolans, and many of them are
said to be former 32-Battalion members - the multinational mercenary force
used by the former South African Defence Force during the apartheid era war
in Namibia and Angola. Members of this battalion also formed the backbone of
Executive Outcomes during its adventures in Angola in the mid-1990s and other
African and Third World hotspots. Here are some of the key
Mann has a long association with
private military companies, including the trailblazer in the genre, South
Africa's Executive Outcomes. Zimbabwe's Mohadi claims Mann was promised a
cash payment of £1-million and oil exploitation rights in Equatorial Guinea
for his part in arranging a coup against President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
Mann was one of the founders of Sandline International, a London-based
private military company that worked closely with Executive Outcomes, the
company formed in 1989 by former apartheid special forces operatives.
Executive Outcomes and later Sandline played a key role in major private
military interventions, first in Angola in support of the MPLA government
against Jonas Savimbi's Unita rebels and later in Sierra Leone, in the latter
case allegedly with the tacit support of the British security
Mann's background made him the perfect intermediary for the
negotiation and conduct of private operations in support of British military,
diplomatic or commercial interests. A member of a prominent British brewing
family, he attended Eton before joining the Scots Guards and later the elite
Special Air Service. After leaving the SAS Mann specialised in computer
security systems. In the early 1990s Mann linked up with another ex-military
man, Anthony Buckingham, who had oil interests. The Angolan government
reportedly approached Canadian company Ranger Oil, with which Buckingham was
involved, to help protect the country's oil installations. That led to
the comprehensive contract Executive Outcomes clinched to shore up the
MPLA government and turned the tide against Savimbi's rebels.
Du Toit is understood to be a former SADF special forces
operator, who later also worked for Executive Outcomes. According to a 1999
paper by researcher Kareen Pech, Military Technical Services (MTS), the
company represented by Du Toit in the alleged coup plot, was set up in 1989
under retired Major-General Tai Minnaar to procure Soviet-issue helicopters
and provide private military support services. Pech wrote: "Although some
companies, like MTS, have the same business interests, cross shareholdings
and even shared personnel, Executive Outcomes directors denied that they
were associated with these companies." Minnaar died in mysterious
circumstances - allegedly due to poisoning - in September 2001. His attempt
to export to the US a so-called stockpile of biological warfare agents,
developed under apartheid South Africa's chemical-biological warfare
programme, was revealed by the M&G in 2002. That attempt was made in
conjunction with two former CIA operators and with the knowledge of the FBI -
which apparently blew the plan and shopped Minnaar before it could be carried
Steyl was the pilot of the Boeing stopped
in Harare, and is under arrest there. More is known about his brother, Crause
Steyl, who has also been implicated - by documentary evidence suggesting that
his company, an air ambulance service, was at least an intended partner.
Crause Steyl denies he had anything to do with the operation. He headed the
Executive Outcomes air operation during the mid-1990s and became friendly at
the time with Mann. Both were active in the Executive Outcomes contract to
shore up the Angolan government. The M&G understands that a contract was
finalised in January in terms of which Triple A Aviation Services, Crause
Steyl's company based in the Free State town of Bethlehem, would have
provided "aviation services" to Mann's company Logo Logistics. Triple A
trades as Air Ambulance Africa. Steyl this week confirmed that Mann had
approached him last year with a proposal. "He said it would be like Angola
again." But Steyl denies he acceded. "I live in a small community. Everyone
knows me and I do very good work."
Violence in the
Zengeza constituency, where a by-election for the vacant parliamentary seat
is due to be held at the end of this month, continued this week. On Tuesday,
three MDC members who were distributing leaflets in Unit K in Zengeza were
attacked by Zanu PF militia. The militia trailed the activists for some time,
before driving towards them in an attempt to run them over. Mrs Kerina
Benhure, and two other opposition supporters whose names are unknown, were
injured. On Wednesday. three houses belonging to opposition supporters,
including that of the James Makore, the MDC candidate in the Zengeza
by-election, were stoned by Zanu PF militia. The militia, travelling in
trucks, invaded the residences, beating up people and destroying property.
Personal property and household goods were stolen, window panes were
shattered, and roofing was destroyed. The houses of the two houses
neighbouring Makore's house were also attacked. An MDC member, Enock Mukudu,
was abducted, and had to be ransomed with a payment of Z$30 000. Before being
released, he was stabbed in his arm by his abductors. No arrests have been
Opposition Reports Pre-Election Attacks on Supporters Peta
Thornycroft Harare 12 Mar 2004, 16:47 UTC
In Zimbabwe, the main
opposition party is reporting attacks on its supporters in the run-up to a
special election for a crucial parliamentary seat. The Movement for
Democratic Change says three of its members distributing leaflets in the
constituency were attacked Tuesday, several houses belonging to known
opposition supporters were vandalized and the MDC candidate himself was
Last weekend, an opposition rally in the constituency, which was
to be addressed by its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was stopped by a group of
about 30 ruling party supporters. MDC activists have gone into hiding for
fear of further violence.
Those are among the events that have marred
the campaign in special elections to be held in a constituency on the
outskirts of Harare at the end of March. The seat was vacated by an MDC
legislator who fled the country last year fearing for his safety.
seat is crucial for the opposition party, because losing it would
bring President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, ZANU-PF, within a whisker of
a two-thirds majority in the national parliament. With a two-thirds
majority, ZANU-PF could amend the constitution.
MDC admits it made a
mistake by naming a candidate, rather than following the usual procedure of
allowing potential candidates to reach consensus among themselves. MDC
Spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said this has curtailed public debate on issues
important for the opposition constituency, and may backfire.
he said, fear of violence against opposition supporters may keep many voters
away from the polls.
Some political analysts say the MDC may well lose
this traditionally safe seat, as well as another one in the Matabeleland
province. That, they say, would leave the ruling ZANU-PF just two seats short
of a two-thirds majority in parliament.
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has announced it will charge dozens
of mercenary suspects with trying to destabilise a sovereign state and
says the detainees have been talking about their purported plot to stage a
coup in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea.
Zimbabwe detained more than 60 men
after their Boeing 727 was seized in Harare on Sunday, and Equatorial Guinea
-- sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil producer -- arrested another
smaller group who said were an advance party.
"The charges are quite
clear... they include destabilising an independent and sovereign government
and our statutes, and the AU (African Union), forbid that," Zimbabwean Home
Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi told reporters after President Robert Mugabe
met a visiting delegation from Equatorial Guinea.
Asked whether the
suspects were cooperating with the investigation, Mohadi said: "They are
The plane's operator says the group was due to provide
legitimate mine security in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
has said those it detained, mainly South Africans, Angolans and Namibians,
may face the death penalty.
Visiting Harare on Friday, Equatorial
Guinea's Justice Minister Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue said the 20 men detained
in his nation's capital Malabo were six Armenians, four Angolans with
South African passports, four Kazakhs, one German and five former
"high-ranking" South African military personnel.
"They have been sent by
Western countries, companies. They have received an advance of $5 million
(2.8 million pounds) and they were promised another $5 million afterwards,"
he said, adding the plot had been to abduct President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema Mbasogo and take him to Equatorial Guinea's former ruler
Zimbabwe, battling international sanctions spearheaded by Britain
and the United States, accused spy agencies of those countries on
Wednesday of aiding the alleged plot against Obiang in conjunction with the
Spanish secret service.
"The United States Government has protested to
the Government of Zimbabwe concerning the outlandish and
inaccurate allegations... about U.S. involvement with a purported mercenary
operation," the U.S. embassy in Harare said in a statement on Friday.
Britain and Spain have also issued denials.
NO COURT APPEARANCE
detainee has yet appeared in court, but authorities in Malabo presented Nick
du Toit -- who defence sources say is a former member of a South Africa's
special forces -- to diplomats on Tuesday as the leader of the advance
A lawyer hired by a South African firm to represent the Harare
detainees was due to meet them on Friday, but Mohadi said it was unlikely
they would appear in court then. Legal sources said they can be held for two
weeks before a court hearing.
Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper
quoted acting Attorney General Bharat Patel as saying the group's leaders
-- among them men identified as Briton Simon Mann and South African
Simon Witherspoon -- could be charged separately from the
Radio Zimbabwe said most of the men, a mixed group of blacks and
whites, had South African passports, some of them fake.
Africa's Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said officials
were considering bringing the South Africans in the group home to face
trial under laws banning mercenary activity.
"We are discussing that but
we are not opposed to them facing trial where they committed the crime,"
Dlamini-Zuma told SABC radio on Friday. South Africa's mercenary laws aim to
shake its image as a supplier of "dogs of war" to
"The South African government is making the point
that they are very serious about rooting this out -- it's very much in
line with the African Union and its Peace and Security Council," said
Henri Boschoff of Pretoria's Institute of Security
Mozambique's relief agency, the National Disasters
Management Institute (INGC), on Thursday described the floods in the central
region of the country as "worrying but still under control", reports Friday's
issue of the daily paper "Noticias".
Rescue operations are centred on
the Pungue valley in Sofala province where the level of the waters is
continuing to rise. The INGC reported that at least 100 people were still
stranded at the road bridge over the Pungue on Thursday, awaiting rescue.
These announcements were made during a meeting of the INGC Technical Council
in Maputo, where this institution shared information on the situation country
wide with its various partners.
INGC national director Silvano Langa said
that special attention was being paid to the central region, and the army and
navy had been put on alert, in case the situation worsens.
acknowledges that the rescue scheme in the districts of Dondo and Nhamatanda,
in the Pungue valley, is not responding satisfactorily, due firstly to the
reluctance of victims to leave the danger areas, and secondly to logistical
problems, particularly the shortage of fuel for the two boats used in the
operation. Meanwhile, a multi-sector team is visiting 42 districts in the
southern and central regions to assess the situation created both by drought,
in certain areas, and floods in others.
The direct of the National Water
Board, Americo Muianga, said that there are reports of rises in the level of
the Zambezi, Pungue, and Buzi rivers, in the central region, and of the Save
and Limpopo in the south. The most serious situation was in the Pungue and
On the Zambezi, the Cahora Bassa dam is holding water back,
and the Cahora Bassa lake is far from full. Further downstream, however,
water from the Luenha river, a major subsidiary of the Zambezi, is raising
the levels of the river at Caia and Marromeu.
On the Buzi river, the
water level is still rising, and the road linking the locality of Guaraguara
to Buzi town has been flooded along two stretches, although it is still
As for the Save river, the authorities say that a further rise is
feared, due to continual rainfall in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
meeting said that the United Nations agencies operating in Mozambique offered
to continue lending all the support the country may need.
The World Food
Programme (WFP) said that it has about 7,000 tonnes of foodstuffs available,
while the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has equipment and products
for the treatment of drinking water.
Agencies 12/03/04 A LAWYER representing more than 60 suspected mercenaries
held in Zimbabwe says he expects to meet them for the first time and that
they could appear in court later today.
Attorney Jonathan Samkange
said police indicated they would accompany him to see the men, arrested on
Sunday when their plane landed in Harare en route for what officials said was
a mission to topple the government of Equatorial Guinea.
concern is the rights of my clients," said Samkange, who has been hired by a
South African law firm to represent the men.
The official Herald
newspaper quoted acting Attorney General Bharat Patel as saying the men's
first appearance in court would depend on how fast police finished recording
Patel told the newspaper that leaders of the group --
among them men identified as Briton Simon Mann and South African Simon
Witherspoon -- could be charged separately from the rest.
suggested charges could include violating aviation rules and breaking
immigration and firearms laws. Zimbabwe's foreign minister said earlier the
men could face a possible death penalty, but none of the charges mentioned by
Patel carry that sentence.
State radio said on Friday most of the men,
who are both black and white, carried South African passports, some of them
South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said
officials were considering bringing the South Africans in the group home to
face trial under laws banning mercenary activity.
"We are discussing
that but we are not opposed to them facing trial where they committed the
crime," Dlamini-Zuma told SABC radio on Friday.
Zimbabwe officials have
accused the men of being part of a plot to topple President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil
producer, and said the men had implicated U.S., British, and Spanish spy
agencies in the plan.
U.S. and Spanish officials have denied involvement,
while Britain has declined comment. The plane's operator has said it was
flying the men to the Democratic Republic of Congo to provide security for
Zimbabwe has identified the men as coming from South
Africa, Angola, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo and one from
Equatorial Guinea has arrested what it called an advance party
of 15 mercenaries and said "enemy powers" and multinational companies had
been plotting against the small central African state.
NMB bosses ready to sing Staff Writer NMB Bank
directors wanted by police on charges of externalising foreign currency have
threatened to reveal the foreign currency deals they and other banks
conducted with government departments and the central bank on the black
At the height of forex shortages government and parastatals
sourced foreign currency on the illegal parallel market to purchase grain and
fuel. Foreign currency was also bought at the parallel rate to pay for
The four directors - Julius Makoni, James
Mushore, Otto Chekeche and Francis Zimuto - have said they will not return to
Zimbabwe to be subjected to the current legal regime where they can be
detained for long periods without trial. The four left the country a
In an interview this week Makoni, who was managing
director of the bank, said they were prepared to sing if their "persecution"
"For professional reasons we would not like to give details of
the transactions that took place," said Makoni. "But if we are persecuted
the way we are being treated now, we are prepared to reveal the details,"
This comes amid revelations that the Zimbabwe
government has not started extradition proceedings to bring back from Britain
the four directors to face trial.
In written responses to the
Zimbabwe Independent this week, the British embassy said it had not been
contacted about the extradition of the four men.
"We have not been
contacted by the government of Zimbabwe or Interpol about this case," said
British embassy spokesperson Sophie Honey.
Police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena yesterday said extradition proceedings would only start after
police had ascertained the exact location of the suspects.
cannot start the extradition process until we know the exact location of the
suspects. We are still trying to find out exactly where they are,"
The Independent this week also heard that government
would formally complain against the British government for allegedly
facilitating the escape of the directors by providing them with fast-track
The embassy could not provide details on whether or not the
four directors got express visas.
"All visa applications are
con-sidered in accordance with UK immigration rules. We do not comment on
individual applica-tions," said Honey.
Diplomatic sources this week
said the British government would not extradite the directors who would
likely be treated as asylum seekers.
Air Zim in pensions wrangle Munyaradzi Wasosa/Itai
Dzamara AIR Zimbabwe management has clashed with workers over allegations
that contributions towards a pension scheme were not being remitted and
were being diverted to other uses without informing the
The workers told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that it
was only after a report had been made to the police fraud squad and
investigations had begun that management tried to explain the non-remittance
of pension contributions for the past five months.
confirmed that a complaint had been forwarded to the fraud squad and that the
matter was being handled by Constables Tumbare and Goshami.
to reach the two policemen yesterday were unsuccessful. However, a policeman
who answered the telephone at the fraud department in Harare said: "It is
those two (Tumbare and Goshami) who can discuss that matter."
who spoke to the Independent said the pension scheme was established in the
1950s. It was under the administration of Old Mutual Life Pension Fund until
management decided, without consulting workers, to transfer it to a firm
called Comarton Consultants.
A trustee committee comprising mostly
members of management, oversees the handling of the funds.
transfer of the fund caused discontent among the workers.
transfer should have gone through tender but it didn't and we were never
informed," said a source. "That raises suspicion about
Relations between workers and management
soured recently after the discovery by workers that contributions towards the
pension fund stopped in October last year.
"We suspect that the
money was being diverted to other uses," a source said. "The worst thing
however is that we were not informed until we discovered the development and
reported it to the police."
Comarton managing director Richard
Muirimi yesterday confirmed that the national airline had defaulted on
payments for five months since October last year.
He absolved his
company of any wrongdoing as suspected by Air Zimbabwe workers. "People
speculate that we were using the money for something else, and that is not
true. Fund contributions were not coming through," he said.
Air Zimbabwe management acted swiftly this week before police had nabbed any
individuals. Management issued a cheque on Tuesday to Comarton to settle the
This paper yesterday saw a copy of the cheque
in possession of workers' representatives, who claim to have intercepted it
and made a copy for "evidence", for the amount of $204 146 205,95 issued to
Comarton. The Jewel Bank cheque number 0121 2011 7186 1011 2906 3170 1, was
confirmed to have been received by Comarton yesterday.
Zimbabwe managing director Rambai Chingwena could not be reached for comment
yesterday. His secretary said he was locked up in a board
The workers also allege that contributions to Cimas medical
aid society have not been remitted by the national airline for a number of
months. Workers, most of who are on Cimas schemes, only learnt about the
non-remittance of funds when they sought assistance to cover hospital and
medical bills from Cimas.
An Air Zimbabwe engineer, who preferred
not to be named, said workers had planned to go on strike over the matter.
"The trustees are using our money to benefit themselves. We suspect they are
investing our funds for their own benefit. We could have gone on strike this
Tuesday but our unions feared reprisals," the source said.
Zesn urged to endorse election boycott Itai
Dzamara OPPOSITION political parties and civil society members have requested
the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) to endorse a boycott of next
year's parliamentary election if President Robert Mugabe refuses to make
Fierce debate marked the closing session of
a two-day workshop organised by Zesn in Harare to discuss the Electoral Laws
Draft Bill compiled by a coalition of more than 30 civil society
A suggestion that Zesn merely endorse the draft bill
to government and leave the rest to political parties was shot down. Zesn had
to clearly state in the draft bill that failure to effect changes to current
laws would mean a non-recognition of next year's parliamentary election
outcome, the meeting heard.
"We want Zesn to make a definitive
position to government regarding this issue," said Wurayai Zembe of the
"Zesn must clearly state that it won't recognise an
election held under the current system. Without amendments it means the poll
will be boycotted by all the groups that constitute the
National Constitutional Assembly head Lovemore Madhuku, who
chaired the closing session, endorsed participants' sentiments.
think it is clear that the suggestion being made by some participants is that
Zesn has to state in the draft bill that it won't recognise elections held
under the current electoral system," said Madhuku.
head of the Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC) election directorate said:
"The demand by civil society for electoral amendments is legitimate and good
for the growth of democracy. Therefore Zesn's efforts must be fully
Zesn chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove said in closing
remarks that the network would relay to government requests made by the
The draft bill was compiled by Zesn after a national
consultative campaign calling for an Independent Electoral Commission to
replace the existing Electoral Supervisory Commission whose members are
appointed by President Mugabe.
The bill also calls for an overhaul
of electoral laws for them to conform to international
Justice and Parliamentary Affairs minister Patrick
Chinamasa recently scoffed at calls by the opposition and civil society for
electoral amendments, saying no changes would be made before next year's
polls. He also said the MDC feared defeat.
The MDC national
executive has resolved to boycott next year's polls unless amendments are
Zanu PF militia lay seige on Zengeza ahead of
poll Augustine Mukaro ZANU PF has launched a terror campaign ahead of the
Zengeza by-election. The Zimbabwe Independent this week heard that four
torture bases have been set up.
Zengeza constituency by-elections
are due on March 27 and 28. The seat fell vacant after Tafadzwa Musekiwa went
into exile in the United Kingdom and later resigned. Musekiwa went into exile
in 2002 claiming that the ruling Zanu PF party was after his
Four candidates are vying for the seat: long-time Zanu PF cadre
Christopher Chigumba, James Makore (MDC), Tendai Chakanyuka (Nagg) and
Gideon Chinogureyi of Zanu Ndonga.
Speaking to the Independent
yesterday, Makore said Zanu PF had intensified its dirty campaign by
attacking and torturing his supporters.
"Zanu PF has already established
four bases in the constituency," Makore said. "The bases are at Zengeza 4
creche, Zengeza 4 shops (popularly known as Pagomba), in Unit H and Unit D.
Zanu PF youths and supporters camped at these bases descend on suspected
opposition supporters during the night, beat them up and destroy their
Makore said he had reported some of the cases to the
police who had promised to investigate.
"Some of the incidents are
very nasty. Some victims have sustained serious injuries such as broken arms.
Most of these cases have been reported to the police," he
Makore said there were rumours that the ruling party was
setting up more bases in the constituency to cow the opposition before the
MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said on Wednesday more that
Zanu PF militias stoned three houses belonging to members of the
opposition in Zengeza, including that of Makore.
"Zanu PF mobs
moving in trucks attacked the three houses at around 1430hrs on Wednesday,
destroying property valued at millions of dollars and beating up everybody
they met near Makore's house," Nyathi said.
"They shattered window-panes
and asbestos sheets of Makore's house before proceeding to attack two houses
belonging his neighbours."
Nyathi said the Zanu PF youths abducted an
MDC youth, Enock Mukudu, who was forced to surrender $30 000 to secure his
release but not before he was stabbed on his left arm as well as sustaining a
deep cut above his right eye.
Over the weekend Zanu PF militias
invaded the Chitungwiza tennis court where the MDC was preparing to hold a
rally. The rally, at which MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was expected to
launch his party's campaign for the Zengeza constitu-ency, was called off for
Nyathi said ruling party militia attacked MDC party
members who had been preparing the venue, seriously damaging two vehicles.
Six people were reportedly injured in the attack with equipment worth
millions of dollars looted. The MDC said the militia then moved around the
area in vehicles attacking anyone seen travelling towards the venue of the
The Electoral Supervisory Commission has however tried to
break the cycle of violence by bringing the contesting parties to a round
table and agreeing on conflict management measures.
complaints that have been raised about the existence of bases and safe
houses, party representatives agreed that each party would have one command
centre that would be known to all and accessible by the ESC and the police,"
"In an effort to stem the use of force and violence during
night campaigns, parties agreed that there would be no campaigning at night.
Campaigning will take place between 0600hrs and 1700hrs."
only a week before the polls, the Zengeza seat is already showing signs of
becoming the most furiously contested after 2002 presidential election. Zanu
PF desperately wants to win the seat to prove that the opposition is fast
losing support. The MDC on the other hand cannot afford to lose if it wants
to maintain its credibility and grip on the urban electorate.
2000 parliamentary election Zanu PF was relegated to a rural party after the
MDC won almost all urban constituencies.
Lecturers/ministry on collision course Loughty
Dube STRIKING National University of Science and Technology (Nust) lecturers
and the Ministry of Higher Education are on a collision course after the
two parties failed to agree on a salary arbitration decision leading to
the ministry seeking recourse to the Labour Court.
The matter has
been set for the Labour Court in Harare next week on Friday after the
government refused to implement a salary adjustment awarded to the striking
lecturers through arbitration late last year.
The adjustments would
have seen the least paid lecturer earn about $1,13 million. Government said
it did not have the resources.
The striking lecturers last week on
Monday met with Higher Education minister Herbert Murerwa but failed to
resolve the impasse.
Nust Education Association spokesperson Elyween
Madziva confirmed the impasse with the ministry and said his association had
received summons to appear before the Labour Court next week.
ministry has appealed against the arbitration salary we were awarded last
year and a hearing has been set for Friday next week. Until that issue is
resolved, lecturers here have vowed not go back to work," Madziva
Nust is currently at a standstill as striking lecturers and
non-academic staff have refused to go back to work until their arbitration
salary has been implemented.
However, Nust director of
information, Felix Moyo, said not all lecturers at the university were on
strike and that the university was operating 'normally' with the available
"Lessons are going on in some departments as not all lecturers
are on strike. We have expatriate and part-time lecturers who are teaching
while some full time staff are not taking part in the strike," Moyo
He said the lecturers were holding marathon meetings to come up
with a position on the matter.
Madziva said unless all the
lecturers' demands were met they would not go back to work.
went for voluntary arbitration but the employer is appealing against that
decision but we are willing to go back to work if we are given something
enticing," said Madziva.
Police demand details of MDC members Loughty
Dube THE opposition MDC has alleged that police are harassing its officials
and members in Bulawayo by demanding personal information pertaining to
their political history and details of the party's grassroots
MDC information and publicity officer for Bulawayo
province Victor Moyo said officers from the Law and Order Section were
visiting the party's district and ward leaders in the city demanding that
they give information about themselves and other members.
police have been intimidating our members and forcing them to
divulge sensitive information about themselves and about other members in
the party," Moyo said.
He said Pumula South councillor Rodger
Sibanda was visited twice at his home last week.
Sibanda and asked him to fill in a form outlining his political history. He
refused but they returned later and forced him to provide the details
together with information on other party members," Moyo said.
spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena promised to comment later on the allegations
but had not done so at the time of going to press.
harassment of MDC councillors come a few days after the release of results of
a survey of 50 of the MDC's 59 MPs conducted by the Johannesburg-based
The survey revealed that almost all opposition
MPs have been terrorised through violence, intimidation and
The report further stated that 90% of the MPs had been jailed
while 42% had been physically assaulted.
Moyo said another MDC
councillor, Angilacala Ndlovu, was ordered to give information on the party's
structures at branch and district levels.
"The action by the police
is abhorrent. We are not sure for what purpose the police want to use the
information they are collecting or whether they are being used by Zanu PF
ahead of elections next year.
"What the police are doing is
intimidating our members ahead of the 2005 parliamentary election and we are
saying there should be a stop to that," he said.
Chombo lays fresh charges against suspended
Mudzuri Augustine Mukaro LOCAL Government minister Ignatius Chombo wants
suspended Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri to answer fresh allegations of
misconduct, fuelling speculation that a committee led by James Kurasha had
failed to establish any wrong-doing by Mudzuri.
In a letter dated
February 16, Chombo said Mudzuri should answer allegations of abuse of
authority, manipulation of tender procedures, failure to comply with section
313 (1) of the Urban Councils Act, general mismanagement of council affairs,
misuse of public funds and mismanagement of finances.
come a month after the investigating committee submitted its report to
Chombo. The report has not been made public or given to Mudzuri as the
Highly-placed sources in the Local Government
ministry said the Kurasha report failed to reveal any wrong-doing by Mudzuri,
prompting Chombo to raise fresh allegations to justify the mayor's continued
Mudzuri said it was beyond any doubt that the new
allegations were patently false and meant to justify his prolonged
"I am a little confused by the heading of your letter
minister, as I am unaware that there is an inquiry into allegation of
misconduct which you levelled against me under cover of your letter dated
April 29," Mudzuri said.
"I am equally perplexed and confused by the
letter referring to the preliminary investigations into the allegations of
misconduct against me having been carried out."
suspension letter of April 29 did not specify that he was personally being
investigated for misconduct. The Kurasha committee was investigating the
general affairs of council.
Mudzuri denied the allegations referring
the minister to provisions of the Act that fully set out powers of the
"All council employees and officials who were suspended or
dismissed were dealt with in terms of the provisions of the Urban Councils
Act and all necessary procedures provided for in the Act were followed," said
He also referred the minister to the chamber secretary and the
town clerk for all records.
Mudzuri said Leslie Gwindi's case was
handled by the High Court which found that he was not properly employed.
"Gwindi was not fired by myself but by council," he said.
Moyo cracks whip on state media Itai Dzamara WITH
exactly 12 months to go before next year's parliamentary
elections, Information minister Jonathan Moyo is on a warpath, cracking the
whip at state media outlets to churn more Zanu PF propaganda.
Zimbabwe Independent heard that Moyo last month announced at a meeting with
editors from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and the Zimpapers
newspaper stable that there would be a "major restructuring ahead of next
Sources at both ZBC and Zimpapers revealed that
the restructuring was already in motion and included the abrupt sacking of
Herald journalists who were corresponding for the Voice of America last
"Moyo made his intentions clear at a meeting held last month,
and we all know what is on offer," said a source. "He (Moyo) said next year's
elections were more crucial than those of 2000 and 2002 and that nobody
working in the state media needed to be told about his role in ensuring a
It was soon after the meeting between Moyo
and state media editors that a massive hunt for Zimpapers and ZBC journalists
stringing for foreign organisations intensified, sources said. Herald sports
editor, Robson Sharuko, sports reporter, Tendai Ndemera and assistant editor
Rex Mphisa were subsequently dismissed.
Moyo is expected to make
major editorial changes in the coming weeks at ZBC and Zimpapers to remove
journalists whose allegiance to Zanu PF is questionable or those that have
shown some degree of independence and objectivity.
surprise appointments to editorial positions would be made by Moyo soon.
Names already being bandied around include those of pro-Zanu PF columnists
William Nhara and Caesar Zvayi.
The Independent understands there
will also be a reshuffling of senior editorial staff at
Editors such as Bornwell Chakaodza, Ray Mungoshi, Shepherd
Mutamba and Funny Mushava were victims of Moyo's "restructuring" in 2000 and
2002 after they refused to take orders to campaign for Zanu
The state broadcaster, ZBC, lost experienced staff in a purge
Vision 30 when Moyo retrenched 435 workers. Disc jockeys such
as Ezra Sibanda, Eric Knight, Peter Johns, Hilton Mambo, Kelvin Sifelani,
Brenda Moyo, Musa Pilime, Themba Mkanda and Musavengana Nyasha disappeared
from the airwaves over night.
Some of the retrenched broad-casters
are yet to get their terminal benefits more than three years after they left
the corporation. Nyasha, a spokesperson for the retrenchees, said this week
that Moyo's "restructuring" was aimed at ridding the ZBC of independent
"It wasn't logical or planned, hence the failure to pay some
of the victims," said Nyasha. "It was all aimed at cleaning the airwaves
of independent broadcasters even it meant a lot of talent going to
Moyo has also juggled around with senior managers at ZBC,
with Alum Mpofu and Munyaradzi Hwengwere being sidelined.
the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company Bright Matonga, a Zanu PF activist and
stranger to the media, also had a brief stint at ZBC and left without
'Mushowe was seeking help from De Klerks' Augustine
Mukaro CONTRARY to claims by Transport and Communications minister
Christopher Mushohwe that Kondozi farm owners wanted to bribe him, it emerged
this week that the minister wrote to the De Klerk family asking for
Mushohwe has given the De Klerks up to April 7 to wind up
their operations and vacate Kondozi farm to make way for the Agricultural and
Rural Development Authority (Arda).
At a function in Odzi over the
weekend, Mushohwe alleged the De Klerks tried to bribe him with $10 million
to donate to schools in Mutare.
He said the De Klerks allegedly used
Edwin Moyo as their front. Mushohwe claims to have turned down the poisoned
A letter in the possession of this paper dated March 19,
2003, written on a Ministry of Transport letterhead and signed by Mushohwe
when he was still deputy minister, reveals that he did ask for a
In the letter, addressed to Piet De Klerk, Mushohwe said he
wanted to raise funds to build 'A' level blocks, a library and teachers
accommodation at Odzi Secondary School.
"Odzi Secondary School has
been granted 'A' level status and 'A' level studies have just started," reads
part of Mushohwe's letter.
"The school requires assistance to enable
it to build 'A' level blocks, library and teachers accommodation. It is in
this view that I, as local MP for the area is (sic) extending this invitation
to you," he said.
"I value and appreciate the many contributions and
assistance you have rendered towards the development of our constituency.
Your presence and indeed assistance in cash and or kind would be greatly
appreciated," the letter said.
Kondozi farm became the centre of
controversy when Agriculture minister Joseph Made, Mushohwe and a Joseph
Matovanyika, along with Arda employees, invaded the 224-hectare horticultural
farm on Christmas eve last year.
The farm is registered as an Export
Processing Zone farm and has a turnover of US$15 million. It employs around 5
In an interview on Monday, Kondozi project majority
shareholder Edwin Moyo said Mushohwe had not been consistent in his dealing
with issues of the farm.
"The minister should just tell the truth
about his intensions on Kondozi," Moyo said. "If he wants the farm he should
say so without smearing my name as a front."
Moyo said Mushohwe
had been trying all tricks to drive out the current shareholders on Kondozi
against a High Court order allowing them to stay on.
"As we speak,
Mushohwe has hired terror gangs who are wrecking havoc on
"At a rally in Odzi last weekend, Mu-showe threatened to
workers committee members who are resisting his plans
to take over the farm under the guise of Arda," Moyo said.
on Kondozi farm recently tried to enlist the help of Chief Marange in the
area to keep Mushohwe out the property.
Court dismisses Mawere/Mtetwa case with costs Staff
Writer THE High Court this week dismissed with costs a $10 million
defamation lawsuit by businessman Mutumwa Mawere against prominent Harare
lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.
The defamation suit arose in 2000 when Mtetwa,
who was representing businessman Nigel Chanakira in a criminal case, was
quoted in the press as saying Mawere and another businessman Daniel Shumba,
had been seen at the Fraud Squad offices talking to senior police
Mawere then contended that Mtetwa's statement could be
understood to mean that Shumba and himself "had improperly exerted pressure
on the police officers responsible for investigating a complaint made against
the defendant's client, one Nigel Chanakira". Chanakira and other
business executives were arrested in 2000 on charges of insider-trading on
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange shares.
The High Court dismissed the
charges after Mawere failed to pursue the case further after the filing of
In January, Mtetwa made a chamber application in the
High Court asking the court to dismiss the case since Mawere's lawyers had
failed to file the requisite papers.
"The fact that the respondent
has not bothered to advance this litigation is in my respectful view clear
evidence of the fact that the respondent has no intention of pursuing this
litigation to finality and simply brought it to terrorise me," she
She added: "I am naturally desirous of having this matter
concluded without any further delays in light of the fact that the respondent
does not share this desire and has virtually done nothing in more than two
"I pray that this honourable court dismiss the claim with
costs in terms of rule 75 of Order 11 of the rules of the honourable
RBZ to outline measures on taping forex abroad Loughty
Dube THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says it will announce measures to
guide its efforts to source foreign currency from Zimbabweans working in
the Diaspora by the end of this month.
Eric Bloch, an advisor at
RBZ said the framework that would be used to bring in forex from Zimbabweans
working abroad was being worked out and would be made public at the end of
"The RBZ will at the end of this month announce measures to
deal with the bringing in of foreign currency from Zimbabweans working abroad
and it should be made clear that our motives at RBZ are non-political and
that the money is needed to resuscitate the national economy," said
He said the issue of getting foreign currency from Zimbabweans
working abroad had been politicised when it was a simple economic
"The issue has been looked at from a political angle when it is a
simple issue to do with the country's economy and we should be benefiting
from that foreign currency," he said.
Bloch said other countries
benefited immensely from forex currency sent in by their nationals working
"About 70% of Philippines working overseas last year
brought US$1 billion in foreign currency into their country and nothing
should stop Zimbabwe benefiting also if the system is done right," said
He said forex from Zimbabweans abroad was finding its way into
the parallel markets of South Africa and Botswana yet Zimbabwe was not
benefitting from its own nationals who always send in money to support their
"We need a big chunk of the money sent in by Zimbabweans
working abroad but what we have now is a situation where the bulk of that
foreign currency is traded on the black markets of South Africa, Botswana and
even in New York," Bloch said.
He said Zimbabweans in the Diaspora
were losing considerable amo-unts of money to fraudsters and black market
traders who were charging ridiculous amounts for transfers.
considerable amounts of money from Zimbabweans is lost to fraudsters and the
new measures we are putting in place will have to make the exchange rate
competitive so that the people will shun the black market," Bloch
To gain the trust of Zimbabweans abroad, Bloch said, the system
needed to operate in a reliable, efficient and at a reasonably affordable
Meanwhile, RBZ governor Gideon Gono says the central bank has
also sent teams to the country's borders to conduct foreign currency
transactions from foreigners coming into the country.
Govt desperate to lure back ZCTU Shakeman
Mugari GOVERNMENT is making frantic efforts to bring the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) back into the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF). The
Ministry of Labour which holds the chairmanship of the TNF is drafting an
invitation to the labour organisation to rejoin the forum. Minister Paul
Mangwana said government had always wanted the ZCTU on the negotiating
"We have always insisted that they come back into the
forum because their absence is not serving anyone. In fact, it is worsening
the plight of workers," said Mangwana. "They have always been party of the
TNF and don't need a special invite."
The ZCTU pulled out of the
discussions last year after government unilaterally increased fuel prices
without the approval of other social partners, namely business through the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Employers Confederation of
The labour union said they were not aware of any invitation
but indicated that they would not return to the negotiating forum unless
their conditions were met.
ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo said
the organisation had not seen an improvement in the situation since they
pulled out of TNF last year.
"We have not seen readable information
to that effect. We will only come back after our concerns have been
addressed," said Matombo. "The government has shown that it does not respect
the law of tripartism," he said.
"We will need the mandate of the
employees to go back. Without that we will not rejoin the negotiating
NECF National spokesperson Nhlanhla Masuku confirmed on
Wednesday that government was making overtures to labour.
understand they are being invited back into the TNF," Masuku told journalists
at an NECF press briefing. He however took the platform to lambast the labour
organisation saying it did not have the interests of the workers at
"Even government is more interested in the plight of the
workers than the
ZCTU. Employers are more interested in the plight of
workers than the ZCTU," said Masuku. "They must decide whether they want to
meddle in politics or to be a proper representative of the employees," said
The ZCTU's pullout from the TNF led to the collapse of
tripartite discussions. Since April last year, there has been no meeting held
under the TNF banner.
WHEN Finance minister Herbert Murerwa omitted all monetary
policy issues in his 2004 national budget statement last year, analysts said
he had failed to inform the nation about what needed to be done to reverse
the current economic malaise.
While the population was getting poorer,
financial institutions were chalking up billion-dollar profits and taking the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) to new highs. Little did investors and the
general public realise that the sector would be on its knees less than a year
There were cheers and clinking of champagne glasses when
financial powerhouse Trust Holdings Ltd (Trust) announced that it had "beat
market expectations" by achieving a profit after tax of $15,1 billion in
historical terms during the six months to June 30. This was an increase of
150% over the performance figure for the whole of the 2002 financial
Compared to the six months to June 30 2002, the historical
figures represented an increase of 817%. The total group balance sheet size
stood at $202 billion compared to $44 billion as at June 30
Shareholders smiled all the way to the bank as they received a
dividend of 700 cents per share - the highest declared by a financial
institution in the history of the ZSE.
Trust immediately embarked on a
diversification path culminating in the institution becoming one of the
largest in the country, threatening even the government-influenced Zimbabwe
Financial Holdings Ltd (Finhold) capitalised to the tune of $57 billion.
Trust went into a marriage with First Mutual Ltd (FML), which meant customers
could now access financial and insurance deals under one roof.
union seemed on the roll before the entrance of new Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) governor Gideon Gono on December 1.
Suddenly, things turn-ed
"With effect from January 1 2004, banks in short positions will be
required to provide justification for seeking overnight accommodation," Gono
told the nation on December 18.
"Spot inspections will be conducted to
establish the underlying causes of the bank's asset-liability mismatch. Where
persistent and serious managerial deficiencies are detected, the banks
concerned will be directed to restructure their top management and treasury
operations, and if the situation persists, the Reserve Bank will insist on
the restructuring of their board as a condition for accessing the liquidity
From popping champagne bottles word quickly went round
that Trust and Century Holdings Ltd (Century) were actually facing
The drama began to unfold as chief executive officer William
Nyemba, executive director Chris Goromonzi and finance director Nyevero Hlupo
were ousted from Trust. Century's Jefta Mugweni also stepped down from the
Analysts point out that the face of Zimbabwe's banking sector
definitely needed the plastic surgery brought about by Gono and his new
The new monetary policy resulted in the ZSE's industrial index
taking a major knock and bankers scurrying for cover as they discovered that
their institutions were facing a liquidity crunch. In fact it turned out that
some banks did not have money and were being bailed out by RBZ handouts
while they concentrated on speculative activities. Founding directors and
board members were allegedly abusing company facilities in broad daylight
- borrowing billions to buy foreign currency, luxury vehicles,
residential stands, buildings, and even household goods to resell later at
"The problem with the stock exchange and the
financial sector is that there was too much speculation and institutions were
not concentrating on their core business," said Century group chief economist
Moses Chundu on Monday. "We can say the success of the stock exchange was
because of the run by financial institutions. The counters are now, however,
under-performing. We could be stuck with this for some time."
has been regularly voted among the best performing bourses in the world and
analysts now question whether this accolade was justified given that the
banking sector - now on its knees - was the major cause of this fine
"The major cause for the financial sector to be in such a state of
affairs is the liquidity crisis," said acting Intermarket Holdings chief
executive officer Rindai Jaravaza.
Jaravaza said this at a press
conference where he was at pains to explain the problems being faced by
Intermarket which last week booted out its founder and CEO Nicholas Vingirai
and chairman Michael Mahachi.
Like the events at Trust, the business
community was taken by surprise when it was revealed that Intermarket did not
have sufficient funds to cover costs and pay customers their hard-earned
money with-out RBZ help. "Our discount house is a major cause for concern,"
said Jaravaza. "We have now also removed the head of the discount house
pending investigations and RBZ interference."
Intermarket took the
market by storm when it went on a $22 billion "shopping spree" to snap up
major properties using its property vehicle -
Century Discount House, now also shut, caused
headaches for the Century group during preliminary investigations of the
financial services sector when it was revealed that it was facing serious
liquidity problems because of its exposure to ENG Asset Management
Analysts said while discount houses did not necessarily need to
engage in core banking activities, their banking sisters were allowing them
to engage in speculative activities in collaboration with asset management
houses. Regulations surrounding the operation of discount houses and
asset management firms have now been tightened.
Liquidity support is
one of the factors behind money supply growth and high inflation. Its
transmission mechanisms are the banks. Liquidity support is meant to provide
temporary relief to solvent banking institutions that have experienced
temporary liquidity dislocations.
In his monetary policy statement, Gono
said persistent use of the liquidity support window, however, suggested that
the banking institution concerned was not making adequate efforts to address
underlying fundamental challenges in their asset-liability management
"It has become evident that some banks are making commercial
investment decisions on the misguided assumption that the Reserve Bank will
eventually cover their liquidity shortfalls," Gono said. "In some instances,
that support from the Reserve Bank is being applied towards extending loans
for speculative, personal consumption or asset acquisition purposes.
"Naturally as monetary authorities we frown on such balance sheets as our
efforts to control inflation and achieve macroeconomic stability within the
vision period are compromised. In view of the expansionary impact of
liquidity support on money supply, the existing policy on liquidity support
to financial institutions will be tightened."
Gono said the new policy
effective on January 1 would ensure that liquidity help was granted only to
solvent and viable banks, and where there was no evidence of "imprudent
behaviour". He also said such support would be given provided the purpose of
liquidity support was not to fund activities of subsidiaries, such as asset
management companies, nominees or non-core activities of group
Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe shareholders last year took managing
director Alex Jongwe and senior management to task over what they termed a
"static share price" and "poor banking practices". So far, however, the bank,
which receives directives from its headquarters in the United Kingdom, has
not been ruffled by the RBZ's probe. Others in same category are
Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic Bank - both externally-controlled.
AS Zimbabwe seeks rehabilitation into the international community,
one of the tasks that it has to undertake is to demonstrate that it has
moved forward since the 2000 general election. Let the byword for contestants
in the March 2005 parliamentary election be "peace and more peace". It is
vital that we hold an election that is not only free and fair but is also
seen by all impartial observers to be just that.
by-election at the end of the month could mark a turning point if all
contesting parties work to ensure a free and fair poll. The two main parties,
the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
have an opportunity to set the tone for the conduct of
While it is clear that in Zengeza the stakes will be
very low compared to next year's parliamentary election, politicians must
understand that it is never too early to learn a new ethos of tolerance. They
must know that in the global village in which we live, victory in an election
is no longer simply in the numbers but in the methods as well. One must win
the hearts and minds of the people before they claim legitimacy. Winning an
election by hook or crook is almost a certain way to national
The consent of the governed to the governor's rule is
critical for any leader to be able to implement national
Legitimacy does not derive solely from voters. It also involves
the outside world which has much influence on internal governance. Current
world political and economic dynamics make it difficult for leaders to
impose their will on the people through bogus elections. Elections must go
beyond the ritual of merely legitimising self-imposed leaders.
intertwining of economics and politics has had the effect of
redefining sovereignty. The rigid doctrine of non-interference in internal
affairs has been replaced by a limited yet strong concept of sovereignty. It
is no longer possible for leaders who steal elections and oppress their own
people to also enjoy unrestricted global acceptance. We have more than
sufficient evidence of this since the hotly-disputed 2002 presidential
While President Mugabe was declared the winner, many
Zimbabweans felt MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had been robbed - not of
victory as such - but of an opportunity to contest a free and fair
The election was characterised by widespread political violence
and intimidation, a profoundly-flawed legislative framework,
administrative incompetence and bungling, fear and general
Government supporters and partisan elements from the uniformed
forces were deployed to run elections, while electoral laws were changed
until the very last day to ensure the "right" outcome.
never held a genuinely free and fair election since independence in 1980. Not
that PF Zapu or any other party would have won in 1980. The point is that the
whole process was contaminated by dirty tricks that prevented a free and fair
Violence was rampant in 1985, the bloodiest in the country's
history, and in 1990, 2000 and 2002. Violence was limited in the 1995/96
elections largely because Zanu PF and Mugabe were not under serious
South African president Thabo Mbeki's recent remarks on his
ANC Today online publication on free and fair election are very
"To succeed in everything we have to do requires that we
have a system of governance that enjoys the popular support and confidence of
the masses of our people," Mbeki said.
"This system must have the
legitimacy born of the fact of being freely and democratically mandated by
the people. Free and fair elections are therefore fundamental to our capacity
to implement the people-centred transformation agenda."
says: "Certainly, we cannot allow that the freedom space created by the
democratic system is abused to undermine the very system that creates this
"Nobody should therefore make the mistake of thinking that
democracy gives him or her the right to threaten or use force, in reality to
take away the very rights that define our democratic
Democracy in Zimbabwe has been corrupted by a phoney refusal by
those in power to accept that not every Zimbabwean needed to cross the border
into Mozambique to secure our liberty. It is a foolish demand by a
selfish clique. That notwithstanding, let's use the Zengeza by-election to
show that we are mature and can conduct a peaceful election.
ALBEIT unintentionally, I have certainly raised the ire and fury of
some, both at home and abroad, who demonstrate their unwillingness to accept
that anyone with a view at variance to theirs could possibly have such
opinion on the strength of good intentions. Some of my critics have verged on
the edge of libel, slander and defamation when they suggest that I am a
supporter of President Mugabe, his government and his party. I have
repeatedly stated over many years my total abhorrence for their policies,
their contempt for the fundamentals of human rights, their disregard for
basic principles of democracy and for law and order, their destruction of a
vibrant economy, their alienation of the international community, and their
failure to address the needs of Zimbabwe.
But that will not motivate
me to believe that the vehicle to be used to oust them from power should be
the further decimation of the economy, the creation of even greater poverty,
and the creation of a circumstance that when finally the long overdue change
occurs, there is no economy left to be built upon. Thus, no matter how
vociferous my critics, I will continue to do what little may be within my
ability to support the economy, minimise poverty and to contain the misery of
My only regret is that it is not within my ability to do more to
such ends. And, because I believe that economic destruction is not the
desirable path to democracy, (although it worked in instances of history such
as the 1789 French Revolution against Louis XVI), I have been and continue to
be opposed to mass action or work stoppages. Over the last few years, they
have repeatedly achieved nothing other than worsening the lot of the workers
and their families, and reduce the economy to even greater
However, let me disabuse those who believe that I am about to
lead a Reserve Bank circus around the world to motivate Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora to send untold wealth to Zimbabwe. That has never been my intent
and, had it been, it would have been unrealistic in the extreme. Can anyone
seriously believe that the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe, the
US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada will gleefully give out the necessary
visas for such a visit? And how many Zimbabweans abroad would attend public
meetings hosted by such a circus? Certainly not those who are in employment
without work permits, nor those who are political exiles!
intention is to interact effectively, but in other ways, with those who are
earning abroad in order to support their impoverished families at home, or to
invest in Zimbabwe, according them the opportunity to do so without risk
through formal channels.
Therefore, Chido Makunike, I much regret that I
cannot obtain the new fuel pump for your car, or any other luxurious trinkets
and toys, both because I am not going to New York, or elsewhere to promote
funds repatriation to Zimbabwe, and because I have no hard currency per diem,
whether generous or otherwise!
But I must thank RES Cook for his most
generous compliment. After all, it has long been said that imitation is the
best form of flattery, and Cook accuses me of "pontification",
notwithstanding that my pontification pales into insignificance as compared
to his dogmatic vilification of my motives and my being. Clearly he and my
other critics believe that the end justifies the means, no matter how harmful
may be the result of using such means. I respect their right to criticise,
and I respect their right to disagree with me. I do not respect their belief
that I should not have like rights, and that their vehicle for criticism is
one of vilification. Most of all, however, I cannot agree with them that the
path towards political transformation should be to kill the goose that lays
the eggs. Whilst some will survive to enjoy the change, many will not, and
even more will be permanently prejudiced by the further impact of continuing
economic decline. Moreover, if the goose is slaughtered, from whence will
come the eggs in the future? Whatsoever reasonably can be done to preserve
the basics of the devastated Zimbabwean economy should be done, so that when
liberty and reason return to Zimbabwe, the goose, no matter how weakened, can
then be fattened to lay its eggs once more.
Very evidently, RES Cook,
Bekithemba Mhlanga of the UK, B Mhlanga of Borrowdale, Dave Goldiner and
others do not agree.
However, it is not only they who seek to kill the
goose. So too does the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa). Over the
years, Zesa has accumulated a mountain of debt. In part that was as a result
of the government never capitalising it adequately. The inadequacy of
capital forced the parastatal to resort to massive borrowings in order to
develop the energy generation and distribution infrastructure. But that was
not the only catalyst of the debt burden. Evidence is incontrovertible that
Zesa's operations have left much to be desired. Managerial inefficiencies
have resulted in vast operational losses, even before accounting for
finance costs, and those losses have driven Zesa to even greater borrowings,
and consequential unsustainable debt servicing obligations.
escalating debt, lessening opportunities of further loan funding, virtually
zero financial support from the government, and growing losses, Zesa has
increased its tariffs. In many instances, those tariffs are more than twice
those throughout the other countries in the region, and in other instances,
almost threefold. Industry, mining, horticulture and numerous other economic
sectors can cite endless examples of Zesa tariff increases devoid of rhyme or
reason, and where the escalations are incomprehensible. They can demonstrate
application of tariff increases being effected before such tariffs have been
gazetted, and such increases therefore being unlawful. Over less than a year,
some consumers have suffered increases in electricity supply charges from
less than $10 million to over $70 million.
When representations are made
to Zesa that these escalations are not only vastly greater than inflation,
but are guaranteed to remove all prospects of operational viability of the
consumer enterprises, Zesa has consistently demonstrated a total lack of
concern. Zesa managers will attend emergency meetings of representative
bodies such as the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Chamber of
Mines, but will be heedless of all submissions made, no matter how well
founded, and will be obdurate in the extreme, adhering to their demanded
charges. The same circumstance has been the characteristic of many one-on-one
interactions between industrial consumers and Zesa managers. Disregarding any
and all representations made, including those which highlight Zesa's actions
without statutory authority, the Zesa managers threaten disconnection in the
absence of full payment of the horrendous charges within hours.
doing so, Zesa not only shows a total lack of concern as to the
grievous economic repercussions, but also fails to recognise that, to all
intents and purposes, it is committing suicide. Major mines are facing
closure as a result of excessive electricity charges exceeding their gross
revenues. So too are many large and small factories. As a result, if Zesa
does not descend rapidly from its arrogant pedestal of inflexibility, the
economy already teetering on the verge of major collapse will be cast into
that collapse. Tens of thousands will become unemployed, foreign currency
will be even scarcer than it is today, and Zesa will have very few customers
left. Soon Zesa's stance on tariffs will drive most of the economy to
extinction, and when that occurs, Zesa will also be one of the
It is a very old saying that one cannot squeeze blood out of
a stone, but Zesa is certainly trying to do so. Instead of pursuing an
uncompromising, dictatorial and destructive stance in its interactions with
the private sector, Zesa should be collaborating with commerce and industry ,
mining, horticulture, and others to address its problems, and theirs.
Concurrently, Zesa needs to pursue enhanced productivity and operational
efficiencies in order to minimise costs, and needs to pressurise the
government to honour its obligations to Zesa and the nation by according Zesa
much-needed debt relief, and then accelerating the transition to
Zesa must not kill the goose that lays the eggs. Instead,
it should feed and nourish it.
SO Comrade Philip Chiyangwa has received the word? The Tribune
reported last week that the flamboyant businessman and Zanu PF chairman
for Mashonaland West was now a "born again Christian". The paper claimed
that apart from a "loose connection (with) the church through his late
mother, Chiyangwa was until yesterday (Thursday) not known as a God-fearing
man". Muckraker wonders what a God-fearing man should do?
"I was a
Christian before and this time around I decided to be born again for good,"
declared Chiyangwa. "I am now a Christian with the Word Ablazed Ministries
after realising that these people were with me during my recent ordeal. They
are for me and I am for them."
Is that all there is to Chiyangwa's
metamorphosis? The "recent ordeal" is that Chiyangwa was arrested in January
in connection with the ENG scandal involving over $60 billion. He was
detained for perjury, contempt of court and attempting to defeat the course
of justice in connection with the same case. Could that period in prison have
been his road to Damascus? Is he now going to forsake his worldly riches to
focus all his attention on the narrow path? Only time will
The Sunday Mail carried a picture of President Robert
Mugabe shaking hands with the born-again Chiyangwa at a belated birthday
function organised by Reverend Obadiah Msindo of Destiny of Africa Network.
Muckraker is curious to know what was going on in Mugabe's mind as he came
face to face with Chiyangwa whom he described at the Masvingo Zanu PF
conference in December last year as a tsuro magen'a (a trickster).
was at the same gathering that Mugabe first sounded warning of the impending
anti-corruption crusade when he spoke disparagingly against people who make
money dishonestly and then turn around to say "they are born
again Christians". Or those who allegedly use money to buy positions in the
He was full of the same spiritual fervour during his birthday
commemoration on Saturday: "We pray for blessings but the Lord also asks us
'what do we have to offer in return'? Have we lived honest and charitable
Are we entering a new era of spiritual rearmament? Muckraker
understands at the birthday celebrations in Zvimba three weeks ago Fr Fidelis
Mukonori gave the president a Bible for a present!
Saturday Herald carried a curious comment admitting that they have
been blaming the wrong people for the nation's problems. In light of the ENG
saga and the fallout in the financial services sector, the editor noted that
they were mistaken to blame all of Zimbabwe's woes "on Western
"It has now emerged that the reality on the ground was some
sophisticated scheming and engineering driven by greed and corruption," the
Such washing of dirty linen in the public is a serious
offence in the Zanu PF scheme of things. The mantra is "Never admit error,
blame somebody else".
Except that in typical Zanu PF fashion, banks have
become the latest scapegoat while those responsible for the economic morass
now strut across the stage in white robes. Thousands of column centimetres
have been devoted to the issue of corruption in the past and government's
condoning of it. Instead President Mugabe has used every public forum to
condemn Tony Blair and George Bush for the country's problems while leaving
his lieutenants to wreck havoc on the economy.
He recently declared
the Blair-Bush war "won" and that the spotlight was now inside the country.
Muckraker wants to see how far the war will go. Otherwise the only war, an
unjustified war, was in the DRC and the nation has not recovered from that
What should have been a major government scoop against
imperialist forces turned out to be no more than a damp squib on Monday. The
first reports of the said American plane impounded at the Harare
International Airport gave the impression that the security of the country
was under serious threat of an American military invasion. The plane was full
of suspected mercenaries and carried military hardware, it was
"The Herald saw the white plane with a blue stripe across its
body at the Harare International Airport yesterday," elaborated the Herald on
"It (plane) contained an assortment of military hardware that
included a rubber boat (dingy (sic)), sleeping bags, loud hailers, hammers,
compasses, sophisticated radio communication equipment, water proof military
boots and bolt cutters." So that is what is meant by "military
Their front page picture showed members of the military police
who were rummaging the plane holding what looked like masking tape, never
mind whether it was military or civilian. Where was the
ZBC Newsnet crews tried to spice their report with
footage of weapons seized when three Americans were arrested at the same
venue in 1999. At least on that occasion there were automatic rifles. But the
ZBC tried to deceive inattentive listeners by superimposing the footage over
the latest phantom invasion - minus Reuben Barwe strutting pompously before
At the time of going to press the Americans had already
denied knowledge of the plane while the aircraft itself was said to be
destined for Equatorial Guinea.
So this is how Zimpapers
rewards its workers? We are talking not only about Mathew Takaona, Robson
Sharuko and others. The despicable ingratitude extends to the general
The Manica Post this week carried the story of its longest-serving
employee with 37 years to his credit. Simon Mutimbanyoka joined the company
in September 1966 and retired last month. Everybody who knew Mutimbanyoka
had fullsome praise for him, including Manica Post editor Makuwerere
Bwititi. "He is a quiet and hardworking man," he said.
When it came to
the moment of parting all that management could give Mutimbanyoka for his 37
years of loyal and dedicated service was a wheelbarrow!
It reminded us
of stories we used to read about in the state media soon after independence
of how racist whites were giving their employees a bicycle after 10 years of
service. How things don't seem to change!
After all those many years of
service he must now start all over with a wheelbarrow!
grateful that Youth Development minister Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri has
found time from his busy schedule to assure the world that the national youth
training programme is absolutely voluntary and that noone has ever been
raped. Mutinhiri was refuting allegations in BBC's Panorama programme that
youths were being trained to torture opponents and that young girls had been
raped at the secretive camps dotted across the country.
Mutinhiri almost tearfully, the curriculum for the youth service "covers
national orientation, disaster management, national resources management,
survival skills and entrepreneurship" among others.
The claims by BBC
were insulting to a democratic government, he said self-righteously. "That
actually reminds us of the painful atrocities that were committed against our
people by the white regime in the fight for independence and we would never
allow it," declared Mutinhiri.
Muckraker wishes a single person, even
from Zanu PF itself, would believe this fiction. "I would expect that if
someone is raped, they would report to the police," said Mutinhiri with
disarming simplicity. Could anything be easier?
But why are the camps
shrouded in secrecy if there is nothing to hide? Why are they located in
impenetrable no-go areas where not even the state media are allowed to film
What could possibly be meant by national orientation? As we said
earlier, we wish just one person could believe Mutinhiri's fiction that
reporting rape cases from such camps would be so easy. Could the rapists be
so magnanimous! Has Mutinhiri visited a single camp?
We pray that
since Mugabe himself has now gone so spiritual he will tell his ministers
that human beings created by God cannot be used as a means to an end. It is
worse when these are unemployed desperate youths.
We did not first hear
of the abominations of these camps from BBC's Hilary Andersson. Thousands of
Zimbabweans who have fallen victim to these accursed youths don't even listen
to BBC programmes. What is Mutinhiri talking about?
to be running out of people ready to be used for its sterile propaganda. On
Tuesday it had to bring in Herald assistant editor Moses Magadza to comment
on the veracity of reports concerning national youth service
Needless to say, he dismissed reports of their waywardness as
the usual British propaganda seeking to tarnish the image of government ahead
of a major human rights conference. As a journalist and not one of the
usual dubious political analysts, we would have expected Magadza to be
more circumspect in his comments.
He knows better than the other
gullible lot that he has to carry out his own investigations first before
commenting. Instead he allowed himself to be used to fill a gap left yawning
by "political commentators" who have decamped ZBC.
Equally ready to be
of dubious service to Zanu PF propaganda was Patrice Makova of ZBC's Newsnet.
He came in on Newshour as a commentator again. His was to prove that the
impounded "mercenary plane" belonged to the us government despite all the
evidence from Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi himself that there wasn't a
single American in the plane. In fact by Tuesday all the hype about military
hardware had virtually disappeared.
Then there was the indefatigable
Shake Maya of Nagg fame. He claims to be leader of some opposition party but
was campaigning for Zanu PF. Thank God we can't remember what he said. Good
"I remember introducing Tafa-dzwa Musekiwa to my mother
at the Eastgate food court in December 2000 whereupon my dear friend
boastfully declared that by the time I see him again he would be in
government," raved one Boyd Madikila in the Herald on
"Having spent many days together discussing politics within
the embattled walls of UZ with the likes of Gibson (did he mean Gabriel?)
Shumba and the late Learnmore Jongwe, I dismissed such declarations as dreams
of a political juvenile delinquent. How true my assertions were. Only two
years down the line Musekiwa would relegate himself to political wastelands
of self-imposed exile in the UK."
Muckraker doesn't know what
scrapheap Madikila has been salvaged from. But he seems keen to be co-opted
into Zanu PF and to be believed. What we don't understand is why he found it
worth his while to introduce his mother to a "juvenile delinquent"? Are we
meant to believe that that is exactly what he told Musekiwa at the time when
Madikila says "How true my assertions were"?
Backbiters who discuss this
with Musekiwa today and then change colours the next day when they see
chances to climb onto the Zanu PF gravy train are not worth of a friend.
Forex auction system hurts Ngoni Chanakira WHILE
some firms are busy toasting the success of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's
(RBZ) foreign currency auction system, others are cursing it, accusing the
system of retarding progress.
"The system is hurting some companies
but others are benefiting from it," said Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
(CZI) president Antony
Mandiwanza. "It is two sides of the same coin and
it really depends on whether you are an importer or an
The CZI, the country's largest and most powerful business
grouping, recommended the foreign currency auction system to RBZ governor
Gideon Gono who introduced it on January 12.
Mandiwanza, who is
chief executive officer of Dairibord Zimbabwe Ltd, told businessdigest in an
interview that the popular tendency nowadays was to "cry and cry without
coming up with solutions to problems".
He said the auction system had
unlocked substantial amounts of hard cash hanging speculatively outside the
Zimplow chairman Oliver Chidawu blasted the system
saying it had "adversely affected export viability".
sits on several boards, said the net effect of the foreign currency auction
system had been the halving of Zimbabwe dollar
Auction rates have hovered between $4 000 and $4
200 against the United States greenback. On Monday the auction rate stood at
$4 205,03 to the US dollar.
On the parallel market however some
companies are buying the currency at between $5 500 and $6 000 because it is
not readily available on the auction floor.
introduced forex auction has adversely affected export viability," Chidawu
told shareholders in his report for the period ending December 31. "The net
effect has been the halving of Zimbabwe dollar export revenue. With the
decline in local market activity, Zimplow was forced to rely on exports to
survive. Now Zimplow faces an uncertain future."
He said major
Zimbabwe customers had also been affected by the new monetary policy and were
finding it difficult to liquidate their debts to Zimplow.
is a question mark," Chidawu said. "These factors have combined to adversely
affect cash flows. It is therefore felt that to declare a dividend in these
unpredictable circumstances would be unwise."
Zimplow exports to the
Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola.
Cafca chairman and prominent
lawyer Honour Mkushi, who also chairs Standard Chartered Bank of Zimbabwe,
had unkind words for the RBZ's auction system.
economic, fiscal and monetary policies, the company had set targets to
significantly increase exports and to reinforce or increase our position as a
major player in the region," Mkushi told shareholders in his
"However, the negative impact of the new monetary policy on
the group's exports activities owing to the current official surrender rate
on export proceeds has led to the suspension of export
Mkushi, whose group is a major producer of cables, said
while the new monetary policy had "noble objectives", changes particularly
reduction of inflation, were not going to "happen
Interfresh Holdings chairman Lysias Sibanda in his report
said while trading conditions for his company were not ideal, especially with
respect to "export viability and returns based on current auction rates",
management was confident of its ability to operate within its core skills and
exploit opportunities as they arose.
Sibanda is chief executive
officer of Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd.
$10b for livestock restocking scheme Staff
Writer COLD Storage Company (CSC) chairman Antony Mandiwanza says government
has earmarked $10 billion for livestock restocking, concentrating on model
Mandiwanza said the scheme had already begun in
This week he announced the start of a major and
multi-faceted turnaround strategy for the financially beleaguered
"The strategy and associated plans have been prepared in close
consultation with government who have made far-reaching and positive
decisions and commitments," Mandiwanza said.
He said the key
elements of the plan include the appointment of a new CSC chief executive,
the takeover of past debts, a new livestock financing scheme and a programme
to resuscitate veterinary control fencing.
David Mfote has been
appointed CSC chief executive officer. Mfote (40) is currently deputy
secretary, agricultural economics and marketing in the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Resources.
He has already had close involvement
with the CSC in recent years, having served on its board, audit and marketing
Mandiwanza described as "a most significant and welcome
development" the decision by government to take over the CSC's past
"This now puts the CSC in a strong position to revive its
balance sheet," he said. The CSC owed several financial institutions
including Kingdom and Time Bank millions. The banks had threatened to
liquidate the cash-strapped parastatal.
Editor, IT was with a degree of amusement that I read the news article on the
education "rip-off" that appeared in the Herald of March 5.
I am a
parent of children attending the so-called elitist schools and would have
liked to see how we compared with government schools in terms of educational
The published list of the top 50 schools for the
recently announced Zimsec examination results did make interesting
The top 10 schools were church-run (private not government)
and the other "elitist private schools" did not even feature in the top 100.
I wonder why?
Could it be that our children are stupid? Are the teachers
not dedicated to their profession and are merely money grabbers? Or could it
be that the news article did not tell the truth?
No prize for
guessing the correct answer.
All the elitist private schools
currently offer the IGCSE exams as well as Zimsec and parents have the option
of choosing which exam their children sit.
With all the scandals
surrounding Zimsec, guess which one I chose?
It is therefore not
surprising that the private schools do not feature in the top 100 as the
majority of their pupils wrote the IGCSE and a few wrote the Zimsec. You
therefore cannot compare apples with oranges.
Here are some questions
I want Education minister Aenias Chigwedere to answer;
did your daughter attend?
What schools do/(did) the children of the
Zanu PF members attend? and
What school are President Mugabe's children
Please spare us your drivel and concentrate on cleaning up
the mess you are causing.
Pastor Tom Deuschle was sincere in that gift to President Mugabe "Gift
to Mugabe has opened way for dialogue" (Zimbabwe Independent, March 5) he
would of course remember the old axiom "he who sups with the devil must have
a long spoon".
He should recall that so many people with sincere
intents have approached this man and heard the honeyed words drip from his
tongue - but after leaving him he has shrugged his shoulders and carried on
doing what he was doing before.
Pastor Deuschle wants a miracle?
So do we all; but I don't think his $30 million will trigger it off. And I
really wish I could feel he was sincere in that gift but...
year thousands of employees, managers, corporate officers, and
public officials in Zimbabwe witness wrongdoing in the work place. Some blow
the whistle on the maladies, others don't.
The actions of
whistle-blowers may ultimately save the nation billions of dollars.
Accountability and service delivery have improved in countries where
whistle-blowing is encouraged and those caught with hands in the till are
Whistle-blowing is oftentimes associated with the heroics
of the do-gooder whose disclosure is meant for the public good. Then there
are those who work on the basis of strict principle because of ethical or
moral beliefs. This group tends to be conservative and devoted to their work
and the welfare of their organisations.
Zimbabwe has for the past
three months witnessed a spirited attempt by government to fight corruption
and whistleblowers have been exposing malfeasance, especially in the
financial services sector.
This week the parliamentary committee on
public accounts reported that parastatals' finances were a shambles. Whistles
have not started blowing from quangos where fiscal indiscipline appears to be
an accepted business norm.
Information from whistle-blowers should
come in handy for law enforcement agents most of whom are
academically-incapacitated to investigate and secure convictions in
We have been told some officers investigating
cases of fraud cannot even interpret a balance sheet and have to be led by
the nose through the maze of figures by informants. In such cases it is easy
to misinform the police who will have egg on the face during
Amidst the frenzy of corruption busting, law enforcers have a
tacit duty to examine the integrity and intentions of the whistle-blower to
sniff out rogue informers trying to cover up the paper trail of their own
Elsewhere in this papers we carry allegations by NMB Bank
directors - currently on the run - that a former employee dismissed from the
bank on charges of misconduct, blew the whistle on
Whistle-blowers can be driven by a real or perceived injustice
within the company and feel it is their duty to expose it to the
There are others though with ulterior motives such as
seeking revenge, or a destructive falling out of the concerned
There are others who wish to destroy a company's reputation,
accusing it of acting illegally, immorally, or irresponsibly. Such
whistle-blowers are usually driven by vengefulness against an employer or
former employer for being fired or demoted.
is a two-edged sword that cuts both ways! The whistle-blowers can get the
world to know about how terrible they believe their employer, or former
employer, is. Information availed by such a whistle-blower can do damage to
the litigation case, especially if the whistle-blower is made to appear as
We recall in 2000 when certain business
individuals "blew the whistle" on businessmen Nigel Chanakira of Kingdom
Securities, Intermarket's Nicholas Vingirai and executives at First Mutual
Life on allegations of insider-trading. The arrests provided good copy to
newspapers and government was quick to advertise its newfound credentials in
fighting corruption in high places.
Despite cartloads of documents
wheeled into newsrooms and into the Fraud Squad base at Ahmed House by the
whistle-blowers none of the business executives was tried, let alone
Anti-corruption legislation in most countries encourages
whistle-blowers to report corrupt acts to the relevant authority, regardless
of the motivation. Such legislation also provides protection to
whistle-blowers as it is believed that they are a key component to any
systematic fight against corruption.
But others believe the quality of
information and tips provided by whistle-blowers should be subject to
scrutiny by an independent anti-corruption body to unravel motive and the
veracity of accusations. Amendment 16 to the Constitution of Zimbabwe
promulgated way back in 2000 provides for the establishment of an
Anti-Corruption Commission. No commission however has been set up and
government has instead created a fully-fledged anti-corruption
The need to check on whistle-blowers is a contentious one
as anti-corruption bodies have always advocated their protection. The
argument is that checking on the credentials of whistle-blowers would
discourage others, which would in turn become a hindrance in the fight
But the current anti-corruption drive and the
legislative environment it is taking place in in Zimbabwe leave a very thin
line between genuine whistle-blowing and outright malevolence. It assumed a
new impetus after the amendment to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act
through a presidential edict last month. Suspects can now be detained for
almost a month on the basis of information provided by whistleblowers
notwithstanding the accuracy of the information and intention of the
Needless to say there is great scope for a noble idea
going off the rails!
Superpower politics costly for Zim By Fidas
Muchemwa THAT Zimbabweans are stuck in the jaws of a dictatorship is
something that needs no elaboration. But President Mugabe seems to continue
enjoying some degree of immunity from his fellow African
Why African heads of state have not intervened in the
Zimbabwean crisis is not because they don't understand the gravity of the
situation but because they have ulterior motives. They have decided to
sacrifice the people of Zimbabwe for their own power and the betterment of
Many theories have been proffered since the crisis in
Zimbabwe started. The crisis continues to deepen and people all over the
globe continue to ask the roles that presidents Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun
Obasanjo and Bakili Muluzi can play.
Of all the three "concerned"
African statesmen, President Mbeki continues to take centre stage. Defying
the outcry from the international community, President Mbeki again
increasingly aligns himself with President Mugabe.
After the Commonwealth
debacle of December 5-8 where Zimbabwe's suspension from the group was
upheld, President Mbeki went on to attack some Western countries particularly
Australia and Canada accusing them of "using economic power to force their
way through". Whether these two countries indeed used their economic power or
not is a question with a thousand different answers. But Mbeki is failing to
see that he is also using his economic power and influence in Africa to
prolong the suffering of Zimbabweans.
Why Mbeki chooses to go against
the voice of reason remains a mystery. But one avenue that has not been
explored in an effort to establish Mbeki's motive and where exactly he stands
is that of regional superpower.
In policy studies, foreign policy is
regarded as an extension of domestic policies because it must feed on the
national interest and ultimately provide for all that is necessary for the
domestic to succeed.
There is therefore no doubt that each and every
country wants to extend its power and influence over other nations. Africa as
a developing continent is undergoing that transformation where we are going
to have superpowers and pawns. Just like the US is on the American continent,
Britain in Europe and probably China in Asia, we are moving towards that
There is again no doubt that the only countries in Africa that
have the capacity to emerge as superpowers are Nigeria, South Africa and
Zimbabwe - if the country was in good shape. It is therefore necessary to
interrogate the chances of each country's becoming a superpower and the
motive behind their actions and deduce if they can genuinely intervene in
solving the Zimbabwean crisis.
President Mbeki contradicts himself
most of the times. His hypocrisy is further exposed by the fact that he said
he believes in quiet diplomacy but loudly supports Zanu PF.
says Zimbabwe must solve her problems, must have internal solutions
but continues to give Zanu PF support and accuses the West of interfering
in Zimbabwe's domestic affairs.
President Mbeki wants to conquer
Africa. His African Renaissance is one of the many tricks he employs to try
and portray himself as the Godfather of Africa. He wants the African
parliament in South Africa; he hosts Nepad and many other regional
South Africa did not until recently intervene in the DRC
crisis. This is again another display of hypocrisy. South Africa did not go
to the DRC to assist either of the warring parties during the conflict. But
now that signs of peace are visible Mbeki is the first to enter business
contracts with the country.
Certainly South Africa would not need a
strong neighbour if its hegemony were to spread. It has adopted a dual
policy: destabilising Zimbabwe politically whilst maintaining economic ties.
Many Zimbabweans who are fleeing the country for South Africa are providing
cheap labour in South Africa.
Shortages of commodities in Zimbabwe
mean that South African businesses get a boost since people will cross over
to do shopping.
His primary interest is to keep the discredited Zanu PF
in power so that Zimbabwe remains weak.
Another point to note is
that Zimbabwe under the leadership of MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai would
easily dominate the Sadc region. It is almost certain that Tsvangirai, who
once led the Sadc region as Southern African Trade Unions Coordinating
Committee secretary-general, will have support and respect from many
countries especially Zambia which shares an almost similar experience with
Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai's close ties with the Congress of South African Trade
Unions is also another shot that makes President
President Obasanjo, a former general in the
army, is a man who believes in frank talk. As a former military man President
Obasanjo has frankness and precision as his virtues.
short-term alliance with South Africa came to an end at Chogm. He broke ranks
on a question of principle. It was clear from the onset that the relationship
between South Africa and Nigeria on Zimbabwe would not last.
because the two countries have different stakes in the whole saga. South
Africa is making an economic fortune from the Zimbabwean crisis while Nigeria
seems not to be benefiting anything.
Secondly, Nigeria also harbours
interests of becoming an African superpower and it was obvious that at some
point the two would clash since they are vying for the same
Thirdly, the motives for intervening seem to be different.
Obasanjo seems genuine in his desire to solve the crisis. This is evidenced
by his meeting with both Tsvangirai and Mugabe while Mbeki's motive is that
of keeping his political power. Nigeria is gaining ground. The defeat of
little-known Commonwealth secretary-general aspirant Kadigamar from Sri Lanka
is a sign that Nigeria is heading for victory.
Muluzi seems the only honest broker. That is the reason why after his visit
with Mbeki and Obasanjo he alone went a step further to invite the MDC leader
Tsvangirai to Malawi to get a true picture.
-Fidas Muchemwa is a
member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.