25 March 2011
ONSLAUGHT ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS CONTINUES IN ZIMBABWE
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) is greatly apprehensive about the incident that occurred around 17:05 hours on 25 March 2011.
Yvonne Paperndorf, who works in Germany for a German organisation, Bread for the World, was arbitrarily picked up by unidentified men from Pandhari Lodge in Glen Lorne, Harare, where she was residing. She was visiting the country and was participating in a meeting on Human Rights Defenders (HRD)s that ZLHR had organised.
Lawyers from ZLHR, who mounted a search for Paperndorf have failed to locate her. Efforts to find her continue.
ZLHR is extremely concerned about her location and her welfare especially with the occurrence of arbitrary detentions that has been on the rise over the last few weeks and the continued use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and enforced disappearances.
Paperndorf’s situation is particularly exacerbated by the hostile attitude that the State actors have displayed towards HRDs from western countries.
Eye witnesses have since alerted ZLHR that when Paperndorf was seized, she was advised that she was being taken away as she was working without a work permit. Eye witnesses also indicated to ZLHR that the unidentified men were travelling in two cars-one white ISUZU truck registration number GIMM-12 and a Toyota Yaris ABD 3719.
ZLHR believes that the ISUZU vehicle identified belongs to the ‘Zimbabwe Immigration officials’.
ZLHR is also concerned that when Paperndorf arrived in the country she was arbitrarily detained and interrogated on 24 March 2011. The interrogators seized some information and documents which were in her possession.
Paperndorf was released after she had been interrogated by officials believed to be from the Immigration Department and the dreaded members of the Central Intelligence Organisation that are housed at Harare International Airport.
ZLHR remains concerned about the HRD who is now at risk and exposed to the unwarranted attacks from State actors without protection from the law and/or her legal representatives.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 21:13
Dumisani Muleya/Wongai Zhangazha
AN extraordinary cabinet meeting was held at Manhumutapa Building in Harare
yesterday to deal with nagging Global Political Agreement (GPA) and
Government of National Unity (GNU) issues.
At the meeting President Robert Mugabe climbed down on his recent
belligerent political stance, while Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
demanded implementation of agreed issues.
The meeting — which the Zimbabwe Independent first revealed was coming on
March 4 — came as Mugabe and Tsvangirai prepared for the critical double
Sadc troika summit in Zambia on Thursday next week. Zimbabwe will loom large
at the meeting where the contentious elections roadmap issues are expected
to take centre stage.
A senior cabinet minister who attended Thursday's special cabinet meeting
described the encounter as “cordial” but “disappointing”. Judging by the
fireworks of the cabinet meeting on March 1, where it was decided an
extraordinary session would have to be convened to tackle GPA and GNU
issues, yesterday’s gathering was calm although pent up tensions and
“It was a very disappointing meeting overall because we didn’t come up with
any resolutions. All ministers received the paper that was presented in
cabinet. We had no time to digest it and research on how we could
intelligently respond to it,” the minister said. “It wasn’t going to be fair
though to debate such a comprehensive document without first reading it and
in a short time.”
Before the meeting, ministers were geared for a fight. Mugabe and his
ministers wanted to insist they would not make concessions or implement
outstanding GPA issues so long as the sanctions remained. The MDC-T planned
to attack Mugabe and Zanu PF for refusal to implement GPA and blatant
violations of the agreement.
Prior to the cabinet session, which started at 10am ministers exchanged
notes with colleagues on strategy and tactics to be employed at the meeting.
One MDC-T minister told the Independent just before the meeting: “We are
going to attack them and expose their hypocrisy. They must also be prepared
for more trouble at the double Sadc troika summit next week”.
A Zanu PF minister had noted: “We are going to raise the issue of sanctions
and political violence. We have researched and compiled information on the
MDC-T’s history of violence, even at Harvest House, and their double
The MDC-T minister said his party would “go for broke” at the meeting
because “the time for sweet talking is over”.
Ministers said the special cabinet session, chaired by Mugabe, ended without
a resolution of issues except an agreement to study issues raised before
another meeting is held. Mugabe was said to have opened the meeting in an
uncharacteristically composed cool manner, pleading for cooperation and an
end to political violence. This was seen as a climb down from his aggressive
and confrontational stance of late, especially during his anti-sanctions
“The president told cabinet that we had gathered to ‘discuss issues raised
by our colleagues’ and that it was important as leaders to support the Prime
Minister’s presentation. He (Mugabe) called for a cordial atmosphere in the
meeting and it was respected by everyone,” a minister said.
“He touched on violence saying that he wanted a violent-free society and
that it started with us (cabinet ministers), adding that after the meeting
the message should be forwarded and cascaded to different party political
After the introductory remarks by Mugabe, Tsvangirai came in and presented
his document in which he touched on the state of the GNU, the minister said.
“The PM’s paper covered key provisions of the GPA which he felt were
important and needed immediate implementation,” the minister said.
Tsvangirai covered issues which included the constitution, sanctions and
measures, land, equality, national healing, cohesion and unity, respect for
national institutions and events, free political activity, rule of law,
respect for the constitution and other laws, selective application of the
law, freedoms of assembly and association, state organs and institutions,
security of persons and prevention of violence and freedom of expression and
Tsvangirai demanded that the government must “recognise the importance of
the freedoms of assembly and association in a multi-party democracy and
noted that public meetings have to be conducted in a free, peaceful and
democratic manner in accordance with the law”.
The GPA parties have largely failed to implement their own agreement and
would have to face increasingly impatient Sadc leaders over this next week.
Mugabe and his party Zanu PF are resisting the crafting of an election
roadmap, saying the GPA is the roadmap in itself, while Tsvangirai and the
MDC-T say there is need to rehash the document to insert clear benchmarks
and timelines, as well as signposts, before elections.
The GPA has most of those details. The MDC-N wants parties to come up with a
roadmap which captures relevant GPA details.
Sadc resolved last year in Windhoek that Zimbabwe should implement the GPA
and pave way for free and fair elections. Zimbabwe is well behind in terms
of GPA implementation. Most of the issues, which Tsvangirai highlighted in
cabinet yesterday, remained unimplemented.
Sadc leaders in Windhoek “urged the Zimbabwe stakeholders to remain
committed to the implementation of the GPA; reiterated its call on the
international community to lift all forms of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe
in view of the negative effects they have on Zimbabwe and the Sadc region in
They mandated the Sadc chair, assisted by the chairperson of the organ on
politics defence and security, President Rupiah Banda of Zambia and the
facilitator of the Zimbabwe political dialogue, South African President
Jacob Zuma, to work together to deal with these issues.
The special cabinet agreed that after the debate on Tsvangirai’s
presentation, it would have to come up with a firm GPA implementation plan.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 21:05
ZIMBABWE’S leading platinum mining company, South African-owned Zimplats, is
in deep waters as Zanu PF stalwarts and traditional chiefs scramble to grab
a piece of the action in the Ngezi-based operation under the guise of
Chiefs Benhura and Murambwa of Mashonaland West confirmed this week that
they want to acquire a combined 10% stake in Zimplats through a community
trust. Sources said the chiefs and Zanu PF officials have been calling for
meetings with Zimplats management to discuss the acquisition.
The National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB), chaired
by former Zanu PF Deputy Finance minister David Chapfika, is also reported
to have joined the fray demanding a 10%stake.
In addition, government now wants a 51% controlling stake, reneging on
agreements it had reached with the company five years ago.
However, Zimplats has since submitted its own empowerment proposals based on
the existing agreements with government, as well as 15% equity
participation to indigenous Zimbabweans, including employees.
The traditional leaders’ point man has been Zanu PF Mhondoro-Ngezi MP and
former Information deputy minister Bright Matonga (pictured), who is said to
be related to both chiefs. Matonga is working hand in glove with the
traditional leaders to source money to acquire shares in the platinum
company, but it is unclear where the money will come from.
“As community leaders, we are working with Matonga to get our people what
they deserve,” acting Chief Benhura, Alexio Benhura, told the Zimbabwe
Matonga confirmed in an interview yesterday that he had expressed an
interest in Zimplats, but insisted he was representing his constituency as
the area MP.
He said: “We as Mhondoro-Ngezi would want to acquire a stake in Zimplats
that we will pay for. This follows an official visit to Royal Bafokeng,
South Africa, by Saviour Kasukuwere and Ignatius Chombo and the chiefs led
by deputy chief president, Chief Khumalo. The visit was an eye opener for
the delegation. We feel Implats should apply these same principles in
The example Matonga wants to emulate fromSouth Africa is that of Royal
Bafokeng Holdings (RBH) Ltd, a group controlled by the Bafokeng community,
which owns 13% in Implats. Implats is the majority shareholder in Zimplats.
Asked if he was related to Chief Benhura and Murambwa, Matonga said: “I am
related to all the four chiefs in the area (Benhura, Murambwa, Mushava and
Nyika) but I am also the Member of Parliament for the area. This is not
about being related to the chiefs and it’s not an issue of just grabbing.
The community has to pay for the stake.”
Matonga added that his community would go to Implats with its empowerment
proposal at the appropriate time.
Chief Benhura also indicated that although community leadership had met
Zimplats to discuss a roadmap, CEO Alex Mhembere was dodging the leaders.
“We met some of Zimplats’ management but Mhembere is never there in person.
In our last quarterly meeting in February, we were told he (Mhembere) had
other commitments and he would come as soon as he was available,” said the
Benhura accused Zimplats of not meeting its side of the bargain.
“They are not tarring the roads and neither are they employing our
children,” said Benhura.
The traditional leader questioned how chiefs from far flung areas were
coming to claim a share of Zimplats.
He said: “We are surprised to see chiefs from far beyond being propelled by
unknown forces to claim a share whilst close chieftainships are there.”
Although Matonga denied meeting Implats executives, informed sources say the
MP and Kasukuwere met Implats CEO and Zimplats chairman David Brown in
South Africa recently and told him of their plans.
Brown is said to have indicated that Implats would offer a 10% stake to the
community, but had not responded to our enquiries at the time of going to
Brown’s personal assistant Thandeka Msimang had promised to get back to the
Independent on Wednesday, but had not done so at the time of going to press,
while Brown was repeatedly said to be out of his office.
NIEEB chairman Chapfika denied seeking a stake in Zimplats shares.
He said: “The board’s interventions are broader and multifaceted than
Zimplats. We discussed the mining sector broadly and not Zimplats. We are
implementing broad policy which covers the mining sector on the basis of 51%
Zimplats in 2006 signed a release of ground agreement with government which
saw the company releasing 36% of the company’s mining claims in return for
cash and empowerment credits.
Under the agreement, government agreed to give Zimplats empowerment credits
in exchange for platinum concessions.
Zimplats held a number of lucrative platinum claims in the country’s great
dyke region but agreed to hand over some of the claims to the Zimbabwean
government on the understanding that the mining firm would be spared.
Government no longer recognises the agreement, signed in 2006 with then
mines minister, Amos Midzi.
President Robert Mugabe has also targeted the platinum miner for
indigenisation amid accusations the company is externalising funds, a charge
Government last year gazetted regulations compelling foreign companies to
dispose of controlling stakes in companies valued at US$500 000.
In its 2010 annual report, Zimplats said it was still “engaged in
discussions with government” over the matter.
Zimplats deputy chairman Muchadeyi Masunda last month said the mining
company was still committed to a US$500-million mine expansion, but the
board would review progress in May as talk of a takeover intensifies.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:57
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will tomorrow meet South African President
Jacob Zuma at the eastern seaboard city of Durban to discuss the Zimbabwe
political situation ahead of Sadc’s troika meeting of the organ on politics,
defence and security in Zambia.
Zuma’s meeting with Tsvangirai follows the premier’s trip in the region last
week which saw him getting an audience with leaders of Zambia, Mozambique,
Botswana and Swaziland. After that Tsvangirai wants to travel to Angola, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia and Tanzania.
Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka yesterday confirmed the meeting
with Zuma, but could not give details. “Yes, they are meeting tomorrow in
Durban,” he said.
Tsvangirai’s meeting with Zuma would be critical to ensure Zimbabwe averts a
renewed political crisis and firmly remains on the transitional path towards
free and fair elections.
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party and Tsvangirai’s MDC-T are locked in
a power struggle within the Government of national Unity (GNU) over a series
of issues relating to the Global Political Agreement (GPA), including the
lifespan of the coalition arrangement, constitution-making process and
referendum, a roadmap towards free and fair polls and the timing of the
Zuma, who is expected to brief the Sadc troika on the Zimbabwe political
stalemate on Thursday next week, has already taken measures to intervene.
Last week he dispatched his special envoy Mac Maharaj to meet with Zanu PF
representatives Patrick Chinamsa and Emmerson Mnangagwa, MDC-T negotiator
Tendai Biti and MDC-N’s delegates Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Moses
Mzila over the crisis. South African ambassador to Harare Mlungisi Makalima
attended the meetings.
Zimbabwe’s negotiators were expected to meet between Wednesday and today to
discuss the elections roadmap, but the meeting failed to take place.
The GPA and GNU were recently shaken to their foundations over the arrest of
Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma for allegedly violating
tender procedures in awarding a US$6 million fuel supply contract to two
South African companies, Mohwelere and NOOA. However, Justice Samuel Kudya
practically quashed the threadbare allegations at the bail hearing on
Tuesday last week. Mangoma will appear in court for trial on Monday.
The GNU was also rocked by instability after the Supreme Court nullified
Speaker of parliament Lovemore Moyo’s election on the same day as Mangoma’s
arrest. Tsvangirai panicked and threatened to quit. He rushed to arrange
emergency meetings on Thursday two weeks ago with acting president John
Nkomo who was in charge while President Robert Mugabe was away in Ethiopia
and diplomats on Friday last week.
Tsvangirai protested to Nkomo and the diplomats about the Mangoma and Moyo
episodes. On Monday last week he confronted Mugabe at a meeting about them
before heading into the region to register his protest and lobby for urgent
Upon his return to Harare, Tsvangirai told journalists on Friday last week
he would soon meet Zuma to tackle the Zimbabwe situation. He also said the
Sadc troika on politics, defence and security would meet to discuss the
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:57
HARARE metropolitan governor and long-serving Zanu PF politburo member David
Ishemunyoro Karimanzira has died. He was 64.
Zanu PF politburo met yesterday soon after his death from an undisclosed
ailment and declared the veteran nationalist a national hero. He will be
buried at the national shrine on either Sunday or Monday.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said: “I can confirm comrade Karimanzira’s
death in Harare but the cause of death is yet to be established. The
politburo met urgently and declared him a national hero in consideration of
his contribution towards Independence and after Independence.”
Gumbo added that Karimanzira’s body had been taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital
for a post-mortem to determine the exact cause of death. However, he said
the late former Information and Communications minister had chronic
Karimanzira, who was the party’s secretary for finance, was born on May 25
1947 in Murehwa. He had served Zanu PF loyally from 1963 when he joined the
party’s youth wing.
Karimanzira has occupied various government positions since Independence in
1980. He was first appointed an Under Secretary in the Ministry of Transport
in 1980 and later elevated to Deputy Secretary of the same ministry in 1983.
He briefly worked for the Harare City Council as a deputy general manager
marketing before being promoted to general manager a few months later. He
left the municipality in 1985 after being appointed Minister of Youth Sport
and Culture. In 1988 he was moved to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and
Rural Resettlement and appointed Minister of Information, Posts and
Telecommunications in 1995.
In 2000, President Robert Mugabe appointed him Governor and Resident
Minister for Mashonaland East province. In 2005, he was switched to Governor
of Harare Metropolitan. — Staff Writer.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:31
ZANU PF legislators were this week threatened with expulsion from the party
if they resisted a politburo decision to back its national chairman Simon
Khaya Moyo for the vacant post of Speaker of the House of Assembly.
Politburo sources told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday that
Vice-President Joice Mujuru read the riot act to the legislators at a caucus
meeting on Wednesday warning them that dissenters would lose their
Mujuru told the MPs they could not afford to play spoiler by voting for the
MDC-T’s Lovemore Moyo or absent themselves on the day of the election and
warned that even if the vote was by secret ballot, the politburo knew the
legislators who were opposed to SK Moyo’s candidacy.
“The legislators were given the three-whip system. She told them that it is
not Moyo who will lose but Zanu PF. She told them that it will not be by
choice that they will vote for Moyo but as an obligation to the party. She
told them to adhere to the politburo decision,” said a politburo member who
attended the meeting.
“The second thing she told us was that they (politburo) were aware that MPs
had grievances but voting for MDC-T would not resolve their problems. She
told us that they had four names of people who were planning not to vote for
Mujuru’s threat came after some legislators had indicated that they would
not vote for SK Moyo, who has been out of parliament for almost 11 years.
The legislators argued that SK Moyo was a “stranger in the House” because he
has not only been out of parliament for ages but has also been outside the
country since 2000 during his tour of duty as Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South
The politburo member added: “Mai Mujuru told them that those who go against
the politburo decision will be fired and every MP should attend and those
absent will also be fired. She said if we are to lose, we should lose
solidly and if we are to win it must also be done solidly. She was menacing
and spoke like a true guerilla commander and didn’t mince her words.”
The caucus meeting was also attended by Leader of the House, Zanu PF legal
secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa, national commissar Webster Shamu, secretary
for administration Didymus Mutasa and SK Moyo.
A four-member team comprising legislators, who were also eyeing the Speaker’s
post, was set up to mobilise support for SK Moyo.
Goromonzi MP Biata Nyamupinga, Mwenezi East MP Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Guruve
North MP Edward Chindori-Chininga and Mberengwa West MP Joram Gumbo were
tasked with ensuring that all MPs attended parliament on election day.
“At the politburo meeting held just before the caucus meeting, it was agreed
that a team be set up to mobilise other legislators. Jonathan Moyo suggested
the names of the people whom he said were also vying for that post. He said
the committee should consist of Bhasikiti, Nyamupinga, Chindori-Chininga and
Joram Gumbo. These four will work with other senior politburo members.”
Zanu PF was deeply divided over the parliamentary Speaker’s job with at
least seven names, including Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri and
Goromonzi North MP Paddy Zhanda, being mentioned as possible candidates for
the post.Two lists had emerged from the main factional camps aligned to
long-time rivals and politburo heavyweights Mnangagwa and General Solomon
It has now emerged that Zanu PF did not want the election held on Tuesday
because it had not yet officially agreed on a candidate. Clerk of Parliament
Austin Zvoma postponed the vote indefinitely saying he needed to comply with
the provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders in fulfillment of the
Supreme Court judgment.
The politburo member said previously the presidium would have met first and
decided on a possible candidate before bringing it up for debate.
“At this politburo meeting, the secretary for administration (Didymus
Mutasa) brought alive the discussion. He started by saying that there was
need for gender balance when deciding a candidate for the post. But this was
shot down by the president who intervened and asked him what he meant by
gender balance when the president of the Senate Ednah Madzongwe is female.
That stopped the whole debate around that issue and even the female members
of the politburo dismissed the idea.”
He added: “After that, people started talking about seniority and the most
senior member not in government was SK Moyo. Everyone then endorsed him as
candidate for the Speaker’s post. No other name was suggested after
President Mugabe’s intervention.”
To appease Muchinguri, Vice-President Mujuru then suggested the Women’s
League boss as her replacement in parliament.
“On Muchinguri’s appointment, it was Mai Mujuru who suggested that she be
replaced by a woman and proposed the Women’s League boss to take up her seat
in parliament,” the politburo official said.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T, which wants to retain Moyo, is trying to garner full
support from its legislators for him and is also desperately attempting to
get votes from the smaller MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube through
determined behind-the-scenes lobbying.
Ncube’s party announced that it would not support any of the two contesting
candidates and would abstain from the process by walking out before voting
starts. The party said any of its MPs who do not walk out would be expelled.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:29
Faith Zaba/Taurai Mangudhla
THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction has indicated that it will put its
full weight behind the proposed new constitution even if it is fundamentally
MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that
his party believed that the proposed draft, in its flawed state, was likely
to usher in little reforms essential for a free and fair presidential
“We have said the process of the constitution has been flawed and
contaminated by violence, lack of information and lack of participation by
citizens because they didn’t know how to participate,” Chamisa said.
“So the process has been flawed and equally the outcome and product is
likely to be compromised because the product is as good as the process,” he
Chamisa said the MDC-T would not throw out the baby with the bathwater and
hoped the little reforms would go a long way because his party was embarking
on a revolution for the foundation of an evolution.
He said his party would accept the new constitution as a transitional
charter or a stop-gap measure until such a time when people were allowed to
write their own document. At the end of the day, Chamisa said, it would be
up to legislators to ensure that critical reforms were included during
debates before the final draft was taken to a referendum.
“By way of it going to parliament, it will be negotiated on the basis of
what people are saying. There are areas where there was conflict,” said
In the same vein, the Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) has warned
against a hurriedly written constitution.
Copac co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora said a hurriedly written document would
possibly fail to capture fundamental concerns raised during the outreach
“It is clear that before elections are held, a new constitution has to be in
place and this constitution must be durable, reflecting the views of all
Zimbabweans whether they are in Canada or New York,” Mwonzora said.
Zanu PF has been pushing for elections to be held as early as August this
President Robert Mugabe has also asked Copac to speed up the
constitution-making process. He is on record declaring that elections would
be held later this year with or without a new constitution.
Uploading of data captured during the outreach programme was completed on
Sunday and the draft exercise is only expected to be concluded in September
this year. The three Copac co-chairmen Mwonzora, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana
and Edward Mkhosi, last week pleaded with the three political parties in the
coalition government to respect the Global Political Agreement by ensuring
that a new constitution preceded polls.
Mangwana said: “Whilst we have no power to stop what these political parties
want, it would be desirable in the interest of democracy to complete the
constitution-making exercise first.”
Mkhosi said Mugabe should ensure funds were available if he wanted an early
“If the president is actually keen on having an election as soon as
possible, he can help us by making money available. If money is available on
time, we can complete the process by year-end because all the manpower is in
place. We should not go for elections before a new constitution to avoid
witnessing the same contestations made in the previous election,” Mkhosi
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:26
THE Sadc-appointed facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis and South African
President Jacob Zuma will not present an election roadmap to the Sadc Troika
meeting scheduled for Zambia next week because it is not ready.
Zuma’s international relations advisor and member of the facilitation team,
Lindiwe Zulu, told the Zimbabwe Independent from Pretoria on Wednesday that
a draft roadmap acceptable to all three bickering parties was still being
drafted and would be presented as soon as it was ready.
“Unfortunately President Zuma will not present the draft roadmap to the
Troika because we want to make sure that we present something that is
attractable and accepted by all. He is, however, expected to present a
progress report, a sense of what is going on in Zimbabwe,” said Zulu
declining to shed light on the contents of the progress report.
Zulu and her team had been expected in Zimbabwe this week to meet with
negotiators from Zanu PF, MDC-T and the smaller MDC to try and iron out
differences and push for the speedy crafting of an election roadmap, but
postponed the visit due to what she termed “other pressing issues”.
Zulu said the mediators had moved their visit to the first week of April.
Zulu said, “We were supposed to come to Zimbabwe this week, but we have
postponed to the first week of April to allow the GPA partners time to work
on their reports. We also thought it would give ample time for completion of
the review programme of the inclusive government by Jomic (Joint Monitoring
and Implementation Committee). We expect to be given this report when we
come in April.”
According to Article 22 of the GPA, Jomic is the principal body tasked with
dealing with issues of compliance and monitoring of the agreement.
Jomic’s other function is to assess the implementation and deal with all
complaints, grievances, concerns and issues relating to compliance with the
However, Jomic seems overwhelmed by these duties if remarks by the body’s
co-chairperson Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga are considered.
She said Jomic had no power to control the deteriorating political situation
in the country and was largely relying on Sadc.
Mushonga described Jomic and other civic bodies as “useless”.
Some analysts who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent criticised Zuma’s slow
pace in dealing with the country’s crisis saying trips to Harare by his
facilitators were of “no value”.
One of the analysts who requested anonymity said, “President Zuma and his
team do not seem to exhibit the sense of urgency required to deal with the
Zimbabwean crisis. I do not see a credible proactive plan in place for
tackling the political log jam in Harare.
“The problem is that he is not being tough enough as he has sought to
massage (President Robert) Mugabe’s ego as a way of extracting some
concessions from him. Unfortunately Mugabe has not played ball and he has
consistently wriggled his way out of every deadline that Zuma has set for
implementing the outstanding issues.”
He suggested that Zuma and his facilitation team pin the political players
down to come up with a workable implementation plan.
“Having his facilitation team shuttling between Harare and Pretoria to ask
for progress reports from the feuding parties is not going to help anyone.”
However, Zulu defended her president saying that he was doing enough to deal
with the issue and full implementation of the GPA depended on the principals’
“I think President Zuma is doing as much as he can,” she said. “The bottom
line is that the GPA partners who are at the forefront of it are supposed to
show their commitment. Jomic is also supposed to do its job according to the
GPA to ensure that there is commitment by all parties.”
“If any one of the GPA partners feels that President Zuma is not doing
enough, they have the right to an open mind through the facilitation team.
We will not discuss those issues in public.”
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:25
SWEDISH-based construction firm Baran Trade and Investment Company (Pvt) has
revealed plans to set up a local operation to upgrade all Zimbabwe’s border
Baran Trade and Investment Company chief executive officer Avishay Divr told
a delegation of Zimbabwean journalists in Lusaka last week that plans were
at an advanced stage to register a company with a 51% shareholding by locals
in adherence to the country’s indigenisation regulations.
Divr said he had already been to Zimbabwe on an assessment mission and was
hoping to attract genuine business partners for the proposed project.
According to Divr, his company had already identified offices for use in
Harare, but he refused to shed light on who the potential partners were.
“We want to partner with both the Zimbabwe government and business. Our
company is financed through loans from international banks and the
Zimbabwean government will not be asked to contribute anything towards the
refurbishment and running of the border posts. We will give the government
a section of the border post to use free of charge,” said Divr.
Baran Trade and Investment Company recently completed the refurbishment of
the Kasumbalesa Border Post between Zambia and the DRC. This was done
through the formation of a new company, the Zambian Border Crossing company,
to oversee the project.
The company has installed sophisticated information technology systems to
monitor and document the movement of haulage trucks that pass through
Divr said the IT system lessened the risk of corruption and to a certain
extent ensured the safe delivery of consignments since nothing went
unnoticed because there were camera monitors throughout the facility to
monitor trucks and all movements.
Baran Trade and Investment Company’s objective, Divr said, was to ensure
that all border posts in Africa had one system of tracking traffic entering
and exiting each respective country.
“Most of the borders are in a very poor condition and facilities are almost
non-existent. I want to put the system here at Kasumbalesa all over east and
southern Africa. The IT system is able to communicate with the next border
and we hope to see it in Zimbabwe at least before this year ends,” said
The Zambian Border Crossing company has a 20-year contract with the
government allowing it to collect all entry and exit fees as well as running
other businesses at the border post. The government will continue to collect
customs duties and taxes for traffic entering Zambia.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:24
FORTY-SIX year old Douglas Muzanenhamo will never forget the day police
raided an International Socialist Organisation (ISO) meeting he attended
along with 44 other activists in central Harare.
The group, which included human rights activist and ISO director Munyaradzi
Gwisai, was detained on treason charges for organising a meeting on February
19 to discuss civil uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia and were allegedly
watching television footage of public protests against the deposed
A Harare magistrate freed Muzanenhamo and 38 others after spending two weeks
in remand prison. Gwisai and five other activists were only granted bail by
the High Court last week.
Memories of the dirty smelly cells, cold nights, small portions of food and
tick-infested worn blankets remain vividly fresh in Muzanenhamo’s mind.
However, the filthy conditions of the Harare Central Police Station cells
were the least cause of his concerns. What gave Muzanenhamo sleepless nights
was the fact that he was denied access to his medication.
Muzanenhamo is HIV positive and is on life prolonging anti retroviral drugs.
He takes the medication twice a day, once in the morning and once in the
However, for the 16 days that he was in custody with 11 other HIV positive
activists, including women, they were informed that access to any medication
was a privilege.
Muzanenhamo said he had been invited to the meeting of civic organisations,
which brought together ISO, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Zimbabwe
National Students Association and the Medical Professions Allied Workers
Union met, as a member of the HIV and Aids cluster.
Muzanenhamo said: “Representing the HIV and Aids cluster, we attended a
meeting called by ISO. The meeting was dedicated to commemorating one of our
members Navigator Mungoni who passed away in January and also discussing
general concerns of the workers.
“When the meeting was about to end, we were raided by the police. They
bundled us into their trucks and made us lie beneath the benches while they
sat on the benches.
“That night when we were locked up, we told some officers of our situation
and asked whether they would allow us to have our medication, but they
refused. Since our cellphones had been confiscated, our families had no idea
where we were. We slept without taking our medication. The cells were
crowded, dirty and cold but they didn’t seem bothered by our condition.”
He said they were only allowed access to their medication two days into
their detention after the intervention of their lawyers.
Skipping anti-retroviral medication poses a high health risk.
When they were transferred to remand prison to await their bail hearing,
Muzanenhamo said the allocation of their medication was decreased.
“In remand prison, a male nurse informed us that we were going to get our
medication only once and not the prescribed two times. Sometimes it would
be at 11am sometimes 2pm and yet I take my medicine at 8am and 8pm every
day,” said Muzanenhamo.
He said efforts to raise their concerns were quashed by prison officers who
told them to “get used to prison terms” and that “we were not at our homes
where we could do as we pleased”.
Muzanenhamo said he fell ill after he was discharged and couldn’t walk. He
also developed a rash which his doctor said was caused by tick bites.
“The disturbance to the normal intake of my medication affected me so much
and this was worsened by the solitary confinement we were subjected to,” he
Muzanenhamo said he felt that their constitutional rights were infringed and
they were considering suing the State.
Another detainee, Josphat Tarenyika (43) of Mabvuku, said as a result of
defaulting and the poor diet, his CD4 count dropped from 541 to 327.
The CD4 cells help tell how strong your immune system is and indicate the
stage of your HIV disease and guides treatment. People without HIV infection
have about 700 to 1 000 CD4 cells in a drop of blood the size of a pea.
Tarenyika said: “I fell sick during and after our detention. I suffered from
tonsils, was weak in my joints, lost a lot of weight and had no appetite at
all. I was very depressed. I think we were lucky to even have limited access
to these pills because our lawyers fought very hard. My concern is on those
who don’t have lawyers to fight for them.”
Director of Community Working Group on Health Itai Rusike said the major
challenge people living with Aids faced after defaulting on medication was
that their bodies could begin to resist the very drug they were taking.
“After such disturbances, the huge risk the patients might develop can be
resistance to the current drug or treatment of those they were deprived of.
It then means that they have to be put on second line treatment which is
very expensive,” Rusike said.
Second line treatment is therapy given to HIV and Aids patients who would
have become resistant to the first cocktail of drugs or if they experienced
terrible side effects.
“At the moment, there are very few HIV and Aids patients in this country who
are on second line treatment. The majority of those who were locked up
depend on government treatment which is given for free most of the times.
In an event that they resist the drug they have been taking, most of them
will not be able to afford the second treatment,” said Rusike.
He said the other challenges imprisoned people living with Aids faced were
dietary requirements and stress.
“Those people on treatment need a special diet and the sadza and beans that
they get daily can result in heavy implications. Stress caused by the
environment can also lead to deterioration. If someone is arrested or locked
up, they should not lose their rights completely but should be accorded
their rights to health. Efforts should be made for them to have access to
their treatment at the right time. Limited access can be a public issue
especially when a TB patient is locked up and denied medication because the
disease will spread,” he said.
Zimbabwe is ranked number 17 out of 22 of the world’s high-burden TB
countries according to the 2010 Millennium Development Goals government
Deputy Justice Minister Obert Gutu said prisoners had the constitutional
right to medication.
“Every prisoner has a constitutional right to medication. As long as there
is proof from a medical practitioner of the condition one would be suffering
from, the prisoner is entitled to medication. Sheer denial of medication is
a serious dereliction of duty. My advice to those who have complaints is to
make formal reports at my office. I can assure them that appropriate
investigations would be taken,” said Gutu.
Muzanenhamo and his group are not the only ones who have complained about
inhumane treatment in police custody or prison.
Co-chairman of the Constitution Select Committee Douglas Mwonzora has
threatened to take legal action against the police saying he was denied
access to his lawyers, held in solitary confinement and denied water and
food while in police custody.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:23
By Qhubani Moyo
SINCE the position of Speaker of parliament is of paramount importance in
the national governance architecture the recent annulment of the election of
Lovemore Moyo from that post has added much excitement in the political
discourse of the country.
The annulment that came after a legal challenge by Professor Jonathan Moyo
with the backing of Moses Mzila Ndlovu, Siyabonga Ncube and Patrick Dube
from the Professor Welshman Ncube-led MDC was meant to establish a principle
that should guide the operations of parliament for posterity.
It was a legal challenge to cleanse the House of corrupt tendencies and
maintain its credibility as a law making institution. The annulment of the
result, attained through various clandestine means including among other
things vote buying of some of our MPs and forced display of ballots by the
Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC (MDC-T), was sound because the voting process in
the election of Speaker had set a very bad precedence for our democracy. The
ruling is therefore of national significance as it sets the right parameters
for democracy and exposes the lies of some parties which claim to be
fighting for change and democracy.
The judgment cleanses the parliament of the evils of corruption that were
brought by some parties and allows for a fresh start in which the election
of who should lead the House should be based on the right procedures. I
personally have no doubt that Lovemore Moyo served the nation with notable
distinction as Speaker of parliament but I have problems with the means that
his party used to win the position. The machinations they used seriously
undermine democracy. What should be done is that we need to follow the rules
and let the best man win. I am sure Moyo still has a good chance of
retaining the position but he has to get in through a free and fair ballot
for his personal credibility and that of parliament.
One of the key issues that have taken centre stage in the public discourse
regarding the Speaker position is the Welshman Ncube-led MDC (MDC-N)
position that it would abstain from voting. While some people have taken the
position as a credible decision that is of strategic national interest some
people have viewed the move as not well-thought out and a failure by the
party to use its votes as power broker to determine who becomes Speaker.
Although both arguments are persuasive, it is the first one that makes more
sense and deserves more attention.
The MDC made a strategic decision in this regard. It would have been
illogical for the MDC-N to fight for the Speaker post given that it holds
the position of deputy Speaker occupied by Nomalanga Khumalo. The party is
well secure in that position which it won clean after both Zanu PF and MDC T
gave way by not fielding candidates. This position unlike the other one was
not subject to corruption or manipulation and was legitimately won and the
party is happy to keep it. It would have been an act of behaving like power
gluttons for the party to use its position as power brokers to try and
manipulate any of the other two parties so that it ends up with both the
speakership and deputy’s post. After all this is a power-sharing government.
This would have been a total disregard of the spirit of inclusivity which is
the cornerstone of the Global Political Agreement. The decision is also
important in that it gives the MDC-T and Zanu PF an opportunity to test each
other’s strength without interference from the MDC-N which both parties
undermine as a small party without realising that having fewer seats in
parliament does not necessarily mean it is a small party. The MDC-N is a big
party in the current political scheme of things. It is big as a responsible
power broker and has potential to become even bigger.
The MDC-N despite the fewer seats in parliament and just like the other two
parties in government, has all the structures provided for in its
constitution and therefore not smaller than any other party in its
construction. It is important for the two to square up so that each of them
after the contest will understand who the big brother is and maybe after
that they will respect the people of Zimbabwe by concentrating on issues of
national development and not fulfilment of partisan agenda and massaging
It was also for the MDC-N to stand on its own in view of the recent past
when Zanu PF and MDC-T connived to deny its president, Ncube, a chance to be
deputy prime minister despite him being the legitimate leader of the party.
MDC-N realises that Zanu PF and the MDC-T are allies in trying to undermine
its growth and that being allies they should be able to agree between
themselves who should be Speaker. If they don’t agree on how to share the
spoils of conniving against the MDC-N then it’s their problem.
It would be futile for the MDC-N to try to interfere in the newly found
alliance between Zanu PF and MDC-T. This leads to the question that some
people raise: Will this not lead to the election of a Zanu PF Speaker and
therefore a reversal of the gains of democracy that Zimbabwean fought so
hard to achieve? The answer to this question is simply that democratic gains
have no national meaning if those elected to senior public positions become
the very incarnation of the same system they are fighting.
Zimbabweans should not be short-sighted to think that democratisation of the
country just means removal of individuals and replacing them with different
individuals wearing different masks. In this regard the thinking in some
quarters that the MDC-N should have donated its votes to the MDC-T because
they are both former opposition political parties is misguided and myopic.
The MDC-N as a political party has the duty to use its leverage and
advantage in whatever way it wants and it is unfortunate that there are
people that still cannot come to terms with that reality. Besides, those who
want MDC-N votes must approach it and not the other way round.
The truth is that in a situation of a hung parliament any of the parties
represented can choose who to work with based on mutual respect and agreed
bargaining. The MDC-N thus cannot be coerced into arrangements that don’t
benefit the party and the nation. The view which is especially dominant in
the diaspora that MDC-N must donate its votes to MDC-T is interesting given
that in some of the countries exiled Zimbabweans live in, like Britain and
Australia, parties in hung parliaments have chosen to cooperate with whoever
agrees to their terms without being labelled traitors.
Then there is a group that thinks that by withdrawing from the race and
instructing its MPs not to vote the MDC-N is infringing on the
constitutional right of the MPs to vote. While this argument sounds valid on
the surface, it is self-defeating in that it looks at the decision of the
MDC-N out of context and ignores the decisions of the other parties and the
dynamics between them. The Westminster parliamentary system works through
whipping. As such the MDC choice is legitimate and should be respected. Let
Zanu PF and MDC-T, who seem not to realise the critical role of MDC-N in
this parliament, fight it out between themselves as undercover on-and-off
Qhubani Moyo is the national organising secretary of the MDC-N. Email:
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:08
THE dethroning of Lovemore Moyo has created a vacuum in the House of
Assembly while raising questions about the usefulness of the deputy Speaker
who cannot conduct business if there is no Speaker.
The law makes no provisions for the deputy to act as Speaker until the end
of parliament’s term, begging the question why our government has so many
deputy ministers who cannot be elevated to substantive positions, or even
act when the need arises.
Deputy ministers do not have any clearly defined roles resulting in mixed
messages coming from the same departments as they battle for turf with
Zimbabwe currently has 18 deputy ministers in office. These deputy ministers
enjoy executive perks, which include off-road sport utility vehicles (SUVs),
free accommodation, free fuel, occasional foreign travel on government
business and 24-hour security at their places of residence.
These 18 deputies are in addition to the 42 ministers, 10 provincial
governors, the president and his two deputies who ride on Zimbabwe’s gravy
In the 2011 national budget, the office of the President and Cabinet and the
Prime Minister’s office were allocated a combined US$115,6 million. The bulk
of the money is meant for travel and salaries of staff.
Deputy ministers are paid around US$1 500 monthly each. Their salaries and
perks are several times larger than senior civil servants’ salaries yet they
carry the burden of work in the ministries.
Finance minister Tendai Biti is on record complaining about his colleagues’
interest in foreign travel. Last year treasury spent over US$30 million in
foreign travel that generally brought nothing to the country.
Deputy minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Jessie
Majome said deputy ministers were primarily placed to assist large
ministries and, to an extent, accommodate the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) power sharing arrangement.
“Deputy ministers serve a function in ministries that demand a lot of
political presence or where the ministry has a large mandate,” Majome said.
“Political decisions also played a part in the current set-up. Because of
the coalition, the posts got a new currency with parties wanting to get
representation in ministries where they did not get ministers appointed.”
However, Majome also added: “The size of our government is currently
excessive. It’s possible to run the government with few ministries. You may
be aware that some ministries were split due to the power-sharing
But can Zimbabwe’s bruised and battered economy sustain this extravagant
opulence brought on us by the GPA?
Political analysts and opinion makers believe that Zimbabweans should make
use of the ongoing constitutional review process to circumscribe politicians’
appetite to create jobs for their cronies.
They want the new constitution to put a cap on the size of cabinet and only
have deputies where necessary.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera said: “Having deputies without
sufficient executive authority is wastage on the fiscus. It ends up being a
creation of jobs for the boys.”
In other countries, the size of cabinet is prescribed by the constitution,
and deputies are only allowed in strategic ministries and have specific
To further demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the deputies, business does
not stop if they are absent as the key personal, permanent secretary and
ministers are around to transact business. Cases in point are ministries
without deputies like Agriculture and Finance which are functioning well
Media Centre director Earnest Mudzengi agreed with Mangongera that deputy
ministries unnecessarily drained the country’s economy.
Mudzengi said: “The post of deputy minister is a political post meant for
patronage purposes. We certainly cannot afford to fund a gravy train
considering our economic situation. The funds going towards the perks of
deputy ministers could as well go towards improving the living conditions of
The Zimbabwean situation is similar to Kenya which also has a coalition
government. In 2007, at least 30 assistant Kenyan ministers wrote a letter
to President Mwayi Kibaki complaining that they had no work to do.
“I just go to the office and read newspapers,” said Abu Chiaba, an assistant
The Kenyan government has 50 assistant ministers serving in 33 ministries
and gobbling over US$9 million annually in upkeep.
Parliament’s paralysis has been replayed in cabinet. President Robert Mugabe
is deputised by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in cabinet but Tsvangirai
doesn’t chair meetings in Mugabe’s absence.
Constitutional analysts argue that paralysis in government is as a result of
skewed power dynamics in the coalition and lack of clarity on mandates given
to each office.
Constitutional law lecturer Creg Linnington said the MDC had failed to
assume any power in the GPA and Mugabe had largely come out with his powers
intact. He said there wasn’t really any power-sharing among the coalition
The size of Zimbabwe’s cabinet since Independence has been subjective and
mainly based on the political terrain subsisting in the country. The
pre-colonial government of Ian Smith had a lean and efficient government
comprising 12 ministers and no deputies.
Independent Zimbabwe’s first cabinet was enlarged to accommodate the diverse
political parties which participated in the first election in the spirit of
In the run-up to the 2000 elections, Tsvangirai’s MDC promised to set up a
lean and efficient 15 member cabinet without deputies if it assumed power.
However, this was all abandoned in pursuit of political expediency when he
joined the coalition government in February 2009.
Zimbabwe needs to redefine the size of its government in relation to its
economic size, observers say. The Bretton Woods institutions have since the
early 1990s called on Zimbabwe to restructure and streamline the size of its
government but this advice has largely gone unheeded.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 19:49
GOVERNMENT will now go after nominee shareholders on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange (ZSE), as the controversial indigenisation of the economy appears
to gather momentum.
In an exclusive interview with businessdigest this week, Indigenisation and
Empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere revealed that he would unravel
unnamed shareholders on the registers of 80-odd listed counters on the local
“We are going to pierce the corporate veil when implementing our
indigenisation policy,” Kasukuwere said, “Companies will be asked to reveal
the people behind investment vehicles (nominee companies) that hold equity
on listed companies.”
He said foreign owned companies listed on the ZSE would be forced to reveal
the identities of their shareholders to ensure that they complied with the
country’s indigenisation policy where 51% of shares of any company valued at
more than US$500 000 are supposed to be in the hands of black people.
This development comes hard on the heels of President Robert Mugabe’s call
three weeks ago for Kasukuwere’s ministry to urgently take over 400 foreign
owned companies in Zimbabwe. Mugabe stressed the action is a direct
retaliation to sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by European Union and America
Mugabe, launching his Zanu PF party’s anti-sanctions petition, instructed
Kasukuwere to target British companies, among them Old Mutual, Rio Tinto,
Barclays Bank, Zimplats and Standard Chartered Bank for indigenisation
Nestlé Zimbabwe, a Swiss-based food processing company, is one of those
earmarked for an early takeover by Kasukuwere. The company crossed Mugabe’s
path when it refused to buy fresh milk from his Gushungo Dairy Estate.
The indigenisation crusade winds will also blow across the capital intensive
mining sector. Government, as a matter of policy, owns all alluvial diamond
claims. New mining companies will be registered once they comply with the
indigenisation policy, while those registered should indigenise within the
The policy has since unsettled many investors in a country that desperately
needs direct and indirect foreign investment.
Mining houses such as Zimplats and Rio Tinto are reviewing their expansion
programmes till the uncertainty created by the policy has been clarified.
Government says it has set up a fund to help local investors pay for share
acquisitions in identified foreign companies. An indigenisation fund chaired
by former Finance deputy minister, David Chapfika, is mobilising resources
and setting up regulations of managing the fund.
Kasukuwere said his ministry would soon take on Mugabe’s challenge once it
settles the legal hurdles.
“My ministry will soon release the sector specific regulations and other
statutory legislation to guide the process,” he said. “It is an irreversible
process and a fund to assist locals will soon be operational.”
The indigenisation policy, however, has created schisms within the coalition
government. Ministers from the MDC formations are counseling for caution in
implementing the policy under the present circumstances. Invariably,
government officials are sending mixed signals at international investment
forums depending from which side of government they are coming from.
Deputy Prime-minister Arthur Mutambara is on record as telling Parliament
that government should have policy consistency if it wants to take the
economy out of the woods. Zimbabwe’s economy had been on the free fall for
the last decade until a coalition government was set up in 2009.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 19:49
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti has moved to end a feud pitting the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange (ZSE) and the Securities Commission of Zimbabwe (SEC) and
ordered the immediate appointment of an interim ZSE board to oversee the
This happened as SEC chief executive officer, Alban Chirume is reported to
have resigned from the capital markets regulator under unclear
circumstances.Biti appointed ZSE chairman Ndodana Mguquka, banker Sijabuliso
Biyam, a senior ministry of finance official, Mutasa Dzinotizei and Afre
Corporation director Peter Shonhiwa after the SEC nullified an earlier
appointment of the ZSE board last October.
SEC demanded the sacking of veteran stockbrokers –– Seti Shumba and Bart
Mswaka –– from the board, arguing the board should be “balanced” and should
be composed of two “independent directors”. This move, prompted the ZSE to
approach the courts last November, accusing the SEC of heavy handedness.
The ZSE wants the board to be comprised of its members, arguing that other
professional bodies like the Law Society of Zimbabwe and the Institute of
Chartered Accountants are self regulating and have more autonomy.
Biti then ordered the ZSE to set up an interim board to plug what he
described as an “oversight vacuum”.
Information at hand however shows that the interim board has not been formed
The board is tasked with running the exchange with integrity.
ZSE CEO Emmanuel Munyukwi according to a letter copied to Sec chairperson
Willia Bonyongwe and Finance permanent secretary Willard Manungo, was also
appointed an ex-officio member of the board.
“As you are aware, there is no functional board to deal with policy issues
at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. This is largely because the Securities
Commission did not approve two of the proposed board members.” reads a
letter written by Biti on February 21 2011.
“However, it should be noted that the Securities Commission’s objection of
the two members does not obviate the appointment of an interim board….In
view of the need to address the board issue, an interim board should be
Court papers in the possession of businessdigest show that Mguquka last
November challenged SEC’s actions as unlawful.
“This is an application for a declarator to the following effect: that the
board composition of the ZSE Executive Committee as appointed by members of
the meeting of October 4, 2010 is valid,” read the court papers.
“That the attempt by SEC to set aside the appointment of the board in terms
of its letter dated 26 October 2010 is unlawful and hereby set aside.”
Apart from the board issue, ZSE and SEC are at loggerheads over securities
dealing firms’ capital adequacy requirements. Last December, the ZSE through
its lawyers –– Kantor & Immerman –– accused SEC of “ambushing” the exchange
by issuing unlawful directives.
The exchange also said SEC did not give them “reasonable time” to implement
their directives in the “normal way of conducting business.”
The capital markets regulator requires stock-broking firms to have US$100
000 capital adequacy requirement based on minimum net worth values.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 19:45
A TOTAL of 18,9 million kg of flue-cured tobacco valued at US$ 57,7 million
has gone under the hammer at the Tobacco Sales Floors (TSF) since the
beginning of the selling season on February 16.
TSF is currently the only operating auction floor.
Figures obtained from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) show
that the deliveries were 26,33% more than the 14,9 million kg valued at
US$50,2 million which were sold the same period last year from two auction
floors — TSF and Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre (Zitac).
TSF is conducting four sales per day pushing through minimum of 2 000 bales
Farmers are being paid on the day of sale.
The average price has been US$3,05 compared to US$3,35 last year,
representing a 9,08 percent decline.
Of the 18,9 million kg sold, contract farmers accounted for 11,2 million kg
valued at US$36,3 million. TSF sold 7,1 million kg valued at US$19,9
Wastage is 7,90% compared to 3,08% less than 8,15% the same period last
Analysts said deliveries were expected to increase following the opening of
TSF this week said it had established offices in different parts of Zimbabwe
for pre-sale bookings. This follows a rise in the incidence of farmers
delivering a crop that had not been booked for sale.
The offices are in Rusape, Marondera, Bindura, Mvurwi, Karoi and Chinhoyi.
Despite this de-centralisation, some farmers still bring their crop to the
auction floor without advance bookings.
TIMB said Zimbabwe’s tobacco output may rise 38% to 170 million kilogrammes
this season, as more farmers have grown the crop as the nation’s
“economic environment” improves.
“Small-scale tobacco farmers currently account for more than half of
Zimbabwe’s output. As production rises, farmers should now focus on
improving quality,” said TIMB.
Zimbabwe earned US$347,8 million from tobacco sales last year, according to
the board which oversees the industry. China was the main buyer, replacing
Western companies that were traditionally the biggest buyers, it said.
Zimbabwe is the world’s sixth-largest exporter of the flue- cured Virginia
It lags behind Brazil, India, the United States, Argentina and Tanzania,
according to the website of Universal Corp., the world’s biggest
Thursday, 24 March 2011 19:38
THE Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe (Agribank) last Friday signed a US$30
million facility with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South
Africa, whose objective is to support agro-based companies. This week
Agribank CEO Sam Malaba (SM) spoke to businessdigest chief business reporter
Paul Nyakazeya (PN) about the facility, bad debts, government’s shareholding
in the bank, common trends in the banking sector and the agriculture
PN: What is the nature of the facility you signed with IDC South Africa last
SM: It is a US$30 million facility agreement marking one of the first
transactions of its kind since the signing of the Bilateral Investment
Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa) between South Africa and Zimbabwe
last year. Of that amount, US$20 million will be allocated to firms
operating in the agri-business, manufacturing and mining sectors, US$10
million will be lent to IDC Zimbabwe.
PN: What are the conditions to the firms or sectors that will benefit from
SM: It has a tenor of six years and grace period of one year for capital
repayment. It is a development facility. The IDC is more concerned to see
job creation and increasing production capacity.
PN: Are there any mechanisms to ensure that those who benefit from the funds
direct it towards the agreed purpose?
SM: Yes they are, as we do with all farmers who borrow from the bank. We are
the borrowers of the funds and we will ensure that the funds are utilised as
per agreement and are paid back timeously.
PN: What interest do the loans attract?
SM: As arranged by our co-advisory firms, Musa Capital and Neverseez
Capital, the borrowing from the IDC is being forwarded at competitive
Libor-indexed interest rates and is structured to ensure that a large
portion of the funding will be used by Zimbabwean companies to purchase
South African goods and services, at the same time providing opportunities
for both countries.
PN: I understand the bank had embarked on an exercise to cut down its branch
network by about 25% and lay-off staff in a move to lower costs. What is the
SM: We have closed nine branches and laid off 160 employees through a
voluntary retrenchment exercise. We, however, are looking at opening
branches in strategic areas such as mining towns or where agricultural
production is increasing.
PN: How much did you spend on severance packages?
SM: A total of US$1,7 million.
PN: What criteria were you using when you embarked on the branch
rationalisation exercise and how many do you now have?
SM: The move to cut branches and lower the bank’s staff complement was
necessitated by low business activity and the need to stay afloat. We were
targeting loss-making branches. Consideration for closure was influenced by
lack of business activity, connectivity challenges and branches not owned by
the bank. From 53 branches we are left with 44.
PN: We understand the bank has found an equity partner after cabinet gave
the green light. Who are the new shareholders in the bank?
SM: We will announce who the partner is at the appropriate time. I,
however, can tell you that the new partner will provide equity funding as a
strategic partner in the bank. Government is not selling the bank
PN: Banks were racing to raise capital through rights issues and private
placements in order to meet Reserve Bank minimum capital requirements. What
is the position with regards to your bank?
SM: We are in a closed period and as such cannot discuss any figures with
regards to the bank. We can only discuss that after our financial results
are announced. They should be on the market before March 31.
PN: Has the bank written off bad debts owing to farmers or politicians
failing to honour their obligations? We hear politicians account for the
bulk of nonperforming loans.
SM: The perception that politicians are looting the bank is not correct.
Very few politicians are on the bank’s book and those borrowing pay back
like any other farmer. No loans were written off for political reasons and
that is why the provisions for bad and doubtful debts are not high. Remember
we are audited. If there were such developments, they would be highlighted.
If that were not the case, institutions such as IDC South Africa were never
going to be interested in doing business with us.
PN: What has been the bank’s average provision for bad and doubtful debts?
SM: Agribank’s average provision for bad and doubtful debts between 2001 and
2006 was about 18,4%, which is in line with provisions by other banks.
Between 2007 and 2009, the provision was 3,9% mainly due to the
hyperinflationary environment. To break it down in 2006 it was 3,8%,
2007-1,2%, 2008 -2,7%, 2009 -1,2% and 2010 - 1,6%
PN: Government being the major shareholders of the bank, how has the placing
of the bank on the sanctions list affected your operations?
SM: The placing of the bank on the US sanctions list saw our South African
account being frozen. Initially the bank’s Nostro Accounts were frozen by a
South African bank for about a year and this affected our foreign currency
account holders who wanted to utilise their foreign currency to purchase
inputs and fertilisers for their farming programmes. We cannot hold US
dollar denominated Nostro Accounts (an account that a bank holds with a
foreign bank) with any international bank.
PN: What common trend do you see in the future of banking in the country?
SM: I see more competition, with the return of banks such as Royal, Trust
and Time Bank. All banks will be competing for deposits. Banks will be
looking for strategic partners to strengthen their balance sheets. I also
see improved liquidity and lines of credit.
PN: Do you think the public now has confidence in the banking sector?
SM: I think they have. But most people’s salaries are still very low such
that they withdraw it all once it reflects in their accounts. They do not
have enough money to save such that it will appear as if people do not want
to leave their money in banks.
PN: What do you think of the indigenisation regulations?
SM: Any investor would want to know the rules of the game. Let’s state the
rules. Most countries have indigenisation laws. As long as you clearly
define the rules and abide by them it will be acceptable.
PN: Is the agriculture sector being fully supported?
SM: It is and there is room for more support. The sector is critical in any
country. A number of significant projects are being done in the country.
Production in tobacco, cotton and maize is improving.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:12
By Bornwell Chakaodza
WESTERN governments have double standards and breathtaking hypocrisy when it
suits them in propping up some of the most hideous and undemocratic regimes
in Africa and elsewhere. What I am however most concerned about for now is
the impotence of the African Union (AU) in finding “African solutions to
African problems”, as we get told ad infinitum!
Media reports over the past week suggested that President Jacob Zuma, Sadc
mediator in Zimbabwe’s troubled power- sharing dispute, was sending missions
to Harare and Tripoli to help find solutions to political conflicts and
stalemates in these two countries.
The plan for Libya, as reported in the South African media, was for Zuma’s
envoy to join other members of the High Level Panel appointed by the AU such
as Uganda, Mauritania, South Africa, Mali and the Republic of Congo tasked
with finding a lasting solution in the political crisis in that troubled
country. Zuma told his country’s National Assembly last week that South
Africa would coordinate its position on Libya with other members of the AU.
“South Africa supports the position of the African Union with regards to the
Libyan question and will work within the ambit of the AU,” Zuma’s office
said last Friday. But by Saturday the complexion of the Libyan crisis had
dramatically changed. The UN Security Council, with the support of the Arab
League and other regional groupings, supported the imposition of a No- Fly
Zone on Libya, and adopted Resolution 1973 which authorised international
air attacks against Libya.
The US, UK and France on March 19 launched missiles and airstrikes at
targets in Libya to halt attacks on rebel – held towns in the east of the
country. The coalition ordered Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi to withdraw
his forces from major cities after weeks of fighting that left hundreds
dead, in the bloodiest of popular uprisings to have swept north Africa and
the Middle East over the past two months.
Then reports emerged this week that the special AU panel established to
negotiate a solution for the Libyan crisis had been denied permission to
enter the country. According to the reports, the panel had requested
permission for the flight carrying its members to Libya to comply with UN
Security Council resolution that imposed a no — fly zone on Libya. This is
after weeks during which thousands of Libyans had been killed by pro-
The feeble steps by the AU condemning the violence and marshalling a
mediation panel are now a rather pathetic sideshow alongside the actions of
the wider international community, which has taken the bull by the horns —
despite my grave reservations about air strikes — to save Libyan civilians
who were being systematically slaughtered by a rather deranged man who now
seems to have lost all sense of what is right or wrong. I am registering my
grave reservations precisely because I do not know why the West gets
involved in these unending wars which at the end of the day they find
difficult, if not impossible, to get out. Witness the unending conflicts in
Iraq and Afghanistan for example!
The Libyan crisis is yet another glaring example of the impotence of the AU
in its declared resolve to find African solutions to African problems. It
defies logic that the AU was sending a negotiating panel to a war zone where
hundreds of unarmed civilians were being butchered by a government they
should be looking up to for protection. It would be interesting to hear how
the AU panel intended to proceed to bring Gaddafi and the rebels fighting
against him to the negotiating table under those dangerous conditions.
Without offering any viable alternative, AU had opposed any form of foreign
military intervention in Libya, though the three AU members on the UN
Security Council, Nigeria, South Africa and Gabon, voted in favour of the
no-fly zone. The AU Commission is due to hold a meeting in Addis Ababa
today, with representatives from the League of Arab States, the Organisation
of the Islamic Conference, the European Union and the United Nations to
discuss ways of resolving the crisis in Libya.
This sounds like a case of shutting the barn door after the horse has
bolted. This is one of the major weaknesses of the continental body — its
inability to be pro-active rather than reactive to spontaneous situations
African leaders need to appreciate that there are times when mere platitudes
and bombastic rhetoric are not enough — when actions speak louder than
words. Indeed, words cost little. Actions talk best.
The Libyan crisis follows similar uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt where
incumbent leaders were driven out through popular demand while the AU stood
helplessly by. While Tunisia and Egypt try to establish new government
systems to move their countries forward, the AU is conspicuous by its
absence from the scene.
Indeed, events in the Ivory Coast where a civil war has already begun
because a losing presidential candidate — Laurent Gbabgo — refuses to give
way for the winner Alassane Quattara bears yet more testimony to the growing
catalogue of AU bungling in policing the continent. The question can really
be posed: what makes Africa so prone to dictators?
Although the AU has clearly come out in support of Quattara, whose electoral
victory was endorsed by the international community, it remains to be seen
what the AU will do about Gbagbo’s defiance. Chances are that faced with a
situation where it has to make a hard decision, the AU will buckle under and
recline into its shell to let matters take their course. Very sad indeed.
More importantly, where is Ecowas, the regional West African bloc, in this
Ivory Coast crisis?
Even to Zuma, the Zimbabwean situation must seem a hopeless case. At a time
when a country should be putting finishing touches to a comprehensive
political reform process towards a free and fair election, there has been an
upsurge of politically motivated violence and arrests targeting MDC
supporters. Last weekend, scores of MDC-T supporters and innocent people
were beaten up in Harare, Mutare and other parts of the country on suspicion
they were MDC supporters.
Cabinet ministers belonging to the opposition MDC were threatened with a
beating by junior policemen when they tried to address a party rally in
Chitungwiza. While the police banned rallies of other parties, Zanu PF was
allowed to go ahead with its anti-sanctions campaign in which scores of
people were forced to participate.
These are the crucial issues that Zuma and his facilitation team should
tackle if their efforts to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis are to bear fruit.
The much-touted Zuma roadmap for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe will
remain a well meaning slogan and nothing more unless there are decisive
measures to compel Zanu PF and its supporters to cease political violence
Events in North Africa and the Middle East have shown that you can suppress
the will of the people for only so long, but a time comes when people will
rise and say enough is enough.
lBornwell Chakaodza is a veteran journalist and former Editor of The Herald
and The Standard newspapers. Email: mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:10
ZANU PF through its mouthpieces continues to shout itself hoarse over the
effects of sanctions. This time it is the agricultural sector that has borne
the brunt of the “illegal embargo”, according to the Sunday Mail.
“Stakeholders in the (agricultural) sector met in Harare last week,” we are
told, “to discuss the effects of the illegal Western sanctions and agreed to
send a strong message to the perpetrators that without the removal of the
blockade the Zimbabwean population is likely to continue suffering as almost
every industry depends on agriculture.”
Apparently the imperialists are at it again! It is amazing if not tragic
that these “stakeholders” have the time to abandon their seemingly
productive farms and converge on Harare just to talk about sanctions.
The inconvenient truth that these “stakeholders” will be at pains to ignore
is that government has flouted countless Bippas with European and even
African countries. The arrest of South African farmer Mike Odendaal on
allegations of occupying his farm “illegally” despite a Bippa signed between
Zimbabwe and South Africa, is a case in point. In the end the Bippa did
nothing to stop him losing his farm.
“The country could not secure off-shore funding to resuscitate agriculture
owing of (sic) the sanctions. Major international banks began demanding a
10% premium on all Zimbabwe-destined loans,” the Sunday Mail lamented.
The fact that the IMF cut off balance of payments support to Zimbabwe in
1999 over protracted arrears to the fund and fiscal indiscipline is another
inconvenient truth. This, of course, is three years before the enactment of
the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, of December 2001.
“Previously, farmers exported flowers to the Netherlands as well as
horticultural produce to the United Kingdom markets,” the Sunday Mail goes
on to say. These have “since been closed due to the illegal sanctions”. No
mention here of those horticultural producers whose properties were seized
long before sanctions made an impact. Did the plunder of Kondozi have
anything to do with sanctions?
Probably the West has taken the same position on Zimbabwean horticultural
produce as President Robert Mugabe took on food aid in 2004 when he said:
“Why foist this food upon us? We don’t want to be choked. We have enough.”
In the end it becomes clear that Zanu PF wants supplies, loans and markets
from the West with the proviso that they won’t have to pay back or abide by
agreements. The motto seems to be “buy our produce even if we bash you and
give us money though we can’t promise to return it”.
There are a number of mysteries referred to in the press recently that need
to be solved. Firstly we had Elton Mangoma’s statement that he did not know
if Emmerson Mnangagwa was involved in his arrest but that he had known him
for a long time.
He dismissed claims that he was related to the Defence minister.
“I’m not related to him but have known him for a long time, in fact since
1982,” Mangoma said. “We worked together in the past.”
Doing what precisely? Muckraker is intrigued. How could a politician be so
Also warranting investigation is the exhumation and reburial of war victims
in Mt Darwin. Deputy minister Tichaona Mudzingwa, himself a war veteran,
said Zanu PF was politicising the exhumations without making an effort to
engage those who lost relatives in the war. He said as a family they lost
“This exercise spearheaded by Zanu PF is almost an exercise to bury
evidence,” Mudzingwa said.
“We don’t know who these people (being buried) are and when they died. He
called for the participation of forensic experts.
“As a nation we have many people who disappeared in 1978 and we have some
who disappeared in 2008,” he said calling for an investigation into both
What amazes us is that ZTV, which has been busy publicising the exhumations
by handing over $5 000, are the same people who have said nothing about the
mineshafts at Belagwe and other places in Matabeleland where people were
murdered in the early 1980s in similar circumstances. Grenades and acid were
used there. Why was there not the same degree of official-media interest?
We were intrigued by the demonstration of war veterans at Mupfure Self-Help
College in Chegutu. They were not interested in the text-books US ambassador
Charles Ray was handing over at the college which has been of material
benefit to war veterans. They had been bused in and just wanted to make a
noise about sanctions. They couldn’t understand why the US was supporting
Britain on sanctions.
Perhaps somebody could explain to them, it was actually the US that imposed
sanctions first, then Britain and the EU. Now 27 EU members have joined the
embargo. But as soon as the war veterans stop behaving badly and occupying
property that doesn’t belong to them the sanctions will be lifted.
No company wants to invest in a country where political gangs roam looking
for companies to invade! And where would Zimbabwe’s poor and hungry be were
it not for the US who kept the country fed in recent years?
The war vets probably don’t know that.
Jonathan Moyo appears to have a beef with Tendai Biti who he thinks has been
instigating this newspaper to carry articles authored by Moyo in 2006 which
described Zanu PF’s policy on sanctions as empty propaganda.
Commenting on President Mugabe’s speech at the opening of parliament in
August 2006, Moyo said “the speech was full of propaganda platitudes and
bereft of policy responses to the economic meltdown that is ravaging the
country. In fact so empty was Mugabe’s address that nobody remembers what he
Luckily we have Moyo’s comments on record to remind us. He said in this
newspaper in August 2006 that “the government initially reacted to these
sanctions by dismissing them as irrelevant and ineffectual Western
“The propaganda tune has now changed,” he wrote “from dismissing the
sanctions to claiming that they are causing the suffering of ordinary
people. That is why observers have been wondering how sanctions, which were
initially described as useless and irrelevant, can now be said to be
responsible for causing the suffering of ordinary people.
“Yet Mugabe and (Finance minister Herbert) Murerwa understand that the
sanctions talk is pure Zanu PF propaganda for mobilising political support
from the masses by seeking to make them believe that their suffering is due
to economic sanctions imposed by imperialist foreigners and not a result of
the failure of their government.”
We do not need Biti to tell us any of this. It is a matter of public record.
So why is Moyo so bitter? Perhaps because his views in 2006 chime with ours
today. Perhaps because it is extremely inconvenient for his political career
to have his masters reminded of just what a political opportunist he is.
His Sunday Mail piece last weekend was a flag to announce: “Look at me, see
how useful I can be in denouncing Zanu PF’s enemies.”
The problem is that the sort of abuse he specialises in tends to reflect
poorly on the party he is so anxious to serve. It certainly didn’t get them
anywhere in 2008.
Moyo roundly abuses this newspaper and its journalists calling us “useless”.
He omits to mention that he was so keen to have us publish his obituary of
Joseph Msika in August 2009 that he brought it into the newsroom personally.
We evidently weren’t useless then!
And what is more useful anyway, politicians who change their minds every few
years according to the political wind or newspapers that remain focused on
the issues and give a platform to different political views?
Meanwhile, we found it oddly strange how determined Zanu PF are to bar the
MDC-T from holding rallies. Considering how loud and proud they were in
claiming that “millions” had gathered for the Anti-Sanctions rally, one
would have thought that this would have been a golden opportunity to show
their detractors that the support is well and truly with them. Alas it was
not to be!
NewsDay reports that last Saturday, Zanu PF youths sealed off Glamis Arena,
the MDC-T venue for the planned rally near Exhibition Park and assaulted
MDC-T supporters and passers-by while police watched from a distance. So
much for police impartiality.
That was the third time they had been banned this month. The police had
claimed that Zanu PF had either booked the venues that the MDC-T wanted to
use or was holding its own rallies in close proximity to where they wanted
to assemble. Strangely there was no Zanu PF rally in the places the police
had claimed were being used by Zanu PF.
The police seem to have finally removed the veneer of impartiality in all
this. A reader has texted us to say how sad it is that the police claim they
don’t have enough officers to provide security at the MDC-T rally last
Saturday, yet they had sufficient officers to crush the same rally!
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, ZTV tells us, is “set to undergo a
rigorous rebranding and digitalisation process which is expected to enhance
the operations of the company”.
According to CEO Happison Muchechetere, the rebranding and digitalisation
process is in line with the five-year development plan. We hope the plan is
yet to be put in motion since there are no developments yet in the
programming. It is the same old story of drab 1980 movie reruns and
Muckraker is more than willing to offer some free advice to our beleaguered
broadcaster. The first step towards rebranding would be to remove
Muchechetere who has become synonymous with partisanship and sycophancy.
Again who wants to listen to the tired ideas of Vimbai Chivaura and
Tafataona Mahoso? As for the jingles, the less said the better. They have
made it impossible for anyone keen on maintaining their sanity to watch
A reader who enjoyed our recent guide to ZBC pronunciation has spotted (or
is it sported?) an atrocity from the Independent’s advertising department:
They advertised an event for “Sartuday”. By the way, did we remember to
include “surbub”, a former township? And we presume Webster Shamu knew
Cremora was a Nestlé product when he compared Mugabe to the Swiss company.
We were also amused by the sentiments of a Herald reader who seems to reside
at Munhumutapa offices. “Sportsmen who snub national duty including Musa
Mguni must be banned from Zimbabwe,” the reader declares.
“They are despising our country and our wisest president.”
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:09
By Eric Bloch
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, his sycophantic colleagues in general, and Youth,
Empowerment and Indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere in particular,
relentlessly pursue their determination to oust foreign ownership of any
major Zimbabwean economic entities. This is being done with pronounced
focus on one of the country’s key resources sector; mining. With
intensifying vigour, they have raled against foreign mine ownership.
A fortnight ago, Kasukuwere sought to justify the intended emasculation of
foreign investor control of Zimbabwean mines. He said that although mineral
exports had exceeded US$1,7 billion in 2010, approximately 20% of Zimbabwe’s
gross domestic product, the benefit from those exports was miniscule, with
only US$4 million in taxes having been paid to government by the mines. He
contended that Zimbabwe was being denuded of its natural resources without
any compensatory benefit, saying that “we have been getting a raw deal all
This contention is grossly devoid of substance, and by focusing exclusively
upon taxes paid by the mines (being clearly, in the minister’s perception,
only income taxes), he is misrepresenting issues. First and foremost, the
minister conveniently disregards the fact that all mines are obliged to pay
substantially for the mineral resources accessed by them. Based upon the
gross export values of the mines’ production, without any regard for the
costs of extraction and production, all mines have to pay considerable
royalties, as much as 15% of value for diamonds and 10% for other precious
stones, 5% for platinum and 4% for other precious metals, 2% for base and
industrial metals and coalbed methane, and 1% for coal. These royalties
represent a significant payment for Zimbabwe’s natural resources, and
especially so as they are assessed upon gross export values, irrespective
of, and with disregard for, the very considerable costs of production of the
In addition to the payment of income tax and royalties, the mining
enterprises very extensively contribute other revenues to the fiscus. They
pay customs duties on their imports of plant and machinery, mining
equipment, and other capital goods, and upon almost all other imported
operational inputs. Similarly, they have to pay value added tax (Vat) on
those imports and also on most operational inputs and services sourced
within Zimbabwe. They generate withholding taxes for the fiscus on any
expenditure on technical and allied services accessed by them from
non-resident sources, and on whatsoever dividends they declare in favour of
their foreign shareholders. The mines also have to fund diverse mining
As if all these contributions to governmental resources did not in
themselves represent a very considerable sum, the mining sector is also a
major indirect fiscal contributor. It employs many thousands of
Zimbabweans, their earnings being subject to Pay as You Earn, and upon the
expenditure by the employees of their net earnings, most of those
expenditures include Vat, and generate taxable profits in the hands of
suppliers to the employees. Similarly, the mines source very considerable
inputs from Zimbabwe suppliers, with consequential Vat inflows, as well as
many of customs duties to the fiscus and enhancing the taxable profits of
Over and above these very considerable direct and indirect fiscal inflows
from the operations of the mining companies, the major mining enterprises
spend enormous sums on the provision of housing, clinics, schooling
facilities and other communal services for not only their employees, but
also for the surrounding communities. In the absence of the mines so
doing, it would be incumbent upon the state to do so, exacerbating its
Moreover, Kasukuwere misleads himself and seeks to mislead the population by
implying that it is only the foreign shareholders who have benefitted from
the 2010, prior and subsequent export earnings. He disregards that those
earnings are gross receipts and a very major portion thereof funds the
mines’ production, operating and administration costs, be they wages and
salaries, payment for energy supplies (erratically forthcoming), other
parastatals’ and local authorities’ charges, fuel and innumerable other
costs. Both the president and the minister and their political activists
conveniently overlook or do not consider the very great investment funding
provided by the mine owners. That funding is essential for prospecting and
exploration, for mine development and for effective working capital. The
magnitude of the required investment funding is far beyond the means of the
impoverished Zimbabwean economy and the meaningful growth of the mining
sector, with consequential benefits for the economy, the fiscus and the
populace, being forfeited if the investment funding were not forthcoming
from the foreign investors.
In order to pursue its misguided intent to oust foreign investor majority
ownership of many of the mines, government proposes the establishment of a
sovereign wealth fund. However, it does not have the resources to finance
that fund and with the exception of a very few, overly-endowed, mainly
politically connected individuals, Zimbabweans do not have the necessary
investment resources. Therefore, government envisages that it will levy
private enterprise to endow the proposed fund, thereby obligating the
private sector and current enterprise owners to fund their own
disinvestment. Effectively, the intents are naught but the expropriation
and nationalisation of private sector resources, virtually comparable with
the state-managed and orchestrated grabbing of the pre-2000 agricultural
lands and the improvements and developments thereon.
Once again, international norms of legitimate and ethical legal ownership
and process are to be ignored, as will yet again be many of the Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements, by a devious, pretend-to-be
That this is so should not surprise the international community, investors
or the Zimbabwean private sector; for government has long demonstrated its
remarkable ability to disregard, dismiss, distort or misrepresent and
misconstrue facts, in such way as is convenient to it.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:02
By Dumisani Nkomo
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai a fortnight ago threatened to pull out of
the inclusive government after the removal of former House of Assembly
speaker Lovemore Moyo and the arrest of Energy minister, Elton Mangoma.
Whilst the premier was justified in his indignation it is in the best
interests of the MDC-T and indeed all progressive Zimbabweans for political
party leaders to think objectively and carefully before committing acts of
political suicide which will only be beneficial to Zanu PF, which has been
praying for the demise of the inclusive government and attendant imperatives
contained in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
If the MDC-T pulls out of the inclusive government without an alternative
plan this will be tantamount to drinking poison and expecting Zanu PF to
die. The Zanu PF strategy is to push the MDC formations to the limit by
arresting their legislators and ignoring outstanding issues in the GPA
thereby creating more outstanding issues whilst preparing the ground for an
election. This election will not just be about settling the unresolved
results of the 2008 elections but also addressing pertinent and outstanding
succession issues within Zanu PF.
The arrest of MDC legislators and members may increase in the next few
months thus forcing the opposition parties to respond emotionally without
carefully thinking through their strategy. In responding emotionally to
issues the MDC-T may then fall into well planned Zanu PF traps which may
include more criminal proceedings against the likes of the prime minister
and other key opposition leaders. In desperation the MDC-T will then be
forced to quit the government of unity government.
This would be a most suicidal move as it would be an answered prayer for
Zanu PF strategists who are wary of the implications of the full
implementation of the GPA. At the moment the MDC-T does not have a plan B
and in the absence of such an alternative their only option is the full
implementation of the GPA coupled with aggressive and proactive internal
mobilisation, and intelligent regional and international advocacy. This
would be underpinned by strategic alliances with other political parties
such as the MDC led by Professor Ncube and Zapu led by former Zipra
intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa.
None of the three leading opposition parties can make any meaningful
progress on its own at the moment and any attempts at self-seeking glory
would be tantamount to mass political suicide. Instead of forming strategic
alliances Zimbabwe’s main political parties are wasting time feasting on
each other’s failures and failing to stand in solidarity with each other at
a time when Zanu PF is indeed experiencing “a Lazarus moment”, as Jonathan
Moyo predicted, and is on the warpath dealing ruthlessly with opponents by
all means necessary.
Dabengwa’s principled stand to express solidarity with incarcerated MDC-T
leaders was admirable and exemplary. Such reciprocal actions were expected
from the MDC-T when the three Mthwakazi Liberation Front leaders were
arrested on trumped-up charges of treason. Similarly opposition parties were
expected to unite in expressing solidarity with Munyaradzi Gwisai and over
40 other activists who were arrested recently.
None of the three parties in the Government of National Unity (GNU) can
elect a new Speaker without the support of at least one other party. This is
without discounting the possibility of gangster tactics such attempts to win
over individual MPs either from MDC or Zanu PF using Machiavellian tactics.
It is at such a time that the political parties should be kicking themselves
for failing to seize on moments of strategic importance and strategic and
principled solidarity. A golden opportunity was lost when Mugabe refused to
acknowledge Ncube as a GNU principal and deputy prime minister, and the
MDC-T arrogantly referred to this as an internal problem within Ncube’s MDC.
A golden opportunity was lost when the MDC, then under deputy prime minister
Arthur Mutambara, failed to side with the MDC-T on the issue of the
swearing in of Roy Bennett and the contentious issues of the appointment
of ambassadors, the attorney general and the Reserve Bank governor. The MDC,
under Ncube, then exhibited intellectual arrogance by arguing that undue
focus was being placed on personalities and posts, instead of policies.
Whilst they may have been right, surely the chickens came home to roost when
Ncube was then due to be sworn-in as deputy prime minister and Mugabe
refused to comply.
On the issue of the election of the new Speaker the two MDC formations need
each other whether they like it or not. Pride, polarisation and lack of
principled positions may cost the two parties dearly in the race for the
speakership and beyond. Obviously more members of parliament may be arrested
thus reducing the MDC-T’s votes in the contest for the speakership. Instead
of revelling in the arrest of these MPs and lambasting Tsvangirai, Ncube’s
MDC should condemn these attacks in the same way that the MDC-T should make
principled attempts to recognise Ncube as leader of the other MDC formation
as a matter of principle, pragmatism and appreciation of the political
reality that Ncube is in control of most of his MPs. This could be useful to
the MDC-T in the future.
This is the politics of pragmatism which is so critical to statecraft and
effective political lobbying through strategic partnerships. The issue of
Ncube being a principal will cease to be an internal issue when MDC-T needs
the support of Ncube’s MPs in parliament, and when Tsvangirai needs Ncube’s
support at the level of the principals because Mutambara may side with
Mugabe. Why side with two wolves when you are a sheep? Similarly for Ncube’s
MDC, they should not cheer when a fellow opposition sheep is being devoured,
especially if one is also a sheep and is in danger of the canine appetite of
political wolves such as Zanu PF.
Are these parties really serious about liberating Zimbabwe or they are just
wasting our time? Zapu is critical in the power transfer equation, dividing
the Zanu PF vote and unseating the former liberation party from some of its
strongholds in Bubi, Gwanda South and Beitbridge. Ncube’s MDC with its
deciding seats in parliament is crucial and strategic in struggles in
parliament. The party also has reputable and experienced politicians who are
definitely part of the country’s solution to the future.
The MDC-T enjoys huge grassroots support, is buoyed by the charismatic
Tsvangirai brand, the incredible resilience of its nationwide support and
ability to read popular politics. However without the support of the other
two political parties the MDC-T is a beautiful vehicle which cannot move
because it has no fuel to translate popularity to power. Zimbabwe needs
Tsvangirai, Ncube and Dabengwa. Any politician from these three parties who
tries to play superman could find himself relegated to the dustbin of
Dumisani is the chief executive officer of Habakkuk Trust and principal
spokesperson of the Matabeleland Civil Society Consortium. He writes in his
personal capacity. email: email@example.com
Thursday, 24 March 2011 19:57
By Alex Magaisa
THE recent comments on the judiciary made by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai in the wake of the judgment nullifying the election of the
Speaker of parliament have raised a real storm. There are reports that he
may be hauled before the courts on charges of contempt of court.
It is not intended here to pass judgment on the character of those comments.
It is a matter which if it indeed it does come before the courts will
exercise the wise faculties of the learned judges.
Having some interest in matters of judicial independence and being inclined
to defend the courts against political interference, it matters not to me
who is doing it and I believe that it is important to exercise restraint.
However, concern also arises where the law is applied selectively.
I have, in my research on Zimbabwe over the years, observed with interest
the relationship between the judiciary and politicians and I have concluded
that only a few can really raise their hands and claim they are clean. This
article simply recollects moments in recent history where conduct similar to
that which is currently the subject of the political and legal storm has
manifested itself, often without consequence to its authors.
Interestingly too, some characters who today point accusatory fingers do not
seem to have a clean record when it comes to contemptuous behaviour towards
the courts. No doubt they will justify their conduct, just as Tsvangirai
will also try to justify his recent comments.
In an article in the Zimbabwe Independent on August 2 2002, President
Robert Mugabe was quoted as having remarked at a reception for MPs that the
government would not obey judgments which it regarded as “subjective”. He is
quoted as having stated: “We will respect judges where the judgments are
These comments were made in reference to a case in which Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa had been convicted of contempt of court by Justice
Blackie, then a High Court judge. The report goes further to quote the
president as having said that a judge who “sits alone in his house or with
his wife and says ‘this one is guilty of contempt’, that judgment should
never be obeyed”.
This was a statement clearly signalling that the government would be at
liberty to select which judgments to obey and which ones to ignore. And, of
course, that was not deemed enough to qualify as contempt of court.
‘Night Judges, night justice’
In October 2000, the then Information minister Jonathan Moyo issued vicious
criticism of High Court judge, Justice Chatikobo, whom he accused of being
a “night judge dispensing night justice”, after he had granted an urgently
sought interdict after hours.
A new radio broadcasting company, Capital Radio, had sought urgent
protection of the courts against Moyo who wanted to seize its equipment at a
time when the main case was pending in court. Justice Chatikobo granted an
order for Capital Radio against the government, and Moyo was not pleased.
The police disregarded the High Court order which Moyo ridiculed on the
grounds that it had been issued by a “night judge, in a night court” and
that the result had merely been “night justice”. There were no charges of
contempt of court against Moyo.
Letters to the judiciary
The matter did not end there. As the Zimbabwe Independent reported on
October 13 2000, Moyo was reported to have written to the then Judge
President Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku registering “government’s disquiet
over (the) High Court ruling in the Capital Radio saga”. This resulted in
the High Court instituting investigations into the conduct of Justice
Chatikobo who had granted the interdict giving Capital Radio protection
against a search by the police.
Contrast this to when Tsvangirai is reported to have written to the High
Court regarding the Roy Bennett matter. He was widely lambasted for
interfering with the judiciary. To my mind, both were wrong to write to the
courts from their seats in the executive for it constitutes undue
interference. There are proper channels that everyone must follow. Yet it
would seem rather odd to any reasonable person the different reaction to
In any event, there was nothing irregular about what Justice Chatikobo had
done — urgent relief ought to be given at any time of the day otherwise
violators can take advantage to commit their acts and cause irreparable harm
during those times when they think judges and the courts of law cannot hear
matters. Justice Chatikobo later resigned and took up a judicial post in
Botswana where he later died.
Chinotimba’s supreme court invasion
In November 2000, war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba led a group that,
in an unprecedented act, invaded the Supreme Court building to start what
was to become the effective purge of the judiciary — removing judges who
were regarded as being unfavourable towards the fast track land reform
Indeed, of all judges of the Supreme Court who were in office in March 2001,
the one who has survived is Justice Wilson Sandura, who so often finds
himself in the minority in major judgments. Those of us in the business of
teaching the law often advise students of law to pay particular attention to
some dissenting judgments often because they have more legal merit than the
popular majority decision.
I like to think Justice Sandura’s judgments are, and will in future, be a
critical source of teaching and learning the law in Zimbabwe. History is
kind to good legal reasoning.
After their unprecedented act and accompanying threats against the judges,
Chinotimba and his comrades were never charged with contempt of court.
‘Polite and nice’ request to leave
After Chinotimba’s group threatened the Chief Justice Antony Gubbay, Justice
minister Chinamasa is reported to have advised him that the government would
not be able to guarantee his safety. This lack of protection and apparent
collusion between the war veterans and the executive arm of government
threatening the integrity of the courts and safety of the judges forced him
to retire in March 2001.
One of the Supreme Court judges, Justice McNally, is also quoted in the
media as having said at the time: “I was told very politely and very nicely
that I should go — take my leave and go, otherwise anything could happen. It
was said very frankly that they didn’t want me to come to any harm.” He was
referring to a meeting he had with Chinamasa during the upheavals.
Judge Devittee was one of the three High Court Judges appointed after the
highly controversial 2000 parliamentary elections to preside over electoral
cases brought before the court. He made a few decisions that upheld the
Chinotimba is quoted as having declared: “Devittee is a judge for opposition
political parties. The way Gubbay went is the same way he is to go”.
Gubbay is the former Chief Justice whom, it was reported, Chinotimba and his
colleagues had invaded and threatened at the Supreme Court in 2000 before he
eventually departed in 2001. By June 2001, Judge Devittee had resigned from
office. Needless to say Chinotimba was not charged with contempt of court.
Justice Blackie’s ‘kangaroo courts’
Sometime in 2000, Chinamasa was hauled before the High Court on charges of
contempt of court. He did not turn up. Justice Blackie, then presiding,
issued an order of sentencing Chinamasa to three months’ jail time and a
Z$50 000 fine for contempt of court. The charges of contempt had arisen over
comments regarding sentences against three Americans who had been found in
possession of arms, which punishment Chinamasa thought was too light.
Chinamasa is quoted as having said at the time of sentencing that the
six-month jail sentences induced “a sense of shock and outrage in the minds
of all right-thinking people .The leniency of the sentences constitutes a
betrayal of all civilised and acceptable notions of justice and of Zimbabwe’s
When he gave his judgment on the contempt charge, Justice Blackie said that,
“the statements made by Chinamasa were intended to bring Justice Adam (who
had issued the sentences) into disrepute as a judge and the administration
of justice by the High Court in this case into disrepute.”
Later, the sentence against Chinamasa was overturned by another judge but
not long after, Justice Blackie was arrested and what followed was an ordeal
that some believe was retribution for the sentence that he had earlier
passed against the minister.
There is some indication in this rubble that this at least shows that it is
possible to hold one in contempt of court for scurrilous accusations against
the courts, especially by those in positions of executive authority and that
they should exercise restraint in their public utterances. This applies to
all leaders and parties. Yet one has to recall that even after Chinamasa’s
conviction, the then Information minister Moyo did not relent.
He is quoted as having remarked that the contempt of court judgment by
Justice Blackie showed that the judge “who has a history of kangaroo courts”
had taken the matter into “a personal crusade and has done that in a manner
that will erode public confidence in the justice system”, and further that
“there is no doubt that fair minded and law abiding citizens will see this
judgement for what it is: outrageous, sinister, highly personalised crusade
made by someone who should be packing his bags”.
No to legal technicalities
As long back as 1982, after a judgment against the government in a matter
involving the Yorke brothers, the then Prime Minister Mugabe is recorded as
having responded: “The government cannot allow the technicalities of the law
to fetter its hands in what is a very clear task before it, to preserve law
and order in the country .We shall therefore proceed as the government in
the manner we feel is fitting … and some of the measures we shall take are
measures which will be extra-legal”.
Defenders will no doubt find reasons to defend these statements citing
arguments including preservation of national security and the politics of
the day, but so will defenders of Tsvangirai in present day politics.
‘Merely academic judgement’
In 2004, when Justice Majuru — then of the Administrative Court — ruled in
favour of the ANZ, publishers of the Daily News, and when the order was
later confirmed by Justice Nare who was the Minister of Information, Moyo
responded by saying that the judgment was merely academic and could
therefore not be enforced.
In an article on the undermining of the judiciary, journalist Blessing Zulu
quotes Professor Welshman Ncube, then MDC secretary general, as having said:
“The ANZ case is the first clear and unambiguous refusal by the government
to obey a court order. This time they cannot change the law to suit their
needs. This is a clear attack on the judicial system.” Needless to say, no
action was taken against the alleged offenders.
Contempt of court by Zimbabwean politicians has a shamefully rich history.
As long back as the late 1960s, in the well-known case of Madzimbamuto v
Lardner-Burke, the Smith government had vowed not to obey the Privy Council
judgement which was likely to rule against it. Indeed when the Privy Council
judgment came, pliable judges effectively took the government side –– except
two, Judges Fieldsend and Dendy Young who resigned in protest.
The culture of disobeying and undermining judicial authority where decisions
are unfavourable to politicians seems to have been one of the more negative
inheritances from that era. It is part of a culture that taints the greater
Few can raise their hands and claim them to be clean. They have been
contemptuous in various ways but the difference is that most have got away
with it because they wield greater political power.
Plainly, one could produce a whole volume of incidents in which members of
the executive have conducted themselves in ways that are so contemptuous
that they are likely to jeopardise and often have endangered the
independence of the judiciary.
Chief Justice Chidyausiku issued a plea in his recent speech at the opening
of the legal year calling on politicians not to interfere with the judiciary’s
work. True enough, politicians are human beings and they do get frustrated.
In the frustration, they may say things that upon further reflection they
would rather not have said.
It is probable that Tsvangirai made statements against the Supreme Court
judges in a moment of frustration. That is not to excuse his conduct. But
one needs to tread carefully here, for as the various instances chronicled
in this piece indicate, politicians on the other side of the political
divide have no clean hands as far as this type of conduct is concerned. They
have, in various instances, issued similar, if not worse criticism against
the courts and judges. This conduct caused many judges to leave office in
the early part of the last decade.
Whatever the justifications they may use for their actions, the fact remains
that their conduct was no less contemptuous. Yet none of them faced the
wrath of the law and the courts for such contempt — in the one significant
case involving Chinamasa, it was quashed by another judge.
It is not right for politicians — Zanu PF, MDC or whomsoever — to abuse the
courts and judges yet it is also not right to apply the law selectively. The
matter needs sober minds and sober politicians to raise their hands and
clean up their act. Judges must maintain the integrity of their office by
not only dispensing justice, but as the old adage goes, be seen to be doing
Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, University of Kent. He can be
contacted on: waMagaisa@yahoo.co.uk
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:22
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has denounced the killing of civilians in Libya by
Western airstrikes, saying it was a mistake by African countries to support
the imposition of the “no-fly zone” in the country in a bid to stop Muammar
Gaddafi’s military crackdown on his opponents.
Mugabe on Monday accused the United States, Britain and France of being
“hypocritical”. He said they stretched the United Nations (UN) Security
Council resolution to attack Libya and were doing it “callously” without
caring who dies, although there could be no going back on the Security
Council decision. Further he said the West was after oil in Libya. He also
said he did not agree with Gaddafi’s system but indicated he would have
transformed it in his own way. Even though some people may agree with Mugabe
on some of the points, this is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle
black! One can’t miss the hypocrisy and contradictions in Mugabe’s remarks
which read like psychological projection.
In the Gospel of Matthew 7:3, Jesus is quoted as saying, during a discourse
on judgmentalism, in the Sermon on the Mount: “And why beholdest thou the
mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in
thine own eye?”
This means: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and
then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”.
The metaphor is an attack on hypocrisy, condemning those with major flaws
for attacking others without first looking at themselves in the mirror.
Mugabe fits this description. Where was he when Gaddafi was terrorising
Libyans all these years? Wasn’t he one of those who hobnobbed with him? When
the Libyans decided to free themselves from more than 40 years of Gaddafi’s
tyranny, Mugabe was conspicuous by his silence.
Mugabe said nothing about the uprising. When Gaddafi last month went on TV
to declare war on his people, threatening to be merciless with civilians
(“stray dogs and cats”), what did Mugabe say? When he started bombarding
civilians across the country, what did Mugabe do about it? Gaddafi vowed to
hunt down opponents of his regime, purging them “house by house” and “inch
Did we hear Mugabe complaining about this?
Mugabe’s remarks constitute hypocrisy of the worst order. But then no one
should be surprised. Mugabe fears foreign intervention for obvious reasons:
his appalling human rights record among them. His regime has committed some
of the worst human rights abuses in the region during his 30-year rule. From
Gukurahundi to the 2008 presidential election run-off, Zimbabweans have been
victims of harassment, arbitrary arrests and torture, disappearances and
murder. This has always been done with impunity. Mugabe has also betrayed
the revolution and ruined the country. Everything he touches turns to dross.
To make matters worse, Mugabe has shown no remorse or care about it.
Whatever Mugabe and his discredited propagandists like Jonathan Moyo and
Tafataona Mahoso, who rant and rave hysterically like Gaddafi, say their
leader and party has dismally failed and will end in the dustbin of history.
For the record we don’t support foreign intervention in Libya or anywhere
else. History tells us foreign intervention doesn’t work. It leads to
escalation. In most cases it triggers a full-scale war, bringing decades of
conflict and bloodshed. Yet we are aware throughout the 1990s controversy
raged — particularly over Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo — between those who
support “humanitarian intervention” and those who argued that state
sovereignty, protected by the UN Charter, precludes any intervention in
internal matters. The world has vowed repeatedly since the Holocaust, “never
again!” Yet genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other crimes continue to shock
our consciences — from the killing fields of Cambodia to the machetes of
Rwanda to the agony of Darfur.
However, we think if there has to be intervention, then the UN Security
Council is better placed to authorise that under strict conditions.
For the US and its allies, without a full commitment to promote democracy
and human rights as top priorities over other claims, the only thing certain
is that their dilemma of what to do about dictators will remain. Meanwhile,
Mugabe must stop his double standards. They don’t wash.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:20
By Itai Masuku
IT seems Zimbabwe, or rather its government, has a penchant for
retrogressive legislation. The method is very simple: When you want to do
something that is otherwise clearly illegal, create laws to do it.
That’s what we have been seeing from our Zanu PF arm of government over the
past decade. The latest legal stunt has been the decision to bar anyone from
effectively suing the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe from liabilities it incurred
during the days of its quasi-fiscal activities and this has been in the form
of amendments to the State Liabilities Act.
The bank owes nearly US$1,2 billion by the way. Not to be outdone, our very
own CIO operative Saviour (how ironic) Kasukuwere has been championing the
Indigenisation and Empowerment Act. But behind these seemingly legal
statutes, are very illegal motives; the right to take other people’s
property without paying. In normal language, this is called theft.
Kasukuwere wants to unravel nominee companies on the Zimbabwe stock exchange
with a view to taking over shares owned by these nominees. What is more
discouraging is his disdain for the stock exchange. He is on record as
arguing that there are many successful countries that have succeeded without
having stock exchanges. I asked around for which countries these might be
and came across three, North Korea, Cuba and Burma. Very encouraging
In the modern world, the stock exchange is the window to your economy.
Investors window shopping for a destination for their money look at this
showcase. Then after they have sampled what you have got on sale they might
decide to make direct investment, the very same foreign direct investment we
are seeking in this country. We don’t have to go far. Remember when our
government opened up the ZSE to foreign investors in 1992? The local bourse
did indeed prove that it was a vehicle for economic growth. The immediate
beneficiary was our tourism industry as investors wanted to find out for
themselves the country in which they were putting their money in. The
tourism industry grew by an average 7% or more each year until 2000s.
No system is foolproof or perfect, but the stock exchange is the epitome of
market forces at play. And that’s how it works, if you want anything you
buy; you make an offer to the seller and if your price is good enough he or
she will sell. As one surprised investment analyst said, “If government
wants to own shares on the ZSE why don’t they buy? At the correct price they
would get a seller.”
What sort of culture are we imparting to our youths, given that Kasukuwere’s
portfolio covers youth development, if we teach them that if you want
something, grab it from someone who has it? We are turning them into thieves
and robbers. We are teaching them to be thieves dressed in suits and ties,
but thieves all the same. We are now forced to believe what one source told
us more than six months ago but we dismissed it as mere speculation, and
that is Zanu PF stalwarts had quarrelled over who would take over which
assets on and off the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. According to the source,
Kasukuwere has set his eyes on one of these counters that is in the banking
sector. Apparently, the chief executive of the bank in question is a
relative or very close friend of the minister, we are told. Six months later
the same minister is championing these takeovers. Get the picture? Pray he’s
not the one to take over Nestlé. As he won’t be able to use the Nestlé brand
nor any of its products’ brands, we might end up starting our days on a bowl
of Werevita as opposed to our favourite Cerevita.
Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:18
By Dingilizwe Ntuli
LIKE a Shakespearean tragedy Zimbabwe finds itself embroiled in yet another
political drama with its own colourful cast of characters. Just a fortnight
ago, House of Assembly Speaker Lovemore Moyo was unseated by a Supreme Court
judgement which ruled his election null and void.
The dramatic court case was sponsored by the main character, Zimbabwe’s most
prominent political chameleon Jonathan Moyo, as well as disgruntled MPs from
the smaller MDC faction, Moses Mzila Ndlovu, Patrick Dube and Siyabonga
Ncube. Their case was premised on alleged violations of parliament’s
standing rules and the Electoral Act.
They argued that the court challenge was triggered by “electoral fraud”
saying the vote was in violation of the secret ballot as required by the
country’s electoral laws.
The Supreme Court granted their wish to remove Lovemore Moyo, but one thing
had changed. The good professor is no longer standing shoulder to shoulder
with the same MPs he initially filed the petition with.
Notwithstanding the fact that Jonathan Moyo seconded Paul Themba Nyathi’s
nomination for the Speakership at the first sitting of the House of Assembly
on August 28 2008, true to his chameleon character, he has announced his
return to Zanu PF with a resounding bang.
His second advent to Zanu PF has also brought with it a change in his
preferred candidate. As a member of the party’s supreme politburo, he was
part of the unanimous decision to nominate Simon Khaya Moyo as the party’s
candidate for Speaker.
Poor Themba Nyathi! The dethroning of Lovemore Moyo temporarily resurrected
his political ambitions, but the 2008 demographics have long changed. Zanu
PF is sensing blood and is in no compromising mood to back the same
candidate they had initially voted for.
The question is, where are the co-sponsors of the court petition to set
aside Lovemore Moyo’s election as Speaker? They have not uttered a word
since the Supreme Court’s pronouncement.
Could Ndlovu, Dube and Ncube’s deafening silence mean acknowledgement that
they were blindly used by Jonathan Moyo in his political manoeuvres?
Jonathan Moyo has delivered a great victory to Zanu PF but to whom did his
co-sponsors deliver their victory to?
Although they might rightly claim that the ruling vindicated them, why then
are they threatening to boycott the upcoming vote to elect a replacement?
Could it be they realise that their action has presented Zanu PF with an
easy power-grab opportunity? One is tempted to say Ndlovu, Dube and Ncube’s
unconsidered actions have been at a great cost to the nation.
Although they might have initially meant well, their action is now being
hailed triumphantly by much of the Zanu PF hierarchy and its media as the
party prepares to wrest back the Speakership through any means.
While it remains unclear how and when this final chapter will play out, the
drama is replete with intrigues. MPs across the political divide, lawyers
and the public at large were expecting the convening of the House of
Assembly to elect a new Speaker at its sitting on Tuesday, but Clerk of
parliament Austin Zvoma, who acts as the retaining officer in such
scenarios, further fuelled the unprecedented drama by indefinitely
postponing the election.
Zvoma didn’t even announce the vacancy of the position leaving a lot to the
imagination. What logistical and other legal requirements is Zvoma talking
about? Couldn’t Zvoma proceed without Zanu PF’s approval because it hadn’t
settled for its choice of Speaker since its politburo only chose Simon Khaya
Moyo on Wednesday?
Zvoma only announced that the election of the Speaker will take place at a
future date to be announced in due course.
This left the MDC-T fuming that the eviction of Lovemore Moyo highlighted an
element of selective justice.
MPs on both sides are mischaracterising their political stance on this case
as somehow a stand for justice but there is a perception that this justice
is selective and reserved only for one’s opponents.
Those who are couching their political arguments in the Lovemore Moyo case
as those of “justice” should understand how they are denigrating the
principle itself by misusing it in this situation.