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New draft constitution: Zim on verge of change

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in News

ZIMBABWE is on the verge of having a new constitution which will phase out
the current Lancaster House document after parliament passed the Copac draft
yesterday, laying the basis for a new political dispensation ahead of
general elections later this year.

Report by Owen Gagare

The Copac draft constitution, despite being widely condemned as flawed and
unprogressive, was approved in a referendum in March and went through its
first reading in the House of Assembly as Constitution Amendment Number 20
Bill on Tuesday.

The Bill was read for a second time on Wednesday, and yesterday it entered
the committee stage during which the House scrutinised it clause by clause
before it was passed.

Should Senate pass the new constitution next week and the president then
assents to it, as is expected, its sixth schedule provides that only certain
parts of it will come into operation immediately, while other sections will
become effective at a later stage.

The parts that will come into effect immediately include:
The provisions relating to citizenship;
The Declaration of Rights;
The provisions relating to elections, in particular those dealing with the
election and assumption of office of a new president, the election and
summoning of parliament, and the functions and powers of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission;
Provisions relating to public administration and leadership and the conduct
of members of the security services, and
Provisions relating to provincial and local government.

However, it is only after the first president elected under the new
constitution is sworn in and assumes office that the other sections in the
new constitution will start operating, repealing the present one.

Legislators, lawyers, including Veritas which deals with parliamentary
issues, and negotiators of the three parties in the inclusive government,
say the Bill enacting the new constitution will have to be passed by both
Houses of Parliament and assented to by the president before the current
tenure of parliament lapses at midnight of June 28 because all the Bills
which will not have been passed by then will also lapse.

Before parliament dissolves, there will however, be a need to harmonise
existing laws, such as the Electoral Act, with the new constitution under
which elections will be held.

The Electoral Act will be amended to make provisions for proportional
representation, among other things.

Under the new constitution, 60 Senators, 60 women in the National Assembly
and 80 members of provincial councils will be elected by proportional
representation.

The new Senate will also have two senators specially elected to represent
persons with disabilities. How they will be elected and the definition of
“persons with disabilities” will have to be set out in the Electoral Act.

The new constitution requires nomination day in elections to be at least 14
days after the elections are called for, and at least 30 days before polling
day. The time limits will have to be incorporated into the Electoral Act.

The Electoral Act is also vague and inconsistent on how and when election
results must be transferred between electoral centres from ward to
constituency, provincial and national level.

These inconsistencies will have to be clarified before parliament is
dissolved. Should there be a challenge to the election of the president, the
new Constitutional Court will decide although other challenges will remain
under the Electoral Court.

A policy decision will have to be made on whether the changes needed to
specify the procedure for bringing such challenges before the Constitutional
Court are done by legislation through parliament, or by amending the Rules
of the Supreme Court.

Provisions of the new constitution relating to provincial and local
government will come into operation as soon as the new constitution is
gazetted, but in order for the provincial and metropolitan councils to
become operational, legislation will have to be passed before then,
providing for the functions, powers and procedures of provincial councils.

The Urban Councils Act and the Rural District Councils Act must be amended
before the elections to remove the power of the minister of Local Government
to appoint councillors.

Some of the changes that will have to be made immediately include amendments
to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The new constitution confers
rights on persons who have been arrested or are up for trial.

As soon as the new Declaration of Rights comes into operation, the rights
conferred by it will become enforceable. Any appeals involving violations of
the new Declaration of Rights will then go to the Constitutional Court
rather than the Supreme Court.

When a new president is sworn in, the responsibility for prosecuting
criminal cases on behalf of the state will be transferred from the
Attorney-General (AG) to a National Prosecuting Authority under the control
of a Prosecutor-General (PG). The AG will become PG.


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‘Zim set for prolonged transition’

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in News

DEMOCRACY is often defined as a form of government in which people have a
voice and influence in the exercise of power, typically through elected
representatives.

Report by Elias Mambo

It is mostly manifested through elections which enable people to choose
their representatives, but if elections are held in hostile environments and
conditions, then a country risks democratic stagnation or reversal.

However, democracy scholars say it is absolute and the holding of elections
does not necessarily make a country automatically democratic as polls can be
manipulated to ensure regime retention and continuity.

Instead, a state’s democratic credentials involve assessing many, if not
all, aspects of governance and the political system.

In his classic definition, Robert Dahl states democracy requires not only
free, fair and competitive elections, but also the freedoms that make them
truly meaningful, such as freedom of organisation, expression, and
alternative sources of information and institutions to ensure government
policies depend on the votes and preferences of citizens.

Democracy, he says, is much complex and has many measures and nuances.

As highlighted by the recently launched Crisis Coalition Transition
Barometer, democracy is not just about majority rule, but requires political
freedoms so that there can be debate and independent decision-making.

Commonly recognised essential components of democracy include multi-party
electoral competition, freedom of association, freedom of movement,
independent media, and the rule of law, among others.

The Transition Barometer, which tracks the progress of Zimbabwe’s inclusive
government and provides a researched analysis to give a better understanding
of the transition, says if elections are held prematurely in Zimbabwe — that
is within the next two months — the most probable outcome would be a
prolonged transition.

Transition Barometer researcher Phillan Zamchiya says the uncertainty over
the election dates and ambiguity on what happens after June 29 when the
tenure of the president and parliament expire presents a scenario in which
the executive would continue without the legislature and thus rule by
decree.

“If elections are held before June 30, the coalition will endure, as Zanu PF
will need the co-operation of the two opposition MDC factions to form a
legitimate government,” Zamchiya said.

This would also further prolong Zimbabwe’s transition to a fully democratic
country with a transparent and accountable system of governance, he said.

“It will be difficult to gain political legitimacy due to the fact that
Sadc, other political parties, civil society and the independent media will
keep tracking the transition and expose Zanu PF’s election manipulation
strategies, subtle or overt,” said Zamchiya.

Zanu PF insists elections should be held without fail by June 29 when
parliament’s tenure expires, while its unity government partners, MDC-T and
MDC, civil society and Sadc say Global Political Agreement (GPA) reforms
must be implemented first if the elections are to be credible.

In the Transition Barometer analysis, Zimbabwe scored lowly on almost all
the six focus areas that have an impact on both the transitional process and
the building and consolidation of democracy. These include, among other
things, the rule of law, implementation of the GPA which gave birth to the
coalition government, clearly defined election dates and the role being
played by Sadc in monitoring Zimbabwe’s transition.

Zamchiya said although there have been some positive democratic gains,
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party are still in a position to
manipulate state institutions and electoral systems in order to retain
power.

“Zimbabwe is heading towards a prolonged transition because the incumbent
(Mugabe) can overtly manipulate electoral processes, economic resources and
state institutions and emerge as a winner if elections are to be held within
the next two months,” he said.

He also said Mugabe would allow for grasshopper reforms (reforms favourable
to him) in a prolonged transition and this would lead to routine elections
with pre-determined results.

Mugabe and Zanu PF are under increasing pressure from the MDC parties over
reforms and the election dates, but have the backing of security service
chiefs who are now some of the richest people in Zimbabwe and have openly
declared their political loyalty to him and his party.

While Zanu PF is engulfed in internal strife, primarily over Mugabe’s
succession leaving its structures virtually collapsed in some areas, state
institutions, particularly the military, continue to prop it up making the
security forces the party’s pillar of strength.

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director Pedzisai Ruhanya said Transition
Barometer was spot-on when it said Zimbabwe is headed for a prolonged
transition if elections are held without critical reforms.

“The outcome of the next elections will be pre-determined because GPA
reforms have been stalled by Zanu PF and Mugabe,” Ruhanya said. “There is
chaos with regards to the voters’ roll, voter registration and hostile
statements by military generals show they are unwilling to accept change.

“So it will be tough to have a democratic transition and smooth transfer of
power in the event Mugabe loses the election.
“Furthermore, the conflation of voter registration and inspection with the
′process of aligning laws with the new constitution, there is potential
continuation of concealed and selective implementation of that process to
the advantage of Zanu PF.”

Zamchiya said: “This infrastructure of error has manifested itself through
concealed and selective voter registration exercise and the unfettered
access of, and use ′of Zanu PF to state institutions.”

Political analyst Alexander Rusero said reforms are needed particularly in
the security sector because “military commanders are not only violating the
constitution, but their own vision and core values which include
professionalism and integrity”.

Analysts say given what is happening now before the elections, Zimbabwe is
headed for botched polls and prolonged transition whose outcome remains
uncertain.


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Discontent rocks CIO

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in News

A STORM is brewing in the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) over
salary disparities and general conditions of service, putting spymaster
Happyton Bonyongwe under pressure ahead of crucial elections expected later
this year.

Report by Elias Mambo

Intelligence sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that senior CIO
officers from the position of provincial intelligence officers (PIOs) to
directors were given hefty salary adjustments, a move that has riled poorly
paid ordinary officers.

“Directors and PIOs were given hefty salary increments in order to silence
them; the adjustments were secretly made while the rest of us are still
struggling,” said a source.

“Besides the salary adjustments, the senior officers have been issued with
vehicles on two different occasions in the last two years while junior
officers’ salaries remain stuck below the poverty datum line.”
The poverty datum line is currently pegged at US$506.

Sources said junior intelligence officers petitioned Bonyongwe over salaries
and conditions of service on several occasions, but in order to rein them
in, members were asked to sign a code of conduct a few weeks ago instead of
having their grievances addressed.

Minister of State Security, Sydney Sekeramayi, could neither confirm nor
deny that there is disgruntlement in the CIO over poor salaries and working
conditions.

“I am not at liberty to say anything concerning those allegations of
remunerations and packages,” he said. “Those issues are confidential and
cannot be discussed.”

The discontent in the intelligence services may deal a body-blow to
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party’s aspirations for victory in
crucial general elections this year.

The CIO is currently vetting aspiring Zanu PF members countrywide ahead of
its primary polls to ensure the party fields strong candidates capable of
winning elections.

Among other tasks, the CIO is reportedly doing background checks on
candidates while also assessing their popularity in the respective
constituencies.

The CIO restlessness has also put Bonyongwe under pressure to prove to
Mugabe that his organisation can be relied on to help deliver victory to him
and Zanu PF.

Early last year, some Zanu PF hardliners and sections of the security
establishment wanted Bonyongwe booted out because of his alleged links to
former Finance minister Simba Makoni and the late former army commander
General Solomon Mujuru.

Bonyongwe, a retired major-general, was accused of supporting Makoni in the
2008 elections.

Mujuru, who reportedly recommended Bonyongwe to become CIO director-general,
was behind Makoni, something which former Zanu PF politburo heavyweight
Dumiso Dabengwa recently confirmed. Dabengwa and Mujuru had tried hard to
oust Mugabe in the run-up to the 2008 elections.

Mugabe and Zanu PF have over the years become increasingly reliant on the
security sector to win elections. The security forces, including the army,
police and intelligence services, have become Mugabe and Zanu PF’s pillar of
support, making crucial interventions to ensure the party stays in power.

Ahead of the 2008 presidential election run-off, security forces embarked on
a campaign of terror to rescue Mugabe who had lost the first round of voting
to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.


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Political parties clash over ‘aliens’

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Politics

A WAR of words is looming between Zanu PF and the MDC formations over the
interpretation of the provisions on citizenship and voting rights in the
draft constitution overwhelmingly endorsed in a March referendum.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

Zanu PF wants previously disenfranchised Zimbabweans, commonly referred to
as “aliens” even if they are born in Zimbabwe, to only start voting after a
new president assumes office following imminent polls. Its unity government
partners MDC-T and MDC want the aliens to vote in the crucial elections.

Aliens voted in previous elections until 2000, but their democratic right
was withheld when President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF government amended the
constitution to outlaw dual citizenship while disenfranchising them as they
were purportedly entitled to foreign citizenship.

However, Chapter 3 of the gazetted draft constitution, voted for by more
than three million Zimbabweans in the March referendum, recognises
citizenship by birth, descent and registration.

MDC-T Global Political Agreement (GPA) negotiator Elton Mangoma last week
said Zanu PF was trying to introduce “some funny interpretation” to avoid
the registration of aliens as voters before the next election.

“As far as the MDC is concerned, as soon as the constitution becomes law,
these people (aliens) should be allowed to become citizens and register to
vote,” said Mangoma.

“This should come from Chapter 3 which was agreed on and the agreement
should immediately come into force when the constitution becomes law.

“Now Zanu PF is trying to make sure that they do not take part (in voting)
by bringing up some funny interpretation on something that is clear and has
been agreed on.

This is an issue that requires finalisation and we will make sure that what
was agreed on is adopted.” Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF GPA
negotiator Patrick Chinamasa were fruitless as his phone continuously went
unanswered, as did that of MDC GPA negotiator Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

This week a number of aliens were turned away at the start of the government’s
30-day mobile voter registration exercise.

This is despite Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone’s and acting Home
Affairs co-minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s recent announcement that cabinet
had ordered Registrar-General (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede to immediately allow
residents of foreign descent to register as voters after swapping their
foreign IDs for local ones.

Officials at Highfield Community Centre in Harare said they had not yet been
instructed to register “non-Zimbabweans”.

Aliens from Gweru, Harare, Bulawayo and Hwange were left confused after
failing to register as citizens and voters despite political parties urging
them to go and “simply swap their IDs to become citizens”.

“We woke up at three this morning since we knew there would be a lot of
people who would come to swap their IDs as per government advice, only to be
turned away in the afternoon by the registrar officials who are demanding
that at least one of the parents of aliens must be Zimbabwean,” said Aisha
Dube of Gweru on Monday.

While confusion reigns over the registration of aliens, sources at the RG’s
office claim there are irregularities with regards to voter registration.

“The exercise of registering voters has always been done for three months in
all previous elections since 2000, but has been reduced to a month now,”
said the source.

The source also said there is an order not to issue new birth certificates
to those without until the exercise is over.

“There are a number of people who are above 18 years without birth
certificates who will not be able to vote because there is an order not to
issue birth certificates, yet to get a new ID one has to be in possession of
a birth certificate,” the source added.

“We are also not sure whether the RG’s office will be given time to capture
all the information being collected around the country to come up with a
complete voters’ roll because it takes one to two months to do the data
capturing.”


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Military coup unlikely in Zimbabwe

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in News

A MILITARY coup in Zimbabwe is unlikely due to fear of regional and
international backlash as well as uncertainty about the reaction by the
generality of members of the defence forces, the International Crisis Group
(ICG) has said.

Brian Chitemba

In a report titled Zimbabwe: Election Scenarios, the ICG, a Brussels-based
non-profit research group, warns that although the military was unlikely to
grab power, the securocrats may seek to influence the outcome of elections
expected later this year.

“A military takeover is unlikely, not least because of uncertainty about the
political allegiance of the rank and file (of the army), probable regional
censure and international isolation,” the ICG says.

“However, allegations of the army’s bias and complicity in human rights
violations raise concerns it may seek to influence the election outcome. It
may also present itself as a stabilising force if inter and intra-party
relations deteriorate further.”

The report adds: “2013 is a decisive year. Elections in a context of acute
divisions are unlikely to provide stability. There is a growing sense that
the best way forward is further power sharing, though this is only helpful
if objectives are established and widely accepted.

“To note that Zimbabwe is less violent now than in 2008 means little before
the campaign – it is the competition for power that generates violence. That
the elections are likely to be tense and see some violence and intimidation
is clear; what is not yet clear is the nature of the violence, its extent
and the response it will generate.”

The ICG recommends that Global Political Agreement (GPA) principals should
address the politicisation of security services through holding regular
National Security Council meetings to iron out disagreements and reach a
consensus prior to the polls.

The principals should also ensure security service chiefs making partisan
public statements are censured or sanctioned, while Sadc needs to engage
them not to interfere with the political process. According to ICG, the
military requires an electoral code of conduct that can be endorsed by Sadc
heads of state.

The grave concern over the military’s involvement in political processes
comes against a backdrop of partisan statements by senior military
commanders, including Zimbabwe Defence Forces boss General Constantine
Chiwenga, Major-General Martin Chedondo, Major-General Trust Mugoba and
Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, as well as Police Commissioner-General
Augustine Chihuri, making it clear they will not accept Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai even if he wins elections against President Robert Mugabe.

Sources say the military commanders, who are under pressure to reform, will
almost certainly make further partisan remarks going forward, including
during this coming weekend.

The ICG noted security chiefs loyal to Zanu PF were likely to seek to
influence the election outcome since some of them have demanded more
political representation and played a role in the bloody June 2008
presidential poll runoff which secured Mugabe’s continued three-decade grip
on power. The 2008 elections reign of terror against Zanu PF political
opponents left almost 200 people dead.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police has demonstrated some professionalism, but its
leaders openly support Zanu PF and frequently harass Movement for Democratic
Change formations and civil society, which the MDC-T has been powerless to
prevent,” says the ICG.

Free and fair elections could only be held if critical reforms were
implemented although Zanu PF was likely to resist further changes that may
weaken its grip on power, it says.

Apart from reforming the security sector, institutional reforms are required
at crucial organisations such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission and Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee
(Jomic), which are reeling from limited funding and infiltration by state
security agents, it said.

Last week Tsvangirai was on a whirlwind tour of the continent to lobby Sadc
and other African leaders to push Mugabe to adopt reforms before elections
to plug any loopholes for rigging and use of violence to coerce the
electorate to rally behind Zanu PF.

Mugabe and his loyalists are pushing for elections on June 29 with or
without reforms, but Sadc is frustrating their plans.

“Sadc’s priority is “containment” even more than reforms to maintain
stability. “This objective remains vague, but the organisation must
consolidate its promotion of reforms in compliance with its election
guidelines,” reads the ICG report.

“Reforms require monitoring, but Jomic’s capacity for this is limited and
Zanu PF’s resistance to extending its mandate to focus on elections has
frustrated Sadc. The regional bloc should establish an office in Harare that
complements Jomic but also allows it to independently liaise with the
government.”

Sadc, the ICG notes, has to convene a heads of state summit on Zimbabwe that
emphasises election roadmap compliance and establishes a liaison office in
Harare to monitor and evaluate election preparations, while facilitating a
prompt response when necessary.

Another election scenario, according to ICG, is that if the stalemate over
reforms persists, the polls may be rescheduled. Both MDC-T and Zanu PF,
which are facing serious intra-party ructions, may support elections
postponement.


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Tsvangirai insists on security reforms

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in News

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is persisting with his push for a full Sadc
summit preceded by a Sadc troika on politics, defence and security
cooperation meeting to ensure security sector reforms and the full
implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) before make-or-break
elections expected later this year.

Report by Hazel Ndebele

Tsvangirai last week went on continental diplomatic offensive, meeting key
leaders from the four regional blocs that make up the Africa Union namely
Sadc, Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), East African
Community (EAC) and the Economic Community of Central African States
(Eccas), to impress on them the need for security sector realignment among
other reforms.

Although Tsvangirai refused to be drawn into a war of words with security
service chiefs, who lately have publicly attacked his person, his
spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said the premier would not drop his demands
for reforms in the security sector, adding that recent statements by
security forces bosses were an indication that there was an urgent need for
such reforms.

Zanu PF insists the security sector is a no-go area and calls for its
realignment are a regime change agenda, despite this being one of the GPA
requirements.

The commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Constantine Chiwenga
last week described Tsvangirai as a sellout and “psychiatric patient who
seems to be suffering from hallucinations”.

He said the defence forces will not respect or entertain people who do not
value the ideals of the liberation struggle.

Chiwenga said this following revelations by this paper that the MDC-T
defence and security secretary Giles Mutsekwa — a retired major — held talks
with hardliners in the military including Chiwenga himself, Zimbabwe
National Army (ZNA) chief of staff (general staff) Major-General Martin
Chedondo and chief of staff and quartermaster, Major-General Douglas
Nyikayaramba.

Mutsekwa also said he held talks with Commissioner-General Augustine
Chihuri, but the police boss and Chiwenga have since denied meeting him.

Chihuri described Tsvangirai and MDC officials as “confused malcontents”.

During his diplomatic offensive Tsvangirai met South African President Jacob
Zuma who is also the Sadc appointed facilitator in Zimbabwe, Tanzanian
President Jakaya Kikwete, the chairperson of the Sadc troika as well as
Angolan Foreign Minister Georges Chicoti and Botswana president Ian Khama.

He also went to Gabon where he met President Ali Bongo Ondimba. Gabon is the
current leader of Eccas. Tsvangirai further met Nigerian leader Goodluck
Jonathan, an influential figure in Ecowas.

He wound up his tour by meeting the Prime Minister of Cote d’ Ivoire, Kablan
Duncan. Cote d ‘Ivoire is the current chair of Ecowas. The premier wants
both Sadc and the AU to put pressure on President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF
to implement key reforms to create conditions for free and fair elections.

Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai impressed on the leaders the need for the GPA
to be fully implemented before polls while there was special emphasis on
security sector reforms and a clean voters’ roll.

“He appraised Sadc leaders and key members of the African Union about the
situation in Zimbabwe because they are the guarantors of the GPA and
therefore the inclusive government,” said Tamborinyoka.

“The Prime Minister told them about the lack of political will to implement
reforms and asked for their intervention. He asked that the Sadc troika and
the Sadc summit convene to assess the situation in Zimbabwe and set
guidelines for the polls.”

Tamborinyoka added: “He spoke to them about the lack of political will as
far as security sector and media reforms are concerned and also highlighted
the manipulation of the voters’ roll.”

The security sector is credited with rescuing President Robert Mugabe in the
June 2008 presidential poll run-off through a vicious and bloody campaign,
leading to a disputed poll outcome and the formation of the unity
government.


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Chinamasa, Mutasa in showdown

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Politics

DRAMATIC scenes rocked Zanu PF’s 11-hour politburo meeting last Friday as
secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa fiercely clashed with Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa and Women’s League chief Oppah Muchinguri in the
presence of President Robert Mugabe as internal strife reaches fever pitch.

Report by Elias Mambo

The bigwigs were locked in combat over the Manicaland infighting which was
discussed at the tense politburo meeting for five hours — from 8pm to
1:30am — during which an irate Mutasa reportedly accused Chinamasa and
Muchinguri of working in cahoots with Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa in
the race to succeed Mugabe.

Mutasa is believed to be aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction
and has been pushing for the removal of former Zanu PF Manicaland
chairperson Mike Madiro, who is said to be in Mnangagwa’s camp.

Mutasa accused senior Zanu PF officials from Manicaland, who have been
decampaigning him, of belonging to Mnangagwa’s faction and fuelling
divisions in Manicaland, a politburo insider said.

It is said Mutasa’s accusations did not go down well with Chinamasa and
Muchinguri who hit back, taking turns to attack him.

Chinamasa, Muchinguri and Mutasa are all from Manicaland where infighting
has erupted over unilateral changes to the provincial executive.

“Chinamasa and Muchinguri refuted accusations that they belonged to
Mnangagwa’s faction, claiming Mutasa was bent on tarnishing their image,”
said the politburo source.

There was a heated verbal exchange and finger pointing among the three
rivals, politburo sources said, until Mugabe intervened by ordering party
national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo to proceed with his investigation
report.

The clash had disrupted Moyo’s presentation on his probe team’s findings on
Manicaland.

“The president did not say anything when the verbal exchange was taking
place but he only ordered Moyo to proceed with his presentation after the
showdown,” a source said. “Interestingly, Mujuru and Mnangagwa also did not
react when the senior Manicaland party officials were engaged in the war of
words.”

In line with a report presented to the party’s decision-making body before
Zanu PF’s annual conference in December last year showing intensifying
infighting, the politburo last Friday wanted to bring to an end the
wrangling ahead of crucial general elections. Zanu PF lost the 2008 polls
due to factionalism and squabbling.


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Mutasa in sex scandal

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Politics

Suspended Zanu PF Manicaland provincial vice-chairperson Dorothy Mabika has
sensationally alleged the party’s national secretary for administration and
Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Didymus Mutasa, is nailing her
because she turned down his sexual advances.

Report by Clayton Masekesa

This emerged yesterday at the Mutare magistrate’s court during the ongoing
trial of Mabika who is facing stock theft charges and defeating or
obstructing the course of justice.

In the state’s case led by public prosecutor Christine Nyamaropa, it is
alleged that on September 7 2011 at her Shiriyakangwara Farm in Chipinge,
Mabika received and took into her possession six dairy calves on behalf of
Zanu PF from Dawid Hercules Joubert, which she unlawfully and with intention
to steal converted to her own use.

The cows were donated by Joubert towards a Zanu PF inter-district
conference. On the second count, Mabika is accused of defeating or
obstructing the course of justice where she is alleged to have altered
documents to conceal a crime of stocktheft. Mabika is out on US$150 bail.

While cross-examining Mutasa, Mabika’s lawyer, Tinofara Hove of TK Hove &
Associates said Mutasa was persecuting Mabika because she had turned down
his advances.

Mabika told her lawyer that Mutasa at one time said to her: “Mbizi nenyati
dzinofura pamwe chete, asi mbizi ikasafura pamwe chete nenyati, nyati
inotunga mbizi. (A zebra and a buffalo can graze together, but if the zebra
refuses to graze with the buffalo, the buffalo will gore the zebra.)”

Apparently, Mutasa’s totem is the buffalo while Mabika’s is a zebra. In
response Mutasa said: “I do not remember saying that. I never made some
sexual advances towards her. It is only through the imagination of the
lawyer. She is my friend in the party and I worked with her.

If she thinks that my friendship to her meant I love her, then let it be.”

Mutasa is maintaining that Mabika has a case to answer, saying she was
supposed to declare to the party headquarters that she had the six dairy
cows.

“As the party’s national secretary for administration and the presidium we
were supposed to be informed that there are such calves, but she never did
that. This means that she stole the calves,” said Mutasa.

“She did not follow the party’s procedure. The calves belonged to Zanu PF
and she was supposed to hand them over to the party but she did not do so.
The police did their job and made some investigations. The fact that she is
in the dock means that she has a case to answer.”

Mabika argues that she informed the provincial executive of the calves and
there was no need to inform the party headquarters.
Mutare Magistrate Sekai Chiwundura presided over the matter and the trial
continues today with more witnesses expected to testify.


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http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

Zanu PF relaxes conditions for aspiring candidates
May 10, 2013 in Politics

THE Zanu PF politburo has waived the party’s five-year minimum condition for
members to represent it in the general elections in a bid to allow a few
party officials as well as serving and retired security sector heavyweights
to contest in the forthcoming elections, the Zimbabwe Independent has
learnt.

Staff Writer

The Zanu PF constitution is clear that for one to contest in elections, one
has to have been a member for five consecutive years, but this condition has
been set aside as the beleaguered party tries to avoid defeat by the MDC
formations.

Sources in the party said the politburo was faced with a conundrum of
dealing with the likes of Jonathan Moyo, Philip Chiyangwa and members of the
security forces who have thrown their hats into the ring for the high-stakes
elections.

“These people were supposed to be admitted into the party as ordinary
members and serve for five years before representing the party in any
election,” said a Zanu PF source.

Moyo, who contested as an independent candidate in 2008, was expelled from
Zanu PF in 2005 before he was re-admitted in 2009, while Chiyangwa was
re-admitted early last year.Several serving and retired members of the army,
police and CIO have indicated their interest in representing the party in
the polls.

Sources in the party said Elias Kanengoni, CIO deputy director-internal, is
interested in the Mazowe senatorial seat, while serving CIO operative Lesley
Humbe is seeking to oust Tourism minister Walter Mzembi from his Masvingo
South seat. Colonel Phillip Toperesu, a serving member of the Zimbabwe
National Army, is reportedly also after Mzembi’s seat.

Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao is facing a stiff challenge from another
serving CIO operative Francis Mukwangariwa who has made his intentions
public.

In Buhera South, Assistant Police Commissioner Oliver Mandipaka, a police
spokesperson, has been campaigning while another serving operative in the
CIO training department, Francis Muchenje, wants to stand in Makoni North.

Zanu PF structures are already significantly dominated by officials with
some security background, including former Vice-Air Marshal Henry Muchena
and CIO director-internal Sydney Nyanhongo.


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Election promises chip off the old block

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in News, Politics

WHENEVER general elections are looming, Zanu PF usually embarks on a
campaign to pull the wool over people’s eyes by making promises of
development and uplifting citizens’ lives.

Report by Brian Chitemba

While this applies to the rest of the country, Matabeleland regions –– which
have always rejected Zanu PF since 1980 except for the period between 1987
and 2000 after the Unity Accord between Zanu PF and PF Zapu –– are
especially targeted for development promises due to their marginalisation
and underdevelopment.

Despite being endowed with vast natural resources such as gold, coal,
methane gas, wildlife and forests, Matabeleland provinces are among the
least developed regions in Zimbabwe and this has always stirred political
trouble, especially during elections.

Most capital projects in the country have missed set targets several times
and Matabeleland is no exception. Government usually cites lack of funds for
its failure to implement developmental programmes but there is also an
apparent lack of political will and commitment.

A case in point is the renovation of Bulawayo’s Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport
which has been on-going for 10 years, despite lack of meaningful progress.
The project began in 2003 and was supposed to have been completed by 2009.

Many other projects, including the oft touted Matabeleland Zambezi Water
Project and the Bulawayo-Nkayi road remain a pie in the sky as government
dithers over their completion. A 10km stretch of road on the
Bulawayo-Beitbridge highway near the border town took 10 years to repair
after it was washed away by rains.

Bulawayo-based economist Morgan Mthunzi said there was lack of political
will by government to improve the living standards of people in Matabeleland
despite the same authorities successfully changing the face of Victoria
Falls within a short period of time to pave way for hosting of the United
Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly in August.

“Although there are delays in preparations for the UNTWO, work underway
demonstrates that government has the capacity to complete critical projects
if it wants,” Mthunzi said.

While the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo airport project may be considered as not
essential, the proposed massive Gwayi-Shangani Dam, crucial to securing
Bulawayo’s water needs, has been on the cards since 1912 and remains in its
initial stages.

The dam, which requires US$1 billion, will be an oasis to the arid
Matabeleland region, which desperately needs water. The dam is a component
of the project expected to solve water problems in Matabeleland North,
Matabeleland South and Bulawayo.

Other stunted development programmes in Matabeleland include the
construction of the Nkayi-Bulawayo Road, which has taken decades to
complete, while the Bulawayo-Kezi Road remains in a deplorable state.
In Matabeleland North, the provincial capital Lupane is underdeveloped and a
number of capital projects remain on hold.

But now that elections’ season is upon us, talk of resuscitating these
projects has been growing louder by the day.

“Voters should be wary of Zanu PF tendencies of masterminding fake activity
and a semblance of progress around capital projects before elections,”
Mthunzi said. “It is high time the electorate reject the resurrection of
false promises on projects and other things just before elections.”

Perhaps what could sway the vote is if the US$2 billion Lupane methane gas
project, which is expected to create more than 4 500 jobs, was to be
implemented. But the project has merely received a nod from government, like
many others, and thus just remains on paper. There have been projections
that by 2015, Gwayi and Lupane could be developed into significant
industrial zones stemming from exploitation of the large coal deposits and
gas in the area.

However, political commentator Melusi Nyathi dismissed the projections and
associated promises as mere electioneering.

“That is a Zanu PF trend to appease voters before elections because we have
been given heavenly promises over the years without corresponding action on
the ground; they are just electioneering,” Nyathi said.

He said people “must forget about those promises and keep on not only
rejecting Zanu PF, but doing so massively so that change can be delivered”.

The Matabeleland vote is crucial in determining the national outcome of
elections and political parties always scramble to win the hearts and minds
of the electorate there by promising development in the marginalised region.

Political analyst Chamu Mutasa said the new government after elections
should turn around underdevelopment in Matabeleland to end the region’s
marginalisation.

He said government must come up with action plans to address the needs of
the masses whether there are elections or not. In Bulawayo nearly 100
companies have closed, leaving 20 000 people jobless.

“With companies closing down in Bulawayo, Matabeleland requires a
development strategy, not talk shows and empty promises. The time for
electioneering is no more and voters should not entertain it during this
year’s elections,” said Mutasa.

It is not only Zanu PF that has been grandstanding over Matabeleland capital
projects ahead of polls. The MDC-T, through the Water Resources minister
Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, has done little more than lip service on the
Gwayi-Shangani Dam.

Another development project which remains on paper is the Trans-Limpopo
Spatial Development Initiative which was agreed to in 2002 by Matabeleland
South and Matabeleland North governors, the mayor of Bulawayo and the
premier of Limpopo province in South Africa. The project aims to create an
economic development corridor from Limpopo to Victoria Falls.

Overall, Matabeleland has been flooded with promises of development each
time there are elections on the horizon, although that seems to be the case
all over the country.


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Muchena embarks on door-to-door campaign

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in News

FORMER airforce deputy commander Henry Muchena has embarked on a whirlwind
tour of provinces instructing Zanu PF district executives to launch
door-to-door campaigns to ensure the party romps to victory in the
forthcoming elections.

Report by Brian Chitemba

Muchena, who retired from the airforce to head the Zanu PF commissariat
department, started his provincial visits at the weekend in Bulawayo where
he held a tense inter-district meeting at Davies Hall.

Party insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent that Muchena ordered the
officials to launch a vigorous campaign to secure a Zanu PF victory.

The former liberation movement has not won a seat in Bulawayo since 2000
when the MDC started participating in elections.

The party has performed dismally in previous elections in the city and other
Matabeleland provinces due to underdevelopment and the 1980s massacres
dubbed Gukurahundi, which left over 20 000 dead.

But the party believes it can turn this around in the next elections by
enticing the electorate with the controversial indigenisation policy.

“Muchena did not mince his words about the need for Zanu PF to win the
forthcoming elections at all costs, hence the launch of a door-to-door
campaign in Bulawayo where the electorate has been rallying behind the MDC
formations,” said a Zanu PF provincial executive member.

Zanu PF has been using former military and security sector personnel in its
quest to stay in power.

Apart from Muchena, Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Constantine Chiwenga
and others have also reportedly been meeting war veterans in provinces
urging them to support Mugabe and Zanu PF candidates in exchange for hefty
allowances.

But sources said Muchena’s meeting was partly disrupted by district
chairpersons who openly complained over the politburo’s imposition of former
cabinet Minister Callistus Ndlovu as the provincial chairperson ahead of
Killian Sibanda who was elected by the party members.

Sibanda is now deputy chairperson and the controversial appointment of
Ndlovu was, according to Zanu PF, meant to strengthen the party ahead of
make-or-break polls later this year.

Ndlovu was not at the meeting which was chaired by Sibanda.
Muchena told the districts executives to accept the politburo decision,
sources said.

“Muchena was put under immense pressure because most of the provincial
members are opposed to Ndlovu’s recent appointment. The district executives
threatened not to vote for Ndlovu as a member of the central committee
during the party’s elections next year,” said a party official.

After failing to defuse tensions at the tense meeting, Muchena promised to
table a report over the discontent in Bulawayo to Zanu PF commissar Webster
Shamu.


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Draft constitution through

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in News

THE House of Assembly yesterday unanimously passed Constitution Amendment
Bill No 20 (Copac draft) with amendments after two days of debate in the
Lower House, setting the stage for formal endorsement by the Senate next
week before it becomes the new supreme charter.

Paidamoyo Muzulu

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga was elated
after the house passed the bill with the 10 new amendments to the gazetted
draft constitution, which include clarifications on the proposed
proportional representation electoral system that was introduced in the new
governance charter after being repealed in 1990.

The changes are the second high profile amendments made to the draft since
it was endorsed in the March 16 referendum.

Matinenga introduced the amendments during the second reading of the
Constitution Amendment Bill.The new draft charter, among other new systems,
introduces a dual electoral system but does not clearly spell out how the
proportional representation candidates would be selected.

The new changes would clarify Section 124 (1) (b) on how the new 60 women
would be appointed to the National Assembly through proportional
representation for the next two parliaments.

Section 124 (1) (b) would now read: “For the life of the first two
parliaments after the effective date, an additional sixty (60) women
members, six from each of the provinces into which Zimbabwe is divided,
elected under a party list system of proportional representation based on
the votes cast for candidates representing political parties in a general
election for constituency members in the provinces.”

This means political parties would now have to create party lists that would
be lodged with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission during the nomination
process before election results are announced.
“The changes were agreed to by all parties at the Copac management committee
meeting held on Monday to bring clarity to how the system would work,” said
Matinenga.

The other nine changes are deletions of repetitions and names to some
sections, for instance, Section 272 that creates provincial legislatures.

The chairpersons would now be known as “chairpersons of provincial councils”
instead of “chairpersons of provincial and metropolitan councils’’ as
initially stated.The changes would make the chairpersons title uniform since
Zimbabwe only has two metropolitan provinces – Harare and Bulawayo.

This is in line with the proposed devolution of power to provinces.

President Robert Mugabe is expected to sign the bill into law soon after
senate formally passes it, which could be as early as next Friday.

Passage of the new constitution paves the way for Zimbabwe to hold general
elections later this year after parliament amends laws such as the Electoral
Act, Urban Councils Act and Rural District Councils Act to align them with
the new constitution.


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Politics stalls Chisumbanje re-opening

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in News

STAKEHOLDERS in the Chisumbanje Ethanol Project say while the local
community has resolved its disputes with investor Green Fuels, political
posturing continues to stall the re-opening of the plant which they expect
to improve local livelihoods in particular and the economy in general.

Report by Herbert Moyo

Members of the District Ethanol Project Implementation Committee (Depic)
have urged government to relax its demand for a 51% share in the project in
line with its controversial indigenisation programme, blaming it for
delaying the granting of the operating licence needed for operations to
resume.

Depic members currently in Harare to meet the top leadership including
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai vowed to remain
in the capital for as long as it takes to obtain a guarantee that the plant
would be re-opened.

Depic said their visit comes against the background of Vice-President Joice
Mujuru’s visit to the plant in March despite the setting up of an
inter-ministerial committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara.

Although Mujuru reportedly blamed politics for scuttling development
initiatives and told the Chisumbanje community to “consider the ethanol
plant opened”, the plant remains closed.

“We are tired of politicians coming as individuals and posturing while the
plant remains shut causing suffering to the community that would otherwise
be benefitting. So this time we want to meet all of them, including
President Mugabe,” said Claris Madhuku speaking on behalf of Depic.

Depic was set up to facilitate communication among the local community,
government and Green Fuels, the developers of the Chisumbanje ethanol
project.

Depic members who met the Zimbabwe Independent in Harare on Tuesday include
Chipinge South MP Meki Makuyana, Green Fuel assistant general manager
Raphael Zuze, local headmen and councillors.

They are demanding the opening of the project as soon as possible.


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Kingdom Bank on brink of collapse

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in News

AFRASIA Kingdom Bank has run into serious problems and is facing censure by
the Reserve Bank after it emerged this week it is reeling from a massive
US$21 million under-performing loan and could be placed under recuperative
curatorship to protect depositors’ funds and the banking sector, amid
indications the institution could have misrepresented material facts about
its financial position.

Chris Muronzi/Taurai Mangudhla

The Zimbabwe Independent has established the bank was in trouble from a huge
US$21 million under-performing loan which has weakened its financial
position, while creating internal strife among management.
Former Kingdom Bank MD Francois Molife resigned from the institution about
two months ago under unclear circumstances.

But investigations show when Molife stepped in he had been involved in the
structuring of a botched debt-to-equity deal crafted to conceal a bad loan
given to a local mobile phone operator that could eat into the bank’s
equity.

Mauritius-based AfrAsia Bank Ltd invested US$9,5 million in Kingdom
Financial Holdings Ltd for a 35% equity stake in the group which owns the
local bank.

Well-placed sources told the Independent this week Kingdom’s fate was now
precarious in the wake of a potential massive hole which it is struggling to
plug.

“The entire capital of the bank is gone. We don’t know what tricks (Reserve
Bank governor Gideon) Gono will pull to save it,” an informed source said.
“The central bank is incapacitated in terms of liquidity support and
lender-of-last-resort position. It’s a miracle the financial sector is still
standing. The fate of Kingdom is not known and it is understood the
transaction in question is likely to pull down another local financial
institution as there is likely going to be a serious contagion effect.”

Gono was not available for comment.

Things came to a head after Spiritage CEO Zach Wazara wrote a damning letter
to the central bank highlighting what he said was a deliberate attempt to
conceal non-performing loans on the part of Kingdom.

In the letter to the central bank seen by the Zimbabwe Independent, dated
May 2, to the central bank, Wazara says Kingdom entered into a
debt-to-equity swap for 80% of Valley Technologies through the bank’s
special purpose vehicle — Lalela Trading — in December last year after the
mobile network operator failed to settle its obligations to the bank.

Wazara also states Kingdom acquired the shares on the understanding that
they would allow a partner, a Chinese company, to take over the company.
However, after a meeting with the Chinese investors, Kingdom reportedly went
ahead with a decision to foreclose on the loan. This culminated in Kingdom’s
attempt to sell the company’s assets through an auction last week. The
assets had been pledged as security for the loan.

Wazara further sensationally claims the bank entered the debt-to-equity deal
with his company in order to hoodwink the Reserve Bank by covering up the
true state of its financial affairs during the December reporting period.

“The bank advised (us) they were concerned that Reserve Bank would require
them to provide for the loan, and with a capitalisation of US$23 million,
they (Kingdom Bank) would be required to hand over their licence,” reads
Wazara’s letter. “Now that they crossed December 31 milestone, the bank is
seeking to reverse the transaction in a very unceremonious manner.”

Other sources said the Reserve Bank had dispatched a team of forensic
investigators who have been camped at Kingdom Bank for close to a month.

Initial findings, according to one source at the bank, have unearthed the
need for recapitalisation after its entire investment was wiped out by
non-performing loans which were not provide for in December as required by
statutory provisions.

The latest developments are said to have riled founder Nigel Chanakira’s
partners in Kingdom — Afrasia — who are now holding on to a shell, barely a
year after rescuing the bank from the brink of collapse. It also comes just
a couple of months after Chanakira had survived a brutal showdown with
Meikles Africa Ltd chairman John Moxon, after a fall-out over their widely
publicised failed merger.

Wazara also says Kingdom had abused his company’s facility with an
international financier to pay interest from the funds against conditions
agreed to by the parties and without the knowledge of Valley Technologies,
while using the money for non-permitted transactions without the knowledge
and consent of his company and further utilising the funds to pay off third
party facilities owing to it without permission.

He also says the bank had delayed the disbursement of draw down requests for
unexplained reasons, despite asking for a US$2 million advance from the
financier. He adds Kingdom had drawn down on the company’s facility without
the knowledge or consent of his company.
Wazara further indicates the bank overcharged Valley Technologies by almost
US$3,2 million in interest on its loans.

“As of March 15 2012, the total interest due was US$2 230 360, but by
November 2012 the bank was claiming US$5,4 million in interest and bank
charges, a matter that remains unresolved up until now. Valley Technologies
contends that its interest burden should be US$3,4 million less than what
Kingdom has charged. This information is documented in an annex as well as
the E&Y (Ernest & Young) audit report,” Wazara’s letter reads.

“The bank is calling in loans that are not yet due. Valley had a grace
period on interest, payable on March 31 2013, and the rest of the amounts
are payable quarterly until December 31 2015 in terms of agreement.”

In response to questions sent to Chanakira, Kingdom Bank head of public
relations & corporate communications, Sekai Chitemerere said: “Ordinarily,
the group does not discuss with the press each and every disagreement or
dispute that we encounter with our clients and associates, and the one in
question is not an exception. In addition to that, Kingdom Bank Ltd does not
comment on individual clients owing to the client-confidentiality clauses
that we strictly enforce.”

However, a source said: “The two case scenarios for Afrasia would be;
bringing in new money and increasing its shareholding or allowing the bank
to fold. I don’t think they want to see it folding without getting a return
on their investment.”

Zimbabwe has in recent years experienced a series of bank collapses due to
economic problems, especially a chronic liquidity crunch, mismanagement and
corruption.


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Zimbabwe secures US$17 million from EU

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Business

The European Union has to date contracted €18 million (US$23,4 million)
under its Zimbabwe Sugar Adaption Strategy while a remaining €13,4 million
(US$17,4 million) will be contracted this year.

Staff Writer

Of that amount €4.7 million will be contracted for the national land audit.

According to figures from the EU mission to Zimbabwe, the EU has made a
total of €31,4 million (approx US$41 million) available for the
implementation of the Zimbabwe Sugar Adaptation Strategy. The actual
implementation of the strategy started in 2008 and is expected to end in
2015 or at the latest in 2016.

The strategy is designed to; increase sugarcane production by out-growers to
improve cane transport facility from out-growers fields to the sugar mills,
environmental protection of Runde river catchment area to avoid siltation of
dams and waterways, increase of water-holding capacity of certain dams, and
improvement of health facilities of Chiredzi district general hospital.

Last year total trade between the EU and Zimbabwe amounted to €609 million
(around US$791 million) with a positive trade balance of €132 million
(around US$171,5 million) in favour of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe exported to the EU, €370,85 million (around US$482 million) and
imported from the EU goods to a total value of €237,97 million (around
US$309,37 million).

The mission said as EU is a traditional importer of minerals, agricultural
products and other raw materials that are produced in Zimbabwe, Economic
Partnership Agreements (EPAs) would stimulate the exports volumes by making
use of the Duty Free Quota Free access to the EU.

An end to sugar quotas in the bloc, expected by the EU Council as early as
2017, may promote trade of the sweetener within Africa, according to
Bloomberg research.

“There is a deficit of sugar in Africa, yet producers still export to Europe
and import from Brazil,” Edward George, head of soft-commodities research at
Ecobank, said in an April 17 interview in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. “This
will change if and when Europe bans quotas.”

Producers in the EU, the world’s largest sugar importer, can by law only
sell a limited amount in the common economic area, and some local demand
must be met by duty-free shipments from African, Caribbean and Pacific
states that have preferential access to the market.

Africa produces less than it needs, according to the International Sugar
Organisation. The council, which represents governments of EU member states,
wants an end to quotas in 2017, while the European Commission, the bloc’s
regulatory arm, has proposed limits should end two years earlier.

The European Parliament voted to extend the quoters to 2020. All three are
negotiating the quotas from April 11 to June 20, Martin van Driel, team
leader for sugar issues at the commission, said yesterday.

The curbs restrict sales to 13 million metric tons in the 27-nation bloc,
which has faced sugar shortages in the past two seasons after imports from
nations with preferential accords fell short of estimates.

The EU will produce 17.6 million tons of sugar in the 2012-13 season that
starts in October, the Commission said in a June 28 report on its website,
19% less than a year earlier.


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Mines challenge land grab

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Business

THE Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe (CoMZ) will at its annual general meeting and
conference slated for next week in Nyanga challenge government’s decision to
repossess idle mining claims from mining companies for reallocation to new
investors.

Taurai Mangudhla

At a pre-conference briefing, chamber president Winston Chitando said the
mining body’s submissions for a new Minerals Development Policy, which
interrogates clauses of the proposed land policy, are expected to be tabled
before government via the Mines and Minerals Development ministry early next
week, ahead of the conference.

“There are two specific issues; that of Zimplats and then there is a policy
issue of taking over excess land.

“We have included the policy issue of taking excess land in the Minerals
Development Policy, ie. what the definition of excess land is and how to
handle a case where land is deemed to be excess,” said Chitando without
being drawn to give specific details of the mining body’s argument.

“It would be most unfair that we have a document, and before we send a
written submission, we start commenting publicly, it’s not the best way to
negotiate,” he said.

“The general feeling among members (of CoMZ) is what defines excess land:
that is the main issue, and again, the other issues will be covered.”

The CoMZ president said there were ongoing stakeholders’ consultative
sessions after which a comprehensive paper covering a number of issues
relating to mining charges, beneficiation† and administration of title
culminating in what is excess land, would be produced.
The CoMZ will, together with the AGM, hold its annual conference which is
expected to generally make submissions to government on key industrial
concerns.
Government recently indicated plans to introduce higher royalties and taxes
on mining firms in order to raise funding for the upcoming decisive
elections.
In February, the Mines ministry repossessed 28 000 hectares of excess claims
from Zimplats, amid looting and speculation concerns, a development minister
Obert Mpofu said was to allow other players to invest in the sector.
The Mines minister argued that at current extractive rates, Zimplats would
take 300 years to fully exploit its platinum resources along the Great Dyke.
Similar moves, according to Mpofu, were expected across the extractive
industry, together with the introduction of high taxes on raw minerals, with
a view to bringing in new investors and promoting local beneficiation of
minerals.
At the time, Mpofu said: “As the sole regulator and promoter of the mining
industry in terms of the Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05), the
ministry is focusing on the creation of real opportunities and investment
space by making more land available for new investments, attracting new
players into the industry and acting on excess and idle land.”


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Zapf congress to focus on asset allocation

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Business

INVESTMENT returns and pension fund asset allocations will come under the
spotlight next week at the 38th annual congress of the Zimbabwe Association
of Pension Funds (Zapf) in Victoria Falls, according to one of the
association’s executives.

Clive Mphambela

In an interview with businessdigest this week, Zapf Director General Tendayi
Kakora said this year’s congress would challenge the role of pension funds
in the development of the economy as stakeholders explored the value that
asset allocation decisions play in the delivery of sustainable investment
returns on pension fund investments.

She said one of the main purposes of the conference was for delegates to
share thoughts on how the industry could be revitalised so that stakeholder
confidence in the sector would be restored.

“The introduction of a multi-currency regime in 2009 entailed conversion of
assets and liabilities of pension funds from Zimbabwe Dollars to United
States dollar denominations.

The low values that emerged have disappointed many active members of pension
funds and pensioners. Confidence in pension as a source of retirement income
provision has waned,” Kakora said.

The theme of this year’s four day congress is : “Regaining Stakeholder
Confidence In Long Term Savings Through Reforms.”

“We have invited four international speakers and we are hoping that
delegates will learn from experiences of other countries that experienced
hyperinflation and how they restored their economies particularly the
financial services sector. Delegates will also get the opportunity to learn
about pension reforms currently underway in other countries, especially
South Africa,” she added.

Kakora said 300 delegates drawn from pension fund administrators, principal
officers, trustees, the investment management and banking industry as well
as† the Insurance and Pensions Comission (Ipec) had signed up for the
event.

Recently, Ipec issued a new set of asset allocation guidelines aimed at
influencing positive performance of pensions and insurance fund investments.

She said the conference would explore whether asset allocation limits would
act as a signal of guidance towards the attainment of this goal. The
conference will discuss how retirement reforms impacted on the industry in
South Africa, exploring the complementary role of the National Social
Security Scheme (Nssa) and occupational pension funds.

Delegates will also be advised on how to set investment performance
benchamrks and assess overall fund performance and the determination of
bonus calculations.


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ZNCC presses govt for early elections

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Business

THE ZIMBABWE National Chamber of Commerce has called on government to
immediately hold elections, saying continued focus on politics was holding
back business and the economy at large.

Hazel Ndebele

ZNCC vice-president Davis Norupiri said the voice of business was not being
heard at the moment because of the focus on politics.

“We need the elections soon so as to cross the bridge and shift focus from
politics to business, since in other countries business comes before
politics,” said Norupiri.

ZNCC president Oswell Binha echoed the same sentiments, saying at the moment
the private sector had no direct voice and business was suffering because of
inconsistency in some policies which were not in its favour.

“The reason why Zimbabwe at the moment is not a destination of preference
for investors is because of the inconsistency of policies and
politics-related issues,” he said.

The rate at which companies were closing down was increasing, he added.

“Most companies are scaling down and some are totally closing down,
especially in Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare. This is a major problem,” he said.

“As the private sector, we are advising these companies that the country
survives in a global market and at the moment we are not a destination of
choice for investors and this is seriously affecting business.”

Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a growth trajectory since 2009† but critics,
however, contend that this is because it is coming off a low base.

They† point to the high growth rates recorded since dollarisation as
evidence. Zimbabwe’s rapid GDP growth and poor business environment were
paradoxical, they pointed out.

The country needed to fix its internal problems, which included a high risk
profile, dependence on foreign aid and raw material† exports as opposed to
processed products. There was also need for† a candid examination of the
country’s competitiveness, analysts said.

ZNCC will hold its annual congress and AGM in Victoria Falls from June 12 to
14 at which members† will elect new board members and honour business
leaders and companies for entrepreneurial excellence.

The annual congress will be a platform for business and policymakers to
engage in broad discussions on the current economic policy challenges. The
theme of the event is “The road map to Zimbabwe’s desired future: Defining
the possibilities that deliver value”.


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KP conflict diamond debate mounts

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Business

PRESSURE is mounting on Kimberly Process (KP) members opposed to a proposed
redefinition of what constitutes conflict diamonds after the World Diamond
Council (WDC) this week reaffirmed its support for the move.

Taurai Mangudhla

Once approved, the new definition will come with new KP compliance terms.

The initiative, which is being promoted by Canada, the European Union and
the United States, was shot down in October† by KP African member states
including Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe as well as major diamond
buying nations as India, Russia and the United Arab Emirates that argued it
specifically targeted† Zimbabwe so as† to prevent its Marange diamond
industry from competing fairly on the global market.

According to immediate past KP chair US Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic,† new
desirable attributes included human rights, financial transparency, economic
development, or other important questions that impact on the diamond sector
through the exchange of best practices and voluntary initiatives. This was
in addition to maintaining the previous focus on ensuring rough diamonds are
free from armed conflict and armed violence.

Zimbabwe Environment Law Association (Zela) head of research Shamiso Mtisi
said the proposed new definition remained† controversial in the KP, with
influential countries such as China and Russia resisting change.

Mtisi is KP Certification Scheme’s local focal point nominee for Zimbabwe’s
civil society.

He said Zela was in support of the proposed changes as they would improve
diamond mining in Zimbabwe.

“If you look at the prevailing situation in Marange, it has improved to some
extent but Zimbabwe could not be compliant under the new definition,” said
Mtisi in an interview.

“We still have instances where diamonds are coming from areas where
soldiers, police or private security guards are beating up people and civil
society is saying state actors and non-state actors should desist from
violence.”

The WDC consists of more than 50 members drawn from the diamond
beneficiation and trading companies, and has influential representation on
the KP’s working groups. The WDC fully supports† Milovanovic’s proposal to
widen the definition of conflict diamonds to include rough diamonds used to
finance, or otherwise are directly related to armed conflict or other
situations of violence.

In an opening address to the WDC’s plenary session and annual meeting in Tel
Aviv, Israel on Monday, WDC president Eli Izhakoff said the diamond business
could in no way benefit from having its products directly associated with
systematic violence. The tools and mechanisms of the KP had to be employed
to make sure that this is never the case.

“As we have clearly articulated in the past, the WDC is in favour of
reviewing the definition of the term “conflict diamonds” to ensure that it
is relevant to the situations and the sentiments that are prevalent in the
times in which we live,” said Izhakoff.

“It was for that reason we reacted positively to the proposal last year by
the former KP chair, Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, during her speech to
the eighth World Diamond Council in Vicenza, that the definition be expanded
to include rough diamonds used to finance, or otherwise are directly related
to armed conflict or other situations of violence,” added the WDC president.

“We also agreed with her qualification that “additional certification
standards beyond the current definition should apply only to armed conflict
and or armed violence that is demonstrably related to rough diamonds and
independently verified, and that they should not be applicable to isolated,
individual incidents, or to circumstances or situations in which an armed
conflict exists but is unrelated to the diamond sector,” he added.

Izhakoff said implementation of the proposed definition and new compliance
conditions were subject to discussion, leading eventually to agreement by
consensus through a process that would require compromise on the part of
players.

“The requirement that we act though consensus should never become an excuse
for inaction. If we do not adapt to the changing environment, then we will
surely lose our relevance.”


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Is Guptagate the end of Zuma?

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Opinion

The recent Gupta aircraft scandal has caused divisions in the African
National Congress (ANC) and in cabinet and could lead to President Jacob
Zuma’s ousting, according to unnamed sources in news reports this week.

iafrica.com

The Star reported that Zuma and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe had
“fallen out” over the Guptas’ landing a private aircraft with wedding guests
aboard at the Waterkloof Air Force Base on April 30.
It said the incident had been the final straw for Mantashe, who had
privately expressed concerns that the family wielded too much influence in
government and ANC affairs.

Mantashe’s supporters had since thrown their weight behind ANC deputy
president Cyril Ramaphosa, after reports that some of Zuma’s allies planned
to block him from taking over as ANC president in 2017.

It also said Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula threatened to resign,
rather than be the “fall guy”, a claim her adviser Mike Ramagoma denied.

According to the report, a “kitchen cabinet” of “predominantly
†Zulu-speaking” ministers and national ANC leaders, took key ANC and
government decisions without Mantashe’s input.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu dismissed suggestions Mantashe and Zuma had
fallen out and that there was a “kitchen cabinet”.
He said that according to ANC tradition, Ramaphosa was likely to succeed
Zuma.

The Citizen newspaper said it “understood” that plans were afoot to sack
Zuma following the Gupta plane scandal.

“ANC top brass have concluded that Zuma’s relationship with the Guptas has
brought the organisation and the government into disrepute and Zuma should
go,” its source said.


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Hungwe saga: Judges on the ropes

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Opinion

YOU know justice is on its way to the guillotine when the executive starts
exerting undue political pressure on the judiciary, picking and choosing
whichever law they want to obey or defy.

Dwyane Sagomba

As citizens, we should also know we are in deep trouble when this happens
because the rule of law is critical in a reasonably free and democratic
society.

On as yet to be specified date and period, High Court judge Justice Charles
Hungwe will appear before a tribunal over alleged failure to pass a sentence
on a robber and murderer convicted in 2003, among other charges.

The judge is at the same time being accused of granting “during the night” —
as if that’s unusual — a court order for the release of prominent human
rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa arrested for allegedly obstructing the course
of justice.

The police ignored Hungwe’s court order to release Mtetwa and subsequently
the state media went on a propaganda jihad against him, roping in partisan
and self-serving political commentators to besmirch the judge, prompting
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku to advise Hungwe of his intentions to
invoke Section 87 of the Constitution that will ultimately cause the
president to appoint a tribunal to investigate his conduct.

Judges in Zimbabwe operate in a difficult and rather closed framework in
which the temptation to respond to media remarks, even deliberate and
calculated abuse to tarnish their reputations, is often high although it is
practically difficult to react. Defending oneself is not an option available
to a judge personally. If a media report is grossly inaccurate, as is the
case here, it is only the Chief Justice who has the prerogative to respond.
But in the Hungwe case, there was deafening silence from Chidyausiku.

In fact, to the contrary, the Chief Justice inexplicably saw it fit to
instigate an inquiry against him.

The patterns of the attacks against Hungwe in the state media appeared to
have been systematic and well-choreographed, raising fears there was a
hidden political hand at work which was remote-controlled to turn the heat
on the judge to force him out. This comes 13 years after at least 10 judges
were unceremoniously kicked off of the bench.

Zimbabweans may understandably have everything to fear as we approach the
next elections. It simply means four years into Zimbabwe’s inclusive
government and more importantly, after a referendum for a new constitution,
the leopard hasn’t changed its spots.

It is really incredible the aggressive urge to savage judges — taking
advantage of their inability to publicly defend themselves — and haunting
them out of the system, hasn’t gone. The most startling fact is that the
state is so brazen about it. The executive is blatant in its pursuit of
political agendas against judges and undermining the rule of law — the
bedrock of any functional constitutional democracy.
Former chief justice Anthony Gubbay’s remarks to the Bar of England and
Wales in 2009 are instructive.

“The rule of law is the antithesis of the existence of wide, arbitrary and
discretionary powers in the hands of the executive. It is a celebration of
individual rights and liberties, and all the values of a constitutional
democracy, characterised by the absence of unregulated executive or
legislative power,” he said.

“It is a society in which the rule of law is observed, through the mechanism
of judicial review. Executive decisions and legislative enactments, outside
the framework of the law, are declared invalid, thereby compelling both the
executive and the legislature to submit to enjoyment, by the individual, of
all rights and liberties guaranteed by the constitution.

“An independent judiciary and legal profession are critical elements of the
rule of law. The bedrock of a constitutional democracy is an independent
judiciary. A judiciary which is not independent from the executive and
legislature renders the checks and balances inherent in the concept of
separation of powers ineffective.”

The sustainable measure of a government’s commitment to the rule of law is
demonstrated by its respect for the same, which, inter alia, includes
respecting the independence of the judiciary, and court decisions.

The seizures of commercial farmlands in 2000 to redress racially-skewed land
ownership patterns was executed in a haphazard manner and white judges were
instantly viewed as legal stumbling blocks. White judges, just like white
farmers, were targeted and haunted out as part of the political cleansing
ceremony.

The current issue surrounding Hungwe has nothing to do with land reform. It
is more about the politics of survival. The attack on Hungwe de-legitimises
government’s previous conduct against white judges. Apart from being black,
Hungwe is a war veteran who founded the current war veterans association.

When the same government turn the heat on black judges for making
unfavourable rulings, it can only be viewed in the context of politics of
survival and self-interest, not national interest.

That was the case before against white judges, although land was the main
issue.

On the political Richter scale, the intolerant levels of the state are again
now measuring high and scary. The epicentre of such conduct is President
Robert Mugabe’s inner circle and Zanu PF hardliners, aided and abetted by
the partisan state security sector and a compliant judiciary.

Harassing the judiciary is a demonstration of the lack of commitment by the
government to the rule of law as well as appreciation of the separation of
powers principle that provides necessary checks and balances.

As we approach the next general elections, Zimbabweans have every reason to
be afraid. There is one frightening message around this. It may not even be
an attack on Hungwe. Make an example of one judge, and let others feel the
pressure and become compliant.

Most judges in Zimbabwe are in their early 50s and above. Besides their
judiciary roles, most of them, including Hungwe, are into farming, largely
courtesy of Zanu PF. If their farms are unproductive, their fall-back
position is the bench.

Judges, like most newly resettled black farmers, don’t have title deeds, but
offer letters which the state can withdraw at any time. Most importantly,
they can only keep their farms at the mercy and pleasure of the state.

Due to liquidity problems affecting local financial institutions, judges do
not have access to finance to turn around their farms. Most use their
salaries to fund agricultural production. This puts them in a dilemma.
Making a bad political judgment is therefore biting the hand that feeds you.
And the consequences are there for all to see. Herein lies the danger: You
can lose both your farm and job. If you remain with any one of the two, you
will be very lucky.

Judges cannot go back to private practice and appear again before their
erstwhile colleagues. Legal ethics do not allow that and this rule also
applies in Zimbabwe.

The only fall-back position for haunted-out judges is doing consultancy
work, but with the domino effect of world recessionary pressures, there is
hardly any consultancy to talk about now. So he who pays the piper calls the
tune at will.

Judges may now find themselves reading judgments for their supper,
especially if the cases are politically-motivated. With elections just
around the corner, Hungwe has been made an example and a chilling warning
has been sent to the rest of the judges.

Before, during and after the elections, there shall be dozens of electoral
petitions. Some may even centre around the presidential election. Any judge
hearing such matters is already bludgeoned into submission by circumstances
and prevailing political pressures.

That’s one danger facing Zimbabwe today ahead of the elections.

People will be under siege. Hungwe’s state-sponsored political predicament
could be the curtain-raiser. If a judge can be made an example, then what
more of ordinary citizens. Politically-motivated offences may be
unattractive to justice.

Whoever shall become a victim of politically-motivated arrests in the next
few months, his or her cries, may as well remain the biblical cry in the
wilderness.

A new political dispensation will require a commission of inquiry into the
judiciary appointments, conduct of judges in the past decade to present, and
such recommendations that will restore the people’s faith in the judiciary.

There is no significant difference between the judiciary and financial
institutions. They are both sensitive and need the confidence of the public.

Any external unorthodox pressures dent their reputations. Banks can twist in
the wind and go under should there be a run on deposits. With a pliant and
timid judiciary, no one wants to invest in a country in which no justice can
be guaranteed if political pressure is applied on their investments. The
rule of law is key for political and economic stability.

Currently, any politically sensitive case would require a judge with steel
nerves to resist attendant pressure. If you are given to superstition, you
certainly need to oil your face with lion fat before wearing those flowing
red and grey robes.
Sagomba is a locally-trained lawyer.


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RG’s office, Zec cogs in rigging machinery

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Opinion

WHILE the call to have a peaceful electoral environment is critical in the
administration of the coming elections, it is important to note that the
presence of law and order and consequently the absence of political violence
are not adequate ingredients to foster a credible electoral process.

Opinion by Pedzisayi Ruhanya

A transparent voter registration process is a key component of a democratic
electoral process.

From my observations of the voter registration shenanigans taking place
under the watch of the Registrar-General’s office (RG), with the
acquiescence of the Zimbabwe Election Commission (Zec), it seems the
manipulation of the electoral process is already underway through the voter
registration process and ultimately the configuration of the voters’ roll.

It would be disingenuous for political and civic actors to only concentrate
on the political environment without giving due attention to the state of
the voters’ roll and the registration process.
Clearly forces bent on frustrating the democratic process have invested
effort, time and resources into influencing and manipulating the outcome of
the elections by compromising the integrity of the voters’ roll and masking
their trickery with limited instances of overt violence and intimidation.

Zanu PF and its surrogate electoral institutions’ political strategy has
shifted following the realisation that overt violence and intimidation will
ultimately deny them the regional and international legitimacy they so
desperately need.

Judging by how Zimbabweans with foreign parentage –– the so-called aliens ––
are finding it difficult to register and the opaque nature of the process,
it becomes clear there are concerted efforts to manipulate the voters’ roll
to influence the electoral outcome.

The focus for the pro-democracy lobby groups should be to ensure a
transparent and open voter registration process and updated voters’ roll to
avoid the pitfalls of yet another disputed result and possibly another
government of national unity.

Zanu PF’s attempt to influence the electoral process through manipulation of
the voter registration process is being aided and abetted by some partisan
elements within the RG’s office and Zec, some of whom were responsible for
running disputed elections such as the violent June 2008 presidential
run-off.

Some of the officials were seconded from the security establishment after
retiring from active service.

While it is lawful to have retired officers serving in election bodies, the
past record of failure and partisanship disqualifies some of them from
assuming such positions in a democratic society.
Eligible Zimbabweans should have the unfeterred right to register to vote.
This right cannot be compromised by partisan officials if the coming general
elections have any chance of being deemed credible, free and fair.

Recently the RG’s office and Zec claimed close to a million dead voters have
been deleted. They also stated that since November 2012, 62 245 new names
were added on the voters’ roll. These statistics need to be corroborated by
civic society and political parties pushing for a transparent electoral
process.

Added to this, there have been reports people seeking to register to vote
for the first time are failing to do so due to bureaucratic bungling and
systematic disenfranchisement by the RG’s office.
If only 60 000 people have registered to vote in the last four years then
Zec and the RG’s office need to do more to remove the hurdles in the voter
registration process.

The disenfranchisement of voters by these bodies should be nipped in the bud
to ensure all Zimbabweans can participate in electoral processes.

Most people, especially young voters, are also being turned away from
registering to vote because officials demand proof of residence despite most
urbanites being tenants.

The decision by cabinet to relax the proof of residence requirements is not
being applied uniformly particularly in areas where the majority of eligible
voters are deemed supporters of the MDC parties.

These loopholes cumulatively influence the electoral outcome.

For instance, in the 2002 presidential election Zanu PF was accused of
rigging polls in Harare by reducing the number of polling stations while
electoral officials were accused of deliberately conducting their duties
slowly, resulting in congestion at polling stations.

The so-called aliens also face an uphill task in acquiring birth
certificates, requisite for also getting national identity documents. As a
result a number of them are unable to register as voters because they would
do not have identity documents.

This will ultimately benefit Zanu PF which is using every available loophole
and opportunity to disenfranchise citizens who are perceived to be hostile
to its political agenda.

In authoritarian regimes, elections are merely a means by which the ruling
elites consolidate their hegemony. Under this scenario, the electoral
process, environment and administration are crafted to deliver a
pre-determined outcome of regime retention and continuity.

A credible and impartial RG’s office is a critical factor in attempts to
deliver a democratic electoral process and outcome culminating in a smooth
transfer of power in Zimbabwe. This office has been a monumental failure and
all eyes must focus on its activities before it is too late.

Elections can be perceived as a barometer for defining democracy. A modern
state could be perceived as having a democratic political system if its most
powerful political office bearers are chosen through fair, honest, periodic
elections in which candidates freely compete for votes in a system allowing
for universal suffrage.
The RG’s office and Zec secretariat, as currently composed, cannot deliver
free and fair elections.

These two offices are a breeding ground for subverting the will of the
people.

Ruhanya is director of Zimbabwe Democracy Institute.


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Reckless indigenisation disruptive

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Opinion

DEBATE on indigenisation of Zimbabwe’s financial sector has occupied
centre-stage for the last two or three years with the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) expressing unhappiness over the “one-size-fits-all” method of
implementing this long-overdue and desirable programme.

Opinion by Gideon Gono

Strategists the world over are familiar with the saying that “the devil is
in the detail”, in this case of implementation, while those in the legal
fraternity will warn you against ignoring “the small print”.

This installment seeks to highlight our experiences and why the financial
sector ought to be treated with caution and why the “one-size-fits-all”
approach to indigenisation of the financial services sector is considered to
be inappropriate, disruptive and dangerous, hence our view that any “deals”
that foreign banks in this market voluntarily or involuntarily enter into
and sign-off without our prior approval will remain “deals on paper” —
basically null and void.

Role of RBZ in indigenisation
Like any national programme, the indigenisation and economic empowerment
programme must be implemented in a manner that respects the entire
legislative mapping of Zimbabwe as represented by various pieces of
legislation on our books that seek to create checks and balances against
potentially domineering legislative elephants in the living room, so to
speak.

The following are some of the critical pieces of legislation and regulatory
frameworks to be respected: Banking Act, Chapter 24:20; Reserve Bank Act,
Chapter 22:15; Exchange Control Act, Chapter 22:05; Public Finance
Management Act, Chapter 22:19; Procurement Act, Chapter 22:14; Arbitration
Act, Chapter 7:15; Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements;
Competition Act, Chapter 14:28 and Corporate Governance Framework for
Parastatals of which National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board
is part of.

In view of the above plethora of legal instruments, the current seemingly
unilateral approach to implementing the indigenisation can only lead to
fictional results akin to the mining deals involving Zimplats, Unki and
Mimosa which will have to be renegotiated and submitted to us for approval
for them to become “real”.

In the banking sector, and as the law stands, it is only the central bank
that has been conferred with legal powers to issue or withdraw banking
licenses and that is the practice the world over.

Furthermore, as a central bank, we are duty-bound by local Banking Act
(Chapter 24:20) and RBZ Act (Chapter 22:15) as well as international laws
and conventions, to check, verify and certify that people wishing to be
shareholders or group of shareholders of any financial institution in our
backyard are identifiable men and women or institutions of impeccable
credentials.

My position on indigenisation
I am on record, as far back as 2007, as having been one of the first public
officials to hail the government for passing the then long-overdue
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.

The central bank’s voice on this subject is, therefore, as old as the
enactment of the law itself. On October 1 2007, while presenting my monetary
policy statement, I said:
“As monetary authorities, we fully support the noble objective of empowering
the majority of Zimbabweans through the introduction of enabling statutes
that expand wider, the involvement of the people in the mainstream economy.

“Noble as this objective is, our well-considered advice to legislators and
government in general is that a fine balance should be struck between the
objectives of indigenisation and the need to attract foreign investment.

“Specifically, the local-foreign ownership thresholds must be taken and
implemented as down–the-horizon targets, as opposed to excitable but
impractical overnight conversion events.”

I also went further in the same statement to give advice to government well
before the current officials in the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment had been appointed.

“Of particular concern to us as monetary authorities would be any attempts
to forcibly push the envelope of indigenisation into the delicate area of
banking and finance. To this end, we call upon those with interests in the
financial sector to approach the central bank with their applications for
new banking licences.

“It is important to note that this comment comes against a background of
reported incidences involving well-connected personalities who are
positioning themselves to muscle into certain mining, manufacturing,
financial and other entities that are currently performing well and
contributing to the foreign currency inflows of the country.”

It is against the above background that the entire new board of the central
bank unanimously passed a resolution in support of the indigenisation at its
meeting of July 31 2012 which resolution, as governor, I disseminated to the
public through the my monetary policy statement of the same date, stating:
“That the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe supports the government’s indigenisation
and empowerment policies as enunciated in relevant statutes and regulations.
It is fully supportive of the need to ensure that the indigenous people of
Zimbabwe are capacitated to engage in the entire spectrum of Zimbabwean
economic activities including the financial services sector. However, the
bank has reservations concerning implementation of the policies.

“That the Reserve Bank is conscious of the sensitivities surrounding the
economy, particularly the banking sector and mining sectors. It supports the
implementation of indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations in the
various sectors and is of the view that they should be done in a manner that
preserves confidence. Any adverse developments in the banking sector could
grind economic activity in Zimbabwe to a halt.

“That this is particularly so, given that regional and international banks
in the local banking industry play a pivotal role in providing the vital
link between the domestic economy and the international community,
particularly through correspondent banking relationships.

“In this context, the need to reconcile the indigenisation regulations and
other Acts of Parliament cannot be over-emphasised. As such, the
implementation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment provisions has
to be done in harmony with the Banking Act and Regulations, RBZ Act,
Exchange Control Act and Regulations, Companies Act, Mines and Minerals Act,
Zimbabwe Investment Act and other existing legislations.”

Thus acknowledging the above as given, it is a total misrepresentation of my
position as governor to suggest that I or my management team and board are
opposed to the indigenisation programme. Nothing can be further from the
truth.

Banking sector architecture
From the early 1990s, the financial sector is one of the sectors which
benefitted immensely from liberalisation of the economy. From a sector which
was largely dominated by a few foreign-owned institutions to the current
standing where the majority of banks (71%) are locally-owned.

Currently, there are 24 banking institutions in the country, of which only
seven (29%) are foreign-owned and internationally active banks. The
international banks are among the country’s systemically important banking
institutions whose condition needs to be safeguarded at all times.

In the interest of clarity and common understanding, a systemically
important institution is one whose size, complexity, scale of operations and
connectedness to the local and foreign financial and other economic systems
is such that an event within or surrounding it would have far reaching
implications for others and economic sectors within a given jurisdiction.

There are 24 mainstream banking institutions namely commercial banks (17),
merchant banks (2), building societies (4) and savings bank (1).

In addition, there are 164 licenced microfinance institutions (MFIs), 53
money lending institutions (MLIs) and 16 asset management companies (AMCs)
in Zimbabwe spread throughout the country giving the following outlook as
illustrated above:
If we are talking about sectoral institutional ownership and outlook
regardless of size, the above picture tells a story which we cannot ignore
when it comes to how open the financial sector is to new indigenous
entrants.

As for size, it is a function of age, market confidence, capitalisation,
reputation, stability, and international connections, among other factors.

The seven foreign owned banks (3%) command US$250 million (36%) of the
sector’s US$700 million paid-up capital of which 64% (US$450 million) is
held by 97% of the market players who are indigenous.

In terms of deposits, indigenous banks cumulatively hold about US$3 billion
(70%) in total deposits, while the foreign-owned institutions hold US$1,3
billion (30%) of total deposits as at March 29, 2013.

In terms of the loan book, out of a total market book of US$3,6 billion,
indigenous owned banks had a loan book of about US$2,7 billion (75%), while
the seven foreign-owned banks have extended loans of about US$900 million
(25%).

From the above, it is clear that the “rush” to indigenise the banking sector
is more driven by emotions and an uninformed perspective than by necessity.

When all is said and done, on banks we should all ask ourselves the
question: Whose money do we want to indigenise? No wonder over US$2 billion
is circulating in the informal sector, thus adversely causing serious
liquidity challenges for the economy, apart from chasing away investors. We
are shooting ourselves in the foot through such ill-advised demands.

What needs to be done
There is need for more creativity, co-operation confidence and leverage
strategy to secure more benefits for indigenous people through foreign
networks and associations.

As chief superintendent of the Zimbabwe’s banking sector, I’m on record
emphasising that foreign-owned banks will need to comply with the country’s
indigenisation laws over a mutually agreed period of time and in proportions
that allow foreign shareholders to feel comfortable that they can still
leave their names, brands and systems attached to the same indigenised
institutions.

In other words, we need to “hurry slowly”. We can achieve the desired
benefits through other creative means such as lending quotas, mobilisation
of support lines of credit and supply-side empowerment.
It is important that the process does not disconnect the local institutions
from their original parentage as doing so would be to throw away serious
associational benefits to the country that come with those connections.

The benefits I am referring to include, among others, access to lines of
credit, latest technology platforms, training and exposure to international
best practices, strength through adequate capitalisations as and when
required, access to international networks as well as customer confidence
arising from the mere knowledge that local outfits are part of an
international balance sheet of both financial and technical capabilities,
products and a recognised brand network that can be counted upon in
international business transactions, travel, investment advice and general
services.

Historically and even today for instance, close to 90% of all lines of
credit for our tobacco auction-floor purchases, cotton and other external
funding requirements come through these foreign owned banks and trying to
change their ownership in a unstructured and reckless manner can only be
counter-productive at a time when indigenous owned banks, save for a few,
are struggling to meet basic minimum standards of capitalisation,
international networks, brand recognition internationally and capacity to
mobilise meaningful international lines of credit for the country’s needs.

My next installment will show the potential impact and far-reaching
consequences to the economy of unstructured and emotive interventions on
banks if that is allowed to happen.


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Will the real sneaks please stand up?

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Opinion

Muckraker has warned that there are external pressures being brought to bear
at the Herald and Sunday Mail that prevent them from carrying major news
items or see those items manipulated to suit Zanu PF’s electoral needs.

By the MuckRacker

A good example was evident on Monday. Herald political editor Hebert Zharare
repeated the tired myth that US sanctions were signed into law “as
punishment for government’s decision to acquire white-held farms for
resettlement”.

In fact they were drafted in response to electoral violence and
manipulation. The Americans had no objection to land redistribution.
Why should they?

Putting a damper

Over the weekend the Herald told us what a “damp squib” Morgan Tsvangirai’s
regional tour had been.

On Monday the Daily News carried a story in which Ivory Coast prime minister
Daniel Kablan Duncan warned Zimbabwe should not be allowed to replicate his
country’s electoral dispute which sparked a four-month civil war.

Tsvangirai urged the Economic Community Of West African States (Ecowas) to
ensure the environment in Zimbabwe was conducive to the holding of free and
fair elections. Ivory Coast is currently chair of Ecowas.

Tsvangirai emphasised the need to implement all outstanding reforms under
the GPA including public media reforms.

Now we can see why. Those feeding the public press are dishonestly omitting
and manipulating election-related stories.
Between the lines

The main reason they are denouncing Tsvangirai’s tour is the discovery the
African Union, Sadc and Ecowas are speaking with one voice on the Zimbabwe
crisis.

It must be very annoying for the former ruling party. So how does it
respond? The Herald puts the Gupta story in a prominent position.

President Jacob Zuma was among those giving Tsvangirai a warm welcome. It
was always said of Izvestia in the Soviet Union that analysts needed to read
between the lines to find out what was really going on.

However tempting it may be to gloat over Zuma’s discomfort, the Gupta story
has a dimension for us as well as South Africa: this is what happens when
power is abused.

Zharare by the way told us Tsvangirai “sneaked back home after (his) damp
squib tour”.
Who is the sneak here? Journalists who parrot the regime’s mantras or prime
ministers who insist free and fair elections?
An inconvenient truth

By far the most interesting story for both our media and the international
press was the revelation by Zambian Vice-President Guy Scott who told the
Guardian that Mugabe really wanted to go.

We had a hint of this at the Independence Day celebrations but here was
confirmation in all its glory. Mugabe was an Englishman, Scott declared, and
he wanted to step down and retire. To the Home counties we assume?

“I think if you asked him he would say it was enough,” Scott told the
Guardian. That’s what he said to us a few months ago. I said the way forward
in African democracy is the way we do it in Zambia.”

“He said ‘I absolutely agree. I wish it would happen to me’.”
Asked if that meant losing an election, he said “Yes, and a smooth
†handover.”

“I think he meant it or he was toying with the idea of meaning it,” Scott
said.

“He’s a funny chap,” Scott continued. “He seems to doze off and then he
suddenly laughs at a joke in the middle of dozing. And very articulate,
without a note, without a scrap of anything.”
You can see now why the Herald omitted this story. It is entirely credible
given what he said at the National Sports Stadium. And given his published
liking for Scott it would be difficult to repudiate.
Zanu PF is in a fix here. How can they fight an election led by a leader who
would rather not be contesting?

The First Zoo

Has the Amai Grace School and Children’s Home in Mazowe become a zoo, a
reader wanted to know? Everybody is required to see the children. They are
paraded for the benefit of VIP visitors and television cameras.
The Malawi head of state was taken out to Mazowe as was a visiting sheikh.
This week it was the turn of the wives of intelligence bosses. Don’t the
children get any peace? Don’t they have rights, our reader asked?
Muckraker thinks we must respect the rights of children.
After the CIO bosses’ tour, Amai Mugabe complained that Zimbabwe continued
to get negative media publicity “when the situation was different on the
ground”.
Is it any different?
Two of our journalists were arrested this week for publishing a story
“prejudicial to the state”. Did Amai Mugabe tell the visiting wives the
circumstances in which she acquired the land for the school and Gushungo
dairy?
What happened to the elderly couple that were dispossessed to make room for
her scheme?
We were interested to note the wife of the Nigerian head of security holding
forth on such an “impressive” scheme.
She didn’t say that Zimbabwean commercial farmers were in Nigeria providing
fresh dairy products which her country had been unable to provide itself.

Shamu at it again!

Meanwhile Webster Shamu chose the wrong occasion to gloat over Zanu PF’s
credentials.

Zanu PF emphasises on “tried and tested leadership”, Shamu declared as he
had to deal with the issue of Zanu PF Manicaland chairman Mike Madiro and
his deputy Dorothy Mabika who face stock theft charges after they allegedly
stole 10 beasts meant as donations for the 21st February Movement.

“Zimbabweans now understand the difference between MDC and Zanu PF, as the
former has reflected its true colours with corruption in all local
authorities they dominate,” Shamu added despite leaders from his own party
being accused of corruption.
As if Shamu’s utterances were not ironic and damning enough, he went on to
blame the suffering Zimbabweans have gone through to “illegal” sanctions.

The reason for our suffering is pretty clear from where we are standing!

Govt on the prowl

Another year, another Hifa. This is one of Zimbabwe’s finest products the
intelligence bosses’ wives didn’t see.

Muckraker’s favourite was the giant puppets, one looking suspiciously like
our esteemed leader.

The trouble is Zimbabwe’s officialdom see the week-long show as an
opportunity to fleece foreigners. The owners of the puppets and other
foreign artistes were told they should obtain a work permit which would cost
Hifa a total of US$20 000.

They fought Zimra all the way but in the end, exhausted, they gave in. Two
days later they got a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It excused them from obtaining a work permit. Do you think they got their
money back?


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Of Mugabe, generals and an amnesty

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Opinion

As the rhetoric and clamour for elections gathers momentum, it is convenient
to warn fellow citizens of the challenges that lie ahead.

Opinion by William Muchayi

The formation of the inclusive government in 2008 masked deep-rooted decay
in the politics of this country and it is these challenges that haunt and
will continue troubling citizens as we approach elections and thereafter.

It has been the suspicion of many within and outside opposition circles that
MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai defeated President Robert
Mugabe convincingly in the first round of elections in 2008, but was robbed
of victory as the latter connived with Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)
to create a false scenario in which none of the adversaries scored more than
the 50% benchmark to have outright victory, hence the need for a run-off.

Social media reports say Tsvangirai garnered 67% of the vote compared to
Mugabe’s mere 28,7% in the 2008 presidential election.

However, with the help of Zec and the military Tsvangirai was robbed of
victory culminating in the run-off which he boycotted in protest against
intimidation and violence.

Five years after the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), it is
regrettable that no meaningful reforms have been implemented. The security
sector is still as intact as it was before.

The same generals who were behind the 2008 violence are still fully
entrenched in their political war trenches, with some of them even promoted
to higher ranks as a reward for the role they played in propping the regime
up.

Recently State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi was quoted as saying
calls for the security sector reform are uncalled for as they are tantamount
to demands for regime change.

For Mugabe, maintaining the status quo in the security sector is a matter of
survival as opposed to luxury. He has lost support among the electorate and
for him to maintain power, he needs the backing of the military.

Much is also at stake for the generals. Victory for MDC-T would leave them
vulnerable as they would be forced to answer to charges of human rights
abuses which hang around their necks.

Also, they cannot afford to let go all the fortune they have amassed
throughout Mugabe’s reign. Moreover, they are following events in other
parts of the continent, for instance, the surrender of Bosco Ntaganda of the
DRC before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Because of that, Mugabe will never give in to demands for security sector
reforms and the opposition has to live with this reality. Mugabe’s mentality
and that of his security chiefs has not changed, hence they will fight tooth
and nail to rob Tsvangirai of victory again.

Faced with this stark reality, the MDC-T seems powerless to effect change
from within as was the hope when they entered into the government of
national unity. The political and electoral playing field has remained in
Mugabe’s favour. A relapse into violence as experienced in 2008 is
inevitable.

There has been no meaningful reforms, including on the media, since 2008.
The clampdown by the partisan police on people using small wind-up radios is
an attempt by Mugabe to restrict the electorate’s access to information.

The dysfunctional ZBC that propagates Zanu PF propaganda is viewed by the
regime as the right official source of information for the electorate. The
awarding of licences to two new players to broadcast is a non-event as they
are all linked to the regime.

In a sense, it is just an extension of Zanu PF’s control of the airwaves.
The Public Order and Security Act and Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act are still at the regime’s disposal to stifle freedom of
speech and expression.

Perpetrators of the 2008 atrocities are still roaming the streets with none
of them having been brought before the courts of law. The thugs are
well-known, but are protected by those who use them. Most of them are
reported to be on government payroll and in wait for a call to unleash
terror.

The judiciary, on the other hand, is rendered powerless to prosecute the
criminals as it is compromised in favour of the executive. As a result,
victims of politically-motivated violence remain vulnerable as they are not
protected by the institutions meant to protect them.

Zec as well as the Registrar-General (RG)’s Office have not been reformed
enough for the electorate to have confidence in them. As in 2008, Mugabe is
likely to rely on these two institutions to rig the forthcoming elections in
a smarter way than before. Violence in the forthcoming elections, however,
is likely to be on a smaller scale than that of 2008 for a number of
reasons.

Firstly, Mugabe is old and tired and these elections are likely to be his
last. As such, he may want to leave the stage peacefully. Jerry Rawlings of
Ghana left the stage in the same fashion.

Secondly, a repeat of the 2008 violence will not work in Mugabe’s favour
especially taking into consideration the pressure from Sadc. Mugabe does not
want to be on a collision course with Sadc at a time he is shunned by the
international community.

He may appear to be snubbing South African President and Sadc-appointed
facilitator on Zimbabwe, Jacob Zuma in public, but privately, he is well
aware that being isolated by Sadc will not help his cause.

Thirdly, no one and even Mugabe himself would dream of a return to the
economic meltdown of 2008. Because of the above reasons, elections are
likely to be rigged in a smarter way with the help of Zec and the RG’s
Office.

Instead of withholding election results for ages, this time the shock
results are to be announced within days.

Despite reports that Zec is staffed with personnel from the secret service,
it would be interesting to note that it is going to be the playground where
elections are to be won or lost.

The MDC-T might have played a part in the restructuring of Zec, but it is a
fact that theirs was a peripheral role as Mugabe dictated the tempo.

The resignation of Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe and the subsequent
appointment of Rita Makarau can best be understood in this context which
then tells you who is likely to win the forthcoming elections.

The role of the RG’s Office is also significant in shaping the outcome of
the elections. The RG’s Office has been instrumental in the past in
facilitating the regime’s rigging mechanism and the same office has been
left almost untouched leaving Mugabe with enough room to manouevre.

The recent persecution of human rights activists, NGOs and journalists as
well as members of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is a clear signal
of Mugabe’s intentions.

Although he appears to condemn the arrests and harassment of rights
activists in public, in private he approves of them.

If he is to be taken seriously, he should acknowledge that he is now
powerless to control his marauding militias. However, reality on the ground
seems to imply that he is still in control, but is reluctant to instill
discipline in them as they are his source of power. Without them he is
finished and they cannot do without him as theirs is a symbiotic
relationship.

Mugabe will push for elections before the end of June and his excuse as
usual will be the need to abide by the constitution, but at the same time it
is a ploy to do away with talk of reforms before elections.

The MDC parties will find it difficult to stop him from declaring elections
before June unless pressure comes from Zuma and other regional leaders.
Whether Sadc will succeed in forcing Mugabe to implement the remaining
reforms before elections remains to be seen. If no meaningful reforms are
implemented, a return to the chaotic elections is a possibility.

As advised, Zimbabweans should have Plan “B” on the table. In the event that
Mugabe steals the vote again, what can be done? Mugabe will not go
peacefully as Rawlings did in Ghana and Kaunda in Zambia. What he and his
generals need are guarantees of protection in exchange for leaving office.

If Zimbabweans forgave Ian Smith and his generals, then why not their own
wayward sons? If Ghanaians forgave Rawlings and the Pakistanis Pervez
Musharaf, why would Zimbabweans deny Mugabe and his generals the same
forgiveness? It is guarantees of protection and forgiveness that Mugabe and
his generals need before relinquishing power.

However, it is those who acknowledge their blunders who should qualify for
an amnesty, but Mugabe and his generals have not shown any remorse at all.
Pardoning them without them acknowledging their guilty is like rewarding
vice with virtue.

The last question is: who is it they trust if an olive branch is extended to
them as a gesture of goodwill? In life, there are some truths we will have
to learn to live with although we may not want to think of them as reality
but just dreams.

Muchayi is a local political analyst. E-mail: wmuchayi@gmail.com


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Bank crisis deep-seated

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Opinion

ONCE again we are facing a bank crisis as shown by the report we are
carrying on our front page in the midst of an economic malaise all along
concealed by the multi-currency regime and exchange rate stabilisation since
2009.

Zimbabwe Independent Editorial

Since 2004, Zimbabwe has witnessed a series of bank collapses due to
economic problems, liquidity crunch in particular, and gross mismanagement,
including theft and abuse of depositors’ funds.

As usual, the banks affected are indigenous. This is not to say that there
is something wrong with indigenous ownership of banks, but suffice to say
most local banks are struggling.

And yet there is clamour in some misguided quarters to take over
international banks despite clear signs this would destabilise the banking
sector and unravel the gains of indigenisation made so far.

The latest problem at Kingdom Bank shows there is a deep-seated crisis in
this sector. This is a reflection of the broad picture of inept political
leadership and policy failures.

Zimbabwe is always hurtling from one policy to another due to lack of
leadership and vision. Our rulers simply don’t know how to manage a modern
economy and the consequences of their misrule are there for all to see.

Even the most blind of their apologists can see the ravages of their
misrule.

Many may have by now forgotten about one Roger Boka, the first indigenous
Zimbabwean to own a bank. He never worked in a bank before so as to
understand the subtleties of running a financial institution.

However, to his credit the man was an outstanding businessman, a pathfinder
of unequalled status.

He built a successful business empire that spanned commerce, agriculture and
mining. Long before government ever thought of indigenisation, Boka had made
his own forays. The Boka Tobacco Auction Floors are a living testimony to
his entrepreneurship.

That was nearly two decades before government adopted its indigenisation
policy, showing Boka was ahead of his time.
The Boka legacy, however, met its nemesis the minute his adventurous spirit
led him to the heart of the financial services sector.

United Merchant Bank (UMB) became a misadventure that tainted his otherwise
astounding business success. UMB collapsed like a deck of cards, never to
recover. And so did the other UMB (Universal Merchant Bank).

Henceforth, a list of casualties followed, First National Building Society,
Time Bank, Zimbabwe Building Society, Trust Bank, Royal Bank, Barbican, and
others. Of course Trust and Royal made a comeback before Royal was closed
again.

Trust, Royal and Barbican were eventually collapsed into ZABG before their
assets were separated.

Fast-forward to the dollarisation era and yet some more collapses that
included Renaissance Merchant Bank, Interfin and Genesis were recorded. Some
of those clamouring for indigenisation of banks had interests in the
collapsed institutions.

And yet, in this sea of financial turbulence, the international banks,
Standard Chartered, Barclays, Stanbic and MBCA remain steady. CBZ, which at
one time had some Absa shareholding, is a good example of local success
though. These banks are doing well because of prudence.


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Zanu PF still stuck in the past

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Opinion

WITH critical elections inexorably drawing closer, Zimbabwe is hurtling down
a familiar path as the usual suspects, Zanu PF, marshals its formidable
state machinery against those perceived to be working against its interests.

Candid Comment with Stewart Chabwinja

As part of the party’s trademark crackdown integral to its poll
preparations, this week our editor Dumisani Muleya and chief reporter Owen
Gagare were arrested and charged with contravening the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act allegedly for publishing falsehoods.

Needless to say this is a clear case of harassment from the Zanu PF-aligned
state machinery quick to resort to an array of weapons that include Aippa,
Posa, the Official Secrets Act and Criminal Law Act to clamp down on the
private media, civil society and other progressive forces. Our “crime” is
simple: honouring our pledge to shine a light in dark places, scrutinise the
executive and hold the powerful to account in the public interest.

Despite the private media’s adherence to media ethics through well-sourced
stories and affording those concerned the right of reply, the state’s
hostility towards us is being ratcheted up, with reporters at our sister
paper, NewsDay, being summoned by police last week over their stories.

This was just part of a broader clampdown whose repressive script also
features the seizure this week of 15 poll campaign bikes belonging to the
MDC-T and attacks on civic groups.

Contrast this to the fact the state media — part of the formidable pro-Zanu
PF state apparatus — appears to have the licence to malign those opposed to
the interests of Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe without risking arrest.

We are not calling for the arrest or harassment of our state media
colleagues, but it is inconceivable that they have never fallen foul of the
draconian media laws like us.

The ritualistic suppression of pro-democracy forces which includes
systematic onslaught against the private media and all dissenting voices is
as futile as it is anachronistic in an age when cyberspace and the social
media have rapidly expanded the frontiers of freedom of expression beyond
our wildest dreams.

Ancient repressive laws meant to muzzle the media will fail; cyberspace has
no respect for national boundaries with information spreading in real-time
while preserving anonymity.

The bad news for regimes and despots whose continued reign is innately tied
to their ability to misinform their subjects or keep them in the throes of
darkness and ignorance is that the digital tide is irresistible.

With digital revolution, repressive regimes stuck in a time warp are
increasingly powerless to control what their people watch, read or listen
to, and hence their thoughts. The Arab Spring immediately comes to mind.

True to form, some of Zimbabwe’s political elite appear to have drawn no
lessons from the WikiLeaks exposť which unmasked them as hypocrites, despite
their oft-reprised claims of patriotism and allegiance to party leaders. It
is the same hypocrites who wish to set the agenda for the private media by
dictating the national interest and what should be published. It won’t work.


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Arrests were uncalled for

http://www.theindependent.co.zw/

May 10, 2013 in Opinion

YOU don’t need to be particularly clever, intelligent or a security expert
to see what’s going on with regards to the arrest of our chief reporter Owen
Gagare and myself this week at the behest of the forces of darkness for
running a story based on what Housing minister Giles Mutsekwa had told us on
record regarding his meetings with senior security service chiefs to discuss
electoral issues and post-election political scenarios.

Editor’s Memo with Dumisani Mleya

Of course, there has been some hysterical official reactions to what
Mutsekwa said even though the minister, a former soldier as well as defence
and security secretary for the MDC-T, has held firm.

Although he has taken a lot of flak from angry military commanders and his
own political party, Mutsekwa has stood firm in the face of adversity and
remained calm.

But what is striking is the intensity of anger which the story provoked,
triggering our arrest for merely doing our job.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba was the first to react publicly,
saying the story was a “major lie coming from a Rhodesian major”.

Mutsekwa however hit back, telling Charamba to keep away as he is not part
of the army.

Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri said service chiefs had no
time to engage “confused malcontents”.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander General Constantine Chiwenga was
furious, describing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a “sell-out” and
“psychiatric patient who seems to be suffering from hallucinations”.
Needless to say, this was all over the top.

While Charamba and Chihuri were temperate by the regime’s brazen standards,
there was also a hint of threats in their statements.

This is very strange, yet not really difficult to understand.
But then, it also raises questions as to why they were so agitated. If we
first go by what Mutsekwa said, the question is: were security chiefs’ talks
with him authorised by President Robert Mugabe? If not, who did and what was
happening then? If they were authorised, why the hysteria?

If Mutsekwa is lying, as they claim, why not just call his bluff and expose
him for what he is? And why do the powers that be react as if this was the
first time such a thing has happened here?

Ahead of the 2002 presidential election, didn’t former MDC MPs Job Sikhala,
who was secretary for defence and security, and Tafadzwa Musekiwa hold talks
with Air Marshal Perence Shiri?

In January 2003, didn’t Tsvangirai reveal he had held talks with retired
Colonel Lionel Dyke who said he was acting on behalf of the late ZDF chief
Vitalis Zvinavashe and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa?

So what is the fuss all about and what is going on here? Well, the truth is,
we simply don’t know. What we do know is Zimbabwe’s military as presently
configured, a product of integration of former liberation forces and their
adversaries, has always been involved in partisan politics since 1980.

As a result of the role of the military in politics and elections, the issue
of security sector reform is looming large now.
During political transitions, especially after conflict, as was the case in
1980, the military is always a factor and how it is managed is a big issue.

That is why there is so much sensitivity because the next elections are
critical and could produce outcomes in which the military’s reaction can be
either a source of stability or instability.

So it’s not surprising journalists, digging around this issue and writing
inconvenient reports, will naturally be targeted.
But our arrest was uncalled for.


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