Friday, 11 May 2012 09:20
THE Zanu PF youth league has said Zimbabwe should abandon the
constitution-making process and go for elections under the Lancaster House
constitution, adding its voice to calls by President Robert Mugabe and his
loyalists that the process should be ditched if the delays persist and the
draft constitution does not include “majority views”.
Disengaging from the constitution-making process is part of Zanu PF’s grand
plan to force early elections which Mugabe wants this year with or without a
The youth league’s statement seems to be part of a spirited effort to
undermine the constitution-making process by Zanu PF diehards working with
The youth leaders told journalists on Wednesday that they would not accept a
draft constitution that did not include their party’s position, which they
said was the majority view expressed during the Copac outreach meetings.
Zanu PF youth league secretary for indigenisation and economic empowerment
Innocent Hamandishe said: “It (constitution-making process) is depriving us
of our democratic right to vote.
“We want to vote for our president. We don’t need the constitution.
Otherwise if that US$40 million was channeled to ARVs or something, some of
us who are HIV-positive or suffering from cancer could have been cured. This
is money wasted.
“We want elections. To hell with the constitution! If people want to deprive
us of our democratic right to vote, the next time these people give us
another deadline which does not suit us as Zimbabweans, we as the Zanu PF
youth league are going to give a deadline of our own and if they fail to
meet that deadline, we will force them to disband Copac and we’ll call for
He added: “We are tired of this marriage of convenience (unity government)
and we are tired of this dilly-dallying. We want elections as of yesterday.”
Friday, 11 May 2012 09:19
SENIOR Zanu PF politburo members in Mashonaland Central have drawn their
daggers against provincial governor Martin Dinha whom they believe to be too
close to President Robert Mugabe, while they fear he is no longer working in
Dinha is said to have had a bitter fallout with party heavyweights Nicholas
Goche and Saviour Kasukuwere who are now reportedly using provincial party
chairman Dickson Mafios to fight the governor— Mugabe’s representative in
On Sunday the provincial executive resolved to take Dinha to task for
allegedly giving land to a white farmer, Georgina Brown, at a crucial time
ahead of elections. This case has triggered fierce infighting within the
province, threatening to destabilise Mugabe and Zanu PF’s only remaining
Although Zanu PF and Mugabe are still relatively strong in Mashonaland
regions, Mashonaland central province remains their fortress. The MDC-T has
not been able to sufficiently penetrate the region like it has in all
Zanu PF is currently torn apart by internal strife, triggered by district
coordinating committee elections. Mugabe last week denounced factionalism
and greed in Zanu PF, saying it was destroying the party. The Zanu PF
politburo is going to hold an extraordinary meeting to tackle the burning
issue which was raised at the decision-making body’s meeting last week.
Sources in the province said this week senior politburo members in the
region were accusing Dinha of undermining them before Mugabe and abandoning
working in their factional interests. This has left Dinha exposed to the
rage of heavyweights, including Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Goche and
The infighting in Mashonaland Central intensifiedthis week amid reports that
Mugabe would appoint a new politburo team anytime from now. Mashonaland
central bigwigs fear Mugabe might elevate Dinha into the politburo, given
his loyalty to the president, making him more powerful and difficult to
“There is a belief that Dinha is too close to Mugabe and this seems to have
been confirmed when the president visited Mount Darwin on April 20,” said a
member of the provincial executive.
“On arrival at Mount Darwin Primary School Mugabe requested that Dinha
accompany him in his car as he went to view an exhibition by small-scale
enterprises. He was also in the president’s car when he went for lunch at
“The situation got worse later when Mugabe complained about the state of the
roads in the province and country in general and also expressed
disappointment with some aspects of the indigenisation programme. This was
seen as a direct attack on the responsible ministers, Goche (Transport,
Communication and Infrastructure development) and Kasukuwere
(Indigenisation), and some people felt the attack was as a result of Dinha’s
Asked about the wrangling, Dinha said word that he would be appointed to the
politburo was just speculation although he was ready to serve the party in
any position from cell to the politburo.
The battle in the province has also sucked in Vice-President John Nkomo this
week as it emerged some party heavyweights were trying to block him from
attending a national integration meeting in Mvurwi next week and visiting a
primary school which teaches Ndebele from Grade 3 – the only one playing a
formal cultural and linguistic integration role in Zimbabwe.
The school has made headlines for teaching Ndebele in Mashonaland region in
an unprecedented experiment which might result in Shona and Ndebele, the
country’s two main vernacular languages, being taught nationally.
Nkomo was invited by Dinha, but some officials reportedly advised him not to
attend, claiming the province was divided and the meeting would be
infiltrated MDC activists.
Dinha seemed to confirm there were people baying for his blood although he
insisted he had good relations with the party’s provincial leadership,
“I have a sound working relationship with the political leadership of
Mashonaland Central,” said Dinha. “However, a few failed politicians,
opportunists and misguided frog-jumpers, as well as disruptive former MDC
elements in Mazowe are trying to divide the party and province,” he said.
Asked about his briefing to Mugabe which has caused a storm, Dinha confirmed
he accompanied the president on the tour and briefed him on developments in
the province. He said he was not worried about plots against him because
only Mugabe had the capacity to remove him from his post.
“I relate well with the provincial chairman. We have distinct roles,” Dinha
said. “He is the provincial chairman and I am the governor of the province
who is mandated to govern by the president of the republic. I’m hired and
fired by one person, His Excellency the President.
“I’m the president’s man in Mashonaland Central by virtue of being the
governor and resident minister. I was appointed by the president to
discharge his mandate. In terms of protocol, there is nothing amiss for me
to escort the president, to receive him with honour and decorum and to brief
him on relevant matters.”
On the issue of giving land to Brown, Dinha said the recommendation was made
by the Provincial Land Committee (PLC) but the final decision came from the
Ministry of Lands, the acquiring authority.
Mafios said the fact that the provincial executive wants a clarification
from Dinha did not mean he was under siege. “The governor is the deputy
secretary of lands but was not available for our meeting on Sunday as he was
attending a funeral,” said Mafios. “The fact that people wanted
clarification from him on certain issues does not mean we are not in good
books. Those who are saying there is bad blood are trying to fuel
Kasukuwere said he did not need to have a good relationship with Dinha
“because he is not my wife”, but said they worked well together.
The discord in Mashonaland Central is indicative of the unstable and fluid
nature of Zanu PF factions. Goche and Kasukuwere are broadly in the Mujuru
faction, although they now firmly support Mugabe.
The Mujuru faction has been declining since the Tsholotsho palace coup
debacle of 2004 when it trounced the rival camp led by Defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa. Even though it triumphed during the 209 congress before
the death of Genelral Solomon Mujuru, it has now lost some key members like
Oppah Muchinguri, who played a crucial role in VP Mujuru’s ascendancy.
Muchinguri has crossed over to the Mnangagwa faction. Politburo member Obert
Mpofu has also left the Mujuru camp and is leaning towards the Mnangagwa
Other key members of the Mujuru group such as Dumiso Dabengwa and Simba
Makoni left after quitting Zanu PF.
The Mnangagwa faction has also been significantly weakened by the departure
of pivotal players like former Information minister and politburo member
Jonathan Moyo and Flora Buka, among others. Zanu PF remains dominated by the
two main Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions, although there are factions within
Friday, 11 May 2012 09:18
WHILE President Robert Mugabe’s determination to hold elections this year,
with or without a new constitution, may suggest he is likely to avail funds
to run the polls outside treasury coffers, he is likely to face hurdles as
experts say it is not legally acceptable for him to produce money outside
National elections are financed by the treasury and the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) is on record as having set its budget at US$220 million to
hold both a referendum and general elections.
Analysts say in terms of the constitution and the law money to fund
elections must be from the Consolidated Revenue Fund — the main bank account
of government — even if it comes from sources other than taxation.
Finance minister Tendai Biti has repeatedly said treasury has no money to
Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional expert, said it would not be legally
possible for polls to be run by funds other than those availed the treasury.
“It is not legally acceptable for anyone to bring in money from any other
source outside the treasury to finance the elections,” Madhuku said.
“When Finance minister Tendai Biti says there is no money for elections, he
is speaking on behalf of the government and President Mugabe cannot bring
in his own money for a government programme because the minister has to be
accountable,” he said.
While addressing journalists in Harare recently, Biti said his ministry had
only been able to budget for the population census and a referendum.
However, some analysts believe Zimbabwe might end up running a potentially
illegally-funded election with funds sourced from the proceeds of the sale
of diamonds sold through parallel channels.
“If Biti says there is no money then that is reality because he is the
minister in charge of treasury which funds national programmes,” said
Alexander Rusero, a local political commentator. “The possibility of the
funds being sourced from somewhere else like the Ministry of Mines is very
high but it will be illegal to run the polls using such funds. It will be
unacceptable because we have a lot of priorities in other areas.”
Another commentator Alex Magaisa, also a lawyer, said the issue of funding
elections was secondary to a conducive environment to hold credible polls.
“Elections cost money and unless there are sufficient resources to fund the
election it will be impossible to hold a credible election.
“In 2008, the delays over the election results were explained on the basis
of resource limitations, which was a flimsy excuse, so what would be the
point of going to an election without the necessary resources? It would only
produce another sham result,” he said.
“In any event the issue of funding is secondary to ensuring that conditions
are properly created to have a credible election,” said Magaisa.
Friday, 11 May 2012 09:24
Elias Mambo/Brian Chitemba
DEFENCE minister Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured) has for the first time openly
declared his interest in taking over from President Robert Mugabe as the
leader of Zanu PF and the country, in remarks showing the succession battle
in the party is intensifying.
Mnangagwa told the Zimbabwe Independent last Friday at Heroes Acre during
the burial of Zanu PF politburo member Edson Ncube he was ready to govern if
given an opportunity. This virtually confirmed he is positioning himself to
succeed Mugabe, remarks which could anger senior Zanu PF officials and fuel
factionalism and internal power struggles ahead of the next elections.
“I am ready to rule if selected to do so,” Mnangagwa said. “Zanu PF is about
observing the will of the people and I will respect the people’s wishes if
they choose me.”
Mnangagwa’s pronouncement comes at a time when his bitter rival,
Vice-President Joice Mujuru, continues to skirt the burning succession
issue, saying she would only join the fray when Mugabe is no longer in
office although it is known she is working behind the scenes to angle for
the top position.
In remarks which show succession is now hotly-contested, Zanu PF secretary
for administration Didymus Mutasa this week poured cold water on Mnangagwa’s
ambitions, saying he would not waste his time commenting on individuals’
dreams. “I do not want to be drawn into baseless arguments by commenting on
individuals’ wishes,” said Mutasa. “I will comment on that issue when the
time comes; that is when the people - here I mean Zanu PF - have chosen him
as the leader of the party.”
Mutasa, who is number five in the hierarchy, recently said Mnangagwa, who is
not in the top 10, was far down the pecking order to succeed Mugabe compared
to Mujuru and others.
While Mnangagwa for the first time came out in the open to declare his
ambitions, Mujuru squandered an opportunity to project herself during the
memorial service of her late husband General Solomon Mujuru on Saturday.
Instead of laying claim to the throne, Mujuru, who has burnt her fingers
over the issue before and forced Mugabe to denounce her in public, spoke
about private matters between herself and her late husband.
Mnangagwa has been battling the Mujuru faction for years in a sustained turf
war to succeed Mugabe. The Zanu PF fight for power has escalated as evidence
mounts that Mugabe is struggling with old age complications and ill-health.
Factionalism and infighting recently flared up in Zanu PF, forcing Mugabe
last Friday to slam faction leaders and greed, saying they were destroying
Mnangagwa has been fighting to take over from Mugabe for a long time. He
first tried to position himself as heir apparent by vying for the
vice-presidency in the run up to the 2004 congress but was ruthlessly
crushed by Mugabe and the Mujuru faction. His camp was also trounced during
the 2009 congress, but is now gaining ground. The succession race is
currently unfolding during the party’s district elections, which have
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo also appeared to dismiss Mnangagwa’s
ambitions, saying his party had laid-down procedures to be followed on
“In Zanu PF, we have a hierarchy and this is adhered to whenever there is
need for promotion,” said Gumbo. “Whilst people may harbour presidential
ambitions, it is unfortunate (for Mnangagwa) that we follow this hierarchy.”
Insiders say senior Zanu PF officials want to force polls this year to
secure victory using Mugabe and then press him to resign afterwards.
Mnangagwa’s open declaration also comes at a time Mugabe and members of the
Joint Operations Command (JOC) are fuming at Zanu PF leaders they accuse of
Mugabe and JOC, comprising army, police and intelligence chiefs, have
castigated factional leaders of causing the chaos in the party ahead of
Sources JOC chiefs have been holding meetings and denouncing Zanu PF faction
Mugabe made a passionate plea to his party’s bigwigs at the end of March to
close ranks and deal with the raging factionalism threatening to ruin his
According to minutes of a politburo meeting held at the end of March, seen
by the Independent this week, Mugabe acknowledged the growing fissures in
the party in his closing remarks like he did last Friday.
He appealed to politburo members to desist from infighting and unite to save
the party from potential defeat in the elections. Mugabe also spoke strongly
against top party officials who are already campaigning ahead of primary
His plea for unity ahead of the elections came after Zanu PF national
commissar Webster Shamu gave a damming report of factional fights which he
said were raging like a veld fire in all the provinces.
Politburo sources at the same meeting said Shamu was also interjected
several times by fellow politburo members who fingered him in Mashonaland
The Zanu Youth league said factional leaders causing chaos in the party
should be confronted and dealt with head on.
“These are pretenders (factional leaders) and we don’t work with pretenders
but the person elected at the congress. We deal with reality – that is the
person in power,” National deputy youth secretary for external affairs
Tongai Kasukuwere said. “If people are named for fanning divisions, they
must be disciplined. We don’t want to work with people who cause confusion.”
Zanu PF national secretary for youth affairs Absolom Sikhosana said it was
taboo to discuss Mugabe’s successor. “Nobody at whatever level of the party
should interfere with the processes (succession). We want to put all that to
rest that people should not attempt us beyond our ability to restrain
ourselves, we only have one president of the party.”
Senior Zanu PF officials this week attributed growing factionalism to Mugabe’s
divide-and-rule tactics, saying the clashes dated back to the days of the
liberation struggle. However, the intra-party divisions are now haunting
Friday, 11 May 2012 09:23
FORMER Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono’s advisor Munyaradzi Kereke has
accused the central bank boss of stealing US$100 000 from his Rock
Foundation Medical Centre (RMC) account two years ago.
In a move which intensifies the battle between Gono and his former close
ally, Kereke accused his ex-boss of corruption and theft of funds from his
company. In February, Kereke accused Gono of a wide range of crimes,
including stealing public funds, including US$6,5 million, to public real
estate properties all over.
Gono however did not respond.
However, Kereke yesterday alleged on July 30 2010, Gono through telephonic
and email correspondence, irregularly gave an instruction to Rennaissance
Merchant Bank (RMB) to transfer funds from RMC’s account number
1000-101683-151 to a company called Dhobhadhobha Construction (Pvt) Ltd.
According to copies of alleged email correspondence from Chengeto Dube, the
personal assistant to Gono, the payment was supposedly for construction
services rendered by the company to “the chicken project”.
Dhobhadhobha managing director Edson Karekaivanani Gono swiftly dismissed
Kereke’s allegations as misleading, saying the issue was resolved and there
was evidence to that. He sent the media a letter from RMB lawyers Kantor &
Immerman to RMC attorneys Gasa Nyamadadzawo & Associates dealing with the
“The media has been sold a dummy and taken for a ride. Our files and
correspondence show the issue has been dealt with. Dhobhadhobha has no dog
in this fight and we don’t understand why Dr Kereke wants to drag us back
into this issue. The settlement was between him and his bank. That is why
for us life goes on,” said Edson Gono.
“Evidence of what I’m saying is contained in a letter copied to us by RMB
lawyers, Kantor & Immerman, who have reminded Dr Kereke exactly what
happened. I wonder why he didn’t he give you those communications between
The letter from Kantor & Immerman to Gasa Nyamadadzawo & Associates, dated
April 27, suggests RMB denied the money to Dhobhadhobha was transferred
“fraudulently” as alleged because there were “verbal instructions” from one
of the bank’s directors, Dunmore Kundishora.
“In subsequent meetings between RMB and Dr Kereke, Dr Kereke acknowledged
these instructions and thanked RMB for acting timeously despite the absence
of written instructions,” the letter says.
Documents further show the transaction was later reversed and interest
accrued paid. “In the circumstances, there has been no loss to Rock
Foundation and the claim alleged in your letter of April 13 is denied in its
entirety,” the letter says.
At a press conference held at the RMC offices in Mount Pleasant yesterday,
Kereke said that he sought, amongst other things, to clear the air on the
“Let me first make the following statements very clearly at the onset. Dr
Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is a thief who stole
public funds and private company funds for his own personal gain. Evidence
is there to prove this,” he said.
“Please I want to clearly state here that there are attempts by Dr Gono to
scare me, by him moving around sending very senior members in government
holding ministerial posts saying that ‘Kereke, Gono says don’t pursue this
matter because you will be exposing senior people in government who
benefitted from him’. Fellow Zimbabweans, for the avoidance of doubt, Dr
Gono must know that what I am talking about here has absolutely nothing to
do with government. It has nothing to do with any minister. It has nothing
to do with any members of the security forces. I am talking about the acts
of theft that Dr Gideon Gono committed to benefit his own business
interests, including the chicken project he now flaunts as a clean project.”
Friday, 11 May 2012 09:21
Faith Zaba/Clive Mphambela
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has proposed a raft of measures, which among
other things seek to eliminate what RBZ Governor Gideon Gono termed a
“concoction of distortions” in Zimbabwe’s money and capital markets that
have arisen since the adoption of the multi-currency system.
In an exclusive interview with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Gono
revealed that the central bank was taking aim at problems arising from the
lack of a vibrant money market, the widening gap between deposit and lending
rates and the subsequent lack of a stable interest yield curve.
Gono contends that the financial market is liquid but the problem lay in the
immobility of funds within the banking sector. He said the overall market
position was in huge surplus, averaging US$100 million in 2011 and as high
as US$386 million as at March 19, 2012.
“One of the major reasons for the silos or pockets of surpluses is the
absence of a properly functioning money market. Banks are therefore not
willing to take risks among themselves, especially in a market where
acceptable collateral is limited or not available at all,” he said.
The RBZ governor lamented government’s decision to bank with some commercial
banks as this resulted in those financial institutions assuming some of the
functions of the central bank, including that of Lender of Last Resort
(LOLR) but without the ability and legal mandate to perform that function.
Neither can commercial banks conduct open market operations. This refers to
purchases or sales of government securities and commercial paper by a
central bank in an effort to regulate money supply and influence credit
conditions. When the central bank buys these securities from banks,
liquidity increases, while the reverse applies when it sells.
Gono said one of the biggest distortions in the Zimbabwean economy related
to interest rates, noting that, “there is such a wide margin between deposit
and lending rates and no properly discernible yield curve”.
He said the interest rates regime currently prevailing was distorted,
resulting in bad signalling to the market. Normally, monetary authorities
guide the interest rate structure of the economy through the bank rate or
overnight accommodation rate.
Nominal lending rates quoted by banks have ranged between 8% and 32% with
most banks quoting average lending rates of around 20%. However, deposit
rates have ranged between 0,15% for savings accounts and up to 17% on time
With the government operating on a strict cash budgetary framework, the
market has been starved of short-term, tradable securities, especially
treasury bills, which were the most widely-traded instrument. This has
resulted in the money market being dormant and with it the inter-bank
Gono said urgent action needed to be taken to bring government back to the
market to issue credible, well priced instruments of varying maturities that
will cater for the needs of the market.
While the issuance of instruments will result in an interest cost to the
government as well as the accumulation of domestic debt, the benefits to the
economy are much wider. The instruments will allow for the resuscitation of
the money market and also lead to the re-activation of the inter-bank
Friday, 11 May 2012 09:20
MOST Zimbabweans will have to contend with ZBC radio news programmes in the
run-up to the next elections as the two new broadcasting entrants will limit
their coverage to urban centres, particularly Harare and Bulawayo.
This emerged when representatives of Zimpapers Talk Radio and AB
Communications’ ZiFM Stereo appeared before the parliamentary portfolio
committee on Media, Information and Technology to outline their rollout
The stations won the two national free-to-air broadcasting licences last
year when the government started the process of liberalising the airwaves as
part of the GPA.
The pair goes on air in 60 to 90 days.
Zimpapers chief executive officer Justin Mutasa said his station’s
broadcasts would initially be received in Harare and Bulawayo before
coverage is extended to the Midlands, the Eastern Highlands as well as the
country’s growth points.
Mutasa categorically told the committee that Zimpapers’ print editorial
policies would be used at the new broadcasting station and anyone who had
other ideas should open their own radio stations.
“As to Zimpapers’ bias in the programmes, people are free to open and
compete with us. Let us compete on the market,” said Mutasa.
ZiFM Stereo chief Supa Mandiwanzira revealed that his station would cover
Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutorashanga, Kadoma, Mutare and Nyanga
“and then we would be expanding as our new equipment is installed at other
However, losing bidders Kiss FM and Voice of the People (VoP) were not
convinced by the adjudication process and petitioned the courts. Parliament
also tried in vain to have the licences withdrawn.
Friday, 11 May 2012 09:17
ZIMBABWE has been forced to import maize from Zambia to avert starvation as
a result of a massive maize deficit largely attributed to the country’s
disastrous agricultural policies.
Ironically, Zambia used to import maize from Zimbabwe, but has recorded a
surplus in the last two seasons having profited from the influx of white
commercial farmers displaced by its southern neighbour’s controversial land
Agriculture minister Joseph Made has admitted Zimbabwe would have a deficit
of about one million tonnes, which has to be covered by imports from
countries like Zambia.
“About 45% of the maize that was planted this season is a write-off,” said
Made recently. “Last season, 333 637 hectares of maize were written off.
This year, the hectarage written off rose to 722 557, an increase of 117%.”
The Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) said on Monday the Food Reserve
Agency had begun destroying the huge stockpiles of rotting maize in a bid to
create space for this year’s harvest from June 1.
“Over 102 tonnes of rotten and discoloured maize is expected to be burnt in
the presence of the district authorities. Lombelombe is one such depot with
415,1 tonnes of maize on makeshift storage facilities made of pole,” ZNFU
ZNFU’s head of outreach and member services Coillard Hamusimbi told the
Zimbabwe Independent through an email on Wednesday his country produced
2,853 million metric tonnes of maize this year with 1,035 million metric
tonnes as surplus. Last year Zambia produced a record three million metric
“Zambia exported and hopes to continue exporting to the DRC, Namibia, Kenya
and South Sudan in addition to Zimbabwe,” Hamusimbi said.
He also confirmed former Zimbabwean commercial farmers who were displaced by
the land reform programme were helping Zambia’s phenomenal agricultural
Hamusimbi said his country’s “new” farmers engaged in diversified production
of tobacco, maize, wheat and soya crops.
Commercial Farmers’ Union president Charles Taffs described Zimbabwe’s maize
deficit as a “deplorable state of affairs” which, however, could still be
reversed by adopting “investor-friendly policies guaranteeing security of
tenure to farmers”.
“Right now the land is of no value and we are in a spiral of diminishing
returns, thanks to the land reform programme which pushed farmers off their
land,” said Taffs. “Factor in the indigenisation policy and you have
self-inflicted harm. lt is time to stop this,” he said.
Friday, 11 May 2012 09:03
ZANU PF bigwigs in Mashonaland West have been accused of conducting a forced
voter registration process as the party prepares for elections which
President Robert Mugabe insists should be held this year.
Informed sources said Zanu PF Mashonaland West Provincial chairman John Mafa
had attended a meeting last month in Chegutu at which teams were set up to
conduct door-to-door voter registration in the province.
The meeting was attended by the MP for Muzvezve Peter Haritatosi, MP for
Sanyati Kudakwashe Chaderopa, MP for Chakari Zechariah Ziyambi, youth leader
Mike Gava and war veterans, among others.
However, Mafa denied that such a meeting was convened. “I usually attend
several meetings, some which will be organised at DCC (District Coordinating
Committee), but I do not know the meeting you are talking about,” said Mafa.
Despite his denials, the sources were adamant the meeting was held. “There
was a meeting last month in Chegutu and one of the resolutions was to set up
teams that would go to constituencies and tell people that instead of going
to district offices to register to vote, youth officers in the area would
write down their names and their national identification numbers and forward
them to the registrar in Kadoma,” the sources said.
The sources said the campaign was in progress in areas such as Muzvezve
Block 8 and Windmill with Chenjiri, Golden Valley and Sanyati being
earmarked for the next phase.
Youths are being lured with promises of government-funded business projects,
but the exercise has also reportedly been causing apprehension as people are
not sure whether their names are simply for voter registration purposes or
being used to create a parallel Zanu PF voters’ register.
The Election Resource Centre said voter registration is currently riddled
with serious problems, including closure of some registration centres,
limited time for registration and registration through coercion.
Friday, 11 May 2012 08:58
Tendai Marima/Wongai Zhangazha
THREATS by Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu last week
to “take off gloves” against the media are in stark contrast to developments
in South Africa, which he used to justify his warning, where the governing
ANC recently backed down from establishing a statutory Media Appeals
Tribunal to police journalists.
Shamu used World Press Freedom Day last week to threaten journalists in the
privately-owned media with a return to an era of vicious media repression if
they persisted with an “anti-African and anti-Zimbabwe frenzy”, whose
meaning he did not clarify.
However, Shamu did not seem to realise his threats were actually markedly
dissimilar to what is currently happening inSouth Africa where the ANC is
now on the back foot over its bid to establish a punitive statutory media
regulatory body or a media appeals tribunal.
The ANC had been pushing for a Media Appeals Tribunal, but this was viewed
as political repression aimed at gagging the media to prevent them from
exposing abuse of power and corruption.
However, the ANC, which was widely criticised for trying to stifle the
media, is now being forced to consider a proposal by the Press Freedom
Commission (PFC) to regulate the media.
The PFC, which is chaired by former chief justice Pius Langa, was launched
last year by the Print Media South Africa and the South Africa National
Editors Forum. It consists of nine people selected from outside the media
community to review the system of press regulation in South Africa.
In a report titled Press Regulation in South Africa April 2012, the PFC
carried out research and came up with recommendations to act as alternatives
to ANC proposals on the ideal regulatory framework for print media in South
The PFC suggested after meetings with civil society groups, academics from
journalism and media studies, political parties, newspaper editors and
ordinary people that a system of co-regulation independent of government and
comprising people from various sections of society outside the press
industry be established as a media watchdog.
Although the report is still to be reviewed by the ANC’s national executive
committee, the party is reportedly “very comfortable” with the proposals.
Unlike Zimbabwe, the PFC is an independent body without state interference.
While the ANC is being forced to retreat, the Zimbabwe Media Commission
(ZMC) is busy trying to come up with a statutory regulation body even though
there is already the Voluntary Media Council. Groups like Alpha Media have
an internal ombudsman to enforce ethics and professionalism.
According to the PFC report, there were proposals to develop a “hierarchy of
sanctions” ranging from minor breaches to more serious infringements.
A hierarchy of sanctions for print media was listed as anything from
correction, retraction, apology, rejoinder, reprimands by the regulator, a
range of space fines, monetary fines and expulsion from the press council in
extreme cases of persistent recidivism.
It says sanctions for ethical infractions were important because the press
was in the public domain and, therefore, has an obligation to function in
accordance with the moral, values and norms of society which it serves.
The report states ethical breaches include common human errors like faulty
observations, wrong spellings and other minor omissions as well as wrong
conclusions such as faulty analysis, poor judgment, genuine error of facts
and using misleading sources.
Publication of indecent material, plagiarism, distortion, fabrication,
defamation and other wrongs committed with the intent to cause harm are some
examples of ethical violations.
The PFC notes the press regulatory mechanism must result in the press
correcting its errors and improving on accuracy, accountability,
compensation for any damage inflicted by the media, promoting the right of
free speech and promoting higher professional and ethical standards.
Developments in South Africa show Shamu was either ill-informed or
deliberately pulling in the opposite direction as he sought to justify a
renewed crackdown against the private press.
Every year on May 3 people around the world commemorate World Press Freedom
Day, but rather than sharing in a global desire for media freedom, Shamu’s
address was widely condemned.
Shamu threatened a new wave of repression if the media continued with its
“anti-African and anti-Zimbabwe frenzy”.
Shamu’s threats to renew media tyranny are a chilling reminder of previous
assaults when state-sponsored attacks on journalists led to the arrests of
journalists, including the the murder of the country’s first black cameraman
and ZBC reporter Edward Chikomba.
Although politically Zimbabwe is far more stable now and is ranked above
emerging leaders of the Global South, China, India and Russia, it is ranked
177 on the 2011 Press Freedom Index indicating the highly restrictive
environment in which the press operates.
Shamu’s threats against the local and foreign media came against backdrop of
previous warning targeted at journalists for writing stories about President
Robert Mugabe and his family’s Zesa bills, internal party succession battles
and persistent rumours of the president’s ill-health.
Government officials in Zimbabwe have always shown discomfort with the
private press which has widely exposed abuse of power by the political and
business elites as well as corruption.
As a result the private media has been subjected to a systematic campaign of
repression, with journalists being intimidated, arrested and detained, while
newspapers have been closed down or bombed.
Of late there have been renewed threats to clamp down on the media by
banning foreign newspapers –– which Mugabe’s diehards do not like –– from
entering the Zimbabwean market, even though local papers circulate freely in
The banning of newspapers from the region, especially from South Africa, is
likely to trigger a diplomatic quarrel as that would amount to unfair trade
practices. Newspapers are treated as any other product, paying necessary
taxes and duties.
ZMC chairperson Godfrey Majonga has said the process of setting up a media
council started early last year but there has been “some resistance” from
Zanu PF politicians have been pressuring ZMC to crackdown on the private
media and ban foreign newspapers. ZMC is trying to force foreign newspapers
to register with it, a move deemed unlawful as this is tantamount to
applying Zimbabwe’s laws extra-territorially.
The private media has already established the Voluntary Media Council of
Zimbabwe (VMCZ) to deal with complaints against journalists. The move to
establish a statutory body –– which is a counter to VMCZ –– to police the
media is bound to have a negative effect on the media, particularly in view
of Shamu’s attitude and remarks which reflect Zanu PF’s thinking on press
Thursday, 10 May 2012 17:54
Brian Chitemba/Nqobile Bhebhe
THE MDC-T Bulawayo East district has passed a vote of no confidence in its
legislator Thabitha Khumalo as factionalism in the province intensifies
ahead of elections expected this year or next year.
MDC-T party insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent this week the vote of no
confidence was part of a wider factional fight between Khumalo, who is also
deputy national information and publicity secretary, and Deputy Prime
Minister Thokozani Khupe.
The infighting intensified after Khumalo challenged Khupe for the MDC-T’s
vice-presidency during congress held last year in Bulawayo.
In a letter dated March 19 to the Bulawayo East district, the provincial
leadership led by Gorden Moyo and Bulawayo Central MP Dorcas Sibanda said
they wanted Khumalo sacked with immediate effect for failing to hold
feedback meetings after congress. She is also accused of failing to conduct
district leadership workshops.
Khumalo confirmed receiving the letter, saying it was written at the
instigation of Bulawayo East district youth chairperson Tinashe Kambarami
who is allegedly Khupe’s ally. The district is also baying for its chairman
Dominic Shumba’s blood.
Although Khumalo declined to discuss the matter, she said it was
unconstitutional for Kambarami’s group to pass a vote of no confidence in
her. She said the plot to axe her would fail because she enjoys tremendous
support from the grassroots where she was establishing structures for the
first time since 1999.
Efforts to get comment from Moyo were fruitless as his mobile phone went
Last year, MDC-T was sucked into a messy factional clash as Moyo battled
with Mzilikazi senator Matson Hlalo, who is the former provincial
chairperson, for the control of Bulawayo province.
MDC-T youths aligned to the warring factions were involved in bloody running
street battles resulting in some of them being injured while others were
Meanwhile, the party’s Bulawayo province is proposing that people with
criminal records or pending disciplinary cases should be barred from
contesting parliamentary and senatorial elections.
A document being circulated in Bulawayo states: “As we prepare ourselves for
a New Zimbabwe we embarked on from 1999 promising Zimbabweans a
democratically ruled nation, our leaders at all levels should be exemplary.
“Therefore, with crucial elections approaching as a party we must review our
selection criteria from councillors to legislators. Any party member wishing
to be a candidate must have a clean criminal record and not have appeared
before any disciplinary hearing. This applies from the last national
Sources said the proposal was being pushed by Moyo’s camp targeting members
from the rival faction headed by Hlalo facing various disciplinary measures
and have pending cases before the courts.
“The lobby is being pushed by people in Moyo’s camp who want to create an
opportunity to further consolidate their positions and control of party
structures,” said the party insider. “As it stands, some MPs viewed as Hlalo
backers would be disqualified if such a clause is included in the
Provincial organising secretary Albert Mhlanga, who is also Pumula MP, said
although the party was still drawing up guidelines, no major changes should
be expected. The MDC-T will also debate coming up with a party list of
candidates which junior members fear would be used to ring-fence senior
officials unable to win primary elections.
Thursday, 10 May 2012 17:49
GREEN Fuel has dismissed claims by government that it has not furnished it
with the cost structure into its wholesale price of E10.
Senior officials of the company outlined its cost structure at a meeting
between it, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera), and the Inter
Ministerial Pricing Sub Committee in March.
Officials said Green Fuel was not responsible for the pump price of fuel,
which government and other stakeholders would like to see much lower than
the US$1,36 a litre being charged by retailers. The Green Fuel spokesperson
said the company wholesaled its E10 fuel at US$1,00 and this was at 19 cents
discount to what the company ought to charge. The wholesale price was
disclosed to all potential ethanol fuel dealers, including those that
visited Green Fuel’s stand at the recently-ended Zimbabwe International
“The current selling price of the ethanol blended fuel is at a discount of
US 19 cents so as to encourage market up-take,” one official said.
However, government still insists it has not received the official costing
structure of theE10 fuel. Government is a 30% stake joint venture partner in
the project through the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority.
Agriculture minister Joseph Made this week reiterated his assertion in an
interview with the ZBC that government is yet to be furnished with the full
pricing structure of E10 fuel. Expectations are that the fuel should be
retailed much cheaper than 100% unleaded fuel. E10 blend is a nine-to-one
blend between unleaded petrol and ethanol.
Although government denies having full knowledge of the E10 pricing
structure, minutes seen by the Independent of a meeting held among the
Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority, the Inter-Ministerial pricing Committee and
Green Fuel on March 14 this year, indicate the pricing structure was
According to the minutes Bianca Rautenbach highlighted that the current
selling price of US$1,00 instead of US$1,19 was implemented to encourage
market up-take despite that some costs, including processing cots had gone
Rautenbach said the processing cost had gone up from US 7 cents to US 13
cents. The processing expense included costs relating to chemicals and
associated inputs for distillery. This was after Zera had enquired if there
was documentation to support the cost structures. Green Fuel highlighted
that cost figures did not take into consideration the inflation factor.
In the meeting, Rautenbach said the total cost for cane production was US$35
million of which 8% needed to be paid to Arda in terms of the
Buy-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreement.
Rautenbach also said ethanol only makes up 10% of the E10 petrol blend and
this has a limited ability to affect the price.
Green fuel officials say the current US 6 cents saving to the consumer on
purchasing E10 petrol has a large saving to the economy.
The Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority raised the issue of Value Added Tax on
cane but Green Fuels said ethanol was exempt from paying.Green Fuel said the
total of US$12,5 million was set aside for working capital requirements.
Storage and handling fees amounted to US$5,2 million. Green Fuels has to pay
back its US$25 million loan.
Thursday, 10 May 2012 17:44
By Freedom Mazwi
POLITICAL developments in Zimbabwe over the past two months have been
worrisome and yet revealing, providing an opportunity for democratic
players, both in the civic society and progressive political formations, to
start seriously thinking about the future of the country by rising above
narrow partisan interests.
Democratic forces need to reflect on the political situation and direction
Zimbabwe may take in the next three to 12 months if some matters — which
include the crisis affecting the constitution-making process, calls for
early elections and growing factionalism and succession battles in Zanu PF
that have sucked in security forces — are not addressed.
Factionalism, now linked to President Robert Mugabe’s succession war, has
always been inherent in Zanu PF and represented by two major antagonists,
namely Joice Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa. To a larger extent, people
within or outside Zanu PF should not decry this situation as it is essential
and healthy in any given political organisation or democratic society.
Vigorous competition for leadership provides party functionaries and the
electorate at large an opportunity to elect candidates based on merit and
good societal standing. What should instead give Zimbabweans and the region
sleepless nights is the involvement of securocrats not only in Zanu PF
factionalism and succession politics, but also Zimbabwe’s electoral
Remarks by senior army commanders, including Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF)
Chief of Staff Major - General Martin Chedondo on Tuesday and others before
that, show a disturbing trend of the growing involvement of security forces
It is a generally accepted constitutional, legal and international principle
uniformed forces should not dabble in politics. Consequences of the military
participation in politics in many countries have been disastrous.
What has been happening in several African countries, including Guinea and
Mali among others, is still fresh in our minds. What has also happened in
countries like Egypt and Libya where there were mass uprisings, civil wars
and military takeovers as a result of political and economic failures must
serve as a lesson for Zimbabwe. We have witnessed social, economic and
political upheavals and given our explosive situation, swift and decisive
actions should be taken to preserve democracy before the country degenerates
into a military dictatorship.
It is thus important for political players and stakeholders to put the
national interest above party political and individual agendas to prevent
Zimbabwe descending into chaos.
One serious threat which factionalism in Zanu PF — which has a military
dimension — poses to the country’s political stability is the call for early
elections whose outcome will inevitably be disputed. This destabilising push
for early elections being spearheaded by the military, the real power behind
Mugabe’s throne, has of late been playing out at the party’s politburo
meetings, state-owned media and other public platforms.
While Zanu PF’s volatile factionalism and Mugabe’s intensifying succession
battle are contributing significantly to making Zimbabwe a political powder
keg, it is the role of the military in politics which is most disturbing and
Agitated calls for early elections, with or without a new constitution, have
been accompanied by calculated attempts to destabilise and paralyse
operations of the inclusive government. The strategy here is to ensure that
the democratic forces, in a fit of rage and frustration, agree to the call
for early elections as a way of solving the current political impasse.
Hawkish elements within Zanu PF are mainly being coordinated through the
Joint Operation Command, which brings together army, police and intelligence
Related to the campaign for early elections is the current stalemate in the
constitution-making process. There is growing confusion as to when the
document will be finalised. At one point we are told that there is only one
issue which relates to devolution which remains parked. The following day
the nation is informed issues to do with sexual orientation alongside
the death penalty have arisen and before sunset we are told the draft
constitution, currently being serialised in newspapers, is not the
We are aware that much of the confusion has been caused by Zanu PF’s
factionalism and succession battles, but at the same time the MDC formations
and the civic society are losing the plot through their strategy of focusing
on the constitution-making process which they want to use to remove Mugabe
and Zanu PF, while neglecting the most viable method of change — mass
mobilisation and recruitment.
This approach betrays a defeatist attitude on the part of the democratic
forces. The current constitution, with electoral reforms reforms enacted
prior to the 2008 elections, can be used successfully to create conditions
for free and fair elections. The obsession with things like gay rights and
other such issues have made democratic forces shift their eyes away from the
ball and lose sight of the bigger picture.
There is therefore a need for an immediate paradigm shift and change of
strategy. Attendant to this also would be a serious diplomatic offensive in
the region highlighting the dangers of Zimbabwe descending into chaos in
months ahead as a result of these simmering problems. It is however
unfortunate that most countries in the region are presently worried about
their domestic economic and political challenges.
Countries like South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Swaziland and the DRC are
absorbed with internal problems.There is also the conflict between Sudan and
South Sudan which the African Union is currently seized with. This however
should not stop local parties from highlighting burning Zimbabwean issues.
A bigger issue which democratic forces have been unwilling to attend to when
it comes to electoral politics is the 2006 split of the MDC and possible
coalitions going to elections. The issue is about a need to form a coalition
by all parties not just to tackle Mugabe, but also the rise of the
securocrats which could take Zimbabwe down the road to brutal dictatorship.
The democratic forces must stand up and speak with one voice. The tendency
to think that Zanu PF will collapse in the post-Mugabe era is delusional.
Political tools of analysis indicate we are most likely going to see a
reinvigorated party under a new autocratic leader with a military or
repressive background. It thus becomes necessary now more than ever to rise
above party politics in pursuit of a national cause which will benefit
current and future generations.
Mazwi is a political scientist with Abammeli (A Network for Lawyers for
Human Rights). He writes in his personal capacity. Email: email@example.com
Thursday, 10 May 2012 17:06
SO, Webster Shamu chose World Press Freedom Day to threaten to take off his
gloves if the independent media persisted with “an anti-African and
anti-Zimbabwe frenzy”? Here is a minister who has refused to comply with
cabinet directives to reform the media, doing exactly the opposite! He has
compounded the problems in the media by acting as an agent for the
reactionary elements around the president.
If he wants to launch a campaign against the independent media, let him. He
will be the loser. We are not likely to lose any sleep over the fulminations
of former Rhodesian DJs. We know we are doing the right thing. Our standards
are international, his are parochial. Who will the public support: a free
press or a captive press?
Perhaps we should remind Charles Ndlovu that the keyboard is stronger than
the sword. No more threats please from the reactionary cabal he represents.
We will happily take them on. And let’s hope that Catherine Ashton and Aldo
Dell’Ariccia note the delinquency of Zimbabwe’s rulers when they meet in
Brussels this week. Here are ministers who have wilfully blocked change. Why
should Zanu PF be rewarded for its persistent obstinacy?
The MDC-T which will be represented at the Brussels talks hasn’t exactly
been proactive either. What have they done to advance press freedom?
In a sense we welcome the shocking remarks by Major Martin Chedondo this
week. He insists the army has a duty to participate in national politics on
the spurious grounds that it is protecting the integrity of the nation. Let’s
hope those remarks are noted in Brussels.
Singing the same song as Shamu, Zimpapers boss Justin Mutasa chose World
Press Freedom Day to argue that freedom of the press should be curtailed
where necessary. There was no absolute freedom anywhere in the world, he
And do newspapers have to adopt a confrontational approach to government, he
wanted to know? That of course depends on whether they are good governments
or bad governments. He has chosen to side with a manifestly bad one.
Shouldn’t he be extending the parameters of press freedom instead of
limiting them? He tells journalists that they were expected to operate
“under the confines of the law”. Does that include bad law of which there is
plenty? Instead of identifying repressive laws that newspapers should be
campaigning to remove, he talked about newspapers abusing press freedom.
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Media Commission has done little to challenge the
partisan occupation of the public media space by media which parrot Zanu PF
propaganda –– an abuse if ever there was one.
Shouldn’t the public media be open to a variety of publics? Shouldn’t its
output reflect the diversity of views that can be found across the nation?
Why just a handful of half-baked columnists who sound as if they are related
to the nomenklatura that presides over the mess we are in?
Last week we had a columnist giving us the benefits of his opinions on
Copac. These opinions were then translated to the newspaper’s front page
where they were offered up as news. So you had the same story on the op/ed
pages as on the front page written by the same writer pretending to be
Shamu’s speech on Press Freedom Day was a disgrace and Unesco did nothing to
mitigate the toxic remarks. “If the last five years of change,” Shamu said,
“do not show the media industry and the journalism profession to have
fulfilled their promises, then the sovereign people of Zimbabwe have no
option but to intervene and protect themselves through the instruments of
Are these the same “sovereign people of Zimbabwe” who decisively rejected
Shamu’s party in 2008?
What an example of vote-counting the French have given us. How long did it
take them to get the results out? Just a few hours was it? And no
complaints. This is the standard time it takes throughout Europe. And our
electoral officials? How long did it take them? Five weeks was it?Justice
George Chiweshe got a medal for it.
Despite this glaring disparity, ZBC’s political “analysts” say the defeat of
French president Nicolas Sarkozy should spur Zimbabwe to launch a new
diplomatic offensive under the newly-elected Socialist, Francois Hollande.
While noting that Sarkozy’s leadership “was very bad in every context”,
Chris Mutsvangwa says his fall should spell a new dispensation for
“Observers say it was Sarkozy’s personality more than his policies which
cost him his job. He was also the first sitting president to get divorced
and remarry while in office and the French never forgave him for failing
that moral test,” we are told which shows just how little knowledge of the
French there is at ZBC.
Mutsvangwa would be better advised not to pop the champagne corks just yet.
French voters were more concerned about economic issues closer to home than
The Standard reports that President Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, was
last week held hostage for hours by workers at his Gwebi Junction Estate
near Norton after failing to pay them their wages for the past three months.
The 115 workers sang revolutionary songs, beat drums before sealing off the
farmhouse exit, demanding their money, the Standard states.
“Sensing danger, a frightened Zhuwao, who is Zanu PF MP for Zvimba East,
scaled the fence and eventually escaped using a back exit much to the
chagrin of the irate workers.”
The workers said they were also infuriated by the fact that whenever they
raised the issue of payment, Zhuwao would accuse them of being influenced by
Francis Mukwangariva, a Central Intelligence Organisation operative also
eyeing Zvimba East in the upcoming polls.
Zhuwao confirmed that he was held hostage and that the workers had since
sealed him off the farm until he brings their wages.
“Remember, I am a tobacco farmer and I can only pay them after selling my
tobacco, which can be anytime soon. But the unfortunate part is that they
have sealed me off the farm,” Zhuwao bleated.
In an application for a show-cause order to Chinhoyi Provincial Labour
Office, Zhuwao requested the labour office to provide a ruling declaring the
“The illegality of the strike and its associated disturbances is premised on
the understanding that the workers failed to give 14 working days notice of
their intention to engage in such an action,” reads the letter.
It seems that anything that Zanu PF officials do not agree with, they deem
as “illegal”. At least he did not attribute his failure to pay his workers
to “illegal” sanctions!
Meanwhile adding to the ever-growing list of “empowerment” organisations is
the Zimbabwe Entrepreneur Youth Association (Zeya). According to the Sunday
Mail Zeya vice-president James Pande said youths were concerned that
foreigners were still dominating sectors reserved for locals.
“We are worried as the youths of this country because foreigners are still
dominating the reserved sectors like retailing around town,” he said.
He urged government to move with speed so that the young indigenous people
would start to benefit from the fruits of the liberation struggle.
Our question is why do they need to close down running businesses for them
to enjoy the “fruits” of the liberation struggle? Who then would fill the
gap left by these foreign companies?
We are told that Zeya is led by businessman Munya Maoresa who has recently
held meetings with the Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere to discuss
various “empowerment initiatives”.
Will these “empowerment initiatives” benefit the unemployed youths or remove
competition for bigwigs who have dismally failed to measure up on the free
We were amused by David Chiweza’s article in the Herald last week in which
he attempts to rope Nigerian prophet TB Joshua into Zanu PF propaganda.
“If TB Joshua serves the same God who appointed President Mugabe and
anointed him, like Moses, to stand against the power of the superpowers of
this world and triumph, then surely his coming can only settle Zimbabwe’s
squabbles over the direction and ownership question,” chirrups Chiweza.
“As I see it, TB Joshua has already made a big statement that resonates with
Zanu PF during the New Year messages this year. Listening to his message
this year, he declared that God wants Nigerians to stop using oil money to
import consumer goods, but to use oil money to import machinery and
technology to manufacture goods locally,” he says.
Despite trying to portray TB Joshua as subscribing to the Zanu PF ideology,
Chiweza goes on to state that “any attempt to own him is an attempt to put
God in one’s pocket”.
Clearly the irony is lost on him!
As they say, you can put lipstick on a pig but it will still be a pig. This
is what the mandarins at The Patriot newspaper are finding out after readers
and advertisers alike have shunned their hatchet-job publication which has
been attacking Weaver Press.
Even Zanu PF supporters seem to be tired of the dreary propaganda judging by
the subdued reception The Patriot has received.
Zanu PF-aligned companies and state enterprises have also balked at wasting
scarce resources by advertising in a publication no one wants to read
because they have seen it all before.
The situation, we are told, has gotten so bad that they are now muscling
state-owned companies to advertise in their newspaper, using their links to
Zanu PF for leverage. Their attempts to use political muscle have hit a
brick wall, however, with several state enterprises refusing to be bullied.
Desperate times call for unpatriotic measures it seems!
NewsDay reports that a 50-year-old Nyanga woman died on Sunday after
drinking illicit traditionally brewed liquor known as kachasu in Magadu
Anna Makore had gone for a drinking binge with a male companion where Makore
allegedly had one too many and could not walk back home.
According to NewsDay, she sought refuge at a neighbour’s place for the night
where “she woke up dead the following morning”.
How did she manage that?
Another Hifa closed last weekend. It was Manuel Bagorro’s swan song and he
deserves a tribute to his dedication and professionalism over the years. He
turned a small-town music show into a major celebrity event. Nothing like
this had been seen in our neck of the woods. It was no exaggeration to say
it was on a par with Edinburgh and Grahamstown.
Sadly security was unable to keep up with the threat posed by criminals who
thought it was Christmas.
Disappearing cellphones and handbags soon entered double figures. And the
door to the greenroom became increasingly a scene of battle as people
attempted to get in.
The organisers spoke of the vast amounts they were levied by the authorities
who saw the prospect of making money everywhere. But despite such official
opportunism, all in all Hifa 2012 was a great success. It will be under new
management next year. We wish them all the best. As for the city of Harare,
what would it cost them to clean up the pavements (those hazardous
litter-filled holes) and generally tidy up the place?
Finally, joke of the week: 80% of the population do not want a new
constitution, says Jonathan Moyo.
We all recall his claim in 2000 that those voting against the draft would be
returning the country to colonialism. Is there any chance of him being
consistent for more than five minutes?
And why do the regime’s apologists become so prickly over any mention of the
flag or National Anthem?
They are trying to cover themselves in history. But don’t we recall Ishe
Komborera Africa before Solomon Mutsvairo came along? Was it so sacrosanct
Thursday, 10 May 2012 17:02
IN about two months, the Minister of Finance Tendai Biti is due to present
his 2012 mid-year budget review. It is yet again a most unenviable task,
for not only must he valiantly (but inevitably unsuccessfully) try to ensure
a balanced budget and results in tandem with budget, but he also has to
persevere in his efforts to assure economic recovery and growth. That is a
virtually impossible task as long as his government “colleagues” continue to
pursue diverse counter-productive and destructive policies.
Despite attempts to persuade them to recognise and acknowledge the need for
dynamic, positive policy changes, the proponents and implementers of
economically destructive policies are dogmatic in their adherence to those
disastrous policies, and in their implementation. They blind themselves to
realities, instead attributing the economic ills to alleged misdeeds and
evil machinations of others. Nevertheless, Biti has to strive to
conceptualise and implement fiscal policies which can counter and reverse
the ills inflicted upon the economy by negative policies.
There are many vital actions that Biti must consider which must be
energetically pursued within government, which include:
Containment of government expenditure. There are many opportunities to do
so, although undoubtedly some will be strongly resisted by sections of the
political hierarchy, especially by Biti’s opponents and even some within his
party. Among the expenditure cuts is the achievement of a marked reduction
in public service salaries, albeit paying fair salaries and allowances.
The reduction of the public service salary bill can be achieved through
elimination of ghost workers. This is authoritatively said to exceed 70 000.
The reduction can also be achieved by a progressive reduction in numbers
actually employed through natural attrition.
Reduction of expenditure by cutting the number of ministries. A country
with less than 12 million residents does not require a president, two
vice-presidents, a pime minister and two deputy prime ministers, 28
ministers and more that 20 deputy ministers. Similarly, although
constitutionally prescribed, a two-tiered legislature of 200 legislators and
attendant personnel cannot be justified, let alone proposals for such number
to be doubled in the envisaged new constitution.
Due to the salaries and ancillary allowances payable over and above
associated expenditure, the legislative and administrative infrastructure is
excessive both in terms of remuneration and innumerable underlying costs,
far beyond Zimbabwe’s means. It is not within Biti’s power to override the
constitution or the Global Political Agreement, but he can influence change
both by appropriate representation, and by curtailing funding allocations to
reinforce his representations.
Similarly, Biti should strive to influence a progressive reduction in
Zimbabwe’s military services personnel. The only enemy Zimbabwe has is
itself, in the form of a deep political divide and gross political
mismanagement, and its only war is an economic one, yet it has one of the
biggest military infrastructures in the region.
Unjustified foreign trips by government are an expenditure area which is
within Biti’s powers to contain. It is incomprehensible and unjustifiable
that numerous delegations to meetings of the UN, AU, Comesa, Sadc and other
entities include ministers, senior civil servants, spouses, security
personnel and others, generally ranging from 20 to 80 in number. Surely
such delegations could be effective if they numbered between five and 10?
Further cost reduction by government can be achieved through the containment
of corruption, ranging from public service ghost workers to unauthorised and
unproductive travel costs, misappropriation and misuse of state assets,
fictitious expenditures, secret commissions from suppliers and contractors
(which inflate their prices and charges), civil servants’ personal
consumption of consumables ranging from stationery to communication
services, cleaning materials and fuel.
Biti needs not only to minimise expenditure, but also help revitalise the
economy, for a vibrant economy yields far greater direct and indirect taxes
than does one which is quasi-moribund. Admittedly, Biti can justifiably
claim much of the credit for the containment of the economic demise which
prevailed greatly prior to the “inclusive government” and his concomitant
appointment as minister. In contrast to many successive years of economic
decline, 2009, 2010, and 2011 witnessed some economic upturn.
Although significant in percentage terms, the economic growth was, in real
terms, minuscule, for it was attained from a disastrously low base. The
harsh reality is that Zimbabwe’s economy continues to be one of the weakest
in Africa, yet it has the potential for stupendous growth.
Achieving that growth requires continuous political and economic stability
which is dependent upon government as a whole, and the electorate, but it is
within Biti’s ability to influence as he has valiantly striven to do over
the last three years. Amongst the measures and opportunities available to
Once again to state emphatically and convincingly that under no
circumstances will Zimbabwe revert to its own currency before there is real,
and continuing, economic stability. Many of the ill-informed populace
continue to press for reversion to the Zimbabwe dollar, which would be a
catastrophic return to the shattering hyperinflation of yesteryear.
Such a return would intensify distrust of the banking sector, hence
exacerbate the already grievous levels of financial sector illiquidity. This
would in turn constrain availability to the private sector of working
capital for productive operations. Fears of reversion to the Zimbabwe
dollar are also a major deterrent to investment.
In order to assure viability of the mining sector the minister needs to
review recent increases in mining licence fees and royalties which are
vastly in excess of those charged by all other countries with meaningful
mining operations, as is also the enforced and envisaged increase in the
sector’s tax rates. Mining development has already been severely retarded
by the ill-advised indigenisation policies, but is further impeded by
existing and intended imposts.
These are a few of the mid-term budget review considerations which must be
addressed by Biti. This column will next week address more of these.
Thursday, 10 May 2012 15:36
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s calls for an end to political violence and
factionalism in Zanu PF ahead of general elections should be regarded with
suspicion since he has immensely benefited from those problems to keep
himself in power for 32 successive years.
Political analysts say in fact Mugabe has a long history of being two-faced
and misleading on a variety of issues by “indicating left when turning
right” as long as such manoeuvres help him maintain his grip on power.
They say Mugabe has shrewdly managed to manipulate political and economic
situations to his advantage, in the process suppressing debate about his
leadership and succession. Political violence or threats of it and
factionalism have helped him to cling onto power against strong internal and
This year on Independence Day (April 18), Mugabe used his speech to call for
“peace” ahead of elections he wants held this year, saying Zimbabweans have
suffered enough from violence.
During the burial of Zanu PF politburo member and veteran nationalist Edson
Ncube at Heroes Acre last Friday, Mugabe slammed factionalism and the
imposition of candidates in his party. He said these problems, coupled with
greed, were going to destroy Zanu PF.
Professor Eldred Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University
of Zimbabwe, believes Mugabe’s growing double standards are a manifestation
of his diminishing control of complex forces and circumstances around him.
“The issue here is that there is a continuous lack of grip on forces that
have kept him in power,” said Masunungure. “He has awakened to the
realisation that the centre cannot hold any more, hence his rhetoric which
makes him navigate around issues like factionalism and inter-party violence.
In fact, he has been overwhelmed by the multiple centres of power around
him,” said Masunungure.
Just over a week after he had said Zimbabweans should shun violence Mugabe
arrived at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo for
the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair singing a different tune. He told his
party’s supporters at the airport that “now is the time to remove all the
snakes on our way and ensure that Bulawayo and the whole of Matabeleland is
Mugabe seems to like the snake metaphor. During the 1980s, he used the same
figure ofspeech to signify a crackdown against Zapu and Nkomo, his former
allies in the liberation struggle. What followed after that is now a matter
of public record: massacres of innocent civilians who had resisted voting
for Zanu PF; killings which still haunt the nation.
Mugabe has always used political double-speak and deception to manage events
and manoeuvre his way through difficult situations.
Another political analyst Charles Mangongera said Mugabe was two-faced and a
good performer on stage because what he usually says on public platforms is
often the exact opposite of what would be happening on the ground, although
sometimes his rhetoric is indicative of his intentions.
“Mugabe is an excellent performer and that has always been his modus
operandi since the formation of Zanu PF in 1963. He is the first beneficiary
of factionalism and has thrived on it,” Mangongera said.
“He is the main culprit in candidate imposition because he imposes himself
as the permanent Zanu PF leader and every time they (Zanu PF) want to go for
congress he whips all the provinces into line so that he is not challenged.
He is a ruthless schemer who thrives on double standards.”
Mangongera said violence and factionalism had helped Mugabe maintain power,
so his remarks on the issues must always be treated with a pinch of salt.
“He has thrived on violence and factionalism to maintain his firm hold on
power. On the ground, he might appear to be castigating it, but the reality
is that he has used violence to hold on to his post,” he said.
Besides, politics, Mugabe also has a record of constantly somersaulting on
economic issues, especially on the controversial policies on macro-economic
fundamentals and matters like land reform and indigenisation policy. During
the 1980s, Mugabe strongly resisted pressure from Nkomo to redistribute
land, saying his hands were tied by the Lancaster House constitution,
although he always told villagers he was going to give them land.
In the 1990s Mugabe’s government, which had run down the economy through
commandist policies, accepted IMF and World Bank economic policy
prescriptions and adopted Esap Programme, although he routinely condemned
Mugabe has also previously claimed he would not criticise African leaders in
public, especially when he was under fire from Botswana President Ian Khama,
but of late he has been publicly blasting his African Union and Sadc
Mugabe has also been inconsistent on the land reform policy. While he
publicly repeats the one-man-one-farm slogan, he has allowed Zanu PF
ministers and other senior officials to have multiple farms. He has also
openly denounced corruption, but failed to act.
He has also been inconsistent on indeginisation. Only late last year, Mugabe
told Implats chief executive David Brown to “go and tell your shareholders
that we don’t intend to take over (Zimplats). We don’t want to steal or rob
that which does not belong to us”.
However, a few months later Zimplats was seized.
Blessing Vava, a local political commentator, said Mugabe was a master of
“Mugabe has always been a master of double-speak, preaching peace at
national events and violence on Zanu PF platforms,” said Vava. “Remember at
one time he declared that ‘we (Zanu PF) have degrees in violence,’ so how
come he can now suddenly say no to violence which he has used in all
elections,” Vava said.
“He is one of the most unreliable and unpredictable leaders on this planet.
He is not to be trusted or relied upon. His rhetoric must always be
Vava believes Mugabe has managed to consolidate power by promoting
factionalism and through a campaign of violence and intimidation when it
In the run-up to the 2008 elections, Mugabe told CNN parties were free to
campaign and people could vote as they wished, but a bloodbath followed
forcing MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of the presidential
Despite Mugabe pretending to be committed to the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) when it is convenient, he has flouted the agreement willy-nilly.
Alexander Rusero, a lecturer in Mass Communication at Harare Polytechnic,
believes Mugabe’s dilemma is that of a captain who has lost control of the
“Mugabe is very good when it comes to instilling discipline in the party. He
can whip everybody into line, but unfortunately he is now acting like a
captain who is losing control of the ship. The man is in a Catch-22
situation in which he has to manipulate factionalism in order to manage the
succession debate which is threatening to spin out of control in his party,”
Analysts say while Mugabe has sometimes delivered on his promises, he has
however often failed to live up to his rhetoric.
Thursday, 10 May 2012 15:33
IN the article, “Is Zimbabwe Poised on a Liberal Path? The State and
Prospects for Parties’’, one of Zimbabwe’s top pro-democracy scholars, the
late Professor Masipula Sithole recites views of a certain observer of the
liberation struggle during the 1970s on the issue of factionalism.
The observer commented “if you were to put two Zimbabweans on the moon and
visited them the next day, you would find that they had formed three
parties”. The remark was said in respect of splits and divisions
bedevilling and weakening the liberation movement at the time. It seems the
observation has become a pervasive jinx that has come back to hound and
weaken the pro-democracy movement that is fighting against the militarised
dictatorship of President Robert Mugabe.
In his book, Struggles Within the Struggle, Sithole details the fatal
degeneration of the armed struggle into an internecine fight for power,
control and leadership of the liberation movement with ethnicity being a key
weapon for the political and military elites.
On reflection, this important book which has been read mainly through the
ethnic ‘problematique’ with respect to the liberation struggle, critically
sheds light on the kind of leadership Zimbabwe would have after
Independence: selfish, tribal, parochial, narrow-minded and destructive. For
these leaders Independence would mean power retention and self-enrichment at
Indeed, Independence came and the Zanu PF elites have accumulated
immeasurable wealth by milking the country dry, making ordinary people
poorer. The challenges the country is facing today are a matter of public
The spectre of the politics of splitting has hounded post-liberation
Zimbabwe with a multiplicity of off-shoot parties which are
poorly-organised, with no resources and at certain instances no
Fast forward to a decade since the formation of the robust labour-backed
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC); more parties have come and gone. The
MDC itself has split into the MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC-N led by
Welshman Ncube, MDC-M, (Arthur Mutambara) and MDC-99 (Job Sikhala). Other
new parties have also come up, for example Zapu-Dabengwa sprouting from
Zapu-2000 and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn.
The Politics of splitting have also affected the Zimbabwe National Students
Union and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, to name just two critical
social formations among others which are following the same course taken by
We don’t seek to interrogate the causes of this political practice but to
point out that for political institutions and actors claiming to be fighting
for democratic transformation and not just for the reform of the electoral
system, access to power or patronage, these splits increase the costs of
attaining the ultimate goal while postponing the realisation of democratic
transformation. It also speaks volumes on the quality, interests, vision or
lack of a broad vision on the side of all our leaders.
What is baffling is the failure of the pro-democracy movement to honestly
own up to some of our national mistakes and to progress on the basis of
addressing not merely the political authoritarian question but the broad
issues in favour of a broad-based democracy anchored on the principles of
tolerance of diversity, transparency, accountability and respect for human
life and human rights.
There is no doubt that had former opposition parties united in 2008,
collaborated closely with civil society and churches, Zanu PF would be
history by now. Undoubtedly unity is important for itself, if not for
electoral benefits from the numbers of potential voters pulled together,
organisational capacity, skills and resources it draws together.
Just like the liberation movement which failed to unite several forces
against the Smith regime in 1980, largely for selfish reasons, the
pro-democracy movement remains weakened by divisions and suspicions which
have derailed chances for even minimum collaboration. Accordingly, the
political costs continue to accumulate and everyday democracy is postponed
while human suffering exacerbates.
Acolytes and political hangers-on who by default find themselves in some
privileged positions have escalated the political costs of the struggle for
democracy by pitching against unity within their political formations. But
leadership should be exercised to bear in convincing these and other sectors
whose loyal sacrifice kept the struggle on course at certain critical
The benefits of pulling political and material resources, collective
organisation, mobilisation and a broad-based movement against the weakened
dictatorial resilience far outweigh any possibility of a single party
beating Zanu PF at elections. Other than laying a strong foundation for a
more democratic, broad- based society, it provides irrefutable capacity for
building a critical mass, ready for action to defend the people‘s will
against any possible military machinations.
Negotiations and pacts are no substitute for alternative strategising yet
viable political alternatives can provide solid reinforcement for all forms
of pacts. Ignore the daily acts of bravado publicly paraded by Zanu PF
actors, there is clear uncertainty and anxiety within that party as old age
and failing health continue to take its toll on President Robert Mugabe at a
time when his party is failing to stitch together a viable succession
And can the pro-democracy leaders allow this despondence to spill into their
camp? Ultimately the failure by all leaders in the pro-democracy camp to
seize opportunities to salvage the country from this overdue crisis cannot
There is no doubt that the social base of all political parties in Zimbabwe
has weakened in the past decade. While Zanu PF maintains an illusion of
dominance in the rural Mashonaland areas, it has been losing the same voters
to the MDC-T especially in Manicaland, Masvingo and parts of the Midlands in
addition to its failure to retain Matabeleland.
The MDC-T is not assured of its dominance in urban areas as the shrinking
urban electoral base seems to be increasingly fluid. Equally, the MDC-N
cannot draw pride of legitimacy if it remains confined to isolated
constituencies in one region. The influence of other political parties has
been very minimal.
While a broad front has its challenges, its potential impact far outweighs
the politically divided and at certain times conflicting efforts.
While the architects of the 2008 bloodless coup retained Mugabe as the head
of state, they sure did not rig the elections for him but did so in
self-interest. Indeed, the military remains the major threat to democracy in
Zimbabwe. While Mugabe struggles with his health and age, they linger over
any democratic electoral process.
This is not to say that Zimbabwe must be a one party state. We argue that
democratisation has been slowed down by a culture of splitting, whatever the
causes, and we blame everyone involved. But even more, we are confounded by
the failure of leaders who share the same broad vision for a democratic
Zimbabwe to at least collaborate to rid our country of dictatorship.
The trading of barbs continues to harm the integrity and public standing of
the concerned leaders, while minimising the benefits they could accrue from
negotiations, first around Global Political Agreement issues and in the
inclusive government. As national leaders, pro-democratic leaders should
strive to respect each other, positively reach out to citizens across the
whole nation cutting across class, race and ethnicity.
Dethroning the Zanu PF dictatorship and the process to build a new
government on the basis of new values will require the skills that the MDC-T
or its side of government, or any other political party in the inclusive
government does not currently have. Tsvangirai should seek to lead a
broad-based movement that inspires all by its force of numbers, presence and
skills so that finally Mugabe’s dictatorship is swept away.
Gideon Chitanga is a PhD Fellow (Politics and International Studies) Rhodes
University. Article edited by Trust Matsilele, a Masters of Philosophy
Journalism candidate, Stellenbosch University.
Thursday, 10 May 2012 15:29
By Dumisani Nkomo
THE Select Committee of Parliament on the New Constitution (Copac) continues
to be mired in speculation, innuendo, polarisation, endless negotiation and
growing confusion. The reality however is that the draft constitution
produced by Copac is a significant improvement from the current Lancaster
House constitution. We should however not fool ourselves into thinking that
a new constitution will solve all our problems, although it may deal with
many of them. I would also like to dispel other popular myths around the new
constitution as well as highlight facts, fiction and realities.
Copac a political reality
It is a fact that constitution-making processes do not occur in vacuums but
take place within particular environments and are thus influenced by the
prevailing socio-economic and political conditions or realities of the day.
To this extent the inclusive government and its Copac process are a
political reality no matter how undesirable they may be.
In the absence of viable alternatives, the flawed Copac process remains the
only politically feasible option for now. Whilst the constituent assembly or
constitutional commission model may in theory be the best and most ideal, it
is currently difficult and unrealistic to go this route given our explosive
transitional context. Copac may indeed be a circus but it cannot be
dismissed entirely as this would be tantamount to throwing away the baby
with bath water.
Negotiated constitution-making process
It is an undisputable fact that the constitution-making process in its
entirety will be negotiated. It is obviously undesirable that three
political parties should define the constitutional destiny of the country
but the reality is that the current process is built around the inclusive
government’s architecture. The “unholy trinity of the two MDC parties and
Zanu PF” will thus continue in the driving seat as a result of the
“adulterous circumstances” that gave birth to the undesirable but
inescapable political arrangement.
No constitution is perfect
It would be an absolute fallacy to think that the new constitution will be
perfect as it may require amendments to suit changing socio-political
demands and standards. We may produce a very good document that will stand
the test of time but it would be naïve to conclude that the new constitution
will be a perfect document, especially given the imperfect political
conditions in which the constitution-making process operated. These
imperfect conditions are the product of disputed elections and the
subsequent negotiated settlement; hence the new constitution would be a
Constitution will solve all our problems
The new constitution will not solve all our problems. It will build a solid
foundation upon which we can build a democracy but it will not necessarily
deliver democracy as this will be dependent on other variables such as
political will by the government of the day, sound leadership, adherence to
the rule of law and the depth of constitutionalism in our society. The new
constitution is the software upon which the infrastructure of democracy is
built, but deliverables will remain the domain of other functions and
assumptions such as a competent government and capable leadership.
A new constitution will not necessarily deliver a sound economy but it will
create an architecture to ensure an enabling environment for economic
growth and social justice.
We may not get everything now
Since constitution-making takes place in the context of certain political
and economic realities, it would be impractical to expect this imperfect
process to produce a perfect product. Not everything that pro-democracy
forces are demanding will necessarily be included in the new constitution
but we have to fight to the bitter end for all our aspirations to be
contained in the draft. It would be unrealistic and impractical for the
pro-democracy movement to expect all its demands to be met in this
negotiated space intoxicated by Zanu PF dominance in the inclusive
government and strong reactionary forces.
Democratic change is sometimes incremental and evolutionary and wholesale
change may not be attainable now. It may be possible in a more democratic
environment which is not monopolised by three political parties but the
current political reality created by the GPA framework is such that the
entire process will be negotiated by the three parties.
What civil society, the church and organised business need to do is to
continuously engage, interrogate, advocate and negotiate for their demands
to be met. Those who want to boycott the process have a legitimate right to
engage in informed dissent or non-violent and non co-operation, but they
have to claim their space demands on alternative processes.
It is therefore not treacherous for the NCA, ZCTU or Zinasu to boycott the
process if they have legitimate grounds to do so. They in turn should not
label those who participate as sell-outs as we are all part of one struggle,
but our strategies differ. Ultimately it is a belief in a new Zimbabwe
epitomised by a new constitution, democratic values and social-economic
transformation that should bind us together.
Elections need new constitution
The new constitution is not being drafted merely to facilitate credible
elections but to create good governance beyond polls. However, in the
context of our political reality there has to be a new constitution before
elections are held. The new constitution will not just be an instrument of
regime change or regime retention but rather a transformational document
creating democratic systems and structures in the regulation of the
relationship between the governed and the governing.
We are not creating a new constitution so that we have democratic elections
only, but we are crafting a new charter so that we can build a democratic
and prosperous Zimbabwe.
New constitution certain
Despite all the talk, the fact isZimbabwe will get a new constitution.
Whatever Robert Mugabe or Jonathan Moyo say or do, the fact of the matter
is devolution of power in the new constitution is “an idea whose time has
come” and nothing will stop us from marching into the future with a new
system of government which respects and protects diversity, promotes
equitable distribution of resources, equal opportunity and social justice.
Zanu PF should wake up from its political Disneyland and accept this
Nkomo is Habakkuk Trust CEO. He writes here in his personal capacity. Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or blog www. dumisanionkomo.blogspot.com.
Friday, 11 May 2012 14:19
BRAZEN remarks this week by Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Chief of Staff
Major-General Martin Chedondo that the military must interfere in politics
and support Zanu PF, while branding other political parties as agents of
imperialism will have dismayed many and sent alarm bells ringing across the
region and elsewhere.
Addressing 3000 troops from 2 Brigade undergoing a battlefield training
exercise in Mutoko on Tuesday, Chedondo said soldiers should be involved in
partisan politics as they were a “political animal” and part of the game.
“As soldiers, we will never be apologetic for supporting Zanu-PF because it
is the only political party that has national interests at heart,” he said.
As if that was not bad enough, Chedondo continued with a straight face:
“The answer that I am giving those politicians who always ask if it is right
for soldiers to be partisan is that the defence forces must exhibit the
national outlook,” he said.
“We cannot be seen supporting a political party that is going against the
ideals of a nation, which came by as a result of a liberation struggle. As
soldiers we must support ideologies that we subscribe to. I for one will not
be apologetic for supporting Zanu PF because I was part of the liberation
Frankly, there is nothing new in what Chedondo said. He has previously said
much the same thing. In fact, before every election, Chedondo and his
cohorts use the same scare tactics to frighten voters from casting their
ballots for anybody besides Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe.
Most senior Joint Operations Command (JOC) security service chiefs —
including ZDF commander General Constantine Chiwenga — have taken the same
partisan and illegal stance on party politics and elections. JOC, which
brings together army, police and intelligence chiefs, is the power behind
Mugabe’s throne and this is encouraging security forces to meddle in
What would have shocked many though were not Chedondo’s statements as such,
but the bravado and recklessness with which they were delivered. Had the
remarks been made by a junior and naïve military officer, they could have
easily been dismissed as overzealous and wet behind the ears, but coming
from a senior army commander — the Chief of Staff himself — they must be
viewed seriously by all those who believe in the tenets of a constitutional
democracy and the rule of law.
Firstly, Chedondo’s remarks are not just unlawful and dangerous to the
security of the nation and himself, but also foolhardy.
To begin with, the constitution and the law are clear. The army is there to
defend Zimbabwe from external enemies and that has nothing to do with
internal partisan politics. The ZDF troops are state employees, paid by
taxpayers’ money contributed by workers who belong to different political
parties, and should not be allowed to act in a partisan and unlawful manner.
Secondly, Chedondo does not seem to understand the role of a professional
army in a democracy. He seems to think soldiers are employed to defend
Mugabe and Zanu PF — which he appears to confuse with Zimbabwe’s territorial
security and interests. Yet it is very clear from the constitution and the
law their role is not to meddle in politics.
Thirdly and lastly, it must be said that what Chedondo and his colleagues
are doing is dangerous. More than anything else happening now, it
destabilises peace and security. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that
if this was a democratic and civilised society, Chedondo would have been
court-martialled and punished or dismissed.
Several other army commanders and security force chiefs have done the
same –– showing this is a systematic and coordinated campaign to undermine
the constitutional order and create chaos, to give a pretext for military
If the truth be told without fear or favour, his remarks border on treason,
the very same charges Zanu PF frivolously brings against legitimate and
democratic dissent. What Chedondo has said are not legitimate democratic
comments but an attempt to undermine the constitutional order and the rule
The explosive situation the military has created can easily deteriorate and
reach a flashpoint but a day will come when bullets will be overcome by
votes. As Victor Hugo said, “No army can stop an idea whose time has come”.
Friday, 11 May 2012 14:14
UNITED Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay’s expected visit
to Zimbabwe should be used to bring the country’s checkered human rights
record under close scrutiny at a time when political tensions are
resurfacing ahead of decisive elections for President Robert Mugabe.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman, Rupert Colville said last
Friday said Pillay, a former South African high court and International
Criminal Court judge and president of the International Tribunal for Rwanda,
would be in Harare in just over a week’s time to assess the country’s human
Colville said Pillay would on May 20 begin the first ever mission by a UN
Human Rights chief to Zimbabwe, at the invitation of the government. During
the five-day mission, Pillay will meet President Robert Mugabe, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice and other
relevant authorities, as well as the Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament,
President of Senate and Thematic Committee of Human Rights.
Pillay will also meet with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and members
of civil society in the country. The High Commissioner is considering a
number of field visits within and outside Harare, including to the Marange
diamond fields. During these visits, she will also meet local communities
and civil society members in the area to listen to their experiences and
Pillay’s visit would be very important, given Zimbabwe’s appalling human
rights record. The visit would come at a time when the country is going
through some national healing process, which has been ineffective,and also
preparing for elections.
Her trip would also come against the background of a landmark ruling in her
own country where the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday ruled that
authorities in South Africa can probe and prosecute not only high-level
crimes committed in neighbouring Zimbabwe, but anywhere else in the world.
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum filed
the case in Pretoria seeking to force prosecutors to open an investigation,
citing South Africa’s obligations to the International Criminal Court.
The two groups want South Africa to arrest and prosecute 17 Zimbabweans
accused of torture in 2007 if they enter the country for holiday, shopping
or medical treatment.
This means Pillay would arrive at the right time in Zimbabwe. So her work is
cut out for her. What is now needed is for her to have the courage of her
convictions and speak truth to power.
It can be done. Executive director of the UN Human Settlements Programme
Annan Tibaijuka did it on Murambatsvina in 2005. She spoke her mind.
A number of countries in Africa have celebrated 50th anniversaries of
Independence while the hopes and aspirations of many people remain
unfulfilled because their human rights were violated.
The devastation caused can be seen in the hardships, repression and violence
endured by people across the continent.
Human rights violations by security and law enforcement forces continue to
plague the region.
Pillay’s visit to Zimbabwe would bring the country under the spotlight,
given its long record of human rights abuses, ranging from the Gukurahundi,
Murambatsvina to the 2008 election killings. It would also draw attention to
the controversial Marange diamond fields where human rights abuses have
reportedly been committed despite government denials.
Mugabe is reportedly afraid of retiring partly because he is scared of being
held accountable for human rights violations committed by his regime.
According WikiLeaks disclosures, Mugabe’s fears and insecurity dramatically
increased after the arrest of former Liberation president Charles Taylor in
Taylor, whom Mugabe’s supporters are defending under the excuse that other
human rights violators mainly in the West have not been punished, was two
weeks ago convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his
involvement in the Sierra Leone civil war from 1991 to 2001 in which he
supplied rebels with arms in exchange for diamonds. He will be sentenced on
Zimbabwe last October came under scrutiny at the United Nations Human Rights
Council’s periodic review in Geneva, Switzerland, before it was further
grilled in March. Pillay has a perfect opportunity to further drive the
Friday, 11 May 2012 14:08
IT was interesting to read that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) wants
to place dogs at the country’s entry points as part of its efforts in the
fight against drugs and also to curb graft. That is commendable, especially
in so far as trying to curtail drug dealing is concerned. But in so far as
curbing smuggling is concerned, the authority will have to look within.
Anyone who has crossed the borders will tell you that paying duty is an
option, not a must. It is not even a matter of having well-placed contacts;
they are all over the show. Many of these are so-called clearing agents.
They clear your goods alright. They do it so well you won’t pay a dime to
government but to them. But they are obviously linked to the Zimra
officials. If the dogs could smell out corrupt officers that could really be
And the whole thing is quite a big racket. It’s not the guy behind the
counter, it’s the supervisor in the back office, all the way to top
officials in Harare and even the police. The minions at the border posts can’t
pull off the big deals on their own.
This is how convoys of truckloads may go through without paying a cent. The
fact that Finance minister Tendai Biti said he wants the ports computerised
so that he can track companies that don’t pay duty is testimony enough. We’d
like to think he had information on good authority. Working for the state
media once, the writer made unsung history by being the only person in
Zimbabwe to move from a police cell into a presidential plane. This was
during an investigation more than 10 years ago into allegations of corrupt
operations at Beitbridge border post. Word got out and it wasn’t long before
the then Chief Customs Officer pulled his strings and got the news crew
However, when the writer pleaded he was covering the president on an
external trip, and this was verified, the release was secured. So, the
corruption at our border posts is not a new story. However, it is one that
needs political willpower and an integrated approach involving Zimra itself,
its parent ministry Finance, the Reserve Bank, the Home Affairs ministry and
its agencies the Department of Immigration and the Police, intelligence
services, the Anti-Corruption Commission as well as the general public.
Revenue authorities play a critical role in economic development and
sustenance. The fact that many people know of the existence of the United
States’ Internal Revenue Service (IRS) underscores the importance of this
agency to the world’s biggest economy. Of course, the IRS is not immune to
tax dodgers and has meted out heavy penalties to defaulters, including
celebrities, even putting them in jail, in order to drive the message home.
That Zimbabwe is officially said to be losing more than 70% of its potential
revenue from customs duty through leakages at the borders is tragedy of
stupendous proportions. The country just simply cannot afford this. As the
saying goes, it takes two to tango. Apart from attempting to deal with its
corrupt officers, Zimra should intensify its massive education campaign to
the general public, who are the clients for corrupt Zimra officials.
Frankly, many law-abiding citizens have been lured into corruption after
Zimra officials quoted them unrealistic duties, then went on to offer them
cheaper options by referring them to agents.
Therefore, the public information campaign should empower the man on the
street in terms of what they should expect to pay for any goods they bring
in. The public must also have an automatic appeal channel if confronted with
a payment they don’t understand. Otherwise they will be left at the mercy of
the corrupt Zimra officials who play god to returning residents, including
the many hapless women trying to eke out a living from cross-border trading.