by Own Correspondent Friday 21 May 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has appointed controversial
former elections chief George Chiweshe to head the country's High Court,
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Thursday.
Chiweshe takes over as Judge President from Rita Makarau, the first women
head of Zimbabwe's High Court. Makarau, who has of late spoken out against
Treasury's under funding of the judiciary, will move to the Supreme Court
that is Zimbabwe's highest court and hears constitutional cases.
"Chiweshe was appointed because of his experience in administrative work as
he will be responsible for the administrative work of the entire High Court
bench," Chinamasa told reporters following the appointments made by Mugabe
at his State House presidential palace in Harare.
It was not immediately clear whether Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
consented to the elevation of Chiweshe who as then chairman of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission is accused of working with the military to rig the
March 2008 presidential election to save Mugabe from losing the poll
Tsvangirai's spokesman, James Maridadi was not immediately available for
comment on the matter.
With Tsvangirai looking set for victory after his MDC party defeated Mugabe's
ZANU PF in a parallel parliamentary election, Chiweshe held back the result
of the presidential ballot for more than a month.
When Chiweshe, who is a former army officer and has also previously been a
judge of the High Court, eventually released the poll result it showed
Tsvangirai ahead of Mugabe but with fewer votes than required to avoid a
second round poll.
Mugabe's supporters then unleashed a ruthless campaign of violence to force
Tsvangirai to withdraw from the second round presidential poll that analysts
had strongly tipped the former trade unionist to win.
The two rivals were later forced by the regional SADC alliance and the
African Union to agree to form a government of national unity that includes
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who heads the smaller formation of
Under a political agreement that paved way for establishment of the unity
government, all senior public appointments must be by consent, a requirement
that Mugabe has, however, not strictly adhered to.
Others appointed or promoted yesterday were Justices Garainesu Mawadze and
Andrew Mutema who were elevated to the High Court from the Administrative
Court, while Nicholas Mathonsi, who was in the private practice, was
appointed to the High Court bench.
Mugabe has over the past decade reshuffled Zimbabwe's judiciary, removing
the bulk of independent judges who he accused of opposing his land reforms
and replacing them mostly with allies who are accused by human rights groups
of failing to defend the rights of ordinary citizens against the excesses of
the veteran leader, his ZANU PF party and military allies. - ZimOnline
by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Friday 21 May 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's labour body on Thursday called for fresh elections to
choose the country's next leader, citing "lack of progress" in the 15-month
old coalition government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) that sired Tsvangirai's MDC
party said the government of national unity (GNU) has since inception in
February last year been embroiled in disputes which are stalling progress.
"The GNU has been characterised by impasses, name calling and mistrust among
the political parties while the majority of Zimbabweans continue to suffer,"
ZCTU acting secretary general Japhet Moyo said in a statement.
"The envisaged constitutional making process has been fraught with anomalies
and as predicted by ZCTU, has failed to take off as a result of squabbling.
While it would have been possible to have a new people driven constitution
in place before elections, this is not currently possible."
The labour body which has accused the MDC of selling out on the people by
agreeing to have Parliament instead of citizens leading the writing of a new
governance charter for the country, said the ZCTU general council was
proposing that Parliament enacts Constitutional Amendment 20 which would
address the issue of the elections.
"The elections (shall) be presidential elections only. Local authorities,
Senate and Parliament should not be affected since there were no
contestations for the same. The presidential elections be monitored by
Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union and the
international community," the statement said. ?
But Information Minister Webster Shamu when reached for comment on the ZCTU
statement said: "I do not think I need to waste time responding to that
wishful thinking. There has been major strides since this government led by
President Mugabe came into being."?
Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a unity government last year following a
power-sharing agreement brokered by SADC after a disputed presidential
The unity government has stabilised the country's economy but remains
threatened by a dispute between the two former foes over power-sharing and
appointment of senior public officials.
Tsvangirai, who last year temporarily suspended his MDC party's
participation in the unity government in protest against the arrest of his
top ally - Roy Bennett - this week called on SADC to urgently convene a
summit that should set a "clear roadmap" to fresh elections to choose a new
government to replace his uneasy coalition with Mugabe.
The two men have also clashed over Mugabe's refusal to rescind his
unilateral decision to appoint two of his top allies as attorney general and
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, while the veteran leader has also refused
to appoint members of Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara's
MDC formations as provincial governors.
Mugabe insists he will not meet his commitments under the power-sharing
agreement that is know as the global political agreement (GPA) until
Tsvangirai calls on Western governments to lift visa and financial sanctions
against him and top officials of his ZANU PF party.
South African President Jacob Zuma, the SADC mediator in Zimbabwe, is said
to be waiting for Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara to
meet to review a report on the power-sharing dispute prepared by their
negotiators before he visits Harare to discuss ways to break the impasse. -
by Tafadzwa Mutasa Friday 21 May 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's largest platinum miner Zimplats Holdings announced
Thursday that it could establish a refinery in the country, which would
require major capital injection and could be a sign that the company's
future may lie in the troubled southern African country.
Zimplats also said it would not back away from its planned US$500 million
mine expansion despite concerns over the government's plan to transfer
majority ownership in foreign-owned companies including mines to local
Zimplats, a unit of the world's second largest platinum producer Impala
Platinum Holdings of South Africa, has said the drive would see the opening
of a new underground mine able to add two million tones of platinum group
metal ore and raise actual platinum output from 180 000 ounces to 270 000
"Zimplats remains fully committed to the development of its resource base
for the benefit of the country and all its stakeholders," Zimplats said in a
"In addition, Zimplats is also considering large-scale investment that will
result in the establishment of refinery facilities in the country."
Setting up a refinery would cost Zimplats upward of US$2 billion and mining
industry officials have in the past said it was not profitable for miners to
set up a metals refinery given the low production in the country.
Zimbabwe has the world's second-largest platinum reserves after South
Africa, but has no metals refinery. Africa only has one platinum refinery,
which is in South Africa.
The world's largest platinum producer, Anglo Platinum is developing the Unki
mine, which is due to start producing some 60 000 platinum ounces a year as
Aquarius Platinum Limited also operates the 50-50 joint venture Mimosa mine
with Implats, which produces 50 000 ounces.
Investors are wary of Zimbabwe's empowerment law, which was passed in 2007
by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF government, and seeks to transfer
majority shareholding in foreign firms, including mines and banks, to local
But sharp differences have emerged in a power-sharing government formed by
Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is
now prime minister.
Tsvangirai opposes the law, which he says scares away investors and
threatens the economy's fragile recovery.
Zimplats said press reports suggesting it had put its $500 million Ngezi
phase two expansion project on hold due to the empowerment laws were
The company was however yet to conclude funding arrangements for the project
while some mandatory government approvals had not yet been secured.
"The company is going ahead with the Ngezi phase 2 expansion project based
on existing agreements with the government, some elements of which are
subject of ongoing discussions," Zimplats said.
The Chamber of Mines said this week it had asked the government to lower to
15 percent shareholding that foreign-owned mining firms must cede to local
The chamber - which is the voice of mining in Zimbabwe - said it was not
opposed to economic empowerment but said the decision whether to sell
controlling stake to locals should be left to the individual companies and
the potential black investors wishing to buy into them.
Chamber president Victor Gapare said foreign-owned mining firms that have
invested heavily in building schools, roads, clinics and other social
responsibility programmes should earn empowerment points for these.
Gapare said the Chamber had submitted a paper detailing its proposals to the
Ministry of Mines and was waiting for feedback from Mines Minister Obert
Mpofu who was still consulting the government over the matter. - ZimOnline
by Nqobizitha Khumalo Friday 21 May 2010
BULAWAYO - Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga on Thursday said
the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) will be expected to provide adequate
protection to teams carrying out public consultations on the country's
proposed new constitution after the committee leading the reforms paid the
law enforcement agency US$350 000 for security.
The outreach programme was facing threats of proceeding without any police
security after the ZRP initially asked the Constitutional Parliamentary
Committee (COPAC) to pay US$3 million the police needed to cover the whole
country during the outreach programme.
Matinenga said COPAC has since paid the US$350 000 later agreed with the
police and they should be able to travel with the outreach teams when the
process begins at a date yet to be announced.
"The police wrote to the management committee indicating that they will need
US$3 million for the outreach programme but the management committee wrote
to the police saying the constitution making process is not an opportunity
for the police to make money and there were meetings until there was a
resolution that US$350 000 be deposited with the Police finance department
and that has been done," Matinenga told ZimOnline.
He said as things stand right now the police will provide security during
the outreach programme.
"The police should be ready to provide the security that the outreach teams
will need and the agreement reached was that five police details will be in
attendance in each and every outreach meeting that will take place around
the country," Matinenga said.
Matinenga, a senior member of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party,
said the management committee agreed that it will only pay the police
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was not immediately available for comment
on the matter.
Turning to the commencement of the outreach exercise Matinenga said, without
giving a specific date, the exercise will kick off mid-June.
The constitution making process is already behind schedule and any more
delays of the exercise to gather the views of citizens on the new
constitution will further put the reforms that have already missed several
targets off track.
The proposed new constitution is part of the requirements of a September
2008 power-sharing deal between Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara.
The new governance charter will pave way for free elections although there
is no legal requirement for the unity government to call new polls
immediately after a new constitution is in place.
Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will guarantee human rights, strengthen
the role of Parliament and curtail the president's powers, as well as
guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms.
The new constitution will replace the current Lancaster House Constitution
written in 1979 before independence from Britain. The charter has been
amended 19 times since independence in 1980. Critics say the majority of the
amendments have been to further entrench Mugabe and ZANU PF's hold on
power. - ZimOnline
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority is producing some 1,100 megawatts
compared with a national requirement of 2,000 megawatts and is obliged to
import electricity from Mozambique and Zambia
Gibbs Dube | Washington 20 May 2010
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, which was reported to close to an
agreement with Eskom of South Africa to export 300 megawatts of power during
the World Cup, said Thursday that it will not be exporting power.
Sources said ZESA broke off negotiations with Eskom after the Combined
Harare Residents Association and two Bulawayo civic groups threatened to
take steps to block the deal in court. They said that if the agreement was
established, Zimbabwe - or much of it - was likely to be left in the dark.
ZESA is currently struggling to meet domestic power needs with industry and
commerce almost crippled by inadequate electricity supplies. The state-run
utility is producing some 1,100 megawatts compared with a national
requirement of 2,000 megawatts and is obliged to import electricity from
Mozambique and Zambia.
ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that
Eskom has not formally asked ZESA to supply South Africa with electricity
for the cup since the Zimbabwean company is unable to meet domestic needs.
"We support the World Cup, but unfortunately at this moment we do not have
the power resources to support the showcase as we do not have enough power
for our own market," Gwasira told VOA.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 22:00
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's fractured Zanu PF party last week emerged from its
politburo meeting deeply divided over the issue of controversial ANC Youth
League leader Julius Malema who has created conflict within parties on both
sides of the Limpopo.
The fight in the stormy politburo meeting over Malema could heighten
political tensions within the parties riddled with factions that support and
oppose the militant ANC youth leader's buccaneering leftist politics.
Informed sources said the battle in the politburo over Malema started after
Zanu PF Women's League head Oppah Muchinguri suggested the party show
support for Malema who was facing charges of misconduct in the ANC arising
from his recent visit to Zimbabwe.
Zanu PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo is said to have commented on Muchinguri's
remarks in a dismissive manner while disparaging Malema. This sparked fierce
exchanges among senior party officials.
Those who ended up joining the fray, sources said, included Saviour
Kasukuwere, Sydney Sekeramayi, Obert Mpofu and Stan Mudenge. Moyo came out
bruised and worse off, sources said.
Sources said Kasukuwere was the first to stick a knife into Moyo in defence
of his "comrade" Malema whom he helped to bring to Zimbabwe last month.
Others joined in, laying into Moyo until Sekeramayi intervened to cool down
tempers, it was said.
"Moyo was seriously attacked by senior politburo members over his remarks on
the ANC and Malema. After Muchinguri said Zanu PF must support Malema as the
party's Youth League had done, Moyo claimed he knew better what was going on
in the ANC and tried to brush aside Muchinguri," a senior politburo member
said. "But there was a backlash from Kasukuwere and others."
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday would neither confirm nor deny
"Unfortunately, I left that meeting early as I was leaving for South Africa
that day. Sorry, I can't help because it must have been discussed after I
had left," he said.
Another politburo member who attended the meeting said Mudenge insinuated he
was shocked Moyo was negative in his remarks on Malema, while complimentary
of ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe who was known to be critical of Zanu
"Mudenge indicated that Mantashe was anti-Zanu PF, including during the
recent meetings of former southern African liberation movements in Dar es
Salaam," the source said.
Mugabe attended the meetings in Tanzania. Sources said Mantashe, who was
once deported from Zimbabwe during his days in Cosatu, suggested in one of
the meetings in Dar es Salaam that the former liberation movements now in
power must reject Zanu PF's propaganda on sanctions and instead press it to
implement the global political agreement in full.
The sources said Kasukuwere was more angered by Moyo's remarks because he
was instrumental in bringing Malema to Harare last month.
The Zanu PF Youth League hosted Malema and later issued a statement in his
support when he got into trouble upon his return home. Kasukuwere described
the ANC Youth leader, who was showered with gifts including some cattle, as
a "bull" for his fierce leftist rhetoric on politics and the economy, mainly
indigenisation. Kasukuwere is spearheading the indigenisation campaign in
After his visit to Harare, Malema came out in full support of Mugabe's
failed leadership and policies which ruined the economy and impoverished the
population. He endorsed Zanu PF's policies and programmes, including land
reform and indigenisation, while attacking the MDC.
This left South African President Jacob Zuma, facilitator of inter-party
talks in Zimbabwe, compromised. ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete tried to limit
Malema's damage during her recent visit to Zimbabwe to attend Moyo's party
elevation celebrations in Plumtree. She met MDC-T, MDC-M, Zapu and Zanu PF
officials during her visit.
Matters came to a head when Malema threw out a BBC journalist from a press
conference at Luthuli House, the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg.
Angered by his trip to Zimbabwe - where he also defiantly sang the banned
"Ayesaba amagwala, dubul'ibhunu!" (The cowards are afraid, shoot the Boer!)
song - and a series of other misdemeanours, the ANC hauled Malema before a
Malema was fined R10 000 and ordered to attend anger management and
effective leadership courses.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 21:54
GOVERNMENT is illegally exporting diamonds through the back door to Dubai,
United Arab Emirates (UAE), in violation of a Supreme Court ruling which
ordered an immediate freeze in all mining activities at the controversial
Chiadzwa diamond fields, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
The secret and unprocedural diamond exports to the Middle East are also
being done in contravention of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme
(KPCS) procedures, a move which might jeopardise Zimbabwe's already
difficult entry into the global diamond trade through the front door.
The KPCS is a process introduced by United Nations Resolution 55/56 that was
designed to certify the origin of rough diamonds from sources which are free
of conflict fuelled by diamond production. The process was established in
2003 to prevent "blood diamonds" - diamonds fuelling war and human rights
abuses - sales in the mainstream diamond market.
KPCS monitor Abbey Chikane visited Zimbabwe recently to check if the country
complied with the required procedures before it could be allowed to formally
export the diamonds from Chiadzwa. However, in a report afterwards he
revealed that diamond mining security procedures at Chiadzwa were weak and
could still facilitate illicit trade.
Information to hand shows that government has exported over 153 071 carats
of diamonds worth US$11,2 million through shady state-controlled entities
owned by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). Some of the
companies used to export the diamonds include ZMDC subsidiaries, Sandawana
Mines (Pvt) Ltd and Kimberworth Investment (Pvt) Ltd. Sandawana is owned
55% by ZMDC while Kimberworth is 100% owned by the state mining company.
According to documents, the diamonds were shipped out through Harare
International Airport and their destination on invoices was invariably given
as the UAE.
Most of the funds obtained from the controversial Dubai diamonds sales were
wired through telegraphic transfers and received through CBZ Bank and ABC
Bank. The monies were often transferred to Zimbabwean banks via American
intermediary banks, particularly Standard Chartered New York and American
Express Bank in New York.
The beneficiaries of most of the transactions were Sandawana Mines and
Lesley Faye Marsh Jewellers (Pvt) Ltd which trade as Premier Diamonds.
The commercial invoices for the exports were prepared and authenticated by
the state-run Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), the
official minerals marketing agency.
MMCZ has tried to defend its exports, claiming it was only selling diamonds
produced by the ZMDC-owned Marange Resources between 2007 and 2009.
In a letter to chair of the Working Group on Monitoring of the KPCS,
Stephane Chardon, on April 28 - after the sale of many diamonds in Dubai -
Mines permanent secretary Thankful Musukutwa tried to defend the current
In his letter, he defended the "shipments of some Marange diamonds" in
relation to the Swakopmund Administrative Decision and Joint Work Plan.
"From our discussions from the Joint Work Plan in Swakopmund, it is our
understanding that the diamonds produced by Marange Resources from 2007
until decommissioning in 2009 are not subject to the KP monitor-supervised
export mechanism," Musukutwa said.
"We have thus exported the diamonds produced by Marange Reosurces on the
premise that they would be accounted to the forensic audit, and not affected
by the KP-supervised export mechanism."
As if to head off accusations of illegal and "blood diamond" exports, MMCZ
always put a disclaimer on the invoices which read: "The diamonds herein
invoiced were produced from legitimate sources not involved in funding
conflict and in compliance with United Nations resolutions".
The MMCZ disclaimer continued to say: "We hereby guarantee that these
diamonds are conflict-free, based on written guarantees provided by the
producer of these diamonds".
However, the Chiadzwa diamonds being exported by ZMDC with the help of MMCZ
to companies and individuals in Dubai are hotly contested.
ZMDC is working with Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners (Pvt) Ltd in
joint-venture partnerships hurriedly formed and given licences without going
through transparent procedures last year. Mbada and Canadile signed
Memorandums of Agreement in July and final agreements in October last year
before they started mining and minting.
African Consolidated Resources (ACR) plc, listed on the London Stock
Exchange, is challenging their mining activities in the courts. ACR says all
the diamonds mined by ZMDC since 2007 and now by Mbada and Canadile were
extracted from its claims. The company, which has British, South African,
Australian and Zimbabwean shareholders, has been fighting in the courts to
reclaim its concessions.
Recently the High Court said ACR's application to block the sale of its 129
400 carats of diamonds seized by the government in 2007 was not urgent and
if ACR was to suffer prejudice in the process, as it argued in its court
application, it could seek compensation.
Last year in September Justice Charles Hungwe ruled in favour of ACR and
said his order should stand notwithstanding an appeal. Mines minister Obert
Mpofu (pictured), ZMDC and MMCZ appealed and the Supreme Court ruled in
February that Mbada and Canadile should "cease all mining activities" in
Chiadzwa pending the finalisation of the appeal because ACR could suffer
"irreparable damage" if it eventually wins in the courts. It however
suspended Hungwe's order.
Prior to this in January the Supreme Court had ordered MMCZ to release ACR's
129 400 carats to the Reserve Bank for safekeeping but police seized the
parcels in blatant contempt of court.
President Robert Mugabe and Mpofu supported the move by the police although
the Supreme Court insisted that the "diamonds must be returned to the
Reserve Bank immediately" in order to purge the contempt of court. "Failure
to do so should attract serious consequences," the Supreme Court warned.
Mbada also tried to sell the diamonds through the back door in February but
It was blocked last month from selling 300 000 carats because Zimbabwe has
yet to comply with the KPCS procedures. Documents show that even MMCZ, the
legal and legitimate marketing agency, was not involved in the failed
unprocedural Mbada sale.
Even ZMDC, one of the Mbada partners, was not involved. Mbada officials
claimed they had a special dispensation from the Ministry of Mines to sell
the diamonds on their own, something which almost certainly would be
According to documents, UAE-registered companies have been snapping up ZMDC
diamonds since February this year. At least eight transactions were sealed
with the blessing of MMCZ.
Gems valued at US$11, 2 million weighing 153 071, 94 carats were exported to
Dubai, according to documents.
On February 16 this year Zardium DMCC of Dubai bought diamonds worth US$659
000 weighing 3 973, 81 carats. The invoice identifies MMCZ as the seller.
ON April 6, Pure Diam bought a parcel weighing 9985carats (1,97 kgs 2,9
million.) The money came through ABC Bank, Account Number 10041533902017.
The swift code for the transfer was SCBLUS33.
Purediam also bought a consignment worth US$786618 weighing 1,5 kgs (7799,83
carats). The payment came through Express Bank Ltd New York. The money was
paid into Sandawana's CBZ account. The Swift Code number was AEIBUS33.
The same company bought rough gem diamonds weighing 0,95 kgs (4772,62
carats) worth US$2 million and paid another US$2,9 million for diamonds
weighing (9515,45 carats) 1,9 kgs. Again the money came through Standard
Chartered Bank New York into Sandawana Mines' CBZ account.
The money was wired into Sandawana Mines' CBZ Account number 3582
0232258001. The payment came from Standard Chartered bank New York.
Two days later, Vishal Diamond LLC, a Dubai registered company, bought a
small parcel of ROM quality diamonds weighing 0,58 kgs (2 898,40 carats)
valued at US$48 221,40.
The payment came through Standard Chartered New York paid into Sandawana
Mines' CBZ account.
On the same day, ZArdium DMCC of Dubai paid US$1,4 million for Rom quality
diamonds weighing 11,83 kg (59 143,65 carats). Zardium wired the funds into
Lesley Faye Marsh Jewellers (Pvt) Ltd's ABC Account number 10171645502019.
Four days later, Siroya Jewellers, another Dubai based company, paid US$539
963, 71 weighing (52 230,75 carats) 10,45 kgs.
The money was wired through American Express Ltd New York into Sandawana
Mines' CBZ account number 736 868.
On April 16 last month, ZARdium DMCC of Dubai paid US$813 000 for rough gem
diamonds weighing 0,55 kgs (2 752,43 carats) paid into Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe.
Despite all the diamonds sales and receipts, ZMDC has only paid out a US$800
000 dividend to government.
After its National Executive and National Council meetings last weekend, the
MDC-T condemned the Chiadzwa diamond mining activities. It issued the
following resolution on the issue:
. The party notes with concern the lack of transparency and due process
in the handling of diamonds at Chiadzwa and in the granting of concessions
and mining rights in the same,
. The MDC demands that all concessions and mining rights should be
granted on the principle of transparency and openness involving public
auctioning or public tender processes to be carried out by an independent
. That the current investors at Chiadzwa should comply with Zimbabwe's
laws, in particular the Zimbabwe Investment Act and are prepared to make
equity investment to the State, failure of which their rights should revert
to the State,
. That due process of the law and all court orders issued in respect of
the Chiadzwa claims should be honoured and respected,
. That all income from Chiadzwa should be accounted for transparently to
the State to enable the same to attend to capital and recurrent expenditure
and in particular the adequate remuneration of civil servants,
. That the Zimbabwean government must speed up compliance with the
Kimberly Process and those concerned must equally speed up the process of
. That the interests of the Marange people must be made paramount and due
process, decency and fairness must be applied in the processes of
compensations and relocations of affected Marange communities.
Dumisani Muleya / Chris Muronzi
Thursday, 20 May 2010 21:32
POWER struggles between the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac)
and the management committee, dominated by cabinet ministers, is threatening
to further derail the constitution-making reform process that is already
This has been compounded by a serious lack of recording equipment for the
outreach programme as well as inadequate security from police. Police have
whittled down the number of officers to cover the constitutional reform
process from 1 000 to 350 after being denied funding by Copac.
MPs in Copac are accusing the management committee of hijacking the process
to prolong their stay in government, where they are enjoying comfortable
At a meeting held on Friday May 14 at the Jameson Hotel. Copac members took
turns to blast the management committee for blocking progress through
"needless interference", informed sources said.
Management committee members, on the other hand, accuse Copac members of
abusing their lead role in the constitution-making process to fatten their
pockets, according to details of meetings held in the past two weeks.
Article Six of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) mandates Copac with
leading the constitution-making process and this has left MPs questioning
why the management committee continues "behaving like lords", according to
The management committee was appointed by government in October last year to
approve work plans and budgets for the select committee. A tense management
committee meeting on Monday evening was inconclusive as Copac
representatives insisted on receiving all relevant resources before
announcing a programme of action for the outreach programme.
The outreach programme is important because views gathered through this
process will form the core contents of the new constitution.
The recording equipment would be provided by the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) which recently tendered for video recorders, audio
recorders, cameras and laptops which will be used during the outreach
Copac co-chairperson Edward Mkhosi (MDC-T) confirmed the Monday meeting,
saying it was meant to roll out the programme of action.
"We told the management committee that it is only after we got the equipment
that we would roll out the programme of operation," said Mkhosi. "We will
have another meeting on Monday."
The management committee also rejected an appeal for larger allowances by
the select committee, resulting in heated exchanges at its Monday meeting.
The meeting, held at Copac's offices in Milton Park on Monday evening, was
meant to follow up on recommendations made by Copac at their May 14 meeting.
At this meeting, Copac members mandated their co-chairpersons, Zanu PF's
Paul Mangwana, Douglas Mwonzora of MDC-T and Mkhosi to appeal against low
outreach programme allowances for MPs, pegged at $15 a day.
Copac members get $50 dollars a day as a sitting allowance and are paid 22
cents per km as mileage fees whenever they attend a meeting. Select
committee co-chairpersons also sit on the management committee, but are
outnumbered by power-sharing talks negotiators, who are all cabinet
Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma from the MDC-T, Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Welshman Ncube representing MDC-M and Zanu PF's
Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche are part of the management committee,
which also includes Minister of Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs
Sources said Misihairabwi-Mushonga led the rejection of any increases in
allowances and accused Copac of organising "unnecessary meetings" to cash in
on sitting allowances.
"Mangwana was outraged by these accusations and threatened to sue
Misihairabwi-Mushonga for bringing damaging accusations against Copac
members. In the end, the management committee told Copac chairpersons to
tell their members that those who were unhappy with the allowances should
step down," said a source who attended both the management committee and
select committee meetings.
Matinenga yesterday dismissed as unfounded accusations that the management
committee was delaying the constitutional process as a way of extending
their stay as cabinet ministers.
"It is Copac which made a critical path analysis," Matinenga said. "How
would ministers prolong their stay? Personally, I certainly would not stay
longer than is necessary. If the government of Zimbabwe had money, the
constitutional process would have moved."
Tensions between the management committee and Copac are just part of
problems crippling the constitution-making process.
The police, meanwhile, have warned that they should not be held responsible
if violence broke out during the outreach programme after Copac refused to
pay $3 million demanded by the law enforcement agents.
Deputy Police Commissioner-General (Operations) Innocent Matibiri told the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs earlier this
month that intelligence reports indicated that violence was likely to affect
the outreach programme. The police, he said, was inadequately equipped to
deal with the anticipated violence in the absence of financial support.
Copac chairpersons told the same committee this week that the police had
requested money to buy vehicles, fuel, computers, and allowances of $30 a
day per police officer and that this money was unbudgeted and unavailable.
Farai Mutsaka / Leonard Makombe
Thursday, 20 May 2010 20:59
CONTROVERSY surrounds yesterday's swearing-in of new judges to the Supreme
Court and High Court, in a development likely to further strain the
Justice George Chiweshe, the man who presided over the 2008 flawed
elections, was sworn-in as High Court Judge President in appointments that
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai only learnt of from journalists, according
to his party spokesman.
Mugabe swore-in Rita Makarau as Supreme Court judge. Three new judges,
Garainesu Mawadze, Nicholas Mathonsi - brother to MDC M secretary-general
Welshman Ncube - and Andrew Mutemawere were also sworn-in as High Court
judges. The new High Court judges will work from Bulawayo where there is a
huge backlog of cases.
Deputy Justice minister Jessie Majome, a Tsvangirai appointee to government,
said the swearing-in ceremony "shocked" her as she was invited to the
ceremony at the last minute without any prior consultation or notice.
"I was invited late yesterday (Wednesday) at around 1625hrs by the acting
deputy permanent secretary in our ministry and I was surprised to be told so
late in the day that there was a ceremony at 10am the following day
(Thursday)," said Majome.
She said Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa only informed her of the plans
after she asked him.
"He told me after I had asked him because of the rumour I had heard. I had
been called by the Sunday Mail and the Standard asking me about that issue
so I wanted confirmation of that," she said. "It was a deliberate decision
with clear political implications and contempt of the Global Political
Majome said this was not the first time she was kept in the dark as far as
consultation in the ministry was concerned.
"Two weeks ago I was not aware that the Commercial Court was being
officially opened. I had to be informed by members of the Law Society who
had attended the ceremony."
In terms of Section 83 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Mugabe is only
compelled to consult with the Judicial Service Commission before appointing
judges. On the other hand the GPA states that Mugabe should consult PM
Tsvangirai and the Cabinet on the appointment of senior government
officials. Judges are not part of the executive.
MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa however said the country's delicate political
situation meant Mugabe should have consulted with coalition government
partners in matters involving important decisions such as judicial
He said the swearing-in came as a "slap on their face as the MDC got to know
about the swearing-in through the media".
"It is embarrassing and unreasonable that our principal was not even aware
that there was a thing like this. It is a serious demonstration of contempt
of the GPA which states that the President shall not do any appointments
without consulting the Prime Minister. As a party we will have to look at
the latest development and collectively come out with a decision," he said.
Asked if he was consulted on the latest appointments, a member of the JSC,
Sternford Moyo responded: "Majudge api acho (Who are the judges?)
After the Zimbabwe Independent read out the names of the new judges, Moyo
said: "First of all it is not professional for anyone to raise a matter like
that in the press. I cannot comment on that as a single member of the
Commission. A meeting can take place in your absence and it would be wrong
to say that you don't know."
But it is the appointment of Chiweshe that has particularly raised eyebrows.
As head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Chiweshe sat on presidential
results for over a month in 2008. Chiweshe's commission certified as fair
the June 28 runoff that was rejected by African leaders and the
It was not possible to get comment from other JSC members by the time of
going to press.
Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said the appointments
contradicted Tsvangirai's claims that the coalition government was working
"The appointment is a typical example of Mugabe's rule," said Madhuku.
"Those kind of appointments have always been done since 1980 with Mugabe not
following proper constitutional provision which is just a convenient
document to him."
"Tsvangirai is to blame, he is the one who claims that all is well in the
Thursday, 20 May 2010 20:57
CO-HOME Affairs Minister Giles Mutsekwa yesterday made a U-turn on his
ministry's ban on public protests until after the Fifa soccer World Cup,
saying it was not government policy to forbid Zimbabweans from exercising
their right to express themselves.
Mutsekwa told the Zimbabwe Independent that his ministry was not banning
public protests but was appealing to Zimbabweans to demonstrate peacefully
during that period.
However, sources in the Criminal Investigations Department confirmed that
they had received a circular stating that demonstrations have been banned
until after the World Cup in South Africa.
"Yes, we did receive such a circular and as far as we are concerned no
demonstrations would be permitted until after the World Cup," said the
Asked to explain why an instruction had been issued to the police to ban
public protests, Mutsekwa said he was going to look into the issue
as that goes against government policy.
"There is no way this government and myself would make an attempt to ban
people's freedoms. As the inclusive government we promote people's liberties
and we would not be involved in infringing those rights," he said.
"There is no banning of demonstrations. We made a promise to South Africa
that we are going to come up with strategies of helping it stage a peaceful
event. To that extent, what we intend to do is to make an appeal to the
Zimbabwe population. If they want to engage in demonstrations, they should
This is in contrast to his statement to our sister publication, the
Standard, when he said the ban on demonstrations was part of efforts to
rebrand the country's image after almost a decade of chaos.
He was quoted saying: "That is true (banning of protests).it's an
arrangement to present Zimbabwe and the region as a whole as a safe
destination. It's also a strategy to rebrand the country's image."
The MDC-T has condemned the decision to ban public demonstrations until
after the World Cup.
"The decision is not only a violation of the people's basic rights but a
confirmation that we have indisputably become a banana republic which is
afraid of the people's constitutional right to express themselves," said the
"The freedoms of expression, movement and association are never threats to
any government but provide an opportunity for the people to peacefully
express themselves. Freedoms are never a liability but an asset in a true
The MDC called on the Co-Ministers of Home Affairs to reverse their
"Dictatorships are averse to the people's rights to express themselves and
this decision will seriously dent the credibility and image of the inclusive
government," it said.
lMeanwhile, the MDC-T has condemned the appointment of former Media and
Information Commission chairperson Tafataona Mahoso as head of the recently
appointed Zimbabwe Media Commission secretariat, describing him as a
"decorated media hangman" who has no place in a reform agenda.
"His (Mahoso) tenure as the chairperson of the now defunct Media and
Information Commission is littered with graves of independent newspapers and
radio stations. His legacy as a proponent of a shackled media industry
speaks for itself. Zimbabweans urgently deserve media reform in fulfilment
of the provisions of the Global Political Agreement and the national
aspiration to democratise our national space," it said.
During his tenure as chairperson of MIC, Mahoso closed several newspapers.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 20:54
MINES and Mining Development permanent secretary Thankful Musukutwa has
asked the Finance ministry to slash the pre-exploration levy for new mining
projects which he said were discouraging new players.
Musukutwa told a parliamentary thematic committee on indigenisation and
empowerment yesterday that the US$100 000 charged for Exclusive Prospective
Orders (EPO) was inhibiting new investment in mining, especially
undercapitalised local miners.
An EPO is a licence granted to potential investors to prospect for minerals
in a particular area before they are authorised to mine under a Special
Government levies a further US$100 000 for Special Grants (SG) on strategic
and energy minerals such as coal, methane and diamonds. President Robert
Mugabe is the only one allowed by law to allocate SGs, said Musukutwa. He
said discussions with the Finance ministry were still on.
“We would want to revise that (fees charged on EPOs) and come up with a
lesser fee. Today (yesterday) we were discussing with the ministry of
finance on that matter. We feel that it is not fair to charge that much for
someone who is looking for a mineral,” Musukutwa told the committee.
Musukutwa said liquidity shortages and frequent power outages were slowing
the mining sector’s recovery.
“We don’t expect more royalties from the mines which are currently creeping
and operating at 30% due to power outages and liquidity problems,” said
Musukutwa. He was responding to questions from committee members on why
Finance minister Tendai Biti has been
attacking mining firms for not contributing sufficiently to economic growth.
Acting committee chairman Senator Morgan Komichi commended the move to lobby
for a reduction of EPO fees as “proactive”. He said this would improve
investment in a sector that sharply declined at the height of
“With the current fee structure, an investor risks losing out if they fail
to recoup capital,” Komichi said.
“Banks have no capacity to give such money and this would leave the sector
as a preserve of the elite who are not many in the country. The existing
levy goes against a broad-based empowerment policy,” said Komichi.
On indigenisation, Musukutwa said his ministry was still discussing with
stakeholders with the view of reviewing the empowerment modus operandi.
Mining companies are challenging the current 51/49% in favour of local
Zimbabweans saying such a structure would scare away investors. The Chamber
of Mines has proposed to sell 15% of their stakes to locals as their
contribution to indigenisation.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 20:46
MAVAMBO Kusile/Dawn (MKD) interim president Simba Makoni has accused the
Government of National Unity (GNU) leaders of seeking to enrich themselves
at the expense of collapsing social services.
Makoni, who contested and lost the March 2008 presidential election,
expressed dismay that GNU leaders, including the principals, President
Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur
Mutambara spent US$28 million on foreign travel since coming into office,
yet refused to fund life-saving institutions such as hospitals.
“They spent so much travelling, criss-crossing the world at a time when the
Harare Central Hospital needed and still needs US$403 000 for the operation
theatre. It was also at a time when the future of this country could not
(afford to) go to school,” said Makoni at the Quill Club in the capital on
The US$28 million Makoni was referring to was mentioned by Finance minister
Tendai Biti earlier this month when he threatened to name and shame
globetrotting leaders bleeding the treasury.
Makoni, a former Finance minister, told journalists that many who had high
expectations of the MDC were despairing because “they (MDC) were moving
rapidly to join the gravy train”.
The economy, national healing and constitutional reforms were all being
affected by non-delivery, he said.
“While supermarkets are now full of goods, we all know that they are full of
imported goods,” Makoni said, laughing off GNU leaders’ statements that
packed supermarkets were proof of some of the coalition government’s
This, he said, showed how Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara’s coalition had
failed to kick-start local industry.
Local industry has languished at 30% productivity under the GNU, whose
policy inconsistencies have scared off potential foreign investors.
“How can we boast that we are solving the problems of the people of Zimbabwe
while we are putting them out of jobs?” asked Makoni. “To add insult to
injury, the people of Zimbabwe do not have the capacity to generate the
Obamas (United States dollars).”
Makoni, one of the few former top Zanu PF officials to contest an election,
said the GNU was yet to implement a workable national healing and
While the country was more peaceful than in 2008 when a military-led
election campaign resulted in the burning of homes, assaults and reports of
amputations, Makoni said most rural areas were still “intimidated, arrested
“National healing has not started. The so-called inclusive government has
created an awkward organ (National Healing and Reconciliation). It is
awkward because it is made up of three individuals and they have no
strategic framework, no policy framework and there is no target of
attainment and achievement and there is no process of national healing that
has started,” he said.
Makoni described the constitutional reform process as chaotic and driven by
partisan political agendas.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 20:43
THE Deputy Sheriff of Cape Town will proceed to auction Zimbabwe government
properties after Harare failed to defend a R400 million lawsuit by a German
Bank owed money by state firm, Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco).
The six properties are in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town and will be
sold by public auction on July 23, according to the German bank's lawyers,
Wertheim Becker Incorporated.
KFW Bankgruppe, a German development bank, took the government to court in a
bid to recover R400 million owed by Zisco.
However, the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria has written to lawyers
representing the bank indicating that two of the properties have diplomatic
immunity and are not affected by the court order.
Only four properties will be sold if the two properties are proven to be
protected by diplomatic immunity.
Zisco entered into a loan agreement with the German bank on January 29 1998
and was to pay off the debt in 16 instalments. Zisco however, only paid four
instalments, the last one in 2002.
Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa could not be reached
for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Permanent Secretary, Joey Bimha's office promised to respond but had not
done so at the time of going to print.
Government officials said MDC coalition government partners were in the dark
about the properties, some of which were purchased after Independence and
others inherited from the colonial government.
The Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Gorden Moyo, said
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai would demand a report from the ministers of
Foreign Affairs, Public Works, Finance and Justice and Legal Affairs showing
a list of Zimbabwe's properties abroad. Tsvangirai will also seek to know
the debts of each ministry, said Moyo.
"It is not certain now whether there are more property attachments going to
come or not but the prime minister will demand reports from the concerned
ministers so that the government is aware of what is happening," Moyo said.
He said it was difficult to ascertain the cases as individual ministries
were handling the attachments separately.
The attachment of the Johannesburg and Pretoria properties comes almost two
months after South African civil rights group, Afriforum, secured a High
Court writ of execution to attach four Zimbabwe government-owned properties
in Cape Town.
Afriforum attached the four properties on behalf of white commercial farmers
who were evicted from their land under President Robert Mugabe's
controversial land reform programme.
KFW Bankengruppe and Afriforum have agreed to share proceeds from the sale
of the Cape Town properties that were initially attached by Afriforum.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 20:38
MYSTERY surrounds the whereabouts of top MDC-T official Roy Bennett's
passport which he says was illegally taken from the Clerk of Court in Mutare
by senior prosecutors who were handling his treason case.
Bennett's lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa yesterday filed an urgent chamber
application with the High Court seeking the immediate release of the
passport from the Attorney-General (AG)'s office.
Although the AG's office had asked Mtetwa to drop the application and
promised to deliver the passport, the document was still unavailable by late
In his application Bennett said he travelled to Mutare on May 12 to collect
his bail, title deeds and the passport surrendered to the Mutare Clerk of
Court as part of his bail conditions.
"To my surprise and horror I discovered that the passport had been uplifted
from the lawful custody of the Clerk of Court on March 29 2010 and the clerk's
record book showed that the 2nd respondent (Michael Mugabe) had in fact
signed for the passport," reads the application.
"As the 2nd respondent was unavailable to explain the circumstances of his
removal of the passport from the Clerk of Court and I was advised that the
bail deposit would only be ready for collection on the 14th May 2010 it was
decided that the issue of the passport be raised with the 2nd respondent."
Bennett said on May 14 Mugabe confirmed that he took the passport on March
29 on the instructions of Chris Mutangadura, chief law officer based in
Harare. Mutangadura is cited as the third respondent in the application.
"My legal practitioners addressed a letter to the respondents on May 19
2010. No response has been received to this letter and I remain in the dark
as to the whereabouts of the passport, the reasons why it was uplifted from
the lawful custody of the Clerk of Court, and the legal authority that
entitled the respondents to act as they did," reads Bennett's application.
He said he urgently needed the passport because he wanted to seek specialist
medical treatment in the United Kingdom on May 28. He also wants to attend
the funeral of a friend, Frederick van Zyl Slabbert, the prominent South
African politician who will be buried tomorrow.
Mtetwa said the actions of the AG's office lacked transparency.
"Upon receipt of your (Mutangadura) letter we immediately telephoned our
Mutare correspondents to verify that the passport was indeed with the Clerk
of Court and it was discovered that the Clerk of Court does not have the
passport," Mtetwa said in response to Mutangadura's letter yesterday.
"We then telephoned Mr Mugabe to also verify that the passport is indeed
with the Clerk of Court and he has advised that the passport is not with the
Clerk of Court. Mr Mugabe further advised that he had immediately
telephoned Mr Mutangadura to get details to whom the passport had been
surrendered and Mr Mutangadura advised that he had just dispatched people
from Harare to go and surrender the passport to the Clerk of Court Mutare
and that the passport should be with the Clerk of Court at Mutare by 15.00
President Robert Mugabe has refused to swear-in Bennett as Deputy
Agriculture minister on the basis of the treason charges he was cleared of
by the High Court last week.
An application for leave to appeal against Bennett's acquittal by the AG and
allegations of undermining the liberation struggle are set to keep the
popular politician out of government.
lIn an interview yesterday Bennett denied ever being a member of the Selous
Scouts or taking part in the formation of the Republican Front and has
challenged Zanu PF politicians who have accused him to bring forward
Bennett said he had instructed his lawyers to sue Zanu PF politicians and
the Herald and Sunday Mail for "peddling falsehoods" about him.
He said he intended to sue Zanu PF MP Jonathan Moyo who was quoted in the
Sunday Mail this week saying Bennett was a "well-known Rhodesian whose hands
are dripping with the blood of innocent Zimbabweans".
Clarifying his background, he said: "I grew up with a rural background and
went to a boarding school in Harare and later, after finishing school, like
every white person at that time we were conscripted into national service in
1974. I decided to sign on as a regular in the British South Africa Police
rather than being involved in any military (force). I served in the BSA
Police from 1974 to 1978 and my duties were simply being a policeman and not
as a soldier," said Bennett. He was based at Harare Central.
He said after leaving the police he went and trained at a tobacco training
institute and acquired a first class diploma in tobacco farming and then
started farming in 1979.
"I have never ever had anything to do with the Selous Scouts or anything to
do with the army or military," the MDC-T treasurer said.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 20:33
A HARARE court has ordered an investigation into the alleged torture of two
former soldiers accused of stealing weapons at Pomona Barracks in Borrowdale
Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi ordered the investigations after Chenjerai
Gwirizha and Marksist Mwaruta, both of Harare, told him that police and
military intelligence officers tortured and threatened them with death to
The two former soldiers are part of a group of soldiers and political
activists arrested after a highly publicised theft of weapons that shook
military confidence in October last year.
Gwirizha (31) and Mwaruta (29) made the torture allegations when they
appeared in court to answer charges under the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act after allegedly breaking into Pomona Barracks armoury and
stealing an assortment of guns and ammunition.
Gwirizha, a former corporal in the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), and
Mwaruta, a former private in ZNA, face additional charges under the same law
for allegedly possessing dangerous weapons.
"I was tortured by the police and military intelligence personnel," Gwizhira
said when asked by the magistrate whether he had any complaints against the
police. "I was put on electricity shocks and beaten. I was threatened with
death. That is all."
Mwaruta told the court that he was heavily assaulted and denied access to
treatment and blocked from seeing his relatives.
"I was heavily assaulted by the police. My cell phone was confiscated and up
to now I haven't seen it. I was sick and injured but was never given any
chance to seek medical assistance. I was put on electric shock," he said.
"I was also forced to write things that I never did on my warned and
cautioned statement. I was never allowed to see any of my relatives for a
whole month. I was arrested on November 16 2009 for the offence and we were
being kept at One Commando Barracks where we were tortured. We would be
taken to Braeside Police Station, 2 Brigade, Harare Remand Prison then on
the same date to Harare Central Prison, and on December 19 2009 I was taken
to Chikurubi Maximum Prison," said Mwaruta.
The state alleges that Gwirizha and Mwaruta, in the company of accomplices
who have since been convicted and sentenced for the same case - namely
Baureni Mafara, Stanley Marange and Emmanuel Shiri - connived and hatched a
plan to steal firearms from One Engineers Support Regiment Armoury, Pomona
Barracks in Harare. -- Staff Writer.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 17:34
A CHURCH is supposed to be a godly place of worship but for the Anglicans in
Zimbabwe it has become a battleground -- a religious contest being played
out around the main Anglican cathedral, St Mary's and All Saints, in Harare.
Zimbabwe's Anglicans have been fighting each other for the past 10 years as
they battle for control of church assets and the right to worship. Legal
battles have turned political since the Anglican Church in Harare split in
At the centre of the controversy is former Bishop of Harare, Nolbert
Kunonga, a cheerleader for President Robert Mugabe. The battle in the
Anglican Church, which has sucked in the two main political parties, pits
Kunonga of Zanu PF against those perceived to be MDC supporters.
Kunonga rebelled against the Anglican Church in 2007 alleging it was
sympathetic to homosexuals and created his own new Anglican Province of
Zimbabwe, seizing Harare's Cathedral and other church properties. He was
officially excommunicated in 2008 by the Church of the Province of Central
Africa, comprising Anglican churches in Zambia, Botswana, Malawi and
Dean and Acting Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Albert Chama, said:
"After his enthronement it became obvious that Kunonga had his own
preconceived agenda. His unsuccessful though persistent attempts to amend
laws of the diocese to give himself supreme and unchallengeable power was a
clear signal that he had no intention whatsoever to be bound by his oath."
For a long time after his dismissal from the Anglican Church, Kunonga locked
himself in Harare's St Mary's cathedral. He holds service for a handful of
people at 7:30 a.m. and at 9 a.m. every Sunday. For the rest of the time the
cathedral remains padlocked to prevent rival Anglicans from trying to
worship in the church. While Anglicans under Bishop Chad Gandiya, who was
appointed last July to take over as Bishop of Harare, have to worship in the
open while they await a High Court ruling on the ownership of diocesan
property, Kunonga allegedly has the police at his disposal, who have
allegedly taken a biased and partisan position.
The police have ordered that only Kunonga's faction should worship at the
Anglican premises and they have teargased and assaulted other members who
have tried to use the churches. This is in violation of a High Court ruling
that said the CPCA diocese of Harare and the Kunonga faction should share
access to the churches until the ownership dispute is resolved.
Even around Christmas last year police allegedly acting on Kunonga's orders
threatened parishioners, telling them that they would be beaten up if they
showed loyalty to Gandiya.
This is not the first time that Kunonga has caused a major rift within the
Anglican diocese of Harare.
Since his election as bishop in 2001, Kunonga, who was a professor of
liberation theology in the United States, has attracted a lot of controversy
within and outside the church. He has been accused of dividing the church,
first on racial lines after his election and then on political lines.
But where does Kunonga draw his power that leads the police to allegedly
defy court rulings and violate the country's constitution which provides for
freedom of religion? The police have allegedly arrested, harassed and
prevented church attendance of Anglican clergy and parishioners from the
CPCA. Police continue to disrupt Anglican Church services. They have
arrested parishioners, interrogated priests and locked the doors of churches
to keep worshippers away.
Critics allege that Kunonga's elevation was engineered by state security
after a racially charged campaign targeting the frontrunner, a white
vicar-general of the diocese, Canon Tim Neill, who was a critic of Mugabe's
government and its alleged human rights abuses.
Describing Kunonga in 2001, Neill said: "This monster of white-bashing,
libel and immoral conduct has thrown the church into crisis."
Strongly suggesting that the Zanu PF government might have had something to
do with Kunonga's election, Neill said then: "But this undoubtedly has the
odour of the Zanu PF party. President Mugabe wants control over every facet
of this country whether it's the judiciary, the church or the media. People
who stand up to him, whether they be black or white, are people to be
Anglican parishioners now wish they had taken heed of Neill's objection to
Kunonga's election and the way he dealt with the whites in the church.
A parishioner at St Martin's church in Hatfield said: "Our biggest mistake
as Anglicans was to watch silently as Kunonga got rid of the whites. We didn't
say anything when the whites in 2001 were having their own service. That was
our first big mistake -- we never thought nine years later it would be us
locked out of the church."
The Church was deeply divided following his appointment. Kunonga denounced
his fellow priests who refused to buy into his gospel that Mugabe was a
He called them "Uncle Toms" and "puppets". Once he became bishop for Harare,
critics say Kunonga started turning his diocese into the religious arm of
Zanu PF. He drove off the diocese's white Zimbabwean clergy and purged its
ranks of those deemed disloyal to Mugabe's government.
Chama said: "He falsely accused priests and members of the laity of
misdemeanours, especially that of not being supporters of the ruling party."
Kunonga even suspended a priest in Glen Norah for allowing the then MDC MP
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga to make a donation of US$300 to the parish.
Chama said: "Kunonga pursued an oppressive path apparently assisted by his
secretary Morris Brown Gwedegwe and others. He intimidated Anglican clergy
in the diocese, callously revoked priests' licences and dismissed a number
without affording them the right to an ecclesiastical trial." In 2008, he
took over a prayer meeting in Harare and used it as a forum to promote the
chaotic land reform programme, of which he was a beneficiary.
The government gave him a 1 630-acre farm outside Harare and a
seven-bedroomed farmhouse in 2003 taken from Marcus Hale.
In 2002 Kunonga endorsed Mugabe ahead of the presidential election. Once he
won after a brutal and bloody election campaign, Kunonga told guests at
Mugabe's inauguration ceremony that the election result represented "God's
will". He dismissed Mugabe's critics as "little voices shouting at a passing
Attempts by the Anglicans in Africa to hold Kunonga to account proved
unsuccessful. In 2005 Kunonga faced 38 charges under canon law before an
ecclesiastical court. The allegations, made by the CPCA, included incitement
to murder, "sinning against the church, its officials and its flock" and
preaching "racial hatred". Kunonga denied the charges after they were
whittled down to a list of 11.
The charges were later thrown out by the presiding judge from Malawi, James
His priests ignored the human suffering caused by Operation Murambatsvina in
2005. And in 2007 Kunonga called Mugabe "a prophet of God who was sent to
deliver the people of Zimbabwe from bondage". He was put on the United
States and European Union sanctions lists, together with Mugabe and his
The Anglican Church issue has since been brought before cabinet, and the
Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation, headed by Vice President John
Nkomo, was tasked to try and resolve it.
As Nkomo said: "The church is supposed to be a church for worship but what
we have is the church being turned into a sparring ring. We can't allow
this. God will judge us harshly when judgment day comes".
Thursday, 20 May 2010 17:03
BRITISH business tycoon, Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, has nominated three
directors to the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) to represent his interests.
This comes after a failed bid to fire the entire board last year.
Van Hoogstraten, who holds 35% of the hotel group's total issued share
capital, is pushing for the inclusion of three more directors to the board
of the second largest tourism group in the country.
If other shareholders vote in favour of the nominations, this will bring to
12 directors on RTG board.
Last year the business tycoon attempted in vain to push out the entire board
saying management and directors had no idea how to run the company.
RTG owns Rainbow Towers, Harare International Conference Centre, a number of
hotels across the country as well as 60% stakes in Touch the Wild Resorts
and Tourism Services Zimbabwe.
Van Hoogstraten wanted the board chairperson Grace Muradzikwa and seven
other directors - Pascal Changunda (group finance director), Cannan Dube,
Charmaine Daniels, Godfrey Manhambara, Yardim Mariuma, Elliot Nyoni and
Chipo Mtasa, the chief executive officer, - to leave the hotel group. Only
Dube was removed from the board while Muradzikwa stepped down. This move was
effectively blocked but Van Hoogstraten appears to be succeeding this time
around as the inclusion of the additional directors would be deliberated at
an annual general meeting scheduled for next month.
RTG, in a statement to shareholders, confirmed that the issue of the
directors is on the agenda.
"Various individuals and or companies controlled by (Mr N) Van Hoogstraten,
holding collectively 35% of the issued share capital of the company have
requisitioned the board for the appointment of the named persons as
directors: RM Hamilton, AS Hamilton, I Haruperi and S Chibanguza," said the
tourism group in a statement.
Chibanguza is the manager of the Chibanguza Group of Hotels while Haruperi
is the managing director of Chador Holdings which is involved in properties.
The two Hamiltons are managing directors of family owned companies, involved
in hotels, night clubs and properties in the United Kingdom and they would
alternate on the RTG board.
Van Hoogstraten's stake in the hotel group is held through Banhams
Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Messina Investments and Willoughby's Finance (Pvt)
Ltd, which he effectively owns and chairs. Unlike last year, this year's AGM
is likely to be smooth running. Like most companies on the ZSE, RTG will
also be redenominating its share capital.
Almost all companies are switching their authorised share capital from the
Zimbabwean dollar denomination to the US$. Redenomination is the conversion
of the whole or part of the total authorised share capital, the total issued
share capital or the total to be issued share capital from one currency to
another. In the case of local companies, it is a reflection of the switch
from the use of the local unit to multiple currencies which was made
official last year.
Redenomination does not change or effect any rights of or obligations
imposed on shareholders where such rights or obligations existed prior to
the passing of the resolution.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 16:49
IT was usual during hyperinflation for management, at analysts' briefings,
to give a review and outlook for critical supplies as well as their likely
impact on their operations. At one meeting, a lady boss of a listed company
went, on and on about how her company had bought in large stocks of critical
consumables to last them months.
Then, that that really deserved to be over emphasised as a success factor.
Interestingly, one of the products she emphasised was Mazoe Orange which was
scarce. Delta, a company popular with the analysts for giving plenty of
information at briefings, would reserve several slides to cover all its
major inputs. Their list would include power, coal and water along with
barley malt, maize, sugar, containers and concentrates among others. The
first three are supplied by quasi-governmental entities all of whom had been
unreliable while the rest are produced by local and outside private
At this year's meeting the slides on raw material availability were
conspicuously absent from the Delta presentation and one analyst
appropriately quizzed them on this. Supplies of everything, including water
but excluding power, had improved since the economy dollarised, replied
Chief Executive Joe Mutizwa. That statement was instructive as it was
significant. Raw material availability is no longer a problem to industry
because the meagre local supplies are being supplemented by imports.
Companies now earn local revenue in hard currency after the introduction of
multiple foreign currencies. With these, they now have a wider universe of
suppliers both locally and outside where product is abundant and reasonably
Coal supplies have improved due to increased production at Hwange Colliery
and easy access to the import market.
The return of water management to local authorities from Zimbabwe National
Water Authority, donor support in its processing and distribution, in
addition to the collection of hard currency tariffs from consumers to a
large extent helped in stabilising the provision of this precious liquid in
Harare. Suburbs like Mabvuku and Tafara that had gone for months without
water began receiving it early this year.
The same script cannot be said to include power. Rather than improving,
electricity supply is in fact worsening. Companies are losing between
15%-20% of production time to power cuts while equipment and appliances are
being damaged because of the outages.
Many companies single out electricity supply as a major hindrance, besides
funding, in their endeavours to increase production. Large sums of money are
being expended in procuring generators and fuel to fire them. The benefits
have been minimal because no sizeable production can result from hours and
days dependence on generators.
Recently the power provider, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa),
has come under fire for switching off customers because of non-payment of
Except for few dishonest folks, many consumers have not fully met their
obligation because they are genuinely unable, although willing, to pay. The
inability to pay is also caused by high tariffs that are not in sync with
economic performance. In simple terms, companies and individuals do not earn
enough to afford the current rates.
Instead of rushing to pull the switch, it is helpful to try and look at
issues on a case by case basis. Admittedly it can be an overwhelming task
with individuals but probably not so much with corporates.
Take the case of Shabanie Mine as an example. It may have gone for months
without paying for power, which is by the way improper, but was cutting off
power supplies the best remedy? The subsequent damage to equipment after
the mine flooded is now having far reaching repercussions.
This has drawn the ire of the government as evidenced by the recent
criticism of Zesa's actions by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Mines and Energy (PPCME). The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry also
decried the failure by Zesa to consistently supply power and the consequent
debilitating effect of load shedding on production.
The power utility's problems stem from the near collapse of its generation,
transmission and distribution infrastructure which has not been repaired or
upgraded for well over a decade.
Erratic coal supply and distribution constraints have also hampered the
generation of power with only 900MW out of a possible 1960MW being produced.
To bring back production to required levels, lots of money is needed. This
cannot be provided from Zesa's internal sources and even worse the
shareholder, government, does not have the money either. The plan to bring
on board private investors through Public Private Partnerships (PPS) which
has been suggested in various presentations by government. These could help,
This brings us to last week's disclosure by Rio Zimbabwe to the PPCME that
it has a foreign partner waiting to invest US$1,3 billion needed to
construct a power plant and transmission infrastructure for the Gokwe
When completed, the station is expected to produce as much as 1400MW. At
that point the country will not only have sufficient power but also some
surplus to export. For now, however, that is only a dream.
Rio Zim's partner, according to the reports attributed to the managing
director Josephat Sachikonye, want the operating environment to be stable
before bringing in the funds. To anyone who knows how businesses are run,
that demand is neither hard nor unusual.
If the authorities are serious about improving power supply then they should
quickly assure this potential investor and many others similarly interested
that indeed the country respects the sanctity of private investments.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 15:46
AFRICAN Consolidated Resources' (ACR) prospecting programme is yielding
positive results, CEO Andrew Cranswick said.
Cranswick says gold, diamond and base metals prospecting is ongoing after
the company secured US$16 million in November last year.
The mining company will soon be making announcements to the extent of
mineral resources, hinting the London securities exchange mining junior's
Blue Rock prospect would add value to ACR's portfolio.
"We have made steady progress over the past five months, particularly in
regard to the continued drilling programmes at the Blue Rock gold
discovery," said Cranswick. "We expect to be in a position to announce a
maiden Australasian Joint Ore Resource Committee (JORC) resource on the Blue
Rock prospect soon which we believe will add further tangible value to our
JORC is an internationally accepted internal reporting standard used by a
number of major mining companies to provide a minimum standard for reporting
of exploration results.
This is also used to ensure that public reports on these matters contain all
the information investors and their advisers "require for the purpose of
making a balanced judgment regarding the results and estimates being
ACR, which is fighting a legal battle over diamond claims in Marange,
Mutare, said it is working on other areas to grow its portfolio.
Zimbabwe's mining industry was almost at a standstill last year save for a
few mines, especially the platinum and diamond ones, which continued to
Efforts to rebound mining and production are being undertaken by the
Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a
subsidiary of Zesa Holdings which is negotiating with about fifty large
If the negotiations are successful, the heavy power users would be protected
from load shedding on condition that they prove to be well-paying customers
under the Hydro Cahorra Basa (HCB) scheme of power imports.
Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said: "Under the HCB scheme, which is
expected to commence shortly once the negotiations are brought to their
logical conclusion, those large power users are ring-fenced with a dedicated
line and the revenue that is realised from them is paid directly to HCB in
an effort to clear a debt of over US$70 million that is owed to the
Mozambican electricity utility by ZETDC."
This arrangement was in place until last year.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 17:31
THE Sunday Mail last weekend quoted a num-ber of Zanu PF loyalists as saying
Roy Bennett could not be appointed to the post of Deputy Agriculture
minister because he was "an insult to the struggle".
He was not just a former member of the Selous Scouts, the paper alleged,
"but is an unrepentant Rhodie who even tried to undermine the country's
Independence in 1980".
This assertion was based on statements by war veterans leader Jabulani
Sibanda and others. Sibanda said: "There is no way we can tolerate Bennett.
For us to accommodate people like Bennett is an insult to those who
liberated the country."
It was claimed that Bennett had once been active in an organisation called
the Republican Front and later the Conservative Alliance of Zimbabwe.
During the liberation war, it was claimed, he was a member of the Selous
President Mugabe has maintained that Bennett could not be sworn into office
so long as he was facing "serious charges". Now that he has been acquitted
of those charges and the state's evidence discredited, Zanu PF is thinking
up new ways to block his appointment. The state has appealed against the
acquittal. And it is mobilising its spokesmen, some of whom did not
participate in the liberation war, to say that Bennett's appointment would
be unacceptable because of his war record.
The Selous Scouts helped to perpetuate Ian Smith's apartheid regime, we are
"It was the most feared apartheid regime in Africa," Sibanda said.
We rather thought the apartheid regime was the most feared apartheid regime
in Africa! And where did Sibanda get his information that Bennett was a
Here we have a perfect example of why the state media cannot be trusted. A
war record is concocted for Bennett by Mugabe's spin-doctors and handed to
editors for unadulterated reproduction. No research is done as to whether
the information is accurate. It is simply invented and repeated by people
like Sibanda who don't know any better.
But what we have here is a wider issue. Should Bennett be refused
appointment on the grounds that Zanu PF doesn't like him and has made up
stories to justify their refusal to block him from office?
So there is no rule of law; no adherence to a solemn agreement. Just a big
lie and a compliant media.
The allegation that Bennett is "an insult to the struggle" is considered
sufficient grounds for his being denied access to the post the MDC-T has
designated for him, as they are entitled to do.
This is the rule of law turned on its head. Zanu PF - hardly a disinterested
party - is able to deny an opposition politician his constitutional right to
participate in the political process because the former ruling party fears
his popularity and what he may uncover during his tenure at the Ministry of
When Zimbabwe's delegation to the forthcoming re-engagement
talks in Brussels finally arrives there, could the EU negotiators please
investigate this egregious example of misrule and subornment of the media
instead of indulging our politicians, as their representative here, Xavier
Marchal, is inclined to do.
"Reports indicate," the Sunday Mail said," that Bennett was "part of a group
of Rhodies that confronted other whites who had defected to join Zanu PF in
the early 1980s".
So was that an offence? Isn't that the routine stuff of politics? It happens
every day in a democracy. Ask Nick Clegg.
Didn't Bennett not have the right to dissuade others from making a certain
political choice? Only in the over-heated Sunday Mail newsroom does this
become a hanging offence.
And don't we recall the same Bennett being a Zanu PF activist in the late
1980s? Did he not move around in Manicaland with Christopher Mushohwe and
Didymus Mutasa tohelp raise funds for the party? How come that bit was
airbrushed out of the Sunday Mail story?
They were happy to have his support then. And there were no silly stories
about Selous Scouts. They only surfaced when he became a popular MDC MP! And
how "repentant" has Zanu PF been about the widespread killings in
Matabeleland in the 1980s?
We have seen a number of reports about Zimbabwe giving wildlife to North
Korea. In one of the reports, in the Sunday Times, we see a spokesman for
the "North Korean embassy" saying: "Maybe this is a private arrangement. All
I know is that the laws in Korea on the transportation of wildlife are very
Now we don't want to be too harsh on what looks like a rookie reporter. But
if he can manufacture a non-existent embassy, perhaps he can manufacture a
quote as well!
Meanwhile, Zanu PF is planning to seize more land - suburban this time.
The party is planning to nationalise private suburban property.
The latest edition of the People's Voice, the official organ of Zanu PF,
contains an article penned by self-confessed political dinosaur Don Muvuti,
headed "How should urban land be shared?" In it he suggests the following
solution to urban land shortages.
"The answer can also lie in nationalising the low-density suburbs along with
residential premises on them. This should enable the city and town councils
to at least rule out abuses designed to prevent the indigenous Zimbabweans
from effecting entry into them."
So suburban land-grabs are being mooted. Take this as a warning if you are
thinking of buying property in any of our towns and cities. Investors in
particular should watch out.
Muvuti by the way is billed as the newspaper's proofreader. Bennett is not
once spelt correctly in the paper's front-page article or its Comment
column. And in Muvuti's own piece, we have "no-going" instead of on-going.
We can be sure of one thing. This man is an on-going disaster!
US "business guru" Elzie Higginbottom has been visiting Zimbabwe to explore
investment opportunities, Sunday Mail Business tells us.
"This is a market I would definitely like to be in," he declared. He said he
wasn't particularly bothered by the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
Act. But he was bothered by the hostile international press.
"I strongly believe that based on my own observations that Zimbabwe has lost
the 'public relations war'," he said. There is no doubt the Zimbabwe that
has been portrayed by the Western media is not the Zimbabwe of reality."
Higginbottom said he was going to be personally involved in helping to
correct "the substantive image of Zimbabwe in America".
"I am personal friends with both former President Bill Clinton and the
current Secretary of State Mrs Hillary Clinton," he said. "Within a week of
my return to Chicago I will discuss with both of them the unfair manner in
which Zimbabwe is being treated regarding the sanctions."
That should be interesting to watch. Can you imagine the Clintons saying:
"Yes, we agree with you, President Mugabe has been cruelly treated by the
Not very probable is it? More likely they will explain to him that so long
as cases such as that of Jestina Mukoko and Roy Bennett feature large in the
news, there is no prospect of avoiding a bad press. Then of course there are
the on-going farm seizures, disregard for the rule of law, and abuse of the
public media. How exactly are the Clintons expected to agree with
Higginbottom that all these matters should be ignored by the media?
ANC youth leader Julius Malema has a bone to chew with Jacob Zuma for
calling him to order.
The youth league now wants to expose Zuma's lifestyle.
The youth league was angered by the ANC's refusal to overturn a punishment
slapped on Malema for disobeying Zuma.
Because of that they are planning to challenge Zuma's leadership by
questioning his "risky" behaviour saying the president must not hide behind
culture. Zuma has three wives and numerous offspring.
A South African newspaper said although the league had launched the
one-girlfriend-one-boyfriend campaign two years ago, it was, however,
emphasised that it would go public by challenging ANC leaders, especially
Zuma, to lead by example. He recently tested negative in a public HIV test.
The reports said Malema himself didn't want to entertain the issue because
"he did not want to be seen as challenging Zuma", but his organisation was
hell-bent on pushing for the campaign.
Coincidentally, Malema condemned the practice of multiple partners during
his address to the women's assembly last weekend.
"As men we have a responsibility to ensure that the rights of women are
protected, and find a correct balance between expressing our cultural rights
and respect for women in South Africa," he said.
"It can never be permanently correct that men are forever at liberty to have
many sexual partners, when women are demonised for engaging in such
Is this the same Malema who told South Africans last year that Zuma's sex
life was a "private affair" which had nothing to do with governance?
We could not make head nor tail of a story carried in the Tuesday issue of
the Herald headlined "ZRP sets up WC command centre".
The paper quoted police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka telling us the police
had "established a command centre for the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup at the
Police General Headquarters to contribute to regional safety and security".
But the paper immediately told us that "several policemen will soon leave
for South Africa to assist in the centre's operations".
We were also told that members of the public have been urged to use Harare
hotlines 703631, 253245 and 777777 to assist the police.
Good developments there but after reading the Herald story we were left
wondering as to where exactly the command centre had been set up.
Meanwhile, police in Bulawayo assured the public that the force was in
"total control" and ready to deal with any criminal activities. CID
coordinator Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza said criminals were
"small boys" that the police could effectively deal with.
"We are ready to deal with them because they are not complex, but are just
small boys," he was quoted as saying. So no worries there.
Finally, we assume Tendai Biti is feeling a little less lonely following
recent events in Greece. Zimbabwe is probably now wealthier than they are,
or at least less debt-bound. But it can't be true that Angela Merkel asked
for the Parthenon as collateral against the euro loan.
Failing that (so the story goes), she asked for Crete which was very popular
with German visitors in 1941!
Thursday, 20 May 2010 17:29
ALMOST 15 months have elapsed since Zimbabwe demonetised its currency,
substituting it with a multi-currency basket (US dollars, South African
rand, Botswana pula, British pounds and the euro). Despite the passage of
time, arguments rage on as to whether Zimbabwe should continue with the
multi-currency basket, or should only utilise the rand (possibly joining a
rand monetary union), or should revert to its own national currency.
Those who vigorously contend that Zimbabwe should reintroduce its own
currency primarily base that contention on the premise that using other
countries' currencies constitutes a surrender of national sovereignty. They
claim that Zimbabwe's usage of foreign currencies subjugates Zimbabwe to the
monetary and allied controls, and even the political determinations, of the
country whose currency is being used by Zimbabwe. They argue that without a
national currency of its own, Zimbabwe's monetary policy determination
ability is wholly emasculated.
It must be acknowledged that, to a limited extent, there is some substance
to those contentions, but only minimally so. Even when using the currencies
of other countries, Zimbabwe still has the power to formulate and implement
diverse monetary policies, and to considerably counter those of countries
whose currencies are used.
Those who are pressing for a reversion to Zimbabwean currency are mostly
those who had significant amounts of Zimbabwe dollars at the time of
demonetisation, which were overnight rendered valueless, and those wholly
dependant upon pensions denominated in Zimbabwe dollars (and which, after
the slashing of 25 zeros over three years, and then conversion to US dollars
at a rate of 20 redenominated Zimbabwe dollars to one US$, were reduced to
minimal values). However, reintroduction of a Zimbabwean currency will not
restore value. If a new currency came into being, the old currency would
still have no value, and this would apply similarly to the pensions.
On the other hand, if the former Zimbabwe dollar was reinstated, that in
circulation would vastly exceed Zimbabwe's minimal monetary reserves, and
hence would be valueless. This would reinstate the horrendous hyperinflation
of yesteryear, and yet again decimate Zimbabwe's already parlously low
international credit rating. Consequently, the minimal foreign investment,
lines of credit, and supplier credits would diminish further.
When presenting his 2010 national Budget the Minister of Finance Tendai Biti
said Zimbabwe would not reintroduce a national currency until the economy
was wholly stable. He said that the measure of such stability would be
economic growth of at least 7% per annum for each of two successive years,
measured on Gross domestic Product. This policy declaration was realistic,
practical, and most commendable, and a prerequisite for Zimbabwean economic
A wildly pursued demand is that Zimbabwe should abandon the multi-currency
basket, and that instead the rand should be Zimbabwe's currency. This
demand is particularly pronounced in Matabeleland, especially in Bulawayo,
where the rand is extensively used and the proximity to South Africa
enhances access to the South African currency. At the time when Zimbabwe
adopted the multi-currency basket, the exchange rate prevailing
internationally approximated R10: US$1, but the rand rapidly strengthened;
within nine months the rate being at levels of R7: US$1. However, most
businesses in general, and informal sector operations in particular,
retained the former exchange rate which the populace deeply resented,
recognising the gross exploitation by the traders and the resultant high
costs of living. Therefore they vociferously called for the rand to be the
only lawful currency, thereby obviating the exchange rate prejudices.
But, in doing so, they overlooked the longstanding principle that "that
which goes up must come down", and that in time that would happen to the
rand. It was unrealistic to anticipate a continuing strengthening of the
rand, or even that it would endlessly hold its value. In the last six weeks
the rand has been weakening, its exchange rate to the US dollar fluctuating
between R7, 3 and R7, 55, and there are widespread expectations of further
value decline over the months ahead, and especially so after conclusion of
World Cup 2010.
Moreover, there is intensifying commercial pressure in South Africa for
government to effect a substantial devaluation of the rand, perceived as
necessary if South Africa is to counter intense international competition
(particularly so from the Far East), and regain export market penetration
and hence increased economic productivity. Last week a strong statement
demanding devaluation of the rand was jointly issued by the Congress of
South African Trade Unions, the Federation of Unions of South Africa, the
National Council of Trade Unions, the National Association of Automotive
Components and Allied Manufacturers, and 10 major private sector companies.
The statement urged that the South African government should link the rand
to a basket of currencies (as Zimbabwe has done), and that the base exchange
rate should be fixed by government at R10, 50:US$1.
Were this to happen, being an almost
50 per centum of devaluation of the rand, most of those Zimbabweans who have
been howling for the rand to be Zimbabwe's currency will weep, and demand
US dollar be Zimbabwe's currency. They will also vitriolically castigate
government for heeding the call for Zimbabwe to use only the rand.
The hard fact is that despite attendant negatives, Zimbabwe is best placed
(for the foreseeable future) to hedge its circumstances by continuing a
linkage to a multi-currency basket, thereby minimising the impacts of major
variations in value of any one specific currency, until such time as
Zimbabwe can credibly and constructively resort to its own national
currency. Moreover, doing so avoids Zimbabwean vulnerability to the
monetary policies of any one country, for each country will
from time to time modify its policies to its economic needs, and not those
It would be an economic disaster for Zimbabwe, and its people, if the
multi-currency basket was abandoned within the foreseeable future,
notwithstanding that the usage also has attendant negatives.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 17:23
ZANU PF is harping on about how old allegiances with the British
Conservative party could help mend relations with London, but for Zimbabwean
migrants the new UK government could mean a ticket home.
Conservative leader David Cameron is heading a coalition with Liberal
Democrats. Analysts say the new government could open new lines of
re-engagement with President Robert Mugabe after a decade of icy relations
However, Zimbabweans who fled political and economic turmoil blamed on
Mugabe could become victims if immigration policies flagged by the British
coalition government partners are implemented.
John Makumbe, who teaches political science at the University of Zimbabwe,
said that the Conservatives-Liberal Democrats position on immigration could
affect Zimbabweans who fled economic and political problems after 2000. They
want to see people who are illegally staying in the country sent home, he
Prime Minister Cameron’s Conservative party’s official website indicates
that the party will reduce immigration levels to “tens of thousands a year”
instead of the “hundreds of thousands a year under Labour.”
The party says it will introduce an annual limit on the numbers of non-EU
economic migrants allowed to work in Britain, “taking into consideration the
effects a rising population has on our public services and local
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats leader and Deputy Prime Minister in the
coalition government campaigned on an immigration policy that would see his
party helping immigrants who have been in Britain without the correct papers
for 10 years, but who speak English and have a clean record, to acquire
British citizenship. They would be afforded an amnesty, he said.
Makumbe said most Zimbabweans in Britain would fail on this criterion as
they started trooping to London after the 2002 disputed presidential
“What might change is that Zimbabweans in the UK might find it difficult to
have their papers approved for them to stay there,” he said. “We might see
some Zimbabweans being deported. The immediate past Labour government was
sympathetic to asylum seekers.”
So Mugabe could as well emerge the winner, and victims of his policies the
losers? Not so fast, say British officials and local commentators.
Zanu PF’s intransigence on contentious issues such as political and economic
reforms and farm invasions are likely to retard re-engagement progress.
It has been over a decade since President Mugabe’s Zanu PF enjoyed warm
relations with the British, then under a Conservative government. Mugabe was
on hugging terms with overseas development minister Baroness (Linda) Chalker
and Kenneth Clark came here to advise on privatisation.
Now Zanu PF says the return of the Conservatives, who are leading the
coalition with the Lib Dems, could help thaw relations that have been on ice
under successive Labour Party governments.
“Our view is that the new government is better than the Labour government,”
Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF national spokesperson, told the Zimbabwe
Independent this week.
“We are more hopeful that better relations will be restored because past
Conservative governments have been extremely understanding about the
Zimbabwean situation,” said Gumbo.
Analysts and British government officials say times and circumstances have
changed. Cameron, half Mugabe’s age at 43, was unlikely to shift from
benchmarks such as the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement
set by Gordon Brown’s Labour government. The same permanent officials in
Whitehall will brief the new PM on what the government’s position should be.
Conservative politicians showed their disdain for Mugabe when one of them,
Andrew Robathan, an MP in 2007, campaigned for the stripping of an honorary
knighthood bestowed on the former guerilla leader. In June 2008, the Queen
obliged, leaving Mugabe furious.
Cameron was just 33 when the first signs of dispute between Harare and
London emerged. Most of the causes of that dispute however, remain
unresolved and could complicate relations between Mugabe and his one-time
Key triggers of the Zimbabwe-Britain standoff such as violent evictions of
white farmers, harassment of human rights and political activists, and
unfair election laws remain part of the current environment.
Britain’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Mark Canning said the new government was
yet to announce its foreign policy. He however said Mugabe, a man accused of
election theft, gross human rights abuses and starving his countrymen, could
remain in isolation if he doesn’t democratise.
“We’ll obviously have to wait to see how, or whether, policy in this
particular area (foreign policy) might evolve. But I would hazard two
observations. Achieving the objective of a Zimbabwe which is more prosperous
and democratic will continue to be a high priority, as will the task of
helping the people of this country overcome the myriad challenges they
face,” Canning told the Independent on Wednesday.
Makumbe said lack of progress by Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara’s coalition government meant the
international community, including Britain, could wait a while before fully
“The British foreign policy on Zimbabwe will not change. All political
parties in Britain are opposed to what Zanu PF has done since 2000,” Makumbe
said. “Both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems are opposed to the fast track
land reform of 2000, Zanu PF’s dictatorship and human rights violations.”
Analysts such as Mandla Nyathi, a Risk and Resilience Management lecturer at
Buckinghamshire New University in the UK however thinks Cameron will be
under pressure from Commonwealth members to negotiate with one of Africa’s
oldest and most difficult rulers.
Zimbabwe unceremoniously pulled out of the Commonwealth, a club originally
for former British colonies, in 2003 after it became apparent that Harare
would not get its suspension lifted from the group for gross human rights
“There is a good chance of a graduated restoration of relations between
Harare and London. The amount of pressure on the British government is
unprecedented,” Nyathi said.
“There are many people in powerful institutions who oppose the current set-
up,” he said. “The Commonwealth, for example, though Zimbabwe is not a
member, is doing a lot of work (behind the scenes) that will make it easier
for the British to re-engage with Harare. It may take longer than most
people wish, but it is likely to happen,” he said.
However, for the time being Cameron is likely to listen to his Foreign
Office mandarins which means in the absence of any tangible reforms in
Harare, no reengagement just yet.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 17:14
THE inclusive government should address the country's liquidity crunch to
preserve economic gains achieved by the unity govt. The general principle
the world over is that treasury leads the public debate on the adoption of
national economic policies, not just as a way of consulting the public but
also as a research mechanism. As things stand now business and the general
public do not know what policy exists - if any is in place - to address the
problem of low liquidity.
At some point in the early days of this government various options were
tossed around. Among them was for Zimbabwe to join the Rand Monetary Union.
The proponents of this view were never provided a platform for robust and
conclusive debate on the subject. The buck stops at the treasury's
doorstep. Of course there were some who were of the view that we should deal
with the country risk first and all other things will naturally align.
Whichever view one holds, from a strategic planning point of view some
approaches will fall into the short-term while others constitute long-term
The point is we need a solution now. The business community is frustrated,
so are the employees, investors, civil servants and consumers in general. In
a nutshell low liquidity affects everyone particularly the vulnerable. How
can the economic wheel turn without this important lubricant?
After adopting foreign currency as our medium of exchange, dealing with the
cash scarcity should have been the first priority for government. We need to
debate exhaustively within a short period of time the merits and demerits of
joining RMU. A do-nothing strategy does not work but worsens our situation.
Government must have a clear-cut policy on solving economic ills. At the
moment the approach is rather confusing and skewed towards political
considerations. Where is the policy that encourages locals to channel the
little money in circulation into the productive sector?
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) mirrors lack of strong policy guidance on
this issue. It is common knowledge among economists and financial analysts
that the secondary markets provide liquidity to the primary markets. Thus,
primary markets feed into our industries. Obviously this should help
corporations mop the little cash there is in the market in order to finance
growth projects and recurrent expenditure.
As a domestic investment policy it might be necessary to examine the
activities of ZSE with a view of making stocks affordable to low income
earners such as civil servants. For instance some stocks on the ZSE are way
too expensive yet the same corporations fail to raise funds for their
expansion projects and working capital requirements. Are they not hostile
takeovers by underwriters who in the majority of cases are foreign
conglomerates? Ignoring activities of the ZSE flies directly in the face of
Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere's Indigenisation Act.
For me the most important outstanding issue of the global political
agreement is the formation of the National Economic Council. This body must
be operational as a matter of urgency so that government obtains wise
counsel on economic matters. Can the inclusive government listen to the
cries of owners and employees of Dunlop, United Refineries, National Foods,
Belmont Leather, Archer Clothing etc where workers sometimes go for months
without salaries due to raw material shortages as a result of low liquidity.
Finance minister Tendai Biti certainly has the right attitude but wrong
aptitude. I do not think that it would take us this long to establish
networks or forums through which economic policies can be crafted quickly in
response to the goings-on even at company level. Talk to the Zimbabwe
National Chamber of Commerce and Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and
they will make recommendations to government as far as the issue of
liquidity is concerned. You will get the impression that there is a dire
need for bridging policies formulation and implementation.
The inclusive government must sing from the same hymnbook. It must avoid
sending conflicting signals to the market. Cabinet sits on Tuesdays
fundamentally to establish a common position on issues of national interest.
The confusion around the Indigenisation Act - currently being panel beaten -
should be avoided. Zimbabwe should deal with inequality head-on, be it
social or economic. However, it makes no sense to adopt policies that seek
to make someone better off by simultaneously making another worse off.
The total value of our mining sector stands at about US$20 billion.
Localising 51% means transferring US$11 billion to the locals. This sounds
wonderful but how do we mobilise US$11 billion for our indigenous people in
this economic environment. Good policies at the wrong time will throw the
whole economy off the rails.
The principals, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, have tried to lure investors to
the country but the problem is that investors tend to take counsel from the
Chinese proverb which says "listen to what a person says and watch what he
Victor Nyoni is a National University of Science and Technology finance
student and can be contacted on: mlingani @yahoo.com or 0912380305.
By Victor Nyoni
Thursday, 20 May 2010 17:55
EARLIER assessments by this newspaper of Zimbabwe’s state of readiness or
lack of it for next month’s Fifa 2010 World Cup painted a rather gloomy
picture: bad roads, sub-standard hotels, poor communication systems,
outdated banking modes and run-down cities and towns.
For example, in Harare, drooping rusty lampposts in busy streets threaten to
fall onto passing traffic.
Political “commandeers of everything” in this country told us things would
be improved — they spoke of tarred dual highways, better communications, new
hotels and computerised immigration processes at border posts. Then of
course there were promises of countless opportunities for locals to make
With less than three weeks to kick off all those promises of fast flowing
dollars for locals now sound like the hollow lies they always were.
To complain of being hoodwinked would be naïve —who really thought these
clowns could improve our lives!
Evidently there will be no World Cup football teams camping in Zimbabwe and
there will not be thousands of tourists falling over themselves to visit
If the soccer lovers are so drawn in by the “Smoke that Thunders” they most
probably will access one of the world’s seven natural wonders from
Livingstone in Zambia.
Our recently re-introduced steam trains might as well replace the defunct
“freedom trains”; after all urban commuters are finding it hard to afford
For me, politicians and magicians share one thing in common — they are
illusionists. And they make us pay for whatever they conjure up.
Many things they say are neither real nor possible. At the end of it all,
disappearing rabbits and empty promises are but one and the same thing.
Beitbridge remains an eyesore. The border post is just a festering wound of
corruption and inefficiency.
Zimbabwean immigration and customs officials have no idea who has entered or
left the country at any given time. All they can do is place a date stamp in
the traveller’s passport.
On the other side the South Africans capture traveller’s details on their
computers. They have technology that assists them to fish out international
fugitives from justice and other undesirables.
The SA border town of Musina has been spruced up. Roads are wide, tarred,
well marked and adequately lit at night.
Damn it, they even have a brand new shopping centre! Electricity and water
are available, not to mention adequate and clean public ablution facilities.
Perhaps the World Cup will offer Zimbabweans an unbiased opportunity to see
just how badly managed our country is.
Those who can afford satellite television will not only marvel at the
fantastic stadiums South Africa has prepared for the World Cup, they might
reflect on how shabby our better playing arenas are.
They say a bad workman always blames his tools — we are all ears as we wait
to hear just why we failed to make an impression.
Many of us won’t be able to afford to travel to South Africa to enjoy the
Salaries in Zimbabwe can only cover food and not the finer things in life.
Ours is a perpetual struggle to survive.
If by some fluke ZBC TV secures rights to screen a few games, Zesa’s
unreliability can be relied on to stand in the way.
Zimbabwe has become a country caught up in one crisis after another.
They say Zimbabweans are resilient. Perhaps we are too dumb to know that
our lives can be better if we focus on things that matter to us right now.
Thursday, 20 May 2010 17:54
RESERVE Bank Governor Gideon Gono's pronouncements in October 2006 on the
ineptitude characterising the country's parastatals may have been dismissed
as the ramblings of an exchequer chief obsessed with interference in all
sectors of the economy. Gono complained then that parastatals were doing
nothing to right their self-afflicted ills. Instead, Gono added, the
parastatals had developed a perpetual reliance on the RBZ and surrendered
their cash-flow planning and survival needs to the monetary authorities.
This week, according to media reports, Gono's pronouncements came back to
haunt two parastatals - the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company and the
National Railways of Zimbabwe. In two separate stories published this week,
reports pointed to the impending "collapse" of the two state utilities.
Zupco cited reduced capacity utilisation as an excuse while NRZ blamed
The impression given by Gono was that the exchequer had done its part by
funding the parastatals but felt let down by management, which lacked the
capacity to formulate sustainable survival strategies. Gono can, in part, be
vindicated for lamenting the management ineptitude after funding their
operations. Zupco was given more than 152 Swaraj minibuses by the RBZ in
2008, only 34 of which were still operational by March this year, according
to the news reports.
It is strange that two years down the line, the same parastatals are still
asking for handouts, ostensibly to recapitalise. For some strange reason,
State Enterprises and Parastatals Minister Joel Gabbuza has done very little
to deal with the rot that continues to render state utilities a liability.
Recently, Gabbuza was reported as instituting a probe into salary scales of
the top brass at parastatals as if this was the most important issue he
could pre-occupy himself with. It is just as well that he was not taken
It is evident that most of the country's parastatals are suffering from
mismanagement, either because the heads are rotten or they have turned out
to be political appointees who are only accountable to those who appointed
them. Zimbabwean parastatals have become a shameful example of how
corruption and mismanagement have combined to bring otherwise profitable
companies to their knees.
Using the example of Zupco, it is hard to imagine how the management can
hope to sustain the company through the continued purchase of buses alone.
If the company's buses cannot last for more than two years, like in the case
of the Swarajs where 71% of the buses are no longer operational, it is
difficult to imagine how any new purchases would help sustain operations.
The minister responsible should not look too far for the solution because
the real problem has been flogged so hard, it now raises a stink. Public
utility officials should not be allowed to hide their incompetence and
mismanagement behind the lame excuse of the effects of dollarisation when we
all know that they benefited from the RBZ's ill-advised benevolence. Had
they been led by good managers, they would have made the best of the
Concerns over the lack of government intervention in the operations of
parastatals find currency in commitments such as Sterp, in which the
government committed itself to public enterprise reforms that would reduce
dependency on the fiscus and enhance their contribution to economic
The country cannot continue to suffer the consequences of a system of
patronage that rewards mediocrity. The time has come to wield the axe on
non-performers because the implementation of progressive policies will hit a
brick wall in the face of managers who are accustomed to lounging around in
their plush offices. Managers who superintended over the collapse of state
enterprises cannot be trusted with their turnaround.
These are issues that the government should have addressed by now, unless
they are part of the "outstanding" matters that characterise the haggling in
the corridors of power. Gabbuza should justify his portfolio by doing
something about the operations of parastatals and state enterprises. It is
not enough to tour facilities, like Minister of State in the Prime Minister's
Office Gorden Moyo is fond of doing. There are issues that are crying out
for action and the ministers need to show the public that they are in
Thursday, 20 May 2010 17:52
GOVERNMENT'S decision to compel foreign-owned companies in the country to
"cede" controlling stakes to "indigenous" Zimbabweans at a time when the
economy is emerging from the woods will do nothing to empower ordinary
citizens or engineer national recovery.
All odds are against pursuing the wealth redistribution exercise. Banks are
not lending, capacity utilisation is low, liquidity is still tight, and
fundamentals point to an economy in trouble.
After Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere spooked already nervous
investors two months ago with his economic empowerment regulations, National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund (NIEEF) chairman David Chapfika
is adding salt to the wound with his plans to levy all companies valued at
US$500 000 and above.
In simple terms, the same companies targeted for empowerment will also be
compelled to contribute funds to enable the government to dispossess them of
their shareholding in their businesses.
Chapfika, who before the formation of the unity government last year was a
deputy Finance minister for years and is a banker by profession, should know
better and advise government accordingly. On the contrary, Chapfika seems to
be taking his new job rather too zealously and is keen on proving to his
bosses in Zanu PF his worth. His announcement to journalists in the capital
recently could not have come at a worse time. The announcement smacks of
greed and creates a breeding ground for corruption.
The latest bid demonstrates that a company that performs well will be
punished for its success. In other countries government would be looking to
award such companies with incentives to further boost their performance. Not
in Zimbabwe! Chapfika is on record as saying they will "consult widely" on
these proposals. Kasukuwere said the same about the empowerment regulations
but still came up with a bill that has been widely rejected, which begs the
question: Who and how did he consult?
To hear Chapfika say the same will bring little comfort to investors as they
know that he will still go ahead to do what he wants, not what has been
suggested. Already the Chamber of Mines is proposing that locals can buy a
minimum of 15% in mines. The Chamber argues the focus should not be on
existing mines but greenfield projects that will result in the industry's
In the words of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara: "It is better to own
10% of an elephant than 100% of a rat".
The same regulations that gave birth to NIEE are now being revised to rid it
of words such as "cede", which implies giving away for free. But if NIEE
follows through on its plans to force companies to pay indigenisation
levies, shares will go for free as intended in the economic empowerment
regulations. Worryingly, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is supposed
to be the voice of reason in the unity government, is nowhere to be heard in
the midst of this policy madness.
Strangely, Tsvangirai was on a charm offensive abroad assuring investors
that Zimbabwe is now a safe investment destination, something few will
believe. Tsvangirai and his party's silence as Zanu PF goes berserk is
deafening. How does any fair-minded investor commit investment to a country
where foreign businesses contribute money to a fund that will one day lead
to a hostile takeover of their investments? How does a country with such
contempt for property rights become a safe investment destination? The MDC-T
silence on the latest empowerment levy exposes its true stature and standing
in the unity government - as a junior partner.
How else can one explain the PM's flip-flopping? One week he is assuring
investors that Zimbabwe is a safe destination for investors and all was well
in government and the next he is holding a press conference calling on the
Sadc mediator President Jacob Zuma to urgently convene the bloc's summit to
resolve the crisis in government.
Zanu PF, for all its disastrous policies, is at least consistent in its
career of plunder. The MDC however is not in the same mould. No matter how
much support the party has from the electorate, such inconsistency could
prove costly in terms of its credibility.