Sunday, 06 May 2012 10:44
BY OUR STAFF
THE United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay, is set to visit
Zimbabwe on May 20 at the invitation of the government, her office said on
Friday. According to her spokesperson, Rupert Colville, the visit is the
first ever mission by a UN Human Rights chief to Zimbabwe.
“During the five-day mission, Pillay is due to meet President Robert Mugabe,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice
and Legal Affairs and other ministers, as well as the Chief Justice, the
Speaker of Parliament, President of the Senate and Thematic Committee of
Human Rights,” Colville said.
Pillay will also meet with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and
members of civil society in the country. The spokesperson said Pillay is
considering a number of field visits within and outside Harare, including
the Marange diamond fields.
“During these visits, she will also meet local communities and civil society
members in the area to listen to their experiences and views,” Colville
Civil society organisations allege human rights violations in the
diamond-rich area adding hundreds lost their lives when government moved in
to drive away illegal miners six years ago.
Government says the allegations are baseless. Pillay’s meeting with members
of the ZHRC would jolt government into making sure the body is
operationalised two years after the swearing in of commissioners.
ZHRC’s mandate include promotion of human rights awareness and development,
monitoring and assessing human rights observance and investigating alleged
violations of human rights.
ZHRC also assists the minister of Justice to prepare reports on Zimbabwe’s
compliance with international human rights agreements to which Zimbabwe is a
Zimbabwe has over the years witnessed human rights violations and there are
fears it will increase as the country heads for elections which President
Robert Mugabe wants this year.
Prior to her mission in Zimbabwe, Pillay will visit South Sudan from May 8
to 12. Topics to be discussed will include concerns about the protection of
civilians amid the hostilities that have flared up along the border with
Sudan, as well as a range of other human rights issues, her office said.
Members of the ZHRC
ZHRC is chaired by Professor Reginald Austin and has Dr Ellen Sithole, Dr
Joseph Kurebwa, Jacob Mudenda, Japhet-Ndabeni Ncube, Sheila Matindike,
Elasto Mugwadi, Ona Jirira and Norma Niseni.
Sunday, 06 May 2012 10:35
BY PATRICE MAKOVA
VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru, yesterday revealed sensitive information
regarding her family and marriage to the late General, Solomon Mujuru.
Speaking at his memorial service at Ruzambu Farm near Beatrice yesterday,
she said for 10 years, Mujuru set up Central Intelligence Organisation
agents on her to spy on her movements thinking that she was cheating on him.
The memorial was attended by thousands of people among them Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, Vice-President John Nkomo, deputy Prime Minister
Thokozani Khupe, cabinet ministers, service chiefs, religious leaders and
Zanu PF supporters.
“They (CIO) never saw me in any bar or with a secret lover because I was
always either at school, church or at work,” she said. “I have always been
faithful to him because I am a principled traditional and god-fearing woman
who wanted to be a role model for my children.”
Mujuru said when she married, the late general in 1977, he already had two
children, Maidei and the late Charity, both of whom she raised as her own.
She said although Mujuru drank a lot of beer and sometimes did not sleep at
home the marriage was based on trust.
She said women who wanted to keep their marriages like what she did with the
late general, should not listen to rumour or take the law into their own
hands if they find out that their husbands have “small houses”.
Mujuru said when investigators wanted to prove that the charred remains
found at the farm house were indeed Mujuru’s, she agreed to have her
daughter Kumbirai’s samples taken for DNA matching because she knew all her
children belonged to the late general.
She said all the other children who were claiming to be Mujuru’s should go
the similar route of DNA testing to prove that they were sired by the late
general. “This is what will happen to all those who are coming claiming to
be Mujuru’s. If they prove this through DNA, I will look after them,” said
At the same service, President Robert Mugabe said he was still puzzled by
the circumstances surrounding the retired general’s death in an inferno at
his farm. He said the former army commander had a strong military background
and high sense of alertness and wondered how he could have perished in the
Mugabe still puzzled by General’s death
Mugabe said it was baffling to understand how Mujuru died, as he was a brave
person whose high sense of alertness had saved him from similar disasters
during the war of liberation.
“How could he burn like that without escaping?” he asked. “Maybe he was
drunk, as a person who drank beer. Maybe he was deep in sleep when the fire
However, witnesses testified at the inquest into the death of Mujuru that
the retired general went home sober and had drunk only two tots of whisky as
he wanted to wake up early on the morrow of the fateful day, August 15 last
Mugabe said Mujuru managed to escape death by a whisker a few times before,
including in Switzerland in 1976 when his hotel room was engulfed by fire
during the Geneva talks. He said Mujuru managed to escape from the third
floor through a window.
Mugabe, who visited the gutted farm house for the first time, said there was
no way Mujuru could have escaped the fire given the extent of the damage due
to the intensity of the fire.
Mugabe praised Mujuru for helping counter rebellions within Zanu PF during
the war of liberation. He said Mujuru provided vital information on plans by
“group ravashandi” led by former Zanla commander, Wilfred Mhanda, whose
Chimurenga name was Dzinashe Machingura, who did not respect Mugabe’s
authority and wanted to overthrow the leadership.
Mugabe said Mujuru managed to rescue two leaders — Edgar Tekere and Hebert
Ushewokunze, who had been arrested by the “rebels” who had dug a huge
underground hole to imprison them.
Shiri insists Mujuru death a mystery
Air Force of Zimbabwe commander, Air Marshal Perence Shiri, who chronicled
Mujuru’s military history, said the death of his former commander was still
a mystery up to today.
Shiri, who was said to be close to Mujuru, spoke at the memorial service as
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga could not
attend due to a family bereavement.
Shiri’s insistence that Mujuru’s death was still a mystery came as a
surprise to many at the memorial, as the official position was in line with
coroner Walter Chikwanha’s findings, concluding that there was no foul play
and that the cause of death was “carbonisation”.
Although ZDF Chaplain, Colonel Joseph Nyakudya instructed speakers and
members of the public to desist from making statements which could “open old
wounds”, it was clear that the atmosphere was tense, especially for Mujuru’s
relatives and associates.
A woman who represented Mujuru’s mother, said she was still pained and not
happy at the circumstances surrounding Mujuru’s death before breaking down
Family lawyer, Thakor Kewada, recently told The Standard that the coroner
erred by concluding that there was no foul play, as ample evidence was
provided that investigations were botched, raising a lot of questions on
circumstances under which the general died, including how the fired started.
Vice-President Mujuru accused the media of “abusing” her by writing
falsehoods about her. “I think I deserve an apology from the newspapers.
They have abused me and my departed husband. They have belittled me. It’s
those people who envy to be part of the Mujuru family who fed you wrong
information,” she said in apparent reference to reports by whistle-blowing
website, WikiLeaks quoting American diplomats saying the Mujuru’s were long
Although the Mujuru family did not speak much about Mujuru’s death, they
have insisted that the mysterious death can only be brought to finality by
exhuming his body and conducting a fresh autopsy, as they are still highly
suspicious that he was murdered.
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:14
BY PATRICE MAKOVA
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF may have put themselves in a tight
corner by insisting on holding elections this year as the party is
struggling to contain serious infighting which threatens to tear it apart,
analysts have warned.
The current restructuring exercise and election of District Co-odinating
Committees (DCC) has been marred by chaos and violence in several provinces
among them Masvingo, Manicaland and Bulawayo as rival factions belonging to
either Defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa or Vice-President, Joice Mujuru,
are jostling to position themselves ahead of the possible battle to succeed
Mugabe himself admitted on Friday at the burial of national hero Edson Ncube
that Zanu PF risked being destroyed because of greed, rampant imposition of
candidates and rigging which was widening rifts in the party.
University of Zimbabwe Political Science Lecturer, Shakespeare Hamauswa said
Zanu PF was in a catch 22 situation which it created for itself. He said if
the party went ahead with elections this year, squabbles would prove costly,
while postponing the polls would make the party lose credibility.
He said divisions, though not uncommon, were not healthy for a political
party which was gearing to go for elections. “Voter apathy is going to
increase in the elections. There will be defections to other parties but
these will be minimal. Defections will largely depend on what the MDC-T is
offering,” said Hamauswa.
However, he said divisions within Zanu PF would not make the political
playing field even, unless radical political and electoral reforms were
implemented. Hamauswa said the current divisions would not deter Zanu PF
from calling for elections this year, as the party wanted to give people an
impression that it was determined to fulfill its promises.
“The party will not admit it if they realise that divisions will cost them
elections because this will undermine their credibility,” he said. “Instead
Zanu PF may shift the blame and say we have failed to hold elections because
of opposition by Sadc and MDC-T. They will also blame Finance minister
Tendai Biti for failing to mobilise funding for elections.”
Jostling would split votes, says analyst
Political analyst, Tawanda Chimhini said it was significant to note that the
squabbles were intense in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces where Zanu PF
dismally lost in the last elections.
He said the party had been fighting to regain lost ground in the two
provinces and elsewhere, but factionalism and the imposition of candidates
would make this an uphill task, come elections.
“There is a high likelihood that we will see an increasing number of
disgruntled Zanu PF officials contesting as independent candidates, thereby
dividing votes,” Chimhini said.
He said in the amended Electoral bill there was no more room to field
parallel candidates from the same party, hence those elbowed out may opt to
contest as independents.
“This gives an advantage to the MDC-T; that is provided that the party will
not face similar problems,” said Chimhini. Chimhini said the Zanu PF
infighting which has been marred by violence, reflected badly on peace and
tolerance in the country ahead of elections.
“If violence has already started chances of it increasing are high. This is
because if there is lack of tolerance amongst members of the same party,
what more between supporters of rival political parties?” he said.
Social rights activist, Hopewell Gumbo said the squabbles were a sign of the
depth of the crisis around Mugabe’s possible departure from active politics,
sponsored by strong pockets that would be rendered vulnerable.
“Time is running out for many who had sought comfort in his rule,” he said.
“Now that the bonding force is disintegrating, the mascots are running for
cover. If there is no force that will keep the Zanu PF machinery together,
then this is the election in which Zanu PF is going to be drubbed hands
But Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo argued that the current squabbles
within the party had no bearing on the elections. He said a special
politburo meeting would be held in two weeks’ time to sort out the problems
which emerged during the restructuring exercise and election of DCC’s.
“The problems are not insurmountable,” he said. “It’s wishful thinking for
some people to say the party is weaker because of the current problems. The
reality is that Zanu PF will emerge stronger after the re-organisation has
been completed by the department of commissariat lead by Webster Shamu.”
Gumbo said his party was geared for elections which it was confident of
Political analyst, Dr Ibbo Mandaza agreed with Gumbo saying there was
nothing unusual about the Zanu PF infighting as this happened each time the
country is about to hold elections.
“It has always been acrimonious. In fact, the current infighting is nothing.
Wait until primary elections are being held and you will see real war,” he
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:10
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
ZANU PF hardliners are pushing for the declaration of a stalemate in the
constitution-making process to force an early election under the old
constitution or at least extend the life-span of the coalition government as
they feel agreeing to the proposed law is signing own “death warrant”,
sources have said.
The proposed constitution, they said, is “too meticulous and democratic for
Zanu PF”, a party accused of holding on to power for the past three decades
through intimidation, outright violence and electoral chicanery.
Hardliners believe the passing of the proposed draft constitution into the
supreme law marks the end of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s rule. But
the 88-year-old leader is singing a different tune.
He told mourners at the burial of Edson Ncube at the National Heroes’ Acre
last week that: “We are looking forward to have an election on the basis of
But the sources said Zanu PF hardliners would have none of that.
“There is no way Zanu PF hardliners will allow this proposed constitution to
see the light of day,” said one source. “They would rather declare a
stalemate and force elections under the Lancaster Constitution or extend the
tenure of the coalition government to allow themselves time to
Even most Zanu PF MPs do not want elections this year before finishing their
terms in 2013. Those pushing for elections are mostly officials outside the
coalition government who see the posts occupied by the MDC formation
officials as theirs.
Former Information minister, Jonathan Moyo, believed to be working closely
with the securocrats, has already described the constitution-making process
as a fraud which must not be taken to a referendum.
He has also described a team of drafters known as the constitution select
committee (Copac) “mafia”. Another Zanu PF sympathiser, Tafataona Mahoso,
has also written deriding the constitution-making process.
Moyo claimed the proposed constitution targeted Mugabe, central bank
Governor Gideon Gono, Commander of the Defence Forces Constantine Chiwenga
and Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri in what analysts said
were attempts to whip up emotions of the security chiefs and other Zanu PF
Why the new constitution is less appealing to Zanu Pf
The new constitution severely reduces the president’s powers to the extent
that he would, in many of the critical issues, have to consult parliament or
commissions before taking decisions of national interest.
Rising calls for devolution also send waves of shock down Zanu PF’s spine as
authority would be taken away from the central government to the regions,
severely limiting the influence of the former ruling party, which has for
years used a centralised command-and-control political system to maintain an
iron grip on power.
Under the new constitution, the President would no longer appoint service
chiefs but this would be done by a service commission. The service chiefs,
who have publicly declared that they would not salute anyone without
liberation war credentials, are believed to be the power behind Mugabe’s
The parties have also failed to agree on issues such as land, dual
citizenship and war veterans.
‘New constitution too democratic for Zanu PF’
University of Zimbabwe lecturer John Makumbe said Zanu PF would use anything
at their disposal to ensure the new constitution does not see the light of
day. He said Zanu PF hardliners would continue to put a spanner in the works
to make sure that there is a political deadlock because they see a new
democratic constitution as their end.
“It’s too good. It is too democratic for Zanu PF’s liking,” said Makumbe, a
known MDC-T sympathiser. “It includes a justice, truth and reconciliation
commission which those in Zanu PF detest most because of the skeletons they
have in their closets.”
Another University of Zimbabwe political scientist Shakespeare Hamauswa
concurred, noting that Zanu PF would not agree to let the new constitution
prevail. But Sadc would be Zanu PF’s nemesis as the body will continue to
push for reforms, said Hamauswa. This could mean a continuation of the GNU
for some time, he said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said his party wanted the new constitution
completed as soon as possible to enable the holding of elections. “We want
this constitution-making process to be completed very soon so that we can
hold election,” said Gumbo. “In other countries this process takes very
He denied that Zanu PF hardliners wanted to declare a stalemate to force
elections under the old constitution which favours Mugabe. Gumbo said
comments by people like Moyo and Mahoso in the State media were their
personal views not shared by the whole party.
“Those are academics,” said Gumbo. “The academics are free to express their
opinions. It does not mean these are the views of the party.” MDC-T deputy
spokesperson Tabitha Khumalo said Zanu PF does not want a new constitution
because it was afraid of losing elections. An extension of GNU was not the
answer to Zimbabwe’s problems but a free and fair election.
“There could be an extension of the GNU but that is not what Zimbabweans
want,” said Khumalo. “People must demand a democratic dispensation. We need
a unity of purpose.”
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:02
BY OUR STAFF
THE MDC99 on Friday claimed that it has unearthed a sting operation meant to
fabricate rape charges against party leader Job Sikhala. Sikhala confirmed
to The Standard that police officers from the Law and Order Section and
suspected state security agents “besieged” St Mary’s suburb in Chitungwiza
seeking to arrest him.
“They came looking for me so that they could detain me the whole weekend.
Fortunately I am away. These are all trumped up charges,” he said in a
Sikhala’s personal assistant, David Hwangwa, said Sikhala, who was last week
acquitted of a charge for harbouring an alien, was now being accused of
raping that very person he was being accused of having illegally brought
into the country.
“The alien, who by now should have been deported back to South Africa five
months ago, is now being used by the CIO in circumstances reminiscent of the
Ari Ben Menashe sting against Morgan Tsvangirai to achieve political ends,”
Hwangwa alleged that State security agents had been plotting against Sikhala
for a long time. “The MDC99 is prepared to enjoy the circus of a desperate
regime that is clinging onto the straws of desperate conmen who are feeding
on the gullibility of the State security agents that have gone to the dogs,”
Hwangwa said the charges of rape being leveled against Sikhala had no
substance considering the fact that the woman, swore in court that even
though they shared the same room on one occasion, they did not engage in
He said this shows that the woman was now a State apparatus being used to
“topple and take down” Sikhala with the assistance of a named former
executive member of MDC99.
Hwangwa questioned why matters of rape were now being handled by the Law and
Order Section of the police service. Harare provincial police spokesperson
Inspector James Sabau could not be drawn to confirm whether or not the
police were looking for him.
“We don’t carry out investigations through the media. However, if he knows
that the police are looking for him then he simply has to present himself
rather than going to the media,” said Sabau, adding that Sikhala was just
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:00
BY BRIDGETTE BUGALO AND NQABA MATSHAZI
MISSING human rights activist Paul Chizuze is feared dead and Bulawayo
police have since handed the matter to the Criminal Investigations
Department. Chizuze has not been seen for almost three months and the latest
development adds a new twist to the mystery of his disappearance.
“The matter of missing activist Chizuze has been transferred to the CID
because it was rendered a suspected murder,” police spokesman, Mandlenkosi
Moyo said last week.
Despite alarm being raised that he may have been abducted, the family gave
contrasting statements and this further deepened the mystery.
When news of the disappearance came to light, family members were reportedly
squabbling and blaming each other for the activist’s no-show.
Investigations have revealed that when the activist went missing, close
family members actually confided in others that the search for Chizuze might
as well be halted as the activist would return when he wanted to.
“The family said this is not the first time he had gone missing and there
were indications that he may have had a domestic dispute before he left,” a
A fellow activist seemed to corroborate this story, saying “but he has never
been away for this long”.
The activist declined to comment further, saying it was difficult for him,
as he had not been authorised by the family to speak on its behalf. Chizuze
reportedly disappeared on February 8 and efforts to locate him have so far
drawn a blank.
Speculation was that Chizuze may have stumbled on some sensitive information
that someone did not want exposed. In a country where authorities are loathe
of human rights activists, many fear for the worst for Chizuze.
But according to his sister, who spoke when the activist first went missing,
whatever had made him disappear had nothing to do with his work as an
“His disappearance had nothing to do with his work,” Maxim Phiri said then.
“He wasn’t a prominent person.”
The close family friend confirmed that family members were blaming each
other for his disappearance. “The family is not united. They are pointing
fingers and accusing each other for causing his disappearance. It is
difficult to really know what is going on,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from the family on the latest developments proved
fruitless. When our news crew visited the house in Bellevue, Bulawayo,
teenage children only peeped through the window and refused to answer any
A lady, claiming to be Chizuze’s wife, later called our offices, saying they
did not want any media attention, as this was a private family affair. A
church service was also held in Bulawayo six weeks ago, while prayers have
also been held at different churches across the city.
Coltart raised alarm
Education minister, David Coltart first raised the red flag on the missing
Chizuze. He launched a media campaign to have the missing activist found.
At the time he disappeared, Chizuze was employed by the Solidarity Peace
Trust. Over the past three decades, the activist is said to have worked with
the Legal Resources Foundation, Amani Trust Matabeleland and the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace.
He has also been involved with ZimRights, Churches in Bulawayo, CivNet and
Masakheni Trust. A church service was also held in Bulawayo six weeks ago,
while prayers have also been held at different churches across the city.
Sunday, 06 May 2012 10:58
MUTARE — Several manufacturing companies owing Mutare City Council money
because of unpaid rates and supplementary charges are set to appear in court
soon after the local authority embarked on the a blitz on defaulters.
The council, through its lawyers — Bere Brothers Legal Practitioners — last
week embarked on a debt recovery exercise on industries, sparking widespread
panic on industrialists, the majority of them struggling to remain afloat.
Last week, the law firm started distributing final demand letters to various
industries in the city, giving defaulters seven working days to settle their
debts, failure of which they would issue court summons without further
Apart from paying the principal amount, the defaulters would also be
required to pay an additional 10% collection commission. Mutare City Council
is owed US$18,5 million by the defaulters and Bere Brothers are set to
realise about US$1,8 million as debt collection commission.
Mutare City Council town clerk, Obert Muzawazi, last week confirmed the debt
recovery exercise. “This is aimed at recovering what the council is being
owed. We are targeting commercial entities because some of them are using
and benefiting from our facilities yet they are deliberately not paying.”
— BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
Sunday, 06 May 2012 10:54
BY OUR STAFF
SIX MDC-T members were hospitalised yesterday after they were brutally
attacked by suspected Zanu PF supporters in Harare’s Highfield high-density
According to MDC-T, the six — Thulani Ncube, Shadrick Ngirazi, sisters, Maud
and Tsitsi Chinyerere, their two daughters, Rosie and Nomatter — sustained
head and body injuries.
Maud is a provincial executive member of the Women’s Assembly in Harare.
Three houses were damaged as a result, MDC-T said in a statement. MP for the
constituency, Simon Hove, was scheduled to address a rally at Western
Triangle terminus, where provincial leaders were to speak on the conditions
required for Zimbabwe to hold a sustainable election.
Hove said the attack is proof that Zanu PF is intolerant and violent. “This
is clear evidence that Zanu PF is intolerant, hateful and violent,” he said.
“We applied for a rally today at the Western Terminus and this was approved.
Zanu PF had shown discontent and was trying to influence the police to
change the venue. When this failed, they attacked known MDC leaders and
their families. This is evil.”
The attack came as principals in the inclusive government continue to warn
supporters against political violence. Harare province police spokesperson,
James Sabau, said he had not received any report of violence in Highfield.
However, Sabau said in most instances, people turned small squabbles into
political violence to gain relevance. “You will find out that they were
fighting over a girlfriend or it’s a vendetta over beer and when they report
it they add a political twist, whereas when they were fighting, no-one
declared their political affiliation,” said Sabau.
Sunday, 06 May 2012 10:40
BY NUNURAI JENA
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, was last week held hostage
for hours by workers at his Gwebi Junction Estate near Norton, after failing
to pay them their wages for the past three months.
The 115 workers sang revolutionary songs, beat drums before sealing off the
farmhouse exit, demanding their money. Sensing danger, a frightened Zhuwao,
who is Zanu PF MP for Zvimba East constituency, scaled the fence and
eventually escaped using a back exit much to the chagrin of the irate
A worker at the farm, who refused to be identified for fear of
victimisation, said they only became confrontational after failing to engage
Zhuwao through peaceful means.
“Zhuwao has not paid us for three months but what has really angered us is
that he is being elusive,” said the worker.
The workers said they were also infuriated by the fact that whenever they
raised the issue of payment, Zhuwao would accuse them of being influenced by
Francis Mukwangariva, a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative
also eyeing Zvimba East in the upcoming polls.
Zhuwao yesterday confirmed that he was held hostage and that the workers had
since sealed him off the farm until he brings their wages. “I can confirm
that I have not paid my workers for the last three months due to some
financial constraints,” said Zhuwao.
“Remember, I am a tobacco farmer and I can only pay them after selling my
tobacco, which can be anytime soon. But the unfortunate part is that they
have sealed me off the farm.”
He said he would not report to the police, as the matter was a labour issue.
The workers have since camped at the farm house, vowing to remain put until
Zhuwao gave them their dues.
In an application for a show cause order to Chinhoyi Provincial Labour
Office, dated May 4 2012, Zhuwao requested the labour office to provide a
ruling declaring the strike illegal.
“The illegality of the strike and its associated disturbances is premised on
the understanding that the workers failed to give fourteen working days
notice of their intention to engage in such an action,” reads the letter.
“Neither the police nor the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare were
informed.” Zhuwao said the aggrieved permanent employees were threatening
casual workers with violence should they continue to work at the farm.
Although the exact amount owed to workers was not stated, Zhuwao said he had
30 000 kg of tobacco at the farm, which he expected to sell in order to
clear a US$121 079 debt to Tian Ze Tobacco Company.
“This therefore means that I will have sufficient resources (US$78 811) to
clear wages subject to my being able to continue grading the tobacco and
delivering it to Tian Ze Tobacco Company,” said Zhuwao.
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:27
RESIDENTS of Kuwadzana Phase 3 have expressed disappointment with the
performance of the police, the City of Harare and the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (Zesa).
This emerged during a community focus group discussion held in the area.
This meeting was organised by the Harare Residents Trust residents’
committee for the area, in line with one of the organisation’s objectives,
of monitoring and evaluating service delivery by service providers.
Below are the issues that were raised by the residents:
Water supplies are inadequate. Residents queue at borehole points to fetch
water for domestic use. Mostly women and children are seen at long, winding
queues in an effort to fetch water.
There are currently four boreholes in the community. To address the water
situation, residents urged the City of Harare to increase its pumping
capacity and purify the water to be safe for drinking for an area which was
not spared by typhoid and cholera outbreaks.
Refuse collection is inconsistent in the area. Refuse should be collected on
Wednesdays but since the beginning of April, the City of Harare only
collected refuse on April 25, yet they charge for four collections a month.
Rentals and accommodation
The area has high rental costs for tenants per month. One room is being
charged U$80, including electricity and water rates.
Regardless of the erratic water and power supplies, landlords still require
rates for these services because council and Zesa continue to charge them
for undelivered services.
Apart from the rentals, a tenant is required to pay additional money for
toiletries such as harpic and tissues.
They are supposed to pay an additional US$10 per month as part of the
household maintenance fees — termed duty. This includes tasks such as
cleaning the toilets and sweeping the yards.
Bachelors at the meeting expressed concern about this because they said they
cannot perform such chores and hence were required to pay women who can do
it for them. This has also become a source of survival for unemployed women
in the community.
The drainage system is blocked due to continuous erosion of the gravelled
roads in the community, and the situation gets worse during the rainy
Poor waste management practices have also contributed to blockages along the
drainage system, as uncollected garbage piles alongside roads and
subsequently blocks the drainages.
Residents fear floods during downpours. Residents urged the council to clear
all drainage in the area. Residents also complained about roads that
remained with no names, and are heavily potholed.
Estimated billing by Zesa has eroded the little confidence left in the
national power utility. Residents are convinced, this estimated billing is
being manipulated by corrupt officials at Zesa. Residents have huge
outstanding debts which resulted in massive power disconnections in during
the past weeks.
Residents said they would not settle debts based on estimates, but would
only pay for accurate readings. To address the situation, residents said
they preferred the prepaid meter system.
Representation by councillor
Ward 45 Councillor, Girisoti Mandere, said the poor state of service
delivery was largely attributed to the political situation in council, where
some city managers and other appointees were frustrating efforts by the
elected councillors. — BY Harare Residents Trust (HRT)
Sunday, 06 May 2012 10:52
BY OUR STAFF
THE employment of former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) staffers to
lead Zimpapers’ Talk Radio team has sparked debate with media stakeholders
who suspect the project is nothing but part of the Zanu PF propaganda
Media analysts last year raised concern when Zimpapers and
journalist-cum-businessman, Supa Mandiwanzira’s AB Communications won the
country’s first commercial private radio licence, as part of a drive to open
Part of the concerns were that the two institutions are closely linked to
Zanu PF, which currently enjoys broadcasting monopoly, as the country’s
national broadcaster, ZBC, is also biased towards the former ruling party.
Mandiwanzira has defended his project saying he is a professional, whose
broadcasting record speaks for itself. It would seem employment of former
ZBC staffers, Admire Taderera and Tich Mataz, to lead the Zimpapers’ Talk
Radio team has fuelled the pessimism.
Article 19 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) prescribes the need for
the opening up of the airwaves and ensuring the operation of as many media
houses as possible.
Misa-Zimbabwe chairperson, Njabulo Ncube, said while the issue was not about
personalities, media stakeholders expected that the reforms would give room
to new talent.
“There are many community radio stations which have been training
broadcasters, like Radio Dialogue and Zacras (Zimbabwe Association of
Community Radio Stations) and we hope the reforms will give a platform to
these professionals,” Ncube said.
“Some have said that ZBC has been the sole broadcaster where professionals
were groomed, but the truth is community radio stations have groomed a lot
of competent disc jockeys, newscasters and other broadcasters while ZBC
taught its staffers partisan politics.
“Recycling the same people, together with the partisan manner in which the
licences were given, equals cosmetic media reforms.”
Taderera says it’s too early to criticise
Taderera, who is the Talk Radio general manager, said it was too early for
people to criticise them. “Why don’t people wait and see since the station
will be on air soon,” he said. “I for one am a professional broadcaster with
more than 25 years’ experience. I applied for the job because of my love for
broadcasting. We cannot discuss how we intend to differentiate our content
from that of ZBC because we have competitors out there who may use that
information to their advantage.”
He added: “All I can say is that we are Zimbabweans, running a Zimbabwean
station with Zimbabwean issues for Zimbabweans.”
Taderera said it was unfair for people to criticise them based on their
employment history, as ZBC was the only institution which could employ most
of the country’s broadcasters in the past 32 years.
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:29
BY SILAS NKALA
BINGA — A 35-year-old man from Sikalenge area, got himself into trouble
after he assaulted a fellow villager, Confidence Mudenda, following a brawl
during beer drinking. Bernard Musaka pleaded guilty to assault charges when
he appeared before Binga resident magistrate, Stephen Ndlovu, last week.
The magistrate convicted and sentenced him to three months, which were
wholly suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour. On being
asked why he assaulted the complainant, Musaka said, “He insulted me and my
mother and I got very angry.”
The court heard that on March 23 this year, Mudenda of Govera compound in
Binga, was drinking beer at a neighbour’s home. He had a quarrel with
Musaka, which later degenerated into insults. This led Musaka to assault
Mudenda twice on the head. A report made to the police led to Musaka’s
Sunday, 06 May 2012 10:49
BY JENNIFER DUBE
THE journalism fraternity should keep late veteran journalist and former
editor of The Standard Bornwell Chakaodza’s name alive and encourage future
journalists to emulate him.
This was the take home message at a memorial service held yesterday at his
home in Bluffhill, Harare. “There are some names which should not be
forgotten and Chakaodza’s is one of them,” said Reverend Samuel Sifelani of
the Anglican Church.
“He did his work with a lot of integrity and honesty. We would be gathered
elsewhere today, maybe in Borrowdale Brooke, had he been driven by amassing
wealth from his stories like some journalists do nowadays. Keep his name
alive and follow his footsteps.”
Several other speakers said Chakaodza was a loving and generous man who
always went out of his way to assist others. Chakaodza succu-mbed to cancer
on February 1 2012 at the age of 60. The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe
last week launched a memorial lecture in honour of the veteran journalist.
It said the event would be held every year on May 3, the World Press Freedom
His widow Julia Chakaodza, relatives, in-laws, neighbours, journalists,
church members and friends attended the event.
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:36
TOURISM operators in Bulawayo recently hiked their rates by 200% to cash in
on increased demand during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), the
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority said last week.
The increase in the rates came despite poor service delivery and
deteriorating standards in lodges and hotels in the city. Karikoga Kaseke,
ZTA chief executive officer, said last week that the recently held ZITF
brought to the fore several revelations that the authority was concerned
with, if the country was to become a successful conference and exhibition
“A snap survey revealed that hotels and lodges had increased their rates by
between 30% and 200% above their published rack rates,” said Kaseke. “The
authority has received several complaints about the standards and level of
service delivery in the Bulawayo hospitality industry.”
A rack rate is the inflated price that a person pays at a hotel if he or she
deals directly with the hotel when booking a room other than doing so
through a travel agent.
Kaseke admitted that standards had fallen and said the authority had told
hotels and lodges to improve on certain areas if they were to retain their
Kaseke said Holiday Inn recently met the grade for franchise purposes and
exhibited its sample rooms at the trade fair though issues to do with
service delivery remained the authority’s concern.
— BY LESLEY WURAYAYI
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:34
BY KUDZAI CHIMHANGWA
ZIMBABWE’S tobacco industry is experiencing an unprecedented increase in
sales volumes and consistency in favourable prices on offer, following the
general shortage of the golden leaf on the market.
Brazil, which is one of the world’s leading tobacco producing nations, with
an annual average production rate of 867 million kg, was earlier this year
affected by floods, thereby putting a slump in world market supply.
Statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) show that by
Wednesday last week, a total of 77 285 861kg worth US$292 million had been
auctioned at an average price of US$3,78.
This represents a 16% increase in sales volumes from last year’s 66 215 954
kg sold during the same period. The figures show that by day 52 of the
season, Tobacco Sales Floor offered a higher average price of US$3,71 per kg
as compared to the other three leading auction floors.
The statistics also indicate a 29% decrease in rejected bales in terms of
seasonal performance from 7,23% recorded last year. Timb chief executive
officer, Andrew Matibiri, told Standardbusiness the quality of tobacco being
delivered at all the floors was high and more of the golden leaf would
continue to be delivered as farmers complete the curing process.
“The favourable prices obtaining at the moment are the result of a shortage
of tobacco on the market and the fact that tobacco that originates from
Zimbabwe is reputed for its good quality,” said Matibiri.
He said the Chinese market was buying 40% of the crop, West European market
35%, while the rest of the world was buying the remainder. “This year, we
set 150 million kg as an estimate, not a target as is generally perceived.
We use this estimate for planning purposes,” he said, adding that whether or
not the figure was achieved, would be immaterial.
A total of 57 000 growers registered to sell their crop during the current
marketing season from a preliminary 15 000 when the season began this year.
A total of 131 million kg of tobacco went under the hammer last year,
generating US$360 million.
Zimbabwe exports tobacco to a number of African countries including
Mozambique, Kenya, Angola, Tanzania and Lesotho, among others.
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:31
BY OUR STAFF
ECONOMIC recovery in Zimbabwe remains fragile and conditional on
improvements in political governance, tied mainly to the conduct of open and
fair elections, a senior official of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has
In an article, Democratic Elections in Africa — Opportunities and Risks,
published on his blog, Zimbabwean born Mthuli Ncube, AfDB’s chief economist
said it was crucial for the country to avoid a recurrence of the 2008
elections that were characterised by political violence.
“Avoiding a repeat of political violence that characterised the previous
elections in 2008 will be especially crucial for the country’s re-engagement
with the international community,” said Ncube, who also doubles as AfDB
President Robert Mugabe and his long-time archrival, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, settled for a coalition administration following a widely
discredited June 2008 Presidential election run-off that was marred by
Tsvangirai had won the first round of elections although he did not garner
enough votes to form a new government that would end Mugabe’s rule. He
boycotted the run-off saying the environment had become unfavourable for the
holding of free and fair polls.
The fragility of the inclusive government has resulted in Mugabe pushing for
an early poll this year, a condition analysts and his political rivals say
is unattainable. Regional bloc, Sadc, the guarantor of Zimbabwe’s
power-sharing pact, is also demanding far-reaching democratic reforms ahead
of the elections.
Ncube said free and transparent political elections, which permit citizens
to effectively express their will and participate in the governance of their
country, form an important part of sound democratic institutions.
He said democratic governance in turn, is critical in fostering economic
growth and has been used as a barometer to assess ability of a country to
effectively manage public resources and protect private property rights.
“Increasingly therefore, international investors use a country’s state of
democratic governance in assessing the impact of political risk on their
investment,” he said. Ncube said the continent had improved its democratic
governance with respect to holding of regular elections although there was
variations across countries.
He said the latest Economist Intelligence Unit report showed that only
Mauritius was ranked in the category of “Full Democracy” regimes while 10
African countries were classified under “Flawed Democracy”.
The remaining countries were classified as either “Hybrid Regimes” or
“Authoritarian Regimes”, both of whi-ch are regarded as non-democratic.
“Although these classifications are based on opinions and may potentially
ignore some achievements in a number of countries, they are nonetheless
suggestive of the need to expand the democratic space on the continent,” he
Ncube said although the conduct of free and transparent elections is a
necessary step towards democratisation, it is not by itself sufficient to
consolidate democratic governance.
“Indeed, the empirical evidence is mixed on the relationship between
elections and democracy. The irregularity of empirical findings may be
explained in part by the fact that some elections have produced
authoritarian regimes, mainly due to constitutional manipulations designed
to perpetuate their hold on power.
“Thus, relying on elections to decipher democratic governance under such
conditions may be a flawed approach,” he said.
Successful political elections integral
NCUBE said successful political elections could be an opportunity to rewrite
a country’s new chapter. “In particular, following the departure of
dominant political elites in Egypt and Libya, the elections in these
countries offer incentives to break with past legacies and chart a new
political and economic dispensation,” Ncube said.
“In Sierra Leone, the success of the third consecutive multiparty elections
in 2012 since the end of civil war a decade ago will further cement the
country’s democratic credentials and sustain the current momentum of foreign
investment in extractive resources.”
Ncube said an election process must be accompanied by a broad spectrum of
other democratic and governance reforms, including reforming the
constitution to entrench a culture of tolerance for diverse views and
protection of human rights.
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:21
President Robert Mugabe on Friday complained about vote buying and the
imposition of candidates in Zanu PF. A visibly angry Mugabe sought to blame
some unnamed elements for destabilising the party. His rant confirmed that
Zanu PF is now out of sync with its founding ideals that inspired the masses
to fight against colonial dictatorship in the 1970s.
Its ranks are now infested with materialistic individuals who are concerned
about creating wealth for themselves at the expense of the majority. These
people also “steal elections” to safeguard their interests, Mugabe said.
While the President had a valid point, he seemed not to appreciate that the
real crisis in Zanu PF is not the odd politburo member scheming to outdo
rivals or the stone-throwing delinquent youths. The real problem concerns
failure of leadership within the party.
Mugabe, who is the party’s First Secretary, is to blame for creating a
culture that has bred the ills now threatening to sink Zanu PF. Faced with
stiff opposition to his rule, it was Mugabe himself who set the standards
for vote buying. Ahead of the 2008 elections, Mugabe doled out scotch carts,
tractors, and combine harvesters and free inputs to the electorate. He also
Years ago, he stopped the late Air Marshall Josiah Tungamirai from
challenging the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda in Gutu South. Muzenda
safeguarded Mugabe’s interests in the region and so he had to be protected.
More recently he blocked Phillip Chiyangwa from becoming the Zanu PF
Mashonaland West provincial vice-chairman. Mugabe, a shrewd political
schemer himself, has, in the past, also embraced violence and election
rigging to stop political rivals, including Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, from beating him at the polls.
That way he made it acceptable that elections in Zimbabwe could be
“legitimately” won by hook and by crook, something that is now being
emulated by his comrades.
By keeping in government and protecting colleagues accused of corruptly
acquiring wealth, Mugabe has encouraged looting, which is now a pervasive
fact of life in Zimbabwe resulting in the individualism and materialism he
now criticises as having brought instability to his party.
Quote of the week
"It is a case of old wine in new bottles; those old voices in Zanu PF
finding more media with which to complement the ZBC and Zimpapers. There is
no plurality.” PM Morgan Tsvangirai on the licensing of Zanu PF aligned
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:20
Mining can never be detached from politics but Zimbabwe’s politicians try
to justify and magnify their party ideologies, thus, the existence of
abundant natural resources generates a series of economic and political
Politicians have taken advantage of the “diamond” momentum to air out their
views, which in more ways than one, are crucial and reflective of their
campaign strategies. Each party wants to paint a clean picture of its
mining “aspirations” in the eyes of the electorate.
There has been a lot of hullabaloo on where the revenue from diamonds is
landing, and fingers have been pointed resulting in the issue being
contentious and, maybe, influencing a certain fragment of society to label
the existence of diamonds “a resource curse” for Zimbabwe.
Flamboyant and controversial Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer
announced his bid to challenge federal treasurer Wayne Swan for his local
Queensland state seat in the national elections next year.
The Australian self-made mining billionaire is reportedly beefing up his
candidature to stand for the National Liberal Party. Another billionaire
miner Andrew Forrest is currently involved in a war of words with the same
country’s treasurer, Swan, over the recently imposed government mining tax;
accusing him of capitulating to the mining power houses for political
However, sincere these two mining gurus are in defending their causes, it is
common knowledge that these sentiments are based on the premise of
protecting their interests and desired outcomes.
Back home, controversy surrounds Kwekwe Consolidated Gold Mine, with
widespread speculation that a retired air marshal is protecting Australian
national Lee Waverly John, who is alleged to have taken over the mine
Why would prominent politicians influence and fuel the existing ownership
wrangle? Definitely, there is a chunk for them in return. Concentrating on
mining brings with it certain vulnerabilities associated with export
dependence; vulnerability arising from mineral price volatility and
dependence reinforced by the upstream economic actors.
Mining has also been relatively associated with unsustainable patterns of
development and growth. Potosi in Bolivia was at one time matched with
London when it was at its peak of extractive activity; with silver ore being
shipped to Spain, but now, the city reflects a very poor capital of a
chronically impoverished department.
This scenario is reflective of the post-mining era, which at one time
Zimbabwe should be prepared to experience after the minerals are gone if the
cards are not played right. Whether we are going to look back and attribute
that to the Western forces of imperialism remains to be seen; or maybe the
tables would have turned whereby the “Look East” policy would be a subject
of ridicule and labelled a political blunder.
Mineral levels lead to certain levels of consumption and investment during
boom periods; but these cannot be sustained in the advent of subsequent
downswings. This brings to the fore the issue of good governance and mineral
wealth. However, we try to sweep the issue under the carpet; transparency
and accountability become indispensable requirements for any meaningful
After the diamonds are gone? What next for Zimbabwe? Recent reports indicate
that diamond polishing has created thousands of jobs in India; yet millions
of Zimbabwean youths roam the streets ravaged by high unemployment levels.
If institutional conditions are not right, it is my view that minerals are
better off under ground; unexplored. It works against development to explore
for the benefit of a minority few; especially when mining licenses are
dubiously granted to our “Eastern comrades”, the Chinese.
BY SOFIA MAPURANGA CHARI
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:18
Zimbabwe last Thursday commemorated World Press Freedom day with the rest of
the world. This came at a momentous time when the echoes of our 32nd
independence celebrations, have not yet completely died.
They also come when we have just celebrated the 3rd anniversary of the GNU
which essentially was supposed to be a vehicle towards the realisation of
our freedoms — including the freedom of the media.
Given the background of where we are coming from, it wouldn’t be amiss if
one was to ask whether Zimbabweans can say they are now enjoying the
freedom of expression and access to information as a fundamental human
Last month, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) closed the door for
applicants who wish to be considered for licences under the category for
local private radio stations. The applicants were coming from designated
cities and mischievously chosen centres around the country. The current call
for applications is phase two of the purported freeing of the airwaves by
BAZ, which has faced criticism since day one of its existence as an
appendage of the Zanu PF commissariat.
Phase one started with the call for two slots in the national free-to-air
radio stations category that were controversially awarded to Zimpapers Talk
Radio and Supa Mandiwanzira’s ZI FM. Controversial because the two were too
close to the protagonists at BAZ for comfort.
The third and last phase in the radio category, presumably, will involve the
calling for applicants and licensing of community radio stations.
After the third phase Zimbabwe will, technically be in conformity with the
African Charter on Broadcasting, which calls for a three-tier broadcasting
system (public, private and community) as well as Article 19 of the GPA.
But the question remains: Are Zimbabweans happy about this progress? Are the
media reform proponents happy with the current moves? And most importantly,
does this make our media environment in Zimbabwe better?
My answer to the above three fundamental questions, whose satisfaction
should be the driving philosophy behind the work of BAZ, is a big NO. And
the reason for that is simple. It is found by situating all that is
happening withand at BAZ, in the context of the Capital Radio Supreme Court
challenge against the monopoly of ZBC more than a decade ago, and the
subsequent campaign for media freedom resulting from there.
Diversity and plurality have been the key concepts that have underlined the
call for media reforms in Zimbabwe since 2000. The Broadcasting Services Act
was enacted purportedly to give effect to the two named concepts above and
we have waited 12 years to get to where we are today.
The waiting has not been without incident with various court challenges
being thrown at BAZ asking them to do what they were being paid to do. For,
how could we have a BAZ that has been sitting in office for more than 10
years but has failed to make an attempt towards their key result area of
calling, just inviting applications, even before talking of licensing?
And so for 12 years we have waited for diversity and plurality. And 12 years
is such a long time to wait for one’s rights.
The way BAZ handled applications for the free-to-air national radio stations
already tells us that there will be nothing diverse or plural with our radio
stations under the current regime. If you hope to get diversity from Talk
Radio, then either you are myopic or totally brainwashed, or both. Talk
radio will in essence be Radio 5, a sister to ZBC channels.
And local private stations whose applications closed at 5pm last Wednesday,
and the pseudo-community radio stations a former ZBC
employee-now-turned-legislator, has been setting up in the Midlands -— will
only operate as satellite stations for Radio 5. The only diverse element
about the whole arrangement will be in geographical location. Believing in
there will be diversity and plurality under this scheme is like believing
that currently there is diversity because we have Radio Zimbabwe and
It’s a waste of time to talk of Mandiwanzira’s ZI FM because they have
already confessed publicly that they will work closely with ZBC. You can
only imagine what they will learn. Already, it is difficult to be impressed
with what Mandiwanzira himself learnt while at ZBC.
The end result for Zimbabwe is neither a diverse nor plural media
environment. And the most frightening possibility is that this will not take
the nation back to square one, the era of the ZBC monopoly, but will leave
us deeply entrenched in a skewed media environment in which, while
previously we used to fight with only a partisan ZBC with six outlets (four
radio and two TV stations), we are most likely to end up with the same old
ZBC with more than 50 nauseating outlets spitting the same venom.
BY GIFT MAMBIPIRI
Sunday, 06 May 2012 11:16
It seems there are three schools of thought in Zanu PF regarding the writing
of a new constitution; one is decidedly against the process, the second is
for the writing of the new governance charter, while the third wouldn’t care
one way or the other.
Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho North, Jonathan Moyo seems to be
fronting the first faction as betrayed by his spirited attack on the process
and the parliamentary committee spearheading it. The Zanu PF position on
the new constitution has been mudded by Moyo’s utterances, spawning panic
and despondency among the common people.
But people have drawn solace from President Robert Mugabe’s speeches at the
Independence Day celebrations and only two days ago at the National Heroes’
Acre as he addressed mourners at the burial of Edson Ncube.
Mugabe said: “We are looking forward to an election on the basis of a new
constitution.” That is the Zanu PF position and any utterances to the
contrary are just self-serving nonsense.
Mugabe’s position is also the position of the other two principals in the
government of national unity (GNU) born out of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) signed by the three parties on September 15 2008. Article VI
of the GPA testifies to this.
In Article II (Declaration of Commitment) the three leaders of the signatory
parties declared their commitment to the GPA and vowed, “The Parties hereby
declare and agree to work together to create a genuine, viable, permanent,
sustainable and nationally acceptable solution to the Zimbabwe situation and
in particular to implement the following agreement (GPA) with the aims of
resolving once and for all the current political and economic situations and
charting a new political direction for the country.”
The Parliamentary Select Committee, generally referred to as Copac, is a
child of the GPA. Article 6.1 says: “The parties hereby agree that they
shall set up a Select Committee of Parliament composed of representatives of
the parties” and spells out their terms of reference.
Moyo’s desperate attempt to discredit the process does not make any sense
and the reasons he cites in doing so are patently fallacious. For example,
in one of his abusive writings in the public press he avers that 80% of the
people do not want a new constitution.
He wrote recently in The Herald: “While the question of whether Zimbabwe
needs a new constitution has not been factually established by Copac after
its fatal failure to publish the national report with the views of the
people, independent assessments of those views have indicated beyond
disputation that at least 80% of them support the current constitution.”
I am sure if any of his political science students had written this in an
essay Professor Jonathan Moyo would have taken him or her to task for
writing such an earth-shattering statement without a shred of evidence.
How does he come by the figure 80%? Who did the “independent assessments”?
This is a good example of poor scholarship. We all know that one of the
pillars of the GPA is a people-driven constitution and his own political
party, in which he sits in the highest decision-making body outside
congress, the Soviet-style politburo, undertook to work with the other
parties to write a new constitution. We also know that the same political
party bussed people to outreach meetings where their views superseded those
of the other political parties. Some Zanu PF members even boasted they had,
like in a soccer match, outplayed their opponents from the two MDCs.
Moyo now calls the people seconded by his own party and the other parties to
spearhead the constitution-writing process the “Copac Mafia” and labels the
draft they have produced a “regime-change” pamphlet. He accuses Copac’s
draft of being targeted at Mugabe and other individuals in Zanu PF. He says
the new constitution, if adopted, will take considerable power from the
President to various committees which would be easy to manipulate.
In saying this Moyo is purporting to be fighting in Mugabe’s corner when we
all know that the new constitution is for posterity and not for the next
election in which Mugabe will be a candidate. It would be too short-sighted
of anyone to write an anti-Mugabe constitution when we know for sure that
even if he wins the coming election the ensuing term would definitely be his
last because of his advanced age.
Moyo argues that the Copac draft is not people-driven but is a document
driven by the UNDP through its plant “Hassen Ebrahim whose purpose has been
to drive out and sabotage the people’s views from the making of their own
Interestingly the same Hassen Ebrahim was part of the Constitution
Commission in 1999 and worked with Moyo to write the constitution that was
rejected in the February 2000 referendum. Then he was not a problem because
he was his colleague!
Moyo makes another wild allegation which is not backed by substance at all.
He writes: “While the real and full story of the UNDP’s dirty involvement in
the Copac constitution-making process is yet to be told, the Copac mafia and
their donors through the UNDP have become so desperate in their
constitution-making fraud that they are now offering US$200 per article to
anyone who is prepared to write articles supporting the Copac fraud while
discrediting critics of the Copac process.” (Sunday Mail April 29 2012).
He doesn’t name a single beneficiary of this UNDP desperation. He expects
Sunday Mail readers to accept this without question! A fundamental point in
the writing of the new constitution is that the process is, in equal
measure, a Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC project. The three parties agreed to come
up with a constitution they would put to the people through a referendum.
What this means is that when the referendum comes it will be these three
parties against the people; the people may or may not accept the
constitution, in which case the three parties would go back to the drawing
If Moyo sees flaws in the current draft, fair and fine because the draft
still has to go to a second all-stakeholders’ conference after which it will
be debated in parliament and the draft emerging from parliament will be
gazetted before being put to a referendum. So concerning the writing of the
new charter, as they say, it’s morning yet on creation day!
Moyo fears elections under a new constitution because they would spell the
political endgame for him and all the other unelectable but power-hungry
individuals in his party.
BY NEVANJI MADANHIRE
Many foreigners visiting the country for the first time are surprised to
find that Zimbabwe is a normal country with normal people. A few years ago a
young lady journalist visited from South Africa. The first thing she
requested on entering my office was that she wanted see a war vet! I could
see the fear in her eyes as she made the request.
I picked up my phone and dialled an extension and soon, in came a gentleman
dressed in a beautiful green suit and immaculately polished black shoes; he
had Ray Ban sunglasses on.
I told the young lady she was right then standing next to a war vet. The war
vet gave her a firm handshake and all the niceties that go with the warm
Zimbabwean greeting. She looked him up and down and fell into a chair. “But
he is human!” she said giggling. We all had a good laugh.
In the week that she was in the country she learnt that Zimbabweans, true to
what all tourists guide say, are a friendly people, who love hard work and
want the best for their children. They spend their weekends with their
children going out to the park and to the movies; if they can’t afford that
they don’t feel pity for themselves but instead spend their afternoons at
home eating traditional foods such as boiled maize, listening to music.
On Sundays most of them file to church and afterwards they either do sport
or go to the stadiums to watch football. The menfolk usually spend their
Sunday afternoons in bars guzzling their favourite lagers. Women have their
own pastimes too, when they are not with family. They visit each other and
have afternoon teas; a huge number also indulge in drink.
She also saw that despite the disharmony of the past few years when white
farmers were driven off their farms during the land reform programme,
Zimbabwe is in fact a non-racial country. Although different racial groups
have different interests, they always share a profound Zimbabweanness. Sport
is integrated; more blacks are playing cricket and golf than ever before.
Contrary to popular opinion, Zimbabweans are not always discussing politics.
One sees a country in which the majority are fed up with political talk.
Politics has failed to change their lives for the better; politics has
become associated with violence and death. The people just want to mind
their own business in peace because they know the next election will not
improve their lives. They wouldn’t give a damn if there is no election at
When everything has been said and done, what emerges is a story of courage
in the face of adversity. Zimbabweans know they have to work in order to
beat the economic crisis. One only has to visit the poor suburbs to see how
inventive the people are; how patiently they confront head on their
difficulties; how ingenious they are in the face of almost impossible odds.
A lot fail and become beggars on the street; others degenerate into
criminality but that happens in any part of the world.
But the visitor will, at the end of it all, come up with the inevitable
conclusion that Zimbabweans are a people who have been failed by their
How can anyone who lives in a decent urban settlement in a modern country
understand that people living in Zimbabwean cities — including the capital
Harare —can go for days, even weeks with no running water in their homes?
How can any visitor understand that Zimbabweans, every day, go for long
hours without electricity? How can anyone understand that urban dwellers
have to track to neighbouring farming areas to hew wood so they can cook
food for their families?
What will shock the visitor are the bills when they come! Although there has
been no water for weeks and no electricity for long hours, residents are
asked to pay hundreds of dollars for non-existent services. If they don’t
their power is disconnected and taps laughably locked up.
Where are our leaders when all this is happening?
The truth of the matter is that, even though we have elected
parliamentarians, senators and something called the Executive, we have no
leaders. What we have are heads that have become a burden on the people.
They are not responsive to the people’s woes because they thrive on their
own people’s suffering. They are the first to default in the payment of
their bills so it’s difficult for them to confront errant services
providers. How can a leader who has not paid his electricity bill amounting
to almost half a million dollars ask power utility Zesa why it is not
generating enough power to go round and then going on to disconnect only the
It is criminal when an elected leadership neglects its people and lives only
for itself. This criminality has made life a nightmare for the majority.
Last week we talked about how supermarkets are, with impunity, milking
consumers by not giving them their change; it is estimated that the big
stores make millions of dollars annually by withholding people’s change or
giving them items whose value is much less than the change.
Zesa bases its bills mostly on estimates, hence households that have got
only a week’s supply of energy in a whole month are asked to pay hundreds of
dollars and Zesa gets away with it. The municipalities do the same; they
estimate the amount of water a household would use in normal circumstances
even if the households have gone for weeks without water.
They get away with it because our leaders don’t care. All they care about is
their own political survival; hence they are always harping about elections
when even the least literate Zimbabwean knows for sure that elections don’t
improve their lot. The politicians only want elections so they can keep
their positions, from which they will continue to plunder the country’s
resources for their own benefit.
We all know for sure that the new constitution will be rejected in the
referendum, but we will go for it anyway. We all know for certain the
results of the next presidential election will doctored to suit a certain
individual, but we will be herded into the election anyway.
The unnecessary elections, including the referendum, will cost us US$220
million, when we need perhaps half that amount to pay for power imports and
the other half to refurbish and upgrade our power generating stations.
By Nevanji Madanhire
How does one explain such a blatant failure of leadership?
By Thandeka Mujati
President Robert Mugabe was reported as “fighting for his life” earlier this
month. The rumour intensified when the President postponed a cabinet
meeting. The murmurs died down when he arrived back in Harare looking
refreshed from what he called an “Easter holiday in Singapore”. The
reports of his failing health left me wondering, what is next for a country
that has almost been defined by his rule. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since
1980. The ululations for liberation have turned into anguished cries of
despair over the years. Zimbabweans have lived through the disintegration of
the “Bread Basket of Africa” while making idle chit-chat in one of the many
queues for basic necessities.
There are many theories about who will take over the country when Mugabe
passes away and many possible scenarios have been offered. Without the
staunch, calculating and intelligent ruler that Mugabe is, a power vacuum is
likely to follow. Powerful groups inside and out outside of the country will
have reignited interest in the future of Zimbabwe.
One of these primary interests is the vast natural wealth Zimbabwe
possesses; which could turn out to be a curse for Zimbabweans more than an
intended blessing. Mugabe’s “Look East” policy has led to extensive Chinese
investment in the country. The Chinese and other powerful groups would not
want their economic interests to be threatened.
There are two main potential successors in the event of President Mugabe’s
demise. Legally, the constitution says the Vice-President will take over for
90 days. This would be Joyce Mujuru, who is democratically minded. However,
if Zimbabwe’s history has taught us anything it’s that the law does not
necessarily apply to those in Zanu PF.
There are reports of infighting within the Zanu PF party with Emmerson
Mnangagwa, the current Minister of Defence. He is rumoured to be next in
line for presidency, he is nick-named “the crocodile” for his ruthless
reputation and ability to inflict horrific injuries on percieved enemies,
which is not what most would hope for in a possible president.
It leads me to wonder that maybe the worst is yet to come. The political
turmoil Zimbabweans have experienced so far, may pale in comparison to the
political turbulence that will occur after President Mugabe. There is no
clear ray of hope to lead the country forward.
The youth have a pivotal role in life after President Mugabe. We complain
about the situation yet most of us have no intention of playing an active
role to ease the nation’s transition. Chaos will soon ensue when Mugabe is
no longer in power.
A leadership change will not automatically erase all of Zimbabwe’s problems.
Many fear a succession crisis, unrest, chaos and possibly violence. The
military has the potential to rebel and reinforce their interests which will
merely inflame any chaos.
Economically, the situation may improve if the transition is free and fair;
The EU and US may relieve their extensive sanctions on Zimbabwe. However,
immense debt hangs over the country. Political and economic uncertainty will
still linger in the post Mugabe era.
Change is long overdue. I am scared for Zimbabwe’s next chapter post Mugabe.
But I do believe that it is always darkest before the break of dawn.