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Referendum delay body blow for Mugabe plan

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 18:45

Faith Zaba

ZIMBABWEANS may be required to vote in a referendum for a new constitution
in May 2012 effectively derailing President Robert Mugabe’s plan to have
elections in the first quarter of next year.

Mugabe is eager to have elections by March to end the shaky coalition
government. He had initially hoped to have polls this year, but his plan
collapsed due to delays in the constitution-making process as well as the
slow pace in implementing political reforms required to end the country’s
decade-long political crisis.

According to more revised timelines presented to President Jacob Zuma’s
facilitation team on Wednesday by Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora of
the MDC-T, a draft constitution is only likely to be ready for a referendum
between March and May next year.

“I told them that there is no way we can have a draft constitution by March
30,” Mwonzora told the Zimbabwe Independent soon after meeting with Zuma’s
International Relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu and Charles Nqakula.

“With all things being equal, the draft constitution should be ready between
March and May, but I think we will only be able to go for a referendum
around May 30 next year.”

Zulu is said to have conveyed to Copac Zuma’s grave concerns with escalating
political violence engulfing the country. An official who attended the
meeting said: “Zulu told Copac that Zuma was concerned with the prevailing
environment, which is not conducive for free and fair elections.

She said Zuma’s concern is creating an environment for free and fair
elections that are credible. She also reassured Copac that three people who
were seconded to Jomic (Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee) will
be here in a week or two.”

In terms of the Global Political Agreement signed by the three political
parties that form the coalition government, the adoption of a new
constitution is a pre-requisite for the holding of fresh elections whose
outcome should be credible and acceptable worldwide.

The other essential elements lining the roadmap to elections include
electoral, media and security sector reforms. Other issues include a new
voters’ roll dealing with staffing issues at the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission and the disbanding of the Joint Operations Command, a state
security grouping that was reportedly behind the bloody presidential run-off
poll of 2008.

Mwonzora told Zuma’s team that in spite of the serious financial and
logistical problems facing Copac, they had made significant progress in the
constitution-making process.

Some of the achievements made so far he highlighted to the facilitation team
included the selection of the three principal drafters and the seconding of
17 members to the drafting team.

The principal drafters are Botswana High Court judge Justice Moses Chinhengo
and lawyers Priscilla Madzonga and Brian Crozier, whom Mwonzora said had the
requisite skills in drafting laws.

Crozier was the director of legal drafting in the attorney-general’s office
making him Zimbabwe’s chief legislative drafter until he resigned in 2000.
He also worked as a public prosecutor and legal advisor. Madzonga is a
former High Court judge.

The 17 appointees comprise five from each of the three political parties and
two from the chiefs’ council. These include University of Kent  senior law
lecturer Alex Magaisa, Zimbabwe Income and Pricing Commission chairman
Godwills Masimirembwa,  University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer
John Makumbe, former Law Society of Zimbabwe president Joseph James, Women’s
Affairs and Community Development deputy minister Jessie Majome, former
Matabeleland North governor and lawyer Jacob Mudenda, Advocate Happias Zhou,
Advocate Matshobana Ncube, lawyer and MDC-T Chief Whip Innocent Gonese,
lawyer and former Zimrights chairperson Kucaca Phulu and Advocate Archibold
Gijima, among others.

Copac has also come up with constitutional principles, a draft framework and
a list of constitutional issues that should be included in the new charter.
Some of the principles agreed on include sovereignty, security and
protection of Zimbabwe from internal and external enemies as well as
transitional provision and economic and social rights.

On security forces, Copac agreed that “every member of the security forces
and the forces as a whole must perform their duties and exercise their
powers in the national interest and must not further or prejudice
party-political interests”.

Mwonzora said drafting of the new constitution should start on November 20,
three months after it was scheduled to begin. The actual drafting is
scheduled to take 40 days.

According to the latest timelines, the draft constitution should be
presented to an all-stakeholders’ conference by January 30. Donors are
presently not enthused to sponsor such a conference because they fear that
it would be marred by chaos and violence similar to the first stakeholder
gathering held in July 2009.

“Donors are unwilling to sponsor the second all-stakeholders conference
because it is likely to be marred by violence,” Mwonzora said. Violence has
escalated in the past few weeks around the country. Most recently, MDC-T and
Zanu PF supporters clashed in Hatcliffe after Zanu PF followers allegedly
disrupted an MDC-T meeting where Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone was
scheduled to speak.

Earlier this week, police armed with AK 47 rifles and baton sticks fired
teargas into Harvest House and indiscriminately beat up people in the
streets before sealing off Nelson Mandela Avenue, First Street, Angwa Street
and Kwame Nkrumah Avenue near the MDC-T headquarters.

Tensions are at boiling point in the shaky coalition government after police
blocked MDC-T weekend rallies Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had been
lined up to address. The rallies had been sanctioned by the High Court.


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Diamonds to rake in US$2bn –– Mpofu

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 18:39

Paul Nyakazeya

ZIMBABWE is set to earn in excess of US$2 billion in gross revenue annually
following the lifting of the ban on exports of its diamonds by the Kimberley
Process early this week, according to  Mines and Mining Development minister
Obert Mpofu.

“Our current diamond production is estimated by volume to be in excess of
25% of the world production, and going by the values realised to date per
carat, Zimbabwe is set to earn in excess of US$2 billion annually in gross
revenue,” Mpofu outlined to journalists this week. He maintained there were
no conditions for the export of the diamonds.

All 76 members of the world’s diamond-producing nations who met in Kinshasa,
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for a plenary meeting of the Kimberley
Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) voted for Zimbabwe to be allowed to
export gems from Chiadzwa, in the Marange district of Manicaland.

Wikipedia describes The KPCS as the process designed to certify the origin
of rough diamonds from sources which are free of conflict. Introduced by
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 55/56, the certification scheme
aims at preventing “blood diamonds” from entering the mainstream rough
diamond market. It was set up to assure consumers that by purchasing
diamonds they were not financing war and human rights abuses.

The World Diamond Council (WDC) an organisation consisting of
representatives from diamond manufacturing and diamond trading companies
said it welcomed the agreement. Media reports show the debate on lifting the
ban on Zimbabwe had been split between the diamond-producing nations, mostly
the developing countries, and the diamond trading companies, mostly the
developed countries.

The ban on Zimbabwe’s diamonds had been inspired by lack of transparency in
the way in which the gems are sold by the government-dominated companies
that operate in Marange.

According to a proposal for development, compliant mining operations will
share mine-level data with the KP Monitoring team on an ongoing basis with a
view to ensuring transparency as regards KPC implementation in Marange. The
KPCS chair Mathieu Yamba said exports may take place from other mining
operations in the Marange diamond fields following KP Monitoring teams’
verification of compliance.

The KP monitoring team will verify compliance of operations of the other
producing mines to KP minimum requirements, including full access to these
mining sites. The plenary endorsed the nomination of a KP monitoring team
consisting of Abby Chikane and Mark van Bockstael.

In case of a lack of agreement between the members of the KP monitoring
team, the matter would be referred to the Watts Griffis and McQuat Limited
(WGM) for recommendation to the KP Chair.

WGM is Canada’s longest running independent firm of geological and mining
consultants, providing value-added professional services of the highest
standards to the global mineral resource industry.

Mpofu said his ministry was ready to lead and champion the economic recovery
of the country through a “robust, dynamic and aggressive policy to grow the
mining sector in Zimbabwe whose growth is currently bullish and set to
contribute in excess of 50% of our GDP”.

He said all minerals would be exploited for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.
“Every Zimbabwean is a stakeholder in the realization of our mineral wealth.
It has been a long time coming, the determination and the resolve of
Zimbabwe to assert its sovereign rights to its mineral wealth, although
initially met with a lot of resistance, has finally yielded this victory,”
he said.

Zimbabwe said it commits to uphold the KPCS minimum requirements and will
report to plenary 2011 and intercessional 2012 on actions such as
identification of further investors, regulation of artisanal mining, fight
against illicit digging and smuggling.

The KP Civil Society Coalition representatives in Zimbabwe will have access
to the Marange area so as to allow continued reporting on KPCS
implementation.

The decision will however be kept under constant review in light of progress
towards KP compliance and shall apply until the KP plenary next year.


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Elections likely in March 2013 — Ncube

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 18:48

Brian Chitemba

MDC president Welshman Ncube has said Zimbabweans will not go for elections
next year because the constitution and a battery of electoral reforms were
only likely to be completed by December 2012.

This meant the much anticipated polls could only be held possibly around
March 2013 at the earliest. Ncube, who is also a constitutional law expert,
told the Zimbabwe Independent that realistic projections showed that the
actual drafting of a new constitution without borrowing any clause from
either the Kariba Draft or the 2000 Draft Constitution, would take not less
than six months in an ideal scenario where all parties involved agreed.

However, the constitution-making process has so far been marred by serious
squabbles among Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, and Ncube said this
alone meant the drafting stage could take more than six months.

Ncube argued that nowhere in the world has the drafting of a constitution
taken less than six months, even with the best legal minds locked in a room.
He said even if the drafting started in earnest this month, it would still
break for a month between mid-December and mid-January for the holidays.

He said predictions also indicated that after an all-stakeholders
conference, another month would be required to make changes to the draft
constitution to incorporate issues that would have emerged from the
conference, meaning the earliest the draft could be presented to parliament
would be in June 2012.

The Global Political Agreement, he said, stipulated that if the draft was
approved by parliament, then there should be three months for debate before
voting.
Ncube projected that the final draft constitution could only be approved by
parliament by mid-September, after which it would be sent to President
Mugabe for assent, meaning a referendum could only possibly be held in early
October next year.

“After the referendum, there will be critical issues to be implemented, and
these include the writing of a new voters’ roll and other electoral reforms
under a new Electoral Act,” said Ncube. “That cannot be done in two months,
meaning the whole of next year will be spent on the new constitution because
the implementation of electoral reforms will take us to December,” Ncube
said.

Mugabe, he said, would most likely gazette election dates in December 2012,
of which he has to do 45 days prior to the polls, meaning elections are
likely around March 2013.

Mugabe, who gazettes election dates as provided for in the Electoral Act,
has been pushing for polls this year but his plan flopped as the writing of
a new governance charter has been dragging. He has now declared that
elections would be held in March next year, after a referendum on the draft
constitution in January, but pundits have dismissed his statements as mere
wishful thinking.

Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said it was impossible to have a
constitution early next year, given that the Constitution Select Committee
(Copac) has been struggling to come up with a draft for the past two years.

“It’s not possible to have a constitution next year,” said Madhuku. “We can’t
even waste time assessing what Copac has been failing to achieve because it’s
too much,” he said.

Sadc has been pushing for Zimbabwe to go for a plebiscite once critical
electoral reforms are fully implemented. The MDC-T, MDC and civil society
have been vigorously campaigning for security sector and electoral reforms.

However, MDC-T Copac co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora insisted that a referendum
could still be held in March since the drafting of a new constitution was
expected to start in the middle of this month.

The drafters would be based in the Vumba, far from interference from
political parties and the media spotlight. Mwonzora said the second
all-stakeholders conference was expected to be held by January 30 2012, but
it could be delayed by lack of funding since donors were threatening to
withhold money fearing inter-party violence between Zanu PF and MDC-T.

“A report-back to parliament is expected by 28 February and this means the
referendum will be held between March 30 and May 30 but we can also give an
allowance for a further two months in case of unforeseen delays,” said
Mwonzora.

Lawyer and Crisis Coalition regional coordinator Dewa Mavhinga said the
referendum was a fait accompli because the constitution would be a
compromise among the political elite just like the GPA.

“The problem will be with elections,” said Mavhinga. “We cannot go for
elections next year without addressing the three questions of violence, a
partisan security sector and weak justice and elections institutions,” he
said.

Mavhinga said the constitution was likely to sail through easily but holding
elections would be problematic because of outstanding crucial reforms. The
GPA negotiators, including those from Zanu PF, agreed that credible polls
could only be held next year or in 2013, since crucial electoral reforms
cannot be completed by the end of this year.

Ncube insisted that his MDC party would only participate in a violent-free
political climate although it seemed Mugabe was stepping up violence and
intimidation.

Last week police in Matabeleland North disrupted three rallies by MDC-T
leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a clear indication that the prime minister was
only playing a cameo role in the shaky inclusive government.


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Senior Zanu PF Jomic official grabs farm

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 18:51

Paidamoyo Muzulu

ZANU PF’s Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee representative
Kizito Kuchekwa is reportedly behind the invasion of Birthday Farm in Mazowe
owned by German nationals and supposedly protected under a bilateral
agreement with the European country.

Kuchekwa allegedly instigated about 200 Zanu PF youths to camp at the
renowned tobacco producing farm owned by Henrik Pezold Junior and protected
under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa)
signed with the German government in 1995.

New invasions are against  the  Government of National Unity’s policy of
halting any land grabs in order to give the economy a chance to recover
after a decade of constant decline.

Kuchekwa sits on the Global Political Agreement’s implementation committee
which monitors issues of political violence, respect for the rule of law and
implementation of agreed legislative reforms before the holding of
elections.

Kuchekwa is a Zanu PF central committee member who harbours ambitions to
secure political office in the next elections. Jomic officials said Kuchekwa
was in Bulawayo on business and he was unreachable on his mobile phone.

A Zanu PF source confirmed that Kuchekwa was behind the Birthday Farm
invasion and said he was using it as a footing for his political career.
“Kuchekwa is ambitious and is preparing to get into public office in the
next elections,” said the Zanu PF official. “He is using his connections
from his previous close association with the late Elliot Manyika. He sees
this as an opportunity to get into political office.”

Birthday Farm general manager Chris Booker confirmed that his farm had been
invaded by a group of youths who were presently camped at the property.
“There are some people who came to the farm and claim they are new
 settlers,” said Booker. “We have alerted the police and the district
administrator who are handling the matter,” Booker said.

Pezold, however, could not be reached for comment. Mazowe district
administrator Cheri Nyakudya on Wednesday confirmed that a group of youths
had invaded the farm and efforts were underway to move them out.

“We had a meeting with the group on Tuesday and told them to leave the
 farm,” said Nyakudya. “I am not sure if they have complied with the order
by now (Wednesday afternoon),” Nyakudya said.

Zimbabwe nationalised all farm land in 2000 under the guise of a land
resettlement programme led by war veterans. More than 4000 commercial farms
were expropriated, leaving over 350 000 former farm workers jobless and
homeless.


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Mangwana leaked Zanu PF document –– MDC-T

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 19:04

Faith Zaba

THE case involving axed Zanu PF Constitution Select Committee member and
chairperson of the stakeholders’ committee Edward Chindori-Chininga has
taken a new twist, with MDC-T officials alleging that the party document was
leaked to them by Copac co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana.

Chindori-Chininga was three weeks ago dismissed from Copac by Zanu PF for
leaking the party’s preliminary draft constitution framework to MDC-T
officials.

Party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa this week labelled him a
sell-out for allegedly giving the MDC-T the document. Investigations by the
Zimbabwe Independent revealed that Mangwana gave co-chairpersons Douglas
Mwonzora (MDC-T) and Edward Mkhosi (MDC) the draft constitution framework on
October 4 at Pandhari Lodge in Harare.

This was confirmed by Mwonzora and Mkhosi in an interview yesterday.
Mwonzora said the only document he received on Zanu PF’s draft framework was
from Mangwana and not from Chindori-Chininga.

“I got the document from Mangwana at Pandhari Lodge on October 4,” said
Mwonzora. “Mangwana gave the document to Mkhosi and wanted to give him
alone. Mkhosi then told me that he had been given the document by Mangwana
and I asked to see it. Mangwana told me he had an additional copy and he
gave it to me. That is the only document I received on the draft framework,”
Mwonzora said.

Mkhosi said: “True, I received Mangwana’s draft at the same venue (Pandhari
Lodge) and  at the same time as Mwonzora.” This revelation is likely to
heighten tensions in Zanu PF, which is already deeply divided along
factional lines.

Tensions are already high between top party officials in Mashonaland Central
and the department of administration following Chindori-Chininga’s hasty
dismissal.

Senior party officials from Mashonaland Central told the Independent this
week that the province was very unhappy that Chindori-Chininga was fired
from Copac without following the party’s laid down disciplinary procedures
and also without giving him a chance to respond to the allegations.

They said the matter should have been brought before the Zanu PF caucus to
investigate and then present its findings to the party chief whip Joram
Gumbo, leader of the House Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mutasa.

“Chindori-Chininga should have been subject to Zanu PF disciplinary
procedures and consultations with the Mashonaland Central leadership,” said
one Mashonaland Central legislator.

According to the party constitution, any member of the party against whom
action is intended should first be issued with a prohibition order and
notice of charges in writing. The notice states the charges, date and venue
of the hearing of the case by the appropriate disciplinary organ.

Recent statements by Mutasa that the party had endorsed his decision to fire
Chindori-Chininga in a move he said was a first step in flushing out
“sell-outs” has worsened the situation.

He said the meeting he held with Chindori-Chininga on October 10 was final
and the expulsion from Copac should serve as a warning to other party
members.

However, Mashonaland Central officials believe Mutasa made the statement to
force the matter on the agenda of the politburo which met on Wednesday.
Mutasa signed the dismissal letter three weeks ago based on Mangwana’s
allegations that the former Mines minister and Guruve South MP had leaked
the “sensitive” document to Mwonzora.

Chindori-Chininga has since refuted the allegations and has instead accused
Mangwana of giving Mwonzora and Mkhosi the document on October 4.
What has angered Mashonaland Central’s party leadership, sources said, was
the fact that Mutasa signed the dismissal letter dated October 6, four days
before Mangwana wrote his letter of complaint, which is dated October 10.

“The province is wondering why Mutasa acted so hastily without giving
honourable Chindori-Chininga a chance to respond to the allegations and
without following the party procedures,” said one top provincial official.
“People are now wondering whether there might be a hidden agenda in making
such a rushed decision. We will ask those questions and demand answers. We
were not happy with the way this whole thing was handled.”

The draft constitution framework included the party’s position on
prohibiting homosexuality and same sex marriage, devolution of power and
having the land issue as well as the indigenisation and economic empowerment
standing as chapter headings.


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Zisco needs US$388m –– Essar

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 15:01

Paul Nyakazeya/Happiness Zengeni

INDIAN steel company Essar estimates a capital expenditure of US$388,042
million to revive operations of the Zisco-integrated steel plant, in a
programme that will be conducted over two phases over a period of four
years, businessdigest has established. According to a revival plan of the
local giant steelworks, which is in possession of businessdigest, the first
phase, which is expected to be complete within 18 months, will see capacity
rising to 500 000 tonnes per annum.

Phase 2, which has a 30-month duration, will increase capacity to an
annualised one million tonnes, which is the installed capacity of the plant.
Most of the repair jobs have already gone to tender. Among the major works
for coke ovens battery 1, 2 and 3, Fosbel, an international company which
specialises in furnace refractory maintenance services, offered US$45 540
for full heating wall repair, complete re-lining of the chimney and
refurbishment of pusher doors with relining.

The group also has to deal with US$361 million in liabilities, which were
showing on the books in the period to June 30, 2011. Breaking down the
liabilities, US$270 million is in long and medium-term loans divided between
Zisco at US$231 million and US$39 million for Bimco.
Payroll creditors amounted to US$4,8 million largely made up of creditors
from Zisco.

CBZ Bank is owed US$2 million by Zisco. CBZ has received criticism from the
market for having a huge percentage of bad loans.
The group will require total manpower of 2 232, 1 780 of which would be
contractual while there will be 96 expatriates from India.
However, according to Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube, red
tape in the Mines ministry around transferring claims to the newly-created
companies –– New Zim Steel and New Zim Minerals –– are slowing down the
Essar deal.

Speaking at the launch of the 2011 Confederation of Zimbabwe (CZI)
manufacturing survey, Ncube said small administrative issues were hindering
the resumption of work at the New ZimSteel, formerly Ziscosteel and New
Zimminerals, formerly Buchwa Iron Mining Company.

“I admit we could have moved faster on implementation, but what is left are
only administrative issues, not what has been written by the media,” Ncube
said. He said by November 16, certificates of the claims with the new names
of the companies should have been signed and made available.

He indicated that in any transaction that requires the formation of two new
companies, there would be legal issues around transfer of title and assets
among other issues. Ncube said that given that Zisco and its predecessor
company are more than 60 years old, some of the paperwork, be it at the
Mines ministry, needed to be brought out and assimilated into new
consolidated certificates of title and these take a lot of procedural work
and time.
New ZimSteel was launched and officially unveiled on August 3 2011.

Ncube said the Mines and Transport ministries were yet to guarantee Essar’s
mineral rights owned by Bimco and reliable railway facilities as well as a
decision on the fate of workers.

Essar plans to lift production at New Zimsteel up to 14 million tonnes a
year from peak production levels of close to a million tonnes of steel a
year.
Essar acquired a 54% stake in Ziscosteel from government in a US$750 million
deal last year.

According to the deal, Essar shall retain as much as possible of the current
Zisco staff. In selection of new staff, Essar shall consider existing Zisco
employees, subject to their qualifications, knowledge, skills, experience,
and personal merit.

The sell-off diluted government’s shareholding in the steelmaker to 35,6%,
but left untouched minority interests held by Louth Mineral South Africa
(3%), Tonexon Investments (2,79%), Lancashire Steel (1,76%), Stewards &
Lloyds (1,76%), Franconian Investments (0,81%), Amzim Iron & Steel Limited
(0,75%) and Zambia Copperbelt Investment (0,13%).


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Tobacco grower profile shifts

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 14:46

Reginald Sherekete

TOBACCO output is likely to increase after more communal and small scale
farmers dumped the traditionally preferred maize and cottons crops.
Statistics released by the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) for the
week ending 28 October 2011 show that 4 401 new communal farmers and 5 788
new A1 farmers have registered for the 2012 tobacco season. A1 and communal
farmers now represent 47% and 33%, respectively of total registered tobacco
farmers.
TIMB indicated that registered growers increased by 1 831 to 29 859 this
week, with significant increases being in communal and A1 farmers. This
indicates a 7% increase from those registered in the previous week.

“There is a 10% increase in registered growers compared to last year’s
figure of 27 267 during the same period,” said TIMB in their weekly
bulletin.
The 2011 tobacco selling season failed to meet the projected 170 million kgs
of tobacco and the country is still below the peak season of 236 million kgs
in 2000 before the height of the land reform programme.

The increase in communal and A1 farmers will result in an increase in the
tobacco output, as the country positions itself to produce to its peak
period.
But statistics indicate that there is a relatively low figure of large scale
commercial farmers in the 2011 season who can guarantee a significant
comeback of the tobacco crop to peak levels.

A total of 751 large scale commercial farmers have been registered for the
2011 season representing 3% of total registered farmers. There has been an
increase of 37 new large scale commercial farmers for the 2012 season and
this indicates that the crop may be increased in output next year.
An agronomist with a leading bank said: “The interest to grow tobacco has
been phenomenal due to its attractiveness as a cash crop compared to the
traditional crops.”

“The golden leaf has managed to offer a greater return since it is an export
crop which is sold under auction. This has enabled farmers to get
favaourable prices as compared to the maize crop whose price is pegged by
government,” further explained the agronomist.

Statistics also reveal that Mashonaland  West and East had more than 50%
increase in registered communal farmers, with a total of 4 307 and 2 393
respectively. Manicaland and Mashonaland Central have the highest increases
in A1 farmers of 1 800 and 1 720 respectively.

Mashonaland West has traditionally been the hub of maize crop farming but
the trend now shows that farmers in that region are now opting to grow
tobacco.  Huge silos for storing grain are visible in the farming area
around Chinhoyi and Lions Den, a sign that the farming region was
traditionally reserved for producing maize.

“Without doubt these statistics are worrying because maize is our staple
food and this trend only indicates that we are far from doing away with
maize shortages. But farmers are also rational businesspeople who seek to
maximise their returns, so there is an urgent need to address the pricing
matrix of maize for it to remain a farmers choice,” an agro-economist said.

From the statistics, 11 newly registered large scale commercial farmers are
from Mashonaland West, with nine from Mashonaland East. This is a clear sign
of the shift to tobacco farming in the provinces.

In the 2011 tobacco season, a total of 132,4 million kgs of tobacco were
sold through both the auction and the contract system, showing an increase
of 7,23% from the 2010 selling season. A total of US$361,5 million was
realised in the just concluded season as compared to US$355,6 million in
2010.
In the 2011 selling season, prices were lower averaging US$2,73, compared to
last season’s average price of US$2,88. Analysts say this is largely owing
to quality and impact of big foreign buyers in the market like the Chinese.

“When the Chinese come into the market, they cause shocks since their huge
demand in a short time causes prices to spike but only to weaken to very low
levels after they exit the market. It’s a market and there is nothing we can
do, farmers should be able to read the market conditions and sell their crop
at the correct market timing,” a tobacco trader said.

Seasonal export figures show that China was the biggest buyer of tobacco
including cigarettes with a total of 33,8 million kgs worth US$245 million.
The United Arab Emirates and South Africa are the second largest importers
of Zimbabwean tobacco totaling 12,7 million and 12,5 million kgs
respectively.
Communal and small scale farmers who are still mastering how to grow tobacco
usually produce a lower quality crop as the methods they use for growing and
curing the golden leaf are not to standard.

In the 2011 selling season a total of 119 201 bales of tobacco were rejected
for various reasons including bales being underweight. This shows a
rejection rate of 7%, which is an improvement from last year’s rejection
rate of 8%.


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RBZ Governor speaks on business empire

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 14:40

MUCH has been written and said about Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor
Gideon Gono’s borrowings, his relationship with Renaissance Merchant Bank
majority shareholder Patterson Timba, which is alleged to have gone “bad”
following Lunar Chickens’ borrowings from the bank  allegedly causing it
serious liquidity problems, and leading to the institution leading to its
placement under curatorship. In the first of a two part series,
Businessdigest chief business reporter Paul Nyakazeya (PN) spoke to Gono
(GG) about  his borrowings from banks, in particular Timba’s RMB, to finance
his Lunar Chickens business.

PN: You are accused of being one of the over-borrowed persons in Zimbabwe,
what do you say to that and does that position not put you in some conflict
of interest-kind of situation in that you are over-bearing on the sector you
are supposed to supervise?

GG:  If the US can borrow money to finance its operations, what about small
people like me and my family?

Mind you, it is not a crime to borrow and there is no rule or law that
prohibits governors from going into business, neither is there a special
bank to which governors alone and their families can go to borrow from.

Besides, life does not start, stop or end with just being a governor or an
employee of RBZ.  There is life before, during and after.  It would be a sad
day if anything to the contrary was the case.

The law of the land provides for certain ethical and corporate governance
declarations to be made to certain principals in government by governors and
these declarations are provided for by section 25 of the RBZ Act, chapter
22:15.  I can confirm that these declarations have always been faithfully
complied with.

At the end of the day however, any good, viable and bankable project(s) will
always get funding no matter who the promoter(s) is or are and badly
thought-out project(s) with traditional ideas and promoted by unbankable
characters with abominable or commercially crippled credentials will never
get funding, no matter how little the money required is or how big in
society one is.

Right now Zimbabwean banks are sitting on over US$2 billion lines of credit
that are not being disbursed for one reason or another, and not because
Governor Gono’s family businesses have crowded out anybody from accessing
the funds in the local, regional or international markets.  We should avoid
judging each other from the same stand-point where we should communalise
poverty, inability to borrow, indiscipline, or laziness or improprieties.
As Zimbabweans, we must stop thinking small and begin to dream big.  Big
dreams require collective support from the financial sector whether using
local, regional, continental or international resources.PN: What is your
relationship with Renaissance Merchant Bank and other banks?

GG: I have had relationships with some of them going back to over 30 years
and with Renaissance, we have had a banker/client relationship since they
started operating in Zimbabwe 10 or so years ago so don’t read too much into
the current attacks on me or my business by the young man, that is what
pressure does to people.  Ask him, we visit each other’s homes and break
bread together once in a while and it is never personal but business!

PN: So does (your company) Lunar Chickens owe Renaissance Merchant Bank and
is failing to pay as alleged?

GG: Lunar Chickens is one of the 17 clients who benefited from a PTA line of
credit and the PTA Bank officially extended the “due date” for the repayment
of their facility at a time the embattled banker had left his Bank so we
forgive him for all his cries and lack of up-to-datedness.

He is personalising his difficulties and we are sure that Solomonic wisdom
will prevail upon him soon along the lines that say “you do not have to wish
every member of the clan to drown simply because your own straw has broken
from pressures of the raging river”.  You rather ask for help.
At the risk of divulging too much, for your information the so called US$1
million PTA facility given to Lunar is just but one of 17 clients who were
availed support under the US$10 million Line of Credit and among those 17
clients, we are one of two poultry producers who benefited.
In addition, given the need for longer-term funds in this market than the 30
to 60 days funds the local market can provide, and given the PTA’s full
appreciation of this situation, they agreed to roll-over, as is normal, not
just the Lunar Chickens facility, but of all the 17 clients from May 2011 to
end of November 2011, with a provision for further roll-over if need be, to
end of July 2012.  Evidence to this effect is available!
Now for anyone to misrepresent facts to the market either shows that one is
innocently not in touch with the actual goings on on the ground or is
stretching levels of his credibility to breaking points!

Life is and can be difficult out there…I will be sending some tasty,
home-grown and truly indigenous packs of chicken and eggs to my young
brother Patterson soon so he can begin to enjoy what he is assisting, with
others, to create.

PN: So can you afford to be a borrower and a regulator at the same time?

GG: As for borrowing for Lunar Chickens, the company is a “giant” in the
making and the first wholly indigenous-owned, fully integrated chicken
breeding, chicken growing, chicken processing and chicken marketing entity
ever established in the country since independence.  It is a piece of pride
to those privileged to know what the vision around it is.

Once we start unveiling it to the market, you will definitely wonder why
some people would want to kill it in its infancy!  Of course that will not
happen.
While I am not actively involved in its day to day management and I am not
Lunar’s spokesperson, I however know that the company is now the third
largest chicken producer in the country and has a dream target of producing
over one million table eggs a day and a vision to slaughter about half a
million birds a week as well as produce half a million day-old-chicks per
week by the middle of next year, God willing.  The company is geared to be
the “Apple Computer” of the Chicken industry so to speak.  Its poultry
academy is also going to transform how chickens are produced and cared for
in this country through its extension services programme in the making.
Vana mudhumeni vehuku vari kuuya, regai muone.

The company has invested heavily in some state-of-the-art technology which
is the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa and is poised to list on the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange within the next three years.

PN: Since when have you been pursuing this Lunar Chicken vision which you
seem to speak about with great passion Governor?  After you became governor
or before?

GG: Well you want me to talk and reveal too much at this stage which I do
not like to do but suffice to say that I have been involved with chickens
and chickenomics since the age of 14.  I have been growing chickens since
1973 at one level of volume or another and do not forget, I went to what
were then called “F2” secondary schools which specialised in practical
subjects and skills development.

For four years I majored in Agriculture and Building as my practical
subjects and I have never looked back ever since then.  In my agricultural
studies, I was very good at both animal and crop husbandry and I have been
employing these skills since then.  At a larger chicken scale, I have been,
for years now, an “out-grower” or an Irvines/Crest/CFI chicken apprentice.

I have been involved in formal agriculture and other family business for the
last 33 years of my 35 working years… before most of you youngsters in the
media were born... or at least a majority of you were in your diapers or
just starting school when I started working.

Therefore, whatever you see or hear about the Governor’s businesses has a
history to it  from owning and running Kombis and supermarkets in the 1990’s,
to chickens and book/newspaper publishing in the mid-1990’s, building and
construction, farming and agro-processing, in the 2000’s well before I
became governor.

To be continued next week.


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MuckRaker: Zimpapers’ creativity put to work

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 15:40

IT is interesting isn’t it that the only way President Mugabe can think of
punishing Switzerland for denying visas to his bloated delegation to the
International Telecommunications Union Summit in Geneva is to target their
properties here. “Now they are showing they are vicious,” he said, “and we
will reciprocate because they have their properties here. We are not without
means to reciprocate.”

What is “vicious” about refusing to grant visas to Mugabe’s delegation? The
Swiss authorities were probably trying to suggest this was a rather large
delegation for a country trying to recover from self-inflicted damage. Then
of course it would be useful to know how many people in that group can
actually use a computer!

Let’s face it. This was a jaunt to Geneva without any useful benefit for
Zimbabwe.

Perhaps George Charamba who appears to be behind the threats against Swiss
properties, judging by his remarks last week, could tell the nation what
benefits will accrue to visiting the ITU summit? Could that not have been
the responsibility of ICT minister Nelson Chamisa who did get a visa?
Any threat to Swiss properties here would be ill-advised given the
vulnerability of Zimbabwe’s properties in Geneva and elsewhere in Europe.

Did we not hear just the other day that Foreign minister Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi was having difficulty with his attempt to reopen dialogue with
the EU? And what does he think the response of the EU will be to the threats
against the properties of European nations? And what about the threats
against Nestlé and the royal command that the company should take its milk
from Gushungo Dairy? Why should it?

Switzerland is not an EU member but is aligned with the EU regarding its
stance on Zimbabwe. The Swiss feel as strongly as most European nations do
about farm seizures. Zimbabwe has a reputation for confiscating other people’s
property. Let’s have no more complaints from Mumbengegwi about nobody
wanting to talk to him. Just for the record it was not Mugabe who was denied
a visa, just his hangers on.

We were amused last weekend to hear Zimpapers chair Dr Paul Chimedza say
that his newspaper group is continually creating “new value for our
shareholders through innovation, dedication, passion and creativity”.
He then proceeded to criticise Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for
discouraging companies with the capacity to expand the media industry and
create new jobs for journalists and others.

“I suppose the PM is only happy when investors are foreign,” he sniped in
the language of Zanu PF.

“Allow me to let everyone know whether they wish us well or ill,” Chimedza
declared, “that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship,
support any friend, oppose any foe,” ...to assure the success of Zimpapers
as a group.

Muckraker would only add one small point here.  Chimedza borrowed the above
paragraph from JF Kennedy almost in its entirety. He omitted to disclose his
source. Perhaps that is what he meant when he referred to “creativity” at
Zimpapers.

And a quick word with the sub-editors. “Interfering” as in “the PM should
stop interfering” is not spelt “interferring”.

We still haven’t worked out yet what a medical doctor is doing at the helm
of Zimpapers. Has he any experience in publishing? Perhaps he could
enlighten us.

What for instance do his medical colleagues think of his foray into
state-owned newspapers that most certainly do not serve the public interest
and instead provide a platform for Chimedza to attack the prime minister?
Should he be doing this?
Meanwhile, the Herald this week carried a large advert saying: “Read the
Herald and join the millions of Zimbabweans reading the truth everyday. No
distortions, no compromise.”

And no borrowing of speeches from US presidents either, we suppose?

The ZRP evidently think the public need some political education.

“We are all aware that our beloved country has been under a political
marriage of partners sharing divergent ideologies since the signing of the
Global Political Agreement,” said Senior Assistant Commissioner (Chief Staff
Officer Crime) Lee Muchemwa at a ZRP constitutional referendum workshop.
“This transient arrangement has outlived its relevance.”

Should senior police officers be making statements of this sort? It is
surely up to the parties concerned as to whether the GPA has “outlived its
relevance”.
Sen Asst Comm Muchemwa said the force was “mindful of the evil machinations
of imperialist forces that misled the people into blindly rejecting the 2000
draft constitution”.

The same agents, he said, would not be idle this time.

What does this mean? That the people of Zimbabwe erred when they voted NO in
the 2000 referendum because they were “blind” and “misled by imperialist
forces”? That they can’t think for themselves? Isn’t that rather demeaning?

Sen  Asst Comm Muchemwa should not be surprised when the ZRP is accused of
partisanship when the public read remarks of this sort. By the way, where
are these mysterious “imperialist forces”? Has anyone ever actually seen
them?

Speaking of politicians behaving badly, South African Sports minister Fikile
Mbalula sought to interdict City Press last Saturday from carrying a story
about him having bedded a Johannesburg model Joyce Molamu.

After initially denying the story, Mbalula then admitted to the affair after
weekend newspapers splashed details of his romps with Molamu –– despite
first denying knowing who she was.

Mbalula said: “I have apologised to my family, particularly to my wife, as I
should have known better.”

He added: “I have been trying to deal with this matter in a private manner
for the past three months and when it became clear to me that this woman was
prepared to extort money from me, I then decided to cease all communication
with her as I was not prepared to be blackmailed.”
His lawyer had been quoted as saying: “It is false and defamatory for the
extortionist to allege that she had a sexual encounter with our client, and
City Press cannot become a source of publication to such spurious and false
allegations.”

The Sunday Times reports that Mbalula had had unprotected sex with Molamu on
“at least two occasions in August”.
Mbalula said he had given Molamu R10 000 for an abortion but that she later
asked for R40 000 –– and threatened to go public if he didn’t pay up.
In the statement, Mbalula said Molamu had still not provided any evidence
that she was pregnant.

“Her claims of being pregnant remain unproven to me,” he said.

He seemed eager to put the matter to bed (no pun intended), saying he wanted
to save his family from media speculation, and would not lay a complaint of
“extortion or blackmail”.

It’s a bit too late for that Comrade Mbalula.


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Eric Bloch Column: Harare Alive, Elsewhere Dead?

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 15:37

THERE is an extremely wideranging perception that Zimbabwe’s economy is
alive and well, in Harare, whilst it is moribund and on the threshold of
death throughout the rest of the country, in general, and in Bulawayo in
particular.

Endlessly one hears that there is much money, and attendant economic
activity, in the capital city, that the streets are busy with crowds
thronging the shops, and that the economic recovery which began in 2009 is
accelerating and intensifying. Concurrently, merchants of doom and gloom
recurrently contend that throughout the remainder of Zimbabwe, the economy
is undergoing ongoing decline, is intensifyingly moribund, and has no
prospects of recovery.

The realities are very different.  The perception of a vibrant Harare
economy is imaginary.  Admittedly, a few economic sectors are enjoying some
continuing economic activity (such as those restaurants as are patronised by
the diplomatic corps and by the hierarchy of international donor agencies
and like entities, for their incomes are not founded upon Zimbabwean
economic circumstance). It is incontrovertible that there is very markedly
greater vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the city’s streets than is
experienced in other cities and towns, but that is not because of greater
economic activity, but because the City of Harare, and the adjoining
Chitungwiza, have a considerably greater population than does any other
Zimbabwean urban centre.

Moreover, the impression of intensified traffic, believed to be indicative
of economic virility, is compounded by the paucity of traffic movement
control, with innumerable intersection traffic  lights being out of
commission for weeks (if not months) on end, with vast numbers of potholes
of  ever-increasing size, and with horrendously irresponsible driving by the
milliards of commuter omnibuses and emergency taxis that ply the roads,
their drivers having total, contemptuous disregard for other motorists, and
pedestrians, and are imbued with a belief that they have absolute road
ownership.

Similarly, the pedestrian areas are thronged with tens of thousands of
people, but very few of them have the resources, or the opportunities, to be
economically active to any material extent.  The throngs of pedestrians
include very many desperately seeking employment, there are hundreds, if not
thousands, of beggars (including very many prevaricators falsely suggesting
suffering from non-existent physical disabilities), many of them badgering
and beleaguering motorists at intersections, equally great numbers offering
to protect parked vehicles, and vastly great numbers of informal sector
traders struggling to eke out some livelihood, in total disregard for law
and municipal regulations.

But, despite the impressions of economic vibrancy, the hard core of Harare’s
economy is grievously embattled.  Almost all of its industries are operating
at productivity levels which are massively below their capacities, have been
forced to downsize their operations, and a considerable number have either
had to resort to closure, or are now seriously having to consider such
action.  In like manner, most wholesale and retail establishments have had
an immense decline in sales volumes from the levels that they were geared to
handle, whilst concurrently faced with rising overheads, including endless
and substantial increases in utility and local authority tariffs, recurrent
employee demands for salary and wage rises, soaring rentals, gargantuan
finance and bank service charges, and the like.

The financial sector is similarly suffering, with minimal lending resources,
concurrently with growing operational costs.  Service industries are in like
trying circumstances, for the generally lethargic economic circumstances
prevailing minimises demand for their services.  And almost all enterprises
are also severely, and adversely, affected by the frequent non-availability
of essential utility services in general, and those of reliably adequate
energy and water supplies in particular.

However, these economic ailments which prevail in Harare (although to many
not fully apparent because of the false impressions created by population
size and street activity) are not exclusive to the capital city. They
prevail throughout Zimbabwe! Although it cannot, and should not, be denied,
that there has been marginal economic recovery since 2009, that recovery has
been to a very miniscule degree.  On the positive side, the intense, world
record-breaking, hyperinflation of 2008 has ended, with Zimbabwe now
experiencing amongst the lowest inflation levels prevailing on the African
continent, but the cessation of the devastating inflation has not reversed
the prejudices it occasioned.  Prices have not fallen, they have just ceased
to rise at on exponential, continuous pace, and hence cost of living remains
exceptionally high (generally at least twice that of most other countries in
the Region!).  The economic recovery has not been sufficient to facilitate
increased employment and, in fact, numbers in formal sector employment have
continued to decline, as many businesses have had to downsize or discontinue
operations.  Almost nine-tenths of Zimbabwe’s employable population is
devoid of formal sector employment.

Agriculture remains unable to meet the nation’s essential food needs,
resulting in continuing, unavoidable recourse to limited foreign exchange
resources to fund imports, concurrently with inadequate foreign exchange
generation through agricultural exports.  National debt continues to soar,
now approximating US$8 billion, and the State is not only unable to balance
its budget, but sustains ongoing fiscal deficits, despite applying
exceptionally onerous direct and indirect taxation upon the poverty-stricken
population and upon the struggling to survive business sector.  Almost all
sectors of the economy are constrained by aged infrastructures and
excessively old plant, machinery and equipment which, due to capital
inadequacy and non-availability of affordable finance, they cannot refurbish
and rehabilitate, let alone replace.  And all continue to suffer the
consequences of the intense brain drain which Zimbabwe has sustained over
the last decade.

These, and many other, economic ills prevail nationwide, notwithstanding the
erroneous impression that they are much less prevalent in Harare than
elsewhere.  That impression is illusionary, and the reality is that
Government must cease to derive gratification from having achieved some
economic growth, because that growth is insignificant in extent.  An upturn
of economic output by more than nine per cent sounds very impressive, but is
not so when that nine per cent is on a mediocrally low base.  Far more
concerted efforts are necessary if a comprehensive, nationally-beneficial,
economic recovery, critically needed, is to be achieved, and that
achievement needs to be rapid, and must apply nationwide.  To that end,
amongst the very many measures required, and very speedily actioned, are:

Vigorous promotion of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), founded upon assured
investment
security, including realistic and constructive modification of Zimbabwe’s
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment policies;
Rapid, and extensive, partial or total privatisation of key parastatals
which are providers of essential economic services;
Genuine curtailment of unproductive governmental spending (including
reducing the
excessively great legislature structure and ministerial regime prevailing,
undue travel costs, pronounced corruption, and much else).


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Zim faces prospect of failing to feed itself

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 15:35

Paul Nyakazeya

THE prospect of Zimbabwe once again failing to feed itself  is looming as
most farmers are now switching from growing staple food to the more
lucrative cash crops such as tobacco. The migration to cash crops has been
exacerbated by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)’s delay in paying farmers for
the maize crop delivered in the 2010/2011 marketing season. The GMB takes up
to six months to pay for deliveries.

The Tobacco Industry Marketing Board indicated that registered growers had
increased by 1 831 to 29 859 this week with significant increases coming
from communal and A1 farmers. This represents a 7% increase from the
previous week.

The Commercial Farmers Union immediate past president Deon Theron told the
Independent this week that while tobacco was expensive to grow, its returns
were high compared to maize –– a development which had lured farmers to opt
for the crop.

Against such a background, Thereon said Zimbabwe faced the gloomy prospect
of failing to feed herself.
“I don’t see Zimbabwe being able to feed itself this year and next year,”
said Theron. “As a country, we will have to rely on imports again.”

It costs up to US$1 200 to plant a hectare of maize compared to between
US$$9 500 and US$10 000 to plant the same hectarage of tobacco.
“While tobacco has been rewarding for farmers compared to other crops, some
farmers said they were disappointed by the low prices which they felt could
have been higher considering inputs invested,” Theron said.

As of October 15, the GMB reportedly owed farmers some US$40 million for
maize delivered to its depots in the 2010/11 marketing season.
A total of US$27,4 million has so far been paid to the farmers. Government
set a producer price of US$285 per metric tonne this year, up from the
US$275 per metric tonne from last season.

The situation has further been worsened by allegations that some GMB
officials have agents who move around buying maize from farmers at prices
ranging between US$150 and US$185 per tonne, and then reselling the grain at
US$285 per tonne.
This, analysts said, would not help the situation, much as more farmers
would have no choice but opt for the golden leaf.
Tobacco farmers got cash payments for almost all their deliveries after the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe increased the cash payments threshold from US$2 000
to US$10 000 per sale.

Farmers who delivered less than 4 000kg of the golden leaf in one delivery
received their payment in cash.The US$10 000 threshold applied for every
single sale made. Farmers with more than 4 000kg could split their sale into
two within the same day and still get the US$10 000.
TIMB CEO Andrew Matibiri said more than 20 000 farmers had registered to
grow tobacco in the coming 2011/12 season.

“The number of farmers who have so far registered to plant tobacco in the
coming season has doubled what we had in the same period last season, which
is a clear indication that farmers now appreciate the importance of
registration and returns by the company,” Matibiri said.

Finance minister Tendai Biti, who has been accused of sabotaging the
agriculture sector by tightening his purse strings for agriculture, said the
sector was well funded by government, development partners and private
financiers.

Biti said government set aside US$79 040 040 in the 2009 budget, US$300 206
439for 2009-2010 budget and US$172 730 737 in the 2010-2011 budget.
Biti said government was committed to mobilising and coordinating banks,
development partners, seed houses and farmers’ unions to ensure that this
year’s farming season was well oiled.

“Government has in partnership with local input producers so far secured
agricultural inputs worth US$75 million to be accessed by both A2 and
vulnerable farmers,” Biti said at a media briefing last week.

Biti, who signed a memorandum of agreement with Agriculture, Mechanisation
and Irrigation Development minister Joseph Made on an input facility scheme
expected to benefit 100 000 vulnerable families, said government support
toward agriculture had grown phenomenally.
Made and Biti also signed another memorandum of agreement for US$30 million
in respect of strategic grain reserves.

“We are happy with the facilities that have been announced,” said Made.
“Although they might not be enough, they go a long way in signalling
government support. It signifies that agriculture is very important and that
farmers are very important,” Made said.

Although national production estimates of the second round crop assessment
point to a larger maize harvest in 2011, analysts said government was in the
habit of literally making an over-the-top view when conducting preparedness
and assessment surveys.
Made once predicted a bumper harvest after a helicopter ride a few years
ago, only for the season to seriously flop.

An estimated 1,5 million households benefited from input assistance in the
2010/11 season, accessing inputs at a subsidised rate through government and
the humanitarian community assistance programmes.
Sorghum and millet production is estimated to be below last year’s level on
account of a smaller area planted and the winter wheat crop currently being
harvested.

Intermittent power interruptions, however, continue to disrupt irrigation
cycles, and therefore impeding the country‘s productive capacity.
Overall, national cereal output is estimated at 1,7 million tonnes for 2011,
about 4% higher than last season’s output.
According to the National Early Warning Unit (NEWU), consumption of own
grain production in August 2011 was below levels compared to the same month
in 2010 which, in part, reflects a drop in production of both sorghum and
millet.

An urban assessment conducted by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment
Committee (ZimVAC) indicated a marked improvement in food security over the
past three years. An estimated 1% of the urban population is categorised as
exposed to food insecurity in 2011 compared to 24% in 2009.


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Context of SA’s foreign policy towards Zim

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 15:33

By Leon Hartwell

SOUTH Africa’s President Jacob Zuma seems to be tougher on Zimbabwe than
former President Thabo Mbeki of the much criticised “quiet diplomacy”
approach.  What led to this rapid change?      Zuma can be condemned for
many controversial decisions he has made in the past, but one has to give
him credit for promoting a democratic process in Zimbabwe.  As
vice-president under Mbeki, Zuma was not particularly outspoken about the
Zimbabwe situation. This changed soon after he left his position as
vice-president.

In July 2009 shortly after becoming president, Zuma said during Q&A time in
parliament that “interventionist measures” would be taken through the
Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) if there is “any indication
that the provisions of democracy are compromised”.  This was a stern warning
that the Global Political Agreement (GPA) should not be derailed.  In South
Africa, this statement went largely unnoticed, but two days later Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met the National Security Council for the first
time.

Over the next year South Africa was busy with the Fifa World Cup tournament
and Zimbabwe’s government of national unity (GNU) continued to miss key GPA
deadlines.  When the tournament ended in July 2010, Zuma began to turn up
the heat.

By March 2011, South Africa had secured the Livingstone Consensus at the
Sadc Troika meeting in Zambia.  As facilitator, Zuma condemned the GNU for
failing to implement key agreements contained in the GPA and said that “the
situation can no longer be tolerated”.   He also raised the issue of a
roadmap towards free and fair elections, which his team had been discussing
with Zimbabwe since January 2011.  Since then, Sadc has been driven by an
almost uniform voice, demanding to see progress in Zimbabwe’s unfinished
business.  This is despite objections from sections of Zanu PF that Zuma
should no longer be the facilitator.

Clearly, South Africa’s approach changed at a rapid pace.  What caused such
a radical shift in foreign policy?

Broadly speaking, it is due to the personalities of South Africa’s leaders
and their relations with other actors.
Mark Gevisser, Mbeki’s biographer, often described him as “disconnected”.
This characteristic also defined his lack of interaction with the South
African Embassy in Harare: he often flew in and out of Zimbabwe without any
real consultation with his chief representatives.  He also gave the cold
shoulder to the MDC formations.  Mbeki much rather preferred to meet with
the Zanu PF elite and to make use of “red telephone diplomacy”, which led
him to proclaim in 2008 that there was “no crisis” in Zimbabwe.

Mbeki established contact with Zanu PF during the liberation years when
relations between the ANC and Zanu PF were frosty.  The ANC was much closer
to Zapu as it shared linguistic and cultural affinities, both parties were
sponsored by the Soviet Union, and they lived side by side in Lusaka.
However, when Zanu PF won the 1980 election, Mbeki was tasked with bonding
with Zimbabwe’s new ruling party.  His main contact was Emmerson Mnangagwa,
the country’s top securocrat.  Mbeki’s diplomatic endeavours in Zimbabwe
also brought him closer to President Robert Mugabe who treated him like a
son, and to whom Mbeki became greatly indebted.

Zuma’s personality is different from Mbeki’s; he listens and asks for advice
from the people who surround him.  Zuma’s Deputy Minister of the Department
of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), Ebrahim Ebrahim, who
once shared a jail cell with him, came to office promising to promote
Pretoria’s human rights agenda.  Ebrahim seems to be governed by human
rights and democracy rather than pure liberation rhetoric.
Zuma also listens to his facilitation team which engages all stakeholders
(including the MDC formations), giving them a more balanced view of the
Zimbabwe situation.  His international relations advisor and spokesperson
for the facilitation team, Lindiwe Zulu, has often been belittled by the
Zanu PF controlled media whenever she expresses frustration with the GNU.

In contrast to the Mbeki years, South African diplomats in Harare are
engaged with their president.  The country’s ambassador to Harare, Vusi
Mavimbela, has spoken out against “lawlessness” and “a culture of impunity
that has to be stopped”.  Zuma’s policy towards Zimbabwe could therefore be
expected to reflect and respond more accurately to the situation.

Back in Pretoria, Dirco has started to regularly debate South Africa’s
position in the region with civil society. There are a number of
individuals, including a new generation of diplomats and analysts, who argue
that Dirco should not be afraid to throw its weight around the region,
something it shied away from in the past. Mbeki was overly cautious not to
be seen as the region’s bully.

Unlike Mbeki, Zuma also listens to concerns raised by the ANC’s alliance
partners, who have not only been instrumental in his accession to power, but
also vocal about human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.  Beyond that, they
represent a large domestic constituency that is angry about its economic
disenfranchisement and easily blames Zimbabwean expatriates for “stealing”
local jobs.

Zuma is also under pressure from a multitude of South African businesses
whose interests are threatened. Despite ratification by Zimbabwe of a
bilateral investment agreement in May 2010, companies such as Zimplats and
Old Mutual continue to be under threat from indigenisation policies, while
South African farmers are still being evicted.

Zimbabwe is thus not only seen as a political problem, but is now more
clearly defined as an economic threat that also affects South Africa and the
region.  As Mavimbela recently stated, “the ill health of one (in Sadc)
affects the others”.  South Africa’s regional integration efforts will be
constrained as long as Zimbabwe remains fragile.

While Mugabe and Mbeki had a father-son relationship and an intellectual
common ground, Zuma has been perceived by many Zanu PF elites as the former’s
junior.  However, Zuma has shown time and again that he can outwit many a
politician, and it is said that he is a pragmatist and a negotiator par
excellence.  He has the ability to simplify highly complex ideas, which is a
key skill in any negotiation process.  Mbeki can be credited with developing
the GPA, but Zuma’s message is that parties have to be realistic about the
transition; Zimbabwe should not gun for another election in the absence of
key institutional reforms.

In addition to Zuma’s personality differences from his predecessor, it is
critical that he succeeded in mobilising several strategic individuals in
the region.

Most decisively, Zuma cleverly re-engaged Angola’s president José Eduardo
dos Santos, head of southern Africa’s second largest economy and leader of
the MPLA — the ANC’s traditional liberation ally.  Mbeki mockingly referred
to the dos Santos’ administration as “urban mulattoes”.

Zuma visited dos Santos first as ANC president in March 2008 and again as
head of state in August 2009.  The latter occasion marked Zuma’s first state
visit and he was joined by 124 business delegates.  At the time it was the
largest business delegation to accompany a head of state in post-1994 South
Africa.  Dos Santos oiled this relationship further by visiting South Africa
in December 2010.

These exchanges focused predominantly on developing both countries’ economic
interests.  Beyond business prospects, an entente developed between the two
leaders; Zuma recognised the importance of dos Santos’ leadership within
Sadc, while the Angolan gave more leeway and support to Zuma in his
facilitator’s role vis-à-vis Zimbabwe.

It is thus noteworthy that the Livingstone Consensus was once again
reiterated in Luanda in August.


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Time for the populace to impose sanctions on Zanu PF

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 15:32

By Dzikamai Bere

ON October 10, the Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa told delegates
attending the Universal Periodic Review of Zimbabwe in the Human Rights
Council in Geneva, Switzerland, that the “illegal sanctions” imposed by the
West were contributing to the suffering of the Zimbabwean people and added
that the government was in the process of taking legal action against the
European Union for the sanctions. A few weeks later on October 28, the
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana was reported in the state media stating
that all the paperwork was ready and what was left was for them to get the
travel documents to travel to Europe to file the papers with the European
Court of Justice.

These are clear signs that as Zimbabwe gets closer to the next elections,
Zanu PF is escalating the sanctions agenda for political expediency. There
is insufficient response to this movement and it is the opinion of this
writer that perhaps this sanctions agenda needs more thought, and more
positive action than just press statements and counter claims.

There are legitimate reasons to be pro-active and not just let Zanu PF
politicians abuse the people of Zimbabwe. There are alternative practical
actions that can be taken to dispossess immoral politicians of the
anti-sanctions tool. It’s time for an alternative sanctions regime, which is
more legitimate and more effective than what is coming from the West. I am
convinced that this is the time to rethink sanctions.

Despite the Zanu PF propaganda that the suffering of the Zimbabwean people
is caused by these sanctions, there is evidence that the sanctions imposed
by the West did not have much impact on Zimbabwe.

The “smart sanctions” are not so smart and have not helped anyone.  This has
been mainly because of the inherent loopholes within their structure and
formulation which fails to take into consideration the complex local and
global challenges exploited by the target.  The Zanu PF propaganda machinery
is fast spinning the “smart sanctions” into votes.  The Government of
National Unity (GNU) is a lethal tool placed in the hands of a dictatorship,
and is now working for the political elite, against the people.

Evidence for this is in something called “indigenisation drive” which the
current elected parliament does not support but it is moving forward,
threatening to send thousands of workers into the streets.

The anti-sanctions drive, a Zanu PF project which neither cabinet nor
parliament supports has caused so much suffering in the villages of Zimbabwe
with people being terrorised into signing a useless petition.  Now the
Attorney General, we are led to believe, will appear in the European Court
of Justice pretending to represent the government of Zimbabwe.

Let me at this point hasten to mention that I am not calling for the removal
of the sanctions. Rather, I am acknowledging that these have been a disaster
and maybe the moral thing to do would be to call for “real sanctions”.  For
a long time, civil society in Zimbabwe has been making pronouncements that
the smart sanctions must stay until that which invited them no longer
exists.  Well, statements will always be statements. It’s time for civil
society to go beyond rhetoric.

What we really need is a mechanism of starving the machinery that is
responsible for repression.  This is not achievable through the EU smart
sanctions.  Why do we need the European Union to do what the Zimbabweans can
do?  Zimbabweans themselves have the capacity to impose sanctions on the
regime and starve the machinery that is feeding autocracy.  If Zimbabweans,
who are on the ground, cannot impose these sanctions, and want to wait for
Europeans who are thousands of kilometres away, then they probably deserve
the repression.

Since Zimbabweans voted against a Zanu PF-sponsored draft constitution in
1999, Zanu PF has imposed a series of sanctions on the Zimbabwean people by
destroying food security; destroying the national herd (now we import beef
from Botswana), stealing the vote in broad daylight (and imposing themselves
in power with the blessing of Thabo Mbeki); driving 700 000 people out of
their homes through Operation Murambatsvina (hence taking away the most
basic of rights, the right to shelter).  The militia is being unleashed
against our relatives at Mbare and Machipisa markets where they are striving
for an honest living.  It is time to counter these sanctions.

There is need for labour, civil society, youth groups and informal traders,
representatives from various citizen groups like CHRA, to come together and
formulate a clear peaceful strategy of fighting the sanctions that Zanu PF
has imposed and take positive action to place effective sanctions on the
regime.
A good beginning would be to compile an inventory of all the businesses that
are sponsoring violence against the people of Zimbabwe.  These can be
supermarkets banks, buses, filling stations. The list is long.  This
information should then be made public so that the people of Zimbabwe know
in what way these businesses are contributing to their repression. Then let
the action begin; we must not even buy chewing-gum from a business concern
that sponsors violence.

This is just one of the many strategies of reworking the sanctions regime
and allow for more citizen participation so that our democracy can be more
organic and people driven.  The people of Zimbabwe are the biggest sponsors
of their own suffering.  The citizens must take away from dictatorship tools
that can be used against them. If the people of Zimbabwe impose their own
sanctions against the regime, Tomana will not have to fly to Luxembourg to
present a useless case and stay in an expensive hotel at taxpayers’ expense.

This is the time to rethink smart sanctions and what democratic
participation is.  It’s not just deciding where to place your vote.  It is
also about deciding where to place your dollar, for ultimately this is what
sets into motion a long chain of terror. Joint action can set into motion a
long chain of events towards transformation.

Dzikamai Bere works for a local human rights organisation.  He writes in his
personal capacity.  Email: dzikamaibere@gmail.com or
www.dzikamaibere.blogspot.com.


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Diamond sales veil must be lifted

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 18:58

ZIMBABWE’S officialdom and their brethren on the continent this week feted
the granting of the country unrestricted permission to trade in rough
diamonds by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) as a great day
for the country and the continent.

The granting of the green light is being regarded as a major political coup
for Zimbabwe against the West, but the celebrations could yet turn out to be
premature. The licensing is the beginning of a new struggle to ensure that
the government lifts the veil of secrecy which has for over five years
shrouded the industry.

The granting of the permission comes with conditions which should allow the
international community to play a bigger peer-review role and to shine a
light in the dark recesses which have hidden corruption in the diamond trade
in the country. It is this call to transparency that is likely to foment new
conflict between the government and institutions working to enforce
accountability in the industry.

The KPCS, in making the announcement to allow the open trade in diamonds
from two mines, Marange Resources and Mbada, said Zimbabwe was committed to
finding new investors in the business, to regulate the mining of and to stem
the trade in illicit diamonds. Another key condition is that civil society
representatives should also have unfettered access to the diamond fields to
facilitate monitoring and to report progress on compliance.

Without being cynical, the administration of President Mugabe — which has
laboured to control proceeds from the diamond trade — will struggle to meet
the KPCS benchmarks as long as there is no sea change in the psyche of the
ruling elite which controls the mines and trading.

For many Zanu PF stalwarts it means letting go of a sector that guaranteed
instant riches, and with it political power to almost run a parallel
administration in the government of national unity.

It must be noted that the granting of the diamond concessions to the
companies currently working in Marange was far from transparent and the
involvement of the country’s security establishment in the industry was
devised to shut out political opponents.

What stands between transparency and lack of it in this country are state
institutions deliberately set up as citadels of corruption in the industry.
These should undergo serious reform together with deliberate policies which
portrayed diamonds as a resource for the Zanu PF heavyweights and not for
the general populace.

It is these policies and institutions which barred Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai from visiting Marange in July this year. Last year, the
parliamentary committee on Mines and Energy was also blocked from visiting
the mines. We expect the Mines ministry to make an open rescission of that
position as part of the commitment to transparency.

Diamonds are a national resource and national expectation after the KPCS
decision is that proceeds from the sale of diamonds must now go to the
fiscus and be properly accounted for in the national budget.

This is contested territory as evidenced by Finance minister Tendai Biti’s
crying out for diamond dollars in July when he presented his midterm budget
review.

“There are times when resources, instead of being a blessing, become a
curse. The reality of Zimbabwe’s situation is that there is no connection
between Zimbabwe’s income from diamonds and its output in international
prices,” he said.

According to Biti, out of more than 700 000 carats exported this year only
US$103, 9 million worth was accounted for. It is this kind of behaviour by
elements in President Mugabe’s government that must now stop if ordinary
Zimbabweans are to celebrate the KPCS decision.

The celebrations by Mines minister Obert Mpofu who led the government
delegation to the KPCS meeting should therefore translate into tangible
benefits to key sectors of the economy, including health, education, and
infrastructure development.

We do not expect politicians and strong military men who have taken vantage
positions at the diamond feeding trough to relinquish these niches without
putting up stiff resistance. Our key source of hope though is that Zimbabwe’s
diamond trade will now be subjected to greater scrutiny by the international
community, which will at all costs try to avoid being accused of having made
a monumental blunder in granting Zimbabwe the trading rights


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Zim desperately needs responsible politicians

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 15:45

AFTER emerging from a traffic accident, one would be relieved, so long as
there would be clear evidence of who would be responsible for the cause of
that accident. However, there can be cases where it is difficult to know the
person bearing full responsibility for the cause of an accident. That would
leave the victims laying the blame on whoever would be considered
susceptible for such blame, but not finding true solace. Responsibility
means accepting accountability for the wrong done, so that there is
recourse. Responsibility is generally unpopular, as it entails taking the
blame for what would be wrong. And that is where our problem, as a nation,
lies as very few people want to take the blame for the wrong things in our
society. At the same time they frantically seek to occupy positions of
authority.

Responsibility implies accountability. Jesus Christ took full responsibility
at a time when no-one else could do so, as the majority of those aboard a
troubled ship envisioned only the possibility of perishing in the boisterous
sea waves (Matthew 8: 23 – 27). Jesus demonstrated exactly what being in
charge really meant, which points at being the succour of last resort. Jesus
had to take full responsibility to control the tumultuous winds of the sea.
Such acceptance of responsibility attracts admiration from the relatives of
those who otherwise would have perished in that incident.

Our crisis in Zimbabwe lies in not having enough courageous people who are
willing to take full responsibility. When politically motivated crimes go
unpunished, corruption in top government echelons is allowed to flourish,
education and health delivery systems falling apart it is a result of
politically induced poverty that now grips the majority.

Who should the country look to for deliverance from such a qugmire? The two
major political parties blame it on each other. Zanu PF blames it on
sanctions caused by the MDC-T while, at the same time, the MDC-T blames it
on Zanu PF’s intransigence and known past mismanagement of the economy.

This leaves the country without anyone taking full responsibility for what
goes on –– a case of a ship whose captain and crew are bickering instead of
guiding the ship towards safety. Blaming one another in the midst of the
storm does not bring any hope to those frantically seeking deliverance. Any
semblance of confidence that the people of this country may have had in the
GPA is fast running out.  Zimbabwe is in desperate need of succour from
somewhere; certainly not from those only able to show prowess in
mudslinging, instead of steering the ship out of danger.

What is needed most at this stage, are accountable politicians who would be
willing to take full responsibility of what goes on in this country. We don’t
need those who seek to be tucked in positions of authority without the
accountability that goes with being in such positions of authority.

Zimbabwe seems to be a country that is rich with people gifted with
leadership qualities to take this country out of its conundrum, but
unfortunately, such people think they would be too smart or too religious to
accept such a responsibility. We need political leaders who would be able to
accept responsibility, not those with a prowess in gerrymandering. They only
endeavour to occupy positions of authority for reasons of personal gain.

Andrew Masuku,
Harare.


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Let’s rethink strategy on AirZim

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 15:44

THE national airline –– AirZim –– has suffered enough. I do not think it is
so bad to put the ailing parastatal to bed. After the abuse it has suffered
and continues to suffer it might be for the best. Why not let the airline
fly aground the way the Zimdollar did? Look where we are today. Does it not
give one’s heart wild palpitations to try and think where we would be right
now had we decided to keep the toilet tissue we pretended was currency? The
country would be beyond comatose as we speak wouldn’t it? Tourism minister
Walter Mzembi  appears to have this one wrong. There is no pride to be
earned from an airline that is not flying anywhere. Perhaps we could explore
other avenues such as partnering more established airlines.

Another is to advertise our existence by taking up more advertising space in
international journals, CNN and Al Jazeera, among others. Many countries are
going this route. If anything advertising our presence using AirZim as a
medium will probably get one fired if they were working as a media buyer.
What mileage do you get from an airline that spends more time on the ground
than in the air?

Chris Veremu,
Harare.


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Govt, business must talk

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 15:43

IT really is frightening to try and do business in this sort of environment.
That is not to say the business world are without blame for some of the
unethical practices they practise like circumventing import duties, paying
slave wages and so on. What I believe is needed is for all stakeholders to
sit down and thrash issues out rather than coerce in whatever form and from
whatever quarter.
Government should realise that the wounds are still fresh in the minds of
investors from the land reform programme. First it was stated that the farms
that were adjacent to crowded communal lands were to be taken in order to
decongest the communal lands.

Second compensation was going to be paid for improvements, implements and
other immovable properties on the land, and finally alternative land was
going to be found for those keen on continuing to farm. It is widely known
that none of the stiulations noted above was done at all. In fact what
followed was an orgy of violence and dispossession which drove productivity
to hell. Farms which were intended for farm workers and marginalised
communities were taken by clever Charlies. In this environment, can the
government be trusted?

Next station will be real estate where the deeds office will be raided to
find owners of property who do not agree with government and punish them as
well. Where are we going to stop?

Why does the government not sit down with business like civilised people (we
claim to be the most educated in Africa) and discuss these issues?

Stop,
Harare.


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Candid Comment: Service: what Zimbabwe needs

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 18:55

IN 1979 popular musician Billy Joel released his melancholic hit song
Honesty. In the refrain Joel says “Honesty is such a lonely word. Everyone
is so untrue. Honesty is hardly ever heard. And mostly what I need from
 you.”

We shall not even bother talking about honesty in Zimbabwe. Our very lonely
word though is service. Anyone who has travelled outside our border, and
here I’m talking to the more industrialised countries, including our
southern neighbour South Africa, can testify that in terms of providing a
service to their customers, Zimbabwean firms are light years behind.

One can understand that for a long time since UDI right up to nearly three
decades after Independence, Zimbabwe has been a shortage economy. Hence the
approach has always been that of “take it or leave it.”

As one commercial director of a ZSE-listed concern once said, there was no
real marketing in Zimbabwe and many sales executives were actually rationing
officers, deciding which client would receive what products as and when they
were available. Similarly, other frontier business aspects as public
relations and customer relations were not really being practised, except in
a relatively few “futuristic” firms.

Why is one harping on service? Because it is ultimately what the business of
today elsewhere in the world provides and what the business of tomorrow in
Zimbabwe will need to wake up to.

With the global economy rapidly displacing the singular economies of the
past, the businesses that will survive are those that provide a service, not
just a product. To put things into perspective, businesses of the recent
past were engaged in providing goods and services. The two were then
regarded as distinct from each other, the word good then being
interchangeable with product. Service generally referred to the intangible
and under this could fall transport, tourism, management, consultancy and
smaller things as dry cleaning. So for as long as you did not receive a
physical product, you had generally received a service.

However, as the role of marketing ascended, even what we previously knew as
services were now categorised as products. Service providers got lulled into
believing a service was inferior to a product, the real thing. Even today we
have reference to the “real sector” where physical goods are produced.

On the other hand, those in the tourism sector often refer to their
“products”, perhaps it makes them feel they are providing something more
worthy than a service.

However, in the new economy, a product (physical) is subservient to a
service (non-physical). As the knowledge-based economy expands and cheaper
technology lowers barriers to entry into business, there are now innumerable
producers of goods, many of which are equally competitive in terms of price
and quality. The difference now lies in who provides a better service to go
with their product.

Outside Zim, supermarkets sell “the shopping experience” more than they sell
groceries. It’s the same with fuel stations, fuel sales play second fiddle
to the convenience stores and food courts that grace their facades.

In fact, in some countries, the fuel pumps are now at the back and not in
the forecourt. But here, even one company that dominates that business
because of its use of fuel coupons does not have a single forecourt that
provides a 24-hour service. They dispense fuel on their terms, not on the
customer’s needs.

There are many, many examples of companies that have poor service and each
reader could list their own. But the time for poor service is up. Even in
some sectors, of the civil service, which has been well known for neither
being civil nor providing a service, there is a change of attitude. What
more in the private sector?  Customers return because of good service. As
global competition further opens up in our economy, there will be countless
victims.

Itai Masuku


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Editor's Memo: Premier must fight even harder now

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

Thursday, 03 November 2011 18:53

AFTER a period of relative calm due to the Global Political Agreement (GPA)
following a decade of bruising political battles for power, a climate of
fear is gradually returning ahead of elections next year or in 2013, likely
to be a turning point for Zimbabwe.

Events this week, including the police raid on the MDC-T headquarters in
central Harare, running battles with youths and the banning or disruption of
its rallies nationwide, indicate political temperatures are on the rise
again.

There has been a series of political arrests and disruptions of rallies of
late, inflaming the situation. Zanu PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa’s
remarks yesterday that his party has lost faith in GPA processes only serves
to exacerbate the situation, creating volatile conditions for elections once
again.

So as things stand, are we still on the road to reform, sliding backwards or
heading towards another dead end? The resurgence and intensification of
repression and violence in recent months has exposed the limitations of the
GPA and the abortive political reform process.

President Robert Mugabe’s calls for early elections, now no longer heard as
reality dawns on him regarding the impractical timing, has increased fears
of a return to 2008’s violence.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai on Thursday captured the current mood correctly,
although his remarks seemed to be a capitulation to the politics of fear, a
major instrument of repression which has created a dangerously divided
society.

“We meet at a time of rising political tension in the country, increasing
cases of violence, sabotage and total disrespect by the police and other
government agencies for the Prime Minister, even as he executes government
programmes,” Tsvangirai said, unwittingly admitting his powerlessness and
vulnerability.

“It appears the demons of violence are back, a siege mood seems to be slowly
gripping the country. This is a reincarnation of the violence of 2008 and
this country risks sliding back if immediate action is not taken to bring
back order and peace.”

Tsvangirai is definitely right, but isn’t it strange for him, an executive
prime minister, who also has a minister of police, to be always complaining
impotently and helplessly about the behaviour of law enforcement agents when
he should be using cabinet and parliament, among other institutions and
fora, to address those issues?

It must be realised these things are still happening, three years after the
signing of the GPA, because no serious reforms have been undertaken. The
current situation is a reflection of the asymmetrical power relations
between Mugabe and him, as well as the balance of forces between Zanu PF and
the MDC-T.

The GPA is a flawed arrangement but then the premier must fight even harder
now if he wants to exert his authority and win respect. The stakes are very
high and Mugabe and his cronies will go down fighting. They will throw all
sorts of obstacles in the way of reform and change, especially towards the
finishing line. That demands more determination and courage on the part of
those in the race, not capitulation.

The next elections will certainly be a watershed event in the
post-Independence era. That will be Mugabe’s last major battle in Zimbabwe’s
electoral politics. It will mark the beginning of the end — if not the end
itself — in his long career. This means we are facing historic elections.
Mugabe and Zanu PF will certainly make a gritty stand even though in the
final analysis they are of course on their way out.

Dumisani Muleya

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