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Mujuru camp cornered

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure

THE arrest of Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele this week is part
of President Robert Mugabe's succession battle and signals the beginning of
an onslaught on the faction that was backing Vice-President Joice Mujuru's
presidential aspirations.

Impeccable sources said the crackdown on the camp led by retired army
general Solomon Mujuru was timed to take place before Zanu PF's five-day
special congress starting on December 11 to coerce the camp's members to
rally behind Mugabe.

Gula-Ndebele became the first casualty as Vice-President Mujuru made a
dramatic announcement that she had never harboured presidential ambitions.

The sources said Mujuru was compelled to make the announcement after
it became clear that members of her camp were under sustained attack from
the pro-Mugabe faction.

Inside sources said yesterday that Mugabe and his backers in the
ruling party were turning up the heat on the Mujuru faction to demolish it
before the congress in December where it initially planned to challenge
Mugabe to prevent him from standing as the party's candidate in next year's
elections.

Despite Joice Mujuru's latest denial, her group has since February
been working behind the scenes in a bid to force Mugabe out. Numerous
strategic meetings were held at various places and plans of action were
devised to seize the leadership of the party, the sources said.

The sources said before last month's politburo and central committee
meetings, members of the Mujuru camp were reportedly told that if they
continued to press for Mugabe's retirement they would lose their individual
businesses and farms.

Addressing Mashonaland Central provincial leaders on Wednesday in
Bindura, Mujuru reportedly said: "If there is a person who wants to succeed
President Mugabe, it's not me. A-a, aya mashura andirikutonzwa muno (These
are ill-omens I am hearing here).

"The presidium is made up of four people and I am already in the
presidium. I am not going anywhere."

She reportedly backed Mugabe saying reports that she intended to oust
him were lies meant to tarnish her image.

Before the politburo and central committee meetings Mujuru was
reportedly eyeing Mugabe's post and was being challenged for it by Rural
Housing and Social Amenities minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The sources said Gula-Ndebele had become the latest casualty of Zanu
PF's succession politics because he is reported to belong to the Mujuru
faction.

The arrest of Gula-Ndebele and top NMBZ banker James Mushore, also
linked to the Mujuru faction, is said to be part of a campaign to destroy
the group.

"We are under siege at the moment," a senior official in the Mujuru
camp said. "The arrest of Gula-Ndebele and Mushore is part of a campaign to
destroy us. Last week they harassed some of our guys at the airport and it
seems the crackdown is systematic. The moment you try to challenge Mugabe
for power all hell breaks loose. Mnangagwa's faction learnt it the hard way,
now it's us (the Mujuru camp) on the receiving end."

The camp, the sources said, was suspected of trying to forge an
alliance with the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai. There have been
reports that the Mujuru camp had struck a deal with the Tsvangirai faction
on a power-sharing arrangement in the post-Mugabe era. Gula-Ndebele is
believed to be linked to Mujuru because of their shared military background.

The Mujuru camp, riding on the crest of a wave of success against
Mugabe at the party's Goromonzi conference in December last year where it
blocked his 2010 plan, thwarted Mugabe's bid for endorsement, forcing party
spokesmen to cover up the embarrassing failure. Mugabe was not endorsed to
be the Zanu PF candidate at the meeting. He was only endorsed last month.

However, the Mujuru faction was defeated during the politburo and
central committee meetings last month.

Mnangagwa was the first to back Mugabe and allegedly roped in war
veterans to rally support for the veteran leader through solidarity marches
throughout the country.

Gula-Ndebele was arrested on Tue day on allegations of conduct
contrary or inconsistent with duties of a public officer after he reportedly
met former NMBZ deputy managing director James Mushore while he was on the
police wanted list.

The AG was charged under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
Act for the meeting he held with Mushore when he visited Zimbabwe in
September.

The president was also reportedly angered by the failure by the AG's
office to successfully prosecute 35 MDC activists who were arrested in March
on allegations of terrorism.

The case against the opposition activists has collapsed after the
state indicated that there was no evidence to successfully prosecute the
alleged petrol bombers.

Gula-Ndebele, the sources added, was also at loggerheads with National
Security minister Didymus Mutasa whom the AG's office wanted prosecuted on
charges of political violence.


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Mushore caught in Zanu PF politics

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari

TOP banker James Mushore has been caught in the Zanu PF power play as
police and the Attorney-General's Office clashed over the handling of his
arrest on charges of contravening the exchange control regulations.

The Attorney-General's Office appeared to have given Mushore - former
NMBZ deputy MD - immunity from arrest preferring to take him straight to
court while the police said this arrangement was faulty. Attorney-General
Sobusa Gula-Ndebele was this week charged over the case while Mushore has
been behind bars for over a week.

Mushore is related to retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru
who leads a faction in Zanu PF allegedly opposed to President Mugabe's
continued stay in power.

Mushore, who has been refused bail, is facing six counts of
contravening exchange control regulations and one of violating the
Immigration Act. The banker, who fled the country in 2004, was arrested last
week. He had earlier visited the country in September.

When the charges arose Mushore appealed to Mujuru to intervene to save
him from being arrested, to no avail.

Mushore fled the country together with three other NMBZ directors,
Julius Makoni, Otto Chekeche and Francis Zimuto. Police at that time said
they wanted to charge the four with foreign currency externalisation.

The Zimbabwe Independent is in possession of a confidential letter
which the Attorney-General's Office wrote to Mushore's lawyer, Martin
Makonese, in April last year, promising that his client would not be
remanded in custody once he came back to Zimbabwe. That immunity also
covered Zimuto.

Makoni was cleared and subsequently de-specified by the government.
"Please find attached copies of the charge sheet and state outline to the
above case," said Joseph Jagada, chief law officer in the AG's Office in the
letter dated April 3, 2006.

The letter was also copied to the office of the Director of Public
Prosecutions in the AG's Office.

"Can you please advise as to when you are likely to be ready for trial
so that your clients will not need to be placed on remand but proceed to
trial on that date," read the letter.

"We find this arrangement convenient to all parties concerned in this
case."

Jagada's letter was in response to a request by Makonese for the state
to provide the charge sheet, outline and other relevant details concerning
Mushore and Zimuto. Makonese had said he wanted to use the details to
prepare for trial.

Makonese made the request in a letter dated March 27 last year.
Mushore's legal team is understood to be arguing that this letter clearly
stated that he would not be arrested on his return to Zimbabwe.

Gula-Ndebele is said to have been aware of this arrangement.

The police have however dismissed this procedure.

Spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said police had proceeded to
charge Mushore because a warrant of arrest had been issued as far back as
2004 and a docket had been opened on the case.

Asked if he was not aware of the Attorney-General's promises in the
letter, Bvudzijena said if the police knew about the arrangement they would
not have charged Mushore.

Meanwhile, the High Court is today expected to hear the state's appeal
against Mushore's bail granted by a regional court this week.


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Supreme Court judgement triggers equipment looting

Zim Independent

Augustine Mukaro

A SUPREME Court judgement allowing government to seize farming
equipment from farmers whose properties have been expropriated has triggered
a farm-equipment looting orgy throughout the country.

Reports reaching the Zimbabwe Independent show that on the farms
invaded, high-profile politicians are taking advantage of the judgement to
force farmers to leave all movable implements.

Another group has started invading garages and workshops that repaired
and housed farming equipment from displaced farmers.

In the Karoi area in Mashonaland West, Major General Nicholas Dube who
invaded Grand Parade farm forcing the owner out despite the existence of a
court order allowing him to stay, is now reportedly seizing his farming
equipment.

The 15 soldiers which Dube initially deployed on the farm have now
taken over irrigation equipment including centre pivots and a host of other
implements. They are threatening to take over dairy cows and the dairy
processing plant plus other infrastructure on the farm.

In Masvingo, Chiredzi South MP retired Brig-General Kalisto Gwanetsa,
who had given farmer Lyle Engles of Farm 28 14 days to vacate, this week
ordered the farmer to leave all his movable equipment behind. Engles, who is
in the process of relocating to Mozambique, has challenged the equipment
seizure.

Other workshop and storage owners said they had been approached by
people with notices to acquire their equipment. They are also offering
ridiculous figures as compensation for the equipment.

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that government was allowed to
acquire all farming equipment and machinery belonging to former white
commercial farmers whose farms were compulsorily acquired for resettlement.

The ruling was on a constitutional application by a group of farmers
challenging the acquisition of their equipment stored at Manica Zimbabwe
Ltd.

The judgement was met with criticism from farming organisations whose
members are challenging their eviction from farms.


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Chigudu, Mutasa battle for Makoni North

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure

A BATTLE of the titans is on the cards in Makoni North, Manicaland,
amid reports that provincial governor Tinaye Chigudu wants to take the seat
from State Security minister Didymus Mutasa.

Zanu PF sources this week said Chigudu, the party's provincial
chairperson, has already launched his campaign for the 2008 parliamentary
election in the constituency and was determined to elbow out Mutasa, the
party's national secretary for administration.

"Chigudu has vowed to slug it out with Mutasa in the party's primary
elections," one of the sources said. "The two protagonists have since
launched their campaigns and there are reports of political violence in the
constituency."

The source added that party youths were being used to perpetrate the
violence.

A central committee member in Manicaland told the Zimbabwe Independent
that when he recently visited Tande area in the constituency to pay
condolences to a relative, mourners fled after mistaking his car for that of
one of the two contestants.

"The mourners only returned after realising I was not one of those
vying for the seat," the central committee member said. "There is a war of
catapults in the area. It is really serious."

Mutasa yesterday declined to comment on the matter.

"Comrade, I cannot talk to you. I am rushing for a meeting," he said.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Chigudu were in vain at the
time of going to press yesterday.

Violence broke out in the constituency in 2004 when war veteran James
Kaunye challenged Mutasa for the seat. Mutasa triumphed.

Chigudu is currently embroiled in a row with Youth Development
minister Saviour Kasukuwere after the latter dissolved the party's youth
executive in Manicaland that was reportedly opposed to President Robert
Mugabe's candidacy next year.

According to media reports, Kasukuwere, a Zanu PF politburo member
representing the ruling party's youths, attracted the ire of Chigudu after
he dissolved the ruling party's provincial youth wing about a month ago
accusing them of corruption and incompetence.


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Appointed MPs to face elections

Zim Independent

Constantine Chimakure

VICE-PRESIDENT Joseph Msika and eight ministers currently in
parliament on the basis of President Robert Mugabe's benevolence will have
to contest and win next year's legislative polls if they are to retain their
seats in cabinet.

Msika, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Rural Housing minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mines minister Amos Midzi, Water Resources minister
Munacho Mutezo, Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Small Enterprises
minister Sithembiso Nyoni, Indigenisation minister Paul Mangwana and Foreign
minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi are in parliament courtesy of their
appointment as non-constituency MPs by Mugabe.

But with Mugabe's assent to Constitutional Amendment No 18 last week,
Msika and the eight ministers will have to contest and win next year's
polls - a move Zanu PF sources said would be a Herculean task for most of
the Zanu PF bigwigs.

The sources said some of the ministers would fall by the wayside next
year judging by their performances in previous elections.

Amendment No 18 abolished the posts of non-constituency legislators
with effect from next year.

The membership of the House of Assembly will be increased to 210 from
150.

All the MPs will be directly elected by voters registered in the 210
constituencies to be delimitated by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

This entails that everyone who was appointed by Mugabe during the life
of the current parliament as a non-constituency lawmaker should find a
constituency, contest and win it if he or she entertains ambitions to remain
in the House.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe states that for one to be a
vice-president or minister, he or she must be an MP.

"There are strong fears that Msika, Mnangagwa, Midzi, Nyoni and Ndlovu
would not make it into parliament next year," one of the sources said.
"Mnangagwa, Midzi, Ndlovu and Nyoni contested in the 2005 parliamentary
polls in urban constituencies and lost. The same scenario is expected next
year."

Msika and Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo have not contested any
election since 2000 arguing that they are national leaders.

However, the reason by the former PF Zapu stalwarts was dismissed amid
assertions that Msika and Nkomo no longer commanded support in Matabeleland
and were afraid of being humiliated by the MDC.

Mnangagwa, Midzi, Nyoni and Ndlovu have repeatedly lost parliamentary
elections since 2000 to the MDC, while Mugabe invited Mumbengegwi into
politics after the 2005 legislative election.

Before then Mumbengegwi was Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United
Kingdom.

In the 2000 and 2005 polls, Mnangagwa lost the Kwekwe seat to the MDC's
Blessing Chebundo, while Ndlovu was twice hammered by the opposition party's
Milton Gwetu in Mpopoma.

Midzi lost the Hatfield seat to the MDC's Tapiwa Mashakada in the 2005
general election, while Nyoni was wallopped in 2000 by the opposition's
vice-president Thokozani Khupe in Makokoba and five years later she lost to
David Coltart in Bulawayo South.

The Zanu PF sources said some of the affected ministers were
contemplating contesting the elections in rural constituencies where the
ruling party enjoys massive support.

"Mnangagwa is likely to contest in one of the two constituencies in
Gokwe, Mangwana in Chivi North and Nyoni is eyeing a constituency in
Matabeleland North," another source said. "The outcome of the delimitation
exercise will give a guide to the affected ministers to select 'safe'
constituencies."

A Zanu PF senior official told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that
Msika was not going to contest in any election next year, but would be
appointed by Mugabe to the Senate as one of the five senators the head of
state must select.

"Why would Msika contest?" the official questioned. "President Mugabe
will simply have to appoint him into the Senate. Other ministers have to
fight it out in the constituencies - from the party's primary elections to
the proper ones next year. That is the name of the game."

Mugabe, the source said, was also expected to appoint Nkomo, Joshua
Malinga, Aguy Georgios and Kantibai Patel to the Senate. Beginning next
year, the membership of the Senate will go up to 93 from 66.

The Senate will be made up of six senators per province directly
elected by voters registered in the 60 senatorial constituencies and 10
provincial governors appointed by the president.

The president and deputy president of the Council of Chiefs, 16
chiefs - being two chiefs from each provinces other than metropolitan
provinces - and five senators appointed by the head-of-state would comprise
the Senate.


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'Tsvangirai's wings clipped'. . .

Zim Independent

Augustine Mukaro

THE battle to control the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction's women's
assembly remained open after the party's national executive council refused
at the weekend to endorse the election of Theresa Makone to replace Lucia
Matibenga.

Sources in the party said at the Saturday meeting the national council
forced Tsvangirai to shelve the women's assembly debate following concerns
about the "Bulawayo restaurant" elections, plus allegations that Makone had
splashed thousands of South African rands bribing senior party officials in
all provinces to vote for her. The allegations have however not been
substantiated.

Tsvangirai had before Saturday's indaba met provincial leaders and the
party's parliamentary caucus to rally them to endorse Makone's election.

The MDC leader had tried to race through Makone's election in his
presidential report, telling party officials that the matter was now "water
under the bridge". But the officials insisted on a full debate since the
item was on the agenda.

Makone was asked to leave the meeting in a clear message that the
national council did not recognise her election. Matibenga, who had
indicated that she would attend the meeting, was asked to stay away.

Several senior MDC officials then took turns to attack the process
that secured Makone's election, itself a condemnation of Tsvangirai, who has
staked his political career on dumping Matibenga for one of his friends.

Makone, whose husband Ian is one of Tsvangirai's top advisers and
financiers, was controversially elected as the head of the women's assembly
to replace Matibenga.

Matibenga's supporters said her ouster was unprocedural and
unconstitutional, accusing Tsvangirai of failing to uphold the party's
internal procedures.

Nelson Chamisa, the party's spokesman, emerged as a surprise opponent
of Matibenga's ouster during the meeting. Chamisa was joined by former
Harare mayor, Elias Mudzuri, deputy secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada,
Kwekwe MP Blessing Chebundo and Thamsanqa Mahlangu, the youth leader.

Several other senior officials have thrown their weight behind the
"Friends of Lucia Campaign", which has been a rallying point for Matibenga's
supporters.

Following the tension-filled deliberations, the national council
agreed to reopen debate on Makone's election on November 11, when the
national chairman Lovemore Moyo would be expected to present a report on
Theresa Makone's controversial election.

Moyo missed Saturday's meeting because he was in South Africa, where
the MDC is involved in talks with the ruling Zanu PF.

However, impeccable sources said the proposed Sunday meeting had since
been shelved and the matter would be deliberated on at another national
executive council meeting in December.

Chamisa said the party resolved to put the issue of the women's
assembly aside and wait for the report from Moyo.

"The national chairman will compile a report about what happened in
Bulawayo regarding the women's assembly and we expect that report in a few
days' time," Chamisa said. "However, there is consensus on the way forward
and the party will soon make its position known to the public."

Non-governmental organisations who observed the restaurant elections
said the entire electoral process of the women's assembly was severely
flawed and could not have constituted a legitimate process in terms of the
MDC's internal party procedures, basic electoral norms and the Sadc
guidelines regarding elections.

Officials supporting Tsvangirai said the dissolution of the women's
assembly was justified because Matibenga had failed to lead the most
important organ of the party as shown by the nomination results.

"Following the recommendations to reform the organ, the best was to
ask the affected people to seek a fresh mandate," one of the officials said.
"Makone was then nominated for the post by 11 provinces while Matibenga was
nominated by a single province."

The officials also alleged that since the beginning of the year,
Matibenga failed to organise a single meeting for the women's assembly,
seriously crippling the party's drive to harness the majority of the voters.
Women constitute 52% of the voters in Zimbabwe.

The officials also alleged that when the talks started, the MDC
created four committees to research, advise and make recommendations to the
negotiating team and Matibenga was made leader of one of the committees.

"Her committee is the only one which failed to come up with a report
and recommendations to the negotiating team," the official added.


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Moyo 'saves' Hussein

Zim Independent

Lucia Makamure

JONATHAN Moyo, the former Minister of State for Information and
Publicity in the Office of the President, this week came to the aid of
prominent lawyer Terrence Hussein who was last month accused by Information
secretary George Charamba of unethical conduct for allegedly challenging a
law he helped craft.

Hussein is representing Ndabenhle Mabhena who is challenging the
constitutionality of sections of the Broadcasting Services Act.

Moyo in a supporting affidavit that was filed together with the notice
of opposition, denied that Hussein helped him craft the Broadcasting
Services Act.

"I am the one who, in my capacity as the then minister responsible for
Information and Publicity, personally initiated and secured the professional
services of Mr Terence Hussein to provide me with legal advice soon after
this Honourable Court on September 22, 2000 struck down the monopoly of
broadcasting services created by Section 27 of the Broadcasting Act," he
said.

Moyo said Hussein was not in any way involved in the drafting of the
broadcasting law being challenged.

"The applicant (Hussein) was not in any way involved whether directly
or indirectly with the drafting of the Broadcasting Services Bill which was
done during my tenure as Minister of State for Information and Publicity,
nor was he involved in the defence of the legal challenges to the Act
between 2001 and 2002," Moyo said.

Moyo said he never had any confidential agreement beyond the normal
and standard client-attorney relationship with Hussein.

"At no time during the same period did Mr Hussein receive in writing
or otherwise from me or from anyone else in my office any protected or
confidential information or official secret," added Moyo.

According to Moyo's affidavit, Jennifer Tanyanyiwa, who at that time
was at the Attorney-General Office, was responsible for drafting the
Broadcasting Services Bill with his help. Mabhena, however, feels that the
attacks on his lawyer are a tactic being used by Charamba to pressure
Hussein to drop the case.

"The applicant has sought to trivialise my challenge by attacking and
scandalising my legal practitioner. The aim of doing this is to get my legal
practitioner to abandon me on the basis that the matter poses too high a
personal risk against him. If my legal practitioner ceased acting, the
applicant would be comforted in the hope that no other legal practitioner
would want to go through this ordeal," said Mabhena.

Mabhena added that the tactic is not new as individuals like the
editor of the Daily News and directors and personnel of Capital Radio who
have challenged aspects of the media legal regime in this country have
suffered in one way or another for doing just that.


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Tsvangirai tries to appease Matibenga

Zim Independent

Augustine Mukaro

IN a desperate effort to bridge the intra-party differences that have
rocked the MDC, party leader Morgan Tsvangirai is set to re-deploy ousted
women's assembly chairperson Lucia Matibenga as the national
vice-chairperson.

Highly placed sources said Tsvangirai agreed to put aside the
Matibenga issue during last Saturday's meeting hoping to convince her to
accept the new offer before the MDC annual conference scheduled for next
month in Harare. The post of national vice-chairman fell vacant following
the death of former national chairperson Isaac Matongo in May and the
automatic elevation of his deputy Lovemore Moyo, in terms of the MDC
constitution.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa confirmed that his party was due to hold
an annual conference in December where it would review progress and fill-in
vacancies that could have arisen during the course of the year.

"Any appointments or election of members to the party is a prerogative
of the congress or the annual conference," he said. "In this particular case
we are going to hold an annual conference but as to who is going the be
elected to what post, it's for the conference to decide."

However, sources said Matibenga had turned down offers for the post of
vice national chairperson before the women's assembly debacle came to the
fore, arguing that the move would relegate her to a less powerful position
and gradually into political obscurity. Although the Matibenga issue still
remained unresolved, Tsvangirai impressed upon the MDC leadership in his
address last weekend to treat the issue as "water under the bridge" and to
now concentrate on other priorities.

Moyo, who oversaw the election of Makone, failed to attend the
Saturday meeting as he was reportedly in South Africa for the ongoing
President Thabo Mbeki-led talks between the MDC and Zanu PF.


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Legal experts adopt Sadc

Zim Independent

Orirando Manwere

LEGAL experts from East and Southern Africa concerned about the
continued abuse of power by governments have adopted a set of guidelines to
set regional standards on how to adhere to democratic principles and
constitution-making in the Sadc region.

The experts adopted the guidelines last Saturday in Harare after a
three-day symposium on the Rule of Law, Human Rights, Constitutionalism and
the Constitution Making Process in the Sadc region.

The guidelines form the basis of a proposed draft constitution for the
region which is being coordinated by National Constitutional Assembly
chairperson Lovemore Madhuku and will be presented to Sadc leaders for
consideration and possible adoption.

This comes at a time when Sadc member states are undergoing
constitutional reforms, notably in Zimbabwe where the process has stirred
controversy after being left to the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition MDC
under the Sadc-brokered mediation initiative by South African president
Thabo Mbeki.

The two parties adopted the Zimbabwe Constitution Amendment No 18
Bill, which was last week signed into law by President Robert Mugabe.

The civic society and members of the public are bitter that the
constitution making process has been left to politicians who can abuse their
authority to promote their own selfish interests.

Delegates to the symposium resolved to advocate the adoption of a
regional constitutional framework similar to the guidelines on elections,
drawn from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to provide checks and
balances on law-making processes in member states.

This was also reiterated by High Court judge and former acting
Attorney-General Bharat Patel in his presentation at the symposium.

The effects of a flawed constitution were confirmed in this week's
Supreme Court ruling on a constitutional application by a group of
ex-commercial farmers challenging the seizure of their equipment.

The Supreme Court dismissed the farmers' submission that the
Acquisition of Farm Equipment Act fails to provide for payment of fair
compensation within a reasonable time as required by the constitution of
Zimbabwe.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said the constitution provided that
compensation had to be paid within a reasonable time.

"The payment, in view, has to be made within a reasonable time.
Whether payment will be in one lump sum or in installments is something the
constitution chose not to prescribe," said Chidyausiku.

He noted that the outside time limits set out in the Act were
indications of what the legislature considered as the outer limits of
reasonable time for payment.

"They do not circumscribe the discretion of the court which will
decide the reasonableness of time for payment on the basis of the facts of
each case," said Chidyausiku.

Commenting on the ruling, NCA chairperson Madhuku said this was one
example of how a defective constitution undermined the rights of citizens
without due regard to the property rights of the minority.

Madhuku said despite the constitution not making specific provisions
on the timeframe for compensation, the court should have ordered that
compensation be immediate given the prevailing hyperinflationary
environment.

"The current constitution is so defective on private property rights
as it was premised on colonial history.

"In as much as there are laws on compulsory acquisition of land, the
compensation for equipment should be made within a reasonable time and in my
view that should be immediate under the current economic climate," Madhuku
said.

"Such loopholes in our law can only be addressed through the adoption
of an all-inclusive and people-driven constitution, hence our efforts to
push for a regional constitutional framework through the symposium we had
last week," said Madhuku.

The symposium was jointly organised by the Open Society Initiative of
Southern Africa and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

It was attended by South African Constitutional Court judge Justice
Albie Sacks and Ugandan Supreme Court judge Justice George Kanyeihamba, High
Court judge Patel and members of Sadc law societies.


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Zim agro tax highest: World Bank report

Zim Independent

Kuda Chikwanda in Berlin, Germany

ZIMBABWE'S tax on the ailing agricultural sector is the highest in a
group of transforming and urbanised economies and is a result of a highly
overvalued currency, the World Bank (WB) has said in its 2008 World
Development Report.

The report titled Agriculture for Development said Zimbabwe's high net
agricultural tax was in direct contrast to efforts by fellow countries in
the transforming and urbanised nation categories, which were all reducing
tax on agriculture.

"Some countries shifted to protect the (agricultural) sector more .
while others continued to tax it, although at lower levels than in the
1980s. Zimbabwe is the only country of this group that had a higher net tax
on the sector, mainly because of an overvalued currency," the World Bank
said.

Transforming countries are those where agriculture contributes less
than 5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and where poverty is mostly amongst
the rural population. Urbanised countries enjoy less than 5% of agricultural
contribution to GDP and poverty is mostly amongst the urban class.

Net tax for most countries in these categories fell from around 15% to
an average of 4% as countries halved their net taxation to strengthen their
agricultural sectors. Changes in net tax are measured by calculating the
nominal rate of assistance offered farmers, which is the price of a product
in its domestic market minus its price outside the country as a percentage
of its external price.

However, in a country with foreign exchange distortions, changes in
net taxation are measured through a process which accounts for the
difference between the exchange rate used by importers (parallel), the one
used by exporters (weighted average of official and parallel rates), and an
estimated equilibrium exchange rate. Zimbabwe has serious foreign exchange
distortions with the parallel market rate currently at US$1:$1 million while
the official rate for the greenback is $30 000.

Government has steadfastly refused to devalue the overvalued dollar
resulting in serious foreign currency shortages, which have crippled the
economy over the years.

In addition, the central bank has unsuccessfully tried to support the
agricultural sector through subsidies on inputs and fuel but this has served
only to make the situation worse with the cheap inputs finding their way
onto the parallel market instead.

At the presentation of the report in Berlin week, it was revealed that
Official Development Assistance (ODA) had been cut drastically from 12% in
1990 to just 4% in 2006. It was also revealed that public spending on
agriculture is currently at a meagre 4%.

German minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Heidemarie
Wieczorek-Zeul said most African countries had not met their Millennium
Development Goal targets to date but called for more international support
from developed nations to achieve this.


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Double trouble for listed retailers

Zim Independent

Shakeman Mugari

RETAIL companies continue to take a battering as the government keeps
a tight lid on prices resulting in shortages of basic commodities.

For the listed retail companies government's price crackdown has
delivered a double blow. Their share prices are suffering and so are the
profits.

The share prices of retail companies on the market show that the
market has declared "hands off" on the counters. Stocks like OK Zimbabwe and
Redstar have not moved significantly compared to the rest of the market
since the launch of the price crackdown on June 25.

For instance OK Zimbabwe's share price has only moved by 140% ($7 500
to $18 000) since June 25. Redstar's share price has moved by only 167%
during the same period. The industrial index has however grown by 1 123%
over the same period.

Other retail companies like Tedco and Pelhams have not fared any
better. Edgars and Truworths have not been spared either. Their share prices
have remained subdued despite the bull-run on the stock market.

Other sectors have directly contributed to the crisis in the retail
sector as they try to cushion themselves from inflation and price controls
by demanding cash upfront.

The old reputation of a retail sector that is cash rich has
disappeared as manufacturers and suppliers now demand cash on delivery.

The basic concept of retail in the past was that the supermarkets
would sell the commodities before they pay for them.

This was made possible through credit terms of between seven days and
60 days on some products. Retailers would then use the credit days to hedge.

Retailers who spoke to businessdigest this week said the game plan has
changed. "We now have to pay cash on almost everything that we want," said a
commercial director with a retail chain.

The effect is that the companies are always in a cash-flow crisis as
they now need to have cash available when they have to restock.

The problem though is that most retail companies have not made any
significant cash over the past three months because of the price controls
and lack of stock.

Their volumes and margins have hit rock bottom while operational costs
have skyrocketed on the back of increased power tariffs, rates and wage
bills.

OK and TM the largest retail companies in Zimbabwe recently laid off
some contract workers but officials said the companies are still bleeding
because the current workers are being paid from reduced stock and thin
margins.

Government has maintained that retailers should effect a profit margin
of 20% on all commodities, a figure analysts say would force most companies
to close shop.

There are also additional problems for the sector. Manufacturers and
suppliers have stopped delivering goods to the shops. This means that
retailers will have to cover the transport costs to collect the goods.

They are however not allowed to recover this cost component on the
price of the goods. With less stock in the shops retail companies are likely
to record serious losses this year.

"In the past we used to turn our stock about 14 times, now we just do
about four. We are making huge losses," said an official from TM
Supermarket.

For the fast moving products like milk and other basic commodities
more stock-turns mean more profit for the retail companies.

Under the new regulations retailers are not allowed to charge
replacement costs.

This means that with inflation around 8 000% the companies will need
to borrow every time they need to restock because of the price changes.

For companies that might have the foreign currency to import goods
from South Africa the National Pricing and Incomes Commission will not allow
them to use parallel market rates in their pricing models.


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Zesa dogged by poor administration

Zim Independent

Paul Nyakazeya

THE consequences of blackouts in Zimbabwe have been disastrous with
families complaining of water-related diseases because the Zimbabwe National
Water Authority (Zinwa) cannot pump water due to power outages.

Industries have drastically reduced production.

In the education sector, practical examinations have been postponed.

Some employees no longer look forward to going home soon after work as
they do not know whether electricity will be on or off.

The Zimbabwe Independent last week tried in vain to get officials from
Zesa to outline what the real problems were at the power utility and what
lay ahead for Zimbabweans. The official excuse from the parastatal has been
that of foreign currency shortages and low power tariffs.

The company also says the increased theft of cables and oil from
transformers and vandalism of substations have resulted in a number of
substations catching fire at a rate which the power utility cannot replace.

However, sources in the power utility said equipment breakdowns and
theft problems were minor issues. The current shortages, they said, were
mainly due to problems caused by a reduction of generation capacity and
reduced imports due to unpaid debts, poor planning and wrong priorities.

"As we speak Zesa is closing some of its thermal power stations
because of failure to procure spares due to lack of foreign currency," an
engineer with Zesa said.

Mozambique's power utility Hydroelectrica de Cabora Bassa in October
reduced power exports to Zimbabwe citing unpaid debts. The supplies to
Zimbabwe were reduced from 300 megawatts to 195 megawatts over a debt of
US$35 million, forcing Zesa to increase load-shedding by 50%.

To make matters worse, frustrated residents were recently warned that
there would be a significant increase in load-shedding due to reduced
generation capacity at Kariba from October 26 to November 6.

"This has been necessitated by critical corrective maintenance which
is being undertaken on the generator transformer serving Units 1 and 2 at
the power station which is now long overdue," said Zesa in a statement.

The engineer said government's laid-back attitude towards power
problems started after the 1996 World Solar Summit hosted in Harare. At that
summit participants warned that Southern Africa was going to experience
serious power shortages in ten years. Regional countries were therefore
urged to make contingent plans to avert the potential crisis. This warning
was repeated in 2003. Zimbabwean authorities did not do anything.

Zimbabwe remains the region's worst hit, importing about 30% of its
power requirements from increasingly incapacitated neighbours.

Ironically, Zimbabwe has the best power generating capacity after
South Africa in the region. It has two big generators and about 200 small
ones.

South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and other countries in the region
reportedly have made great strides in investing in new infrastructure to
deal with the projected shortages. The three medium size generators in
Munyati, Bulawayo and Harare have been left idle due to shortage of spares.

The bulk of the equipment at these power stations have been
canibalised to keep the large stations at Kariba and Hwange running.

Scores of new power projects such as the Batoka and Sengwa have been
on the cards for close to two decades. In the case Bakota Zimbabwe has
failed to raise fund to contribute to the construction of the power station.
Mozambique, the other partner in the deal has expressed its willingness to
put its shares of the capital needed to kick start the project.

Many families are relying on firewood for cooking but the price of
wood has been escalating due to high demand. A bundle of firewood enough to
prepare one meal costs about $600 000.

"On average I am spending about $12 million every month on firewood,"
said Owen Mutetwa, a father of three in Mabvuku.

"What surprises me is that even if we go for one week without power,
the bill from Zesa is always the same or more. Meat, milk and other
perishable foods have gone bad, we no longer have long-term plans in such an
environment," he said.

Government in September promised that industry would be spared of
frequent power blackouts but some industrial workers could be seen this week
spending crucial production time playing ball games due to sporadic power
supplies.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Callisto Jokonya,
however says industry has benefited and government's decision to black out
domestic consumers is justified.

"I think industry is benefiting from the present arrangement," Jokonya
said.

"We were consulted and we agreed the best way forward was to starve
the homes to help the productive sector," he said.

Industry players argue that while government has blamed its political
stand-off with the West for the economic crisis, the reluctant manner in
which it has handled proposals to end Zesa's monopoly was the reason behind
the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe's power sector.

They argue that private investment has the capacity to drive the
troubled power sector out of the current crisis because it will bring
competition.

"Apart from foreign currency shortages, poor foresight by government
is one of the reasons for the crisis as officials did not act on warnings of
an impending crisis which had been given through research by the Southern
African Power Pool in the late 1990s," the engineer said.

As it came into office in September 2005, the Zimbabwe Electricity
Regulatory Commission (Zerc) warned that the lack of urgency in developing
power projects would be disastrous for the economy.

Last year, government rejected crucial foreign investment proposals
for power generation by European companies fearing criticism for "supping
with the devil", preferring Chinese companies.

Five Western companies, Benadale, Australia's Africa Energy, Perigil,
Kudu Resources and Omega Corporation in 2005 put in bids to exploit uranium
deposits in the Zambezi Valley.Experts said if authority had been granted,
the projects could provide an alternative source of energy.

But a proposal by the mining affairs body (MAB) to grant Australian
Stock Exchange-listed Omega Corp the uranium claims in a joint venture with
a local investor were blocked.

Australia is a fierce critic of President Robert Mugabe's human rights
record.

China Aero Technology Import and Export Company, which was given the
tender to rehabilitate Hwange and Kariba in 2005, is yet to start work
because Zimbabwe does not have the required foreign currency to buy spares.


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Few enriched by economic crisis

Zim Independent

Jesilyn Dendere

A ZIMBABWEAN business leader working in South Africa says the current
economic problems will take a long time to end because some people are
benefiting from the crisis.

Speaking at the Harare Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony, Alexander
Forbes group chief executive Peter Moyo said some local businessmen had
taken advantage of the economic crisis in the country to enrich themselves
and as such it would be difficult to try to change the system.

"Some people are benefiting from this (economic crisis) and will
obviously not want to change. These people need to understand that the whole
is greater and better than the sum of the parts," Moyo said.

Moyo said such people were not interested in a new dispensation and
will stifle change whose outcome does not benefit them directly.

"To change they have to believe in a better vision and future. If not,
let us not be surprised if we cannot move forward," Moyo said. He said there
was need for foreign investment to boost major sectors of the economy that
has been under-performing over the past four years.

"The sooner we accept that we need international capital the better it
is for us," he said. "One thing about capital is that it will only go to
places where the rewards are better.

"We therefore have to accept that Zimbabwe will be competing with
other nations. The challenge is to make Zimbabwe a better capital
destination than a lot of other nations that are the recipients of that
capital.

"This therefore requires clarity on why the international community
must invest in Zimbabwe."

Moyo said in order to effect change, there was need for government to
come up with new strategies "an approach that has credible people who are
not tainted".

"It is obvious to me that it is only a new order that can have the
credibility of the international community and the people of Zimbabwe. The
old order can only make (the situation) it worse," Moyo said.

Moyo said the state was also involved in corrupt activities, which
have been deliberately ignored.

"We also have allowed a lot of people to grow and be successful,
purely because of corruption," said Moyo. "Some of the state institutions
that business depends on are rife with corruption."

He also said although these entities might resist any change for the
better there was a need to come up with plans to deal with such cases. He
said business had played a role in corrupting some of the entities and
officials and that it was up to the business community to make sure that
they eliminate corruption in the system.

"If we want to change this country for the better, we also have a role
in making sure that we do not allow our businesses to be the corruptors or
the conduit of corrupt practices."

Moyo called for ethical awareness in business practice, he said it was
their mandate to ensure that companies and businesses are run in the most
ethical way that promotes good corporate governance.

"What sort of businesses are we running? Are we running businesses
that can only be successful, if the people of Zimbabwe are suffering and
there is turmoil? Can we therefore be part of the change, or are we going to
be the stumbling block."

He said it was the duty of business people to prepare for a brighter
Zimbabwe, not only for the politicians.

"It is not only the politicians that must worry about this. At any
rate, I don't trust them. It is also us and the way we run our businesses."

In conclusion, Moyo said those that run businesses must make sure
their enterprises are attractive to capital inflows.

"Let us not forget that the corporate world also sees Zimbabwe through
the Zimbabwean businesses."


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Zim not ready for polls

Zim Independent

Orirando Manwere

THE scheduled March 2008 harmonised elections should be postponed to a
later date during the year to allow for the mobilisation of adequate human
and financial resources for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the
Registrar-General's Office and the police to efficiently carry out their
roles, political observers have said.

They said last week's report to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee
on Defence and Home Affairs by the RG's chief accountant, Edwell
Mutemaringa, that his office required $3,5 trillion to print the voters roll
and over $8 billion to settle bills before year-end was a cause for concern
as elections were ostensibly only three months away.

Only $735 billion was allocated for preparation for the elections in
the 2007 supplementary budget announced by Finance minister Samuel
Mumbengegwi in September.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network chairperson, Noel Kututwa, said the
RG's office, which is carrying out a voter registration mop-up exercise
until November 15, needed adequate time and funds to compile the voters roll
which should be subsequently inspected by the electorate before the polls in
terms of set regulations.

He also pointed out that the ZEC, which is not fully staffed, was yet
to start the delimitation process which in the past normally took over six
months but was now expected to take less than three months for 210
constituencies.

Kututwa said the ZEC had so far appointed senior managers and needed
to recruit more operatives, a situation that would affect preparations for
the polls.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police, which should provide at least four
officers per polling station in terms of the law, wants to increase its
force from the current 25 000 to about 60 000 as part of next year's
elections.

However, the police force was allocated a mere $1,5 trillion for all
its operations.

Deputy Commissioner Levy Sibanda told the same portfolio committee
that from the budgetary vote, the ZRP had only $85 billion left in its
coffers and that it was battling to service its debts and meet its other
obligations like buying uniforms for recruits.

Kututwa said the failure by the government to adequately finance the
RG's office to prepare the voters roll and police recruitment was a clear
testimony that Zimbabwe was unprepared for next March's elections.

"A lot still needs to be done. Delimitation is yet to start," he said.
"We have not seen any action on the ground despite the announcement by the
ZEC chairperson (Justice George Chiweshe) last week. Considering that there
is an increased number of constituencies, more personnel is needed for the
exercise as well as voter education as there will be new boundaries.

"The inspection of the voters roll is very important and this will
require more time against the backdrop of the delayed compilation of the
voters roll. If the elections are held in March as scheduled, I foresee a
lot of logistical problems. I think there is need to postpone them to a
later date if they are to be run more efficiently."

Kututwa said because of the increased number of constituencies and the
tripartite polls, more ballot boxes and papers, voting booths and other
related materials were needed.

He said the acquisition of these materials would take time.

"The coming elections will be quite involving given the increased
number of candidates and constituencies and there will be need for intensive
voter education by ZEC and other stakeholders. There has been a slow
response to the ongoing mop-up exercise, which I attribute to lack of
publicity, especially on radio," Kututwa said.

"The advertisements which were placed in the print media were limited
because of reduced print runs of local papers of late and the majority of
people in rural areas do not have access to them. The electronic media,
particularly radio, has not been effectively used and the voter educators
deployed to the areas are not enough. This area should be stepped up in the
coming exercises."

Over 109 900 new voters were registered during the initial
registration exercise between June 18 and August 17.

The opposition MDC called for an extension of the exercise and 939
areas nationwide were identified as having not been adequately covered.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the RG's report to the committee
vindicated his party's concerns that the institutions charged with preparing
for elections lacked the necessary capacity.

He said there was need for ZEC to be reconstituted and for government
to provide adequate funding for the various institutions involved in
elections to ensure credibility and public confidence in the electoral
process.

Chamisa however pointed out that the question of the timing of the
elections was a matter that could only be determined by the outcome of the
ongoing talks between Zanu PF and the MDC being mediated by South African
president Thabo Mbeki.

"This is one of the many issues being discussed under the ongoing
talks." Chamisa said. "However, it is clear that ZEC and the RG's office do
not have the capacity to run the elections and this is a worrisome
development. That is the reason why this matter is being resolved through
dialogue.

"By making those announcements (RG's report) people's confidence in
the electoral process is eroded. The situation is not good enough. The
ongoing mop-up exercise is being [ends here...]


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Democrats are not yet born

Zim Independent

Jacob Rukweza

THE national executive committee of the opposition MDC has deferred
discussion on the contentious dissolution of its women's assembly until the
national chairman of the party, Lovemore Moyo, presents a comprehensive
report on the circumstances surrounding this debacle.

In the wake of the MDC fiasco, Zimbabweans in general and the local
media in particular have reacted with outrage, attacking and maligning party
leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the process.

A barrage of vituperative expletives has been thrown at the MDC
leadership with embittered women calling Tsvangirai a male bigot, while
others have called him a dictator.

Others have called him a hopeless politician while the state media has
celebrated the current goings-on in the MDC while conveniently flagging the
"we told you so" placard.

The hysteria that has characterised the reaction of these Zimbabweans
to the controversy surrounding the ouster of Lucia Matibenga should be
understood in the context of a desperate populace which cannot stomach
watching its dream of a new Zimbabwe seemingly going to the dogs.

However, the clearest signal from this public anger is that
Zimbabweans from all walks of life are heavily banking on Tsvangirai and the
MDC to deliver a new Zimbabwe.

The MDC national leadership is set to meet again soon to discuss the
matter of the women's assembly in order to come up with a way forward.

In coming up with a viable way forward on this matter, it important to
avoid playing to the gallery and take time to correctly locate the dynamics
at play in the life of the MDC as a political party.

Party members have used different premises to characterise the
problems bedevilling the MDC which they say are as old as the party.

What is notable in the recent frenzy against the MDC leadership is
that at the forefront of the crusade are known sympathisers of the MDC
leader some of them having stood by Tsvangirai during the tumultuous October
2005 split.

Ordinary party members have called it dictatorship, and fervent
feminists in the MDC have been quick to point to male chauvinism.

Officials in the party have talked of nepotism and patronage and MDC
MPs and founder members have blamed the "kitchen cabinet" for ill-advice.

Intellectuals in and outside the party have referred to lack of
sophistication on the part of Tsvangirai.

What all critics of the MDC leadership have failed to appreciate in
all this political grandstanding is the manifestation of a basic instinct in
human nature - the pursuit of power.

In pursuit of power (personal or collective), chauvinism,
dictatorship, nepotism and patronage are atavistic tendencies conveniently
employable by anyone pursuing power in the absence of binding restrictions.

The modern concept of constitutionalism is premised on the
appreciation of the fact that human beings are products of the most
undemocratic societal unit called family.

For instance, as children human beings do not elect to be born, as
children human beings do not choose parents or relatives, children do not
choose their race or nationality, they do not choose their religion,
lifestyle, diet, attire or the schools they go to.

All these fundamental choices despite their permanent bearing on one's
life are dictated by powerful parents who are not obliged to consult their
off-springs as espoused by democratic principles.

Human beings are products of a process of socialisation in which the
father or mother as breadwinner and powerful head of the family dictates
moral principles, ethics and values with children expected to cooperate lock
stock and barrel.

The bottom line here is that because the family institution is an
express dictatorship it can only produce power-mongers and dictators.

This short lesson in elementary sociometry may assist Zimbabweans in
general and MDC members in particular to understand that because humans are
products of an institution that is administered by dictatorship they are
bound to revert to this way of life if no checks and balances are put in
place to deal with and contain this tendency in human beings.

These checks and balances should not just be put in place, they must
be collectively enforced by those who are bound by such regulations.

Human beings are not born democrats - democracy is a virtue that human
beings struggle to embrace and practice.

It is one thing for the MDC members to call themselves a democratic
movement and quite another thing to practise democracy.

Constitutions whether national or organisational have been designed to
deal with the caprices of dictatorship as a human tendency while ushering in
a dispensation of constitutional democracy where members or signatories to a
constitution are bound by the democratic precepts of that document.

In as much as MDC members have a moral obligation to abide by the
dictates of the party constitution they have an even greater obligation to
enforce the constitution to guide the conduct of any member who displays the
expected propensity to undermine the constitution - including the party
president.

More than anything else the current problems in the MDC are a result
of ignorant party officials who have failed to appreciate the crucial and
forever sacrosanct function of the MDC constitution as a microcosm of the
national constitution.

Accusations that Tsvangirai has subverted the MDC constitution only
become possible in a situation were timid national executive committee
members collectively and consistently fail in their duty to make the MDC
leader and members abide by the constitution.

That the MDC constitution has been subverted should not surprise
anyone in the MDC.

In any case why do nations and organisations have constitutions if no
one is bound to break them?

What should surprise and anger people in and outside the MDC is if and
when the party's elected national executive committee fails to enforce the
constitution at its crucial meeting this weekend and in future.

And when it happens, it is not just Tsvangirai who will be culpable
but all those elected men and women in the national executive and other MDC
structures who have campaigned for leadership positions when they are not
clear of their duties and obligations in the party.

The infantile anger that we are currently noticing in the rank and
file of the MDC is indicative of a group of weak and undiscerning party
officials who have been tolerating the subversion of the party constitution
by powerful individuals in the party while naively hoping that one day it
would stop on its own.

Already, detractors of the MDC are busy writing the epitaph of the
opposition party on the basis of the current divisions spawned by the
unconstitutional dissolution of the women's assembly and the attendant
ouster of Matibenga.

Conclusions have already been made by reactionaries and doomsayers who
have already written off the MDC's preparedness to win general elections
next year.

The over-excited state media - desperate for dramatic news - is
already forecasting another split that, in their wishful thinking, will
paralyse the MDC before its burial in the March 2008 elections.

But the future of the MDC will not be decided by clueless media
functionaries whose interpretation of national politics is at best
pedestrian and often informed by parochial beer talk.

The future of the MDC will be decided by those men and women elected
and entrusted with enforcing the MDC's democratic constitution as a guiding
compass towards a new Zimbabwe.

It is also critical to remember that the turmoil rocking the MDC today
is not a new phenomenon at all.

It is a common characteristic of political movements in Zimbabwe and
across the continent.

A revealing book by the late professor Masipula Sithole - A Struggle
Within The Struggle - tells of more colossal upheavals that rocked Zanu as a
liberation movement between 1963 and 1979.

The protracted internal powers struggle that characterised the life of
the nationalist movement before Independence did not just prolong the
liberation struggle thereby giving a longer lease of life to colonialism; it
had fatal intra-party ramifications.

The current turmoil in the MDC is not insurmountable.

If anything, it is a test of character for those elected MDC officials
who have a collective responsibility to enforce the party constitution as we
struggle towards a new Zimbabwe.

However, if the elected MDC leaders collectively fail to manage their
affairs meticulously beginning now, the ultimate result will be a delayed
new Zimbabwe and prolonged suffering for the masses.

Let it be known that entertaining the futile adventurism represented
by the purveyors of the so called "third way" solution will not take the
struggle for a new Zimbabwe forward but backwards as the history of the
liberation struggle will show.

Misguided elements calling for new leadership in the MDC will find
themselves in the same predicament once again if there are no party cadres
strong enough to enforce the party constitution and stand their ground in
the face of powerful or power-mongering new leaders.

* Jacob Rukweza is a sub editor at the Zimbabwe Independent.


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Let the sun shine in our Zimbabwe

Zim Independent

By Luke Tamborinyoka

"Zuva nezuva hachitonge matare chibhakera

Hachina zvachinoshanda

Hachingabatsire

Ngoromera ingoromera

Harina zvarinoshanda

Haringabatsire"

OLIVER Mtukudzi is a polished musician and his music continues to
touch the hearts and minds of ordinary Zimbabweans.

I am not an ardent fan of Mtukudzi myself. I believe Alick Macheso is
the real deal. After all, I grew up in Chitungwiza and I am naturally
inclined towards sungura music.

But the song with the above lyrics, sung at the height of the Zanu
PF-inspired violence in the run-up to the presidential election of 2002,
remains my favourite from Tuku Music. Zanu PF was literally dripping with
the blood of innocent victims of its despotism and for me the song was a
message to Zanu PF.

The stage is set for yet another gruelling presidential election. For
some of us, the election presents Zimbabweans with yet another opportunity
to start afresh. It presents us with a perfect window to either vote for the
future as represented by Morgan Tsvangirai or the past as embodied by Robert
Mugabe.

As a nation, we all thought we had broken away from the past of
violence and bloodshed. The dialogue in South Africa should usher in a new
era where Zanu PF begins to respect the opposition by staying away from the
barbaric politics of machetes, catapults and knobkerries.

The new spirit of dialogue should mean that Zanu PF has to break away
from the past and refrain from violence as an instrument of coercion. The
dialogue process should see Zanu PF respecting the Sadc initiative by shying
away from its legendary affinity for human blood.

At the time of writing this article, Clemence Takaendesa, an MDC
activist who was allegedly shot dead last week by Retired Brigadier Benjamin
Mabenge in the Midlands town of Kwekwe, was set to be buried in his home
area in Gokwe on Wednesday.

The Zanu PF goblin should be satisfied with the blood of innocent MDC
supporters it has sucked over the past seven years. From Talent Mabika and
Tichaona Chiminya to Phibion Mafukidze and Gift Tandare, it is a sad and
tragic story of human trophies in Zanu PF's cabinet.

As we speak, the negotiating table in Pretoria has been soiled by the
hands of Zanu PF which are dripping with human blood.

Recently, I was part of an MDC delegation that met with Home Affairs
minister Kembo Mohadi over the escalating violence against opposition
supporters and civic groups. Mohadi's body language and Mugabe's utterances
thereafter showed that Zanu PF is in denial about the real violence taking
place against the innocent people of Zimbabwe.

The talks should translate into a conducive political atmosphere in
Zimbabwe. As Nelson Chamisa puts it, it cannot be winter time in Harare. The
sun must shine in Harare.

The sun is the desire by Zimbabweans to be able to freely express
themselves next year. The sun represents the tangible evidence on the ground
that Zanu PF is really committed to this dialogue.

Zimbabweans want practical deliverables that show Zanu PF's sincerity.
The shining sun means Posa and Aippa must go. The people want the Daily News
to come back. They want a non-partisan police force. They want to freely
wear their MDC and Woza T-shirts. They want to be able to freely preach the
gospel of change in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe.

They want visible evidence of a nation in dialogue with itself. They
want to practically enjoy and live the benefits of the dialogue process.
They want Zanu PF to lock up its merchants of death and allow the free
expression of their collective desire for a new Zimbabwe and a new
beginning.

It appears it will be a long road to a free and fair election. Zanu PF
has walked us along the dark road of violence and we do not want to walk it
forever more. Over the past seven years, we have seen the evidence of the
degrees in violence.

The battered and bruised images of Tsvangirai and Chamisa, the callous
murder of Tandare and the brutal assault of Naison Mazambani are all a
sordid testimony that the regime will continue to maim and kill with neither
shame nor compunction.

We have enough evidence that Zanu ndeyeropa is not just a statement.
It is a guiding principle of this murderous regime.

Sadc must rein in Mugabe. This violence has to stop.

The MDC is not an illegal underground movement of criminals. It is a
legitimate political party that is in parliament.

Mugabe cannot frighten us into abandoning what we believe in. He must
not be allowed to violently stampede us out of the conviction of our
conscience. He cannot continue to frighten the nation by criminalising
regime change.

Some of us are not ashamed. We are committed to the agenda of regime
change and we are ardent regime change activists.

Zanu PF has become a collective African shame. It has to rid itself of
its murderous tag as a confidence-building measure to the dialogue currently
taking place. They must find time to listen to Mtukudzi's lyrics on the
futility of violence as a political weapon.

As Mtukudzi would put it: "Hatidi hondo. Hatidi mhirizhonga."

* Luke Tamborinyoka is the MDC's director of information and
publicity. He writes in his personal capacity.


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Why we need a new constitution

Zim Independent

Comment

THE Supreme Court made a "landmark" ruling last week on white
commercial farmers' property seized by government in 2004 in terms of the
Acquisition of Farm Equipment (or) Material Act.

The farmers had argued that the seizure of their equipment was in
breach of the Zimbabwe Constitution, in particular that the seized equipment
had benefited only a few individuals instead of the public generally.

The farmers also contested the quantum and rate of compensation for
the equipment so seized, saying the period taken by the acquiring authority
to compensate them was "unreasonable" and the amounts not enough.

In his judgement, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said no law had
been violated in the acquisition of the farmers' equipment as this was done
for the benefit of the general public. "It is on this basis that I am
satisfied that the compulsory acquisition in terms of the Act is for a
purpose beneficial to the public generally or to a section of the public,"
he said.

On compensation, he said: "The payment, in view, has to be made within
a reasonable time. Whether payment will be one lump-sum or in installments
is something the constitution chose not to prescribe."

The Supreme Court ruling is remarkable more for its implications than
what it actually says. The law is so vague that extraneous factors can be
adduced to demonstrate why the compulsory acquisition of private property
was for the benefit of the public.

In this case the justification for the seizure of the farmers'
equipment was not because they had violated the law or done anything
illegal, but that government, of its own volition, embarked on the land
reform programme in 2000 allegedly for the "benefit of the public generally
or a section of the public". Realising that it didn't have adequate
resources to equip those who had allegedly benefited, it turned on the
weakest group which already owned equipment and seized it. And we are told
this is lawful.

Having decided that the forcible acquisition of private property was
lawful if it covered for government's lack of proper planning and adequate
preparation, the Supreme Court did not find it necessary to inquire whether
indeed the equipment so seized benefited the public "generally". The white
farmers have a reasonable suspicion that their equipment was seized for the
benefit of a few politically-connected individuals ("a section of the
public") rather than a representative sample of the public.

It would help if the court had tried to verify who in fact is using
the equipment forcibly acquired by the government.

The ruling on compensation also takes a convenient if less vexatious
assumption in the constitution. First, there is no time limit to what
constitutes "a reasonable time". Second, it is vague on what constitutes
"adequate or fair" compensation. Third, the constitution does not prescribe
whether "payment will be in one lump sum or in installments".

It is our considered view that all the three observations above make a
compelling case for why Zimbabwe needs a new, people-centred constitution -
not in the populist political sense, but to address real inadequacies in the
basic law. All the three observations demonstrate that the constitution is
meant to serve the interests of the state at the inestimable prejudice of
the private citizen.

First, why should private property be seized to fill a gap created by
lack of proper planning by the state in the resettlement programme? If the
state had made adequate planning and preparations to equip its land
beneficiaries, white farmers would have been left with equipment they could
no longer use and would therefore probably decide to dispose of it at
commercial rates to the highest bidder on the market.

Second, why is "a section of the public" so vague that mainly those
closely-connected to politicians benefit from private property seized in the
name of "the public" generally? Why also are the courts not compelled to
find out who is using the private property seized in the name of the public
before making a final determination?

Third, in Zimbabwe's inflationary environment, there is no denying
that time is of the essence in dealings involving monetary compensation.
This means "a reasonable time" must take into account the fast pace at which
our currency loses value. Any delay means the appellant is irreparably
prejudiced while the state benefits from its ineptitude.

Finally and deriving from the above, given the rate of inflation of
over 8 000%, an unfair or inadequate compensation paid in installments means
the farmer who lost his property in 2004 may never be restored to the state
he would have been had his property not been enforcibly taken away and he
had been left alone to choose how he wanted to dispose of it. In sum, the
ruling shows that Zimbabwe's constitution is an inadequate guarantor of
private property rights. It is a huge deterrent to private investment and we
can thank the white commercial farmers for helping expose this. We hope
those calling for a new constitution learn something from this Supreme Court
judgement.


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When good intentions are not enough

Zim Independent

Candid Comment

By Joram Nyathi

TRUE must be the adage that roads which lead to hell are often paved
with good intentions. Those in doubt can ask Reserve Bank governor Gideon
Gono.

While Gono can blame his failures on lack of political will, in the
MDC it is evident that good intentions alone cannot cure congenital
ineptitude and greed for power.

The rupture in the MDC was bound to come given the less than
auspicious circumstances of its birth. The different constituent parts of
that amorphous body are coming apart, each embittered bit fighting for its
pound of flesh from the benefactors. The clumsy handling of the
fragmentation process by the leadership gives it a sense of calamity because
a lot of false hopes had been raised about an imminent hour of redemption.

Imagine Save Zimbabwe Campaign with its 23 motley bits, each formed
with a separate agenda and constituency, now all pasted together by the
quest to heal the nation of corruption, cronyism, violence, restore the rule
of law, the constitution and the voice of the majority, yet each required to
maintain its original identity for the sponsor.

So I am personally not surprised by what is going on in the MDC. Civic
society organisations made it clear they were fed up with the MDC leadership
following the unanimous passing in parliament of Constitutional Amendment
Number 18 by both the MDC and Zanu PF. That was also the culmination of
their protests, spearheaded by NCA chair Lovemore Madhuku, over their
exclusion from the inter-party talks between Zanu PF and the MDC.

Under a different set-up the break-up should have been a salubrious
development for the MDC in its delayed evolution from a protest mass
movement into a serious opposition political party. But I find it worrisome
that after the flake peels off, there is no pith of revolutionary cadre left
around whom to build a less repellent, more solid party. It starts and ends
with a fascination with the persona of the leader.

The same leader who initially was supposed to be a symbol of the fight
for democracy and the pillar of the party is the same person who has become
impatient if not contemptuous of democratic procedures and the law.
Democracy has been turned into an empty catchphrase to push disparate
agendas masked as fighting Zanu PF political thuggery.

I will explain. When the real split occurred in the MDC on October 12
2005, official explanations were laden with tribal innuendo. Very few openly
acknowledged the inappropriateness of the so-called kitchen cabinet. It was
an unforgivable sin to impugn the leadership (It still is). It was as if
Morgan Tsvangirai had not breached the party constitution. He had to be
protected from foes who were colluding with Zanu PF to kill him.

There was nothing for the people in the senate, we were told. The
"rebels" who had a different opinion for wanting to vote had to be
"crushed". The logic was that the end justifies the means even if those
means were the very negation of the founding principles of the party. The
leader said then that he was ready to let the MDC die than respect party
rules in the outcome of the vote for or against the senate. "Democrats"
supported his "logic", but now feel "betrayed" because he has endorsed an
even bigger senate without explaining what is in it for the taxpayer. Don't
expect change in the party that espouses change.

We have come full circle, yet I am alarmed at the flippancy with which
the party constitution is viewed in the MDC. Those standing up in defence of
Lucia Matibenga are less motivated by Tsvangirai's violation of the
constitution than they are worried about losing power, hence the perversion
of the debate into a feminist war.

To me the message is that the leader of any opposition political party
can break any principle or law with impunity so long as he claims to be
fighting for democracy. Democracy is regarded in the MDC not as the core of
the current fight against Zanu PF but as something incidental to a holier,
nobler cause, which unfortunately political power can never be. How can
anyone cynical of principles ever be sincere about democracy? It makes me
sick.

There is a single thread running through all the sanctimonious pleas
for peace in the MDC: everyone wants a share of the spoils when finally
"change comes". You support Matibenga or Tsvangirai depending on the
perceived possible personal benefits, not because of any abiding ideals or
principles either embodies.

Then there is the culture of violence. I hear there were physical
clashes in Bulawayo last week where the kitchen cabinet mutated into a
restaurant committee to elect Theresa Makone to replace Matibenga. This is a
boon for Zanu PF.

I understand some MPs had their heads bashed at Harvest House for
expressing sympathy for embattled Matibenga, now a persona non grata at the
Nelson Mandela Avenue (God protect his good name from being sullied) MDC
headquarters. Another boon for Zanu PF coming just before crucial election.

Then there were threats of further violence at the same venue where
members of the national executive committee were supposed to meet on
Saturday to put a final seal on Matibenga's fate. I understand they were
forced to move the meeting to a safe venue in Marlborough to escape their
violent followers. These are the same people trying to convince the world
they may boycott next year's harmonised presidential and parliamentary
elections because of Zanu PF violence. Some violence; some democracy. Viva
Zimbabwe!


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Zinwa stretching our patience

Zim Independent

Editor's Memo

By Vincent Kahiya

SOME time ago I made it my business to call the then Harare town clerk
Nomutsa Chideya whenever I spotted water leaks in Harare. Despite Chideya's
weaknesses - perceived and real ones - he often responded positively to the
calls - in some instances visiting the trouble spots personally before
ensuring that repairs were carried out expeditiously.

Two cases stand out; one close to our office where a burst pipe was
sending up a three-metre high fountain into the air. The leak was attended
to and fixed within an hour.

Then there was one of the largest water leaks in the capital between
Sunningdale and Prospect along Cranborne Avenue where hundreds of litres of
water were being lost every minute from a damaged valve on a huge pipeline
connecting the east and south western suburbs. The wake up call to Chideya
on a Friday afternoon brought a large team to repair the leak the next day.
They managed to plug the hole but only very temporarily.

This week large amounts of water were gushing from the pipe but the
water Tsars Zinwa appear uninterested in repairing the water loss.

I have called Zinwa to complain about the problem they already know
about. There is a standard answer: "We are aware of the problem and our
engineers will be at the site as soon as we get the replacement valve and
diesel."

The current bunch of hopeless technocrats at Zinwa is not responsive
to what should be their core business. They have an excuse for every one of
their failures which have become a national crisis as the authority
continues to grab water reticulation infrastructure in urban areas and at
rural service centres.

Chideya, despite his said lassitude was a bullet train compared to the
glacial slothfulness of Zinwa. This has come at a huge cost because all the
treated water gushing from broken pipes and antiquated ancillary
infrastructure is paid for by residents. A friend has revealed to me that we
are all being made to pay for Zinwa's inefficiency.

Water going to various residential areas is metered and its value is
recovered at the end of each billing period. If the sum total of individual
households' water usage in a particular area is less than the water pumped
into the area, the difference is divided and factored into the bills.

This partly explains why consumers who do not have water for extended
periods are at the end of each month saddled with monstrous water bills.

This is the same Zinwa that has applied to government for intermittent
water charges hikes in the name of recovering costs. The greatest cost
factor on its books should however be its demonstrable failure to carry out
the simple task of plugging holes in its system.

I recall a study commissioned by the Harare City Council in 1995 in
which it contracted a UK firm, Biwater, to carry out an audit on the city's
pipeline network. The results of the study were staggering. The city was
losing at least 50% of its treated water through leaks.

Considering the deterioration of service at the moment under the
stewardship of Zinwa, I can only surmise that the city is losing more water
now largely due to the ineptitude of Zinwa which has made water an expensive
commodity and not a basic need.

It appears not to bother Zinwa at all that residents at rural service
centres such as Murewa and Mutoko are paying water vendors $50 000 for a
20-litre container of untreated water yet the same residents receive huge
water bills every month. At these service centres residents cannot even
demonstrate against Zinwa's incompetence because the parastatal is
ring-fenced by powerful political arms of the state and ruling party.

But it must be noted that requesting that water be part of one's daily
life - whether one has money or not - is not an unreasonable demand. Water
is not a luxury but a need. It's a basic human right which millions of
Zimbabweans are being denied by political leaders who do not appear to care
about the impact of their actions.

Water minister Munacho Mutezo and his cohorts at Zinwa should be told
that they represent a clear and present danger to investment and housing
projects which have stalled due to the unavailability of water.

I am always intrigued by Water ministry and Zinwa officials' love for
cameras to capture them standing next to leaking pipes and sewerage ponds in
the townships as if that would endear them to the suffering residents.

One phenomenon that the crisis in this country has created is forced
patience in queues for everything. Zinwa officials believe we should be
patient with effluent in the backyard. Never! In Things Fall Apart Chinua
Achebe advised: "Let us not reason like cowards. If a man comes into my hut
and defecates on the floor what do I do? Do I shut my eyes? No! I take a
stick and break his head. This is what a man does."

Zinwa: Be warned.


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MuckRaker

Zim Independent

Congress just a nod for

WE should establish an award for the daftest claim made in public
during the course of the year. There would admittedly be strong competition.

A leading candidate putting in his bid before entries close is
Jamaican reggae star Luciano. He told a gullible ZTV interviewer that his
backing band had been denied visas to transit through London because the
British authorities took exception to his support for President Mugabe's
land "reforms".

Did it not occur to the interviewer to ask: "Well, how come you made
it here then?"

Luciano may be well-known to his many fans. But can the beastly
British really be blamed for exercising caution when Jamaicans constitute
the largest single group of illegal aliens in the UK - exceeding even
Zimbabweans!

No, it had nothing to do with Mugabe's land policy. It was the content
of those hats that led to official suspicions.

By the way, how many members of Cosatu or journalists have been
refused entry to Zimbabwe for political reasons? Dozens. Have they ever been
interviewed on ZTV - perhaps by phone from Johannesburg - about how mean the
Zimbabwean authorities are?

The ZTA's Karikoga Kaseke was once again on hand to promote a partisan
message. Then he can't understand why British tourists don't want to come
here. However enthusiastic Luciano's message of solidarity, you can count
the number of Jamaican tourists on one hand. Now Luciano has pocketed Kaseke's
largesse (or rather ours) we won't be seeing him again for a while. And who
was impressed by the blubbing scene? Was it part of the script?

Vice-President Joseph Msika had "no kind words", we are told, for
white farmers who "shunned national events". He urged them to work "with the
party". He was speaking at a Zanu PF fund-raising event in Dete.

The "challenges" the country was facing were "a temporary setback and
a passing phase", Msika said.

Actually this week marks the 10th anniversary of when this "passing
phase" commenced! And it's not just whites who don't want to attend party
events where they are abused. Zimbabweans generally, and particularly those
in Matabeleland, don't like being lied to about the country's economic
"setbacks".

No intelligent person believes Britain and the US are responsible for
the failure of land reform or inflation of 8 000%. They are the direct
product of incompetence and incorrigible misrule. The people of Dete won't
be fooled. However badly behaved the opposition MDC may be, they will vote
for them because the present bunch of scoundrels are a great deal worse.
That is the rather sad reality.

Perhaps Msika should put himself up for election so the people of
Matabeleland can show him what they think of him and his claims of a
"passing phase".

Why is the state media so keen to tell us that the forthcoming special
congress will be "a mere formality" to confirm President Mugabe as the
ruling party's candidate.

This week the Herald quoted Emmerson Mnangagwa as saying the congress
had not been called to find a new presidential candidate but to ratify
recent changes to the constitution.

What is the problem here? Is Zanu PF so terrified of a serious
challenge to Mugabe that it has to repeat at every opportunity that he is
the only candidate?

Don't we recall the president saying some time ago that his candidacy
would be determined at congress? Then when that date looms (and the state
media has at last been allowed to publish the date) the party's luminaries
run around saying there will be no challenge to him and how important it is
for everybody to "rally behind Cde Mugabe".

How pathetic? Can't he stand the heat of an open contest? Does it
really need war veterans on the warpath and people like Mnangagwa to crack
down on any possible dissent? A pity nobody has said "the president will be
judged on his record".

Zanu PF should understand how bad it looks when elections are treated
as "a mere formality" and then supporters are coerced into backing the
incumbent.

That they can't see how bad this looks tells us everything we need to
know about the mindset in the party. And is it true Zanu PF and the MDC are
having a delinquency competition around electoral issues? Difficult to know
who's winning!

The chair of the ZEC George Chiweshe says members of the public would
be invited to suggest ways of bettering the delimitation process in their
constituencies.

Muckraker's suggestion: Just make sure Tobaiwa Mudede is not involved
at any stage.

But we appreciated Chiweshe's assurance that the ZEC would not be
under anyone's control. "We are independent and I can freely defend this,"
Chiweshe said.

We will need to test that resolve when it comes to inviting observers.

Meanwhile, at a time when Zanu PF is pretending to be as pure as the
driven snow when it comes to matters of political violence, it is rather
unfortunate to have the Sunday News urging the party to take advantage of
the MDC's disarray and "go for the kill.go for the jugular".

Many of us remember the last time this language was used in the 1980s
and the consequences.

In an article headed "Farmers hail court ruling", the Herald reported
this week that resettled farmers had welcomed the landmark ruling by the
Supreme Court allowing government to acquire all farming equipment and
machinery on farms gazetted for compulsory acquisition and resettlement.

Resettled farmers were quoted saying the step was needed so former
white farmers could be compensated expeditiously.

"It would be a sad day for our calls for social justice," one
resettled farmer said, "if our government were to fail to build on the
momentum of the judgement by losing this golden opportunity of paying off
the erstwhile farmers."

He wasn't asked what sort of social justice permitted the state to
seize people's property at will and then give it to somebody else. What sort
of social justice was exercised when the company running a highly profitable
operation at Kondozi Estate reportedly had its equipment seized by ministers
for their personal use?

Where compensation is paid it will be in a currency that is losing its
value by the day.

There will be an element of triumphalism in Zanu PF as a result of the
Supreme Court's ruling. But have any of the party's luminaries stopped to
think of what impression will be created abroad of a government that is
empowered to seize the work of a lifetime, render compensation meaningless
and then call it justice?

Readers of the Herald will have noticed a rather ugly campaign in the
official media to rubbish Bornwell Chakaodza. He is an obvious target having
served as Director of Information and Editor of the Herald. The word
"turncoat" can thus be put to good use.

Muckraker, who was the target of Chakaodza's vitriol when he served as
editor at the Herald, is not going to weigh in here. Suffice it to say the
current assault arose following a letter to the editor of the Financial
Gazette taking Chakaodza to task for his criticism of Zanu PF. Chakaodza
replied giving his critic, Goodson Nguni, acres of space to attack him by
publishing the letter in his Fingaz column. Chakaodza replied in the same
column dealing relatively briefly with his critic.

The Herald then published the same letter attacking Chakaodza but
evidently did not think it appropriate to ask Chakaodza for his response.

Would the correspondence not have been more interesting if the Herald
had given Chakaodza the right of reply? As it is, Chakaodza's editorials
attacking the Independent in 1999 are published to prove - we are not quite
sure what!

Is Chakaodza the only person in Zimbabwe to see the light and change
his mind?

Some might suggest this is all good robust journalism. But surely only
when everyone has had their say.

THE Grain Marketing Board this week cheerfully announced it had won a
tender to rehabilitate Zambian grain silos.

"We have extensive silo infrastructure at our 14 depots across the
country which have the capacity to store 750 000 tonnes of grain and it
reflects the experience we have within our engineers to refurbish and
service the silos," said GMB boss Rtd Colonel Samuel Muvuti.

He however forgot to say that all the potential we have is currently
redundant because the silos are empty. Instead of exporting grain to feed
the region, Muvuti can now only brag about exporting labour instead.

Isn't this shameful that Muvuti distributes thousands of tonnes of
seed and fertiliser to farmers annually but administers empty silos? Also,
we want to be told at the end of the contract how many of the silo engineers
have returned to Zimbabwe after their tour of duty.

Still on the subject of farming UMP MP Kenneth Mutiwekuziva provided
useful disclosure on how the "mother of all agricultural seasons" will be
executed this year.

"Farmers should be innovative and come up with alternatives they can
use if the fertiliser availed to them does not meet their needs," he told
The Voice. "People can use manure or home-made fertiliser they can prepare
using tree leaves and ash."

It's back to the slash and burn mode of agriculture. No wonder we have
so many forest fires and wanton chopping down of trees. Also while other
districts are receiving tractors and other modern implements, UMP will only
get ox-drawn ploughs. Is this the reward the people of UMP are getting for
overwhelmingly voting for Mugabe or is it their MP being honest about their
level of development?

The situation at Zesa goes from bad to worse. Power cuts are spreading
across the country interrupting major functions. Much of Manicaland was in
darkness last weekend and guests at the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism AGM and
awards ceremony in Nyanga had to make do with candles in their rooms. They
were provided with local matches which failed to ignite obliging many to use
their cellphones.

ZTA boss Kaseke failed to appear at the ZCT function because he was
too tied up with the Luciano concert and the propaganda that went with it.

Should the ZTA be involved in reggae concerts and dubious beauty
contests when it should be doing the serious work of reviving tourism?

In Harare victims of blackouts are now collecting Zesa engineers from
their offices and ferrying them to substations and power lines. They are
also providing diesel. Zesa staff now spend much of the day sitting at their
desks reading the papers because they have no fuel to attend to power
failures.

Much of the power utility's problems stem from stolen cables, we are
told. This is hardly surprising when substations cannot be locked and are
therefore vulnerable to theft. Everything has a value in today's Zimbabwe,
even if there is a risk of getting fried, and Zesa should take steps to
secure substations or the situation will further deteriorate.


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Politics destroyed our economy

Zim Independent

By Eric Bloch

SPEAKING at the official opening of the Chinhoyi University of Technology
Hotel School, President Robert Mugabe said that: "It goes without saying
that the main thrust of our current international economic development
programme is to stabilise the macro-economic environment.

"As we work towards this objective, we should see increased capacity
utilisation in the productive sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, mining,
construction, tourism, transport and communications."

He emphasised the need for increased capacity utilisation in all productive
sectors, as a prerequisite for economic stability, and he also noted that
efforts to achieve this must be complemented by highly skilled human
capital.

It is indisputable that economic recovery, and an ongoing viable economy,
requires significant levels of capacity utilisation in all economic sectors,
on a continuous basis. It is equally indisputable that that utilisation does
not prevail in Zimbabwe today.

Agricultural productivity has declined, since the millennium, each and every
year, and although the extent of decline varies from one agricultural sector
to another, overall the agricultural production in the 2006/7 season was
less than 30% of that seven years ago.

In like manner, industrial capacity utilisation a few years ago was assessed
to approximate 60%, whereas recent studies evidence utilisation of less than
25%. The same applies to tourism if one disregards the spurious governmental
figures of tourist arrivals, which include one-day trippers, back-packers,
cross-border traders, and the like, and instead has regard to the actual
numbers of bed-nights sold by the tourism sector, as compared to those
available.

The tragedy is that almost entirely, the gargantuan decrease in Zimbabwean
productivity is due to the acts of commission and omission of government.
That tragedy is compounded by the pronouncedly distressing facts that not
only does government obdurately avoid recognizing its culpability, and that
it dogmatically persists in pursuing policies that not only do not make
increased productivity possible, but also continues to lower productivity
further.

Zimbabwean agriculture was so highly productive, before government brought
it to the brink of destruction, that not only did the agricultural sector
feed the entire nation, but it was the bread basket of the entire region. It
produced the world's second largest crops of tobacco, and those being of
exceptionally high quality. It produced the best cotton in the world, and
was a producer of extraordinarily high quality beef, in significant volumes.

Its sugar, coffee, tea, citrus and numerous other agricultural products, for
both local and export markets, was considerable. In consequence of these
enviable agricultural operations, it was the greatest provider of employment
in Zimbabwe, the greatest generator of foreign exchange, and the foundation
of the entire economy.

The manufacturing sector was the most productive such sector in sub-Saharan
Africa, north of the Limpopo River, embracing engineering, textiles,
clothing, furniture, pharmaceuticals, diverse food processing and
production, and much, much more. It provided a very great extent of the
needs for manufactured products of all Zimbabwe's economic sectors, and of
its population. Similarly virile was the tourism industry, gainfully
exploiting the wealth of Zimbabwe's unique tourism resources, attracting
hundreds of thousands, and later millions, from throughout the region and
from very much further afield, including Europe, North America, and the Far
East.

But today the situation is distressingly different. Agriculture has been
brought to its knees by a politically-driven, disastrously implemented, land
reform programme. In disdainful and contemptuous disregard for human and
property rights, government allowed those who had the skills, resources and
will to be productive to be ousted from the farms, for them to be replaced,
in all too many instances, by those solely interested in some immediate
wealth by the disposal of essential infrastructure, including pumps,
irrigation equipment, fencing, electrical cables, and components of farm
buildings. Others wished to farm their unilaterally acquired lands, but were
either without the necessary capital or collateral, or without other
necessary resources. Yet others, with the will to farm, were without the
skills. All this was exacerbated by government's repeated failures to ensure
timeous availability of agricultural inputs. So capacity utilisation
plummeted downwards, almost entirely in consequence of government's
policies.

The near collapse of the manufacturing sector is similarly almost totally
attributable to government. It is that which government has done, or not
done, which has occasioned near-total non-availability of foreign currency
for essential imports. Government is responsible for the loss of industrial
export viability, for it is almost entirely due to government that Zimbabwe
has the world's highest inflation, rendering exports non-price competitive,
and yet government steadfastly fails to devalue Zimbabwe's currency
adequately and realistically, in order to compensate for the
inflation-driven cost escalations. Having already severely weakened
industry, government delivered it a fatal blow by ill-conceived,
heavy-handed, counterproductive price controls. And some cannot learn from
their mistakes. Last week, the newly appointed chairman of the National
Incomes and Prices Commission (NIPC), Godwills Masimirembwa stated that all
pricing models, on which prices are determined, must bring imported inputs
to account at official exchange rates.

The hard fact is that industry cannot obtain its inputs at those rates. It
has to source its inputs, or required foreign exchange, from those possessed
of "free funds", and those operating in alternative markets, irrespective of
the legality or otherwise of such markets. As a result, all those businesses
are being forced, by government, NIPC, and Masimirembwa, to cease
operations, productive capacity utilisation, already down to 25% from 60%,
will fall to near zero, fiscal inflows will fall further, yet again
impoverishing government, and tens of thousands more will join the ranks of
the unemployed, and most will join the brain drain into the diaspora,
failing which even more will be condemned to extreme poverty and misery.

Tourism's recovery is contingent upon economic recovery, for tourists
require assurance of availability of all their needs and expectations, and
upon a markedly enhanced Zimbabwean image, instead of one where governmental
disregard for the fundamentals of law, and its contempt for human rights,
results in potential tourists seeking destinations perceived to be safer and
more congenial.

Very correctly, the president identified mining as a sector for enhanced
productive capacity. Zimbabwe has immense potential wealth in platinum,
gold, nickel, coal, methane gas and much else. But realising that wealth
requires very considerable capital, international technologies and
appropriate skills and, therefore, foreign investment into mining is
essential. However, it is na´ve to expect such investment in a rigid command
economy environment, in a regime of specious rates, and where government
legislates for the foreign investors to be minority shareholders. And, over
and above those deterrents, the foreign investor is demotivated when
confronted by an unfriendly, unwelcoming, falsely insulting, and accusative,
non-investment conducive, environment.

One instance of this repulsion of foreign investment was demonstrated last
Friday, when Masimirembwa had an allegedly analytical article published in
the Herald, under the headline "Foreign firms bent on milking Zim." Clearly
he feels that through NIPC he is not doing enough to destroy the economy,
and therefore he attacks foreign investors and discourages their investment,
no matter how greatly Zimbabwe needs it and benefits from it.

Not only does he repeat the endlessly false allegation of "illegal
international sanctions" on Zimbabwe, but he accuses the transnational
corporates "of siphoning the same in the form of profits, interest,
dividends, managerial, consultancy and licensing fees, and under-invoicing".
Not only is the latter very much the exception to the rule, but all the
others are the legitimate yields for the investment of capital, the lending
of monies, the provision of services, and according usage of intellectual
properties. No one in their right mind invests without expectations of
return, but Masimirembwa has joined the ranks of governmental economic
detractors and destroyers.

The Zimbabwean economy will not attain the president's desired increased
productive capacity utilisation until it ceases to be driven by politics and
bigoted politicians, and their sycophants, and instead is steered by
economic fundamentals and realities.


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Zim Independent Letters

MDC must grasp this moment to unite

By Frank Matandirotya

THE first principle of public office is that the incumbent holds it in
trust for the public. A leader is not supposed to consort with political
crooks and when confronted, to lie, prevaricate and to play politics.

When Morgan Tsvangirai announced the dissolution of the Lucia
Matibenga-led women's assembly of the MDC he made few friends within the
party. Party cadres condemned the move.

The MDC has travelled a journey littered with thorns since 1999.
Therefore the conduct and ethos of the party leaders and how they relate to
the followers is a fundamental aspect we should consider during these dark
days.

That the mainstream MDC led by Tsvangirai is a party in a state of
disorder today is not questionable because of the Matibenga issue. Alliances
have been shifting between party members as mudslinging, character
assassination and dirty tricks now abound.

Today the party is on the slope to destruction because of that
fundamental assault on the women's assembly. Ideological inflexibility
coupled with self-interest is encouraging intolerance between the party
leaders, and those at the top consequently resort to the most hardline and
violent methods in dealing with opponents. But this state of affairs cannot
last.

All politics is a negotiation. It goes without saying that if you set
your price too high or walk away too soon you could miss out on a great
deal. it is equally self-evident that if you set your price too low you will
fall out too cheaply.

A lot of Zimbabweans were maimed, had property destroyed, killed, lost
loved ones, and now we have this before a very crucial election. We deserve
better from our leaders.

At a time when the MDC is looking to its future and leadership of the
country we must disown leadership that is remote, insecure and centralising
and struggles for posts.

The MDC should instead grasp the moment of these troubling times to
prepare for elections next year, and to unite the people despite their
differences.

* Matandirotya is a member of the Tsvangirai faction.

-----------------
Zimbabwean women worse off

By Thokozani Khupe

AS the national crisis continues to take a bungee jump, Zimbabwean
women are worse off than they were before the regime's pastime to sleep on
duty gravitated into this deep slumber.

Women, children, orphans, the aged, the disabled and child-headed
families are the ultimate victims of a regime that has lost the compass to
steer the nation to the calm waters of economic stability, affordable food
prices, good health care and education.

Our nationwide campaign with the gospel of change has taken the MDC
leadership to the remotest of rural areas.

Even in the urban areas, the story is the same.

It is the same story of women struggling to send their children to
school; women waking up to find they have nothing to give their dying child;
women at the market stalls vending all sorts of commodities for the sake of
their children.

When we start afresh as a nation, we must put the woman at the
forefront; not the woman in her individually ambitious sense, but the woman
as the embodiment of the collective spirit of the legitimate struggle we are
waging.

* Thokozani Khupe is the vice- president of the MDC faction led by
Morgan Tsvangirai.

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