By Arthur Chigoriwo
20 October 2005
Movement for Democratic Change President Morgan Tsvangirai appears to be
gaining the upper hand over other top officials of the Zimbabwean opposition
party who have broken with him over whether to contest or boycott a November
26 senate election.
Mr. Tsvangirai seemed to have been put on the defensive on Wednesday when
MDC Vice President Gibson Sibanda issued a a statement accusing his party
chief of having "willfully violated" the party constitution. Mr. Tsvangirai
on Oct. 12 overrode a vote by the MDC National Council in favor of fielding
candidates in the senate poll.
But over the following 24 hours, Mr. Sibanda and four other top officials
lined up against Mr. Tsvangirai, including MDC Secretary General Welshman
Ncube, have maintained public silence, though party sources confirmed that
its members had sought a meeting Thursday with Mr. Tsvangirai, which he
Mr. Tsvangirai told VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe he is prepared to meet the
members of the opposing faction on Friday, potentially setting up a
confrontation between the leadership factions or, more favorably, a
resolution of their disagreement.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tsvangirai has been building his support among MDC provincial
offices. On Wednesday he had the backing of eight out of 12 provinces, and
by late Thursday he had brought the Midlands North province on board and was
believed to have claimed Matabaleleland North, which would make 10 of 12
Should Matabeleland North fall into line, that would leave only Matabeleland
South and Bulawayo provinces on the outs with the former trade union leader.
MDC grass roots opinion seems strongly behind Mr. Tsvangirai's position that
the party must boycott elections for the senate. The upper house was
re-instituted by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
via constitutional amendments that it rammed through parliament in August
using its two-thirds lower house majority.
E-mails received by VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe have been overwhelmingly
opposed to participation in the senate election and in support of Mr.
"I write to urge MDC supporters not to be hoodwinked into participating in
the forthcoming senatorial elections," wrote one listener. "Those in the MDC
who are agitating for participation know that these elections are
In Mashonaland West, one of the provinces to rally around Mr. Tsvangirai,
local leaders suspended two officials for insubordination - both aligned
with those pushing for the party to field senate candidates. The local party
leader ordered members not to submit any candidate names to the nomination
court meeting next week.
Correspondent Arthur Chigoriwo filed a report from Chinhoyi, Mashonaland
Two of the three MDC provincial offices in Matabeleland continued to oppose
Mr. Tsvangirai: Matabeleland South and Bulawayo.
In Bulawayo, the capital of Matabeleland, party officials said they have the
funds to contest the senate elections without help from party headquarters.
Bulawayo province spokesman Victor Moyo told reporter Chris Gande of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the provincial branch will hold primary elections
Despite the intensification of the party schism, those opposing Mr.
Tsvangirai even late Wednesday were positioning themselves to strike a
compromise with him.
Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu spoke with Percy Makombe, a political
analyst based at Leicester university in Britain, about the upheaval within
Other political analysts say the wrangle has distracted the party from the
real issues associated with the re-institution of the senate.
University of Zimbabwe senior lecturer John Makumbe said the MDC has been
playing into the ruling party's hands by giving the senate race attention it
does not deserve.
Reporter Carole Gombakomba spoke with Dr. Makumbe and Dr. Lovemore Madhuku,
chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, who said the fact that Mr.
Sibanda did not personally sign his Wednesday broadside should not obscure
Thur 20 October 2005
HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono on Thursday
relaxed foreign exchange controls by re-introducing the interbank market for
foreign currency in a bid to improve official foreign currency inflows and
end a thriving black market.
Gono said with immediate effect, exporters would now surrender 70
percent of their proceeds onto the interbank market, and would have up to 30
days to hold on to the foreign currency after which it would be sold on the
prevailing interbank rate.
He however maintained that the central bank managed auctions, which
have failed to end persistent foreign currency shortages, would continue to
operate, with exporters selling 30 percent of their earnings on that market.
Foreign currency shortages highlight Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis
since independence in 1980, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), once
a key lender to Harare, says the country's economy is now the worst
performing in the world.
"Through authorised dealers, exporters can sell their foreign exchange
in FCA balances, at a market-determined rate on the interbank market," Gono
said in a televised speech during a monetary policy review presentation.
Individual foreign currency holders, non-governmental organisations,
embassies and Zimbabweans abroad will also sell their foreign currency on
the interbank market.
The bold move by Gono seemed to have been driven by pressure from the
IMF and local industry, which have called on the government to ease its
Foreign exchange shortages have fuelled a thriving black market where
the local currency is trading at three times the official rate. The Zimbabwe
dollar was trading at 26 004 to one greenback at the auctions on Thursday
compared to around 90 000 on the black market.
Gono predicted that the auction rate would converge with the market
determined interbank rate in December 2006.
He however said export earnings were expected to decline by 6.4
percent to $1.58 billion this year saying a resurgence in inflation had
undermined exporter viability.
The RBZ chief revised the target for annual inflation, which the
government has declared number one enemy, to between 280 and 300 percent
from a previous target forecast of 50 and 80 percent.
Gono cited excessive money supply due to high government borrowing,
sharp price hikes and black market trading in commodities and foreign
exchange for fuelling inflation.
He said he would continue to review interest rates to curb speculative
borrowing and inflation. The rate at which banks borrow from the central
bank was hiked to 415 percent from 405 percent.
Inflation hit a record 624 percent last year in January and although
private economists say it could creep back to that peak soon, Gono said the
central bank would bring down inflation to single digit figures by March
Gono said the country's external debt was up 0.8 percent to $4.1
billion in the first nine months of 2005 as Zimbabwe battles with foreign
The shortages worsened after international donors, led by the IMF,
withheld balance of payment support in 1999 over policy differences with
Zimbabwe, such as the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle blacks.
Government debt accounted for 76 percent of the country's total debt,
with public enterprises accounting for 21 percent and the private sector
making up the remainder.
Zimbabwe last month averted expulsion from the IMF after a surprise
last minute $120 million payment earned the country a six-month reprieve but
critics have queried the source of the funds, forcing the IMF to announce
that it would send a team to verify the source of the funds.
Gono's speech was however silent on how the government plans to end
the current fuel crisis. - ZimOnline
Thu Oct 20, 2005 2:14 PM BST
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is to remove 700 families who settled illegally
near Gonarezhou National Park, the country's second largest game reserve, to
make way for a planned transfrontier regional park.
The official Herald newspaper said on Thursday the families were among 5,000
people "irregularly settled" on farms throughout southern Masvingo province,
including hundreds of families living on wildlife conservancies.
The families moved into the area about five years ago at the height of
illegal land invasions during the government's forcible redistribution of
white-owned farms to blacks.
"About 700 families illegally settled on a swathe of land adjacent to the
Gonarezhou National Park ... will soon be relocated ... to pave way for the
planned Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park," the Herald said.
It did not say where or when they would be moved, and government and
wildlife officials were not immediately reachable for comment.
Gonarezhou National Park in southeastern Zimbabwe is expected to soon merge
with Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and South Africa's Kruger National
Park to form a large transfrontier park in a bid to attract more foreign
Gonarezhou, perched on Zimbabwe's southeast border with Mozambique, is home
to elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, buffaloes and the Nyala antelope.
International Herald Tribune
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2005
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe went to Rome for the meeting of
the UN Food and Agriculture Organization this week. As he usually does
whenever he manages to elude sanctions that restrict his travels to Europe
and America, he let loose at George W. Bush and Tony Blair, likening them to
Hitler and Mussolini and blaming them for all of Zimbabwe's woes.
While he spoke, armed bandits back in Zimbabwe were raiding potato
farms, and opposition leaders were drumming up support for a boycott of
Senate elections next month. In addition, aid agencies say 4 million of
Zimbabwe's 11.5 million people are facing famine.
Mugabe's response has been to raze squatter camps around Harare,
driving hundreds of thousands of the destitute into greater misery. The
United Nations has called that a "catastrophic injustice." Mugabe has called
criticism of the destruction "blatant interference." Zimbabweans are not
hungry, he said - they just can't eat their favorite foods.
Clearly, the Food and Agriculture Organization can allow anyone it
wants to attend its World Food Day ceremony in Rome. The United Nations and
its agencies must remain ecumenical and open. And the occasional appearance
by Mugabe does help remind the world that the 81-year-old tyrant is still
around, still blaming colonialists, neocolonialists, racists and everybody
else for his country's suffering, still fixing elections and hounding his
There was a time when Mugabe's credentials as a fighter against
white-minority rule earned him respect. That time is long gone. He is a
millstone around the neck of one of Africa's best endowed lands. Who says
so? The South African archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has said Mugabe is a
"caricature of an African dictator"; Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, who has
called on Mugabe to stop "fighting colonialist ghosts"; the
Nobel-Prize-winning writer Wole Soyinka, who has labeled Mugabe's regime "a
disgrace to the continent."
Mugabe has run Zimbabwe for a quarter of a century, crushing every
attempt to dislodge him, so there's little point in urging him to heed his
fellow Africans. But there is every reason to support the opposition in its
brave efforts to oust Mugabe's clique, and to assure the suffering people of
Zimbabwe that the world has not forgotten them.
20/10/2005 18:09 - (SA)
Harare - Zimbabwe will have a new currency next year, the central bank
governor announced on Thursday.
In a statement broadcast live on state radio, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Governor Gideon Gono said the new currency would be unveiled in 2006 "at a
date to be announced".
He called on members of the public to "hold cash sparingly" so as not to be
caught out by authorities when the new notes are introduced.
Zimbabwe currently uses a temporary currency called bearer cheques - high
denomination notes introduced two years ago to ease chronic cash shortages.
The notes bear an expiry date of December 31 2005.
However, even the highest denomination bearer cheques of Zim$20 000 (US76c)
are struggling to keep up with spiralling price increases. Annual inflation
is running close to 360%.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Oct-21
HARARE is operating with only a third of the required fleet to collect
refuse, resulting in some areas going for two months without garbage being
collected, because council coffers are dry.
City of Harare spokesperson Leslie Gwindi told The Daily Mirror that the
municipality had just about 24 refuse vehicles working, instead of at least
70 to efficiently collect rubbish on time.
Harare's finances are in the red; a situation that militated against
provision of essential services to ratepayers, in addition to failing to
acquire adequate vehicles and spare parts.
He said: "As we have said before, there are about 24 refuse collection
vehicles that are functional at the moment instead of at least 70 needed for
things to be normal. The fuel problems have also worsened the situation."
In a related development, Gwindi said council had since started clearing
rubble and refuse in Mbare high-density suburb as part of efforts to
clean-up one of Zimbabwe's oldest residential areas
"We have started removing all the pile of garbage and rubble in Mbare. We
would soon be moving to other areas," he said.
On the issue of the capital's 2006 budget, Gwindi said consultations among
departmental heads were still going on.
But he could not commit himself to whether council would be able to meet the
October 31 deadline set by government for local authorities to have
submitted their budgets.
"The various heads are still making consultations and we will also have to
consult residents afterwards," he said.
"I am not sure whether we will be able to meet the deadline although
everything possible is being done." Last week, council approved a
supplementary budget for 2005 precipitated by a sharp increase in inflation,
now pegged at 365 percent.
Council has also proposed to increase tariffs quarterly, given the
prevailing hyperinflation in the country.
Ten provinces resolve to boycott Senate elections
SA, European powers sucked into plot to oust Tsvangirai. MOVEMENT for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday appeared to
regain control of the party after last week's serious fallout over the
forthcoming senatorial elections, with 10 provinces now expected to boycott
next month's poll.
Four provinces that had last week resolved to participate in the November 26
election, yesterday turned around and aligned themselves with Tsvangirai,
whose decision to override last Wednesday's national council vote to
participate in the poll sparked the worst crisis to hit the six-year-old
party. Matabeleland North, Midlands North and South as well as Manicaland -
the scene of violent intra-party clashes this week - now look set to join
Harare, Chitungwiza, Mashonaland Central, East and West and Masvingo in
boycotting the election and are unlikely to send any candidates to Monday's
decisive nomination proceedings.
Although most provincial leaders interviewed last night declined to commit
themselves on the contentious issue, indications were that most were
buckling under pressure from the districts, which were backing Tsvangirai's
decision to boycott the polls.
Patrick Kombayi, publicity secretary in the Midlands South province, last
night said the province's eight districts had resolved to rescind the
decision made by their chairman Lyson Mlambo at the council meeting.
"The MDC Midlands South province with its eigth districts unanimously agreed
and resolved that we will not take part in the senatorial elections. It was
also resolved that the province is solidly behind president Morgan
Tsvangirai," Kombayi said.
The MDC's key ally, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) yesterday
threw its weight behind Tsvangirai, with labour leader Lovemore Matombo
saying the congress did "not support the Senate elections."
"As the ZCTU leadership, we agreed that there is no genuine desire by the
current establishment to create a beneficial Senate," Matombo said.
As indications increased that its rebellion was crumbling, a faction led by
party vice president Gibson Sibanda and secretary general Welshman Ncube,
which is agitating for the MDC's participation, yesterday issued a stinging
statement accusing Tsvangirai of "willfully violating the MDC constitution."
The faction, which had scheduled a mid-morning press conference at a city
hotel yesterday, was forced to retreat after Tsvangirai summoned Sibanda for
an emergency meeting.
Although Sibanda, who briefly addressed journalists in the company of party
spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi, said the party would call another press
conference after a meeting of the management committee, the meeting never
"The president called and we discussed the crisis that the party is facing
and after outlining the issues, we agreed to meet as elected officers of
congress. We will meet this afternoon," Sibanda said.
As it emerged that the meeting was unlikely to take place, Nyathi told The
Financial Gazette that it was still scheduled.
"They are still waiting for others who aren't here, but it will take place,"
Ncube, on the other hand, said he had "absolutely no idea" if the meeting
was to take place, referring questions to Sibanda. "The vice president is
However, the meeting did not take place, with Sibanda reportedly telling
Tsvangirai that he could not locate two members of the management
committee - deputy secretary general Gift Chimanikire and treasurer-general
Fletcher Dulini-Ncube. Although the two were reported to have left town
early in the afternoon, Dulini-Ncube was spotted in the company of Sibanda,
Ncube and Pumula-Luveve MP Esaph Mdlongwa at another city hotel.
A statement issued last night by the MDC information department and bore
Sibanda's name said the current crisis in the MDC was "the culmination of
sad events in the party since the beginning of the year."
"The first incident occurred when a certain section of the party sponsored
some unruly youths to engage in violent activities against senior national
and provincial executive members of the party.
"An inquiry was conducted and it revealed the close involvement of the
president's office, culminating in national council taking a resolution to
expel these youths from the party. The national council also resolved to
dismiss Washington Gaga and Nhamo Musekiwa, who were working as bodyguards
in the president's office, after they were found to have been responsible
for coordinating the violent activities of these two officers."
The statement further stated that officers in Tsvangirai's office who had
been implicated in the violent activities "seem to have been protected by
Although the statement fell short of making a declaration, it accused
Tsvangirai of going back on his word that he and everyone else should
respect the outcome of the voting process in council. It also accused
Tsvangirai of misrepresenting the outcome of the council meeting violating
the party's constitution, which he was supposed to uphold and defend.
"The MDC was founded on principles which include democracy, freedom,
transparency and justice. The party is determined to uphold these principles
and values and will not allow one person or a group of persons to destroy
them," Sibanda said.
However, Tsvangirai's office dismissed the allegations contained in the
statement as false.
"Mr. Tsvangirai suspects that the document in circulation is a fraud. The
vice president was in town and met the president. They discussed many things
and no mention was made by the vice president of the contents of the said
document. What makes the document more suspicious is that it is signed by
another person other than Mr. Sibanda himself. The president believes there
are some people in the party and elsewhere who are up to mischief,
generating various documents purporting to amplify a position made in good
faith by senior members of the party in favour of participating in the
senate elections. These were divergent views which do not, in any way, mean
that the party is in danger," Tsvangirai's spokesperson William Bango said.
However, MDC insiders this week drew a trail of events that suggested the
existence of bad blood between Tsvangirai, on the one hand, and the rest of
the management committee, on the other.
"Was the senate election really the issue? Is there more to this debacle
than what is on the surface? A pattern of developments in the party since
his (Tsvangirai's) arrest for treason in 2002 shows a clear determination to
undermine him and make him irrelevant to the political process.
"You remember Ncube and Sibanda moving the main communications center for
the 2005 election to Bulawayo without his (Tsvangirai's) knowledge? Before
then, the argument that the party election campaign should be launched in
Tsvangirai put his foot down and insisted on Masvingo for the launch. He was
punished for it. The treasury refused to release the money, about $200
million. Tsvangirai had to find money and the launch went ahead. You
remember Gibson and Gonese going to State House without his knowledge? You
remember David Coltart putting in a draft constitution, which only Gibson,
Welshman, Gonese and a few others had seen, when Amendment Number 17 was put
in Parliament without Tsvangirai's knowledge. Tsvangirai ordered that the
draft be withdrawn and that was done, but enough damage had already been
made", said a party insider.
Other sources within the beleaguered party said this was nothing more than a
power game as the draft had a clause which stated that a President should
have an earned university degree, not an honorary. Tsvangirai was the target
they said adding that some in the leadership wanted to test Tsvangirai's
"power and resolve, in a dry ruin just before congress. The senate nonsense
just became the setting".
They blamed this on a plot allegedly hatched with the connivance of "some
western governments, the South Africans and influential players in business
and the NGO community", to sideline Tsvangirai and create a coalition of
those considered reasonable between some senior MDC officials and a
progressive wing in ZANU PF.
"There is a ZANU PF dimension to what is going on. Both factions in ZANU PF
hate Tsvangirai with a passion, he seems to be a stumbling block to a number
of things. The group in the MDC wants to work with either faction in ZANU PF
but find Tsvangirai as a problem because he pursues a simple political
philosophy that shuns the boardroom and promotes a mass-line approach. His
popularity has to do with that approach, which tends to put ordinary people
at the forefront", another source said.
According to the sources the ZANU PF dimension was interesting in other
respects. It sucked in foreign governments and key players in the business
and NGO community. Way back in 2002, they said, there were concerted efforts
and funding for an alternative leadership of the MDC. The argument then was
that a solution was not possible in Zimbabwe because (President Robert)
Mugabe and Tsvangirai could never be brought together. The best way out was
therefore to find a coalition of the reasonable from both ZANU PF and the
MDC and create an acceptable regime. The MDC would be the junior partner in
that arrangement, holding the office of the prime minister.
"Those for this argument caused Tsvangirai, at the middle of his trial, to
allow Welshman Ncube to talk to (Justice Minister Patrick) Chinamasa as
suggested by South Africa with the blessing of (President) Mugabe. Mugabe
even praised Ncube as a reasonable man in one of his speeches, compared to
Tsvangirai," the source said.
Ncube and Chinamasa went on to agree and sign a document proposing
constitutional changes in which the post of prime minister was one.
Tsvangirai is understood to have taken Ncube to task over why he had already
signed an agreement with Chinamasa without putting it either to the national
executive, the national council or himself first.
The agreement had other contentious issues, which Tsvangirai felt were not
well thought out and could plunge the party and Zimbabwe into problems.
"In addition, there were forays by (ZANU PF stalwart Emmerson) Mnangagwa and
(retired general Vitalis) Zvinavashe, using colonel Lionel Dyke, but what is
of interest is that the South Africans, the British and some European
countries were keen to see this coalition of the reasonable taking over
power, with a sanitised ZANU PF party largely in charge."
BULAWAYO - The rift within the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
continued to widen this week with the three Matabeleland provinces vowing to
contest the Senate elections scheduled for November 26.
Bulawayo province said it would not meet party president Morgan Tsvangirai,
who is on a countrywide tour to persuade his followers to boycott the
elections, unless he came with an open mind.
It has also emerged that the rift is not just over the Senate elections, but
is really about who controls the party, as it prepares for its congress
scheduled for January or February next year.
The party's national council last week voted 33 for and 31 against
participating in the elections, but Tsvangirai said the party had voted
50-50 and he had cast his vote against participation in what party officials
say is a sham.
Those against participating in the elections argue that the elections are an
unnecessary expense, which the country cannot afford and say the money being
spent on the elections could be better utilised to buy food or to increase
the salaries of civil servants.
Those who want to participate say the decision of the national council is
binding so they have to contest the elections. They also argue that they do
not want to concede any ground to the ruling party in their strongholds.
"We do not want to give ZANU PF any ground where we feel we will win,"
Victor Moyo, publicity secretary for Bulawayo Province, said.
"There is a 90 percent chance that we will win elections in Matabeleland
provinces, so we do not want to give ZANU PF any foothold in our
strongholds. They will start making inroads once we allow them in."
Sources, however, said the rift within the MDC was not just about the Senate
"There is really a bigger issue," a party insider said. "The party congress
is coming up so people are trying to see who has the support and who is
going to be the leader of the party."
The congress is scheduled for January or February next year. Sources,
however, say under the party constitution there must be three months notice
before the congress, which rules out January.
Tsvangirai's future is therefore, uncertain because if his boycott call
fails, it shows he is no longer in control of the party. But at the same
time, party leaders from Matabeleland were also aware that a leader could
not come from the region if they wanted to maintain their national identity.
Political observers also said the rift within the MDC was a blessing for
ZANU PF, which is fanning the division through the state-controlled media,
as any split in the MDC would rob the country of its most formidable
Monday, October 24, is therefore D-day for the MDC, as it will determine who
rules the roost in the party, as it is nomination day for the Senate seats.
AS confusion and turmoil raged within Harvest House this week without any
signs of a compromise position regarding the senatorial elections, attention
shifted swiftly to the leadership qualities of Morgan Tsvangirai, the man at
the helm of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Analysts this week rounded on Tsvangirai, a former trade union leader hailed
as an intrepid champion of democracy when he dared to challenge President
Robert Mugabe, "for flagrantly violating the MDC constitution" in a manner
akin to his opposite number in ZANU PF.
The MDC leader, who this week was said to be fretting over indications the
party which he helped to form in 1999 was on the verge of a major split or
outright collapse, defied a national executive council decision by
announcing a boycott of the senatorial polls.
This was contrary to the voting patterns at a stormy meeting where
councillors voted 33 for and 31 against participating in the elections, set
for 26 November.
Analysts said disregarding the wishes of the national executive and storming
out of the meeting to hastily convene a press conference to push his views
on the Senate raised questions about Tsvangirai's claim to democratic
principles as well as his respect for the MDC constitution.
"If we ride this storm we will certainly emerge stronger and capable of
dealing with such similar challenges, but what guarantee do we have that he
(Tsvangirai) will not tinker with the constitution in the event that he is
finally elected President of the country?" said a party insider who spoke to
The Financial Gazette on condition of anonymity.
"I have worked with him, he is a charismatic leader but for him to
flagrantly disregard the voting procedure because it was against his views
casts a bad light on his character and leadership qualities," added the
insider, warning the MDC leader to be wary of splitting the party.
There was general consensus among the political analysts that Tsvangirai
should not have put the issue to the vote if he, as president, felt strongly
about the issue, which he describes as a "ZANU PF Senate project."
Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA), said putting the issue to the vote and then defying the majority and
prevailing vote of the national council of the MDC did not augur well for
"While the NCA is happy that he has finally seen the light that
participating in any election with the present constitution in place serves
no purposes, he (Tsvangirai) should have issued a directive to save himself
the present embarrassing political fall-out. The differences are so sharp
that they could split the MDC for good," said Madhuku.
Political commentator Heneri Dzinotyiwei blamed the sharp differences in the
MDC national executive on poor communication strategies within the party.
Dzinotiweyi, however, dismissed suggestions that the differences would
result in the collapse or eventual split of the MDC.
"What's puzzling are the grounds for simmering divisions. I don't think the
differences on the Senate elections are so serious as to warrant a split,"
said Dzinotyiwei. "If the MDC splits, I think it will be due to other
reasons that we don't know. The Senate to me is an issue that can't split
the party. I think what is playing out can be blamed on poor communication
systems and I think they will be addressing that," he added.
Augustine Timbe, a pro-ZANU PF analyst, said while he was against Tsvangirai's
decision, he was aware some contestants in the MDC were driven by
"It's no longer about Tsvangirai's survival but the MDC's continued
existence as a political force in the local body politic," Timbe.
Tapiwa Mashakada, the MDC legislator for Hatfield who doubles up as the vice
chairman of Harare province and party spokesperson for economic affairs,
came out with guns blazing in full support of his party leader, calling the
senatorial elections a mere circus.
He said the Harare province was fully behind Tsvangirai. "Those who do not
fathom a ZANU PF senator in their territories must realise that in the first
place those places have got ZANU PF governors. So the difference is the
same. For us this is mere rhetoric. Those who think that the decision of the
national council was unconstitutional, we need to explain that the 33 yes
vote against a 31 no vote with two spoiled ballots is a mere simple
majority, which cannot galvanise the party to participate. The yes vote was
a politically and ideologically incorrect vote. It was a narrow majority
largely comprising senatorial candidates who had personal interest. They
should have recused themselves."
Madhuku added: "It will be unfortunate for Tsvangirai to wake up tomorrow
and call for participation in future elections. He should now work towards
complete withdrawal of the party from Parliament," said the outspoken NCA
leader who has in the past clashed with the MDC leader over participating in
any elections in Zimbabwe with the Lancaster House constitution still in
place as the country's fundamental law.
"As the NCA, we have always said it is crazy for Tsvangirai and the MDC to
participate in any elections, be it mayoral, council or general. We are
happy Tsvangirai has seen the light."
The NCA leader said it would be useful if the MDC settled their differences,
which he described as very serious. He said although he differed with the
Welshman Ncube camp which was clamouring for participation, the camp had
been consistent because it had all along believed in gradual transformation.
"The MDC should not pretend there are no serious damaging differences. They
should solve the issue amicably. Those that feel they cannot compromise
should say so and not pretend.
"It will be dangerous for Tsvangirai to believe that he can sweep the
differences under the carpet and just wish them away. They will resurface
sooner or later over another issue because the MDC is made up of groups of
"Unless all parties involved solve their differences amicably, I am afraid
the MDC might be heading for a major split," added Madhuku.
Elizabeth Marunda, a spokesperson for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said
her organisation had been taken aback by the fact that the government wanted
to fork out more than $80 billion on the Senate yet teachers earned $3
million a month against a monthly poverty line of $6.5 million.
"From this analysis, we conclude that the government is no longer concerned
about Zimbabwe's future but merely the survival of ZANU PF, hence the
patronising gratuities and Senate seats," said Marunda.
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono will effect a delayed
devaluation and downgrade his inflation forecasts when he presents his
monetary policy statement today, analysts say.
But his biggest challenge today will be to regain the confidence of
disillusioned Zimbabweans, facing rising prices, factory closures and
massive job cuts despite earlier hopes of recovery.
With September inflation figures having come in much weaker than
anticipated, rising 94 percentage points to 360 percent year-on-year, Gono
is under extreme pressure to lay out a cocktail of tough new measures that
would slow inflation, increase foreign currency inflows and save industries
The central bank did not devalue the Zimbabwe dollar at its weekly auction
last week after the release of inflation figures, as per tradition. The RBZ
has made a pledge to industry that the official exchange rate would track
the rate of inflation. This was not effected after last Monday's release of
inflation numbers, and many expect a decision to be taken in today's
A depressing report on the state of the economy by the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) has piled increased pressure on Gono, and he will today
be forced to once again try and convince the increasingly impatient fund
that Zimbabwe remains committed to reforms, despite a series of moves and
statements from government that appear to indicate otherwise.
The IMF expects inflation to end 2005 at 400 percent, a figure that now
seems conservative after September's figures. Month-on-month inflation came
in at 33.3 percent in September, and is expected to run even faster over the
remainder of the last quarter year.
Economists' forecasts for month-on-month inflation over the remainder of the
year range between 15 percent and 25 percent, which would mean inflation
ending the year at 629 percent at the top end of those forecasts, beating
the January 2004 high of 623 percent.
In his last policy statement, made on July 20, Gono had predicted inflation
to continue rising over the third quarter, before slowing down sharply to 80
percent by year-end.
But with inflation still heating up even after a battery of rate hikes, cuts
on cheap funding and subsidies to state enterprises and producers, Gono is
expected to revise his year-end target upwards.
Gono will present his policy statement with one eye on the March review of
Zimbabwe's IMF membership. He is expected to try and convince the IMF that
Zimbabwe intends to adopt the "comprehensive package of macroeconomic
policies and structural reform" that the fund demanded in its annual report
on Zimbabwe earlier this month.
But he is expected to resist demands by the fund to float the currency,
given strong government opposition to any attempts to remove the currency
According to the IMF, "the tender rate remains overvalued, as indicated by
the substantial parallel market premium". The US dollar stands at $26 000 on
the RBZ auction, but is quoted at up to $85 000 on the informal market.
ZIMBABWE is scoring high on the corruption charts despite spirited attempts
by Harare to root out the scourge, which is now pervasive in both private
and public sectors.
Out of the 158 countries rated on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI),
Zimbabwe - now in the midst of fighting graft through a state-funded
commission, was ranked 107th.
The country slipped 39 points from its previous position.
Zimbabwe was rated on 2.6 points on the CPI score, which relates to the
degree of corruption as seen by business people and risk analysts.
The scorecard ranges from 10 (highly clean) to zero (highly corrupt) and
puts the country in the same league with highly corrupt states such as
Zambia, Vietnam, Ukraine, Nicaragua, Belarus and Eritrea.
Chad and Bangladesh, with a CPI score of 1.7 rank as the world's most
corrupt nations, Transparency International (TI) said.
In the last few months, the Zimbabwean government has launched a blitz
against corruption. Several high-ranking executives have skipped the country
to escape the anti-corruption dragnet, which netted former Finance Minister
Christopher Kuruneri last year.
"Corruption is a major cause of poverty as well as a barrier to overcoming
it," TI chairman Peter Eigen said.
"The two scourges feed off each other, locking their populations in a cycle
of misery. Corruption must be vigorously addressed is aid is to make a real
differences in freeing people from poverty," he added.
Analysts said Zimbabwe could be moving up the corruption barometer due to
rampant corruption and massive illegal deals, which have become the way of
doing business in the country.
THE future of the Sekesai Makwavarara-led commission was left hanging by a
thread yesterday after High Court Judge Rita Makarau ruled in another case
that the extension of a commission's mandate beyond six months is illegal.
Legal experts said the ruling set a precedent for all such commissions
including the one headed by Makwavarara, which has been in office for the
past 10 months.
In a case between former director of works Christopher Magwenzi-Zvobgo
versus the Harare City Council (HCC) and commissioner Dominic Muzawazi,
Justice Makarau said the extension of the Elijah Chanakira commission's term
beyond six months as promulgated in the Urban and Councils Act was invalid.
A team led by the former diplomat came into Town House in March 1999 after
the government dismissed the entire council headed by the late first
executive mayor, Solomon Tawengwa of ZANU PF.
Because of its illegality, the court declared null and void the proceedings
of a special committee set up by the Chanakira commission in October 1999 to
inquire into alleged acts of misconduct by Zvobgo. She said the committee
came into being after the expiry of the commission's six-month lifespan.
The local government ministry has twice bulldozed its way into the affairs
of HCC and imposed commissions whose terms of office have been extended
After appointing the Chanakira-led commission in 1999, the ministry came
back to haunt opposition Movement for Democratic Change executive mayor
Elias Mudzuri, who has since been replaced by the ZANU PF-aligned commission
headed by political turncoat Makwavarara.
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo mandated the Makwavarara
commission to run the affairs of Harare for 24 months.
Harare lawyer Tendai Biti, representing HCC in the matter, said the ruling
by Makarau should set a precedent for other commissions.
In the case between Zvobgo and the HCC, Makarau argued that there had been
no changes to the Constitution of Zimbabwe with regards the Urban Councils
Act and as a result the Act remains "valid and in force."
"A Commission was allowed to remain in office past its legal mandate,
thereby creating the fictional vacuum. It is my view that to legitimise the
clearly illegal in the circumstances of this matter would be to offend
against the clear letter of the law as contained in the Urban Councils Act
and to usurp the functions of Parliament and to seek to legislate from the
bench by excusing which parliament has decreed illegal," Makarau said.
Under the Act, a commission's tenure of office is stipulated for six months
after which succeeding general elections are held.
If the six-month period expires without such elections, the minister may
reappoint the commission or the commission will push for the holding of an
"While it is conceded that the illegal commission transacted business for
and on behalf of the City of Harare under the genuine but mistaken belief
that it had a lawful mandate to do so, the mistaken belief on the part of
the commissioners is in my view no basis in law for this court to usurp the
functions of parliament and validate that which Parliament has expressly
decreed to be illegal," Makarau said.
Justices Wilson Sandura and Hungwe have in previous cases also ruled that
Chombo cannot lawfully reappoint commissioners for an indefinite period
EARLY this year we warned that expecting a new generation of public services
under the Sekesai Makwavarara regime at the Harare City Council would be
hopefulness bereft of realism. And not without reason.
First, we felt then as we do now that Makwavarara, a beneficiary of ZANU
PF's deeply rooted politics of patronage, is the least suitable person to
spearhead the turnaround of the collapsing city. Roped in at the height of
what is now widely seen as the bonfire of political madness when popularly
elected Mayor Elias Mudzuri was hounded out of office, Makwavarara lacks the
imagination, depth and vision required for such a mammoth task, if the
accelerating deterioration in Harare's service delivery is anything to go
by. She is overwhelmed. It is too big a job for her. Much like Peter
Tatchell of the queer rights group Outrage marrying Dolly Parton!
Secondly, the route that was proposed to turn the city's structures into
autonomous strategic business units did not inspire confidence at all. It
has led to a cul-de-sac at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, which has
since relapsed into the depths of political partisanship, mismanagement and
inefficiency. Moreover, we knew that there would be very little room to
manoeuvre given ZANU PF's well documented obsession with exerting its
influence on the city of Harare as can be seen through the planting of
ruling party charlatans at the municipality. We observed that Makwavarara
would inevitably strain at the rigid political leash and partisan
obligations to please her masters.
And we hate to say we told you so because what is happening in Harare right
now reads more like a chronicle of a catastrophe foretold. The
government-ordered chaos at the Harare City Council touched off by extensive
and ruinous political interference by Minister Ignatius Chombo - known for
his obsession with scheming for political survival - shows no signs of
The erstwhile sunshine city has plunged into probably its worst crisis in
Health-wise, it is a ticking time bomb threatening its citizens. Suburbs in
the city have been known to go for weeks on end without water. Mountains of
uncollected refuse, raw sewage flowing in high-density suburbs, collapsing
infrastructure, poor roads and lighting among others, are now a common
feature in the city. The situation is extremely dangerous and to say that
Harare residents are sitting on a powder keg would be an understatement of
significant proportions. Of course Makwavarara promised a turnaround quicker
than anyone could say Sekesai. But the people of Harare who wear the shoe
and therefore know how and where it pinches, now understand that a
turnaround will probably not come any time sooner than the end of the third
There is no wondering how the situation will develop from here. For the
people of Harare who have been forced to embrace mediocrity and put up with
failure - by a minister who only sees mostly imagined fierce political
struggles - there is no relief in sight. This is because those running the
affairs of the city have become part of the problem besetting Harare. They
don't know what to do although they privately admit the situation is nothing
short of dire. Even with a ready-made turnaround programme, they don't know
how to implement it. They want to appoint somebody to do it for them. Talk
of appointing a coordinator of a coordinating committee! So what are they
doing at Town House? Where is their conscience? Little wonder it is said
politics has no soul.
Nothing testifies to the circus at Town House more than the conflicting
statements made to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government
by the commissioners running the affairs of the capital city last week. The
apparent contradictions in the commissioners' statements, which to an extent
betrayed contempt and disdain for the residents, underline the fact that
those who are supposed to return the city to its former glory are stymied by
the mess emanating from years of inefficiency, corruption, cronyism and
government's costly populist decisions for political capital. All it means
is that unless Makwavarara and company are allowed to fall by the wayside
and let the chips fall where they may, there is no hope for Harare.
Admittedly, Zimbabwe has a poisoned political atmosphere and ZANU PF
continues to be arrogant enough to think that it is the only capable
political force in the country. But continuously blaming the opposition
Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) for the cancerous rot at Town House
does not cut it anymore. For all we know, it started during the mayorship of
ZANU PF's Solomon Tawengwa. The MDC-dominated council led by Mudzuri was
never allowed to breathe freely. It was a target of systematic bullying by
the government during its wave-like tenure. And to think that somebody is
advocating yet another government-appointed commission to run Bulawayo? The
mind indeed boggles.
MATABELELAND remains one of the poorest regions in the country though it is
the heartland of the country when it comes to power-generation and tourism.
And things could become worse following the announcement by the central bank
that it was freezing further disbursement of money meant for the region's
turnaround under the parastatals and local authorities reform programme.
The central bank had planned sink a total of $50.5 billion into the
Matabelelend Zambezi Water Project, the region's hope of turning it into a
greenbelt. It also planned to allocate $14 billion to the rural district
councils in Matabeleland North, $400 billion to bail out Hwange Colliery
Company and $120 billion to upgrade border posts in Mata-beleland North
among other projects.
Matabeleland hosts the country's major tourist resort Victoria Falls and has
large mineral deposits as well as timber plantations. It also hosts the
country's largest thermal power station and vast resources of methane gas
which can be used for heating and fuel.
Most of the projects have been on the cards for decades. The Bulawayo City
Council has had to impose water rationing yet it was one of the initiators
of the Zambezi Water Project in the hope that it would provide a permanent
solution to the city's water woes.
Though the people of the region, mostly from the ruling ZANU PF, had formed
the Matabeleland Development Asso-ciation to spearhead development in the
region, the organisation has failed to make any meaningful impact and has
Most politicians from the region have been accused of letting their people
down. Notable exceptions have been former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
who poured vast resources into his constituency Tsholotsho as well as Insiza
legislator Andrew Langa.
The region's capital, Bulawayo, is also under severe stress. The country's
largest tyre manufacturer Dunlop has been forced to temporarily shut down
because of lack of raw materials and there are fears that more companies
could follow suit.
Serious tyre shortage looms
A SERIOUS tyre shortage is looming as Dunlop Tyres, Zimbabwe's sole tyre
manufacturing firm, fails to re-open three weeks following the shock closure
of its factories due to foreign currency shortages.
Dunlop halted operations three weeks ago citing shortages of foreign
currency to import key raw materials.
The firm has also laid off about 820 workers while about 30 000 workers in
the tyre retreading industry are also faced with loss of employment.
But analysts said the closure could result in the country importing tyres,
which is more expensive and costly to the foreign currency-starved economy.
Industry players said the looming tyre shortage could impact heavily on the
transport industry, which is already reeling from shortages of spare parts.
Dunlop managing director Phil Whitehead told The Financial Gazette that the
firm was battling to re-open its factories.
He said marathon meetings between the firm's management, government and the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officials have failed to yield anything with
the monetary authorities "only promising to come back to us".
"We have not yet resumed operations. We had dialogue with government and the
RBZ and they said they were going to come back to us but nothing has
happened yet," said Whitehead.
There have also been reports that government, desperate to halt the economic
meltdown, intends to force the firm to re-open its plants.
Sources said government had been angered that Dunlop management had taken
the decision to shut down its factories without giving it due notice.
"They do not have to force us. We are keen to re-open but our problem is we
do not have foreign currency. We need to pay for raw materials," said
Dunlop's closure, a reflection of the rapid disintegration of the Zimbabwean
economy, was also followed last week by National Foods' closure of flour
milling plants because of wheat shortages.
National Foods shut down its Harare and Bulawayo flour milling after it ran
out of wheat stocks.
Sources at the giant milling firm, which controls close to 70 percent of the
country's flour milling industry said the plants are still closed.
"There has not been an indication from the Grain Marketing Board as to when
we are getting the wheat and even when we get it, it will not be enough to
fire all our plants," said a National Foods senior official.
Dunlop requires US$50 000 to manufacture tyres on a daily basis. Whitehead
said it costs double when the tyres are being imported.
"The implications are high on the rest of the economy. You can not run an
economy with no tyres," said Whitehead.
He said the closure had also resulted in the firm failing to meet orders
from the Zimbabwe National Army, Central Mechanical Equipment Depart-ment
and the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
"Imagine the police and the army with no tyres. This is a huge disaster,"
The firm is also a major supplier to car manufacturer, Willo-wvale Mazda
Analysts said tyres shortages could hit the agricultural sector hard.
HOW many more rate hikes can the central bank make before the bank itself
becomes fatigued? Not too many, analysts say.
Inflation remains stubborn even after attempts to slow it down with a string
of rate hikes. As banks and factories feel the heat of high rates, the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is under increasing pressure to look beyond
the rate hike for new ways of regaining ground lost to inflation.
The RBZ last Wednesday raised rates by 125 percentage points to 405 percent,
two days after September inflation came in 94 percentage points higher at
Month-on-month inflation rose 33.3 percent, data from the Central
Statistical Office showed.
Despite the big hike, RBZ delayed a move on its key Treasury Bill (TB) rate.
As the rate hike found the market in surplus, there was no pressure on the
RBZ to raise the TB rate.
But many ignore this explanation, and are debating whether the RBZ itself
now feels it has stretched the rate hike to its limit.
The RBZ has been looking to offer positive real returns on the money
market - rates above inflation - in order to beat the speculative borrowing
it blames for feeding inflation. But at 360 percent, the new inflation
figure might get the authorities pondering over their rate policy, analysts
Over the past year, the RBZ's reaction to the monthly release of inflation
figures has been an immediate move to raise the accommodation rate. At one
point, central bank raised rates twice inside a single day. The RBZ had
already increased rates a day before the July inflation figure came in much
higher than expected, forcing authorities to make another hike.
The surplus conditions that greeted last week's rate hike appeared to be
lost this week as the money market slipped back into deficit, increasing the
pressure on the RBZ to make a move on investment rates. Rates on the
indicative 91-day TB have stood at 265 percent for the past month.
"The lack of change on the TB rate appears to have been interpreted as a
sign that the RBZ is no longer able to keep on hiking rates, hence the
renewed interest in equities. The foreign currency auction has also not
responded to inflation, another sign of fatigue on the authorities' part,"
analysts at Adway Financial Services said earlier this week.
If the RBZ continues on its path of rate hikes, the biggest casualty would
be government. Because government remains the single largest borrower on the
market, higher TB rates mean its interest bill would continue to swell.
Government domestic debt, which has peaked at $16 trillion, stood at $13.5
trillion last Friday, according to RBZ figures.
Critics insist that raising interest rates while government turns down pleas
for spending cuts will not have the desired impact on inflation. If
government cannot pull its own weight, economists say, the RBZ is left with
very few useful options to fight inflation, causing the bank to continue its
over-reliance on the rate hike.
"Rate hikes are essentially a monetarist approach based on the premise that
there is need to reduce lending and therefore money supply growth. But there
are other factors that have been driving inflation. Food inflation has been
rising, and will continue to rise over the coming months until the next
harvest in March - that's assuming, of course, that we have a good harvest,"
a leading economist with a local bank told The Financial Gazette.
Economists believe further rate hikes are unlikely to slow inflation.
Elsewhere, central banks raise rates in anticipation of future inflation,
and not in reaction to the inflation that has already shown through, as is
the case in Zimbabwe.
Although it has not raised rates recently, the South Africa Reserve Bank has
taken a hawkish monetary policy stance going forward, hoping to guard
against the inflationary pressures from the anticipated surge in demand as
the economy chases growth rates of six percent.
Blow by blow account of what took place in that fateful meeting
AS DELEGATES to last week's momentous Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
national executive council meeting were trooping into the boardroom at
Harvest House, the more observant claim to have espied staff in secretary
general Welshman Ncube's office preparing some ballot papers.
This, they say, signalled that the meeting was not going to be like any the
party's supreme decision making body - between congress - had held before.
However, few, if any, would have predicted the fall-out that would ensue
after party president Morgan Tsvangirai moved to overrule the decision to
have the MDC participating in next month's Senatorial elections.
In the biggest challenge the six-year-old party has faced yet, senior
politicos in the party - deputy president Gibson Sibanda, secretary general
Ncube, national chairman Isaac Matongo, treasurer-general Fletcher Dulini
Ncube, deputy secretary general Gift Chimanikire and party spokesperson Paul
Themba Nyathi - broke ranks with Tsvangirai and openly defied his decision
to have the MDC boycott the November 26 poll.
Below is a blow-by-blow account of what transpired at the eventful meeting
last Wednesday, as related by sources who participated in the deliberations:
The meeting began with reports from the provinces on the results of the
consultative process the party had undertaken countrywide. Six provinces
stated their desire to field candidates in the election, while four were
against and two were not committed.
However, reports from Mashonaland East, Matabeleland North, Midlands South,
Midlands North and Manicaland raised a lot of debate on the procedure used
to come up with the positions taken by their leaders.
In one case, involving Mashonaland East, chairman Alois Mudzingwa recanted
when challenged by a fellow delegate, who produced a written resolution
showing a contrary position to the one he had reported to council. In
Manicaland, leaders from six constituencies, protested that they were never
consulted and disowned the provincial leader's report. Lyson Mlambo,
Midlands South provincial chairman, also faced similar challenges from his
camp, but said he had merely "checked the sentiment in the province
informally, asking for ordinary people's views."
Similar weaknesses in the consultative process were revealed in the
remainder of the provinces that were pushing for participation.
Tsvangirai then put it to council that the national crisis was deepening and
the senate wouldn't resolve that. The MDC, he said, had argued strongly
against the constitutional amendment that gave birth to the Senate, so what
justification was there for the party to turn around and contest?
Those arguing for participation interjected, saying the party should just
"get in", whereupon Tsvangirai raised the danger of getting into an election
when half the provinces were against participation, using the metaphor of a
general who goes to war with half the troops unwilling. He recommended that
it was necessary for him to retreat, regroup and agree on an absolute
position before going into the Senate elections, but his interlocutors
cautioned that there was no time for that. Tsvangirai asked if the views of
the party's youth and women's wings and those of the MDC's civic society
partners were inconsequential, but was told that the party was an autonomous
political formation with its independence and civil society groups should
not interfere in its decisions.
After three hours of inconclusive debate, former Chimanimani legislator Roy
Bennet suggested that the management committee (Top Six) should retreat and
deliberate on a common position which would guide council. The top six -
Tsvangirai, his deputy Gibson Sibanda, Ncube, national chairman Isaac
Matongo, treasurer general Fletcher Dulini Ncube and deputy secretary
general Gift Chimanikire- duly retreated and, after further inconclusive
debate, Tsvangirai asked each one of the five to make their personal
positions known to the rest. To a man, they all stated their support for the
When the management committee broke its retreat and rejoined council, Mutare
North MP and party chief whip Innocent Gonese promptly moved that the matter
be put to the vote and this was seconded.
Tsvangirai rose to caution against the dangers of the vote, asking since
when council voted through secret ballot, especially if the views carried by
delegates were representative of the sentiment on the ground. He was heckled
by delegates shouting: "Dictator! Allow the vote, the vote is a fundamental
Tsvangirai perservered, asking: "How can you vote when you wish to become
candidates yourselves?" He expressly asked Mudzingwa how he would reconcile
his personal wish and his province's contrary position, to which the
Mashonaland East chairman said once he cast the vote in favour and on behalf
of Mash East, the people would "fall in line and follow him."
An increasingly agitated Tsvangirai then asked why some delegates were flown
into Harare and housed at the Holiday Inn and Quality International hotels
while others had to put up with relatives or were booked at lodges in the
city. He further asked why there was intense lobbying of individuals ahead
of the meeting if the meeting was to provide a platform for reports from the
provinces. The questions were ignored, amid cries that council should
conduct a one-person-one-vote election to decide the issue.
Tsvangirai reiterated his fear that a vote of this nature on such an
evidently contentious issue would be divisive. He further stated that
whatever the result of the vote, his reading of the mood in the party and
elsewhere was that the MDC should not participate in the Senate elections.
He told council that consultation was not decision-making, although this was
important. He further said that as party leader, he carried the burden of
charting the course for the party and that, at the end of the day, the court
of public opinion would judge him in accordance with his actions. Tsvangirai
said he had gone through three rigged elections and each time he faced the
music alone as council members would have vanished soon after the electoral
theft. However, calls for the vote grew louder.
At that point, Tsvangirai put on his jacket and started packing his papers.
The vote went ahead and the returns showed 33 delegates in favour of
participation against 31 who were opposed, while two ballot papers were
spoilt. Tsvangirai told council that the results of the vote showed that
significant divisions on the issue still existed and, as president, he was
not prepared to lead the party into an election. As president, with the
powers conferred on him by congress, he had decided that the MDC would stay
out. If anyone disagreed with that position, they could take him on at
congress in two months time. He further said that the spirit of congress in
coming up with a council was to get senior party officials to assist the
president to run the party in between congresses, not to censure, humiliate,
sabotage or punish him. If the council was unhappy with the performance of a
president, the least it could do is call for an extraordinary congress and
let that body deal with the errant president.
Tsvangirai then left for his Strathaven home where, flanked by Hatfield
legislator Tapiwa Mashakada and Chitungwiza MP Fidelis Mhashu, he told
journalists that he had used his casting vote to override a council vote
that had sought to take the MDC into the November 26 Senate elections.
After Tsvangirai left in a huff, the remaining five management committee
members then sent Matongo and Chimanikire to Tsvangirai's home. Tsvangirai
never spoke to them. Later that day, party spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi
issued a statement saying, based on the council resolution, the MDC would
participate in the poll.
The following day, Sibanda, Matongo, Ncube, Chimanikire and Dulini Ncube met
at the Holiday Inn in Sibanda's room, where it was decided to disregard
Tsvangirai's position and instruct the provinces to start mobilising for the
elections. Matongo and Chimanikire are assigned to instruct the provinces to
proceed with nominations.
Chimanikire proceeds to send circulars to the provinces, instructing party
structures to come up with senatorial candidates.
Tsvangirai, who was reported to be out of town as a full-scale rebellion
erupted, returns around lunch-time on Thursday but was not informed of any
management meeting at the Holiday Inn.
Ncube arrives at Tsvangirai's home around 4pm Thursday, with a plane ticket
which he dropped at the gate. Ncube left a message that Tsvangirai should
fly to Cape Town the following day. Although Tsvangirai was at home, the two
did not meet.
lOn Friday, Tsvangirai sent circulars to the provinces, instructing them to
ignore Chimanikire's earlier circular.