Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Reporter
MDC promised full investigation into violence
THE government has pledged to investigate opposition allegations of state
sanctioned violence against its supporters, apparently under pressure from
South Africa, which is mediating in the Zimbabwe crisis, to keep the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at the negotiating table.
MDC officials, who attended a meeting with Home Affairs Minister Kembo
Mohadi at his offices in Harare yesterday told journalists that the Minister
made an undertaking to investigate charges by the opposition of a new wave
of ZANU PF attacks against its supporters.
At the same time, the opposition has made fresh charges that the government
has ordered a range of new anti-riot equipment to intensify its repressive
crackdown against opposition activity, and challenged government to publicly
Mohadi's deputy Obert Matshalaga and permanent secretary Melusi Matshiya
also attended yesterday's meeting.
The MDC delegation comprised Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo, the MDC's secretary for
home affairs, legal secretary Innocent Gonese, party spokesperson Nelson
Chamisa and welfare secretary Kerry Kay.
"Mohadi said they (government) are investigating to get a full answer. He
said violence is not allowed. There is some seriousness on the part of the
Minister," said Sipepa-Nkomo.
The meeting took place after Mohadi had summoned MDC faction leader Morgan
Tsvangirai to a meeting where the opposition leader would be asked to
substantiate allegations of violence against his supporters.
This was after Tsvangirai, who heads one of the factions of the MDC had
written to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) threatening to
pull his party out of the talks, being brokered by South African president
Thabo Mbeki because of escalating state violence, which his party said cast
doubt over ZANU PF's sincerity.
Tsvangirai alleges that police have disrupted a total of 103 opposition
rallies since the start of the SADC-led talks in April this year.
The party has recorded 4 122 rights violations between January and June this
year. These included seven murders, 18 cases of rape, 69 kidnappings or
abductions, 459 cases of torture, 2 323 cases of interference or
intimidation, 1141 cases of assault and 152 cases of unlawful detention.
The MDC proposed at yesterday's meeting the setting up of a liaison
committee made up of representatives of ZANU PF, MDC and the Zimbabwe
Republic Police, which would monitor all cases of political violence.
The MDC insisted that the government should publicly denounce violence and
declare its respect for the rule of law.
"We suggested that Mohadi should make a public statement that violence by
anyone, be it the CIO (the Central Intelligence Organisation), police or the
army, should not be tolerated, and that all demonstrations should be
notified to the police, even those organised by war veterans, and not only
those organised by the MDC."
The war veterans are currently on a campaign trail to secure President
Mugabe's endorsementas the party's Presidential candidate in next year's
harmonised elections at ZANU PF's extraordinary congress to be held in
The MDC also raised the issue of Joseph Mwale, the elusive CIO agent accused
of masterminding the murder of two opposition activists in 2000.
Mwale has not been prosecuted, and is reported to have been rewarded with a
The MDC demanded assurances from Mohadi that Mwale would be prosecuted, to
restore confidence in the rule of law.
Mohadi was also called upon to act against the impunity of police in the
torture of opposition leaders and activists.
Sipepa-Nkomo alleged state security agents have placed orders to procure
riot kit worth US$1.5 million from South Africa, including 70 000 teargas
hand grenades, 70 000 canisters of coloured smoke, 70 000 teargas canisters,
and an undisclosed quantity of truncheons, which would be delivered by month
But police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena reacted: "I am not aware of the
purchase of such equipment. In any case the purchase of teargas has nothing
to do with elections or the MDC because it has been used before and has been
found to be an effective way."
Sources this week said Mohadi's meeting with the MDC was the result of
pressure on the ruling ZANU PF from the SADC mediators.
Meanwhile, civil society organisations will meet the MDC today over its role
in the passing of the controversial Constitutional Amendment Number 18 Bill,
which enables President Mugabe to handpick his successor and expands the
number of seats in Parliament among other things.
Relations between the groups and the MDC have been strained since the
passing of the amendments.
"We met on Tuesday and the meeting was to discuss and report back on the
meeting that we had in Bulawayo last month. We resolved to meet with the
political parties involved in the talks and find out how we can be engaged
and get our views known and represented by the mediating teams," said
coordinator Rindai Chipfunde, who is national director of the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network.
SADC tasked Mbeki in March to lead efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's deepening
eight-year old political and economic crisis by facilitating dialogue
between the MDC and ZANU PF.
Critics say escalating violence and repressive legislation could hamper the
MDC from campaigning freely in the run up to next year's presidential and
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
GOVERNMENT squandered $5 billion worth of taxpayers' money and gave away a
farm in pursuit of fanciful claims about a miracle diesel discovery in
Chinhoyi, court documents show.
Rotina Mavhunga, the n'anga at the centre of the embarrassing affair,
convinced Cabinet she had discovered enough diesel to supply the whole
Court documents seen by The Financial Gazette this week show that between
April 2006 and July 2007, the woman, also known as Nomatter Tagarira or
Sekuru Dombo, squeezed large amounts of cash, food, and even a farm out of
Mavhunga, and a group of gold panners still at large, are said to have come
across a container of diesel at Muningwa Hills in Chinhoyi.
Mavhunga and her accomplices then convinced the Mashonaland West ZANU PF
leadership that she had "pointed her sacred stick" at a rock, resulting in
diesel gushing out.
The rock contained enough diesel to supply the whole country, she told
"She caused pipes to be installed, which would move diesel from where it was
discovered to the foot of the hill, which resulted in the diesel running
out. After that, they would buy diesel from truck drivers and keep it in the
pipe on the pretext that it was coming from a rock," the court heard.
"As a result of this misrepresentation by the accused, the whole country's
interests and government interests at large resulted in the government of
Zimbabwe committing human and material resources into the issue, which later
turned out to be false."
The value of the resources committed to the project was over $5 billion, the
court papers show.
"As a result of this misrepresentation, the accused unlawfully solicited and
received food, money, services, a farmhouse and a farm from the government
of Zimbabwe, knowing well that her claims were false."
The n'anga has been charged under the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act
for fraud and, alternatively, for being a "criminal nuisance."
Believing her extravagant claims, the ZANU PF politburo had sent in a
top-level ministerial team, comprising National Security Minister Didymus
Mutasa, Minister of Defence, Sydney Sekeramayi, and Home Affairs Minister
Kembo Mohadi, to investigate the diesel discovery.
A taskforce was later appointed, made up of Energy and Power Development
Minister Mike Nyambuya, Science and Technology Minister Olivia Muchena and
Mines and Mining Development Minister Amos Midzi.
Mavhunga was arrested early this month after being on the run for a week.
Police claim that a top government official had been hiding her at his home.
They refuse to name the culprit.
A NUMBER of financial institutions have lodged applications for retail
banking licences, a move likely to increase the number of commercial banks
in the country beyond the current 14 should the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) approve the requests.
Banking industry sources told The Financial Gazette this week that the
National Discount House Holdings (NDHH) and Trust Finance House (Trustfin)
recently submitted applications to the central bank seeking conversion of
their current banking licences into commercial banking licences.
The sources said NDHH and Trustfin had already concluded capital raising
initiatives to meet capital requirements for commercial banking activities.
NDHH, which had a rights issue in September, raised $150 billion to
capitalise its banking operations.
Initially, the plan was for the discount house to seek approval for a
merchant banking licence, but shareholders, through the NDHH board, are said
to have decided for a retail banking licence ahead of plans for all
financial institutions to have universal banking licences that would allow
them to conduct all forms of banking.
Interfin Merchant Bank is also understood to be planning to venture into
commercial banking but management was still weighing the costs.
ABC Holdings also hinted in its June interims that it would soon embark on a
massive retail-banking roll out plan, without elaborating.
"The group is embarking on an ambitious growth path, which will be
underpinned by an aggressive retail banking roll-out, resulting in an
expansion in our product range and branch network", ABCH chairman Oliver
Chidawu said in a statement accompanying the group's results for the six
months ended June this year.
Analysts said the conditions prevailing in the financial sector were
presenting challenges to mostly merchant banks.
They said merchant banks felt the conversion of their licences to commercial
banking licences would give them access to the RBZ overnight window and
allow them to tap into a huge deposit base, particularly from government.
"We found that merchant banking in the long term is not sustainable because
the costs of upgrading will be high," said an official with NDHH.
Executives at both Interfin and Trustfin also confirmed seeking to venture
into commercial banking operations.
"We are regulated by the RBZ so we can't talk to the press but it is our
intention to convert Trustfin into a commercial bank. Trustfin is adequately
capitalised," said Tawanda Nyambirai, chief executive officer of TN
Financial Holdings, majority shareholders in Trustfin.
Interfin managing director Chris Sambaza said: "It is a very costly exercise
and we are looking at the feasibility but we haven't made a decision yet."
In the past, a number of merchant banks, among them Trust and NMB, have
changed their banking models by converting into retail banks.
Besides commercial banks, Zimbabwe's financial services sector also has five
merchant banks, four building societies, four discount houses and one
finance house and 17 asset managers.
Gono recently gave the sector a clean bill of health, saying the banking
sector remained "safe and sound" due to enhanced supervision as well as
continued improvements in risk management and corporate governance
The sector once hit turbulence in 2004, which precipitated the collapse of
at least 15 financial institutions, among them three commercial banks.
Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter
THE shortage of bread is unlikely to end anytime soon after the country's
major bakeries rejected the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC)'s
retail price review for a loaf of bread to $100 000, arguing that the price
fell short of ensuring viability due to surging production costs.
National Bakers Association (NBA) chairman, Vincent Mangoma last week said
in a letter to the NIPC dated October 19, 2007 that the viable retail price
of a standard loaf of bread should be $400 000.
He said the ultimate solution to the bread crisis would be to peg the price
of bread in Zimbabwe at regional price levels tracking the price of the
United States dollar.
It was not clear at what rate the US dollar price would be converted to the
domestic currency price, but using the official price would significantly
discount the cost of bread.
The government has publicly maligned the parallel market, with security
agents often hounding unregistered foreign currency traders despite a number
of parastatals being active participants on the parallel market both as
foreign currency buyers and traders.
Figures provided by the NBA this week indicated that it costs $224, 592 to
produce a loaf of bread if flour costs $100 000 per kg, and $274, 592 to
produce one loaf if the flour price is $250 000 per kg.
After factoring in other costs, bread making would be unviable if a loaf is
$100 000. Bakers have not been producing for three months, triggering a
countrywide shortage and making thousands of workers in the sector
"The NBA recommends that the bread price in Zimbabwe take into account the
average price of bread both internationally and within the (Southern African
Development Community) SADC region where an average price of US$1 per loaf
is considered a fair price," Mangoma told the NIPC.
"In Botswana the price of a loaf is between six pula and seven pula and this
translates to about $800 000, while in South Africa a loaf of bread costs
between six and seven rands and this translates to about $1,1 million,"
Mangoma told The Financial Gazette this week, using the parallel market
rates for the conversions.
"The NBA notes with concern that despite several appeals to the authorities
and public assurances given to address the industry's concerns, there has
been no decisive effort by the authorities to deal comprehensively with
issues around bread and, consequently a state of general malaise pervades
the industry," Mangoma said in the letter to NIPC.
Major bakeries this week said wheat and flour shortages had escalated in the
past few weeks and the cheaper fuel that had been promised to the industry
by the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe had not been forthcoming, forcing
companies to source from the expensive black market.
The Grain Marketing Board has approved licences for larger bakeries to
import their own wheat at $100 million per tonne.
But industry players said to be viable, bread would have to be priced at
between $500 000 and $600 000 per loaf for companies to recover cost of the
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
OPPOSITION leader Morgan Tsvangirai faces a fresh rebellion after he
overrode the decisions of his faction's top National Council and ordered the
sacking of the head of the women's league and disciplinary action against a
Member of Parliament.
Tsvangirai, who heads one faction of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), sacked Lucia Matibenga, once a strong ally, as leader of the women's
assembly, saying this was part of a restructuring exercise to "strengthen
But it has emerged that his decision contradicts the recommendations of the
council of senior officials and the advice of a commission of inquiry.
To underline the chaos in the party, Mabvuku Member of Parliament Timothy
Mubhau has had to fight for his position by going to court, where he has won
an interdict stopping the party from convening a disciplinary hearing
against him. The MDC's national council, a body tasked to uphold the party's
constitution, had not supported a disciplinary hearing.
The developments reflect fresh and wider divisions in Tsvangirai's faction,
already riddled with bitter infighting over talks with ZANU PF and the MDC's
endorsement of Constitutional Amendment 18.
The Financial Gazette established this week that the MDC top leadership had
intended to sack Matibenga in July, but that she had been saved by the party's
National Executive Committee (NEC).
A meeting of the NEC on July 28 agreed that Matibenga must not be axed,
while the national council met later on the same day to endorse the
The national council, however, went a step further and established a
commission of inquiry to look into problems in the women's wing. A
three-member commission was appointed, chaired by secretary for home affairs
Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, and including Kwekwe MP Blessing Chebundo, Cecil
Zvidzai and Trevor Murai as secretary.
The commission conducted interviews on August 27 and 28, before presenting
its findings to acting national chairman Lovemore Moyo on September 9.
Sipepa-Nkomo's commission backed the position taken by the national council
opposing Matibenga's ouster.
"The commission has observed that it will be prudent, noble and democratic
to give women more time to solve their problems with the assistance of
stakeholders in the women's assembly."
It said the party's leadership must "change its attitude towards the
assembly, be accommodative, and resource it accordingly."
However, Moyo did not take the report to the national council as required,
but submitted it to the standing committee, chaired by Tsvangirai, which
went on to sack Matibenga.
The decision has angered senior members of the party.
The MDC says Matibenga's leadership was "dysfunctional".
But Matibenga has hit back, painting a grim picture of the state of affairs
within the opposition.
She said accusations of incompetence leveled against her were unfair, as the
women's assembly was badly under-funded.
"We have no fax machine, only one telephone, no chairs, no desks. I have to
travel by public transport to meetings whereas the male leadership all have
one, two, or even three vehicles each."
She said her legal challenge was "an attempt to force the MDC to follow its
In her court application, Matibenga argues the MDC constitution does not
entitle the management committee to take such action.
"The women's assembly constitution, Clause 622, says any changes in the make
up of the women's assembly (which has more than half of all the MDC members)
shall only occur after an extraordinary congress either by the national
council of the party or the national council of the women," Matibenga says
in her papers.
The MDC has called an October 28 special congress, but Matibenga says in her
papers that attendance is being unlawfully limited to provincial and
Congress, she argues, should include members at ward level.
"Instead of 3 000 delegates entitled to vote, only 230 people have been
invited (to congress)."
Reports say Tsvangirai is backing Theresa Makone to head the women's
assembly. She is the wife of Ian Makone, the MDC elections director and a
long standing Tsvangirai ally. Said Matibenga: "The MDC leadership is
showing it is allergic to strong women. They want women they can
The MDC has been divided since October 2005 over strategy on elections and
specifically Tsvangirai's insistence on boycotting the senate elections
although his executive had voted by a narrow margin in favour of
The MDC's fortunes have plummeted rapidly since the split, leaving the party
that won half of the Parliamentary seats in 2000 facing potentially
devastating losses at the next polls.
Charles Rukuni Bureau Chief
BULAWAYO - ZANU PF's Bulawayo province is still playing hide-and-seek just
over a month before the party's special congress at which it is supposed to
choose its presidential candidate for next year's elections.
Provincial secretary for Information and Publicity Effort Nkomo says
everything is in order. The restructuring exercise is almost complete. But
sources say the so-called restructuring exercise was a sham.
The man who should have the answers, deputy national political commissar
Richard Ndlovu, who was spearheading the restructuring exercise refused to
talk saying he had to brief his "boss" in Harare first.
Bulawayo province is the only party province without an elected executive,
six months after the exercise should have been completed.
It should have elected an executive in April but this was postponed after it
was realised that a lot of people, especially those loyal to war veterans,
had been left out.
War veterans have won
all provincial elections in Bulawayo over the past six years but their
executives have been dissolved for one reason or another and an interim
executive put in place instead.
The war veterans, some of whose credentials are being questioned, have been
on a collision course with the traditional ZANU PF leadership from the
region, which includes former military intelligence chief Dumiso Dabengwa,
vice-President Joseph Msika and national chairman John Nkomo.
They are also backing President Robert Mugabe in his quest for re-election.
They claim that politburo members from the region support the faction led by
retired army chief Solomon Mujuru, which is jostling to succeed President
President Mugabe had in the past indicated that this would be his last term.
He wanted to retire to write his memoirs.
Observers say the problems in Bulawayo reflect those at national level where
the party is divided over whether to allow President Mugabe to remain in
office or not, as there are some who believe there cannot be an economic
recovery as long as he is in power.
Effort Nkomo said this week the party was stronger after the completion of
the restructuring exercise.
He said the party's districts had increased from 29 to 53 and elections had
been held to choose district executives in 43 of the 53 districts. Elections
in the remaining 10 districts should be completed by today.
A member of the rival faction, however, said the elections were a sham
because in some cases there were not enough people to elect an executive.
"There were only 39 people at District 3 and 25 at District 4," one of the
members of the rival faction claimed. "How then were they able to elect an
executive because the executive alone should have 102 members?"
Effort Nkomo said most districts had enough members to form an electoral
college that elected the executive. He conceded that there were not enough
people in some districts but said these were the 10 where elections were not
"The exercise is progressing very well. Yes, we had some before the
restructuring exercise because some people felt they had been left out. The
doors were opened. Those who did not come in cannot claim now that they were
left out," Nkomo said.
Elliot Manyika, ZANU PF's national commissar, stopped the April elections
after he was told that the interim executive in Bulawayo, as well as
politburo members from the region, were against President Mugabe's
A clearer picture of where the province is heading should emerge this
weekend if the province is allowed to set up district coordinating
committees, which is a prelude to electing a provincial executive.
But, the confusion could continue as Bulawayo has been allowed to field two
factions at national conferences before.
Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor
MINING sector players said a review of the Zimbabwe dollar payment for gold
deliveries to the central bank early this month had raised hope for
increased production, but warned this was now too little to ensure viability
in the sector due to escalating inflation.
The delays in foreign currency payments for gold are continuing to hamper
production, with mining companies failing to import raw materials to
increase production, they said.
They noted that the central bank's proposition for toll manufacturing deals
with miners would further lower foreign currency earnings directly flowing
to the miners.
Miners, they said, were likely to produce under duress to meet the central
bank's demands for output thresholds determined under the toll manufacturing
deals, even when their capacity was limited and raw materials and spare
parts unavailable for required production.
This, they said, was likely to cripple operations further.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) recently unveiled a number of measures it
said were meant to boost production in the mining sector, whose performance
has been ruined by unreliable electricity supplies and shortages of foreign
currency for the import of raw materials and spare parts.
The gold mining sector has previously complained about the delayed payment
for a part of gold sales paid for in foreign currency.
All gold produced in Zimbabwe is sold to Fidelity Printers and Refineries, a
subsidiary of the central bank. Sixty percent of the earnings is paid for in
foreign currency and 40 percent in domestic currency.
During his mid-term monetary policy review, RBZ Governor Gideon Gono
increased the Zimbabwe dollar price for gold.
The gold support price, which had been successively raised to $350 000/gram,
$1 million/gram and $3 million per gram during the first half of the year,
was further increased "to further stimulate this critical sector", Gono
Gold price reviews were made in retrospect.
Gold producers who had delivered gold to Fidelity Printers and Refineries
from August 1, 2007 had their support prices increased from $3 million per
gram to $3.5 million per gram, while deliveries made from September 1, 2007
had prices reviewed from $3.5 million per gram to $4 million per gram.
The support price was further reviewed to $5 million per gram with effect
from this month."Subsequent to these reviews, the Reserve Bank will continue
to enhance the gold support price to ensure that the formal market remains
not only honourable, but also attractive and viable," Gono said.
Gono also unveiled measures to develop and expand the gold mining industry
at the small-scale level, saying prohibitive operating costs and lack of
working capital had retarded small-scale mining development.
He set aside $1.5 trillion to support the development of small-scale gold
mines around the country.
An industry executive said while Zimbabwe dollar costs constituted a key
component of their costs, it was the foreign currency aspect that was
causing a haemorrhage in the mining sector.
"We want the foreign currency for raw materials," the mine executive said,
indicating that delays in foreign currency payments still dogged operations
for gold miners.
Chamber of Mines chief executive officer Douglas Verden, said the $5 million
gold price unveiled on October 1 was good at the time, but was "not adequate
anymore" due to escalating inflation.
"The real issue is that gold producers are not getting paid for their gold
in time," Verden said, referring to the foreign currency payments. "Most
companies are now way behind in terms of the revenue they're owed, some
going back to March," he said.
He said base metal producers were little affected by payment problems as the
Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe paid them once proceeds from sales
were received, about 40 percent going to the RBZ and the balance being paid
into their foreign currency accounts.
But, he indicated, the toll-mining proposal was likely to squeeze the miners
further, depending on the modalities of its application.
Gono unveiled plans to enter into toll mining and exporting with targeted
Under this proposal, the RBZ would provide working capital in local currency
to targeted mining houses at a concessionary interest rate of 25 percent per
The working capital would be extended against contractual commitments by the
recipient mines to produce and export specific pre-agreed outputs, proceeds
of which would be sold into the pooled foreign exchange fund to be held by
the central bank.
Top gold producers will be included under this toll-manufacturing project,
together with platinum, nickel, chrome, asbestos, coal and diamond
Verden said this arrangement assumed "foreign inputs would be accessible"
for the mining houses to produce under the proposed contracts.
"I do not know how far this has gone," Verden noted.
Latest figures indicate that gold production levels remain on a downward
spiral and that the country is highly unlikely to produce over eight tonnes
of gold this year.
Zimbabwe is grappling with crippling shortages of foreign currency.
The local productions figures have been on a slide since the peak of 1999
when the country produced 27 tonnes.
Cumulative gold deliveries in 2006 stood at 10,96 tonnes.
Production has nose-dived on the back of mine closures caused by galloping
operational costs, which have not matched revenue due to a controlled
Rangarirai Mberi and Clemence Manyukwe Staff Repor
How much will a vast network of allies help Mujuru's candidacy?
ON a Saturday afternoon, late last month, dozens of well-known business
figures gathered at Ruwa Country Club for the inaugural Solomon Mujuru Golf
More than just an ordinary golf invitational, the gathering served up a
handy look into part of Vice President Joice Mujuru's reportedly vast
network of business allies.
But just how much can these ties help a future Mujuru candidacy?
And would these connections have the wherewithal to break the barriers
littering the road to the extra-ordinary ZANU PF congress to be held in
President Robert Mugabe, who has thrown his hat into the ring, making a
U-turn from an earlier pledge to quit active politics at the expiry of his
current term, risked dividing his party in 2004 when backing Mujuru to
become one of his two deputies.
Six provincial chairmen, including Jabulani Sibanda, the controversial war
veterans chairman, were suspended from the party for attempting to block VP
Mujuru's ascendancy and trying to create positions in the ZANU PF hierarchy
for people aligned to Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa was later to lose the race to Mujuru.
So warm were relations then that President Mugabe, who is now working
closely with Sibanda to secure his re-election bid, appeared to prime Mujuru
for bigger office; she should not be satisfied with being deputy, he said,
she had to "aim higher".
But it is now clear President Mugabe will not leave office any time soon.
Still, he will have to go some time.
So, even though the President has cleared the field going into ZANU PF's
special congress, his stay will not end the often-sleazy influence peddling
in his party, and will not put the lid on speculation over his successor
Mujuru will still harbour hopes of reviving her standing despite her camp's
The Vice President's war credentials, and those of her husband, are
Joice Mujuru left home at age 18 to join the struggle, taking up the nom de
guerre Teurai Ropa.
She claims to have downed a Rhodesia Air force chopper as it swooped low to
finish off an attack on her group of fighters.
At age 25, Mujuru was the youngest member of Cabinet at Independence in
1980. She was barely literate, but has won plaudits for pushing herself
through school and earning a degree.
It was her husband Solomon Mujuru, according to many accounts, who, as ZANLA
commander, convinced guerillas, most of whom were sceptical of President
Mugabe - who they had never met - to accept his leadership after the 1974
Herbert Chitepo assassination.
Solomon Mujuru later made himself indispensable when he helped put down an
At Independence, he was appointed head of the national army, tasked with the
difficult job of integrating three different forces.
These credentials will be important in any future Mujuru bid to lead ZANU
But she will face rivals with possibly even stronger war records should she
decide to press on with her campaign.
The question many ask is how much she would lean on her family's growing
financial clout in the event.
To start with, her business empire has already been a handicap.
President Mugabe has used the Mujurus' business interests to suggest she was
part of what he called "an insidious dimension where ambitious leaders have
been cutting deals with the British and Americans".
In a February television interview, President Mugabe came out particularly
opposed to the involvement by his officials in diamonds.
His criticism was widely seen as directed at Solomon Mujuru, the only one of
his top figures with known interests in the diamonds trade.
Because of her business interests - and her public support for business
during a state crackdown on businesses last year - opponents could cast her
as pro-business, to try and shackle her campaign to lead a party
increasingly inclined to anti-business policies; even though most of its
leaders have outsized commercial interests themselves and do not believe
their own leftist rhetoric.
But for all its socialist pretensions, ZANU PF is much more a business club
than the revolutionary party it purports to be.
Its chefs viciously fight for a perpetuation of the party's rule, not
because it alone can "defend the country's sovereignty and territorial
integrity" or that it has any good economic sense, but only because it
provides the trough from which they feed; prime farms, juicy contracts in
oil, commercial property, and a range of other deals.
Hundreds of young businesspeople are seeping into ZANU PF ranks everyday;
they are attracted solely by the commercial benefits available, and laugh
into their wine at all that struggle talk.
Is it, then, too simplistic to suggest that, ultimately, those who can offer
much more than just revolutionary rhetoric will wield more influence, at
least in sections of the ruling party?
Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru, writing last month, appeared to echo
President Mugabe's unease at the likely consequence of the Mujuru faction's
He referred to what he said was a faction that "has been seeking to worm
itself to influence". It was "a faction, which is greedy, anti-nation, a bit
daft, without structures, but well heeled".
President Mugabe's supporters, Manheru suggested, were moving "relentlessly
to pare down the power claims of this faction."
Although the Mujurus are said to own a web of business interests, there is
scant official record of their reputed assets, said to include a leading
hardware company and Harare's biggest cab service.
Their most recently rumoured acquisition is half of one of the country's
oldest private security firms.
It has been repeatedly said that the Mujurus have an interest in Dande
Capital Holdings, a company headed by ZANU PF Member of Parliament David
Butau. The company denies this.
Dande's public profile rose after a visit last year to China by
Vice-President Mujuru. Dande was one of two companies, together with little
known Ele Resources, which won mining deals worth US$1.3 billion from China
National and Agricultural Machinery Import and Export and China National
Aero-Technology Import and Export.
The deal included the mining of metals such as chrome from the Vice
President's home area of Dande.
The Vice President does, however, own an enterprise called Dandito, which
has a poultry joint venture with Dande.
Through Dandito, the Vice President most recently acquired from Sweden 54
dialysis machines for the country's public hospitals.
Also established is that her family owns Dahaw Trading, an investment
company that holds a controlling interest in Willdale, the country's largest
brick maker. The company lists Solomon, Nyasha and Maidei Mujuru as its
Ray Kaukonde, the Mashonaland East governor and businessman seen as a close
Mujuru ally, had owned 11.5 percent of Willdale in November 2003. It is not
possible to tell from the latest share register whether he retains an
The Financial Gazette has also exclusively established from close associates
that the family has now invested in a domestic airline, which they plan to
launch next year.
But the Mujurus' most controversial investment is a 20 percent share of
River Ranch Limited, a company sitting on a diamond mine whose ownership is
disputed. Adel Abdulrahman al Aujan, a Saudi billionaire, has majority
control of the company.
Earlier this year, the company was at the centre of an investigation by the
World Diamond Council over possible smuggling, charges it denied. Results of
the probe were due in September.
Both VP Mujuru and "The General" have always tenaciously defended their
In 1996, as information and communications minister, Mujuru insulted the
late Vice President Joshua Nkomo over the Econet license saga, suggesting he
was senile. She later apologised.
Two years later, Solomon Mujuru angrily lunged at war comrade Margaret Dongo
in Parliament after she ruthlessly mocked ZANU PF legislators' lack of
spine: "Munonyanya kuitwa vakadzi naMugabe. (You are all Mugabe's wives)."
Cyril Ndebele, then Speaker of Parliament, ruled Mujuru's physical attack
was a breach of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act
(chapter 2:08). But no charges were ever preferred against Mujuru.
Now, Dongo says President Mugabe's spell over his opponents remains intact,
and will stay for as long as those seeking power in ZANU PF remain cowed
into keeping their ambitions hidden.
"If you come out in the open, you can share information and reach
compromises in order to become a strong force, a strong voice. You avoid
splitting the vote (against the incumbent). But in ZANU PF, those who have
ambitions will not come out in the open."
Dongo concedes, however, that openly stating one's ambition is suicidal.
Jonathan Moyo found himself at the centre of the succession battle in 2004
when he was sacked as information minister for standing as an independent in
Tsholotsho, following a nasty fallout over accusations he had hosted a
meeting of a group plotting against Mujuru.
This week, Moyo said: "In ZANU PF, there are many people who would want to
vote President Mugabe out. The special congress would present such an
opportunity, but only if there was a secret ballot."
"A show of hands or acclamation would see Mugabe win."
In the absence of the secret ballot, "the more likely scenario is that the
status quo will remain. Anything else would split the party. Which then begs
the question; why call a special congress?"
Pronouncements by ZANU PF spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira that all seats
would be contested at the special congress makes sense, says Moyo, while the
position taken by war veterans and Didymus Mutasa, the secretary for
administration, that the meeting has been called just to endorse its leader,
There was no need to call a special congress only for the purpose of
endorsement as this could be done at conference.
He pointed to the 2001 ZANU PF conference in Victoria Falls that endorsed
President Mugabe as leader into the 2002 presidential poll.
He believes some intrigue may yet still be in the offing at congress, with a
campaign on for Oppah Muchinguri, Minister of Women's Affairs, to replace
Mujuru as VP. But this would only further split ZANU PF, he says, as there
are people more senior to Muchinguri in line for the post.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
THE State is struggling to find new witnesses to support its case against
Adel and Michael Farquhar, directors of Bubye Minerals, after a majority of
state witnesses gave evidence exonerating the two.
The Farquhars are fighting River Ranch Limited for control of River Ranch
Mine, a Beitbridge diamond mine.
Prior to the court proceedings, the Farquhars had alleged they were being
The couple were formally charged in June for allegedly stripping the diamond
mine of assets worth more than $116 million and externalising US$60 000.
In an interview on Tuesday, a lawyer for the Farquhars, Godfrey Mamvura of
Scanlen and Holderness, confirmed that the state was battling to find
witnesses to nail his clients.
This followed testimony of the majority of state witnesses that seemed to
exonerate the accused.
"Up to now, we have not been given a date. When we adjourned, the state
asked for the case to be postponed indefinitely. They are having problems
getting relevant witnesses."
The last person to testify, Theresa Grimmel, gave evidence that could
disprove the state's allegations on the stripping of assets.
Grimmel said she had authorised the sale of the disputed property with the
blessing of River Ranch liquidator Peter Bailey.
The state had alleged that the property was stolen while in the custody of
Bailey, who also gave testimony favourable to the Bubye Minerals directors.
The personnel manager of River Ranch, Richard Matongo, also said in his
testimony that he believed the Farquhars were the rightful owners of the
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe division chief in charge of the exchange
control inspectorate, Peter Masawi, told the court that the Farquhars
remitted the foreign currency that they are alleged to have externalised
years before the dispute.
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says it has intervened to stop the
"mischievous bureaucracy" that has disrupted the disbursement of cheap farm
loans, directing banks handling its special funding facility to decentralise
decision making to branches.
The loans are being made under the Agricultural Sector Productivity
Enhancement Facility (ASPEF), which dovetails into an ambitious new drive by
government to raise maize output to three million tonnes this year.
RBZ governor Gideon Gono told journalists yesterday that branch managers
should process applications for loans not exceeding $49.9 billion.
Loans exceeding $50 billion would to be submitted through Fiscorp, a special
vehicle created by the central bank to handle its productive sector funding.
Gono said farmers faced red tape in accessing the funds. "The bureaucracy in
banks had frustrated previous efforts by our farmers," Gono said.
"Our farmers had gone to banks and waited for weeks, or months, without a
response, or the response would come after the season had passed. Some banks
were hiding behind the governor, saying they were waiting for the governor
to approve the disbursements. We are trying to make sure that there is
agility," he told journalists. "We are saying if the banks do not trust
their branch managers, they should not employ them in the first places."
Under the new guidelines, the banks would be required to process
applications within five days and submit schedules of approved projects and
total funding requirements to Fiscorp, which would then disburse funds
within 48 hours.
Government is battling to increase crop output this season, reversing
successive years of falling output.
Gono has announced a range of subsidies to farmers, including foreign
currency earnings for growers of key grains and also cheap loans, a response
to resettled farmers' failure to fund production from bank loans.
Gono has previously threatened to raise bank statutory reserve ratios in the
face of the reluctance by banks to have bigger proportions of their loan
books in agriculture. Banks cited high risk due to the lack of security of
At least 2 600 new tractors have been acquired as part of an RBZ-driven farm
mechanisation programme. More implements would be purchased in the next
three years. At least two million hectares have been targeted for maize
production, and government expects to produce three million tonnes this
RBZ this week signed a seed supply deal with two companies from Zambia and
Botswana. The first consignment of 12 400 metric tonnes of maize seed is
Another deal had been sealed with "one of the Western countries" for a line
of credit for the purchase of raw materials to manufacture 30 million bags
of maize, Gono said.
Some 3000 A2 farmers would now access fuel, under a "high tech" pilot
programme meant to curb abuse, where farmers can swipe cards at service
Meanwhile, Gono said consumers should expect an improvement in the
availability of goods on supermarket shelves. But prices would not be held
at the June 18 levels.
"There should be improved availability, but in a manner that respects the
producers. We must not return to the anarchy of the past three months," he
Matters Legal with Vote Muza
THIS week it is my intention to commence a critical assessment of some
important provisions of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act
whose launch has been met with intense negative and positive comments.
An interesting clause exists in the Act's preamble where it is stated that
it shall provide measures for "further indigenisation". By implication
therefore, the Act appears to acknowledge that its purpose is to consolidate
or improve a process that is already in place. This significant admission,
obscured as it may seem, is further evidence that the formalisation of the
indigenisation process has come rather late since before that, affirmative
action came automatically as a natural reaction triggered by
One of the most controversial provisions of this statute is the forcible
relinguishing of a 51 percent shareholding in those businesses that are
controlled by elements perceived to be non-indigenous. Extreme panic has
arisen within those affected who believe that surrendering of equity shall
become mandatory upon promulgation of the Act into law. What I have observed
from a simple perusal of this law is that a time-frame shall be set by the
responsible Minister through regulations.
This confusion and misunderstanding about immediate surrender of equity
therefore needs to be cleared. The Minister is empowered to lay down a
transitional period to attain the 51 percent threshold, which may be a year,
three, five of even 10 years. In the intervening period, and through
regulations, the Minister may prescribe a threshold less than the
controversial 51 percent. I can only speculate here that this lesser
percentage could be prescribed at 10 percent, 20 percent or 30 percent, or
any other figure below the 51 percent controlling interest.
In light of this, I am of the view that the intense criticism against the
set maximum controlling interest is premature and should at least have been
reserved until after passing of the regulations. Who knows, may be the
government might see it prudent to prescribe a 20-year transitional period,
which may help to placate the restive and paranoid local business sector as
well as potential international investors. My advice to the powers-that-be
is that too much haste is dangerous and may lead to adverse consequences
that may end up doing more harm than good. Our economy is in an extremely
delicate state and it needs to be treated with absolute care.
Any mishandling through unwise policies or thoughtless legislation may scare
away international capital that we desperately need to assist in the tapping
of our natural resources. In any case, after 27 years of independence, a
survey of ownership demographics can confirm that our economy is now firmly
in our hands. Because the formal affirmative action policy is already late,
and there is now no reason to rush, I submit that relinguishing of equity
should be gradual and long. Therefore, a 10 to 15 year period is
I have serious objection, just like many other observers and commentators to
the excessive power and responsibility that has been bestowed on the
Minister. Looking at Section three of the Act, one is left in no doubt that
this Minister has a job and a half to do, and for him to come out
successful, he will really need to be superhuman. The Act imposes this
mammoth responsibility that has the effect of turning him into a clerk, a
manager, a judge and a prosecutor, and the shear volume of the paperwork he
shall be expected to handle makes me doubt that he shall act with due
diligence, integrity, objectivity, honesty and impartiality. Would it not
have been prudent to thrust this important responsibility in the hands of an
impartial commission? This would certainly ensure efficiency and would also
keep this sensitive business from abuse, corruption, nepotism and populist
tendencies of the political breed.
In terms of Section 3(1)(a), the 51 percent controlling stake is imperative
for every "public company" and any other company, association, syndicate or
partnership operating for gain.
Since Trusts, clubs and societies operating for gain and controlled by
non-indigenous people exist, I wonder whether those shall also be affected
by this law.
Similarly, non-governmental organisations operating for gain under the
control of foreigners may still be called upon to comply with the law if a
strict interpretation of this definition of "business" is anything to go by.
Company mergers, demergers and reconstructions shall also be affected since
after a certain period, no such mergers or reconstructions can be approved
by the Minister unless 51 percent controlling stake will be in the hands of
perceived indigenous people. Here one sees the powers of the Competition
Commission being usurped, since approval or disapproval under these
circumstances will be directly by the Minister responsible for
It would appear therefore that there is an inconsistency between the
Competition Law and the statute under discussion and in particular, with
regard to who exactly should exercise powers of approval in applications
submitted by affected business organisations.
This apparent confusion on the administering of these two statutes needs to
be rationalised otherwise government might find itself in an extremely
Next week I continue to discuss key provision of the Indigenisation law.
Charles Rukuni Bureau Chief
BULAWAYO - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s Arthur Mutambara
faction, which controls the Bulawayo City Council, has described the
government take-over of the city's water and sewerage reticulation as a
The council gave in to government pressure to surrender its water and
sewerage reticulation system at the beginning of this month after a
directive from Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo.
It had resisted the take-over all along and received the support of
residents including leaders of the ruling ZANU-PF and had appealed to Chombo
to ask Cabinet to reverse the decision to take-over the country's second
largest city's water supplies.
"As a party, we condemn the ZINWA (Zimbabwe National Water Authority)
take-over and continue to support both the Bulawayo City Council's stated
position and the stand taken by the people of Bulawayo who elected the
current MDC council," party vice president Gibson Sibanda said in a
Some councillors are reported to have threatened to impeach the mayor,
Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, for handing over the water supplies against both a
council resolution and the wishes of the people.
The council had clearly stated that it would not hand over its water
supplies to the government. If ZINWA wanted to take over by force then it
was free to do so.
Sibanda, however, said the party was quite aware that the council had been
forced to comply with a directive from Chombo.
"The people have said it clearly and strongly and also in support of their
elected council, that they do not want ZINWA to take over those services
(but) the government (has gone) against the wishes and will of the people,"
the statement said.
"ZINWA's track record is one of failure to deliver clean, reliable and
consistent water to residents of all the local authorities where it has
commandeered these water services. Taking over reticulation from such an
efficiently run council like that of Bulawayo is a travesty."
Ndabeni-Ncube said the take-over was political and would probably be an
election issue in the coming presidential, parliamentary and local
He said he and the council had not handed over the services to the
government because they had clearly stated their position that they wanted
to continue to run the services and had appealed to Chombo to get the
government to reverse its decision to take over water supplies.
Ndabeni-Ncube said the state controlled media had deliberately misquoted his
letter to Chombo, which was copied to Bulawayo provincial governor and
resident Minister Cain Mathema.
He said that he had clearly stated in his letter that having noted Chombo's
directive he had written: "Then, ZINWA can take over, but suffice it to say
our standpoint and the views of all people in Bulawayo are known."
The mayor said contrary to reports that he had said the council would work
closely with ZINWA, the council had in fact declined to second any of its
officials into the committees that had been set up by the government.
The mayor had clearly stated in his letter that his administration would
only engage the ZINWA people if five conditions were met.
n A proper and careful approach had to be followed and the necessary legal
issues reviewed and provided for accordingly;
n Staff matters had to be resolved before the formal take over;
n Compensation for infrastructure and revenue loss had to be agreed upon
from the onset and rent had to be payable where applicable;
n There had to be a provision that ZINWA would take over any obligations and
n and organisational arrangements had to be put in place before the ZINWA
One observer, however, insisted that the mayor had sold out. He should have
stuck to the council resolution and let ZINWA "grab" the water supplies.
"I have seen the letter that the mayor wrote to Chombo," the observer said.
"He is very diplomatic. But reading in between the lines he handed over the
water supplies but still wants to look good with his councillors."
Kumbirai Mafunda and Stanley Kwenda Staff Reporte
POLICE yesterday arrested former NMBZ Holdings (NMBZ) deputy managing
director James Mushore, reportedly over long-standing allegations of foreign
Although police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena could not immediately confirm
the arrest at the time of going to press late yesterday, senior police
sources reported the arrest to The Financial Gazette.
Mushore, one of the founding directors of NMBZ, was arrested at his Harare
home on Tuesday yesterday afternoon after he arrived on his latest visit to
He was reportedly detained at Harare Central Police Station on allegations
of violating the country's exchange control regulations during his tenure at
NMBZ in 2004.
Mushore's frequent travels to Zimbabwe from his new England base had
heightened speculation he would return to replace David Hatendi, who
recently stepped down as NMBZ chief executive officer.
But NMBZ secretary Munesh Narotam has played down the speculation.
Mushore, together with Julius Makoni, Otto Chekeche and Francis Zimuto, went
into exile in 2004 after they were alleged to have violated the country's
exchange control regulations.
At the time, Makoni, Mushore and Zimuto collectively held over 35 percent of
NMBZ through family trusts, making them the single biggest block of
shareholders, ahead of institutional investor Old Mutual.
Britain, where Mushore and the other NMBZ directors sought refuge, has in
the past refused to extradite the bankers, who strongly deny the charges.
In 2006, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa declared that bankers who
committed economic crimes would be brought to court where they would be made
to prove their innocence.
Chinamasa was responding to calls by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor,
Gideon Gono, for amnesty.
Chinamasa said: "If one commits a crime or crimes justice is supposed to
take place, especially if the crimes involve pulling the economy down. Only
the President has powers to grant amnesty."
The reported arrest comes as fresh speculation grew over a takeover bid by
TA Holdings for NMBZ, long seen as a takeover target despite its tightly
Market watchers speculate that Yusuf Ahmid, who, through his Palisades and
Kurper investment vehicles, controls a large interest in NMBZ after
underwriting the bank's last rights issue, could have held talks over a
possible sale to TA and a group of private investors.
The talks are said to have been put on ice, however.
Ahmid had previously forged an alliance with the four founders to fend off a
takeover bid by businessman Nick van Hoogstraten.
Personal Glimpses with Mavis Makuni
HOME Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi, has reacted in a most unusual manner to
the threat by the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) to pull out of the talks with ZANU PF that are being mediated
by South African President, Thabo Mbeki.
The MDC announced a week ago that it was considering leaving the negotiating
table unless state violence against its supporters ceased. Party spokesman,
Nelson Chamisa accused ZANU PF of negotiating in bad faith.The MDC claimed
103 opposition rallies had been disrupted by the police since April and in
the latest incident, the police had summoned the MDC MP for Glen View, who
is the party's organizing secretary in a bid to thwart the holding of
rallies by the party in the capital.
In a story published in the October 18, 2007 issue of The Financial Gazette,
the MDC had recorded 4 122 human rights violations in the first six months
of this year: seven murders, 18 cases of rape, 459 cases of torture, 69
kidnappings, 2 323 cases of interference or intimidation, 1 141 cases of
assault and 152 cases of unlawful detention. Chamisa said there was no point
in the MDC sitting at the same table as ZANU PF in Pretoria "when our people
are being targeted."
With the kinds of figures given and allegations made by the opposition the
Home Affairs Minister has every reason to be worried and to be keen to get
to the bottom of the matter. The trouble is that Mohadi is looking for
answers from the wrong quarters. He has every right to demand an explanation
as to why such a high number of atrocities and abuses are said to be taking
place and indeed why police brutality persists. However, the people he
should take to task over this are officials in the police force, not the
complainants, in this case the MDC.
A story was published in the last issue of The Sunday Mail to the effect
that Mohadi had "summoned" Morgan Tsvangirai to substantiate the MDC's
claims about escalating violence. The state press claimed that the MDC had
embarked on a "sudden campaign to depict itself as a persecuted party to
help shore up Britain's anti-Zimbabwe stance ahead of the EU/Africa summit"
to be held in Lisbon in December. A state columnist went as far as stating
that the MDC hoped to gain mileage from cadavers.
This callous reaction is no different from the long-standing unhelpful
attitude of the judiciary system towards rape victims and women subjected to
other violent sexual crimes. In most of these cases, it is the victim who is
virtually put on trial to prove that she did not invite the horrendous
violations of her person. It is she who must prove that the rapist had no
option but to set upon her rather the onus being on the perpetrator of the
crime to prove his innocence. Mohadi's response is no different - he would
rather believe that the MDC dreamt up the figures it has quoted rather than
adopt the more correct attitude of insisting on a professional and
non-partisan police force as insurance against such atrocities.
Only an alien from Mars would be duped into believing that the opposition
party is making up stories about violence and other politically motivated
atrocities committed by security agents against defenceless citizens. There
have been numerous instances in the past when horrific pictures of brutally
battered or maimed Zimbabweans have been published in the press . The young
MDC spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, who briefed the press last week is himself a
victim of state violence.
Does Minister Mohadi vaguely remember how Chamisa was left unconscious after
a brutal attack at Harare International Airport? What has he done to get to
the bottom of that? Respected human rights lawyer and first woman president
of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa and other legal
practitioners were assaulted by the police earlier this year and the
Minister was unmoved . Towards the end of last year trade union leaders
suffered the same fate at the hands of law enforcement agents. On all these
occasions, the Minister remained deafeningly silent and has not shown the
slightest interest to bring the culprits to book.
Does this mean that Mohadi, whose responsibility is to ensure the safety and
security of all Zimbabweans regardless of political affiliation, is
selective in applying the principle of the sanctity of human life and the
inalienable rights of individuals? It is the height of arrogance for
officialdom to try to pretend that police brutality is not rampant when only
a short six months ago pictures of opposition leaders with swollen faces,
broken limbs and bandaged heads dominated news pages and television screens
throughout the world.
On that occasion, the brutality was not even denied but touted - to the same
SADC leaders that the MDC is appealing to - as an acceptable government
response to an alleged campaign of bombings attributed to the opposition.
The aim of the terrorism was allegedly to effect illegal regime change. The
business community was accused of promoting the same agenda a few months
later when the government embarked on the price war but I digress.
The point has to be made that the terror campaign allegations have turned
out to be a farce after the government's case against the alleged
perpetrators collapsed in the courts. But innocent Zimbabweans were
arrested, detained for long periods and in some cases tortured. It is
amazing that Minister Mohadi is so quick to jump to the defence of a police
force that acts so unprofessionally.
Zimbabweans from all walks of life need to feel safe and secure in their own
country regardless of whether they belong to a political party or not. It is
therefore preposterous for government officials to imply that they would
take the figures quoted by the MDC seriously and be outraged only if the
party could prove the victims were its members. The unlawful and violent
death of any Zimbabwean at the hands of state agents should prick the
consciences of all decent humans regardless of whether any talks are
underway or not between the MDC and the ruling party.
THE latest World Investment Report 2007 (WIR07) made some very sad reading
in so far as it relates to Zimbabwe, a country endowed with vast mineral
wealth yet has nothing to show for it.
According to the report, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the
country took a dramatic 54 percent dip last year to US$40 million.
Whereas the trend across Africa was positive, Zimbabwe has been the odd one
out. The continent enjoyed a 78 percent rise in inward FDI in that period,
with neighbouring South Africa amassing US$6,4 billion of the investments.
Fluid economic conditions, couched in a hostile political environment, are
combining to dim the country's competitiveness and robbing it of fresh
capital, new technology, improved market access, jobs and the management
know how required to get the economy out of the woods.
The country's economy, which engaged in reverse gear when billions of
dollars were dished out to former liberation war fighters in unbudgeted
gratuity payments in 1997, causing the Zimbabwe dollar to crash, has been
the biggest casualty of reckless and selfish political shenanigans acted out
in broad day light without due regard to the welfare of the people.
The end result has been the dearth in FDI, relocation of transnational
corporations of note and runaway four-digit inflation, described by the
World Bank as unusual "for a country not a war".
Ironically, as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
(UNCTAD) released the WIR07, the war veterans were girding their loins,
preparing to launch what they have dubbed "a million man march", to secure
President Robert Mugabe's endorsement at the ZANU PF extra-ordinary congress
to be held in December.
The former freedom fighters had a hand as well in the seemingly un-ending
land occupations, which dislocated agricultural production while posing
serious questions on whether FDIs is secure in Zimbabwe. These concerns have
had a huge bearing on the depressing investment figures, which demands that
the powers-that-be take stock of their actions and change course in order to
swing the investment tide in Zimbabwe's favour.
Instead of turning the guns, which brought the country's Independence into
ploughshares and expand the shrinking economic cake, the government is
determined to re-write economic textbooks to the extent of even undermining
the gains of the liberation struggle.
And how ironic that the war veterans are featuring prominently in actions
contributing to the country's freefall.
While restating the obvious, the WIR07 - the 17th in a series published by
UNCTAD - must sound alarm bells to dangerously enthusiastic government
ministers with scant understanding of the full effects of their actions on
the economy, which they are bleeding white.
Minister without Portfolio Elliot Manyika and Industry and International
Trade Minister Obert Mpofu were the last to inflict the damage on the
country's investment prospects, which the central bank is fighting a lone
battle to reverse.
The unintended consequences spawned by the Cabinet Taskforce on Prices,
which Manyika and Mpofu lead, will be reflected in the 2008 investment
report, which will continue to show a growing chasm in FDIs between Zimbabwe
and its African peers.
While it is too late for Paul Mangwana, the Indigenisation Minister, to
amend his damaging Indigenisation Bill, which has passed through both the
lower and upper houses of assembly, the non-constituency Member of
Parliament should feel ashamed for driving the final nail into the coffin by
pushing through a Bill paving the way for government to force foreign-owned
companies to cede 51 percent of their stakes to locals.
Mangwana must answer this critical question: What is it that other countries
are doing correctly, which Zimbabwe is not getting right?
We fear that Mangwana will be quick to blame the country's misfortunes on
"bad publicity". It is not.
When the collective incompetence of government is mirrored at the UNCTAD
level, it ceases to be a laughing matter. More so when it has led to a huge
drop in life expectancy and forced citizens into reluctant refugees, fleeing
from their own leaders.
What should also be of major concern is that there are irons in the fire,
which are likely to make the situation even worse.
The signing into law of the Indigenisation Bill is among the irons that
would make it difficult for the country to reverse the worrying investments
It is sad that, even if Mangwana is to see the light, he would just be like
any other ordinary citizen hoping that President Mugabe does not sign the
Indigenisation Bill into law.
And yet Zimbabwe occupies the second position in the world in terms of
platinum resource and sits on swathes of untapped coalbed methane gas fields
among other things.
But because of poor economic policies and perennial political bickering, the
benefits of sitting on such a huge resource base are not cascading down to
Indeed, it is an unforgivable sin that as Zimbabwe, we are running short of
foreign exchange yet our economy has a vast potential to amass mountains of
it through investment attraction and exporting.
Brother Trevor Ncube has long been associated with a possible "third way"
escape from the Zimbabwean stalemate.
Brother Ncube is a brave soul and goes against the grain. For his trouble,
more than once he has faced the possibility of being denationalised by the
Zimbabwe government. However, how realistic is this Third Way escape?
"Now, more than ever, I am convinced an MDC government would be a disaster
for Zimbabwe," the brother says. There are sketchy details as to why the MDC
is not in line for succession, one being that the thought of an MDC victory
makes Mukuru more adamant to stay in power. One "reason (Mukuru) is so
determined to stand for re-election against all odds is that he believes he
cannot lose to the MDC." Mr Ian Smith too, at one time, said he would never
give in to communists "in a thousand years." There must be weightier reasons
Brother Ncube has all his marbles in the right place when he identifies our
priority as setting to right the economy of Zimbabwe. A government emerging
from a united front of all progressive forces, and led by one or a
triumvirate including Dr Gideon Gono, Strive Masiyiwa, Dr Simba Makoni and
Joice Mujuru could "ensure the best skills are in place to help turn around
the economy and build a new society." I put this question to my think tank
and they fired back this question: "Where in the world have you ever seen a
government of technocrats?" Rulers are put in place by a political machine
or by the use of force. The possibility that the Mujuru faction of ZANU PF
will form the backbone of a future "progressive alliance" requires at least
one ZANU PF "manhood candidate" to do a Mark Anthony speech at a ZANU PF
Congress. "ZANLAS and patriots, I come to seek the retirement of Mukuru and
not to praise him," will be the gist of such a speech. I do not see a single
person in ZANU PF today with enough guts to even repeat such words in his
sleep. I am convinced that there is only one faction in ZANU PF, the one
that belongs to Mukuru. My information about ZANU PF factions is that they
are much exaggerated, or at best they are the grumblings of varume pasina
Without an Indoda sibili within ZANU PF ranks, such an alignment is not
imminent. It has to wait until through age or a mishap, Mukuru becomes
incapacitated, or as Ncube himself has suggested, some event ignites a wild
fire scenario within the country. At the moment, with more divisions within
the MDC Women's Assembly caused by the desire of the leadership to
concentrate power in their hands, Mukuru is laughing in his sleep at his
We must accept the fact that Mukuru has won the battle for African minds
outside Zimbabwe for what he is doing, whether it is taking land from whites
or whether it is taking over businesses from them. Kgalema Motlanthe,
secretary-general of the South African National Congress makes a vigorous
defense of Mukuru in his letter of October 19th. Zimbabwe is therefore being
encouraged to proceed with its disastrous economic policies. Our brothers
are our worst enemies.
I believe that the Third Way that Brother Ncube talks about can come from
inside ZANU PF rather than outside it. All things change and nothing remains
the same forever. The wildfire that Ncube talks about can come from a
realisation within ZANU PF especially among the technocrats that our
economic situation will worsen unless we come to some accommodation with the
western world. The real factions in ZANU PF are the Voodooist economists who
print voodoo dollars on Xerox machines in their basement and call it money
and the modernists who have read Adam Smith.
The signs of the end have been around since 2002 when the farm invasions
began. It is hoped that ZANU PF is awakening to the plight of the economy.
If one bottle of coca cola costs Z$120 000 even a rich men is hard pressed
to enjoy it. History has taught us that the imperialists will wait for an
economic collapse. A collapse means that even Air Zim will fail to fly
because landing fees have not been paid. The government will also be unable
to pay its military because Zim dollars will no longer be acceptable as
As I write, the US dollar is valued at Z$I million. We are fast approaching
Armageddon. Then the imperialist vultures will pounce. Here is where a
pre-plan for succession will help. The imperialists will simply say that
International Monetary Fund support is available provided the new owners of
farms are audited and debts owing to previous owners are honoured. They will
also nominate the person they think they will be able to do business with.
All these negotiations are done quickly behind closed doors in Washington
and London. That is how the technocrats are imposed on developing countries.
I can reveal to you that two Iraqi Prime Ministers, chosen by a majority of
their assemblies were rejected by the US in favor of Nuri al Maliki. That is
food for thought for our readers.
Gradually, even as I speak, they are closing all the financial avenues of
foreign exchange, including those minerals on "blood diamonds" lists are
closing. Zimbabwe as a tourist destination has long been on the "red flag"
list of the US Secretary of State. You can sell your products through third
parties in South Africa, but the vultures and insurance companies will
benefit from the blood and sweat of the Marange women who dig for diamonds.
We definitely need a Third Way, quick.
Defence of human rights should be a rallying point for all
EDITOR - The assault on Tafadzwa Mugabe, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights should serve as a reminder to the nation that indeed the
ZANU PF government's infrastructure of violence has learnt nothing from past
Mugabe was assaulted on October 15 at Harare Central Police Station while
trying to represent WOZA activists arrested following a protest.
Those responsible for oppressing us today will have to account for their
actions one day, not long in the future. Zimbabwe is ours. We have to define
our space and occupy it with consistency.
Heightened intimidation and violence against human rights defenders in the
name of maintaining peace and order surely warrants a coordinated response
by the opposition, civil society, the church, business, labour and the
I am particularly encouraged by Mugabe's courage to enter Harare Central
Police Station to make an official complaint against an undisciplined and
overzealous police superintendent.
Colleagues in the struggle must move away from glorifying these assaults and
simply reacting by making statements.
Documentation of the details of these rogue policemen will surely end this
tyranny that continues to destroy Zimbabwe.
Use of force against lawyers, journalists and other professionals within the
context of the Zimbabwe struggle will not serve the current government.
Instead it strengthens our resolve to erode State powers.
As the situation worsens, the government continues to be associated with the
murder of opposition activists, some rogue police elements, the collapse of
the Zimbabwe economy, severe poverty and looting of public resources,
election-rigging, dishonesty and political decadence.
To end the government's brutal hold onto power, Zimbabwe's civil society,
churches, opposition political groupings, labour and the diplomatic
community must critically identify three key issues that they will
popularize at all levels and build momentum/alliances around them.
These key issues must be the most ideal areas that will ultimately weaken
the pillars of resistance by the dictatorship.
In my opinion, these include the economy, political environment and the
However, the lead activists must be grounded in the communities and be able
to absolutely reflect the aspirations of the common man in both Zimbabwe's
rural and urban centres.
Sadly, the existing social movements have been hijacked by people pursuing
personal interests and vendettas. Zimbabweans must end this and participate
UK Govt said no such thing
EDITOR-I am writing to correct an inaccurate statement made in your article
headed "Tourism Industry suffers major setback" in The Financial Gazette of
18-24 October 2007. Your reporter claims that the United Kingdom Government
advises its citizens against visiting Zimbabwe. The words he used were "that
they should avoid visiting the black listed country". This is simply not
true. We issue no such advice, as scrutiny of our website will show.
Our travel advice for Zimbabwe, and for other parts of the world, simply
sets out the risks and difficulties, which visitors may encounter and
advises them to take due precautions to ensure that their visit is trouble
The Zimbabwe Tourist Authority official visitor statistics demonstrate how
many British visitors continue to come to Zimbabwe. In 2006 some 10,213
people resident in the UK or Ireland visited Zimbabwe. By observing our
advice, the majority of visitors experience Zimbabwe without any adverse
First Secretary (Political/ Public Diplomacy)
Show exhibitor was ripping kids off
Editor - At one of the Agricultural Show stands that specialises in lucky
dips, my son won a perfume, which was one of the top prizes. He and his
friends were excited.
Their excitement was short-lived, however, as the two ladies responsible for
the stand advised my son that regrettably, they could not release the
perfume as they were employees and the owner of the stand was not available
to witness the proceedings. This was no doubt a scam designed to rob
innocent little boys.
Such behaviour gives the Agricultural Show a bad name.
I call upon the responsible authorities at the Agricultural Show to please
vet thoroughly all stand owners so that we as parents can have comfort that
our children who frequent the show are in good hands.