October 5, 2012 in News, Politics
SADC-APPOINTED facilitator to the Zimbabwe political dialogue, South African
President Jacob Zuma is keeping a close eye on all processes leading up to
the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference on the new draft constitution and
would only be visiting Harare afterwards.
The holding of the crucial conference is currently mired in confusion
following squabbles between Zanu PF and the MDC formations over the contents
of the draft and how many civil society organisations should be represented.
To add to the confusion, the Global Political Agreement is silent on what
happens if there is a deadlock at the conference, only stating the draft
charter and the national report should be submitted to parliament within a
month of holding the conference.
Lindiwe Zulu, spokesperson of the Sadc facilitation team and international
advisor to Zuma, said: “We are monitoring what is going on in Harare right
now like preparations for the constitution’s Second All-Stakeholders’
Conference … We will see how it goes, then we will take it from there.” —
October 5, 2012 in News, Politics
INVESTIGATIONS by the Zimbabwe Independent have revealed that at least 10
judges — far more than initially thought — benefited from the country’s
chaotic land reform programme raising fears of a compromised bench.
Report by Elias Mambo
President Robert Mugabe launched a controversial and often-violent land
reform programme which dispossessed thousands of white commercial farmers of
productive farmland in what government said was a move to resettle landless
blacks and address historical injustices.
However, most of the prime farmland was grabbed by senior Zanu PF officials
who are now failing to utilise it fully, leaving vast tracts of once
productive agricultural land lying derelict. Zanu PF has resisted calls for
a land audit as outlined in the Global Political Agreement. About 10 Supreme
and High Court judges are listed among prominent beneficiaries of the
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku owns Estes Park (255 hectares); Ben
Hlatshwayo, Kent Estate (800ha); Charles Hungwe,Gretton Farm; Mafios Cheda,
Marula Block 37 (3 039ha); Antonia Guvava, Harndale Farm (1 000ha), Luke
Malaba, Marula Block 35 (18 866ha); Paddington Garwe, Mount Shannon Estate;
and Mishrod Guvamombe, Georgia Farm.
Some of the judges have confirmed, through their clerks, that they
benefitted from the land reform programme, while others are yet to respond
to questions sent by the Independent about three weeks ago.
Justice Hungwe confirmed he owned Gretton Farm saying “just like any other
citizen I am entitled to benefit from a government scheme”.
Hlatshwayo also confirmed he owns a farm, but said this does not interfere
with his work. Judge Alphias Chitakunye could neither deny nor confirm he
owns a farm.
According to his clerk, Chitakunye asked: “Why does he (reporter) want that
Several judges are involved in farm-ownership wrangles. High Court judge
Chinembiri Bhunu is currently entangled in an ownership dispute over Daskop
Farm in Marondera with University of Zimbabwe lecturer Professor Lovemore
Justice Francis Bere has been accused of encroaching into land owned by
other resettled farmers in Manicaland. The boundary wars resulted in damage
to property owned by the different farmers as the judge tried to enforce an
Judges have been blasted for receiving farms, cars, houses, television sets
and generators from government as critics believe this could affect the
impartial discharge of their duties.
In 2008, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono gave judges top-of-the-range
Mercedes-Benz E280 vehicles, plasma television sets, laptops and generators
to beat constant power outages at the height of hyperinflation.
Beatrice Mtetwa, who was president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe then,
blasted the move saying it could make the judiciary open to abuse and
compromise the administration of justice.
Deputy Justice and Legal Affairs minister Obert Gutu has repeatedly accused
the judiciary of corruption, saying it was not advisable for any serving
judicial officer to accept an offer of land in circumstances that would
inevitably compromise that officer’s professional integrity.
Addressing delegates at the official launch of the code of ethics for judges
and the Judicial Service Commission’s strategic plan in April, Chidyausiku
said Zimbabwe’s judiciary was terribly under-funded, fuelling corruption in
the justice delivery system.
October 5, 2012 in Politics
THE MDC-T might not have literally painted Bulawayo red during its 13th
anniversary celebrations last Saturday as national organising secretary
Nelson Chamisa had promised, but White City Stadium was a sea of red as the
party supporters thronged the venue to capacity – signalling the party still
has a strong presence on the ground ahead of crucial elections next year.
Report by Herbert Moyo
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party held its celebrations against a
backdrop of public opinion poll surveys which seemed to indicate its
declining popularity compared to main rival Zanu PF which is regaining lost
ground. Instead of being seen as an occasion to reminisce and ruminate over
its short but dramatic victory, the anniversary was widely viewed as a test
of MDC-T’s popularity and appeal to the electorate which will be assessing
who to vote for in the next elections.
Although the recent Freedom House survey said MDC-T had lost its support
from 38% to 19%, while Zanu PF gained from 17% to 31%, it also indicated
that 47% of the voters were undecided. This is huge pond from which both
parties, among other small players, would be trying to fish from to enhance
MDC-T pulled out all the stops to demonstrate it still had a firm grip on
the electorate. The party claims 30 000 of its supporters squeezed into the
10 000-seater venue as marshals were forced to allow supporters onto the
pitch and athletics track which had initially been reserved for party bosses
and other invited dignitaries.
Representatives of civil society organisations were also in attendance along
with the surprise appearance of outspoken former party legislator Munyaradzi
Gwisai and Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond
Majongwe, who joined the chanting of party slogans as well as songs
denouncing Zanu PF, showing Tvangirai and his party could be closing ranks
with long standing allies who of late seemed to be drifting away due to
tensions between the MDC-T leaders and civil society organisations.
But the question remains: Does the return of MDC-T’s “prodigal sons”
indicate a closing of ranks between the party and its critical allies, or
was it nothing more than a mere show of solidarity?
While MDC-T might still be a major force to reckon with and reaching out to
its important allies ahead of elections, reality usually lies beneath
For all the extravagant pomp and fanfare in Bulawayo, the fact is the party
is dogged by serious factionalism, in-fighting and divisions — ironically
mostly in Bulawayo where the celebrations took place — which have damaged
its reputation and weakened it significantly.
Besides, widespread allegations of corruption in MDC-T-run municipalities
around the country have also besmirched the party image. Even though the
MDC-T has acted by firing those implicated, this has not removed the
impression the party is also as corrupt as Zanu PF.
There is also the issue of self-aggrandisement by MDC-T leaders who have
joined the Zanu PF gravy train and in a short space of time have moved from
humble beginnings to living large in big houses, with posh cars and
businesses while their supporters remain trapped in poverty.
White City stadium was dominated by sleek luxury vehicles belonging to party
leaders and the contrast and contradictions between the material conditions
of the senior party officials and supporters could not have been more
clearer and dramatic, especially after Tsvangirai recently moved into a US$3
million state residence which will eventually become his and held an
extravagant wedding characterised by a storm of controversy triggered by a
series of sex scandals.
Tsvangirai seemed acutely aware of that uncomfortable reality of a widening
gap in the lives and wellbeing of MDC-T officials and their ordinary
“They might be having cars but that doesn’t mean that they are living well,”
Tsvangirai said of his officials in his address.
However, some supporters interviewed by the Zimbabwe Independent at the
celebrations said Tsvangirai’s statement was meant to divert attention from
the increasingly visible opulence of party leaders amid growing poverty
among party supporters. Bulawayo, like much of the country, is enduring a
punishing schedule of water and power cuts. The city is now almost a ghost
town after a series of company closures and job loses.
Tsvangirai’s speech dealt with a range of issues, including the economy
although he did not comprehensively focus on issues affecting Bulawayo such
as water, de-industrialisation and devolution.
In his keynote address, Tsvangirai rolled out the MDC-T’s five guiding
pillars which he said were aimed at transforming Zimbabwe into a
newly-industrialised country. He said the major guiding principle is the
issue of good governance in all sectors to ensure that there is
consolidation of all pillars of the economy.
While the MDC-T faces a lot of problems, the party showed it is still very
strong on the ground and could enter the elections as the frontrunner unless
Zanu PF continues with revival. Although the MDC-T might officially decline
in popularity ratings, Zanu PF still faces a huge credibility crisis given
its disastrous record. President Robert Mugabe’s own personal record and
circumstances are not helping matters.
National University of Science and Technology analyst Lawton Hikwa said the
MDC-T was out of touch with ordinary people, especially after Water Affairs
minister Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo ignored prevailing sentiments to wrest control
of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) from civil society in the
region and turning it into a government-driven process despite previous such
“Sipepa-Nkomo is clearly out of touch with reality if he thinks government
can deliver on Zambezi Water Project to Bulawayo,” said Hikwa. “They should
have allowed the MZWP to carry on with the work it started.”
Speaking to the Independent after Tsvangirai’s address to pastors, Zimbabwe
National Students Union (Zinasu) spokesperson Zechariah Mushawatu attacked
the MDC-T for allegedly opposing student grants, while building a luxury
mansion for Tsvangirai in an upmarket Harare suburb.
Mushawatu said the most remarkable thing about MDC’s 13 years of existence
is “the manner in which it had managed to alienate three of the main
organisations that were responsible for its formation, namely Zinasu,
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the National Constitutional Assembly”.
“MDC officials don’t know the situation on the ground regarding students,”
“Their children are tucked away at some fancy colleges in some cosy part of
the world,” he wrote in a document titled Little to celebrate for students
as MDC marks 13th Anniversary.
Bulawayo Agenda director Thabani Nyoni said they recognised the MDC-T as a
political alternative, but added “we also work with other political parties
in the pro-democracy movement”.
Tsvangirai told his supporters his struggle to dislodge Zanu PF had entered
its last stage, indicating his confidence was not been shaken by his party’s
loss of popularity and his private life scandals.
“Our struggle has reached a point of no return. We are now in an
irreversible national mood for change and total transformation,” said
“As we enter 2013, we must realise that the stakes are going to be high.
Every day that goes by is a day closer to the next election. However, our
quest is not just for an election for an election’s sake. We seek total
transformation and no sector shall escape from holistic scrutiny” he said
While the MDC-T and Tsvangirai could be going through testing times, they
remain a major political force on the ground.
October 5, 2012 in News
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF negotiators are plotting to dissolve
Copac and its management committee so that they can hijack the
constitution-making process to enable them to slot in the party’s
controversial amendments into the draft constitution, in a bid to save their
collapsing election plans.
Report by Brian Chitemba
This is part of a series of measures Mugabe and his close lieutenants
have adopted as they prepare to go for broke during the campaigns for the
watershed elections next year. Zanu PF’s shadowy mobilisation committee,
which meets every Wednesday, came up with a wide range of campaign
However, Mugabe is reportedly mulling manoeuvres on the draft constitution
which could cause serious problems and end up inviting Sadc intervention.
Mugabe’s main worry is to retain his imperial powers curtailed in the Copac
draft. The politburo held marathon day and night meetings lasting about 50
hours battling to restore sweeping executive powers.
After the politburo’s 266 amendments were rejected by the MDC formations,
Mugabe and Zanu PF hardliners changed tact from public debate to
clandestinely hijacking the constitution-making process from the political
parties to make it a government-driven process.
This would allow Mugabe, assisted by deputy premier Arthur Mutambara, to
pressure Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to succumb to his demands.
Already it seems the principals are cutting deals without their parties’
full knowledge as shown by their agreement on by-elections recently. On
Monday, the principals agreed to dissolve Copac and all its structures and
take control of the constitution-making process, a move which fits into
Mugabe’s grand plan and elections designs.
Although the politburo agreed the raft of proposed amendments would be taken
to the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference tentatively slated for mid-month,
Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa last week told the
Copac management committee the stakeholders’ indaba must not be allowed to
Insiders say the plan is to ensure that Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara sit
down to virtually rewrite the draft.
MDC leader Welshman Ncube would be excluded if the process becomes
government-sponsored and not led by parliament as stipulated in the Global
Political Agreement (GPA).
The other key player Zanu PF wants to freeze out of the process is MDC-T
secretary-general and lead negotiator Tendai Biti whom some in the top
echelons of his own party also want sidelined for introducing the running
mates clause. In a confluence of interests, Mugabe and Tsvangirai both
appear to be against the running mates provision. If Copac and the
management committee are dissolved, Ncube — not wanted for his persistent
demands for devolution — and Biti would be shut out.
Mugabe’s plot thickened this week at the principals’ meeting on Monday where
he agreed with Tsvangirai and Mutambara to take over the process.
“The principals no longer want Copac to handle the constitution-making
process, but want to make it a government-driven exercise so that they
determine the final outcome,” said the high-level source. “They want to shut
out Ncube who is seen as a big problem and also freeze out people like
After Sadc’s recent Maputo resolution that Ncube should attend principals’
meetings, Mugabe agreed with Tsvangirai he would attend party political
meetings of leaders to discuss issues to do with the GPA, constitution and
However, Mugabe is still barring Ncube from the meetings. Matters came to a
head on Tuesday when Ncube, accompanied by his party secretary-general and
chief negotiator, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, decided after the cabinet
meeting to go and confront Mugabe over the issue.
Sources said when Ncube and Misihairabwi-Mushonga arrived at Mugabe’s
office, they found in the waiting room Tsvangirai, Mutambara, Chinamasa and
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga going in to
They said Ncube then enquired from Mugabe through his aide Lawrence Kamwi if
he was welcome, but was dispatched to another waiting room to allow Mugabe
and his delegation to discuss first on their own.
Sources said the principals, led by Mugabe, indicated their plans to disband
Copac and take over the constitution-making process. However, Matinenga is
said to have challenged the move saying it was a blatant violation of the
“The principals tasked Matinenga to sit down with Chinamasa to come up with
ways of ensuring the constitution-making process is taken over by the
executive but Matinenga, who is a lawyer, declined,” a source said.
After some heated exchanges, it is said Matinenga was practically kicked out
of the meeting for refusing to be part of the Mugabe-led plot.
Ncube was later invited and given an explanation which he said he did not
understand, although sources say it was clear there was intrigue to sideline
him and other unwanted players.
After the dramatic events, Ncube went to brief his senior party officials
Misihairabwi-Mushonga confirmed the briefing, but refused to give details,
saying she is out of the country on government business.
These events are said to have shocked senior MDC-T and MDC leaders who now
fear Mugabe could be allowed to hijack the constitution-making process at
the level of principals.
They also fear Tsvangirai is in an invidious position, given he is already
facing pressure from his Matabeleland region strongholds after he told a
pastors’ meeting in Bulawayo last week he feared devolution would be used as
a springboard for secession, a sentiment expressed by Mugabe and senior Zanu
Mugabe has strongly opposed devolution, claiming it would divide Zimbabwe
and give centrifugal political forces in Matabeleland new momentum.
Matabeleland civil society activists are threatening to pressure the
all-stakeholders’ conference to incorporate devolution in the new
constitution or launch a campaign of defiance.
Ncube is now running his campaign on devolution which seems to have given
him new-found impetus. The Zanu PF plot could unleash divisions in the three
parties involved in the constitution-making process and invite Sadc
October 5, 2012 in Politics
WHILE Zanu PF is forcefully pushing for the Copac national statistical
report to be tabled at the forthcoming Second All-Stakeholders Conference,
an analysis of the report in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent
shows the party could be shooting itself in the foot as some of the issues
in it as raised by people during the outreach programme go against the party’s
266 proposed amendments to the controversial draft constitution.
Report by Wongai Zhangazha
The Copac national statistical report contradicts Zanu PF’s 266 proposed
amendments to the draft constitution.
Zanu PF initially indicated it agreed to 97% of provisions in the draft
constitution before party hardliners – who accused Copac officials and
negotiators in the management committee of selling out – forced wholesale
amendments during recent day and night meetings which lasted for about 50
Retention of imperial powers
The amendments, seen as an attempt by Zanu PF to restore President Robert
Mugabe’s overbearing powers ahead of elections to maintain his unfair
political advantages over his rivals, are simply about restoring an
authoritarian executive which dominates other arms of government, parliament
and the judiciary without adequate separation of powers and checks and
The Copac draft constitution clips presidential powers by distributing some
of the executive powers to cabinet and parliament. The imperial powers
enjoyed by Mugabe as enshrined in the current constitution are cited as the
major reason why the 88-year old ruler has managed to cling to power for 32
years without a break.
Devolution of power
Zanu PF amendments also expunge devolution entirely from the draft by
deleting all references to dispersal of executive authority, delete
presidential running mate provisions and replace them with the current
system, adding a new provision that in the event of the office of president
becoming vacant, the replacement would be chosen by the party to which the
Zanu PF hawks further tore up the Copac draft to retain the president’s
power to appoint two vice-presidents as provided in the current
constitution, among other powers of appointment.
What Zanu PF seems to be conveniently ignoring is that some views expressed
by civil society, churches, business associations and Zimbabweans in the
diaspora were also ignored in the new draft. In fact, so many other
compromises were made, including the removal of clauses of term and age
limits which seemed aimed at preventing President Robert Mugabe from seeking
re-election next year.
Contrary to Zanu PF’s claims that Zimbabweans did not call for a devolved
state during the outreach programme, the national thematic summary analysis
and the national narrative reports of the outreach process show Zimbabweans
prefer devolution and not decentralisation as proposed in the party’s
Multiple farm ownership
The reports also shows Zimbabweans spoke out against multiple farm
ownership, an issue that the current draft does not address. It only
proposes a Land Commission that will carry out a land audit, but Zanu PF has
also removed this clause from its amended draft.
A land audit is one of the outstanding issues in the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) but Zanu PF continues to resist the matter amid indications
many party bigwigs –– including top leaders –– and their cohorts own
multiple farms which are not being fully utilised.
A careful analysis of the lands national narrative report shows Zimbabweans
strongly demanded equitable distribution of land, a land audit and a
“one-man-one-farm policy” in addition to productive use of the land and an
end to multiple farm ownership, as well as payment of compensation for farms
taken over by the state.
None of these issues are captured in the current draft.
Although not nationally representative, the statistical report shows that in
29 wards visited in Bulawayo 65,2% of participants said they wanted Zimbabwe
to have equal distribution of land while about 86,21% of participants
demanded a land audit. Another 79,3% of participants were against multiple
In Manicaland 74,62% of participants in the 260 wards visited said they
preferred a land audit while 56,92% were for the one-man-one-farm policy. In
Mashonaland Central, one of the strongest support bases for Zanu PF, about
58,19% of participants in the 232 wards visited said “no” to multipl e farm
Another 71,49% of participants from 228 wards visited in Mashonaland East
expressed the same view. The trend spreads across other provinces including
Masvingo where more than half of the participants were against multiple
ownership of land and 80% supported a comprehensive land audit. These
statistics are damning for Zanu PF which has made spirited efforts to block
a land audit as provided for in the GPA.
Reports say many senior Zanu PF officials, including President Robert Mugabe’s
family, are multiple farm owners. This is consistent with the pattern of
Zanu PF’s land reform programme which mainly rewarded powerful politicians,
ministers, senior government officials and top civil servants, as well as
influential military officers.
Zanu PF’s constitutional proposals are at variance with the people’s views
on the issue of presidential powers. In its amendment proposals Zanu PF
seeks to restore an all-powerful president above cabinet and parliament, in
spite of the fact that Zimbabweans overwhelmingly called for sufficiently
limited presidential powers.
The Copac draft also proposes a number of commissions, as preferred by
Zimbabweans in the outreach, to deal with executive organs of the state
including independent commissions for the defense ministry, police, prisons,
air force, prosecutions and intelligence services.
In the past these organs have operated without any oversight institutions,
resulting in some of them used for partisanship agendas mainly by the
powerful in Zanu PF.
Although Zanu PF has kept some of these commissions, it deleted provision
for a truth and justice commission, showing its fear for accountability for
human rights abuses and past excesses.
Zanu PF is also clamouring for a clause that criminalises homosexuality.
While a majority of Zimbabweans (56,2%) wanted homosexuality to be outlawed,
only 1,95% wanted it criminalised.
The glaring inconsistencies over Zanu PF’s version of “people’s views”
raises questions over how at the stakeholders conference will the party
justify arbitrarily amending the Copac draft to include some of the omitted
people’s views, while ignoring those which do not help its agenda of
restoring the imperial presidency ahead of crucial elections next year.
October 5, 2012 in News, Politics
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora has warned that Welshman Ncube, leader
of the smaller MDC formation, has closed the door to potential
re-unification of the two factions to tackle Zanu PF in critical elections
set for next year following remarks he made on the British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC) Hard Talk programme a fortnight ago.
On the programme Ncube said: “I keep underlining that our colleagues in the
MDC-T often practise violence. It is on record that (Prime Minister Morgan)
Tsvangirai himself has reversed collective decisions and it is also on
record that the local government structures that they control have acted as
corruptly, if not more (corruptly) than Zanu PF.”
Mwonzora said he found Ncube’s behaviour regrettable because the two parties
had achieved so much through co-operation, citing Copac as an example where
they had worked together in thwarting Zanu PF’s attempts to smuggle its own
clauses into the draft constitution.
However, MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said they did not need to unite with
any party except the 12 million Zimbabweans in order to confront the
tyranny, violence and corruption of both MDC-T and Zanu PF. — Staff Writer.
October 5, 2012 in News, Politics
ZANU PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo has vehemently denied his party has
demanded 266 changes to the Copac draft, insisting that the former
liberation movement was only keen on about 12 critical issues, including
sexual rights, dual citizenship, presidential powers, role of traditional
chiefs, running mates and the prosecuting authority.
The proposed alterations were last week explained to Zanu PF MPs during a
caucus at the party’s headquarters. The MPs are expected to present the
amendments at the forthcoming stakeholders’ conference expected later this
“The bulk of the so-called 266 changes are just grammatical corrections such
as commas and full stops, otherwise we just have over 10 issues that we want
incorporated into the Copac draft constitution,” said Gumbo. He warned the
Copac draft would be taken to a referendum only if Zanu PF amendments were
incorporated. — Staff Writer.
October 5, 2012 in Politics
SENIOR Zanu PF officials are jostling for the vacant Bulawayo and
Matabeleland North provincial chairmen’s positions following an order by the
party’s national commissar Webster Shamu to conduct elections to elect a
substantive leadership. Report by Brian Chitemba
The two provinces have gone for several months without substantive
chairpersons after the sacking of Zenzo Ncube in Matabeleland North and
Isaac Dakamela in Bulawayo because of factional infighting threatening to
tear the party apart.
The two were linked to Zanu PF politburo members, party chairman Simon Khaya
Moyo and Mines minister Obert Mpofu who are engaged in a battle for control
of the region.
Ncube accused Mpofu of orchestrating his downfall to pave way for his
sidekick Zwelitsha Masuku, who in turn was fired by Moyo.
Matabeleland North governor Sithokozile Mathuthu is currently acting
chairperson, but influential figures are vigorously campaigning for their
Sources said Sithokozile’s husband, Jonathan, was also interested in
succeeding his wife while Masuku, Ncube, Clifford Sibanda and Reeds Dube
have also thrown their hats into the ring.
However, the sources said Mpofu was determined to have Masuku or Dube
elected chairperson as he continues to build a business and political empire
in the region.
Moyo wants either Mathuthu or Sibanda to assume the chairmanship to help him
make inroads in assuming relevancy in the province. This would help him
battle Mpofu in the race to succeed ailing Vice-President John Nkomo.
Zanu PF chairpersons are influential in nominating vice-presidents when a
vacancy arises, and therefore control of provinces is an essential part of
building a strong powerbase.
Mpofu boasted at a weekend rally in Hwange that he was the only senior
politician to win elections in Matabeleland and chastised his politburo
colleagues as “appointees” who should not be taken seriously.
Moyo and Nkomo are serving at the pleasure of Mugabe, having failed to win
any election since the MDC started contesting in 2000.
Zanu PF officials said Shamu recently met party leaders in Bulawayo and
ordered them to co-opt a senior official as substantive chairman to replace
Isaac Dakamela who was sacked over allegations of failing to run the party
in the province.
It is believed acting chairperson Killian Sibanda was likely to be appointed
in a substantive capacity because elections for a new term would be held
next year.Dakamela, an ally of Mpofu, was ousted at the instigation of Moyo
who influenced the selection of Sibanda in the caretaker role.
Shamu could not be reached for comment but Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo
denied that the axing of the Bulawayo and Matabeleland provincial
chairpersons was due to infighting.
“The provinces in Matabeleland will choose their chairpersons soon as we
gather pace in strengthening the party ahead of elections,” said Gumbo.
October 5, 2012 in News, Politics
CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition is set to bring together 300 non-governmental
organisations for a civil society convention on October 15-16 for
consultations on the draft constitution ahead of the Copac-led Second
Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu
There would be 570 delegates from civil society at the conference, but the
three political parties in the coalition government are squabbling over how
many civil society delegates each party can bring to the conference.
It had been suggested that each party should bring 190 delegates, but Crisis
in Zimbabwe director Macdonald Lewanika said civil society should be
non-partisan and independent of political control.
“The civil society convention will decide our participation at the Copac
second stakeholders’ conference depending on how we are be invited,”
Lewanika said. “This convention would also be used to consolidate our areas
of agreement and those issues we think should be amended in the draft to
make it more democratic.”
October 5, 2012 in News, Politics
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has expressed scepticism on devolution saying
it could be used as a springboard to secession.
Report by Herbert Moyo
Devolution could be used for secession… PM Morgan Tsvangirai
Addressing a small gathering of Bulawayo-based pastors on the eve of his
party’s 13th anniversary celebrations in the city last Friday, Tsvangirai
revealed his deep-rooted fears and distrust of devolution and warned that
although his party supported the idea, care had to be taken in its
implementation as it could be used for secession or breakaway.
“We are writing a constitution for the future and we have to be careful
because it (devolution) may be used as a stepping stone to secession in the
future,” warned Tsvangirai.
He said devolution should not be mistaken with federalism and should only be
used to provide sufficient authority to local government for planning local
processes of development, if adopted.
Executive director of Bulawayo Agenda Thabani Nyoni said devolution remained
the best hope of building trust in Zimbabwe amid widespread polarisation
created by extremes of democratic centrism at the heart of Zanu PF politics
and the secessionist demands of political parties like the Mthwakazi
“It is important to understand where the PM’s sentiments are coming from,”
said Nyoni. “It’s unfortunate his sentiments resonate with Zanu PF, but we
have to be sure whether this expresses genuine fear or an aversion to
Tsvangirai’s remarks suggest there could actually be opposition to
devolution in the upper echelons of the MDC-T.
However, MDC-T Bulawayo provincial chairperson Gorden Moyo said although
they did not get the “full devolution package” they wanted because of
opposition from Zanu PF, the party’s Bulawayo and Matabeleland provinces
would support the draft because it represented a positive development
compared to the status quo.
“There are no divisions in the party over this (devolution) or any other
issue,” said Moyo. “Even though we feel more powers could have been
devolved, we have all resolved to support the draft because we take it as a
starting point towards the attainment of the full devolution that we have
fought so long for.”
Tensions are simmering in the MDC-T over devolution and insiders say senior
Matabeleland party officials are highly disgruntled at their party
leadership for conceding to Zanu PF’s preferred decentralisation policy
rather than devolution.
According to the sources, hardliners such as Bulawayo MPs like Felix Mafa,
Agnes Mloyi and Thabitha Khumalo are unhappy with the way the party has
capitulated on devolution and the feeling is that the party is ready to
sacrifice the interests of its members in Matabeleland to please Zanu PF.
October 5, 2012 in News
ZANU PF, which lost its parliamentary majority in the 2008 elections for the
first time since Independence, is honing its voter-mobilisation strategies
by crafting a gamut of approaches in a determined bid to avoid defeat in the
next do-or-die elections.
Report by Wongai Zhangazha
The plans come hard on the heels of a strategic High Court victory by
President Robert Mugabe allowing him to postpone the holding of by-elections
until March 31 next year, when he plans to subsume the by-elections into
general elections through the backdoor.
Mugabe’s party has come up with a new plan to mobilise housing
co-operatives, community-based organisations and even burial societies to
secure votes. This is in addition to infiltrating churches and communities
through development projects and using diamond proceeds to wage a fierce
campaign for survival. Security forces are the backbone of the whole
Zanu PF held a mobilisation committee meeting on Wednesday chaired by
secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa at the party
headquarters in Harare to discuss ways of seizing control of lost ground
through a series of tactics, some bordering on vote-buying. The committee is
dominated by politburo members, including Zanu PF commissar Webster Shamu
and women’s league head Oppah Muchinguri, among others.
Sources said Zanu PF is taking nothing for granted despite recent opinion
surveys suggesting support for its main rival MDC-T had plummeted from 38%
in 2010 to 19% this year, while its (Zanu PF)backing grew from 17% to 31%
over the same period.
Senior Zanu PF officials told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday the meeting
was intense and resolved to come up with measures to support housing
co-operatives, set up community banks, embark on environmental cleaning
campaigns and mobilise resources.
It also resolved to work in consultation with the Chinese Communist Party,
Tanzania’s Chama cha Mapinduzi and the People’s Movement for the Liberation
of Angola (MPLA) to wrest control of government.
In addition to the strategies mooted on Wednesday, Zanu PF is already using
soldiers — blamed for the bloody pro-Mugabe campaign in the run-up to the
June 2008 presidential run-off — to mobilise support to boost the party’s
campaign, mainly in Manicaland and Masvingo where the MDC-T holds the most
The military, the main force behind the party, is already on the ground
campaigning for Mugabe and Zanu PF. Several high-ranking army commanders,
including Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, Major-General Martin Chedondo
and Major-General Trust Mugoba — who are the second layer in the chain of
command behind Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine
Chiwenga — have publicly vowed to fight for Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Chedondo has been reported as saying: “As soldiers, we will never be
apologetic for supporting Zanu-PF because it is the only political party
that has national interests at heart.”
In July the Independent revealed that tensions were running high in
faction-riddled Zanu PF over the militarisation of the commissariat, where
officials with security backgrounds were accused of forming parallel
structures resembling those of the politburo to undermine the role of
certain party bigwigs, while propping up others as part of Mugabe’s
simmering succession battle.
Former Central Intelligence Organisation, police and army officers are
gradually tightening their grip on Zanu PF, while party structures are also
teeming with cadres from security backgrounds.
Sources said Shamu on Wednesday expressed concern at the high levels of
poverty and suffering saying he feared that, if not addressed, could lead to
his party’s defeat.
Shamu told the committee, which used to meet on Mondays but now meets on
Wednesdays, he would ask Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to
release residential stands for the party to develop housing co-operatives
for its supporters.
“Shamu was pleased that Nehanda Housing Co-operative near Dzivaresekwa
Extension has successfully gone according to plan and said there was a need
for more co-operatives because Zanu PF had gained about 175 000 members
through them,” a senior politburo official who attended the meeting said.
“However, the party is worried that some members of co-operatives are not
Zanu PF members or registered voters.”
Shamu told the committee Zanu PF currently has 775 000 members, but would
like to emulate the ANC of South Africa and other parties that have higher
levels of membership. He further expressed disappointment Zanu PF had lost 3
000 Budiriro stands to MDC-T recently.
“The MDC took 3 000 housing stands in Budiriro from us, right under our
noses, but these stands belonged to Zanu PF,” Shamu told the meeting.
“However, come time for the allocations, it’s the MDC that takes over.
Chombo needs to be tasked on this matter and it has to be taken seriously.”
Shamu’s sentiments could explain the alleged political motivations behind
the latest clashes between Chombo and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, with
the premier accusing Chombo of sabotaging his party via council projects to
garner votes for Zanu PF ahead of elections.
Last week, Chombo instructed Harare City Council to halt a 3 000-unit
housing project in Budiriro and ordered an investigation into how the
tenders were awarded by council, while also threatening to fire over 30
MDC-T councillors on graft allegations.
The Budiriro project is a public-private partnership between council and
financial institutions Old Mutual and Cabs.
During the Wednesday meeting, Muchinguri spoke strongly on the establishment
of environmental strategies to mobilise and pressure building societies to
give loans to the party’s supporters to build houses.
“The MDC-T councils have failed to bring cleanliness in our cities and towns
right round the country,” said Muchinguri. “If you look at Harare, it’s very
dirty. MDC-T has made Harare extremely dirty. For us, I say let’s take
responsibility and take advantage of this and come up with
environment-friendly strategies; clean-up campaigns in towns and cities to
bring back some sanity. I am sure that will be able to gain us some support
since the MDC-T has failed.”
Ironically, Harare was even filthier and chaotic when Zanu PF was in power
during the hyperinflationary era, leading to outbreaks of diseases, mainly
cholera which killed more than 4 000 people.
Muchinguri also wants Zanu PF to mobilise burial societies and ensure
everyone in Manicaland is a member. According to the sources, she believes
that if individual members of community banks deposit at least US$50 each,
they can function like micro-financial institutions.
Muchinguri also said Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere should step
up the empowerment programme to complement these other tactics to deliver
October 5, 2012 in News
Information minister Webster Shamu plans to take full control of state-run
media as part of Zanu PF’s mobilisation drive to ensure its campaign message
reaches the widest audiences ahead of general elections next year.
Report by Staff Writer
This was revealed by Shamu, who is also Zanu PF national political
commissar, at the party’s mobilisation committee meeting in Harare on
Shamu told his colleagues that the party’s commissariat department would
take firm control of the state media and was going to strategise on how to
further use them for campaigns in the run-up to the elections.
“The relationship between the commissariat and Zimpapers, New Ziana and ZBC
has been going on very well,” said Shamu. “We are working very closely with
the women’s league, war collaborators and war veterans.”
October 5, 2012 in Politics
TWO themes dominate the Zanu PF-proposed amendments to the Copac draft
Alex Magaisa, Constitutional law expert
Zimbabwe parliament in session. Should the president be allowed to dissolve
this House on his/her whims?
First, an excessively powerful executive presidency which is almost
authoritarian and second, a parliament so weak that it is no more than a
puppet of the executive.
If there was a weakness with the Copac draft, it was that it already
conceded too much power to the executive presidency but the effect of the
Zanu PF amendments, if they were to be adopted, would be to give the office
of the president more power, making the resulting draft even more
Concept of limited government
To start with, a note on the idea and importance of limited government is
appropriate. In making a constitution, one of the cardinal rules is to give
effect to the principle of adequate checks and balances on the exercise of
state power. This is the core of the principle of constitutionalism – the
idea of limited government. It is that a constitution is not a document that
merely describes and allocates power but limits and restrains governmental
Dissolution of parliament
Zanu has changed the clause on dissolution of parliament to give unfettered
discretion on the president to dissolve parliament at any time. There are
virtually no checks and balances on the use of this power. This leaves
parliament completely vulnerable and at the mercy of the president.
The original clause in the Copac draft allows the president to dissolve
parliament only where parliament has resolved on a vote of two-thirds
majority for the dissolution of each house. The limitation is that the
president cannot just make a unilateral decision to dissolve another arm of
Now, however, by giving the president unfettered powers to dissolve
parliament at any time, the Zanu PF amendments make parliament beholden to
The implications of this presidential power to dissolve parliament at his or
her whim are serious.
Since the president can use this power at any time and for any reason, it
means a president whose party does not have or has lost a parliamentary
majority can decide to dissolve parliament and call for fresh elections.
Therefore, if a winning president’s party loses elections, instead of facing
the prospect of governing without a parliamentary majority, the president
can simply dissolve parliament and order fresh polls, thereby negating the
will of the people. A rule that allows a facility for one person to override
the will of millions is patently undemocratic.
Given that parliament is at the mercy of the president, it will have to toe
the president’s line or face dissolution, making its role as an instrument
of accountability useless. Since MPs major concern is political survival,
they will be forced to do the president’s bidding or lose their positions.
In the end, it renders parliament a puppet of the executive.
If indeed the president must have this power, independent of parliament’s
resolutions, there must be a consequence on the president’s position upon
the dissolution of parliament. A check on this power could be that whenever
the president dissolves parliament, he or she must also vacate his or her
Indeed, on this score even the current constitution has a better check in
that it states in section 29 that the president’s tenure of office is
concurrent with the life of parliament.
The Copac draft contains specific provisions that limit the terms of office
for heads of the various security services organs – army, air force, police,
correctional services and intelligence service. Under the draft a person can
serve in any of these offices for a maximum of two terms of five years each.
Zanu PF has changed this so that after serving the two terms, the service
contracts can be renewed on an annual basis. This means a person can serve
in these offices for an indeterminate period as long as the president renews
his or her appointment on an annual basis. The net effect is that there are
no limited terms for these offices.
However, what is worse about this provision for renewal of contracts on an
annual basis is that it actually strengthens the hand of the president,
making persons in these offices mere puppets. This is because the president
holds the key to the renewal of one’s appointment on an annual basis and
this makes holders of these key offices eternally beholden to the president.
They have to do the president’s bidding otherwise their contracts will not
It means the commissioner-general of police, army commanders and other
senior security officers are effectively kept on the leash by the president.
This is a very cunning way to ensure that office holders in the key security
sector are perennially in the president’s pocket. By contrast, the Copac
draft does not have this risk.
Declaration of war & peace
The Copac draft allows the president to declare war and peace but requires
him or her to seek the approval of parliament within seven sitting days.
This is an important check on the president’s power and promotes responsible
decision-making and accountability. The purpose of the approval requirement
is to check and balance the powers of the president when declaring war or
peace. Zanu PF has however deleted the requirement for parliamentary
The draft also contains a clause (11.8 (4)) requiring parliamentary approval
for deployment of defence forces outside the country but this clause has
also been deleted by Zanu PF. The effect of the deletion is to remove
important checks and balances in regards to the president’s use of the
defence forces. The removal of parliamentary approval leaves parliament
without a role and virtually powerless. This is consistent with the object
of reserving all powers in the office of the president and rendering
Further, the document also made the security services subject to the
authority of parliament and cabinet, apart from that of the president and
the constitution. However, Zanu PF has deleted reference to parliament and
cabinet suggesting, in the case of parliament that the security services are
not subject to parliamentary authority. The removal of parliament from this
particular clause demonstrates yet another instance of its marginalisation
whilst ring-fencing exclusive authority to the presidency.
The Zanu PF amendments further marginalise parliament by watering down the
requirements for political accountability for the deployment of the defence
forces. The draft requires that when the defence forces have been deployed
to assist in maintaining order (internal deployment) and outside Zimbabwe,
for any purpose, the president must “promptly and in appropriate detail”
inform parliament “of the reasons for their deployment” and details of where
they are deployed.
Zanu PF has watered-down this requirement by simply requiring that the
president must inform parliament.
Finally, the Copac draft also makes provision for the establishment of the
intelligence service under a law made by parliament. However, Zanu PF has
removed this provision leaving the power to establish an intelligence
service in the hands of the president through a presidential directive or
This has demonstrated that the effect of the Zanu PF amendments to the Copac
draft is to highly-centralise power in the office of the executive president
and to marginalise parliament, rendering it powerless and less effective.
Magaisa is a constitutional law expert based at Kent University,
October 5, 2012 in News
AILING parastatals which have long been bleeding the fiscus are likely to
cede a stake to Chinese firms in order to access loans under the Sino-Africa
Fund as mortgaging of state resources continues.
State Enterprises and Parastatals deputy minister Walter Chidhakwa said
three parastatals, including the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
(ZMDC), signed memorandums of understanding with Chinese firms to access the
Sino-Africa Fund last month when the entities’ heads visited Xiamen city in
China for an investment fair.
The Chinese stand accused of plundering the country’s diamonds in Marange
through Anjin Investments and Sino-Zimbabwe Development, a joint venture
between the Chinese and security forces. They are also involved in the
building of a hotel in designated wetland area in Harare, as well as
construction of the Zimbabwe Defence College along Mazowe Road, officially
opened last month.
Chidhakwa said state enterprises could access the fund for recapitalisation
only if they formed joint ventures with Chinese companies. He said the local
firms were forced to accede to the Chinese demands by their desperation for
capital to revive operations.
Among the parastatals likely to hand shares to the Chinese are Agribank,
NetOne, ZMDC, Grain Marketing Board, Zimbabwe Power Company, Zimbabwe
National Water Authority, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, POSB, TelOne and
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ)
October 5, 2012 in News
Fierce wrangles have erupted over the administration and disbursement of the
funds allocated to community share ownership trusts launched by President
Robert Mugabe last year as part of Zanu PF’s campaign to regain critical
rural voters ahead of elections next year.
Report by Elias Mambo
The tiffs pit the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment, which initiated the schemes, the Ministry of Local Government,
the custodian of the trustees who are chiefs, and the National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB) that is responsible
for the disbursement of funds.
Sources say these three organs are fighting among themselves while at times
conniving to loot the funds that would have been contributed by companies
that have complied with the indigenisation laws, leaving the intended
beneficiaries, the communities, out of the equation.
“There are three arms that are wrestling for total control of the schemes
and this results in lack of accountability,” said a well-placed source in
the Indigenisation ministry.
The source said the funds, administered by NIEEB, are being run in an opaque
manner, creating fertile ground for rampant corruption and embezzlement.
The militarisation of the new board of directors for (NIEEB) was likely to
worsen transparency and accountability deficits which the previous board
Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday announced a new board
of directors for NIEEB, chaired by retired Major-General Mike Nyambuya. The
board includes Indigenisation acting secretary George Magosvongwe, legal
practitioner and member of the previous board Farai Mutamangira and founder
and chairman of Savanna Tobacco Company and outgoing board member Adam
Molai, among others.
The appointment of Nyambuya to the helm of the indigenisation fund further
consolidates militarisation of institutions Zanu PF deems strategic to its
political and economic survival. Nyambuya joins the ranks of retired
Brigadier Mike Karakadzai at NRZ, ZTA’s colonel Karikoga Kaseke and ZBC
financial director Brigadier General Elliot Kasu, among others.
Kasukuwere’s ministry yesterday also presented compliance certificates to
companies that registered their approved indigenisation programmes. The
certificates were issued by NIEEB.
However, there has been no fanfare surrounding the issuance of shares
certificates to beneficiary communities, nor has there been much publicity
about the trust deeds.
It is this opacity which those involved say is creating opportunities for
rent-seeking behaviour and corruption. Last year, five chiefs in Zvishavane,
namely Mazvihwa, Masunda, Mapanzure, Wedza and Mafala, dipped into US$2
million dollars from Mimosa Mine under the Zvishavane Community Share
Ownership scheme. The chiefs then awarded themselves US$5 000 each as
sitting allowances for meetings they attended to decide on how to share the
This sparked a furore with Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo who
directed the Zvishavane chiefs to return part of the US$2 million they had
shared among themselves. Chombo ordered that the funds be administered by
Zvishavane district administrator, with Runde Rural District Council
conducting disbursements of the funds.
In an interview yesterday, Kasukuwere said the funds should be run by local
boards comprising chiefs, councillors, a lawyer and an accountant, who is
the custodian of the scheme which is given a share certificate. He said the
empowerment programme is set to benefit the communities and not the
“The community benefits through construction of infrastructure like roads,
clinics, schools and water facilities,” he said.
Outgoing NIEEB chairman David Chapfika dismissed allegations of
misappropriation, maintaining that once funds have been disbursed the onus
on what to do next lies with the local board of trustees, which includes
chiefs. He also refuted allegations that funds remain held in the NIEEB
accounts instead of being deposited into the trustees’ accounts.
October 5, 2012 in News
CABINET on Tuesday reversed a decision by the State Procurement Board (SPB)
to cancel the tender for Kariba South’s US$700 million expansion programme
which had been awarded to Chinese firm Sino-Hydro.
Report by Staff Writer
Sino-Hydro was the sole bidder for the project, but had failed to win the
tender after disagreements with the SPB over a site visit certificate and
bid bond which is issued as part of a bidding process by the surety to the
project owner, to guarantee that the winning bidder would honour the
contract under the terms on which it bid.
Sources said the Chinese firm’s bid was restored after stormy debates in
Cabinet on Tuesday.
Before cabinet overruled the SPB’s decision to cancel the Sino-Hydro tender,
Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma had complained of the
cancellation saying it was unfortunate that flimsy reasons were being given
as the basis for cancellation of such an important national project.
Once fully operational, the Kariba South plant is expected to provide an
additional 300 megawatts to the national grid by 2016, and commission a
massive 800MW at the Batoka Gorge four years later if funding is secured.
Zimbabwe is only capable of generating about 1 200MW of the peak national
demand of about 2 2000MW, and government’s decision to restore the deal is
part of its efforts to curb a crippling power shortage that has stalked the
country, particularly in the past five years.
The country’s industrial capacity utilisation stands at an official 60%,
raising fears the power deficit would worsen should capacity utilisation
Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority chairperson Canada Malunga last month
said the new energy policy acknowledged the role of renewable energy sources
and the power regulator was working on an Independent Power Producers policy
The regulator has licensed various large electricity generation projects,
investing in 11 new projects with a combined capacity of about 5 400MW
valued at US$10 billion.
Zimbabwe’s power shortage has resulted in numerous outages for domestic and
business consumers, affecting government projects aimed at helping boost
Zimbabwe plans to raise power output to 10 000 megawatts in line with the
National Energy Policy.
October 5, 2012 in News
THE National Social Security Authority (Nssa) is fast emerging as a major
investment force in Zimbabwe’s capital markets after its total asset base
breached the half-a-billion dollar mark on the back of strong income growth
despite a challenging economic environment.
Nssa assets surged by over US$135 million (30%) from US$456,7 million in
2010 to US$592,2 million as of the end of 2011. Total Income jumped 11% to
US$221,8 million from US$200,2 million in 2010, as it emerged Nssa was a
major shareholder in listed companies as well as a serious investor in the
NSSA chairman Innocent Chagonda said his board was taking steps to ensure
the public fund would remain solvent in the future.
Nssa general manager James Matiza noted pension contributions for 2011, at
US$147,4 million were 7% more than in 2010. However, collection of premiums
under the Workers Compensation Insurance Fund (WCIF) recorded a 13% decline
in 2011 to US$38,7 million from US$43,8 million the previous year. This
followed a 20% reduction in the assessment rates based on advice given by
the authority’s actuaries.
Investment income rose a robust 21% from US$19,7 million in 2010 to US$23,2
million in 2011, driven mainly by property rental income. Consultancy income
from the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) division went up 37% from
US$1,1 million to US$1,5 million.
October 5, 2012 in Opinion
It might somewhat come as an ambush to the market, but we hope the new-look
Zimbabwe Independent will strike a chord with our readers.
Report by Dumisani Muleya
From time to time, everyone needs a makeover and a newspaper is no
different. Newspapers the world over often change or refresh designs to
rejuvenate their look, enhance content and add personality.
They try to come up with new and better layouts –– presentation and
packaging –– sometimes even improve fonts, graphic designs, arrangements and
colours to change their feel. In other cases, a newspaper may require an
overhaul if the layout has become stale or readers demand change.
Since its launch in 1996, the Independent has undergone design, structure
and packaging refreshers occasionally, with readers generally responding
positively. The changes have often proved to be energisers in the market in
which the newspaper continues to gain a foothold as the main platform for
ideas, debates and insights on Zimbabwe’s political economy.
We have always strived to change how our people relate to government and
interact with public institutions and their leaders, as well as society at
large. It is important to ensure informed, honest and robust debate, while
helping to improve how people make their choices on crucial issues and
connect to business and the economy.
Our focus remains the same: To be the most reliable and trusted provider of
business news, information and data, as well as political insight in
To achieve this, we need to provide cutting-edge, incisive and dynamic news
coverage, as well as compelling investigative reporting and analysis on
We will continue to hold government to account and fight for progressive
democratic reforms and alternatives. Our spotlight will remain on the public
and private spheres of life to expose abuse of power and corruption, while
promoting good governance, accountability and transparency.
Without fear or favour, we will always seek to hold those in power
accountable, demanding to know how public resources or funds are being used
and how we are being governed while in the process helping to shape the
future of our country.
Readers can count on us on this. Credibility, relevance and professionalism
will remain our core values in service of communities and democracy in our
role as a public watchdog. We want to be the home to fresh ideas, critical
thinking and investigative journalism. That’s what we aspire to be.
In terms of changes, you will notice from the masthead, front page and
across different sections, including news, politics, business, features,
op-eds, entertainment and sport, there are new features of one kind or
another. The changes though are not revolutionary but perhaps evolutionary.
Many of the changes we have made in our refresh come from your feedback as
captured by experts. For that we would like to say thank you.
In this world where the social media is changing the face of society and
journalism, there is always need to reorganise, to redesign to come up with
fresh ideas, be dynamic and add punch in news coverage.
The growth of social media interactive platforms –– Twitter, Facebook,
MySpace, and others –– have changed forever the character and practice of
It’s not just media organisations which have been jolted out of their
comfort zones by social media, all sorts of businesses, organisations and
individuals have had to adjust to keep pace with changing technological
innovations and growing customer demands.
With the list of social media tools growing and technological changes moving
so rapidly, it means as journalists we must find innovative ways of
The advent of social media does not mark the death of journalism as we know
it but requires that we should always adjust and be dynamic to cope with
today’s ever-changing world in which rigid authoritarian regimes and
dictators are fast becoming endangered species. Our new design is all about
October 5, 2012 in Opinion
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe believes Col Muammar Gaddafi’s death was “a great
loss to Africa”. He was speaking at the UN General Assembly last week in
support of the late dictator. This is typical of the thinking of yesteryear.
Gaddafi presided over the death of thousands of Libyans who opposed his
rule. When Africa failed to respond to his massacres of his own people and
ignored the use of North African mercenaries, the UN eventually acted,
authorising Nato to move against the cruel dictator in resolution 1973 but
the British and French were initially reluctant interventionists hoping from
week to week that Africa would take some responsibility for the conduct of
its miscreant member.
In the end Gaddafi was killed by an angry and hostile populace. To the very
end Zimbabwe remained on his side in his war against his own people.
What does this tell us about Zanu PF’s foreign policy? “Gaddafi, a great
loss to Africa”?
Pelton pelts Mugabe
Mugabe’s equating of the slaying of Gaddafi and the killing of US ambassador
to Libya Christopher Stevens provoked a sharp response from the US mission
to the UN which described it as “a new low”, even for him.
Said mission spokesperson Erin Pelton: “(Mugabe) cynically chose to compare
the best of us with the worst of us, a ridiculous and abhorrent comparison
that we reject in the strongest terms.”
Pelton went on to pelt Mugabe with more vitriol: “President Mugabe had a
chance yesterday to share with the international community his plans for
reversing the downward spiral his rule has inflicted on the economy and
people of Zimbabwe over the last three decades.”
Back home Mugabe’s speech was lauded by “local analysts” as a “true
representation and reflection of Africa’s views and aspirations on the
international stage”, at least according to ZBC.
Mugabe, we are told, “was emphatic on the need to reform the United Nations,
and to condemn equally the perpetrators of conflicts and violence
irrespective of the size and might of the perpetrators”.
The “analysts” were also thankful for Mugabe’s criticism of the West for
practising double standards, unilateralism and “bullying” to achieve their
Mugabe said Africa will not be bought-off with empty promises or cosmetic
tinkering disguised as reform of the Security Council.
Yet Mugabe is doing exactly that in Zimbabwe, stalling the implementation of
reforms agreed to in the Global Political Agreement and instituting cosmetic
reforms in the broadcasting sector to give the impression of media diversity
when the status quo rules supreme.
A clear case of the pot calling the kettle black!
Not so dependabe Sata
President Mugabe has surely found out the hard way that he can hardly depend
on his clownish and volatile friend Zambian President Michael Sata who, in
the blink of an eye, can turn from hero to villain.
Addressing the business community in New York, Sata blasted the West for
keeping sanctions in place against Mugabe who he said was cleverer than
those who imposed them.
Sata went on to mock the West saying Mugabe was unaffected by the sanctions
and was “overnourished” but his people “cannot afford a meal a day”.
“That country is most unfortunate,” added Sata.
That would be hardly flattering his fellow comrade in Harare.
Zanu PF’s ‘strategy’
Zanu PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo has re-affirmed that Zimbabwe will never
be a colony again and any attempts to reclaim the country for the Rhodesian
era will be “strongly resisted” by the “revolutionary party”.
In an interview with the Herald recently, Moyo said the country suffered
economically as a result of the Western machinations that rendered the local
Zanu PF had a counter strategy, declared Moyo. “The introduction of the
multi-currency that we eventually implemented to stabilise the economy and
also to relieve the people from the suffering they had unwittingly plunged
So we should thank Zanu PF for rendering our currency useless and adopting
the currencies of the imperialists? So much for sovereignty!
Moyo last month launched a monthly newsletter entitled The People to be
distributed to his party’s grassroots membership.Very original title Cde
Muckraker was amused by a front-page assertion in the Herald that wheat
cultivation in Zimbabwe was not based on economic considerations.
“The country only started growing wheat after the Unilateral Declaration of
Independence in 1965 when the illegal Ian Smith regime was hit by sanctions”,
we are told.
Sounds economic to us. And when you see the word “illegal” as a prefix you
have a good idea of where it’s coming from. In this case it is an excuse for
The Smith regime made wheat cultivation a success because the country needed
it to beat sanctions.
The country needs it now but those in power have, like everything else,
botched it. Now we have to import a major staple and, as Ignatius Chombo
pointed out, Zimbabwe is supporting agriculture in neighbouring states.
“What will happen if we go to war with these countries we are importing
from?”Chombo wondered. “We need to produce our own food…” This has obviously
just occurred to him!
SA goes the Zim way
Zanu PF spokesmen like to boast that South Africa is following in Zimbabwe’s
footsteps in many respects. Evidence emerged last month that some of this at
least may be true as it was announced that South Africa has decided to
cancel investment protection agreements with the EU.
The EU is the source of 80% of South Africa’s investment. Last month South
Africa terminated an investment treaty with Belgium and Luxemburg when it
In total South Africa has 13 agreements with EU member states which will all
be cancelled as they come up for renewal, the South African Sunday Times
Existing agreements will enjoy the same protection for a sunset period of 10
years but new investments will not be covered by the agreements which
guarantee compensation should expropriation or damage be suffered by
“South Africa’s timing couldn’t be worse in the light of the Marikana
situation,” one EU businessman said.
“Also, one cannot help but wonder whether these agreements are being
cancelled in case South Africa decides to nationalise certain key sectors in
EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Guch said he was disappointed the treaties
were being terminated without having new ones in place. South African Trade
minister Rob Davies said South Africa was getting plenty of investments from
countries like the US without having bilateral investment agreements. But EU
officials and businessmen insisted “it does matter for Europe”.
What this does tell us, business leaders said, is that South Africa has an
elevated view of itself as a key investment destination which doesn’t
One can’t but wonder what they have in mind given the pressure on President
Jacob Zuma to indulge his ANC zealots.
And Davies admitted on Hard Talk recently that he was an old-style
The Times also reported that in a recent survey South Africa’s low skills
and education levels, empowerment legislation, bureaucracy and corruption
are preventing increased investment.
Fidza’s moral lecture
Meanwhile “filthy rich” Zanu PF apparatchik Philip Chiyangwa was once again
in the news urging Zanu PF supporters in Mashonaland West province to vote
for the party.
Curiously Chiyangwa decided to take the moral high ground in Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai’s love life, slating the premier for his “bed-hopping
antics”, adding that his “trend of manipulating women through abuse of
office showed lack of leadership qualities”.
Because of Tsvangirai’s bed-hopping, opined Chiyangwa, “he is not fit to
occupy the highest office in the land”.
“He lacks the qualities needed by a national leader,” he told the Zanu PF
faithful without the slightest bit of irony.
Like we need a morality lecture from Chiyangwa, who despite being married
once boasted to being the lover of a well-known socialite.
“In the beginning we had sex every day for six months. We used to sneak away
at lunch time or after work,” crowed Chiyangwa.
“Our sessions would last up to four hours. She was very sexy and knew what
Since this is a family newspaper we won’t go into the sordid details.
Anyway we are still waiting for the update on Chiyangwa’s pledge in April to
donate US$1,6 million to the University of Zimbabwe.
Short and sweet …
Fongo demands full exposure
The curiously named Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations (Fongo) is
pushing for the urgent “exposure” of the views that were recorded during the
Copac outreach programme. Fongo president Goodson Nguni castigated the MDC-T
for objecting to the publishing of the national report.
“If they have nothing to hide why are they afraid to publish it?” he asked.
Maybe they have other concerns such as indecent exposure!
Magaisa on Mugabe’s speech
Legal and constitutional expert, Alex Magaisa sums up Mugabe’s speech at the
“The irony of it all does not and cannot escape us,” said Magaisa. “As I
listened to the castigation of unilateralism, of bullies and war-mongers on
the international stage, I thought to myself, does President Mugabe realise
when he complains about these things on the international stage that these
are exactly the same things that his opponents complain of on the national
October 5, 2012 in Opinion
In this instalment of his article on the Zanu PF constitution and
succession, Derek Matyszak argues that the Tsholotsho saga still affects
Zanu PF’s internal politics. He further argues that while Zanu PF is
structured to allow democracy in choosing successors to the presidium,
“guided democracy” actually prevails. Report by Derek Matyszak,
Constitutional expert and researcher
The Women’s League duly met on November 22 2004, and formally declared Joice
Mujuru to be their choice as the woman to succeed the late Vice-President
Simon Muzenda, in accordance with the instruction from the politburo.
The direction of the wind was clear. Six out of the 10 provinces thereafter
duly nominated Mujuru as their candidate. And the December 6 congress that
year obediently “elected” Mujuru as vice president.
Mugabe, apparently euphoric at his successful exercise of political muscle,
imprudently stated to the gathering: “When you choose her as a vice
president, you don’t want her to remain in that chair do you?”
Given what transpired, the suggestion that Mujuru had been “chosen” by
congress was hardly accurate. Mugabe moved swiftly against those who had
sought to defy his choice of anointed appointee. The Tuesday before the
weekend congress, the politburo “suspended” the six provincial chairmen and
Jabulani Sibanda, head of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans
Association, who had been present in Tsholotsho. It was the first of several
On December 17 2004, Mugabe announced a new and expanded politburo of 51
members. Jonathan Moyo was removed from the politburo (and subsequently the
party, and also as Minister of Information).
Emmerson Mnangagwa was deposed as secretary for administration — effectively
the party’s secretary-general and fifth in the party hierarchy — and
replaced by Didymus Mutasa. He was given the post of secretary for legal
affairs (twelfth in the politburo hierarchy), displacing Chinamasa who was
removed from the politburo.
Mugabe explained the measures as follows: “Those who were suspended will
remain suspended and will be disciplined by the national chairman, while
their vacancies will be filled in the future …
“There is everything wrong when chairpersons of the party go and meet
secretly without the knowledge of the leadership of the party, and worse
still, what would they be discussing there? There is no party run like
that … When the war was fought, we fought as one on all fronts. We didn’t
ask guerrillas where they came from, asi vana mafikizolo ndovaakuti uyu
anobva kwakati? Uyu anobva kwakati? (but the newcomers are discriminating
along tribal lines). They should know we are non-tribalists and
The Tsholotsho saga continues to reverberate through Zanu PF’s succession
and internal politics. Several issues arising from the saga require comment
for present purposes. Although Zanu PF has been structured in a manner which
allows the choice of successors to the presidium to be extremely democratic,
the actual process is best described as “guided democracy”, with Mugabe as
the tiller man and the politburo as the crew.
The politburo had no power to amend the constitution to mandate a female
vice-president or to change the composition of the provincial electoral
colleges. That power lies with the central committee (subject to
ratification by congress) and congress itself.
The congress nonetheless ratified the changes which had been unlawfully made
by the politburo to accord with Mugabe’s intentions and strategy. The
politburo also had no power to suspend the provincial chairpersons, and the
national chairman no power to discipline them.
In the role of implementer of Mugabe’s policies, using procedures often
outside the confines of the party constitution, the politburo has become
enormously powerful since Tsholotsho.
Rather than the congress controlling the central committee, the central
committee controlling the politburo and the politburo directing the
presidium, the flow of power is in precisely the opposite direction. Zanu PF
spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, has candidly stated that “the politburo is the
policy-making body outside congress”.
The politburo thus has arrogated the power to itself to dismiss members of
the PCC; to reject nominees to the central committee by the PCCs; barred
individuals from contesting for the post of provincial chairperson;
cancelled polls of party structures; and even gone so far (as will be seen)
to claim the power to control and veto nominations for the presidium from
None of these powers is vested in the politburo by the party’s constitution.
The Zanu PF-controlled state media presents Mugabe’s retention of the
presidency as being the result of an unchallenged consensus within the
party. Similarly, the overview of the Tsholotsho saga, outlined above, might
tend to give the impression that after these events Mugabe was entirely
secure within the party. This is not the case, and, at times, Mugabe’s hold
on power even became more tenuous.
The confluence between the state and party presidium has been noted. A
similar and extremely important conjunction exists with the appointment, by
Mugabe, of members of the central committee to the politburo, and the
appointment of the same individuals by Mugabe as ministers in government.
That these powers allow Mugabe to control the politburo was plainly evident
during the Tsholotsho saga, if they had not been before.
To deepen the well of largesse, and further strengthen his ability to
exercise control over the party through the politburo, Mugabe (apparently
unilaterally and unconstitutionally) increased the size of this body to 51
Matyszak is a former University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, constitutional
expert and researcher with the Research and Advocacy Unit.
October 5, 2012 in Opinion
THE opinion in the current state-controlled Sunday Mail edition by Professor
Jonathan Moyo, supporting his octogenarian handler President Robert Mugabe,
headlined “Obama uses UN to garner votes” has exposed Zimbabwean leaders as
inadvertently promoting right-wing views and stereotypes about Africans in a
bid to divert attention from their failures.
Report by Garikai Chimuka, Netherlands-based analyst
Moyo, now in the habit of attacking foreign leaders after his recent
assaults on South African President Jacob Zuma when he has nothing useful
but praises to say about those running our country, launched an unnecessary
offensive on United States President Barack Obama, exposing his anger at
anyone criticising and standing up to dictators.
In an attack apparently driven by malice and resentment of the realisations
of a young African-American leader who rose to the most critical leadership
position in the world and his refusal to indulge dictators, Moyo cynically
described Obama as someone who has no ideas beyond the teleprompter (also
called an autocue) he uses in his speeches.
Moyo’s noises bear a striking resemblance to the racist attacks on Obama by
the right-wing “Tea Party”. Moyo conveniently forgets that even his boss,
Mugabe, also uses prepared speeches, not on the teleprompter but on paper
since he is allergic to technology, besides being bankrupt in terms of
To describe Obama’s electrifying and presidential speech at the United
Nations General Assembly last week and his exemplary conduct as president
since he took office in 2008 as confused and a campaign gimmick for US
elections actually exposes Mugabe and Moyo as hopeless charlatans who have
now joined the reactionary Tea Party in maligning blacks they don’t agree
Mugabe, who recently lunged at Jamaicans from nowhere, and Moyo can’t
appreciate Africans who achieve greater things than themselves and hold
different views from theirs despite their pretence of being champions of the
emancipation of black people.
After a proud black Jamaican team, led by Usain Bolt, electrified the
Olympics in London by setting and breaking world records, Mugabe out of the
blue made scandalous remarks denigrating Jamaicans, while perpetuating
racist stereotypes against them despite that they fought for their freedom
and also helped others in doing the same.
Without any cause, Mugabe senselessly launched astonishing attacks on
Jamaican men, describing them as hopeless drunkards, marijuana-smokers and
school dropouts, Moyo’s favourite phrase which he uses to insult those he
disagrees with in the media, at a time when the whole world was still
basking in the extraordinary exploits and glory of Bolt and Yohan Blake at
the recent Olympics.
Such irresponsible remarks about black people coming from Mugabe and Moyo
are just sickening. To Mugabe and Moyo, blacks are only successful and
progressive if they are endorsed by them.
But what is most outrageous is the similarity of their statements to those
often made by racists about blacks.
Throughout his installment, Moyo arrogantly, while trying to defend Mugabe,
tried to present Obama as an ignoramus. He uses the same script that the
discriminatory “Tea Party” has been using against Obama and by extension all
It’s not rocket science that the “Tea Party” has been behind the racist
attacks on Obama, making ridiculous allegations including that he did not
even go to Harvard, his is not even a lawyer and demanding that he produces
his original birth certificate and academic transcripts.
Mugabe and Moyo can’t afford to join this charade to denigrate Obama
educationally, philosophically or in terms of leadership.
Obama attended Occidental College, but received his undergraduate degree in
political science (specialising in international relations) from Columbia
University, an Ivy League member currently ranked ninth in the US. He also
graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School where he also served as
president of the Harvard Law Review. The Harvard Law School is ranked the
second best Law School in America after Yale.
How can Moyo claim in all seriousness that someone with such a phenomenal
record who came out of Harvard, taught law at Chicago Law School,
practicised and rose to become the first black US president in history
against all odds has no ideas of his own? These are the kind of insulting
narratives one would expect to hear from the bigoted “Tea Party”
mouthpieces, not any self-respecting black person.
Moyo also accused Obama of using the UN to campaign for votes in the
November elections. The irony of this wild allegation is perplexing. For God’s
sake, Obama understands better than Moyo can ever do how to campaign and win
elections in the US.
That is why he flew directly from the swing state of Ohio and then flew
straight to another battleground state of Virginia. If he wanted to use the
UN as a campaign platform as Moyo na´vely suggests, then why did he not
spend the whole week there campaigning? Was Mugabe also campaigning at the
Surely, Moyo, for all his pretence to know everything when clearly he doesn’t,
can’t teach Obama how to campaign and win elections in the US.
Further, Moyo inadvertently exposed the vacuous nature of Mugabe’s
hypocritical UN speech. The focus of Mugabe speech was primarily to try to
blunt Obama’s address and momentum (which is why he prefaced it with a
reaction), while reinforcing the messages of the “Tea Party”racists who have
been making false allegations about Obama’s person, leadership and policies.
Mugabe’s Muammar Gaddafi monologue and Moyo’s pathetic attempt to belittle
Obama by borrowing themes, refrains and style from the racially prejudiced
“Tea Party” was a damp squib and huge disappointment.
Chimuka is an analyst based at Wageningen University, The Netherlands.
October 5, 2012 in Opinion
THE massive contraction of the manufacturing sector is as clear as day.
Notwithstanding the innumerable factors which have caused economic decline
over the last 15 years, the decimation of the manufacturing sector has
contributed immensely to that decline.Eric Bloch Column
More than 100 industrial operations have ceased to exist, with the remainder
considerably downsized. As a result, thousands of workers became unemployed,
while those with technical skills left Zimbabwe to seek employment
elsewhere. Imports have increased considerably, because similar products are
no longer available locally.
Consequently, Zimbabwe’s adverse balance-of-trade has worsened, with
concomitant negative effects upon financial liquidity. Revenue inflows to
the fiscus have been markedly reduced, thereby exacerbating government’s
The manufacturing sector’s demise can be attributed to many causes. However,
one of the stand-out factors has been the increase in imports of products
identical to locally-produced ones.
In part, the increase was fuelled by price competitiveness due to economies
of scale not available to the local industries. This negative development
has also been intensified by the ability of manufacturers in other countries
to make use of state-of-the-art machinery in their production, whereas the
illiquid local industries remain with antiquated machinery.
In addition, foreign industries enjoy consistent and reliable energy
supplies, water, refuse and sewerage removal as well as a well-developed
telecommunications and transportation infrastructure.
One of the key reasons many foreign industries are able to supply goods to
Zimbabwe at considerably lower prices is the magnitude of direct and
indirect export incentives they get from their governments. These
incentives, in some cases, may be in breach of the international General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt). This is especially so in the case of
some countries in the Far East.
At least one of those countries provides its manufacturers with some of
their manufacturing inputs free of charge.
In addition, they give their exporters massive financial subsidies (in one
instance equal to 180% of attributable manufacturing labour costs.
With free procurement of some inputs and no sizeable labour costs being
incurred, the manufacturers are able to produce goods at minimal cost,
enabling them to market the products at exceptionally low prices –– far
below the production costs Zimbabwean producers of like products have to
Although “protectionism” is undesirable and should not be pursued, the need
for an upward revision of import duties and allied charges by the
government, to an extent that would result in market price equality, is
Customer determination on whether to purchase local or like imported
manufactured goods should be founded upon quality, reliability, availability
and not on price where the imported product prices are substantially less
than those of locally-produced goods.
Appropriate revision of import tariffs is overdue, and should now belatedly
be effected in the forthcoming 2013 national budget, scheduled to be
presented to parliament by Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, on November15.
Rein in import duty evasion
Concurrently, the government must vigorously and urgently enhance its
operations on containment of import duty evasion. Considerable quantities of
imported goods unlawfully enter Zimbabwe free of duty.
To a major extent, such goods are marketed in the “flea markets” and by
informal sector street merchants. Some of the products enter Zimbabwe at
unofficial border crossings, instead of through border posts. Others are
imported as so-called “personal effects” of some diplomats and other
foreigners entering Zimbabwe, whilst yet other products are imported under
cover of falsified import documentation.
Without being oppressive thereby prejudicing persons arriving in Zimbabwe,
or unduly delaying clearance of imports, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
needs to enhance its containment of spurious and evasive imports.
Biti also needs to review downwards the import duty on manufacturing inputs.
The duties on certain production materials such as consumable plant and
machinery spares, is yet another contributor to the inability of many
industries to compete with imported manufactured products.
The minister should have urgent interactions with bodies such as Association
of Businesses in Zimbabwe, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and Zimbabwe
National Chamber of Commerce in order to constructively review relevant
Government also needs to introduce meaningful export incentives (within the
constraints of Gatt). If that is done simultaneously with the review of
import tariffs, and countering of other impediments to substantial volumes
of production, local enterprises would be able to re-penetrate export
markets thereby helping revive the economy.
October 5, 2012 in Opinion
A draft national code for corporate governance (NCCG), a framework which
will guide and govern how Zimbabwean companies will be directed and
controlled is now complete and currently going through refinement before it
can officially be launched in October this year.
Report by By Henry Diya
This was revealed by Eve Gadzikwa at a recent corporate governance
conference held at the Troutbeck Resort in Nyanga.
She is the director general of Standards Association of Zimbabwe (Saz),
chairperson of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, vice chairperson of the National
Corporate Governance Code Project for Zimbabwe Steering Committee and
chairperson of CZI Standing Committee on Business Ethics and Standards.
Gadzikwa said this while addressing directors and managers at a training
workshop organised by the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe.
“This is a process that began sometime in September 2009, and like the
constitution-making process, thematic committees had to go through a wide
consultation process across the country so as to capture views from a
variety of sectors, and now the most important thing is to refine it in view
of the October launch,” explained Edward Siwela, executive director of the
Institute of Directors Zimbabwe.
Currently there is no existing corporate governance code to guide the
operations of local companies, which has seen rising cases of abuses and
malpractices at a number of firms.
“Boards of directors are sometimes selected on the basis of who knows who,
termed the ‘Old Boys Club’ and that negatively impacts on the effectiveness
of the board,” lamented Johannes Mudzengerere, Chairman of the Institute of
Directors Zimbabwe. “Board selection is critical as there are specific
criteria that need to be employed to ensure the right board mix.”
Global trends in corporate governance have seen modern progressive
institutions, countries and groups of countries attempting or having
introduced corporate governance structures to try and improve the way
corporations behave, protect stakeholder interests and safeguard the
business operating environment. Examples of African countries that have
developed and implemented National Corporate Governance Codes include
Malawi, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. As such, Zimbabwe is lagging behind
and pronouncements of the enactment of a local code are therefore a step in
the right direction.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the
World Bank are key actors in promoting policy dialogue on corporate
governance. OECD has been central in the setting-up of Corporate Governance
Round Tables in Asia, Russia, Latin America, South-East Europe and Eurasia.
Indeed, Africa was not left behind. Through the New Economic Partnership for
Africa’s Development (Nepad), African leaders introduced the African Peer
Review Mechanism (APRM). The APRM covered issues such as regulatory
frameworks, corporate social responsibility, and adoption of codes of
ethics, stakeholder engagement as well as accountability of corporations,
directors and officers.
Other efforts were the introduction of the King Report on Corporate
Governance (CG) in South Africa, the initiative by the Commonwealth
Association for Corporate Governance (CACG) Guidelines, proliferation of
Institute of Directors or such other names – promoting Corporate Governance
Zimbabwe is on a journey to formulate a national code on corporate
Governance. The Promoters of this noble project are The Institute of
Directors Zimbabwe, Standards Association of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe
Leadership Forum. The State-Owned Enterprises and Parastatals (SOEPS)
already have a corporate governance framework though its implementation is
highly questionable, given the perennial down-performance of these
entities.Economic challenges experienced by Zimbabwe between year 2000 and
2008, and the current indigenisation of the economy has ushered in a new
breed of entrepreneurs, changing completely and supposedly irreversibly the
structure of Zimbabwe businesses. A National Code on Corporate Governance is
going to encompass a number of considerations to be relevant.
Foremost, the bulk of Zimbabwe’s companies are now informal entities, small
to medium enterprises and SOEPs. Zimbabwe’s business landscape has seen a
proliferation of family-owned businesses and these are playing a pivotal
role in reviving the economy, so cannot be ignored.
We have in existence, pyramid business ownership structures where various
individuals and/or families have shareholding in a various network of
companies, and this presents unique corporate governance challenges such as
related party transactions.
“Banks own shares in private companies, the question that arises is what is
the lending practice to those entities the banks are involved in, is it
transparent, prudent and are there arms-length dealings between the related
entities?” questioned Mudzengerere.
October 5, 2012 in Opinion
In my last article I argued about the desirability and merits of an
electoral alliance between the MDC-T, MDC and other political parties to
face off against Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe. In this instalment I
would like to focus on the nuts and bolts of such an alliance and how it can
be made to come to fruition and the principal actors and factors in the
process of developing an electoral alliance .Report by Dumisani Nkomo
Inter-party negotiating teams
Instead of wasting time negotiating with an intransigent and bellicose Zanu
PF, the two MDC formations should immediately dispatch emissaries to the
negotiating table to sketch the mechanics of an electoral alliance, its
scope, magnitude and critical terms of the pact.
The over-arching objective should not be to form one political party, but
rather a strategic electoral alliance through an electoral pact involving
the two parties and other so-called fringe parties including Zapu,
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD), among others.
The negotiations must focus on obtaining political realities based both on
previous and current electoral strength of each of the political parties.
This will include mapping of the relative geographical strengths of the
parties, their competitive advantages, skills, resources, competencies and
expertise, as well as how these can be transformed into a cohesive electoral
The mapping should take cognisance of the various constituencies where each
political party has a competitive advantage. Constituencies should be
defined both geographically and in terms of interest groups. For example,
the MDC-T may be strong geographically in five provinces while the MDC may
be strong in three provinces. Within these provinces, however, the MDC may
particularly be strong in certain MDC-T dominated provinces or vice-versa.
It may so happen that Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu, for example, may be relatively
stronger in terms of membership and support in Bubi, Insiza or Beitbridge
although those provinces may be MDC or MDC-T strongholds .
Simba Makoni’s MKD party or project may be weak in all constituencies, but
may offer, say, five quality candidates who may just need the support of a
broad electoral base. Similarly, some of the smaller parties such as Zapu or
Zanu Ndonga may be able to provide better candidates in one or two
constituencies or wards.
What constitutes a quality candidate is a debatable subject altogether and
there seems to be general consensus in Zimbabwe that the quality of some of
our members of parliament and councillors is questionable in one respect or
another in terms of either integrity or capacity or both .
However, it must be acknowledged that there are political parties which are
stronger than others that have more support and/ or resources and this
should not be taken for granted. For example, the fact that the MDC-T
commands a relatively large support base nationally is undisputable, but it
is also undeniable that Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC while not growing in
leaps and bounds, is nevertheless experiencing exponential membership growth
in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
A detailed constituency matrix based on a scientific formula for each party’s
strength per given constituency or ward should be produced so that the party
with the greatest chance of winning in a particular ward or constituency is
supported by the other political parties.
This worked quite well in the 1980s, for example, in the Bulwayo City
Council where PF Zapu fielded candidates in the western areas and backed
independent white candidates in the eastern areas with the objective of
deriving benefit from the experience of the former Rhodesian councillors.
Zanu PF was soundly trounced in both the western and eastern areas in
Bulawayo during the first two elections. This formula can and should work.
The danger of this formula however, is that if improperly implemented, it
could promote losers, opportunists, political gatecrashers and grandstanders
“who toil not neither do they spin” at the expense of hardworking and
New GNU package
The architecture of a new government of national unity (GNU) without Zanu PF
should be part of the agreement with a general covenant that cabinet posts
should be shared. Critically, there have to be important policy agreements,
for example, on how the issue of devolution would be addressed.
The MDC-T — because of empirical evidence of its somewhat greater chances of
winning an election — should provide leadership in this respect. But be wary
this could be its last chance to win elections against a reformed Zanu PF,
an invigorated MDC or a new third force that could benefit from the
implosion of the MDC-T if Zanu PF wins the elections. The MDC, on its part,
should demand key policy and power concessions as a pre-requisite for
participating in the alliance. The possibility of two vice-presidents with
one from MDC would become inevitable although undesirable given that
Zimbabwe is such a small country.
It is inevitable that an electoral alliance will lead to another GNU. The
key difference would be the fact that this GNU would not have the obstinate
Zanu PF as a partner.
Role of the church and civil society
Instead of taking sides with either the MDC-T, MDC, Zapu or any other
political party, progressive church leaders should play a midwifery role in
catalysing the push for an electoral pact.
The international community should insist on backing only a united front to
contest in the elections as this is the only politically bankable and
economically viable option. Pouring resources into one political basket will
just increase conflict within various factions in different parties without
contributing anything to real change.
Nkomo is Habakkuk Trust CEO and spokesperson of the Matabeleland Civil
Society Forum. He writes in his personal capacity. E-mail: