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‘Zanu PF to retire bigwigs’

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Politics

ZANU PF has started preparing for its primary elections amid reports that
several party bigwigs, among them cabinet ministers, will be forced to
retire ahead of polls that may be held in March next year.

Report by Patrice Makova

Sources said the party was planning to hold primary elections soon after the
referendum on a new constitution scheduled for November after this month’s
Copac Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference.

A Politburo member said while Zanu PF had endorsed 88-year-old Mugabe as its
presidential candidate, a proposal had been made, which could see many of
the old and those who are sick being retired. This would make way for new
and energetic candidates to contest the elections, said the official.

“The party strategists have already put forward the proposal and it is now
entirely up to the President (Mugabe) to endorse this idea,” said the senior
Zanu PF official.

The strategists include the securocrats seconded to the party to spearhead
its election campaign and re-organisation. A few months ago, the securocrats
succeeded in having the divisive District Coordinating Committees (DCCs)
dissolved in the wake of serious internal squabbles.

The source said, under the proposal, most of the old and ailing party
members would not be allowed to contest the party primary elections, as
there was a view that this could prove costly to Zanu PF, come national
polls.

“The retired party gurus will be given new responsibilities within the
party, not only as a way to appease them, but to also ensure that they will
not starve, as they will continue earning some income,” said the senior
party official.

However, the official said Vice-President John Nkomo, who is not well would
not be affected if the decision to retire the old party bigwigs was adopted.

But the likes of Lands and Rural Resettlement minister, Hebert Murerwa, who
has been in and out of hospital for the past two years, were unlikely to be
spared. The late Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Stan Mudenge, who
collapsed and died last week, was also tipped for “retirement”.

Another official said although the older members of the party could be swept
aside, it would not be a “walk over” for the party’s “Young Turks”, as some
of them were suspected to be working with fellow “Young Turks” from the
MDC-T.

“There are fears that our rivals are going to sponsor some of our ‘young
Turks’ so that they win the party primary elections, but go on to lose
parliamentary elections,” said the official. “They are being watched and
some of them may also fall by the wayside.”

Another senior Zanu PF and government official said when Mugabe returned
from the recently held United Nations General Assembly in New York, he was
widely expected to make a mini-cabinet reshuffle.

“Zanu PF is weighing everything possible to strengthen the party ahead of
elections and that includes filling vacant posts,” said the official.

He said former information and publicity minister, Jonathan Moyo, had been
tipped to take over his previous position. The current holder, Webster
Shamu, who is Zanu PF’s national commissar, was expected to have been moved
to the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation to enable him to have
more time to re-organise and campaign for the party ahead of elections.

Another vacancy has since fallen since the death of Mudenge.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo refused to comment saying the party was
currently in mourning following the death of Mudenge.

The High Court last week agreed to Mugabe’s application seeking a
postponement of three House of Assembly by-elections in Matabeleland. He
argued that harmonised polls would be held the last week of March 2013.


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Chipangano bars rights activist from buying bananas

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Community News

RESTORATION of Human Rights vice-president, Sten Zvorwadza was involved in a
tiff with some members of Chipangano last week.
By Tawanda Marwizi and Joseph Murambiwa
Zvorwadza, who has in the past clashed with members of the terror group
which has since been disowned by Zanu PF, was barred from buying fruits at
Mbare market.

“I was told by the youths to go and buy bananas from Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s office,” said Zvorwadza.

“I told them that I would buy them here (at the market).”

The youths then beat up the defiant Zvorwadza, who made a report at Matapi
Police Station.

The youths followed Zvorwadza to the station where a senior police officer
intervened and told the two parties to settle their differences.

“Look, we are living in a world of peace where the prime minister and the
president are preaching peace, so there is no need to fight, its
old-fashioned,” he told the group.

The Chipangano youths, however, reiterated that they needed to be informed
first before Zvorwadza could buy anything from the banana vendors who come
from different parts of Manicaland.

“He was supposed to come and tell us first because we never knew that he is
a human rights activist. He started asking some questions to the people and
we thought he was preaching MDC-T politics to them,” one of them shouted.

Later, the youths started begging for assistance from Zvorwadza.

“We are sorry about that (beating) but can you give us money so that we can
start our projects,” begged one of the youths.

“As you can see, things are not going well for us and if you get funds out
there please remember us.”

Chipangano’s fortunes are now on the wane after senior Zanu PF officials
denounced the group’s activities in the suburb.

Apart from Zvorwadza, the group barred businessman Alex Mashamhanda from
constructing a US$1,2 million service station near Matapi. It has also been
extorting money from traders at the market and demanding protection fees
from businesses.


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Residents’ groups to back draft constitution

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Local

BULAWAYO — Local residents’ associations have resolved to support the Copac
draft constitution during the Second all-stakeholders’ conference set for
October 21 to 23.

Report by Nqabani Ndlovu

The associations last week formed an 11-member taskforce that would push for
the inclusion of complete devolution of power, among other demands, during
the conference. This came out at a one-day national residents’ association
conference held in Bulawayo last week.

The conference, attended by 30 residents associations from across the
country, was organised by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA),
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) and the Zimbabwe Institute
(ZI).

“The conference resolved to adopt and defend the Copac draft, but called on
the select committee to address the identified content gaps within the draft
constitution,” reads part one of the resolutions adopted by the residents‘
associations after their conference.

“The conference elected a national taskforce composed of 11 members selected
from the 10 provinces. The conference tasked the residents’ national
taskforce to present the identified gaps to the all-stakeholders’
conference.”

Copac has said the purpose of the conference was to allow delegates to make
comments and recommendations on the draft. Their input would be recorded and
considered by the select committee, who would then make appropriate
adjustments to the draft.

The residents associations said the taskforce would push for the total
inclusion of devolution of power, creation of a local government commission,
recognition of residents’ associations.

“The role of the national taskforce will be to defend the residents’
interests at the second All-Stakeholders Conference and to popularise the
position of residents’ associations on the constitution.”

The two MDC’s have already said they supported the Copac draft constitution.
Zanu PF is however, against the Copac draft and is pushing for its
amendment, among them, the removal of clauses that limit the powers of the
President.


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Zanu PF youths up in arms with Kasukuwere over loans

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Politics

Zanu PF youths around the country are up in arms with the Ministry of Youth
Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment.

Report by Nunurai Jena

They are accusing the ministry of favouritism and lack of transparency in
dishing out loans meant for youth empowerment.

The youths said they were scheduled to meet President Robert Mugabe this
week to voice their concerns after other senior party officials allegedly
ignored their complaints.

The youth leaders last week wrote to Zanu PF youth chairperson, Absolom
Sikhosana threatening to besiege Youth Empowerment minister Saviour
Kasukuwere’s office demanding transparency in the manner in which loans were
being disbursed.

One youth leader from Mashonaland West province said the empowerment
programmes were mainly benefiting youths that hailed from the minister’s
province.

Kasukuwere comes from Ma-shonaland Central province.

Reached for a comment, Sikhosana first professed ignorance about the
complaints but later lashed at Zanu PF youths who leaked party issues to the
press.

“You can get more information from those youths who leak such information to
newspapers like The Standard who always lie about me,” fumed Sikhosana.

Kasukuwere dismissed the allegations saying he would not be deterred in his
fight to empower the youths in the country.

“I don’t care whom they see and what they do,” he said. “I won’t be
blackmailed by a few misguided party youths. This is a national programme
that is meant to benefit the youth from across the country, not from Zanu PF
only. The resources are few and we cannot satisfy everyone.”

Kasukuwere added that like any programme of such magnitude, the empowerment
drive had some challenges.


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Maunganidze trivialised UNWTO: Mzembi

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Local

Gweru – Former tourism permanent secretary, Sylvester Maunganidze was
redeployed for trivialising the United Nations World Tourism Organization
(UNWTO) after making comments that reduced it to a “sex expo”, a Cabinet
minister has said.

Report by Blessed Mhlanga &Rutendo Mawere

Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister, Walter Mzembi said Maunganidze’s
remarks that delegates to the UNWTO would be angered if they came to
Zimbabwe and failed to find licensed prostitutes was an insult to the event
and women.

“Maunganidze insulted world leaders by trivialising the UNWTO, seeing it as
a platform for them to go around shopping for prostitutes,” he said.

“Even my wife was taken aback and asked me if we were given prostitutes at
every other world leaders’ meeting we attended … he even insulted ladies by
saying all they could offer was prostitution, but surprisingly, women’s
organisations have remained silent. Instead of seeing the bigger picture,
Maunganidze saw the need to license prostitutes. He had simply lost vision
and that is why we redeployed him.”

Mzembi dismissed allegations that Maunganidze was targeted for exposing the
ministry’s lack of capacity and preparedness to host the UNWTO.

“The things that Maunganidze spoke about are not even part of the bid but as
a leadership we have a vision of surprising our guests with infrastructure
that will last generations, like the Rainbow Towers,” he said.

“Maunganidze had lost vision; that is why he was redeployed and we are now
in the process of rehabilitating him because we love him.”

Maunganidze told Parliament that Zimbabwe and Zambia were not ready to
jointly host the event and that the two countries had lied to win the bid to
host the event in August next year.

He could not be reached for comment.


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Parastatal bosses at war with govt over pay cuts

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Local

Some parastatal bosses are reportedly contemplating suing the government
over a Ministry of State Enterprises and Parastatals directive that salaries
be cut by up to 75%.

Report by Nqaba Matshazi
There are reports that some parastatal bosses were reportedly paying
themselves up to US$20 000, but they have been ordered to cut that down to
US$5 000, triggering the threats of lawsuits.

State Enterprises minister, Gorden Moyo, said he had heard of the threats,
but maintained that most of the lawsuits had little chance of success, as
most parastatal bosses had awarded themselves illegal increments.

“There can be no litigation in this case,” he said.

“The initial salaries were illegal and there is no way the government should
be dragged down by companies that are not performing.”

Moyo said parastatals were initially supposed to present proposals for their
salaries and allowances to their respective boards, then ultimately to the
minister who made the approval.

He said, with the directive to cut salaries, the government was looking at
the enterprises on a case-by-case basis and did not have a one-size-fits-all
policy.

Moyo said the government had come up with a template to determine allowances
and salaries of parastatal bosses, with revelations that most were overpaid
and were bleeding the fiscus.

This comes as the comptroller and auditor-General is scouring through
financial statements of most parastatals, a process expected to reveal the
extent of bloated salaries state enterprise bosses were awarding themselves,
at the expense of loss-making firms.

“We have studied the salaries of the private sector, local authorities and
the informal sector,” Moyo explained.

“From there, we compared them with parastatals in the region and we came up
with this formula.”

He said, in crafting the policy, they had also looked at the state of the
economy and it did not make sense that people were awarding themselves huge
salaries, while the country and the rest of the citizens struggled to get
by.

Moyo said there had been a review of the revenue generated by each state
enterprise and that this would determine the salaries of the top bosses. “We
compared the salaries and there was an issue of sustainability and
reasonability, given our economic situation,” he said.


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Dying in office: Is it the Zanu PF way?

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Local

THE death of Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Stan Mudenge has
reignited debate on why Zanu PF officials cling onto power until their
death, instead of retiring when they are ill.

Report by Nqaba Matshazi

Mudenge had been ill for some time and at one stage was walking with the aid
of a cane, yet President Robert Mugabe kept him at the helm of the ministry
until his last breath.

He died in his room at a Masvingo hotel where he was due to deliver a
speech.

Mudenge joins a long list of Zanu PF officials, who despite ill health have
held onto power until their eventual death.

Zanu PF member and former Mavambo front man, retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi
said the death of Mudenge in office was an indictment on the Zanu PF leaders
who continued to cling onto power even though age or ill health had taken
their toll.

“Mudenge has died without handing over the revolutionary baton to his
revolutionary colleagues despite having had ample time to do so,” he said.

“Now in his death, we have to start the journey and process of trying to
discover what exactly was the revolutionary strategy, which in the past 32
years, he had been trying to execute.”

Mbudzi said despite Mudenge being declared a national hero, this status was
somewhat diluted by the failure to hand over the reins both in government
and Zanu PF to a younger generation, who would then continue with the
revolutionary ethos.

“Even if we have some questions that require his critical reflection, he can
no longer respond to them,” he said.

Mbudzi said Zanu PF should not only seek to regenerate and look for a
younger crop of leaders, but rather succession should a well-controlled,
managed and deliberate process, acted out in ample time.
“My colleagues in Zanu PF must also acknowledge the fact that people do not
only rest-in-peace in death, but can in serenity also do so in ill health or
old age,” he added.

This view was shared by academic Ibbo Mandaza, who together with Mudenge,
were the first crop of senior civil servants at independence in 1980.

“He should have retired long ago and not die in office,” Mandaza opined.

Mandaza said Mudenge’s continued stay in power was a reflection of Mugabe’s
style of management in government, where ministers stayed in power until
they died.

Mugabe, who turns 89 next year, is reported to be ill but he has resisted
calls to retire.

Some of the senior government officials who died after lengthy illnesses
include Vice-Presidents Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika. They
all died in office.

Some of Mugabe’s ministers are reportedly ill, with some of them having
spent months on sick beds in various hospitals.

However, both Mbudzi and Mandaza said they had had a cordial relationship
with the late minister, whom they spoke glowingly of.
Mudenge’s body was taken to his rural Zimuto home, where it lay in state
last night. Today it will be taken to his Borrowdale home, ahead of burial
at the National Heroes’ Acre tomorrow morning.


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Pupils fall sick after bilharzia treatment

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Community News

SEVERAL schoolchildren fell ill in Chiredzi last week after they were
administered with some tablets during the on-going national treatment
against bilharzia and intestinal worms programme in the district.

REPORT BY PATRICK CHITONGO
The programme was targeting children from one to 15 years for intestinal
worms control and three to 15-year-olds for bilharzia.

Health officials at Chiredzi General Hospital told Standardcommunity that
the programme was conducted after a recent research showed that there was
high prevalence of bilharzia causing parasites and intestinal worms in
Chiredzi and Gutu districts.

The research was conducted by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in
conjunction with the University of Zimbabwe.

But several parents complained that their children experienced some ailments
ranging from stomach ache, vomiting, nausea and headaches soon after taking
the tablets.

One of the parents, Farisai Mautama, who has children at Chiredzi Primary
and Hippo Valley Secondary schools, said her children came home from their
respective schools complaining of a fever- like disease.

They had running stomach and were also vomiting.

She said the children told her that they had started feeling the discomfort
after taking the tablets.

“My children are part of several pupils who were affected by these tablets
which they were given at school,” she said. “I heard that several pupils
were picked up along the way from school after failing to walk to their
homes. I feel the school authorities should have told us of the impending
medical exercise so that at least we are not caught unawares as is the
case.”

Another woman, Joice Mugiviza also said her child a pupil at Tshovani
primary school came home complaining of chest pains, head ache and was also
vomiting.
A senior teacher at Shingai Primary school confirmed that one of their
pupils experienced difficulties soon after taking the treatment.

“We are not allowed to talk to the media but I can confirm that a boy at
this school had some difficulties walking home after taking the tablets,”
said the teacher. “We referred the boy to the hospital for medical
attention.”

Efforts to get a comment from Chiredzi General Hospital medical
superintendent Doctor Paul Ngere where fruitless as he was said to be in a
marathon meeting last week.

However, a senior Pharmacist at Olives Pharmacy in Chiredzi urged parents
not to panic because the drugs that were used in the exercise were not
harmful.
He said Abendazole, which was administered against intestinal worms, had
very minimal if side effects, if any.

The pharmacist also said Praziquantel, which was also used for the
prevention of bilharzia, had an unpleasant smell that upsets the nostrils
leading to vomiting.

He said the drug must be given to patients at bed-time to avoid vomiting,
suggesting that it could be the reason several pupils reacted because it was
administered at the wrong time.

“Praziquantel is very safe drug just like Abandazole but that drug must be
given to patients when they are going to bed because of its unpleasant
smell,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from the Minister of Health and Child Welfare,
Henry Madzorera were fruitless last week.


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NSSA records huge rise in expenses

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Business

THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) last year wrote off US$18,1
million after operating expenses shot up by 43% to US$43,5 million,
following actuarial advice given to the institution.
REPORT BY KUDZAI CHIMHANGWA
NSSA general manager, James Matiza, attributed the huge rise in expenses to
once-off activities.

These include the computerisation project costs write-off of US$759 000,
contractual damages following an arbitration award on the computerisation
project amounting to US$1,285 million and debtors provision on money market
investments totalling US$16,1 million.

“The total write-off of US$18,153 million impacted negatively on the bottom
line, coupled with the low performance on contributions and premiums,” he
said.
“However, it has to be noted that the US$16,1 million debtors provision on
money market investments can still be recovered in full, as there is
security to this effect.”

Matiza said although the money had been written off for accounting purposes,
the majority of it would come back to the institution.

Pursuant to its investment drive, NSSA had US$15 million deposited with
Interfin, which went under curatorship for abuse of depositors’ funds and an
additional US$800 000 with Genesis Bank, which also surrendered its licence
earlier this year.

The bank had failed to raise the central bank’s minimum capital requirement
of US$12,5 million.

“We agreed to write-off exposure to these banks, thereby making a provision
of US$16,1 million. However, we had security against those deposits and
there is a high likelihood of us recovering the money,” said Matiza.

The authority already holds US$3 million worth of Interfin’s bonds.

NSSA also holds investment in AICO at 22%, 26,4% in FBC Holdings, 40% in FBC
Building Society, 28% in hospitality concern RTG, 24,1% in StarAfrica and
37,9% in ZB Bank.

The authority, which is mandated by government to administer social security
schemes in Zimbabwe, has over the years been criticised over apparent lack
of due diligence in risk and protection measures, following the inception of
the multiple currency regime in 2009.

The institution is presently exposed to the tune of US$140 million to
indigenous-owned banks spread according to the size of individual banks’
balance sheets.

Matiza said the idea behind injecting money in local banks was to assist
them to lend money out to the productive sectors, while the institution gets
a reasonable return on investment.

NSSA pursues investments with public interest: Chagonda

NSSA board chairman, Innocent Chagonda, said the authority would pursue
investments that were in the interests of the public.

“We had to liaise with the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) to find out which
banks were sufficiently capitalised before depositing money. Those are the
banks we would deal with. We would also rely on audits done by auditors for
these financial institutions,” he said.

“The StarAfrica deal came through to us. It was a decision (to invest in
StarAfrica) made by the previous board. Although the share price went down,
we want to ensure that it comes up again. our investment is long-term and we
will make money out of it,” he said.

The authority has significant exposure to the money market and shareholding
in various investment vehicles on the market.

In its financials for the year 2011, investments income went up 21% from
US$19,7 million in 2010 to US$23,2 million in 2011.

The income was mainly made up of money market interest and rental income, as
equities remained subdued.


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Tourists need up-to-date information

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Opinion

Very soon the Christmas holiday will be upon us and apart from worrying
about what presents to buy your nearest and dearest, a big worry for some is
how and where to spend the holiday.

Report by Grace Mutandwa
I get tired of the usual domestic, regional or international tourism
destinations. It is always more fulfilling to stumble on a new and exotic
place.

A random Google search on local tourist destinations led me to the Zimbabwe
embassy’s website in Stockholm, Sweden. It gives an interesting account of
our history, the news page still has two stories from 2009 and the financial
services page needs updating. According to the financial page, foreign
investors can have anything from 70% to 100% ownership in mining,
manufacturing, agriculture and tourism!

It also says that there are sectors of the economy reserved for locals and
in these sectors foreigners can have a maximum 35% shareholding. These
reserved sectors are primary agricultural production, livestock breeding and
transport.

While some tourists just pack bags and try their luck on some countries,
some people do try to establish more about the country they are about to
visit. Now if you are a tourist and you read newspapers and watch television
news, you might end up struggling with what the news says and what a
particular website claims. People live in an era where they want to make
informed decisions.

The embassy’s website lists the usual Zimbabwean tourist destinations and
this is not entirely their fault. There is a ministry charged with the
promotion of tourism that should be keeping Zimbabwe’s embassies throughout
the world with all the destinations — old and new.

We have a lazy way of looking at tourism — Victoria Falls, Kariba, Nyanga,
Matopos, Great Zimbabwe and Gonarezhou. Next year we have tied ourselves to
hosting the biggest world tourism shindig and yet we are not even making an
effort to ensure that it will truly benefit Zimbabwe’s tourism industry.

Why don’t we have tourism scouts and writers who can go out there and
sample, photograph and document some of those places we know exist but are
rarely featured in our tourism promotion.

Not every tourist is content with just game watching or bungee jumping. Some
also want to take geographical and geological tours.

Let’s market Chilojo cliffs
I would really like to see the Chilojo cliffs featured as a selling point on
its own or as part of an attractive package tour. Rising 558 feet from the
south bank of Runde River, the Chilojo cliffs are one of the most
spectacular features of the Gonarezhou National Park. There are stunning
colour variations along the cliff faces which make for very good
photography. The cliffs look even more amazing just as the sun sets and are
enchanting in a full moon.

The cliffs are also close to the famous Chipinda Pools. You have the chance
to visit the Chipinda Pools or Gonarezhou and also take in the cliffs. So
many things have happened in the country so I don’t know if the walking
trails still exist and I am also not so sure about the game variety and
population.

Gonarezhou should be more aggressively marketed than it is currently. I had
tried to convince a friend from overseas to visit Gonarezhou without success
until I emailed her a picture of the Chilojo cliffs. Gonarezhou has so much
more to offer than just game viewing or bird watching. Everything around and
within it should be fully exploited to lure tourists.

Tourists need to be assured of safety
We need to get our politics right and make it safe and secure for
international tourists to want to visit. News of conservancies being
parcelled out and game butchered at will does not make Zimbabwe a tourism
destination of choice.

Tourism minister Walter Mzembi is right to point out that the current
lawlessness at the Save Valley Conservancy smacks of: “A psychology-driven
by the ‘last harvest’ mentality before a drought.”

Mzembi, who seems to be fighting a lone battle, is correct when he says the
Save saga has a deeper political meaning.

While those who think they must have a finger in every pie feel they are
entitled, they must also realise that their decisions will decide whether or
not Zimbabwe will be able to lure tourists and strengthen that sector of the
economy that relies on tourism.

Good business sense should trump selfish greed but it takes real leaders to
accept that impunity has consequences. We have become a country that excels
at sending mixed messages to the world. We want the benefit of harvesting
from tourism but we also have some among us who cannot resist destroying the
very resources the current and future generations of this country should
hope to benefit from.

Those who rule must know that to get good press, the media needs to have
something good to write about. We have a major tourism event coming up next
year and this is right after the proposed general elections. Judging from
past experience, before and the aftermath of elections in Zimbabwe is marred
by violence. We have no reason to expect a violent-free election. Depending
on just how much blood-letting the next election is going to be, it will be
very hard for any normal journalist to ignore the story and the result of
any bad publicity is that tourists and investors from democratic and sane
countries will give Zimbabwe a wide berth.

Mudiwa2002@yahoo.com/GraceMutandwa1@twitter


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KP needs to keep pace with world’s challenges

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Opinion

Almost a decade ago, the consensus-based Kimberley Process (KP)
certification scheme established minimum requirements for global rough
diamond production and trade.

Report by Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic

Today, to keep pace with a changing world, the KP’s 77 participant
countries, observers from industry and civil society, must ensure the KP
evolves with the global marketplace.

The KP’s founders agreed unanimously that diamonds must stop funding rebel
movements’ violence. Recognising that millions of people depend on diamonds
for their livelihood, they also sought to keep demand for legitimate
diamonds strong by preserving the gems’ reputation.

The KP set a benchmark — and a level playing field —for the diamond trade
worldwide. No matter where rough diamonds are produced or traded, the KP
certificate assures consumers they have not funded rebel groups’ abuses.

Though the KP has much to be proud of, a critical touchstone, its definition
of a “conflict diamond”, no longer meets today’s challenges. It does not
adequately address rough diamonds linked to other types of conflicts.

Diamonds’ attractiveness depends on their association with purity.

Other industries have suffered due to the loss of consumer confidence. There
is concern that the association of some diamonds with violence risks
infecting the entire diamond market with a negative image.

Consumers want the assurance that their diamond is untainted by any kind of
violence.

Now is the time for action.

Consensus on a KP definition that addresses these concerns, preserves
confidence, and forestalls the erosion of sales is the ideal outcome for all
from producers through to consumers. Failing KP action, some countries or
some elements of the diamond industry may move to independently address
evolving consumer expectations.Consultations with government, industry and
civil society suggest KP reform should focus on these key elements:

KP certificates must continue to ensure freedom from conflict; certification
need not address human rights, financial transparency and development, which
are better advanced through the exchange of best practices;
KP certification should apply only to conflict/violence that is demonstrably
related to rough diamonds and independently verified and not to isolated,
individual incidents;
KP safeguards should be implemented site-by-site, consistent with systems
for other conflict minerals such as the International Conference of the
Great Lakes Region certification system.
The governments of the Kimberley Process, encouraged and supported by
industry and civil society, have the capacity to manage these risks and take
the evolutionary steps required to ensure a solid future for diamonds. They
must now develop the will to reach consensus on what defines a conflict
diamond. Failure to do so is a losing proposition as reform is an issue
that will not go away.

The loss of consumer confidence in diamonds could severely impact nations
whose citizens are most dependent on the diamonds in their soil or on the
millions of jobs created by the diamond value chain.
In the long run, the true cost of failing to tackle this challenge will be
far greater than the effort required to forge a consensus on an updated
definition for the Kimberley Process conflict diamond.

Gillian Milovanovic is Chair of the Kimberley Process (KP)


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Polls: Doing the right thing, the right way

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Opinion

Between the last week of September and October 1 2012, dominating media
head-lines pointed to the effect that general elections have been set for
March 31 2013.

On closer reading, it turned out that the “declaration of an election date”
had been the statement of “a wish” by President Robert Mugabe, as part of
his court submissions to postpone the holding of by-elections for three
vacant parliamentary seats in Matabeleland. The wish was granted by the High
Court, which ordered that “the period within which to comply with the order
(to hold by-elections) be and is hereby further extended to the 31st of
March 2013”.

In my humble opinion, Mugabe’s “wish” is setting us on a good path. We need
to know as an electorate and as citizens when we will be able to vote for a
national leadership of our choice. We need to know when key political
processes that are significant markers towards our democratic transformation
will take place. The voting public must be kept in the loop.

It is important to do the right thing, but it is best to do the right thing,
the right way. The President and those who support him, are constantly in
the habit of subverting due process and pretending that they are living in a
pre-2008 Zimbabwe.

The reality is that this is 2012, and the three political parties, all have
to weigh in, especially at executive level, on key issues like when the next
elections will be held, share incumbency in government. It doesn’t matter
whether the President likes the Industry and Commerce minister or not
(Welshman Ncube), the reality is that Mugabe has to consult Ncube on these
key issues and both of them have to agree with Morgan Tsvangirai.

All of them have to make an effort to ensure that elections, whenever they
agree to hold them, are not a fašade, but a real opportunity for people to
exercise their freedom in choosing who governs them.

Having said that, you will be hard pressed to find any other country where
the citizens are kept in the dark about critical democratic processes where
people decide their destiny and hold their leaders to account.

You would think that a country which spares no blushes in bringing out the
private sex lives of consenting adults would have no qualms with bringing
out critical information of public interest and concern. The people have a
right to know when critical processes that have a bearing on the country’s
political and economic prospects will take place.

The argument has been made that the Zimbabwean transition, is pegged, not in
terms of time but in terms of steps to be taken before an election can take
place. This is good, but the challenge that we have seen in Zimbabwe is that
when politicians are given such a blank cheque, they have no imperative to
perform and or deliver. They will constantly push to see the depth of the
account that they have to draw the blank cheque from.

It is precisely because of this false impression that the inclusive
government seems to exist in perpetuity that has seen little to no progress
taking place in terms of some of the key steps that need to be taken before
an election takes place.

The inclusive government was established on the strength of a Global
Political Agreement (GPA), which was pitched as a high-level solution to the
political malaise that had become the order of the day in Zimbabwe. By its
own admission, as cited in the GPA, the inclusive government was intended
to:
“Create a genuine, viable, permanent, sustainable and nationally acceptable
solution to the Zimbabwe situation.”

Sponsored and guaranteed by the Sadc and the AU as an “African solution to
an African problem”, the inclusive government was meant to be an experiment
in national stability and democratisation, with the GPA providing the theory
of change that propelled and dictated how the government would operate and
what it should have achieved.
In short, the GPA was predicated on the hypothesis that, an inclusive
approach to governing and problem-solving by the three major political
parties represented in parliament, with the GPA as a guide, would result in
the reduction of political instability, arrest of the economic free-fall,
halt the humanitarian crisis and institute democratic reforms — generally
providing an inclusive approach to the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis.

What the GPA provided for was a clear entry into the inclusive arrangement
and a roadmap on how to navigate in the maze of reform. What it didn’t
clearly spell out, outside providing a map, was how long these parties had
to navigate the maze of reform. The GPA provided an entry, but was very
unclear with regards to an exit.
Our political leaders need to sit down and discuss two critical issues.
Firstly, they should posit what they think is a realistic electoral calendar
for the two critical electoral processes, the Referendum on the Constitution
and general elections.

In other countries that have undergone transitions like ours, the calendar
was always clear and stakeholders had a clock to race. Kenya, which mirrors
the GPA and inclusive government, is a good example.

They had their political disputes on the eve of 2008 and eventually agreed
on a GNU. They had their constitutional reform process concluded in 2010. As
of now, Kenyans know that they have a general election on March 4 2013, and
that if those elections are not conclusive, there will be a run-off election
on April 10 2013.

Secondly, once an agreement has been reached on a clear and dated electoral
calendar, there is need to reiterate the things that need to be done by way
of concrete electoral reforms to facilitate that the two critical processes
are carried out in a free and fair manner.

The actual issues to be dealt with are: keeping the military out of
politics, cleaning up the voters’ role, instituting an impartial arbiter in
elections through a professional elections management body, expressing a
disdain for the use of violence in elections and the need to have these
elections internationally observed and monitored.

These things need to be done within a realistic time frame that is cognisant
of our realities as a country if we are to have an environment conducive to
free political expression, free political activity and subsequently the
holding of free and fair elections.


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Decision on maternity fees late

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Opinion

The current bickering between the Harare City Council and government over
the scrapping of maternity fees is emblematic of how bureaucratic inertia
has become a major threat to the well-being of this country.

Deputy-President Joice Mujuru and Deputy Prime Minister DPM Khupe have been
leading the government charge to have maternity fees scrapped. They have
argued that this is feasible because government has been fundraising for
that.

Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda on the other hand is adamant that scrapping
the fees would be fatalistic as council requires money to run maternity
facilities efficiently. He wants council to retain the fees because
government, which is pushing for the plan, owes council US$40 million.

The squabbling over maternity fees has however negated the very good
intentions of offering free medical services to expecting mothers. Women in
Zimbabwe are dying in large numbers during childbirth largely because they
cannot afford maternity fees. There is a shortage of experienced midwives in
medical institutions which are poorly equipped to deal with emergencies.

In 1994, according to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey, maternal
mortality was 283 deaths per 100 000 live births and in 2005/6 it was
estimated at 555 deaths per 100 000 live births. In 2010/11, it was
estimated at 960 deaths per 100 000 live births.

Almost 10 women are dying every day in this country due to pregnancy-related
complications. That is an unacceptably high figure which can easily be
reversed with improved awareness and ante-natal care.

Offering free ante-natal services at municipal and state hospitals is a
noble idea which however requires judicious mustering and administration of
financial resources. It requires clearly-defined guidelines on how the
process works to ensure that service is not compromised once it is offered
for free.

The current wrangling between the government on one side and the city of
Harare on the other, is not helpful. Instead of working towards building
consensus on the best way to implement measures that would reverse the
worsening trend in the care of expecting women, bureaucrats have elected to
score political points.

This is misrule writ large.


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Do not mix PM’s love life and political career

http://www.thestandard.co.zw

October 7, 2012 in Opinion

I am concerned with social media and Zanu PF supporters who are trying their
best to decampaign the Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Richard
Tsvangirai, on the basis of his troubled love life.

Report by Kizito Mupunga

The Prime Minister’s sexual escapades will not damage his political career
even if Zanu PF supporters engage in a smear campaign through the media.

It is only in the western culture, where if a public figure or leader is
involved in a sex scandal, that leader is expected to automatically step
down since he/she would have violated the western norms and values. In our
African culture, marrying another wife is very African.

The ruling party is against the western countries, accusing them of aiming
to recolonise Zimbabwe, but they are now borrowing values from the western
culture, simply because it is convenient to them now that they want to use
it against Tsvangirai.

What the Prime Minister did is done by almost every man in this country or
Africa. The incumbent president of Zimbabwe’s unflattering love life was
disclosed by the late Edgar Tekere in his book called A Lifetime of Struggle
released on January 14 2007.

The book has intimate details of how Mugabe nearly ditched his popular first
wife Sally. However, none of the social media talked or wrote about him —
they remained quiet and I can’t understand why?
According to the African culture, a man is allowed to have as many wives as
he wants, as long he can fend for them.

I am aware that there are other MDC-T members who are also commenting,
chastising the Prime Minister, but I suspect those members are being
sponsored by certain individuals who are eyeing Tsvangirai’s position. I
doubt they will succeed.

It has been suggested around that it is the work of the state security or
central intelligence organisation who pushed Locardia Karimatsenga to expose
the Prime Minister, just to damage his political career.

How can a lady complain about a man who promised and failed to marry her?
Isn’t it rare that a lady sues a man after she has been turned down? Does
she not also have men that she promised and then let down? Can they also sue
on the same grounds? Many men and ladies have been let down by their lovers
but they have not approached the courts.

Where is Grace Mugabe’s first husband right now? But no one is talking about
it. Why just Tsvangirai? Leave him in peace.
Why not trace the marriage profiles of most political leaders? What the
Prime Minister did is not out of this world and he is not the only public
figure who has been overly involved with women.

Why can’t we talk of Zanu PF politicians’ marriage profiles?
MDC-T fans are happy that the Prime Minister has formalised his marriage and
now we have a mother in the party. Locardia and Zanu PF fans are out to
tarnish Tsvangirai’s image.

Why was Locardia silent all along, only to claim maintenance from Tsvangirai
when he was about to marry someone else?

This clearly shows that the whole thing is a planned smear campaign to try
to damage the Prime Minister’s political career as enemies are aware that
only a few years are left for him to be the President of Zimbabwe.

Let me tell those who are plotting against the PM, that MDC-T fans are
turning a blind eye to his personal life to focus on his leadership
qualities.

Let me list only five major points why Tsvangirai will remain immensely
popular in Zimbabwe despite his private life scandals.

After the GPA, Tsvangirai has succeeded in:

Resuscitating the economy of Zimbabwe.
Removing the Zimbabwean dollar – valueless currency.
Doing away with ghost workers.
Reviving transport sector.
Power load-shedding is now at least better.
Some people who tend to criticise Tsvangirai have some questionable sexual
tendencies.

The more the CIO try to damage and decampaign Tsvangirai, the more he
becomes popular. Most Zimbabweans will sympathise with him and wonder why
other political leaders’ lives are not being scrutinised?
Morgan is more. You can’t be a leader without followers and Morgan has
followers, so he is a leader.

Let’s finish what we started by voting “YES”’ in the forthcoming Second
All-Stakeholders’ Conference.

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