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ZANU PF deny Mugabe is on his ‘deathbed’

By Lance Guma
10 April 2012

ZANU PF officials have finally come out to publicly deny reports that Robert
Mugabe was battling for his life at a hospital in Singapore. Over the
weekend The Zimbabwe Mail website quoted an unnamed ZANU PF source saying
the 88 year-old was on his “deathbed” and “undergoing intensive treatment in

Information Minister Webster Shamu has however dismissed the report as “a
lot of hogwash” adding that “this is not the first time we have heard these
rumours. If anything like that had happened, we would have issued a
statement.” Another unnamed ZANU PF politburo member said Mugabe would be
back in Zimbabwe on Wednesday.

Mugabe left suddenly for Singapore on the 31st March. The official line was
that he was going there to make study arrangements for his daughter Bona.
When he failed to return on time, missing two consecutive Tuesday cabinet
meetings and an important ZANU PF politburo meeting on Wednesday,
speculation turned to his health.

The Zimbabwe Mail website for example reported that members of Mugabe’s
family had been flown by private charter to go and be with him at his
bedside in Singapore. Other messages posted on social networking sites
suggested the hospital wing where he was being treated had been sealed off
from the public.

On Monday Misheck Sibanda, the chief secretary to the Cabinet, was quoted as
saying that Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting had been moved to Thursday when Mugabe
will be back. The truth in this case might be a casualty of the propaganda
battles raging but for now ZANU PF seems confident their leader will be back
in the country.

A ZANU PF politburo member, believed to be Jonathan Moyo, is quoted saying
Mugabe was enjoying an Easter break with his family in Asia. “The President
is on his Easter holidays, like everyone else. He returns to his post this
week, at the same time as those who are asking about his whereabouts from
their holiday hideouts.”

Last year the 88 year old travelled to the Far East more than eight times
and on each occasion his close aides and party issued flimsy excuses to
cover up the reasons. The reluctance by those close to him to supply
accurate information on his condition has tended to fuel the rumours and
speculation about his health.

Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya told SW Radio Africa: “It is clear the
health of the president is not okay. The intense speculation is a result of
the opaque manner in which Mugabe and ZANU PF administer affairs of the
state. It would not be an issue of people were told the President is not
feeling well, after all he is 88.”

Ruhanya added: “But because these people are economic with the truth and
very liberal with lies, they hide Mugabe’s sickness and because of this
citizens are bound to look for information and hence these reports on the
internet and elsewhere. In a democratic society this information should be
made public.”

According to a leaked 2008 US diplomatic cable, central bank chief Gideon
Gono told then-US ambassador James McGee that Mugabe had prostate cancer and
had been advised by doctors he had less than five years to live. Gono also
quotes the First Lady Grace, saying Mugabe was “out of it about 75 percent
of the time.”

For all the speculation and denials from ZANU PF, it’s clear the 88 year old
is receiving some form of treatment in Singapore, then he comes back into
the country looking ‘energetic’ until the next relapse.

It’s also clear something ‘serious’ made him miss two cabinet meetings and
another one for his party.

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Zimbabwe's Spectacularly Bad Propagandist Fights Mugabe Death Rumors
By Max Fisher
The dictator's PR official insists he is "merely on a prolonged shopping trip," not dying in Singapore.



Update, 8:46pm: Some readers have pointed out that some old tweets on the @Zanu_pf account, which purports to represent Zimbabwe's ruling party, are so outlandish that the account could not possibly be legitimate. I was fooled. I wasn't the only one, but I regret the error. Still, the tweets are valuable in their own satirical right. Meanwhile, The Guardian's Ian Birrell reports, "Zimbabwe sources confirm that Mugabe is 'very critical' & security services are on highest alert."

Even if the thinly sourced reports claiming that 88-year-old Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe is "fighting for his life" in a Singapore hospital turn out to be false, it was worth it just to watch the government spokesman struggling on Twitter to claim that everything is fine.

"Pls ignore the latest attempts by puppets of the West & so called human rights groups to prematurely celebrate the passing of Cde RG Mugabe," read
the first of nine tweets from the ruling party's official feed, an increasingly odd and poorly spelled rant about how Mugabe is definitely, definitely not on his deathbed in Singapore.

The tweets may well be accurate -- so far the story is limited to The Australian quoting The Zimbabwe Mail quoting an unnamed "senior office" in Mugabe's party. That brutally dictatorial party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, otherwise known as ZANU-PF, also runs the Twitter feed that is denying the rumors (as well as a
delightfully Geocities-ish website). But the story is plausible enough (Mugabe, reportedly in terrible health, has been traveling to East Asia for treatment for years) that the folks a ZANU-PF HQ apparently felt they couldn't ignore it.

Whichever party official decided to take to Twitter to combat these latest Mugabe death rumors, they should just stop. The tweets are quickly becoming something of a Dictator-101 on how not to conduct propaganda. The way-too-strenuous denial makes the rumors, which have circulated so many times before that virtually no one seemed to take them seriously at first, seem a bit more plausible (why else deny them so forcefully?).

The tweets also call attention to Mugabe's poor health -- a major problem for Zimbabwe, as his unexpected death could lead to an ugly succession battle or, worse, the collapse of this oh-so-fragile nation. And, perhaps most face-palmingly of all, the propagandists' counter-narrative to the deathbed rumor is that Mugabe is "merely on a prolonged shopping trip with his wife, as God has blessed him with spending money." In a country where more than two-thirds of the population is below the poverty line,
unemployment is the highest in the world at 95%, and inflation recently hit 231,000,000%, is "shopping trip" really the most sympathetic activity for Zimbabweans to relate to? How many anxious Zimbabweans read that line and said, "Oh, it's OK our leader is absent for long and unexplained periods as we sink into greater poverty, he just needed to take a relaxing shopping jaunt."

To be fair, the line about the shopping trip also makes the tweets seem more plausible; East Asian shopping sprees are
exactly in character
for Mugabe. So, here are the tweets. Read them for yourself and see if you're convinced:

Whoever is running the official feed, he (and, this being the Zimbabwean government, it's almost certainly he) might not be particularly good at it, but you can't doubt his devotion. When it comes to sub-Saharan military dictatorships, that's probably about the standard skillset.

Update, 5:28pm:
Laura Seay thinks the Twitter feed is a hoax. The tweets are, indeed, bad and informal enough to raise suspicion. But there are also a number of tweets about southern African politics that are a bit dry for a parody. The line between obvious parody and authentically bad PR is thin here, which is maybe the saddest part of this story.


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Reports of Mugabe’s ill health sparks debate over successor

By Tichaona Sibanda
10 April 2012

As it becomes increasingly inevitable that Robert Mugabe’s time as President
of Zimbabwe is coming to an end, it’s also becoming clear that a leadership
race to succeed him will be a bitter battle between Emmerson Mnangagwa and
Joice Mujuru.

Mnangagwa is the Minister of Defence while Mujuru is the co-Vice President.
Mnangagwa who, reportedly, has the support of Mugabe is the current
favourite, but Mujuru is seen by many as ZANU PF’s best hope.

In recent days a number of media outlets have reported that Mugabe had
agreed on his successor. The Tehran Times of Iran said the 88 year-old
leader entered into a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ to hand over power to 65-year
old Mnangagwa, who had been in Iran recently drumming up support for ZANU PF
in the next elections.

Many people would be concerned to hear this news as Mnangagwa helped
orchestrate the Gukurahundi massacres in the early 1980’s. As the country’s
first Minister of Security, in charge of the notorious CIO, Mnanagagwa was
also widely blamed for the brutality following the 2008 presidential
election after Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round poll.

Mugabe has of late made several pronouncements that elections in Zimbabwe
will be held this year, with or without a new constitution. The MDC
formations have however said they will not go into an election without
reforms, including a new constitution. The plan might be for Mugabe to ‘win’
the election and then hand over power to Mnangagwa.

Analysts have long viewed Mnangagwa as a divisive figure in ZANU PF circles,
but he would have heavyweight support from the military top brass.

In February Mugabe, who has been at the helm of ZANU PF since 1975, declared
that it was not yet time for him to groom a successor. However, with
elections pending and, allegedly, an ongoing battle with prostrate cancer,
he may be having a change of heart.

Although Mugabe insists he’s ‘fit as a fiddle’ and ‘has the energy and
vitality to lead the country’ the facts tell a different tale. For one,
treatment for his ailment has seen him travel to Singapore on more than 10
occasions in the last 16 months, at a cost of many millions per trip.

A UK based academic and health expert told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that
under a functioning democracy, Mugabe would have been forced to take sick
leave because of the number of weeks he’s been away seeking treatment.

‘If they follow the constitution properly, they should look at the number of
occasions he has been away from duty, and add that with the number of
important cabinet meetings he’s missed, a normal civil servant will be
forced to take sick leave,’ said the academic, who asked not to be

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Mugabe's Absence Forces Another Punt on Zimbabwe Cabinet

09 April 2012

Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington DC

The well-being of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was back in focus
Monday after his chief secretary issued a statement saying cabinet will
again not meet on Tuesday as per tradition because Mr. Mugabe remains out of
the country.

The announcement riled some ministers and ordinary citizens who feel the
president’s continued absence is crippling the coalition government.

Mr. Mugabe left Harare March 30 for Singapore on private business, and
cabinet hasn't convened since.

The ministerial grouping did not meet last Tuesday, and Mugabe's chief
secretary, Misheck Sibanda, said this week's schedule had been moved to
Thursday, suggesting the 88-year-old veteran leader will return between late
Tuesday and Wednesday.

President Mugabe is the sole convener of cabinet, and has obstinately
refused to delegate the role to any of his two deputies or the prime
minister in his absence.

While his spokesman, George Charamba says the president traveled to arrange
post-graduate studies for his daughter, analysts and ordinary Zimbabweans
are skeptical.

Instead, they believe Mr. Mugabe may be seeking extensive treatment for
advanced prostate cancer, though he has denied he has this condition.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week tried to convene a Council of
Ministers meeting that he is empowered to chair, but ZANU-PF ministers
boycotted, accusing him of seeking to usurp Mr. Mugabe’s mandate.

National Healing Minister Moses Mzila Ndlovu, a member of the MDC wing led
by Welshman Ncube told VOA that Mr. Mugabe is holding the nation to ransom.
"His absence means the country grinds to a halt, and this needs to change."

Mzila's sentiments were echoed by London-based political commentator,
Nkululeko Sibanda.

Meanwhile, Zimbabweans have praised the smooth transition of power in Malawi
following the death last week of President Bingu wa Mutharika, who died of
heart attack.

Opposition People’s Party leader, Joyce Banda has since taken charge.

Commentators in Zimbabwe say by allowing Banda to take over, Malawian
politicians respected their constitution, a rarity in many African

Political analyst, Pedzisai Ruhanya told VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that
Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from the Malawi experience.

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Political ‘meltdown’ expected if Mugabe dies in office

By Alex Bell
10 April 2012

A leading political analyst has warned that Zimbabwe will be plunged into a
‘political meltdown’ if Robert Mugabe was to die in office, amid ongoing
speculation about the ageing ZANU PF leader’s health.

This speculation has reached fever pitch in recent days, with reports that
Mugabe was ‘dying’ in a Singapore hospital which he has returned to on
numerous occasions, allegedly seeking treatment for prostate cancer. It is
now understood that he will be returning to Zimbabwe this week, with his
party trying to quell the rumours that he is fatally ill.

ZANU PF has repeatedly denied that the 88 year old Mugabe is battling with
his health. But this time around, the situation has appeared more serious,
prompting many to ask, what happens if he were to die now?

Political analyst Professor John Makumbe said that, legally, the
constitution provides for the Vice President of the country to take over for
90 days. He explained that during this time an ‘electoral college’, made up
of the Senate and the House of Assembly, would elect a substantive president
until fresh elections were held.

“The first issue here is that the constitution doesn’t say which Vice
President would take over, and in this case, there are two,” Makumbe

He added that the MDC-T would only have a voice as part of the ‘electoral
college’ in Parliament and that otherwise the decision was wholly down to

“ZANU PF has largely stuck to its hierarchy and if they continued down this
road when Mugabe dies, then Joice Mujuru would be the next to take over. But
we know that the politics in ZANU PF is heated, and there is infighting with
Emmerson Mnangagwa,” Makumbe said.

He added: “This is something that could cause a meltdown in the political
realm and it is something that will affect all of us. I think it is
something we need to be very wary of.”

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Race to succeed Mugabe hots up

By Masvingo Correspondents
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:00

HARARE - Zanu PF’s main factions, one led by Defence Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa and another by Vice-President Joice Mujuru have intensified their
fierce battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe as the party leader and
possibly president.

This comes as age and ill-health seem to be catching up with the 88-year-old

Mugabe is currently in Singapore where diplomats say he is receiving
treatment for an undisclosed illness but his aides say he travelled to
oversee post graduate arrangements for his daughter, Bona.

High-level briefings to the Daily News during the Easter Holidays reveal
that Mnangagwa in particular has in the past few weeks been rallying his
lieutenants and foot soldiers going around the country soliciting for
support from people at the grassroots.

Mnangagwa, for long touted as Mugabe’s natural successor, as he is
considered to be ruthless, has been allegedly using the ongoing
constitutional process to push for his ascendancy to power and campaigning
at birthday and graduation parties.

These have revived memories of the ill-fated “Tsholotsho coup” of 2004.

Reports indicate that most Zanu PF members of Copac are said to be aligned
to the Defence minister.

Copac is said to be controlled by Mnangagwa’s people who are trying to use
it to delay elections to knock out Mugabe on age and health grounds.

Reports say Mugabe was very angry with the issue at the last politburo
meeting where he said he would not tolerate “sabotage” by his people.

“Ngwena”, as he is affectionately known in political circles, has also been
using private functions organised by members of his faction to turn them
into political rallies for his faction and shore up support for him.

He has been accused of blowing tax payers’ money flying with a military
helicopter to officiate at dubious programmes like birthdays and graduation
parties especially in Masvingo Province.

Recently, Mnangangwa used state resources to attend the birthday and
donation functions of Munyaradzi Kereke, former advisor to Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and a graduation ceremony of the granddaughter
of his ally, Josiah Hungwe in Chivi.

This has angered the Mujuru faction, whose members are believed to be
preparing to approach Mugabe to complain about “Mnangagwa’s abuse of state
resources” to campaign for his faction.

A senior member of the Mujuru faction said: “Mnangagwa is taking advantage
of the fact that he can use a military helicopter anytime and now he is
using it for his personal campaign.

“We do not have access to a helicopter so either he stops using the chopper
and state resources or we get the same privileges. If Amai Mujuru wants to
travel to Chivi or Bikita, she must also be given a chopper."

"How does one get a helicopter to attend a graduation ceremony of
granddaughter of a former governor and member of his faction? On the two
occasions, he abused a military helicopter, Mnangagwa was preaching
factional politics.”

As part of his birthday celebrations, Kereke donated medical utensils to the
Bikita community and launched a mobile clinic where Mnangangwa used the
military helicopter to travel all the way from Harare.

But he is said to have suffered a major setback as the function was attended
by mainly schoolchildren after most people snubbed the event as they were
said to be unhappy with the organisers.

The poor attendance forced Mnangagwa to ask the organisers including Kereke,
why they were no adults at the function. Among those who attended the Bikita
function is top army official Engelbert Rugeje.

Others who reportedly attended are Larry Mavhima and Colonel Makova, among

In Chivi, Mnangagwa made a dramatic appearance at the graduation party of
Hungwe’s granddaughter, Ndaizivei Hungwe where he was quoted in The Mirror
of Masvingo as saying: “When I was invited here, I didn’t know what the
event was all about. All I was told by Cde Hungwe is that there would be a
function here and I will be the guest of honour. In the last few minutes, I
had to ask a few delegates who then told me that the function is actually a
graduation party."

“So I then wondered to myself and said this girl must be very important. A
helicopter has flown all the way from Harare to bring delegates to her

Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph of UK claims that Mugabe has reached a
secret deal to appoint Mnangagwa as his successor. The Daily News has
published the full story.

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Mugabe Dumps Air Zimbabwe At Last

Harare, April 10, 2012 -President Robert Mugabe has dumped the country’s
disgraced airline, Air Zimbabwe after he opted for a private aircraft to
ferry him during his visit to Singapore last week.

Information gleaned from government sources shows that the octogenarian
leader decided on not using the services of Air Zimbabwe on his trip to
Singapore, where the state media claimed he was sorting out some post
studies arrangements for her first born daughter, Bona, although speculation
remained high that he could be seeking medical attention.

The state media reported that Mugabe had travelled to Singapore to assist
her daughter who recently graduated with an accountancy degree.

While the state appeared victorious in convincing Zimbabweans about the ZANU
PF leader’s mission in Singapore, Radio VOP can exclusively reveal that
Mugabe dumped Air Zimbabwe which he usually relies upon for his long haul
journeys to Asia and other regional and international destinations.

Sources said Mugabe leased a private aircraft owned by Mbada Diamonds, one
of the mining firms extracting diamonds in Chiadzwa to ferry him from Harare
International Airport to South Africa where he then boarded Singapore
Airlines enroute to the Asian country.

“He left on a Mbada plane. The Mbada plane usually flies between Harare and
Johannesburg,” said the sources.

Radio VOP could not establish why Mugabe had opted not to fly Air Zimbabwe
on his Asian jaunt.

However, Air Zimbabwe, which in January suspended all domestic, regional and
international flights, has been operating charter flights which have been
generating revenue for the airline and keeping its flight crew in shape.

This is the second time that Mugabe has utilized the services of Mbada’s jet
in less five months. In December, the ZANU PF leader was forced to rely on
the services of the diamond miner’s plane after failing to secure the
services of Air Zimbabwe, whose long haul aircraft, a Boeing 767-200, was
holed up in London after developing a technical fault while on a commercial

The wide-bodied aircraft, which services Air Zimbabwe’s international routes
and which Mugabe usually charters for his regional and international jaunts
developed a technical fault after being impounded at Gatwick International
Airport in December by American General Supplies over a US$1.2 million debt.

The plane was only released and arrived in Zimbabwe two days after Mugabe’s
departure for his holiday following the intervention by Air Zimbabwe’s
engineers who attended to fix it.

Mugabe has previously survived being a victim of Air Zimbabwe’s woes as the
national airline’s pilots suspends any of their work boycott to ferry the
ageing leader each time he intends to travel.

However, several passengers have had their travel plans disrupted when the
airline grounds its planes or suspends flights mainly due to industrial
action, fuel shortages and the seizure of the airline’s aircraft.

In January, an Air Zimbabwe flight crew and an advance delegation
accompanying Mugabe to an African Union summit hurriedly evacuated an Air
Zimbabwe aircraft they had boarded after smoke engulfed the plane just
before the ageing octogenarian leader boarded it.

The Boeing aircraft which was about to ferry Mugabe to Ethiopia developed a
faulty auxiliary power unit (APU) which pumped smoke into the cabin where
some flight crew including pilots, air hostesses and engineers had already
settled and waiting for Mugabe to board the plane.

The smoke forced the flight crew and some of delegates accompanying Mugabe
to the summit to flee from the plane. Engineers who attended to the aircraft
switched off the APU to avoid the blowing of smoke into the cabin and
declared the plane fit to fly and Mugabe then departed for Addis Ababa.

After the embarrassing incident, Air Zimbabwe was forced to run a test
flight of the plane for 25 minutes before Mugabe boarded it to assure his
aides that the aircraft was safe for flying.

In January again, Air Zimbabwe also delayed Mugabe’s return from his holiday
in the Far East after bungling flight schedules.

An Air Zimbabwe long haul aircraft, a Boeing 767-200 was barred from flying
over Vietnam’s airspace on its way from China to Singapore to pick up the
ageing Zimbabwean leader, who had been holidaying in the Far East.

This was after the state run airline was denied flying rights over Vietnam
from China and had to use a longer route which flies through the South China
Sea and hence delayed Mugabe’s early return from his holiday by several

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Zimbabwe Agriculture Struggles to Meet Demand

April 10, 2012

Sebastian Mhofu | Harare

Zimbabwean peasant farmer Munyaradzi Mudapakati holds spinach at his farm in
Chinhamora, about 50 km north of Harare on Febuary 10, 2011.
Photo: AFP
Zimbabwean peasant farmer Munyaradzi Mudapakati holds spinach at his farm in
Chinhamora, about 50 km north of Harare on Febuary 10, 2011.

Zimbabwe was once southern Africa's breadbasket.

But today it is a basket case, where people depend on handouts for food.

For more than 10 consecutive years since President Robert Mugabe’s
government embarked on a land reform program targeting white farmers,
Zimbabwe has had to import food to avert hunger as its new farmers cannot
produce enough.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the treasury had released $20
million to farmers to buy inputs - seeds, fertilizer and other farming
materials.  At the same news conference, Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made
said a third of the country’s planted crop for the 2012 season was a
write-off, since farmers did not have irrigation systems and were too poor
to buy required inputs on time.

"It is clear if you bring inputs late in the season you cannot take
advantage.  Cropping is a function of time," said Made.  "The season does
not wait.  I hope in what we are doing are correcting the situation so that
never again are the inputs are delayed…. The second point is that when we
are talking of agriculture farmers suffer the vagaries of weather. That you
cannot control. The best is to assist farmers by development of irrigation."

Zimbabwe had plenty of food until 2000.  Since then it has been a different
story since President Mugabe’s government launched its land reform program.
Almost all white commercial farmers were replaced by inexperienced farmers,
mainly supporters of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. It is these farmers that Made
wants helped in erecting irrigation systems to water their crops.

The deposed white farmers had irrigation systems, but the new farmers mostly
destroyed them when they took over the farms, often by force.

"There is a move towards market-related solutions towards agriculture,
bearing in mind our incapacity as a state to look fully after our people,"
said Finance Minister Biti.  "This is a move we are making which reflected
in this program we are launching today."

It remains to be seen if these untrained farmers are able to survive on
their own without being assisted by the government, as has been the case
since the land reform started.

Critics have said Zimbabwe's government should have trained the farmers
before allocating them land to them.  Tuesday, when asked to reveal how
farmers had performed and whether Zimbabwe needed to import food in 2012,
Agriculture Minister Made said exact figures are still not available, but
production will not be what was expected.

"I know you might be looking for [a] specific figure.  You have to wait a
little bit.  That has to be briefed to [the] cabinet first. But of the 1.7
million hectares that were planted, 500,000 hectares will be a write off,"
said Made.

The $20 million in aid to farmers announced Tuesday is meant to increase
size of the winter crop, especially wheat.  The southern African country
requires 406,000 metric tons of wheat annually to meet local demands.  Made
said the funding would result in wheat production increasing to 76,000
metric tons.

The United Nations estimates that at least 1.5 million people need food aid
in Zimbabwe. With the latest revelations, the number of people who need food
assistance is almost certain to increase.

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Zimbabwe Drought, A National Disaster: ZCFU

Bulawayo, April 10, 2012 - A farmer’s organisation has appealed to the
government in Zimbabwe to declare the drought affecting most parts of the
country due to erratic rainfalls a national disaster.

In an interview the country’s most influential farmers’ grouping, Zimbabwe
Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president, Donald Khumalo said the hunger
stalking the country as a result of the 2011/2012 poor rains meant that the
government had to act “resolutely”.

“The hunger that people are experiencing is not just a result of low crop
yield caused by the dry spell in the country but is also work of the
government which is not prioritizing this crisis,” he said.

“As a nation that has always prioritised agriculture, I am shocked that the
government is not considering this crisis as a national disaster,” he said.

Khumalo said efforts made by government in curbing food shortages are not
enough for the level of the crisis that is being experienced by the farming
sector in Zimbabwe.

“It is the duty of the government to feed its people and we are appealing to
government to take some form of action and intervene in this disaster,” he

The deputy minister of agriculture Seiso Moyo two weeks ago told journalists
the government was aware of the crisis facing the country in the farming
sector as a result of the drought affecting nearly the whole of Southern

“We are doing something, especially about cattle in Matabeleland South that
are facing a severe drought. The national herd might be wiped out,” he said.

Giving an update of the crop situation in Zimbabwe, a week ago, the Zimbabwe
farmer’s Union (ZFU) said from the assessment done it is estimated that
about a third of the maize area has been written off.

"The crop has been written off especially in the southern regions of the
country such as Masvingo, Matabeleland South, most parts of Matabeleland
North and the dry areas of the three Mashonaland provinces, Manicaland,

The maize in the high rainfall areas is doing well with the majority between
soft and hard dough stages," said ZFU.

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$20 million for winter wheat

The government has unveiled $20 million to finance the 2012 winter wheat
programme at the same time appealing to the Ministry of Energy and Power
Development and Zesa “to make necessary arrangements to ensure adequate
supply of electricity to wheat growing areas.
by Fungi Kwaramba

Persistent power cuts have negatively affected wheat production in the
country with some major farming areas failing to irrigate crops.

Wheat is Zimbabwe’s second staple grain, after maize, but the country -- a
regional breadbasket before President Robert Mugabe's drive to seize land
from whites to resettle landless blacks -- has failed to meet its annual
consumption requirements of between 400,000 and 450,000 tonnes.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti said last year production stood at a mere 12
thousand metric tonnes against the country’s requirements of 400 000 metric
tonnes thousand tones

In a joint press statement the Biti and Minister of Agriculture,
Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Joseph Made said wheat production
largely depends on water and electricity.

“It is critical that our ministry of energy and power development and Zesa
make the necessary arrangements to ensure adequate supply of electricity to
wheat growing areas I have already been talking to the minister of energy.

“If Zesa fails to perform the farmers can not run the production on
generators because of fuel and it’s impossible any where to generators of
that size,” the ministers said.

Government said it is going to use carry over agriculture inputs amounting
to$15 million and also inject an additional $5 million.

“We are going to use carry over agricultural inputs to the amount of
$15milllion to this end government will ensure the supply of inputs by the
suppliers under the current running contracts,” Made said.

According to the ministries inputs are going to be accessed at a cost price
under a credit arrangement, for example the fertiliser bag could be costing
$30 per 50 kg that will be the price.

The money as financed will be at a concessional rate of three per cent

as government is avoiding reselling of inputs.

To make sure transparency and accountability each participating farmer will
receive a voucher from CBZ and upon receipt of the voucher the farmer goes
to the GMB that he delivered last season or the season before.

Biti said his ministry is mobilizing resources that will mitigate domestic

“As ministry of finance we are mobilizing resources that will mitigate

domestic indebtedness to our local suppliers…we want to break this

cycle inter indebtedness and intra indebtedness in government”

Biti however bemoaned poor revenue collection.

“Our revenue is under performing we are not collecting as much as we ought
to be collecting as of March end 2012 we have a shortfall of 93 million.”

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SA says Zuma not a ‘babysitter’ in Zim crisis

By Alex Bell
10 April 2012

The spokesperson for the South African mediation team meant to be helping
Zimbabwe’s unity government through its political crisis, has insisted that
President Jacob Zuma’s role is only one of facilitation, saying he is not
there to ‘babysit’ the process.

Zuma has long been expected in Zimbabwe to meet with the leaders in the
unity government over the ongoing refusal by ZANU PF to implement key
reforms, as dictated by the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

But despite worsening conditions in Zimbabwe, including incidences of
violence, harassment and intimidation, and ZANU PF’s insistence that it will
have elections this year with or without reform, there has been no word from
Zuma or his team.

Lindiwe Zulu, Zuma’s international relations advisor and a member of the
meditation team, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that Zuma is still
committed to the process and will be in the country “as soon as a date
becomes available.”

She explained that the mediation team would be coming to Zimbabwe soon to
meet with the negotiators from the political parties in the coalition
government, and to prepare for Zuma’s arrival. But she said not dates have
been set, because “the diary has not allowed for it.”

Commenting on criticism that South Africa does not seem to be taking the
situation in Zimbabwe seriously, Zulu said Zuma was not appointed as a

“The criticism is not warranted and the reason is that the Facilitator
(Zuma) is not there to babysit the process. He is there to facilitate the
decisions by the parties in government when they cannot agree on the
implementation of reforms,” Zulu said.

She added meanwhile that it is not up to Zuma to decide on the next
elections in Zimbabwe, but insisted that he won’t allow a poll until the
conditions in Zimbabwe are right.

“The Facilitator has indicated that he can’t decide on an election, and that
it is for the three parties in Zimbabwe to agree and decide. But he has been
consistent in saying that the GPA be implemented and that the outstanding
issues be solved, and that the conditions for a free, fair and credible
election are there,” Zulu explained.

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Mangwana attacks 'crazy' Moyo

By Lloyd Mbiba and Chris Goko
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:28

HARARE - Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) co-chairperson Paul
Mangwana says he is unsure about Jonathan Moyo’s motives after the fellow
Zanu PF member’s latest and stinging attack on the constitution-making

The Chivi North legislator’s comments, follow Moyo’s Sunday missive and
allegations that the Sadc-supported initiative had been hijacked by the
“mafia”, which was bent on effecting regime change in Zimbabwe.

“You have to ask him what his motives are… because l can’t go into his head
and unpack them. From the way he has been ranting about Copac week-in,
week-out (it) gives an impression that he has got some ulterior motives or
is motivated by someone with a sinister agenda,” Mangwana told the Daily
News yesterday.

“Anybody who thinks Copac will not produce anything good is crazy and right
now Moyo is behaving worse than Professor Lovemore Madhuku. However, we will
not be distracted by hopeless people,” he added.

While the Tsholotsho North legislator and other hardline Zanu PF members
have been so desperate to “sink” the Copac process, and railroad elections
this year, Moyo’s outbursts also show growing divisions in the ex-majority

Once accused of trying to mastermind a leadership coup in Zanu PF in 2004,
the former information minister suggests that there was a plot to use a
“devolution proposal” by the multi-party Copac team to fulfil its succession
agenda or interests.

Apart from his abusive and sustained plans to discredit the process, the
political science professor does not, however, provide any evidence of this
sinister plot.

“As the curtain falls on the discredited Copac drafting process with the
Copac mafia realising... that its strategy of abusing the process to block
or delay elections has been exposed, given that the constitutional roadmap
for the inevitable holding of elections this year is set to be firmly
decided next month,” Moyo thundered in a recent opinion piece.

“...the Copac mafia has become desperate and is now resorting to fallacies,
and scare tactics about devolution and a women’s parliamentary quota to
force the adoption of a Copac’s draft constitution to secure the mafia’s
floundering regime change or succession interests,” he added.

Copac officials, including Jessie Majome and Mangwana, said Moyo’s views
smacked of panic and that these were statements from an “idle mind”.

“He is trying to stifle people’s views. However, he should be careful of
contempt as the constitution process is a parliamentary standing order,”
Majome said.

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Chiadzwa compensation row rages on

By Taurai Mangudhla, Business Writer
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 13:33

HARARE - Diamond mining companies operating at Chiadzwa are yet to offer
compensation to villagers in the area, Chiadzwa Community Development Trust
(CCDT) programme manager Melanie Chiponda has said.

She told a Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) workshop recently
that the Chiadzwa community had only been given $1 000 as relocation
allowances per household to date.

“The companies are yet to give compensation, the $1 000 people were given is
a relocation allowance and not the compensation,” said Chiponda.

Of the 650 former Marange residents, 475 were moved by Anjin, 100 by Mbada
Diamonds, 51 by Marange Resources and 21 by Diamond Mining Corporation.

The families were relocated to newly-built housing units at Arda Transau in
Odzi. A total of 4 300 households are expected to be relocated from the 120
000-hectare diamond mining area according to CCDT.

“If you look at the pictures of people’s houses back in Marange, the new
ones are much better. But they still require compensation,” she added.

Chiponda said Anjin was completing an irrigation facility for the relocated
community. Under the scheme, each household gets 0,5 hectares (ha) of
irrigation land and two ha dry area.

She said the diamond firms were mainly prioritising compensating people who
had businesses in Chiadzwa mostly retail outlets and bottles stores owners,
but were facing exorbitant claims.

“Others say my shop is worth $30 000 or $40 000, but some are demanding as
much as $6 million because they argue that the figure includes potential
business that they have lost,” said the CCDT representative.

“They are demanding more money on grounds that their shop is sitting on a
diamond field,” Marange resident, 50 year old Malvern Mudiwa said he was not
going to relocate from the area until he gets full disclosure of his
compensation package.

“Evidence is already there that we are going to be removed, but I am going
to resist until I know how much they will give me. After all I might just
want to move to nearby villages outside the diamond mining area and not to
Arda Transau,” said Mudiwa while presenting on perspectives of diamond
mining activity in Marange.

Speaking at the same event, Zela head of research Shamiso Mtisi said
Zimbabwe needed a mining policy overhaul to ensure transparency in the
sector so that its citizens benefit from the country’s natural resources.

“The current mining legislation had loopholes that include relocation and
compensation of the affected communities,” he said.

“We are currently operating under the Mines and Minerals Act which is very
old. Right now we have the country working on an amendment of the Act which
was put to cabinet in 2007 and it was not ratified,” said
Mtisi who is also the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme local focal
point for Zimbabwe’s civil society.

He said the proposed Diamond and Exploration Acts was long overdue. “The
Diamond Act should address issues of who gets a mining licence, state
ownership, selection criteria for investors and issues of relocation and
compensation,” he added.

“Exploration is another critical area because we don’t know what is
underground. The mining companies do, the Chinese do but we don’t and these
companies use that to manipulate us when we negotiate.”

Alluvial diamonds were discovered in Chiadzwa in 2006 and the area is said
to hold 25 percent of the world diamond reserves.

Diamond revenue from Marange is projected to contribute over $600 million to
government coffers according to Finance minister Tendai Biti.

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Air Zimbabwe Banks On Samba Magic

Harare, April 10, 2012-The shaky coalition government is considering plans
to source planes from Brazil in a bid to breathe life into Air Zimbabwe
which has been grounded since January.

Air Zimbabwe, suspended local, regional and international flights in January
owing to wild cat strikes, debts and mismanagement. The ailing airline last
purchased new planes from China six years ago. In 2006, Air Zimbabwe
purchased two Morden Ark planes from China and got one as a gift.

Government insiders told Radio VOP that the coalition government of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe was taking the
revival of Air Zimbabwe seriously.

Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development Minister Nicholas
Goche and Finance Minister Tendai Biti, a close ally of Tsvangirai last
month were tasked to explore the purchase or lease of aircraft from Brazil
plane manufacturer identified as Embraer.

Insiders said government favoured buying or leasing aircraft from Embraer,
with a new airline formed from the revival of Air Zimbabwe be used on its
local, domestic and international routes set for May.

Embraer has dealings with four African airlines who have either have
purchased or leased aircraft from the Brazilian manufacturer among them
Kenya Airways, South African Airlink, Air Nigeria, Egyptair.

Air Zimbabwe's aged fleet of Boeing aircraft was at one time condemned by
the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe before the condemnation was lifted.
However, the airline's planes have frequently been grounded owing to
technical faults.

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Masvingo Central MP arrested

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Hon. Jeffryson Chitando, the MP for Masvingo Central was this morning detained for four hours at Masvingo Central Police Station on claims that he threatened to kill Chief Murinye.

Soon after his release, Hon. Chitando said he was re-arrested by two police officers from the Law and Order Section.  The police officers said they were detaining him after receiving a complaint from Chief Murinye that the MP had threatened to kill him.

The police said the threats were made by Hon. Chitando over the phone but they could not furnish a date of when the call was made.

However, Hon. Chitando dismissed the police and the chief’s claims and said the issue was nothing but political.  Chief Murinye is a known Zanu PF supporter in the area.

Last month the Zanu PF chief summoned Hon. Chitando to his court to explain why he had held a successful MDC rally in the area.  The MP declined to attend the meeting.

The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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The MDC Today – Issue 332

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Five houses belonging to four MDC members were burnt to ashes by known Zanu PF activists in Gudo Village, Bikita South, Masvingo province on the eve of 29 March.

Reports from Bikita say the houses belonging to Million and Muranganwa Muonde and brothers, Josiah and William Kochoro, all MDC activists were burnt to ashes while property worth thousands of dollars was destroyed.

The suspects were identified as Tafa Mahachi and Chitenda from Masvina Village and a Chanhuhwa who are known Zanu PF supporters were arrested after the four made a report at Bikita Police Station.

They were later released and the police are saying they are making further investigations.

The houses were burnt on the eve of 29 March, the day when Zanu PF and its leader, Robert Mugabe were defeated in the harmonised elections by the MDC and President Tsvangirai.

There are reports of an increase in politically motivated violence across the country by Zanu PF hooligans as the country prepares for the referendum this year and elections next year.

In a related incident, three Zanu PF thugs who assaulted six MDC activists in Sanyati, Midlands North province for attending a party training workshop last month have been arrested and brought before a Kadoma magistrate, thanks to Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC).

The JOMIC team intervened by facilitating the arrest of the hooligans.

The case has been postponed to April 19, 2012.

The three perpetrators Aeneas Mapfumo, a war veteran, Rasmos Shumba and Stephen Sikini were picked up by the police last week for assaulting Reuben Banda, Josiah Shumba, Amos Shumba, Plaxedes Chadiwa, Kudzanai Nyamadzawo and Miriam Marunga.

The MDC Sanyati District chairperson, Chida Luckmore confirmed the Zanu PF thugs were picked up by the police and were brought to court where they were released on bail.

"Also, the matter is disturbing as Zanu pf established a base near Madzivaenzou Game Park where over 20 youths are mobilised to assault known MDC activists. Intimidation and threats are at an alarming rate in Sanyati,” added Chida.

The Zanu PF supporters attacked Banda accusing him of recruiting people to join the MDC. He was beaten with an iron bar on the forehead and sustained a deep cut. It took him almost two days to get help from both the hospital and the police as officials at both institutions were not co-operative.

Another victim, Shumba, was abducted and assaulted at his home around 7 PM by Zanu PF supporters driving in a grey Mazda B2200 and driven by Elias Mapfumo, a war veteran. The activist only escaped after the vehicle had a front tyre puncture while on their way to a militia base established near Nyabangwe Game Park.

Zhou, who was at his home on the fateful day was attacked by an axe and is receiving treatment at a local hospital after sustaining back injuries.

Maraunga and Chadiwa were picked up by the thugs after they failed to locate their husbands. The two women activists were then assaulted using fists and booted feet on allegations that they knew the whereabouts of their husbands and were refusing to disclose the information.

The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Zimbabwe

Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:17pm GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, April 10 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean officials have dismissed reports
that President Robert Mugabe was seriously ill in Singapore, news that
re-ignited talk on who will take over from the 88-year-old leader who has
ruled for more than three decades.

The speculation about Mugabe's state of health flared after a small online
newspaper, The Zimbabwe Mail, reported Mugabe was "battling for his life" in
a Singapore hospital.

Mugabe has in the last year travelled to Singapore several times for what
officials say were medical check-ups after eye cataract surgery in December

Political analysts fear if Mugabe dies in office without settling a bitter
succession battle in his ZANU-PF, the party could implode and destabilise
the country.


Despite his advanced age and reports of failing health, Mugabe says he is
fit to contest another election.

Pressure for him to retire has been growing, especially since reports, based
on a 2008 U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, said Mugabe was
suffering from prostate cancer.

Some ZANU-PF members see Mugabe as a liability who should hand over power to
a younger leader but they are unsure whether any successor can defeat rival
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in a free election.

Some of his close officials say Mugabe has quietly worked on a succession

The death of retired general Solomon Mujuru in a fire last August has also
changed the party dynamics. Local media reports say Mujuru, husband of Vice
President Joice Mujuru, was pressing Mugabe to step down and his ZANU-PF
faction had courted the MDC.

What to watch:

- Mugabe trying to heal party rifts or anoint a successor.


Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, commonly known by the nickname
"Tyson", is leading ZANU-PF's fight with mining firms over their proposals
to transfer a 51 percent stake in their operations to locals.

He declared the state now owned 51 percent of firms that had not complied
with local ownership laws, a stance quickly dismissed by Tsvangirai.

The economic empowerment plan has further divided Mugabe's ZANU-PF and its
coalition partner the MDC.

Kasukuwere is leading ZANU-PF's fight with mining firms like Zimplats, a
unit of Impala Platinum, the world's second-largest platinum producer.

World number one platinum miner Anglo American Platinum is also developing
its Unki mine in Zimbabwe.

Mining firms are being forced to fund development projects in rural

Some analysts have branded it an "extortion scheme" but companies are
cooperating with ZANU-PF, wary of its record after its seizure of
white-owned farms in the past decade.

Many are waiting for a government more amenable to foreign investment before
they ramp up production in the resource rich country with the world's second
largest platinum reserves.

What to watch:

- How the government regularizes the take-over of mines.

- Details of deals struck between government and miners.


Mugabe's and Tsvangirai's parties are quarrelling over a new constitution,
with ZANU-PF accusing the MDC of trying to sneak in a law giving unfettered
voting rights to Zimbabweans living abroad, who ZANU-PF regard as largely
MDC supporters.

The final charter is likely to be a compromise between ZANU-PF and MDC, who
both lack the two-thirds majority in parliament needed to pass the new
supreme law on their own.

Many Zimbabweans want the charter to strengthen the role of parliament,
curtail presidential powers and guarantee civil, political and media

A referendum is expected in the second half of this year.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai were forced into a coalition after a disputed election
in 2008. It was held amid a deep economic crisis where the population
struggled with inflation of over 500 billion percent, food and power
shortages and a cholera outbreak that claimed over 4,000 lives.

Their power-sharing deal calls for a new constitution to be put in place
ahead of the election.

What to watch:

- ZANU-PF reaction to prolonged delays in charter's crafting.

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Land Policy in Zimbabwe: A Framework for Discussion Papers

April 10th, 2012

Campaign poster for Robert Mugabe

[Part of the Zimbabwe Land Series]

By Dale Doré 1

Executive Summary

This article sets the tone and lays out a framework for the presentation of a series of discussion papers on land policy in Zimbabwe. It begins with the premise that land policy, especially the ‘Fast Track’ land reform programme, was made possible by the accretion and concentration of executive power in the Presidency. In particular, it argues that wide Presidential powers of appointment – the power to hire and fire virtually all top government officials – has its corollary in land policy. By nationalising most commercial farms, land could be acquired to penalise perceived opponents and reallocated to reward known supporters. To legitimise this transfer of wealth, a national narrative of the lost lands and sovereignty was developed to justify the seizure of others’ property with impunity and without compensation.

From this premise, three main themes are developed. The first is that state control over land undermines political rights, locks up the collateral value of land, and violates the principles underlying economic efficiency. The second theme is the change that took place over three decades from a social developmental state to a predatory state based on crony capitalism. Land policy changed from supporting the poor to privileging the rich, from focusing on reducing poverty in the communal areas to rewarding supporters with land in resettlement areas, and from enjoying secure property rights after independence to seizures of property by force after 2000. The third theme is the need find our way back to a path of development and a land policy that is based on democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and secure property rights.

The last part of the paper outlines those topics to be discussed in the series of articles. The articles are divided into two parts. The first series of articles will look back to evaluate and learn lessons from past land policy failures, while the second part looks forward to policies that promote secure property rights, the commercialisation of smallholder agriculture, and the growth in agricultural productivity that is necessary for the structural transformation of the economy.

“Stay with us. Please remain in this country and constitute a nation based on national unity. We will not seize land from anyone who has a use for it.
Robert Mugabe appealing to white farmers at a rally in Highfield, 27 January 1980 (BBC News)

Imagine someone coming up to you, handing over a piece of paper, and saying, ‘What’s yours is now mine.’ Not just your home and land, but your equipment, produce, and your very livelihood. Imagine that you appeal to the High Court for an order to protect your property, but the order is simply ignored. Imagine that you then ask the police to enforce the court order, but you are told that they cannot intervene in a political matter. Eventually, a rowdy crowd throws you out of your home by force while the police watch, doing nothing to protect you, your family, or your property. Imagine you are an old man or woman who has lost everything you have worked for.

Executive Power

Understanding the context of how such raw power is exercised lies in the rise to power of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s long-serving President. His resolve to carry through his controversial land reform programme after 2000 had its genesis in his socialist ideology and the consolidation of his executive powers in the 1980s. It is easy to forget that in the heady days after the liberation struggle, Zimbabwe’s charismatic and articulate new leader was determined to drive the socialist transformation of Zimbabwean society and establish a one-party state in which ‘unity’ meant ensuring the loyalty of citizens, not just to the state, but to his party, ZANU(PF).

When Edgar Tekere, ZANU(PF)’s First Secretary, voiced his opposition to the one-party state in 1987, Mugabe moved swiftly to oust him by combining the two most powerful posts enshrined in the party’s constitution. As party leader, Mugabe consolidated his grip over the party by becoming both its President and First Secretary. That year he also fused the executive powers of the Prime Minister with the non-executive powers of appointments of the President to establish his own unassailable powers as the Executive President.2 By the end of the year he had crushed his erstwhile ally Joshua Nkomo and his opposition party, ZAPU, during a brutal campaign, Operation Gukurahundi, that ended with the creation of a de facto one-party state. Today, after three decades in power, President Mugabe is grandiloquently referred to as His Excellency, Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Force; or less formally as Cde Robert Mugabe.

At the core of Mugabe’s presidential powers is his ability to appoint virtually all senior positions in the party, the government, the armed services, the judiciary, parastatal organisations and commissions. He directly appoints members of his party’s Politburo, members of his Cabinet, Provincial Governors, the Commanders of the Armed Forces, the Commissioner-General of Police, and Supreme Court judges. Although he is now constitutionally obliged to make many of these appointments in agreement with the Prime Minister,3 he continues to exercise his undiminished autocratic powers to make appointments unilaterally.

Put differently, the President allocates all the most important government positions. He has the power to bestow a top job on a chosen person, with all the status, benefits, as well as the delegated authority to exercise power in their own right. He may also remove them. To keep the perks of a job, the incumbent’s best strategy is to follow orders and remain loyal. But as many citizens do not work for government, they are not beholden to state officials and bureaucrats. How then to bring such independently-minded citizens under the party’s political hegemony? It is by bringing their privately owned assets, on which they depend for their livelihoods, under state and party control. Legislation that enables the state to acquire land from the ‘undeserving’ and allocate it to the ‘deserving’ becomes a powerful tool of political control and patronage, especially when the President has the discretion to decide who is who.

The only question remaining is how to justify and legitimise a process of taking something belonging to one citizen and giving it to another; and, if possible, to do so without compensation. It is to constantly repeat a story based on a rich mixture of ideology, culture and history that I call the ‘nationalist narrative of the lost lands’. It consists largely of an account of victimhood and entitlement and of dividing people between an authentic, patriotic, legitimate and deserving ‘us’,  who belong in the party, and the usurpers, puppets and foreigners defined as the undeserving ‘them’, who are outside it. The same story is retold, renewed and embellished with heroic accounts, the selective use of history, the invention of tradition, mythologizing the past and demonising detractors. It is based on a highly selective truth, which is used as propaganda. Above all, it is sustained by the power to provide individual incentives that make people believe that however morally dubious their actions, their cause is just. The end, in other words, justifies the means.

The Main Themes

It is from this narrative that I intend to begin a series of 12 articles that explores the premises and principles of Zimbabwe’s land policies. These articles cover three broad themes.

The first theme is to examine the political and economic impacts of the state’s power to acquire, control, and allocate communal, resettlement and commercial farmland in Zimbabwe. Four arguments are advanced. One is that the gradual eroding of citizens’ land rights also undermines their political rights and economic freedom. The second is that bureaucratic top-down modes of programme implementation, especially for resource-constrained developing economies, are notoriously inefficient. A third argument is that state ownership locks in the economic collateral value of land for farm investments, severely constraining financial markets needed for farm investments that are crucial to boost productivity and rural incomes. The last argument is that land allocation by officials is inefficient because it violates the principles underlying the optimum allocation of factors of production. The cumulative affect of these constraints is that agricultural production and growth are well below their potential. Inevitably, poverty persists.

The second theme is the perverse evolution of Zimbabwe – from a social developmental state in the 1980s to a predatory crony-capitalist state after 2000. Whereas the communal areas were the primary focus for poverty reduction in the 1980s, they were abandoned in the 1990, and only resettlement, based on literally seizing land, remained on the government empowerment agenda after 2000. Whereas the priority for land allocation in the 1980s was the resettlement of landless and war-stricken families, after 2000 seized farmland was redistributed to senior politicians, officers and other party loyalists. Whereas the state accepted strong property rights based on freehold tenure in the 1980s, the gradual erosion of property rights in the 1990 ended with the nationalisation of most commercial farms in 2005 without compensation. Today, the common good of the nation has been sacrificed by a predatory state that condones corrupt, rent-seeking behaviour for the enrichment of the politically privileged few.

The third theme is the long road to redemption and transformation. First and foremost it is to restore Zimbabwe to the community of nations that respects both the letter and spirit of international laws, conventions and treaties. Zimbabwe must return to a developmental path based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It is a journey where the notion of sovereignty means empowering citizens by restoring and enlarging their political and economic rights, including strong, secure and tradable property rights. It means granting citizens the right to invest in their own livelihoods and own their means of production, the freedom to manage their own affairs, and to benefit from their own enterprise. The watchwords for this vision are captured in the title of Amartya Sen’s book, Development as Freedom. It envisages a state that actively participates in developing a policy, legal and institutional framework that nurtures the capabilities of its citizens and provides them with incentives to lead productive and fulfilling lives for themselves, their families, their communities and the nation.

Discussion Papers

The discussion papers will be divided into two parts. The first part will dwell mainly on the first two themes. It will examine how the national narrative on land maintained polices and programmes that were inimical to the economic and social imperatives of poverty reduction, equity and economic growth. The second series of six articles will provide economic analysis to formulate an alternative policy, legal and institutional framework in order to achieve equity, agricultural commercialisation, economic growth and the structural transformation of the economy.

The next paper in Part I (Paper 2), entitled the Nationalist Narrative and the Demise of the Resettlement Programme, will show how certain traditional precepts on land, when combined with socialist ideology, resulted in a resettlement programme that was designed with an inherent and unsustainable financial flaw. To continue the programme and balance its books, the government began passing legislation that initially short-changed farmers for their land and eventually nationalised it. The government also become increasingly strident in demanding funds ‘promised’ by Britain, even passing a constitutional amendment making Britain responsible for paying compensation to dispossessed white farmers.

The third paper entitled The Economics of Communal Land Tenure begins by exploring the ambiguity of the communal lands. Were they a colonial creation to force an impoverished peasantry to work for low wages in the white capitalist sector, or were they the embodiment of socialist communal ideals? The paper then explores how a tenure system based on the chiefly allocation of land creates market failure in land and other factor markets;4 how the system lacks a mechanism to realise economies of scale; and how this market failure leads to insatiable demands for land which result in environmental degradation, rural poverty, and dependence on government subsidies and donor assistance.

Paper 4, Changing the Rules of the Resettlement Game, looks back at how the original ideals of helping the poorest citizens after Independence slowly became corrupted. As the ruling party’s popularity began to slide, it became more prepared to use land to reward its supporters. During the 1990s we find that the well-resourced, experience and qualified become eligible for resettlement. After 2000, the criterion for resettlement had been reduced to any black Zimbabwean who was prepared to settle on commercial farms seized from their former white owners.

A Law unto Themselves, the title of Paper 5, traces the legal changes that took place after the expiry of clauses that protected property rights in the Lancaster House Constitution. This paper is a brief legal history of land legislation and policy, from the controversial changes in compensation in the early 1990s to the nationalisation of the land in 2005. More than this, it shows how legislation granted wide discretionary powers to the executive, how the independence of the judiciary was compromised, and how, with every legal power at its disposal, the rule of law was eventually flouted with equanimity.

The last of the papers in Part I, Promises, Lies and Resettlement Funds, examines the veracity of claims and counter-claims, especially within the context of the nationalist narrative, of Britain’s responsibility to pay compensation for land. It goes on to show how the President mercilessly cleansed large swathes of agricultural land of whites – called settlers, not Zimbabweans – in retribution for British intransigence.

The first paper of Part II critically examines the land audit as set out in the GPA, which is to be carried out under the auspices of Zimbabwe’s Inclusive government. If, as the parties agree, the land reform programme is considered ‘irreversible’, then the merits of the exercise may be limited. The paper will argue that a land audit should not be held hostage, like the constitutional making process, by those responsible for chaos, lawlessness and violence, which were endemic to the land reform programme.

Broadly, the papers that follow will make a series of proposals for land policy reform across communal, resettlement and commercial farming areas. The fundamental argument is that property rights must evolve, continually giving registered owners of land stronger rights and more secure and tradable forms of tenure. Only then will it be possible to seriously discuss the commercialisation of smallholder farming operation, rapid pro-poor growth in the agricultural sector, and the structural transformation of the economy.

[1] Director of Shanduko: Centre for Agrarian and Environmental Research

[2]Constitutional Amendment No. 7 (Act 23 of 1987)

[3] Derek Matyszak, A Note on the Re-Appointment of the Service Chiefs (February, 2012)

[4] Factor markets are the markets for inputs for production, classically land, labour and capital.

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