by Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE will suffer a one million ton maize deficit due to drought, after
nearly half of the national crop now coming up for harvest failed.
"Forty five percent of maize that was planted this season is a write-off,"
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said on Friday.
Made said the country has 400,000 tons of maize stocks, which must be
complemented by imports to prevent hunger.
Again, with an expected wheat output of only 75,000 tonnes this year, the
country would also need to resort to imports to meet its annual requirement
of 400,000 tonnes.
But Zimbabwe is facing a cash squeeze and the government may struggle to
raise money to buy the staples.
The World Food Programme is currently giving food to one million
Zimbabweans, mainly the extremely poor who depend on farming to survive.
The United Nations has already appealed for US$488 million in food aid for
Zimbabwe for last year and the first months of this year.
By Tichaona Sibanda
13 April 2012
A High Court Judge, after an appeal, has suspended a community service
sentence imposed on former MDC-T MP Munyaradzi Gwisai and five of his
Last month Magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini rejected the initial appeal, which
had been lodged by lawyer Alec Muchadehama on behalf of Gwisai, Antonette
Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo, and Welcome
Zimuto. In the last few weeks, the six had done some community work at
various schools around Harare.
On Friday, High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Matonsi ruled that the
magistrate had erred when he convicted the six activists for watching video
footage of last year’s uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
The judge said the appellants had a good chance of winning their case
against both conviction and sentence as ‘watching or showing a video’ is a
contestable matter in a criminal case.
The activists were convicted last month of conspiracy to incite public
violence and were sentenced to two years in prison each, wholly suspended
for five years, a fine of $500 each, and 420 hours of community service.
The group was arrested in February 2011 along with 39 other human rights
activists, and accused of plotting to destabilize the government. They were
initially charged with treason, which carries the death penalty, but the
charges were later downgraded to inciting public violence.
An elated Gumbo told SW Radio Africa they were pleased with the outcome and
onfident about the appeal against sentence and conviction.
‘With what the Judge said in court today (Friday) we remain confident that
the conviction and sentence will be quashed. I still don’t believe that an
individual can be sent to prison for just watching a video,’ Gumbo said.
During the last appeal hearing in March the state indicated that it would
appeal against the sentence given to the group as it was ‘lenient’ and that
a prison sentence was more appropriate.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
13 April 2012
The violent ZANU PF youth gang that has terrorised residents of Mbare suburb
in Harare has reportedly started campaigning for the party, forcing innocent
civilians to reveal their personal details and ordering them to vote for
Robert Mugabe in the next election.
The Chipangano gang, who operate with impunity and with the support of top
ZANU PF officials, have been regularly forcing local residents, vendors and
passersby to attend ZANU PF rallies held on open grounds in the area.
The most recent incident occurred last Saturday at Number Five grounds near
Mbare Netball Complex, where people with no identity documents were told to
reveal their details to the group, on the promise that Chipangano would
approach the Registrar General for help in registering them to vote.
Givemore Chipere from the community radio station CORAH told SW Radio Africa
that residents in the area confirmed that the rally was addressed by youth
militia and ZANU PF officials, who ordered them to prepare for elections by
registering and to make sure they voted for Robert Mugabe.
“There are quite a number of residents there who don’t have identity cards
and they were promised that the Registrar General would come to Mbare and
they would be given documents with their names so they can vote,” Chipere
He added that there is also an element of fear because anyone who refuses is
accused of being a supporter of the MDC formations. “This is very dangerous
in Mbare because if you support the MDC you are considered an enemy and can
be targetted,” Chipere said.
The activist said violence by Chipangano in Mbare has intensified but there
has not been much coverage of incidents in the mainstream media. According
to Chipere, the gang has gained so much power that even the police are too
scared to interfere.
His description of the situation in the high density suburb of Harare
confirms reports previously made to this radio station by the MP for the
area, Piniel Denga, who has said the constituency is controlled by the ZANU
PF youths with support from top party officials and the police. Denga said
victims who report to the police end up getting arrested.
The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) met this week to
discuss the issue of the intensifying violence in the country. However no
information was made available as to the outcome of that meeting.
ROHR Zimbabwe has received complaints from villagers from Muzarabani,
Mashonaland Central province on politicization of humanitarian grain scheme
administered by Grain Marketing Board (GMB). The GMB humanitarian aid scheme
is an initiative to arrest drought effects among villagers but it has been
hijacked by ZANU PF members in the local government structures into a
vicious political tool to discriminate on beneficiaries on partisan grounds.
Under the food scheme, villagers should receive a 50kg bag of maize per a
month, which is enough to feed an average family of 5.
ROHR Zimbabwe spoke to Mr Matonhodze, Provincial Secretary for National
Healing, Reconciliation and Integration from the MDC, who spoke on behalf of
the MDC supporters who have fallen victim to discrimination and denial of
crucial right to access humanitarian aid.’The scheme is administered by the
Provincial governor, District Administrator in conjunction with traditional
leaders, people who hold political positions in ZANU PF and as a result they
select only beneficiaries who support their party’ said Matonhodze. Those
implicated in the scam include among others Chief Kasekete who is known to
be an ardent supporter of ZANU PF.
Mr Matonhodze told ROHR Zimbabwe that they had filed a report with JOMIC
Provincial structures to seek readdress. Confronted on why they were giving
food only to ZANU PF members, herdmen George Bumhira said he was taking
direct orders from Chief Kasekete.
Matonhodze is appealing to those discriminating against MDC supporters not
to open new wounds before the old ones from the past wrongs are healed.
ROHR Zimbabwe condemns the politicization of humanitarian aid for any
purpose as this amount to gross violation of human rights. We challenge the
coalition government to protect the rights of all citizens from degrading
forms of discrimination.
For Peace, Justice and Freedom,
Harare, April 13 - Zimbabwe's principals to the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) are delaying South Africa president Jacob Zuma’s visit to Harare
intended to break the political impasse.
Lindiwe Zulu, Zuma’s international affairs advisor who doubles-up as the
spokesperson for the South Africa mediation process in Zimbabwe, said on
Thursday from Pretoria that there was still no word from the principals over
when the South African leader should visit Harare.
Zuma, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) appointed
facilitator in the Zimbabwe crisis had been due in Harare six months ago but
was still waiting for an “invitation” from the three principals, President
Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Zuma and his facilitation team are said to be under pressure from SADC to
ensure that the goals set by the GPA were all met before Zimbabwe held its
next elections President Mugabe wants held this year without fail.
“They (principals) have not indicated (when Zuma should visit). We expect an
invitation but we are always in constant touch with the respective
negotiators of the three political parties as the mediators,” said Zulu.
“When the invitation to come (to Harare), we will let the Zimbabwe people
know,” she added.
Zulu was also quoted in the South Africa media this week saying her
mediation team had not lost hope on Zimbabwe.
“We made it clear that there won't be elections in Zimbabwe unless the set
goals are met," she was quoted as having said.
Zanu (PF) and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
are still squabbling over the contents of the draft constitution, among
other issues bedevilling the coalition government, nearly four years after
There are also reportedly failing to agree on electoral reforms that would
lead to fresh polls whose outcome would not be disputed.
Bulawayo, April 13, 2012 –Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) president,
Tendai Chikowore, has demanded that government cede some shares to teachers
from all foreign companies being grabbed by government under the
The controversial economic Indigenisation and Empowerment law that came into
effect in 2010 requires foreign-owned firms to give at least 51 percent
shares to indigenous black Zimbabweans or face a host of punitive measures
including fines or withdrawal of operating licences.
Speaking to journalists in Bulawayo on Thursday, during the opening of ZIMTA
four day national annual conference, Chikowore said: “We also want to be
included in this Indigenisation programme. We have realised that this
programme is only benefiting the private sector. So we want the government
to give teachers a stake in these foreign companies which are being
“When you look at the statutory instruments, it is clear that civil servants
are not allowed to engage in business. We therefore want to interrogate the
government to engage in dialogue with us, and tell us how they are
considering civil servants. We want to find out if government has made any
provisions to ensure that we are not left behind as far as economic
empowerment is concerned.”
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sifiso Ndlovu said: “Clearly there is a focus
on workers where they are talking about privatisation and community
ownership. We need to find out what programmes are being put in place for
civil servants. Are we going to have shares in government companies...such
as the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (ZESA)?”
Last week, Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere announced that
government had taken over all mines that had failed to comply with the
country’s indigenisation laws which require all foreign-owned firms to cede
51 percent of their shares to indigenous blacks.
The four day ZIMTA national annual conference is being held under the theme
“Enhancing the status of teachers through Economic Empowerment” and there
are more than 200 delegates from the country’s 10 provinces attending.
By Lance Guma
13 April 2012
The family of an alleged coup plotter jailed in 2007 has claimed that an
attempt was made on his life inside Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison last
week. Retired army Captain Albert Matapo and six others had been accused of
leading a plot to topple Robert Mugabe and replace him with Defence Minister
Matapo and his colleagues spent four gruelling years in remand prison as the
Mugabe regime ignored several bail orders. It was only last year in May that
High Court Judge Joseph Musakwa ordered their release, saying their
continued incarceration without trial was unlawful.
Matapo however remained locked up after the state claimed he was facing
another charge of trying to escape from jail. Last month he was slapped with
a 5 year jail sentence for allegedly trying to escape, of which 2 years were
suspended, leaving an effective 3 year term. But according to his family
someone wants him dead.
In an exclusive interview with SW Radio Africa one of Matapo’s brothers said
Albert was ‘seriously assaulted’ by prison inmates they believe were
‘planted’ members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). Raising
their suspicions further is that it appeared the assault was sanctioned by
prison guards at Chikurubi.
Matapo is said to be ‘seriously ill’ and now confined to a wheel chair after
the assault. He is also refusing to take medication provided by the prison
as he believes it could be used to kill him. “They have been trying to give
him injections but he has refused fearing for his life,” the brother told SW
Last year SW Radio Africa spoke to Patson Mupfure, one of the alleged coup
plotters who was freed. He recounted how they were arrested and tortured
alongside other co-accused Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Emmanuel
Marara, Shingirai Mutemachani, Rangarirai Maziofa and Matapo.
Despite Mnangagwa being the supposed beneficiary of the alleged coup plot,
the Defence Minister was never arrested or even questioned. Mnangagwa is
reported to have described the allegations as “just stupid” leading to
speculation a rival ZANU PF faction led by the late Solomon Mujuru might
have tried to set him up.
By Tichaona Sibanda
13 April 2012
32 families from Gandanzara near Rusape in Manicaland province have been
rendered homeless after their houses were destroyed by strong winds which
swept through the area on Tuesday night.
Local MDC-T MP Pishai Muchauraya said the swirling winds, which were not
accompanied by rain, hit the area at 2am and lasted around 20 minutes. They
caused considerable damage although no injuries have been reported.
He said the victims have been accommodated by relatives and neighbours,
adding that the homeless would need support to put up new structures. The
MP, who is also the spokesman for MDC-T in Manicaland, visited the affected
area on Friday.
‘The winds blew away completely the roofs of more than 30 houses and
partially damaged the roofs of several others. Some trees were also uprooted
by the winds, which some villagers say they have not witnessed in their life
time,’ Muchauraya said.
Although the situation has returned to normal, the legislator said dozens of
villagers were still without homes. Many are staying with family or friends.
The MP pleaded with government authorities to assist families which have
been rendered homeless, saying most of them were low income people who
cannot raise the money to reconstruct their premises.
‘The most pressing need is for material to repair the houses that are
lightly or moderately damaged. This was a natural disaster and we have the
Civil Protection Unit that deals with such things. I will be approaching
them for help,’ he said.
13 April 2012
The lawyer representing the family of the late army general Solomon Mujuru has questioned how the state has resources to suppress protests using anti-riot water canons and yet the fire brigade had no water when they responded to the blaze that allegedly killed Mujuru at his farm last year.
Speaking to SW Radio Africa’s Behind the Headlines series, Thakor Kewada said “The fire brigade came but with a truck that wouldn’t have been able to carry any water to put the fire out so what the hell did the fire brigade arrive there for?”
“We have those other trucks that are used when there’s a riot, I don’t know what we call them but they spray water on people who are rioting, now we’ve got quite a few of those I am told, why wasn’t that used?” Kewada queried.
Kewada explained why the family thought exhuming Mujuru’s body would help in unravelling the mystery behind his suspicious death. He said a new autopsy had to be done as the Cuban pathologist who carried out the first one was not registered in Zimbabwe and did a ‘shoddy job’.
Provincial Magistrate Walter Chikwanha, who presided over the inquest into Mujuru’s death, ruled that there was no foul play. But according to Kewada the Mujuru family believe he was murdered. He said his clients “are highly suspicious that the general did not die in that fire,” and the workers at the farm know this.
Kewada said it was the belief of the family that Mujuru’s body “was planted in the house and the fire was started as a cover up” and that those who killed him were already in the house when he arrived that evening. Another theory is that Mujuru was ‘tranquillised’ using a dart gun when he was stepping out of his vehicle.
Several inconsistencies in the testimonies given during the inquest pointed to foul play, Kewada said. For example the fire started in two places, suggesting arson. But most suspicious was the fact that even though Mujuru’s body was charred to cinders, the curtains survived the inferno, suggesting it was initially a controlled fire which later spread.
To listen to the interview with the Mujuru family lawyer Thakor Kewada
By Alex Bell
13 April 2012
The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has slammed the ongoing
detention of its activists who remain locked up over the murder of a
policeman in Glen View.
29 MDC-T members are facing murder charges in connection with the death of
Petros Mutedza last year.
The MDC-T said in a statement on Friday that it is concerned that their
activists remain locked up when six police officers who are also facing
murder charges were released on bail this week. The police officers were
arrested after they fatally assaulted a mineworker in Shamva last month.
“Most of the MDC members have been in remand for nearly a year in very
appalling conditions of overcrowding, inadequate food and sanitary
facilities as the High Court through Justice Chinembiri Bhunu denies them
bail,” the MDC-T said, saying “their continued incarceration is a
well-orchestrated political persecution and victimisation of the MDC and its
The party called it “unusual” that the same High Court this week granted
US$50 bail to the Shamva police officers “who abused their powers as public
officers and assaulted mineworkers at Ashley mine, fatally assaulting
“The MDC finds it ridiculous that innocent people like the 29 MDC members
are denied their right to freedom for a year while police officers who
committed murder in front of hundreds of eyewitnesses are granted bail after
only one week in remand prison,” the party statement said.
It added: “The continued persecution of the MDC members has now reached
alarming and ridiculous levels and is raising a lot of unnecessary eyebrows,
which are detrimental to the good health of the inclusive government.”
Written by Bridget Mananavire, Staff Writer
Friday, 13 April 2012 16:00
HARARE - Europe is pulling funds to help bankrupt Zimbabwe conduct a
credible election, but the money will only be released if certain conditions
are met, according to a delegation of MPs from Germany.
Germany is one of the European Union (EU) countries leading the initiative.
The MPs yesterday said the 27-nation bloc had already started helping the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) with technical support. Zec is
responsible for running the country’s elections.
But full implementation of the power-sharing Global Political Agreement
(GPA), non-violence and the completion of a new constitution are some of the
benchmarks Zimbabweans will have to meet for continued support.
Briefing reporters after meeting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday,
Stefan Liebich, chairperson of the Sadc friendship group of the German
Bundestug (Parliament) emphasised extended support to Zec depended on
conditions for a free and fair poll being in place.
“We talked about the electoral commission and our technical support for it
to cover ground operations. We have been helping Zimbabwe through the EU and
the UN but we will have to assess if the conditions are favourable for a
free and fair election,” he said.
“The Prime Minister told us that the situation will also allow unrestricted
observers, but obviously Sadc will play the bigger role,” Liebich said.
The regional grouping is heavily involved in Zimbabwe’s political processes
after being mandated by the African Union to mediate for a coalition
government and ensure future credible polls after the disputed 2008
presidential election runoff.
Finance minister Tendai Biti early this year said Zimbabwe cannot afford an
election this year.
A referendum on a new constitution that is still being crafted and a census
are some of the big projects government has to fund this year, he said.
His statements followed repeated statements by President Robert Mugabe that
elections will happen this year with or without a new constitution.
Liebich said the removal of travel restrictions and financial sanctions
imposed on Mugabe and over 100 of his ruling, military and business
associates will depend on Zimbabwe holding credible elections.
“Both the Prime Minister and Zanu PF chairperson (Simon Khaya-Moyo) told us
that they wanted sanctions lifted. But this is a process. There is already
disagreement within the EU concerning the sanctions. A
successful election will definitely influence the lifting of the sanctions,”
said Liebich, who had met Khaya-Moyo earlier yesterday.
He, however, said Tsvangirai was optimistic that a free and fair election is
possible after the new constitution is adopted.
The visiting German delegation will meet Biti and minister of Regional
Integration and International Co-operation, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga
German and Zimbabwe relations have been sour since the turn of the decade
resulting in Berlin threatening to cut aid.
Erin Conway-Smith, GlobalPost | Apr. 13, 2012, 8:11 AM | 1,262 | 4
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Chinese workers in Zimbabwe are buying up the
local wildlife for dinner, feasting on endangered tortoises, pythons,
leopards — and even village dogs.
Viewed as prestigious dishes, they would be expensive to serve at banquets
back in China. But in Zimbabwe they are relatively cheap. Worse yet, in this
cash-strapped country there’s a lack of resources to thwart the appetite for
endangered game, conservation groups say.
China is investing significantly in mining, agriculture and construction,
and its companies bring along thousands of workers.
Where there are Chinese in Africa, illegal trade in rare animals inevitably
increases, according to experts. In Kenya, elephant poaching rose sharply
along roads built by Chinese construction crews, and markets in Ethiopia
cater to the Chinese demand for ivory chopsticks and other illicit
One recent case in Zimbabwe involved the gruesome discovery of meat and
skeletal remains of 40 tortoises, during a raid on Chinese workers' homes in
Masvingo province. The endangered Bell’s Hinged tortoises had been dropped
into boiling water while still alive in order to separate the meat from the
shell, police and animal welfare officials said.
Authorities also found 13 live Bell’s Hinged tortoises — which are protected
under international laws governing trade of endangered species — kept in
steel drums without water or food.
Four Chinese workers were fined $300 each and deported over the killing of
endangered tortoises “for personal consumption.” In some parts of China,
tortoises are used to make a very expensive soup.
“Our wildlife remains a legacy for future generations of Zimbabweans and we
should jealously guard their future wellbeing,” the Zimbabwe National
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA) said at the time.
The ZNSPCA plans to meet with the Chinese embassy about the pillaging of
animals for food, according to Ed Lanca, the group's national chairman.
“It’s an ongoing trend. If it’s not tortoises, it’s dogs, if it’s not dogs,
it’s pythons,” he said. “We’ve even been told that leopard is also in
Chinese “are encouraging local communities to procure the meat for them,”
There have been reports of Chinese workers stealing baby tortoises from
nature conservancies in Zimbabwe, leading at least one to ramp up security.
Lanca said another major concern is trade in endangered animal parts used in
Chinese medicine, including pangolin scales and lion bones.
China's embassy in Zimbabwe wouldn't comment on the accusations, but was
aware of the tortoise case.
"We are doing the research to see if this is true or not," a spokesman said.
Chinese workers "respect the culture here," and "the Chinese people are
doing a lot of good things," including helping Zimbabwe's economy, the
embassy spokesman added.
There’s a saying in China that people from the country’s south are renowned
for eating everything with legs except tables, and everything that flies
But it’s not just rare animals that are being targeted for the dinner plate.
Chinese nationals are also said to be buying dogs from villagers.
“Some are strays, but they could well be people’s pets,” Lanca said.
Two years ago, Chinese engineers installing transmitters in Matabeleland
South were accused of stealing local dogs to kill and eat. Several Chinese
nationals were arrested after being found brutally slaughtering dogs at
their camp, but were released with only a police warning.
The problem seems to be continuing: Zimbabwe’s Financial Gazette reported
last month on allegations that dogs and cats are being served at upmarket
Chinese restaurants in Harare.
Last year, China sent a high-level delegation to Zimbabwe to hold seminars
encouraging Chinese expatriates to respect the local culture, after reports
of poor treatment and underpayment of workers caused resentment and anger.
Lanca said the ZNSPCA doesn’t have the money or human resources to address
the new problems caused by Chinese workers. The organization, financed
entirely by donors, is already tasked with looking after the welfare of all
Zimbabwe’s animals, from pet hamsters to giraffes and everything in between.
“We’re terribly, terribly underfunded,” Lanca said, adding: “If we had
enough vehicles and manpower, we could take tackle this.”
By Alex Bell
13 April 2012
The deportation of Zimbabwean nationals from South Africa could pose a
serious threat to the lives of thousands of Zimbabwean back home, after it
was revealed that up to 40% of the country’s GDP relies on remittances.
South Africa resumed deporting Zim nationals last year, marking the end of
efforts to document as many of the foreigners as possible. This process only
saw an estimated 270,000 Zimbabweans applying for work and study permits,
leaving many tens of thousands more vulnerable to deportation.
It’s believed that at least two million Zimbabweans are living in South
Africa, making it the largest part of Zimbabwe’s scattered Diaspora
community. Refugee rights activists have since warned that the decision to
resume deportations from South Africa has not been thought through, arguing
that conditions in Zimbabwe have not improved enough for people to be
Rights group PASSOP has now also warned that these forced removals threaten
the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people, with a large percentage
of Zimbabweans relying on remittances from outside the country to survive
According to a PASSOP report released this week and sent to South Africa’s
Reserve Bank and Department of International Development and Cooperation,
about 91% of Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa send money home regularly.
The report, titled ‘Strangling the Lifeline’, found that the average amount
remitted by migrants was almost a third of their monthly income.
“Taking into account that an estimated 1.5 – 2 million Zimbabweans have
emigrated to South Africa over the past decade, the report estimates that
ZAR5.1-6.8 billion ($700-850 million) were remitted in 2011, making
remittances one of the most important sources of foreign currency inflows
for Zimbabwe,” the report details.
The report’s author David von Burgsdorff told SW Radio Africa that the
figures illustrate Zimbabwe’s “depth of dependence” on remittances, saying
the such transfers are relied on to sustain the livelihoods of up two-thirds
of Zimbabwe’s remaining population. He estimated that up to 40% of Zimbabwe’s
GDP is made up of remittances from across the Zimbabwean Diaspora, with the
majority of this money believed to be coming from South Africa.
“South Africa’s renewed practice of mass deportations is therefore a serious
threat to the livelihoods of thousands of families in Zimbabwe who are
dependent on remittances,” Von Burgsdorff said, adding: “Already some 20,000
Zimbabweans have been deported since South Africa resumed this practice last
Von Burgsdorff meanwhile said that South Africa needs to be pressured to
‘formalise’ these remittances, explaining that roughly three quarters of
migrants prefer using ‘informal’ channels to remit money, rather than formal
channels like banks.
“Perhaps the most surprising finding in the report is that the cost of
sending remittances from South Africa to Zimbabwe is amongst the highest in
the world. The implication of this is that the amount of money that actually
reaches families in Zimbabwe is much lower than it could be,” Von Burgsdorff
He added that remittances from South Africa to Zimbabwe “represent a huge
source of untapped potential for development on both sides of the border,”
but high transfer costs and stringent, inefficient regulations was standing
in the way.
“If the formalisation of remittance flows is pursued comprehensively,
remittances could realise their potential and play an invaluable role in the
reconstruction of the Zimbabwean economy. This, in turn, is the only way to
address the high currently high level of Zimbabwean migration to South
Africa,” he said.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
13 April 2012
Zimbabwe’s fifth National Paralympic Games were marred by delays as they
started this week in Hwange, Matabeleland North, as officials struggled with
embarrassing last minute arrangements.
There was also no opening ceremony before the first event due to the absence
of one key official, Vice-President John Nkomo. Officials reportedly said
Nkomo, as the guest of honour, cancelled his appearance because he had to
attend a cabinet meeting that had been postponed Tuesday because Robert
Mugabe was still out of the country.
The first event was delayed after officials realised that visually impaired
athletes could not clearly see the track lines. There were even more glaring
and embarrassing oversights, including delays to the triple jump event as
officials actually drew the lines while athletes waited.
Most shocking perhaps was the delay to field events, which occurred because
there were no tape measures. According to NewsDay newspaper, even the
medical personnel did not appear able to cope.
Newsday said the Games’ CEO, Victor Rakabopa, had also confirmed that
officials had agreed both the opening and closing ceremonies would be
combined into one on the last day Friday, and the Vice President was due to
12 April 2012
Sithandekile Mhlanga | Washington
Zimbabwe's provincial inter-party liaison committees of the Joint Monitoring
and Implementation Committee, or Jomic, met in Mashonaland West and Bulawayo
Thursday to deliberate on increasing cases of political violence in the
Independent groups charge that political violence has been on the rise in
most provinces in the country as President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF
party continue to push for polls this year, even in the absence of crucial
reforms and a new constitution.
Chairman John Mafa of ZANU-PF and also the Mashonaland West JOMIC liaison
committee, told the VOA his province is investigating 11 cases of political
violence involving teachers.
He said political violence victims should not shy away from narrating their
ordeals, in particular reporting to the police to ensure such incidents are
investigated and perpetrators arrested.
Qhubani Moyo, JOMIC representative for the Welshman Ncube formation of the
Movement for Democratic Change told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sithandekile
Mhlanga reports from their liaison committees reveal that the level of
violence in the country has decreased.
Activists, however, differ with churches asking the government to involve
them in their peace and reconciliation programs in the communities.
Friday, 13 April 2012
Abisha Nyanguwo, the MDC Chief of Staff who was arrested this week on false
charges of malicious damage to property has been granted a massive $500 bail
pending trial by a Gweru magistrate.
The matter was postponed to 11 May 2012.
It is surprising though, that Nyanguwo has been granted $500 bail for a
dubious charge while police officers accused of murdering a Shamva
mineworker in cold blood last month were yesterday granted a mere $50 bail
at the High Court.
What makes the bail ruling even more outrageous is that Nyanguwo’s case is
being heard at the magistrate’s court while the policemen’s murder case is
being handled at a higher court, meaning that the Shamva case is being
The MDC, therefore, feels that Nyanguwo will not receive a fair trial as
evidenced by proceedings that have been witnessed so far.
Nyanguwo first appeared before the Gweru magistrate yesterday morning but
the bail hearing could not take off as there were no State witnesses. A
police officer, Archford Tumbare who is based in Zhombe was then sought so
as to nail down Nyanguwo.
Allegations against Nyanguwo are that; his vehicle was seen in Mvuma
collecting explosives before going to Gweru where he ostensibly planted
these at the Zanu PF offices resulting in it blowing up in December last
The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it!
MDC Information & Publicity Department
Harvest House, Harare 12 April 2012
AWARE that the entire Zimbabwean population and all other democratic forces
look to the MDC as the central engine of Real Change in Zimbabwe, the
National Council hereby makes the following resolutions.
1. ELECTIONS IN ZIMBABWE
1.1 COGNISANT of the insincerity of Zanu PF, the lack of paradigm shift
and its insatiable appetite for power manifested by its decisive power
retention agenda bordering on creating an atmosphere of pandemonium, panic
and uncertainty in the body politick of our country,
1.2 RECALLING the humourless Zanu PF and President Mugabe’s statements
calling for elections in 2012 regardless of the enactment of a new
Constitution and the actualisation of the Roadmap to a free, fair, credible
and legitimate election,
1.3 RECALLING the launch of Conditions for a Sustainable Election (CoSEZ)
on the 8th of March 2012 and the need for the Zimbabwe parties to adhere to
the peoples’ checklist for a sustainable election namely;
i. Implementation of the GPA and all other agreed positions
ii. Implementation of the post-Maputo resolutions
iii. Implementation of the Roadmap
iv. Implementation of agreed positions following the review of the GPA in
May of 2011
v. Implementing Regional and International Standards
vi. The Constitution and the Constitution-Making Process
vii. Implementing Legislative Reform
viii. Eradicating political violence
ix. Strengthening Oversight Constitutional Commissions
x. The right to Freedom of Association, Assembly and Movement
xi. Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
xii. Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act
xiii. Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Staff
xiv. Amendments to the Electoral Law
xv. Postal and Special Voting
xvi. A New and Clean Voters Roll
xvii. Fair Delimitation of Constituencies
xviii. Liberalizing the Media
xix. Voter Education
xx. Agreement on the Proclamation of Elections
xxi. Implementing Measures to end Political Violence
xxii. Election Monitors and Observers
xxiii. Ensuring the Impartiality of Traditional Leaders
xxiv. Impartial Distribution of Food Aid
xxv. Strengthening the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee
xxvi. Special Courts of Violence
xxvii. Independent Prosecuting Authority
xxviii. Security Sector Realignment
1.4 The Party reaffirms its earlier resolutions that elections in
Zimbabwe cannot and will not be called for unilaterally by one person or one
party and that the election in Zimbabwe will not be date driven but process
1.5 The Party restates that the date for the next election will only be
determined after the fulfilment of all the conditions precedence defined in
the roadmap including;
1.6 The Party notes that any election which does not meet the above
conditions will be a sham election.
2. VIOLENCE AND CLOSURE OF DEMOCRATIC SPACE
2.1 DISTURBED by the continued closure of democratic space in Zimbabwe
characterised arbitrary and wanton arrests of MDC activists, the resurgence
of politically motivated violence against MDC members in Sanyati, Mbare,
Sunningdale and Zaka and the setting up of a base at Kasirisiri in Sanyati.
2.2 In addition, the Party notes that in March alone over 63 people were
arrested, assaulted or severely harassed by Zanu PF, its infamy Chipangano
hoodlums and its complicity criminal justice system.
2.3 DEEPLY CONCERNED by the continued unlawful and politically motivated
incarceration of the MDC Youth Assembly Chairperson Solomon Madzore,
National Executive Member Last Maengahama, Pheneas Nhatarikwa, Councillor
Tungamirai Madzokera, Yvonne Musarurwa, Rebecca Mafukeni, Lazarus
Maengahama, Stanford Maengahama, Stanford Mangwiro and others.
2.4 APPALLED by the racial statements by one Tendai Savanhu, the
political godfather of the Chipangano group that he intends to eliminate all
white people in Zimbabwe.
2.5 The Party therefore demands the immediate release of arrested cadres
and in any event demands the expeditious due process with regards to those
that have been arrested.
2.6 The MDC calls for the prosecution of all those responsible for
politically motivated violence in accordance with the Global Political
3. INDIGENIZATION AND EMPOWERMENT
3.1 AWARE of Zanu PF machinations of asset stripping, looting, patronage,
clientelism, corruption and self-aggrandizement euphemistically referred to
as indigenisation and empowerment.
3.2 AWARE of Zanu PF’s enthusiasm for destruction and its manoeuvres to
destroy the Zimbabwe economy through this programme of indigenization and
3.3 DISGUSTED by the Minister of Youth, Saviour Kasukuwere’s proclamation
in the public press on Thursday 5 April 2012 in which he announced that with
immediate effect, 51 percent of all shareholding in mining companies was now
vested with the State.
3.4 The Party boldly restates that Zanu PF’s programme does not comply
with its own laws and is based on patronage and clientelism, is not demand
driven and in any event is based on a narrow model of transferring shares to
a few black elite that can afford them and does not amount to genuine wealth
creation and distribution to poor people of Zimbabwe.
3.5 Furthermore, the MDC restates that Kasukuwere’s proclamation is null
and void and in total breach of the Constitution and that Zimbabwe and
Zimbabweans need jobs, investment and upliftment.
3.6 The Party therefore calls for the starting afresh of the whole
programme and the development of a genuine broad based upliftment programme
which balances the need to attract investment, grow the economy and create
4. DIAMONDS AND DIAMONDS REVENUE
4.1 The party notes with concern the day-light looting, robbery, thieving
and lack of transparency and
due process in the handling of diamonds and diamonds revenue at Chiadzwa.
4.2 The MDC demands that all concessions and mining rights should be
granted on the principle of transparency and openness involving public
auctioning or public tender processes to be carried out by an independent
4.3 That the current investors at Chiadzwa should comply with Zimbabwe’s
laws, in particular the Zimbabwe Investment Act and should make equity
investments and contributions to the State, failure of which their rights
should revert to the State.
4.4 That all income from Chiadzwa should be accounted for transparently
to the State to enable the same to attend to capital and recurrent
expenditure and in particular the adequate remuneration of civil servants
and the provision of drought mitigation grain.
5. SADC AND DIALOGUE IN ZIMBABWE
5.1 APPRECIATING the role of all SADC leaders in finding sustainable
solutions to the Zimbabwe crisis particularly President Zuma and his
Facilitation Team for remaining engaged with the crisis in Zimbabwe.
5.2 TAKING NOTE of SADC important resolutions on Zimbabwe reached in
Maputo, Livingstone, Sandton and Luanda.
5.3 However, the Party notes the slow pace of movement and urges SADC to
urgently appoint the three person committee from the SADC Organ Troika to
work with Jomic and also to ensure that dialogue on the roadmap is
5.4 The Party expresses its disappointment with the slow and the
non-implementation of the GPA, the post Maputo agreement and agreed portions
of the roadmap and the Review Document and urges the urgent creation of an
implementation and oversight mechanism, inside government and within SADC.
6. DROUGHT AND DROUGHT MITIGATION
6.1 NOTING the drought and lack of food emanating from poor and erratic
rainfall across Zimbabwe.
6.2 RECOGNIZING the existence of vulnerable people in the country in
particular in the communal areas and therefore accepts that Government must
support these vulnerable people.
6.3 DISTURBED by the slow pace in the distribution of food-aid, the
looting of the same by Cabinet Ministers and politicization of the
Government’s Grain Loan Scheme by Zanu PF in direct contradiction to the
dictates of the GPA.
6.4 The MDC calls on Government to issue a proclamation declaring drought
a State disaster to allow for the provision of food-aid to reduce
vulnerability in communities and households.
7. CONSOLING AND SALUTING THE PEOPLE OF MALAWI
7.1 DEEPLY SADDENEDby the untimely death of His Excellency President
Bingu Wa Mutharika.
7.2 RECALLING President Bingu Wa Mutharika’s wise counsel and remarkable
efforts in finding solutions to the Zimbabwe political crisis.
7.3 The MDC congratulates Her Excellency Madam Joyce Hilda Banda on her
ascension to the post of President of the Republic of Malawi and takes.
7.4 In this regard, the MDC joins SADC and the African Union in saluting
the people of Malawi for ensuring an orderly transition by adhering to the
Constitution particularly the army for not intervening in political
8. CONGRATULATING THE PEOPLE OF SENEGAL
8.1 RECALLING the recently held elections in Senegal which were conducted
in a free and fair manner.
8.2 The MDC congratulates the people of Senegal for conducting their
elections in a peaceful manner and salute former President Abdoulaye Wade
for graciously conceding defeat and ceding power peacefully ensuring an
8.3 The MDC congratulates His Excellency President Macky Sall on his
election as the president of Senegal and wish him and the Senegalese people
9. CONDEMNING THE COUP IN MALI
9.1 DISTURBEDby the unconstitutional removal of an elected government of
President Amadou Toumani Toure in Mali through a military coup by junior
soldiers led by one Captain Amadou Sanogo.
9.2 CONCERNED by the fact that military coups militate against democracy
and democratization, are a reversal of gains by the Africa Union to
inculcate a culture of democracy and development in Africa.
9.3 SALUTES the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
particularly President Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast for his leadership
and for acting swiftly to impose comprehensive sanctions on the military
junta and the latter’s decision to cede power.
The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!
MDC Information & Publicity Department
TAWANDA KAROMBO Apr 13 2012 11:14
Zimbabwe will no longer offer subsidised agricultural inputs to farmers as
the country, whose population is facing starvation following a dry 2011-2012
farming season, moves to grasp a market-based agricultural financing system
aimed at "cost recovery" and offsetting food insecurity.
Farmers and officials with links to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party
have previously benefited from free input and farming implement schemes
despite failing to guarantee Zimbabwe's food security. Movement for
Democratic Change officials and other groups accuse Zanu-PF of abusing the
provision of farming inputs and implements and using these as a tool to win
support from the country's rural population.
Joseph Made, the agriculture minister, said this week that the finance
ministry would make available an additional $5-million in a credit scheme
for farmers to access inputs. It would be run by the Commercial Bank of
Zimbabwe at a 3% concessionary interest rate. There is also an additional
$15-million, which has been carried over from the last summer cropping
season and will now be utilised for the winter cropping season.
"It is critical that the government should institute market-based support
mechanisms and in this regard agriculture financing strategies will be on
the basis of cost recovery with a view of establishing the revolving fund,"
He emphasised that the government, which has been accused by the Zimbabwe
Commercial Farmers' Union of failing to ensure food security in the country,
would "use carry-over agriculture inputs to the amount of $15-million" while
"the minister of finance undertakes to pay the outstanding obligations to
the companies relating to fertiliser and seed … $5-million is the new
injection the minister of finance is going to make".
Analysts told the Mail & Guardian this week that the new plan fell short of
sustainable measures because farmers would have to find working capital on
Economist Jeffrey Kasirori said the environment in Zimbabwe would make
access to working capital for farmers "hard to come by", because banks would
not advance loans without collateral with a matching value. He said the
government needed to support serious farmers and give them incentives to
Zimbabwe's agricultural sector is battling to get back to peak production
levels following the chaotic land reform that the then administration,
presided over by Mugabe and Zanu-PF, embarked on at the turn of the
millennium. It displaced several productive, mostly white, commercial
farmers. Instances of fresh displacements of the few remaining white farmers
have been reported recently, whereas the new black farmers are battling to
keep the farms in production.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said his ministry and that of Made were
finalising a "three-year agricultural rolling plan" that was important
because it "defines a clear road map in respect of how we finance
agriculture" and how to "deal with the issue of subsidies".
Zimbabwe's wheat production for 2011 was "a mere 12 000 tonnes" against the
country's requirement of 400 000 tonnes, Biti said, hence the move by the
ministries to boost production. But the government's new scheme is likely to
experience hurdles because it still owes manufacturers and producers of
agricultural inputs substantial amounts.
Said Biti: "We have to deal with the debt that we owe to the manufacturers
of fertiliser and seed."
The government owes $40-million to producers of fertiliser and seed and
about $20-million to the state-run Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.
Analysts said the government's domestic indebtedness, "whereby one
parastatal owes another", was crippling the economy. Biti, however, did not
outline how the government would offset this.
"As the ministry of finance, we are mobilising resources that will mitigate
domestic indebtedness to our local suppliers," was all he said.
The farmers would access inputs "at a cost price under a credit arrangement"
because the government wanted to avoid the "reselling of fertiliser" on the
parallel market, Made said.
Thu, 12 Apr 2012 12:55
By Anesu Machaba
Anesu Machaba, executive chairperson of Elah Capital
Economic recovery in Zimbabwe is important not only for the country's own
stability but for the stability of the SADC region. The Medium Term Plan is
Zimbabwe's economic blue print, which aims for substantial transformation of
the economy by 2015. Anesu Machaba, the executive chairperson of Elah
Capital, writes that agriculture may be the key to reviving Zimbabwe's
The objective of the "Invest in Zimbabwe Conference", which was held in
South Africa in March 2012, was to attract much-needed Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI) that would boost the country’s economy. The move seemed
appropriate considering South Africa is Zimbabwe's main trading partner,
however, whether or not (new), significant investment would flow from the
South African business community will only be apparent over time.
One of the recurring topics at the conference was the Medium Term Plan
(MTP), which spans the period from 2011-2015, and targets an average growth
rate of 7.1% over the same period. The goals of the MTP include economic
transformation, poverty reduction, job creation and the maintenance of a
stable macroeconomic environment. It is a strategic plan aimed at
stimulating the manufacturing and services sectors in order to be
competitive internationally. Akin to this is the creation of balanced
participation in all sectors of the economy by women, the youth and those
with disabilities. Further, the MTP addresses development in key sectors,
which include agriculture, manufacturing, mining, tourism, and finance,
which will be largely private sector-led.
With approximately US$9.2-billion required for the complete and successful
implementation of the the MTP the country's natural resources and growth
dividend will be leveraged with FDI, private sector credit lines and Public
Private Partnerships (PPPs) being a supplement. All this being hinged on a
need for good governance and a robust infrastructure: with precedence being
placed on energy, water and sanitation, transport, housing and construction,
information communication and technology (ICTs), science, technology and
innovation and SME infrastructure.
Agribusiness – the growth catalyst
Zimbabwe implemented similar five-year plans in the past namely the Economic
Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP) in 1991 and the Zimbabwe Program for
Economic and Social Transformation (ZIMPREST) in 1998. Both the
aforementioned programs did not realise the success which the planners had
intended so the question in business circles is 'what makes the MTP
Since 1980, the manufacturing sector led economic growth in Zimbabwe with a
20% contribution to GDP on average. The decline of manufacturing in 2006
left agriculture as the leading sector with a 17% contribution to GDP
compared to manufacturing at 15% GDP contribution in the same period. Given
the past success and future promise of agribusiness in Zimbabwe, a concerted
focus on this single sector by the people of Zimbabwe presents the best
opportunity for realising the economic growth and social transformation
envisioned by the MTP.
While it can be said that the eventual development of all the economic
sectors is crucial to a balanced and vibrant economy, the short period
designated to the MTP does not fully allow for the achievement of all the
forecasted growth targets in the chosen sectors. Another major concern is
the funding, which is required to implement the MTP successfully. While
Zimbabwe is undoubtedly one of the wealthiest countries in Africa in terms
of mineral resources, the reality is that you need to be able to extract
these minerals to realise this wealth – a capital-intensive process by
itself. It is in light of this fact that FDI should have been presented as
the major source of capital for the MTP, as opposed to a mere "bonus".
The current gold price would ordinarily present a great opportunity for
Zimbabwe to fully utilise its resource strength. However, given the lack of
capital, it is doubtful whether there will be increased participation in
this area. The skills shortage in Zimbabwe also represents a notable threat
to the development of the financial and manufacturing sectors. While
Zimbabwe has an educated and dedicated workforce, the slow growth in the
economy has not allowed for the acquisition and development of the necessary
skills needed to make the country competitive in the ever-evolving global
economy. Development of skills will need to be addressed sufficiently.
Historically agriculture has formed the backbone of leading economies and as
these economies have grown, development of other sectors has followed. A
country's true wealth should be measured by its ability to feed its people –
in Zimbabwe, this has proven to be a challenge. Opponents of focusing on
agriculture as a solution for realising the growth envisioned by the MTP
dismiss it as an archaic strategy that falls short of the fast-paced
technological advances most leading economies are making. However, we have
to be practical. To turn an entire country's economy around in five years,
and on the backdrop of a global recession, requires a return to the basics
and the ability to manage and leverage resources in a way that is
sustainable. The debt crisis in Zimbabwe cannot be ignored, and is being
addressed. Given this fact, the country has to learn to do more with less in
order to reap big rewards for good intentions.
Zimbabwe is blessed with good soils and a climate very well suited to crop
production, which means very little capital must be injected into the areas
of soil preparation and seed adaptation. However, irrigation may require
innovative methods to ensure that water is better managed and agricultural
implements will have to be sourced. Infrastructure development presents the
greatest cost and is addressed in the MTP. Much of the skilled labour needed
to farm the land is still in the country, most in the informal sector. Such
a skills base can be reorganised into SMEs with women, the youth and those
with disabilities given an opportunity to participate. It is already common
cause that much of the farming done in Africa is attributed to women and
SMEs are often the biggest job creators. It can thus be argued that the
combination of these factors provides the recipe for success.
Agroprocessing represents the second phase of development in this proposed
strategy; where primary agricultural products are transformed in the
manufacturing process, thus adding further value to the product, which
results in a higher profit margin upon export.
In reaching it's agricultural and agroprocessing targets Zimbabwe could
learn a great deal from Israel which has managed to thrive in these sectors
despite its harsh climate and less fertile soils. One assurance that
agriculture and agroprocessing can give is that the demand for food is
always constant. Given the current and future requirements for food across
the African continent, Zimbabwe's success in agriculture and agroprocessing
can also become a solution for the entire continent. Further, it can be
mentioned that where investment is directed towards basic human needs it's
easier to motivate.
Elah Capital is a private pan-African investment firm with interests in
mining, real estate, construction, telecoms and agribusiness. The firm
focuses on creating shareholder wealth and adding value to the communities
in which it operates.
Following last year’s split in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma hosts Part 2 of a debate between rival Presidents Lovemore Matombo and George Nkiwane. Both explain why the ZCTU split and what it would take to unite the two factions. They also answered questions from SW Radio Africa listeners.
Interview broadcast 04 April 2012
Lance Guma: Good evening Zimbabwe and thank you for joining me on Question Time. Tonight we have Part Two of the debate between the two rival factions of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, ZCTU.
Last week on Part One we pitted the rival presidents Lovemore Matombo and George Nkiwane and tonight you’ll be hearing the continuation of that debate. Okay, quick question for you Mr Matombo – several listeners have picked this up from many press reports – it’s claimed the ZCTU’s Book of Accounts has US$720 000 deficit and people have questions on that – what happened?
Lovemore Matombo: Well on that issue really I think, Mr Nkiwane is the person who should be able to answer that because I’ll tell you the truth that from 2006, I only signed ZCTU cheques on three occasions, just three occasions were in fact cheques were signed on daily basis since 2006 and I have no knowledge whatsoever but perhaps it’s because I was so, I wouldn’t know but, there are so many things.
I said to you earlier on, that if we were to discuss deeper about this issue, it could paint other people’s faces but we don’t want to do that. We all live once and I don’t think it’s good to give a bad picture about other people and I have tried over the years to avoid any form of confrontation up until this time but the 700 and something I think, Nkiwane’s quite clear about how it was spent and so on and so forth. And of course it’s climbing so we hear but I think he’s in a better position to explain about that.
Guma: Okay Mr Nkiwane, over to you. Would you like to react to that?
George Nkiwane: (laughs) I’ll definitely attempt to respond to that but it’s not a question of me having the knowledge as to how it was used but the question is rather of having the accounting knowledge and that deficit is a result of so many or several factors but in our case, the major, major area that affected us so much was the projects which came to an end whilst the employees were employed permanently by the ZCTU.
If one was to analyse the deficit you will see that it is through the salary deal that incurred such a deficit. And the 700 remember, is not for one year, it’s a cumulative effect for several years, I think there might be two, three years that has resulted in that deficit. But the analysis that I made was it came through the salary deal, it was so huge because of the projects that we had and as the ZCTU had absorbed the majority of the projects employees who were supposed to be working on contract, they were all employed permanently, therefore it means the General Council, the major accounts of the ZCTU which has this huge deficit was to be bear now the expenses of the salary deal of those employees.
Guma: Okay, let’s quickly move onto another issue, in a recent article the Secretary General of your faction Mr Matombo, Mr Raymond Majongwe is quoted as saying the split in the ZCTU is a battle of personalities. Would you agree with that assessment?
Matombo: Yes well it could be personalities. I mean people have got different views, it could be personalities but it could also be certain issues. i.e. you know if we were to discuss about the financial position of ZCTU and how the salaries that Nkiwane is talking about, if we were to examine that clearly and put in place the necessary investigations, the outcome would not be good.
Of course even some of us who were in the leadership would not be exonerated because we were supposed to give an audit on those issues (inaudible) so ultimately, it’s clear the split itself was about personalities in that certain individuals wanted protection by certain individuals, that’s how the personality aspect comes in.
Guma: Okay, Mr Nkiwane would you agree with that assessment – battle of personalities? What’s your take?
Nkiwane: As for me really it is very difficult to subscribe to that line of thinking because I don’t know which personalities now because if it’s me and Mr Matombo, I’ve no grudge, I’ve nothing against him. I don’t know which personalities but the truth is when we have people who were supposed to attend the Congress and having noticed that they could not make it in terms of the support base.
I heard my brother Mr Matombo saying he has support of eight unions and in terms of numbers, they have the largest, I mean the most representatives, I don’t think that’s correct. I think we need to state the obvious, just the truth – the ZCTU that I lead is the largest, has the biggest number of membership and it’s known, it’s only that we are discussing through the phone;
If we were to come up with a document and say look at these numbers, these are our affiliates and this is the membership, it’s so clear, it’s so clear and anybody, anyone who is doubting what I am saying is free like I said to come to the office and view it all. The facts are there for all to see. Therefore this being a battle of personalities, for me I thought we were not supposed to have arrived at the situation that we are in as the labour movement in Zimbabwe and conscious of our class.
Because the truth was whatever the problems we had as an organization, we were supposed to sit down, discuss these issues, iron them out and then fight the struggle together as the working class, conscious of our class but because we allowed ourselves to split, this is a dent to the labour movement and it might lead to the weakening of the labour movement in Zimbabwe and is very unfortunate.
Guma: Yes, some will say the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union, ZINASU, riven by factionalism for several years and last year the ZCTU joined and went into that boat so the two critical organizations in terms of mass mobilizations, ZINASU, ZCTU, riven by factionalism. You’ve been in the trenches for very long both of you – I’ll start with you Mr Matombo, how do you feel about being in this situation, given how people look up to these two organizations – ZINASU and ZCTU?
Matombo: Well in fact at our Congress I did give a report and the report was debated; the General Council gave a report and they all agreed, we all agreed that we should give unity a chance. We said our executive should not be a hindrance should the need for unity arise.
We are quite conscious of the fact that without a united ZCTU, the entire working class is sold out completely, the democratic movement is sold out completely and that if there is such a unity, why should, if these are not personality issues why can’t we have that unity between these two factions if they do exist? Why can’t we have unity?
In fact any form of unity should not be seen in light of GNU, it should be a genuine unity where people would go to Congress, conditions and standards to measure the process, the electoral process should be put in place not as members-only type of Congress, members-only type of Congress. Anyone who is not a member will not attend and that is how we are supposed to do it.
So really the issue for unity cannot be over emphasized. In fact even with the students we are trying to push, to discuss with them and encourage them to make sure that they come up with a united front because this environment requires unity and unity for all. (inaudible) as long as electoral process is free and fair, it’s just to be free and fair and not have the practice of free and fair elections, let’s avoid fraud, fraud, fraud no.
Guma: Mr Nkiwane, your reaction to that – how feasible is it to have a reunification of sorts?
Nkiwane: We have said this and I also said it in my inaugural speech and today we are still saying our doors are wide open. If there is that idea that people that we can work together we are open to that and we will accept them into our fold but the most difficult thing my brother that I foresee here is that the positions that might be put before us because our position is very, very clear that we cannot change the outcome of the Congress but we will not block those who would want to work with us.
And unity, its true; we have to be united as the labour movement. You cannot, not only the labour movement, you cannot separate the struggle of the students from the struggle of the workers because it’s like separating the children from their parents and that one, you cannot do that. We have to fight together and we have to be united; be it the ZCTU itself has to unite the workers of Zimbabwe must be united and our children the students, must be united.
Guma: Now if the allegation is that 52% of the delegates were not genuine, why not just have a fresh Congress and eliminate all those complaints Mr Nkiwane?
Nkiwane: My brother that one would require an independent auditor to come and verify that because to our understanding the dispute and the issue was based on four unions and I don’t know whether if we were to group those four unions they would constitute 52% of the delegates to that Congress – no – that’s not the true picture of what happened.
The facts are there like I said on the ground for all to see. The dispute and it was a result by the General Council because they have rules, regulations and procedures that are contained in our constitution as to how we resolve issues if we have a dispute within the General Council it was decided by the General Council by way of dividing the house in that particular meeting which was chaired by Mr Matombo, and the votes were 25 against proceeding to the Congress with the result as they were and then four against plus one abstention.
So I mean in terms of the rules and procedures of our constitution, they were followed, they were not even flawed and therefore it is our contention as the ZCTU, that of course it’s not proper and it’s a dent to the working people of Zimbabwe that we came to the situation that we are in. There is need really to unite but it is the conditions upon which we are to table before each other so as to make sure, to discuss that unity.
Guma: Mr Matombo?
Matombo: Yes I think what Mr Nkiwane is saying is that if there is any unity; the unity that anyone else who would want to join Mr Nkiwane that’s precisely what he is saying. In fact I’ve made an overture myself and I met the Japhet Moyo on three occasions telling him that what we need to do at this stage is to unite the workers of Zimbabwe.
We all know, even Mr Nkiwane is quite aware about the fraudulent activities that we’re talking about, it’s not that he doesn’t understand that, he knows that and this is why they’re saying we cannot have fresh elections. The reason they are refusing fresh elections is that they may not be sure with that they will be returned.
But I wanted to say to them for the benefit of the working people of Zimbabwe, you, some of you will be returned and of course some of you will not be returned. What is important is to have an election, not a GNU, a Congress a lets arrange a Congress and we invite either a firm of auditors, they are the ones who can determine whether the level of membership for each and every union and that’s all we want from our side, free and fair elections, that’s all we want.
We go there, whoever is elected is elected. If we feel that our unity should be unite what we can do is to negotiate and those people get into positions and they lead the ZCTU. We don’t want to live with a divided ZCTU. And for those people who want to live under a divided ZCTU perhaps they have something to benefit.
So any form of unity that we are supposed to talk about it’s a unity where the two factions have to go to a Congress. A Congress where the delegates have been verified by an independent firm of auditors or lawyers and then we will finish the whole process. Let’s not even be ambiguous, I don’t want us to be ambiguous.
Ours very clear, we have said we will not stand on the way of unity, let’s have that free and fair election and once we do that, we will have a ZCTU that is strong and whatever we are going to say on the national politics and national elections will be listened to, but at the moment I don’t think we can talk about democracy in elections when we in the ZCTU cannot even practice the very basic needs of democratic elections. That’s what we are merely saying on our side.
Guma: Mr Nkiwane, if holding a fresh Congress will help the process towards unity, why not do that?
Nkiwane: I’ve no problem with that my brother and this intimation that we are afraid to lose these positions, I mean it’s not about positions but the question of principle. There is a trend now that has developed in Zimbabwe that if people notice that they will not be elected they will maybe move away from the organization, claim to be the authentic leadership of that particular organization – look at what happened to the MDC, look at what has happened to the ZCTU, look at what happened in ZINASU.
They claim to be the real leadership, the authentic leadership of that particular organization and it’s a trend that has developed and is creeping into our organizations in our society in Zimbabwe so it’s something that we have to deal with.
Going back to the elections like in your question my brother, I mean there’s nothing, we don’t fear anything, we can go to the elections anytime provided the General Council of the ZCTU says that we have to reorganize, we discuss these issues, call for an extraordinary Congress or a Congress proper, that is all up to the policy making body of the ZCTU in between Congresses. We have no problem with that if that is the way to go.
Guma: Okay one final question for both of you – this is a recommendation from Raymond Majongwe, I’ve just been reading that in one of the newspapers, he’s suggesting a mediation process, superintended by an eminent power broker like Lovemore Madhuku or someone from the Churches. What do you make of that Mr Matombo?
Matombo: Lance, let me say once more – our position is very unambiguous. We are not complicated, neither do we want to complicate any unity process. We have understood where we came from as ZCTU, we have understood how we have lived in this country. We have lived under authoritarian systems in this country and I know what it means to be ambiguous, to be impossible, to be impractical.
This ZCTU you are talking about is not like that, we are saying we are open to anybody as long as it brings genuine unity. We need unity in the ZCTU, it has to be genuine and in fact we have to practice what we speak, that’s it we have no problem whatsoever.
Guma: Okay final word to Mr Nkiwane to close the programme – just final thoughts.
Nkiwane: Okay on the last question?
Nkiwane: Okay we have no problem if there is this idea that we should unite, we have no problem, let’s have that and any person who might try to bring the two organizations together, we have no problem in that. We might have problems in terms of the conditions that might be laid before us but in terms of uniting, having a united labour movement in Zimbabwe, that one is the way to go.
As to the how that, those are the things that might be discussed, as we move on, as we look into this feud and so we have no qualms whatsoever in having someone trying to mediate, we welcome that, we have no problems with that.
Guma: Well Zimbabwe that has been Question Time where we had the two rival presidents from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, that’s Mr Lovemore Matombo and Mr George Nkiwane and we commend them for having a mature debate right here on SW Radio Africa. To both of you, thank you for your time.
Matombo/Nkiwane: Thank you Lance.
To listen to the programme:
JASON MOYO HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Apr 13 2012 00:00
April 13th, 2012
[Part of the Zimbabwe Land Series]
By Mandivamba Rukuni
“..1953-58 was a period of hope for those whites who recognised that, in the long term, safety and progress for all depended upon a sharing of political power – theirs for the time being – with an ever-increasing number of blacks..”. Garfield Todd in foreword to book by Hardwick Holderness (1985). “Lost Chance- Southern Rhodesia 1945-58” ZPH.Introduction
In this article I take a 60 year historical perspective (2012-1952) of hindsight to discuss the lost opportunities to de-racialise and resolve the land issue. This article is the second of 12 instalments, concluding the introductory and historical context to the series.The historical thesis
In this article I offer additional insight beyond the popular theses as to how Zimbabwe eventually ended up with the fast-track land reform programme. By adding the contentious component of ‘race’ to my thesis, I hope to persuade the reader on the need for Zimbabwean society to address this issue head-on and openly, if we are to improve prospects for stability and prosperity moving forward. On the land issue, race is by no means the whole story, yet race accounts for the greater part of decades of tensions as well as ‘cat-and-mouse’ games within the greater scheme of local and global politics.
This essentially is the premise of my historical treatise of Zimbabwe’s land issue as elaborated in this article. Trying to base solutions to Zimbabwe’s land issue sorely on the recent fast-track land reform alone is not sufficient.
I have divided the article into 3 discussion periods:
When liberal ‘white’ politics of the 1950s gave way to ‘conservative’ white politics of the 1960s, this led to the political constant throughout the interim period, symbolized by ‘black nationalists’ on one hand and ‘white farmers’ on the other – as the political elites so to speak – and the two became mortal political enemies. This rivalry has been playing itself out since then and continues to do so today. Essentially, each has been poised to take the other out at any opportunity, be it the armed struggle for independence, or the evolving party-political dynamics of recent times.
Much has been written about this period, and my own favourite is the book by Holderness cited above. The period 1953 to 1958 experienced the most ‘liberal’ white government during Garfield Todd’s reign as Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia. Holderness argues that Zimbabwe then had a firm ground for establishing a stable ‘multi-racial’ society. The challenge of transformation was in managing the pace of change. Todd was perceived as too fast in embracing blacks and in unravelling the racial laws and infrastructure, and the white electorate un-seated him in 1958 ushering in Edgar Whitehead. Of the ‘apartheid’ infrastructure that Todd and his supporters had started dismantling included: the Land Apportionment Act (LAA) of 1930 which segregated the races. He also targeted the racial labour, industrial, educational and electoral laws. The white electorate, by electing Whitehead, it seems, wished to slow down the pace. But there was a further white backlash as the Rhodesia Front (RF) party was established and won elections in 1962 on the promise to halt all these reforms. And the RF, in the minds of black nationalists, was essentially the conservative white farmers and, regrettably, the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) and its previous formulations were perceived as a proxy of the RF.
I am old enough to remember how my parents engaged these issues of the 1950s. I am also young enough to perceive the continuity of national events up to today into one trajectory. It has been one long attempt to transform from long periods of an apartheid society (1890-1950) to what initially in the 1950’s was referred to as ‘multi-racial’ society. Today we refer to an inclusive and caring democratic society which protects rights of minority groups.
The main tool used by Todd was the parliamentary Select Committees. In the mid-1950s, a Select Committee on Land was established in order to dismantle the racial land laws. The committee recommended that all unallocated European land be designated Special Areas and to be settled by people of any race. For the period leading up to the ushering in of the RF to power, blacks where settled in the Special Areas. The RF abolished the programme, restored the LAA, and removed all blacks settled in the Special Areas without compensation. The RF froze all other similar reforms. This is the point at which the Black Nationalist movement started gravitating towards radical action. After UDI in 1965 both ZANU and ZAPU started crafting the armed liberation struggle, taking a very pointed turn from the nationalist philosophy of “one-man-one vote” to a struggle to “liberate the land”.
While I don’t imply that the transformation was going to be easier if the white liberals had succeeded in the 1950s, what I can point to is the great affinity and common ground of shared values between the black elites and the white liberals then. In other words a black/white united middle class was a real possibility. Whether or not that would have evolved to transcend major class conflicts I cannot say. One has to appreciate, however, that the black elites that were held in high regard by white liberals in the 1950s included Hebert Chitepo, Leopold Takawira, and many others who went on to lead the military armed struggle. This underscores the radical transformation of these nationalists in the wake of the RF agenda.The Lost opportunity in 1980-2010
With benefit of hindsight, one could argue that at independence in 1980, what was coined as ‘reconciliation’ was really more of a ‘truce’ between the two mortal enemies. The only change in that scene was the swap in power positions – with the black political elite assuming State power from the out-going political elite of white farmers. This truce or ‘accommodating each other’ ran out of steam as the two camps drifted further apart in the wake of more recent multi-party politics. The negotiated Lancaster House agreement was essentially to ‘put the guns down’ and reconstruct society through dialogue and constructive engagement. With hindsight, I think Mugabe and his team expected white farmers to stay out of politics and confine themselves to farming and making money! The white farmers, on the other hand, expected the political freedom to resume opposition politics; moreover the two camps never shared a common vision of the future. The only brief period when black and white political elites shared such a vision was in the mid-1950s as I discussed earlier.
To explain the fast track land reform programme in terms of Mugabe looting land for his ‘cronies’ is therefore a paradigm that misses a bigger point. I would say that once the political ‘truce’ was thrown out on Mugabe’s part, he immediately set to take out the white farmers before they took him out. In terms of cold-blooded political strategy, the fast track would quickly dilute the white farmers’ economic, social and political power base. Paying out ‘cronies’ with land, in my opinion, was a collateral and secondary issue, and does not adequately explain the evolution of the land issue. Neither is that thesis fully collaborated by relative amounts of land allocated to ‘cronies’ vis-à-vis’ ordinary and poor Zimbabweans. The white farmers, on their part and in response, built their strategy around opposition politics as well as support from a powerful and sympathetic international community. With the ascendance of the MDC into the GNU in 2009 on the back of the GPA, this brought in new black political elite, seated variously in between the old rivalries and adding to the definition of the current situation and prospects moving forward.
So the period 1980 to 2010 was another missed opportunity to resolve the race issue around land. By 1985, at least one important puzzle was answered — being evidence that smallholder farming can contribute significantly to overall economic development as small farmers outstripped large farmers in maize and cotton production and marketing. This meant therefore that both smallholder black farmers and large scale white farmers had a major complementary role to play in national economic development as long as the economic policies were conducive and as long as appropriate public sector investments into agriculture were maintained. The second missed opportunity was in the slowing down of the land reform programme after 1985. I did argue, as Chair of the Land Tenure Commission (1993/4), that it was more beneficial to have a slow but continuous land reform programme than a ‘start-and-stop’ approach. Thirdly and as part of that Commission we invested time with all key governmental departments and the CFU levels at provincial and national levels. To my disappointment, neither the Government nor the CFU could articulate a long term vision and strategy for transforming an agrarian base of society and economy into a post agrarian industrial society.
Specifically the Commission engaged the CFU Council in 1994 requesting options for a land reform programme in the event that Government went ahead with its plan to acquire an additional 5 million hectares from them. The response was that the CFU farmers retain access to remaining productive land ‘so as to feed the nation’ and preferably in contiguous lots to maintain social networks. I then made an observation and proposition. The observation was based on a study by a retired visiting German professor in my Department of Land Management at the University of Zimbabwe in the mid-1980s. The study noted poor racial integration and concluded that the social cohesion of 5,000 white farmers doted all over the country was not sustainable and their social networks based on country clubs would crash if numbers continued to dwindle. My question to the CFU then was the possibility of a self-accelerated land redistribution – creating small and medium sized farms most of which would be settled by commercial black farmers. And if we ended up with say 30,000 of these, surely the number of white farmers could actually be maintained at about 4-5,000 or even possibly increase to say 6-7000. Moreover, we would craft a broader and more viable integrated rural middle class, as opposed to a few thousand white ‘landed-gentry’ with no real integration. The CFU response was that this was idealistic and not practical. I cannot assume that my idea was viable, but I still struggle to foresee the future ideal Zimbabwean society without a more serious level of racial integration.
The mortal enemies therefore kept the window open for further clashes in the period under discussion and history led us into the fast track land reform programme. I believe that the 2 missed opportunities are a form of history repeating itself. Life happens. History unfolds. It will be more rewarding moving forward, however, to create a new progressive history out of the old.The Last (but not yet lost) Opportunity (2010-2040)
I will touch briefly on the next 30 years since I will cover this in a later article. The period 2010 to 2020 therefore, and based on my thesis, represents the last opportunity to resolve this rivalry once and for all, and for the nation to evolve from the 60 year period of land politics, to post-agrarian political dimensions. Essential dialogue between Zimbabwe’s black political elite and white farmers has to start in earnest. That is the dialogue that represents real national leadership. The international community is an essential component of the discourse, of course, but they need to be guided by the national engagement. I dare say that the nature and quality of discourse between the Africa Union and the International Community on Zimbabwe’s land issue can also be characterized by the same ‘cat and mouse’ indirect engagement as each side avoids the real contentious issue of race and colonial legacy. I will delve into the current activities and possibilities for the future in subsequent articles.
Rights reserved: Please credit the author of this paper, and Sokwanele, as the original source for all material republished on other websites unless otherwise specified. Please provide a link back to http://www.sokwanele.com
This article can be cited in other publications as follows: Rukuni, M. (2012) ‘Land as a ‘racial’ issue and the lost opportunities to resolve the matter’, 13 April, Zimbabwe land Series, Sokwanele: http://www.sokwanele.com/node/2371