Friday, 20 April 2012 09:08
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s viability as the Zanu PF presidential candidate in
the next crucial elections he desperately wants this year is increasingly
becoming risky due to a combination of growing infirmity, old age and
intensifying factionalism, fuelled by succession battles.
While Mugabe (pictured) and his loyalists insist he is as “fit as a fiddle”
amid growing fears of health failures and complications associated with old
age, evidence Mugabe is struggling mounted this week.
On Wednesday he almost fell at the National Sports stadium during the
Independence Day celebrations, suggesting infirmity and age are fast
catching up with him.
Although Mugabe managed to stand for about one-and-a-half hours, inspecting
the guard of honour, and watching it march past in slow and quick motion
before delivering his address, he almost slipped and fell backwards while
going onto the saluting dais, but was swiftly rescued by one of his aides.
The incident seemed to confirm reports his close security unit has now been
ordered to always stick with him and be on alert, especially going up steps.
It is now generally accepted in Zanu PF that if elections are to be held
next year, it would not be practical or reasonable to field Mugabe as a
candidate due to his advanced age and frailty, hence his hysterical demands
elections this year, with or without a new constitution.
However, Mugabe’s candidacy is not only dogged by ill-health and old age. It
is also beset by growing factionalism, fuelled by escalating power struggles
within Zanu PF.
Senior party officials are now publicly tackling factionalism and
succession, showing the situation is spinning out of control. In the past,
openly talking about these issues was almost taboo in Zanu PF.
However, it is now becoming commonplace to hear senior Zanu PF officials
talk about factionalism and succession battles centred around rival camps
led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
After he was unexpectedly attacked last week by party administration
secretary Didymus Mutasa over reports he was going to replace Mugabe who was
rumoured “critically ill” while in Singapore recently, Mnangagwa hit back
yesterday, saying “mentally-deranged people” were behind stories about his
“I’m surprised as you. I also read these rumours in the papers. There is no
such thing and these are efforts of detractors bent on causing alarm and
chaos among the authorities, both in Zanu PF and the government,” he said
during a public lecture at Midlands State University in Gweru. “There
fortunate thing is that we are so mature to be distracted by such
mentally-deranged people. I, therefore, rest my case.”
Mutasa, more aligned to the Mujuru faction, last week provided the clearest
indication yet that Mugabe’s succession battle is heightening ahead of
elections when he said Mnangagwa would not replace Mugabe. “We have a
hierarchy that we follow as a party; Mai (Mrs) Mujuru is better placed (to
succeed Mugabe) as well as (co-vice-president) John Nkomo and even (Simon
Khaya) SK Moyo (party chairman),” Mutasa said. “These are the people who can
take over today. Whoever is funding this succession agenda has a wrong
motive and should not be allowed to continue doing so.”
Mutasa’s comments exposed growing fissures within the Zanu PF hierarchy over
the issue. Earlier this week senior Zanu PF politburo member and party
strategist, Jonathan Moyo, currently a Mugabe diehard, slammed factional
leaders, lamenting the “ugly dynamics of factionalism” in the party.
“When all is said and done, the most critical failure of the nationalist
movement in Zimbabwe today is the rise of factionalism to its current
shocking levels. While this has been bad enough, what has made it
particularly worse is that the type of factionalism which has taken root
within our nationalist movement is content free in ideological and policy
terms,” Moyo said. “This is terrible because when factionalism has no
ideological or policy content it means it is only a personal project of an
individual with no public or national purpose of value and invariably ends
up becoming private, tribal or regional.”
Moyo warned Zanu PF’s “Generation 40” to be “vigilant against being trapped
by content-free factionalists in pursuit of patronage which of late is being
peddled under the cover of succession politics”.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo last night confirmed factionalism was
intensifying in his party, saying there was an urgent need to step the
“Yes there have been complaints and petitions from all over the provinces,
but we don’t have a position as a party. We will meet as the politburo and
the political commissar will present a report to enable us deal with the
complaints,” he said.
“We are having DCC elections and we have issues in Mashonaland Central,
Manicaland and Midlands and other provinces, so we will look at all those
Gumbo said the factionalism would not necessarily undermine Mugabe and Zanu
PF during elections. “In the final analysis, we will come together. We are
like wounded lions, when we are under attack we will come together,” he
While Mugabe addressed Independence Day celebrations appearing well,
speculation on the president’s health has however not died down. Although
Mugabe did not personally seek to reassure people he was fit, some hired
youths tried to. As he walked into the stadium a section of youths who were
seated next to the VIP section and members of Mbare Chimurenga Choir sang
in Shona: “Havamborwarakunyeperana (He is not sick, that’s a lie), Vakasimba
Gushongo … (Mugabe is very fit).”
However, Mugabe’s misstep almost spoiled the party for him. A Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation camera person captured part of the incident beamed
live, but the camera was deliberately shifted focus away from him, while the
vision mixer moved in to change the picture.
Mugabe read his speech for 50 minutes but it was evident that his energy and
oratorical skills had waned. He spoke slowly and his speech was rather
Although Mugabe, who has been in power since Independence in 1980 wants
another five–year term, many people in Zanu PF now fear he will not be a
Reports say Mugabe ran for office in 2008 against the advice of his personal
doctor who feared he would not sustain rigorous campaigning.
Now four years on, infirmity and old age seem to be slowing him down and
this, coupled with factionalism and fights over succession, seems to be
making his candidacy unviable and risky.
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:06
FACTIONALISM within Zanu PF structures is intensifying and spreading like
veld fire across provinces, with the latest infighting erupting in Masvingo
Zanu PF provincial offices in Masvingo town were closed yesterday by party
supporters protesting against imposition of candidates in the District
Coordinating Committees (DCCs) elctions on factional lines, and vote buying.
This comes soon after demonstrations in Manicaland where hundreds of
disgruntled party supporters protested the way last month’s DCC elections
were conducted, alleging massive rigging, imposition of candidates, a fake
voters’ roll and disputed results.
To end the protests, Zanu chair Simon Khaya Moyo and political commissar
Webster Shamu were forced to address the demonstrators on Tuesday. They were
given a two-week ultimatum to dissolve the provincial executive, failure of
which protests would resume. Protestors are demanding the ouster of
provincial chairperson Mike Madiro who presided over the elections. The
clashes have widened the rift between two rival factions in the party, one
led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and another by Defence minister Emmerson
Earlier this week, Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo described
factionalism as “the cancerous scourge” affecting the party. Masvingo
provincial leaders last night said they planned protests over the
imposition of candidates by the provincial leadership.
“Party members have closed the provincial party offices in protest against
the mismanagement of DCCs, personalising the party, the party being run from
people’s homes and abuse of money to buy votes,” said one provincial leader.
“There is a big demo in the offing. How can we win elections when the house
is divided and fighting against itself? It will collapse.”
Zanu PF lost in Masvingo and was defeated in the 2008 polls.
In Matabeleland, problems bedeviling Zanu PF Bulawayo province are far from
over after Shamu’s visit at the weekend failed to resolve the contentious
issue of provincial chairman Isaac Dakamel suspended almost three weeks ago
on allegations of corruption and insubordination. Insiders said Shamu
visited the party headquarters with the intention of re-instating Dakamela
who was replaced by Killian Sibanda, but his bid was foiled by influential
politburo members including Angeline Masuku and Joshua Malinga. Zanu PF
infighting is fuelled by succession.
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:30
WHEN the MDC signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in September 2008,
resulting in its leader Morgan Tsvangirai assuming the post of prime
minister, the party was under the discernible impression he would wield
substantial power within the unity government.
That was why at the beginning the MDC strenuously claimed Tsvangirai was
head of government even though he did not chair cabinet, an assertion proved
wrong by the passage of time. A head of government by definition chairs
While Tsvangirai hoped for genuine power-sharing, President Robert Mugabe
and his loyalists strategically ring-fenced the levers of state power,
resulting in the prime minister’s post becoming largely a ceremonial one.
Some senior MDC officials, particularly Roy Bennett, have since acknowledged
this, lamenting Tsvangirai is just a lame duck.
At the beginning it was assumed if Tsvangirai controlled the Council of
Ministers he would exercise influence over government, especially given the
initial impression that he would also chair cabinet in Mugabe’s absence
since he is the deputy. However, a battle later erupted over that and Mugabe
prevailed, in a move which showed the power relations in government were in
favour of Zanu PF.
On the face of it, the GPA, and Council of Ministers in particular, gave
Tsvangirai substantial executive power and potential influence, depending on
how he would practically handle the situation.
Article 20.1.5 of the GPA which deals with the function and role of the
prime minister defines his responsibilities. It says the prime minister,
who chairs the Council of Ministers, has the responsibility to oversee the
implementation of cabinet decisions, receive briefings from cabinet
committees and make progress reports to cabinet on matters of implementation
of cabinet decisions.
The prime minister also has to attend to matters of coordination in the
government, receive and consider reports from the committee responsible for
the periodic review mechanism and to make progress reports to cabinet on
matters related to the periodic review mechanism.
However, due his limited influence, the Council of Ministers has become a
partisan talking shop routinely boycotted by Zanu PF ministers whose
statements in the media sometimes show open contempt for the prime minister.
It has become unproductive, bureaucratic and self-serving and so lacks
respect and power. In short, it has degenerated into a debating society.
The Council of Ministers, which consists of all the cabinet ministers and
chaired by Tsvangirai, was designed to ensure the prime minister properly
discharges his responsibilities to oversee the implementation of the work of
Its functions include, among other things, assessing the implementation of
cabinet decisions, assisting the prime minister to attend to matters of
coordination in the government, enabling the premier to receive briefings
from cabinet committees, and making progress reports to cabinet on matters
of implementation of decisions.
However, following the recent boycott of a special Council of Ministers’
meeting on indigenisation by Zanu PF cabinet ministers, analysts say this
effectively confirmed Tsvangirai has no control in government.
According to the state media, Zanu PF ministers were said to have avoided
the meeting, arguing Tsvangirai wanted to take advantage of Mugabe’s absence
to chair cabinet through the back door.
Political analyst Gladys Hlatshwayo said the Council of Ministers was an
important forum, but was crippled by power struggles in the inclusive
government. “The issue really is not whether the Council of Ministers is an
important platform or not,” Hlatshwayo said. “Even if Tsvangirai was to
chair cabinet it was going to be the same. The main issue is about parties
and personalities and their attitude towards the inclusive government.”
“Zanu PF is a disruptive party which does not follow procedures, especially
anything that seems to give Tsvangirai power. They would want to throw
spanners in the works. If it was Mugabe who was heading this Council of
Ministers they would all take it seriously. They just don’t want Tsvangirai.
In the end it’s a power game.”
Other analysts say the disabling of the Council of Ministers reflects the
power relations between Zanu PF and the MDC. The balance of power favours
Zanu PF and hence Mugabe more than the MDC and Tsvangirai.
In a letter to Mugabe on February 5 providing his own assessment of the GPA,
Tsvangirai described Zanu PF ministers’ boycott of the Council of Ministers
meeting as “a disturbing trend”, adding this was “derailing the
implementation of the GWP (Government Works Programme)”. He said if such
insubordination was allowed to continue “it will make this government
Political commentator Blessing Vava said the Council of Ministers was
“ineffective, useless and irrelevant”. Vava said: “It was just created to
appease Tsvangirai so that he could sign the agreement under the impression
that by chairing it he would have some power and influence. Cabinet
ministers comprise the Council of Ministers so why should we have another
cabinet outside cabinet?”
He continued: “My point is that we don’t need such a body when cabinet is
there already, it creates unnecessary confusion and tension. It has failed
to work because it has been politicised and personalised — created
specifically for Tsvangirai, strictly speaking not as a state institution.”
However, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka disagreed. He argued
the prime minister, as required, has managed to supervise a number of
government projects even though Zanu PF ministries have proved
“The Council of Ministers is a creature of the GPA, which in turn is a
creature of the constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe. It is important
that policy implementation is supervised and assessed. Those choosing to
undermine the Council of Ministers do not make it irrelevant,” he said.
“The problem is with our shaky coalition government. Reforms that fall under
the Zanu PF ministers have always been stalled. Otherwise, the prime
minister has been able to supervise implementation of government policies
and programmes. He has been in control of the GWP. He has been overseeing
social service delivery projects, including on water, health and others.”
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:28
GROUP Five International, the South African firm contracted by government to
refurbish the 800km Plumtree-Mutare road, is expected to commence work on
the multi-million dollar project next week.
The road from Plumtree covers Bulawayo, Gweru, Kwekwe, Kadoma, Harare and
Rusape up to Mutare. The director of Group Five Projects International
Ltd(Zimbabwe), Ham Coetzee, said work would start mid-next week. “We are
moving the machinery to Plumtree at the weekend from Bulawayo and by mid
next week we expect to be in full production,” he said.
Coetze also said the mega project would absorb many of the jobless local
people along the way. “We have 250 people on the payroll of whom only 10
are expatriates and the rest are Zimbabweans,” he said.
At least US$206 million will be sunk into the project, expected to create
massive employment. Government sealed a deal with Development Bank of
Southern Africa for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Plumtree-Mutare
Last year, the State Procurement Board (SPB), which that handles government
tenders, caused a stir when it said it was unaware of the multi-million
Government says Group Five International is a renowned company that has
constructed major highways and airports in South Africa.
Group Five entered into an agreement with Zinara and set up a special
purpose vehicle called Infralink, which is 70% owned by the principal
contractor and 30% by Zimbabwe’s road authority, to implement the road
construction and modernisation project.
Massive equipment worth millions ofdollars, which will be used to construct
the highway, will be moved from Bulawayo to Plumtree at the weekend. The
equipment includes a recycler, chip spreaders and computerised brushes.
Group Five offices told the Zimbabwe Independent on Tuesday that the
recycler is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe and has a capacity to rip off
a stretch of the old tarmac and reconstruct it on the same day with the road
being usable the following day.
Group Five International brought some of the equipment from Germany. The
rehabilitation and widening programme is expected to be complete in 36
months. Once complete, the highway would have at least nine world class
toll plazas to recoup money used during construction.
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:27
AS Zimbabwe prepares for crucial elections either this year or in 2013 after
the constitution-making process, Zanu PF is geared to use the controversial
indigenisation programme to win back votes in areas it lost to the two MDC
This is revealed in a letter, dated March 12, to Indigenisation minister
Saviour Kasukuwere written by suspended Zanu PF Bulawayo chairman Isaac
Dakamela and provincial indigenisation and economic empowerment secretary
Charles Chiponda in which the two say the empowerment programme is aimed at
luring the electorate to rally behind President Robert Mugabe and his party.
Zanu PF used land reform as the centerpiece of its campaigns in the past
elections after 2000. The two provincial leaders said the indigenisation
programme was the last political card their party wields to get voters ahead
of watershed elections.
“Taking into consideration that the indigenisation programme is our party’s
tool for political mobilisation and that its success will translate into an
electoral victory, we strongly believe that Bulawayo will win back most of
its parliamentary seats through the programme,” the letter says.
“However, in pursuit of the programme, Bulawayo province is experiencing
very strong resistance from foreign-owned mines and companies who get
support from our detractors, the independent press, legal firms and some
misguided law enforcement agents. Our province needs your support and stands
ready to send a delegation to your offices to present our case.”
Dakamela confirmed writing the letter but declined to discuss the matter.
Kasukuwere was not available for comment as his mobile phone went
The letter was also sent to party national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo,
political commissar Webster Shamu, Bulawayo Governor Cain Mathema (pictured)
who is the party’s deputy spokesman, and other politburo members in
Kasukuwere is on a crusade to force foreign-owned companies, including mines
and banks, to surrender 51% equities to locals without compensation.
His move amounts to expropriation or nationalisation.
The indigenisation law has been criticised for lack of clarity. For instance
Section 3 of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment says it shall be
the “endeavour” of government to ensure that every company in Zimbabwe that
is foreign-owned is at least 51%-owned locally.
Analysts say words like “endeavour” do not mean what Kasukuwere is doing
now. Kasukuwere recently published a notice warning that mining companies
that failed to meet last year’s September 25 deadline should note that 51%
of their shareholding would now be deemed to be owned by the state. However,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai dismissed that position, saying it was not
Mathema, in his address during the Governor’s Ball on Tuesday evening, said
indigenisation was an empowerment programme to ensure black people gain the
means of production.
“We can’t talk about Independence if we ignore indigenisation. People say
they want freedom of expression, but that is pointless if you don’t have the
means of production,” he said.
In his message to mark the 32nd Independence Day celebrations, Tsvangirai
said Zanu PF was using the indigenisation programme to gain political
“We have disagreed in this government because there are others who want to
perpetuate the old culture of expropriation, looting and self-aggrandisement
clad in new and misleading nomenclature such as ‘indigenisation’,” he said.
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:25
THE Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) this week called for
comprehensive legal and policy interventions to protect and promote the
rights of communities that are displaced by mining activities.
Zela also called for legislation to compel mining companies to engage in
environmentally sustainable practices or to plough back part of their
earnings into the affected communities.
Zela director Mutuso Dhliwayo identified lack of secure tenure over land and
minerals as an “Achilles heel” in communities’ quest for fair and adequate
compensation upon displacement from their ancestral lands and called on the
state to give secure tenure to rural communities.
“This lack of secure tenure affects communities’ ability to effectively
engage and bargain with the state and mining companies prior to, during and
after the involuntary displacement and resettlement processes,” Dhliwayo
He said the sum effect of current laws like the Mines and Minerals Act,
Communal Land Act Rural District councils Act and Traditional Leaders Act is
to give communities mere access, use and management rights to the land
rather than give them secure tenure.
“Although Section 80 of the Mines and Minerals Act and Section 12 of the
Communal Land Act provide for compensation, it is however not a
pre-condition for evictions and resettlement of communities,”Dhliwayo said.
United Nations Guiding Principles on internal Displacements provide that
“adequate measures shall be taken to guarantee those to be displaced, full
information on the reasons and procedures for their displacement”.
International best practice also requires that fair and adequate
compensation should be discussed and agreed to before evictions and
relocations and this has not been the case in Chiadzwa where relocations
began and are continuing without compensation issues being agreed to between
the mining companies and the affected communities.
In advocating for the need for binding legislation to promote sustainable
development, Zela pointed out that at present, social responsibility
initiatives are voluntary, not legally binding.
The lobby group gave the example of Mberengwa where mining companies had
systematically extracted emeralds, gold, chrome and iron from the Nyala,
Masaga, Sandawana and Buchwa areas but did not plough anything back to
ensure sustainable development.
In 2009 Zela unsuccessfully petitioned the High Court to stop the diamond
mining companies in Chiadzwa, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation,
Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Local Government against relocating
communities before issues of compensation were finalised.
Dhliwayo said the Ministry of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development
failed to adequately consult and inform the 428 families that were relocated
to Arda Transau a peri- urban area on the outskirts of Mutare, about 80 km
They were paid “pittances” of US$ 1 000 as disturbance allowances and 150 kg
of mealie-meal, among other things. About 4 200 families face displacement
and relocation in order to pave way for expansion of diamond mining
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:24
THE US$750 million deal between government and Essar Africa Holdings of
India aimed at reviving the defunct steelmaking giant Ziscosteel is frozen,
as it emerged the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is still
scrutinising the agreement, infuriating the Ministry of Industry and
Commerce which is facilitated it.
The pact, which was reached in March last year, resulted in the Indian firm
acquiring 60% of Ziscosteel and setting up a new company, NewZim Steel Ltd,
to take over its operations. Essar also acquired 80% of iron ore mining unit
Buchwa Iron Mining Company (Bimco) and formed NewZim Minerals Ltd. Bimco
held the rights to iron ore claims for feedstock into the Ziscosteel
Essar has however not started operations at Ziscosteel, and has in recent
weeks threatened to pull out of the deal in protest over government’s
failure to guarantee adequate iron ore supply, which is a critical raw
material in the production of steel.
The Indian firm wants to exploit iron ore claims at Mwenezi Ranch in Chivhu
but the Mines ministry has blocked the move, arguing it needs time to verify
the claims and establish the value of the mineral deposits in the area.
In the wake of the pullout threat President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai have given a directive to Mines Minister Obert Mpofu and
his Industry counterpart Welshman Ncube to speedily find a solution to
problems dogging the deal. A committee has been formed and tasked with
It comprises officials from the two ministries and was supposed to be ready
with its recommendations by Friday last week to pave way for a meeting
between Mpofu and Ncube to iron out the sticking points.
Ncube however said officials from the two ministries were still to meet
because the Ministry of Mines requested more time to sort out some things on
“We had agreed on the (April) 13th deadline. The agreement was that
officials from the Ministry of Mines would work on what needs to be done and
then meet officials in my ministry, before we meet as ministers. We are
still waiting for the Ministry of Mines, but they have requested for more
time,” said Ncube.
Ncube said the delay was frustrating Essar, which was ready to work. Mines
secretary Prince Mupazviriho said his ministry had not completed its
evaluation exercise, hence the delay.
“We are still in the process of evaluating. We want to determine all the
terms of the deal as well as the level of deposits. It may take up to the
end of the month,” he said.
The Mines ministry has agreed to transfer Buchwa and Ripple Creek iron ore
claims, which have 15 million tonnes and 3O million tonnes of iron ore
deposits, to Essar but the Indian firm believes they are inadequate.
The deposit at Buchwa is said to be so deep that it cannot be exploited
unless new technology is introduced. By the time Ziscosteel stopped
operating, Bimco had already stopped operations at Buchwa.
Essar believes deposits at Ripple Creek will be exhausted in five years, by
which time the company would not have recouped their investment. Essar wants
iron ore claims at Mwenezi Ranch, which former Ziscosteel employee Roderick
Mumbire claims to own through a company called Bearable Prospects (Pvt) Ltd.
The government has challenged Mumbire’s claims in court.
Essar has pledged to restore Ziscosteel to its production capacity of 1,2
million tonnes of steel a year within 18 months of operations. Ziscosteel
has over the years been one of the most critical industries in the country
and its demise hasdirectly contributed to the collapse of several companies
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:22
Faith Zaba/Elias Mambo
IN a move which panders to President Robert Mugabe’s self-serving elections
agenda, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has added his weight to his rival’s
feverish demands for the speedy conclusion of the constitution-making
process, sparking fears Zanu PF will ultimately have its way on the
The two MDC formations are anxious to hold elections under a new
constitution — something which Zanu PF is now trying to resist although it
initially agreed when the GPA was signed in 2008.
Mugabe, who desperately wants early elections when he is still fit to
campaign, has threatened to call for elections this year under the Lancaster
House constitution, with or without a new constitution, if the chaotic
constitution-making process drags on. Zanu PF factions are engaged in fierce
succession battles at Copac, the constitution-making process.
Interviewed by the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe
cannot abandon the constitution-making process because of a few contentious
issues, which are resolvable. He appeared to agree with Mugabe, fuelling
reports that he was now in agreement with him on elections this year. There
were reports which were not denied recently that Sadc negotiator, South
African President Jacob Zuma had to intervene to stop Tsvangirai and Mugabe
cutting a deal on elections. Tsvangirai has previously said he had secured
an agreement with Mugabe that whoever loses elections would not contest the
“We are supposed to receive the draft constitution and consider how to
finalise it,” he said. “We are waiting for the management committee to
submit the draft. What the president is saying is that we can’t wait until
everything is concluded.”
Mugabe gave the management committee — made up of the three negotiating
teams and technical experts — up to this week to conclude the process and
hand over the final draft to the three party principals. They are, however,
still deadlocked on three issues.
The team of negotiators — Nicholas Goche and Patrick Chinamasa from Zanu PF,
Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma from MDC-T and Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Moses Mzila-Ndlovu of MDC-N — failed to agree on
the structure of government, devolution of power and dual citizenship. Zanu
PF resolved last month at its politburo meeting not to move an inch
especially on devolution. The MDC formations have also vowed not to
Tsvangirai said: “It is better that they give us the draft so that we
consider it. I am sure that we will find an agreement on the parked issues.
If they are reduced to a minimum, I am sure we should be in a position of
finding some sort of accommodation. We can’t throw out the whole document on
the basis of one or two disputes, so I think we will be able to finalise
However, based on past experience when contentious issues are referred to
the principals, Mugabe always seems to end up having his way or ensuring the
negotiations are stalled. At principal level, Tsvangirai has previously
failed to secure the swearing-in of Roy Bennett as Agriculture deputy
minister, influence of the renewal of service chiefs’ tenures, and the
appointment of governors, judges and ambassadors, among other issues. A
number of GPA issues remain in deadlock or unimplemented in the case of
those already agreed upon.
In August 2010, Sadc leaders gave the coalition government partners a 30-day
ultimatum to implement the GPA, but to date none of the agreed issues have
Agreed items include the implementation of the land audit and security of
tenure, appointment of provincial governors, appointment of the board of the
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and the Mass Media Trust, the eradication
of hate speech, consensus on the awarding of national hero status and issues
of external interference, among others.
The principals had agreed at the time that the only three outstanding issues
which remained were the appointment of Bennett and the unilateral
appointments of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and Reserve Bank Governor
Gideon Gono, and they were going to be resolved in a month’s time.
However, Mugabe made a U-turn and refused to appoint governors from the MDC
formations resulting in Tsvangirai taking the matter to court in November
2010. Mugabe has also refused to swear in Bennett and in a sign showing that
the MDC-T had given up on the matter, the party appointed Seiso Moyo in
In his speech to mark 32 years of Independence, Mugabe once again called for
the speedy completion of the constitution-making process to pave the way for
general elections, piling pressure on Tsvangirai and others on what to do on
“Finalisation of the constitution-making process needs to be hastened,”
Mugabe said. “The principals in the Global Political Agreement will be
examining the draft constitution so it can soon be put before the people in
a referendum marking the beginning of a definite process towards general
elections this year.”
Copac officials who spoke to the Independent believe without Zuma’s
intervention, the principals were unable to resolve the “parked issues”. A
member of the management committee said: “Taking the stalemate to the
principals to try and bridge their differences will not solve anything
because as a management committee we represent those principals, we speak on
their behalf and what we say is exactly what they will say so it is better
this issue be referred to the facilitator.”
MDC-T co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora said the drafters have completed their
task but have failed to agree on the “parked” issues. He said it was now up
to the principals to resolve the deadlock.
“I can say the draft constitution is ready from the Copac point of view but
the outstanding issues namely devolution, and dual citizenship remain a bone
of contention from the Zanu PF representatives,” he said.
MDC-N co-chairperson Edward Mkhosi was doubtful the draft would be released
this week. “Our drafters have completed their duty as we speak but the
management committee is not agreeing on the previously parked issues. It
seems there are some disagreements within Zanu PF which makes the whole
issue complicated, especially on the devolution of power and the Citizenship
Act,” said Mkhosi.
“Our position, as MDC-N, is that all these issues are resolvable but the
problem we are currently having is that political parties, Zanu PF to be
precise, are politicising these issues, hence they have remained parked.”
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:10
THE MDC-T is moving to expel party members involved in intra-party violence
which occurred in Masvingo, Bulawayo and Chitungwiza last year as the party
seeks to curb brutality within its structures ahead of the next elections.
The party’s national executive committee last week discussed a report
compiled by a five-member commission led by human rights lawyer Trust Maanda
which was set up to investigate violence which rocked the MDC-T’s provincial
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said after the meeting that the
national executive went through the report and resolved to punish those
involved in the violence.
Mwonzora said: “We discussed the intra-party violence and the party took a
stance that whoever is involved risks expulsion from the party. I cannot
give details of the report as it is still under discussion.”
MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai told Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday at
the Independence Day celebrations in Harare that: “We will give you the full
information once we have considered the whole report”.
Maanda, who headed the commission, said the report took about four months to
compile as the commission went province by province interviewing hundreds of
“I’m not at liberty to discuss contents of the report but we met with almost
everyone, from the lowest party member to the highest office,” said Maanda.
“It was democracy at work and it was very candid.”
The inquiry recommended fresh elections in structures in Manicaland,
Mashonaland East, Chinhoyi district and Masvingo urban following complaints
that they were not substantive during the national congress.
Party sources said the inquiry implicated a number of senior officials, some
of whom are members of the national executive, as instigators of the
violence. The commission is said to have suggested that the party disqualify
any candidate whose supporters used violence as a means of campaigning.
Most provinces covered by the inquiry raised concerns that the notice period
for holding their elections was less than two weeks, despite that Section
5.5 of the party’s constitution states notice periods should be no less than
Districts most affected by this short notice are Mutare Central, Chipinge
Central and Masvingo urban where there were no structures in place up to the
time of the party’s national congress. The issues remain un-addressed.
The provinces complained of a lack of transparency and criteria for the
appointment of organising teams and observers who conducted and observed the
party’s provincial polls.
There are complaints that there was interference by some members of the
national executive in nominations for the party’s top positions. The
commission recommended the MDC-T be educated on political tolerance and that
the party should focus its attention on internal democracy as it was under
The commission also observed that “sharp and distinct” parallel structures
existed in Manicaland between the current provincial executive and losing
candidates. Masvingo, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East also had
parallel structures, though not as pronounced.
Most members interviewed by the commission indicated the MDC-T was riddled
with factions even though no one could provide evidence. The inquiry
criticised the MDC-T for lacking an effective grievance-handling procedure
ad conflict resolution mechanism.
Friday, 20 April 2012 15:36
THE annual rate of inflation slowed down 0,3% to 4% in March on the back of
softening general price levels. According to the latest statistics,
released this week by ZimStats, the year-on-year inflation rate for March as
measured by the Consumer Price Index, closed at 4% compared to the February
rate of 4,3%.
This means that prices, as measured by the CPI, increased by an average of
four percentage points between March last year and this year. The
month-on-month inflation was at 0,43 %, shedding 0,06 percentage points on
the February rate of 0,49%. Prices of basic goods and services have
generally remained stable owing to the lack of room by retailers to raise
prices because of subdued disposable incomes. This is under the backdrop of
an illiquid economy.
Landlords have also not been given room to increase rentals while transport
costs have generally remained unchanged. However, since the reversal of the
surtax on most household products, there has not been a commensurate
reduction in inflation pass-through on the part of retailers. The decline in
inflation has also been attributed to the weakness of the rand against the
US dollar, which is currently in use in the country, and this is captured
through lower prices of imports. South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest source
market for food and other manufactured imports.
The year-on-year food and non-alcoholic beverages index, which is prone to
transitory shocks, stood at 5,2% whilst non-food inflation was at 3,44% in
the period under review. The graph shows relatively stable inflation
patterns pointing to a generally stable inflation outlook for 2012.
However analysts have questioned the reliability of the figures as consumer
patterns vary widely across the board. Independent inflation trackers put
the rate at around 8%. The monthly CPI reveals the inflation rate in a
given period, based on the cost of a “market basket” of goods and services,
from food and transport to clothing and housing.
However, it can overstate or understate the impact of inflation on an
individual family whose market basket may differ from the government’s. That
family may have significantly more or fewer health expenses or alcoholic
beverages expenses, for example. Many economists believe that the CPI’s
basket broadly understates the real inflation rate by as much as 2,5%.
The major fault of the CPI is that the allocation of weights used to come up
with the CPI generally show a bias against new products and services.
Analysts argue that communications expenses now make up a significant
percentage in the general consumer basket but the allotted weight is still
low on the CPI.
In terms of weights used in calculating the index, food and non-alcoholic
beverages make up 31,9, alcoholic beverages and tobacco four, clothing and
footwear 5,7, housing, water electricity, gas and other fuels 16,2,
furniture household equipment 15,1, health 1,3, transport 9,8 communications
at 1, recreation and culture at 5,7%, education 2,9, restaurants and hotels
at 1,5 and miscellaneous items at 3,9.
The CPI for March stood at 101,37 compared to 100,94 in February and 97,49
in March last year.
Friday, 20 April 2012 15:34
THE full implementation of the proposed development and rehabilitation of
Zimbabwe’s infrastructure will require a US$5 billion investment by the
private sector especially in power generation, telecommunications, railway
and aviation services.
According to a report released by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) titled
Infrastructure and Growth in Zimbabwe, close to US$5 billion of private
investment is required for full implementation of the action plan to boost
However, analysts say that is a challenge because private sector investors
have a negative perception of the investment climate in the country largely
owing to heightened indigenisation threats. Currently Zimbabwe ranks lowly
on most international business environment indices.
Economic Planning minister, Tapiwa Mashakada, (pictured) said government
would continue to focus on the rehabilitation and replacement of
infrastructure in 2012. Mashakada said capital budget and innovative
private sector initiatives would be used to fund the infrastructure
“The infrastructure priorities are: energy, water and sanitation, transport,
housing and construction, information, communication and technology (ICTs),
science, technology and SME infrastructure,” he said.
Government aims to restore basic services and provide an efficient and
reliable infrastructure network to facilitate smooth business and social
operations, stimulate economic growth and socio-economic development.
Foreign investors have raised concern over whether the country will commit
to Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas) that
have been signed by government. Mashakada said his ministry was facilitating
the signing of Bippas and their ratification with potential investment
The AfDB report says the dominant role of state enterprises in the provision
of infrastructure services was an obstacle to an enlarged private sector
presence in these areas, especially where services are heavily subsidised by
Nine of the parastatals currently engaged in provision of basic
infrastructure services will need to be restructured. “Continuation with the
current structures will leave large areas of uncertainty for potential
private investors that, in turn, will undermine their willingness to
consider entry into appropriate Public Private Partnership type arrangements
with state enterprises,” the AFDB report said.
The bank says that in order to lay foundations for successful mobilisation
of these funds, government needs to take action on three inter-related
fronts, subject all nine of the parastatals involved in infrastructure
service provision to technical and financial restructuring, the details of
which vary among these enterprises.
It also urges the strengthening of the role of regulatory authorities in
each of the infrastructure sectors, with emphasis on increased independence
of these bodies; and the creation of an appropriate legal framework for the
types of public-private partnerships that will be required for the
–– Staff Writer.
Friday, 20 April 2012 10:23
THE 2012 tobacco marketing season started well on the back of firm prices
with a total of 55 million kgs of flue cured tobacco having been sold to
date, representing a 25% increase from the comparable period last year.
Statistics released by the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) show that
average prices at US$3,78 are 29% above last selling season’s average.
Prices have been favourable this season peaking at US$5,70 under the
contract buying system and US$4,99 under the auction system in 2012 compared
to US$4,75 in 2011.But a low of US$0,10 per kg has been attained in 2012 as
compared to US$0,20 in 2011.
A total of 24 million kgs have gone through the auction system at an average
price of US$3,70 and a total of US$31 million having been sold through the
contract system at an average price of US$3,84.
Trading at the auction floors has remained skewed to the traditional
players, Tobacco Sales Floor and Boka Tobacco Floors, who have both sold a
total of 16 million kgs, representing 70% of total sales through the auction
New entrants, Millennium Tobacco Floor and Premium Tobacco Floor (PTF), who
have absorbed 30% of market share,have been offering competitive prices to
growers. Statistics of day 41 show that PTF had a higher average price of
US$3,86 above other auction floors.
The bale rejection this season decreased to 5,3% from 7,6% in 2011 with the
bulk of rejection mainly attributed to ‘mixed hands’, ‘mouldy’ and ‘badly
Under the procedures for the sale of flue-cured tobacco, TIMB states that:
“Growers shall take all reasonable care to present for sale undamaged
tobacco that is uniformly graded, free from contamination and foreign matter
or any other non-tobacco materials.”
Small scale farmers usually face problems in curing, grading and handling of
their tobacco crop due to lack of resources and adequate skills and this
results in a high rejection rate.
Analysts say tobacco deliveries will increase in the coming weeks due to
attractive prices currently prevailing on the market. “Deliveries are
expected to increase in the coming weeks as growers seek to take advantage
of the firm prices,” said an agronomist with a financial institution.
Tobacco deliveries are estimated at 150 million kgs in the 2012 selling
season on the back of favourable rainfall season since most tobacco
producing provinces received considerable rainfalls.
The Zimbabwe Farmers Union said that the rainfall season is tailing off and
most growers are finalising the reaping and curing stages. “The tobacco
crop has been doing well in most tobacco growing provinces. While the early
crop is being marketed, the late crop is at reaping and curing stages,” said
the ZFU in their weekly bulletin.
Last season, a total of 131,7 million kgs of tobacco were delivered with
Mashonaland West province recording the highest deliveries totalling 33,1%
of total seasonal sales. Mashonaland Central delivered 30,6%, with
Manicaland at 18,6% while Mashonaland East accounted for 17,6%.
ZFU also added that good rains were received in parts of Manicaland,
Midlands and Mashonaland (east, west and central) provinces and that the
majority of growers are now involved in grading and bailing activities as
well as deliveries to the market.
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:40
RESOLVING the country’s deteriorating trade deficit will help alleviate
liquidity challenges on the local market, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has
said. In a commentary on the country’s trade and current account
developments, the central bank says imports have grown exponentially by
135,3%, from US$3,213 million in 2009 to US$7,562 million in 2011, whilst
exports have risen by 177,3% from US$1,613 million to US$4,474 million over
the same period.
Economic recovery in the review period necessitated the absorption of
substantial imports in raw materials, spares and machinery to support the
recapitalisation of operations and industrial activity, resulting in
capacity utilisation increasing from below 30% in 2009 to 57% now.
“This notwithstanding, export performance responded modestly in the backdrop
of underlying production bottlenecks. This negative development has resulted
in a widening mismatch between exports and imports,” the Reserve Bank says.
It also states that despite improved export performance since 2009, the
trade balance has widened significantly from US$1,599 million in 2009 to
US$3,088 million in 2011.
Recent trade figures show that in 2011 motor vehicle imports gobbled a
massive US$1,365 billion or 18% of total imports as compared to
US$980million for machinery, US$59 million for electricity, US$1,571 billion
for fuel and US$513 million spent on food imports. Chemicals and other
manufactured goods accounted for US$1,013 billion and $1,110 billion,
Under the multi-currency system, the major source of liquidity is export
receipts and transfers. That is where the country gets its money from. More
exports mean more liquidity in the economy and if the country is importing
more than it is exporting, liquidity will diminish.
Liquidity also comes from capital inflows through offshore loans, grants,
foreign direct investment and transfer payments such as remittances from the
dispora. Supply side constraints in the Zimbabwean economy in the aftermath
of the rapid contraction of productive economic activity between 2000 and
2008 have promoted the huge appetite for imports. The period saw the
absorption of inordinate amounts of imports, largely finished goods such as
foodstuffs and motor vehicles which gained prominence against a backdrop of
declining local agricultural productivity and industrial capacity
utilisation that dropped to as low as 15%.
Analysts have attributed the rapid informalisation of the economy to a shift
from productive enterprises to trading to which most small businesses are
suited owing to the small capital requirements for cross-border trading,
among other barriers to entry and exit. Many people have gone into
self-employment as either cross-border traders or commodity brokers,
resulting in massive imports of goods for resale.
Post-dollarisation in 2009, Zimbabwe has seen a semblance of recovery in the
manufacturing sector which was ruined during the economic crisis. The sector’s
problem was compounded by outdated and obsolete machinery and equipment, as
well as power shortages, lack of working capital and that inputs, if
available, are usually costly. This has made local products highly
Analysts say sustaining the impressive economic growth rates which averaged
5,7%, 8,3% and 9,4% for 2009, 2010, and 2011, is crucial to increasing
importation of raw materials, spares, and machinery and equipment, among
other things. It is against this background that the country has seen a
dramatic increase in imports over the period 2009 to 2011.
While this is happening, the immense export growth potential of the
Zimbabwean economy continues to suffer from lack of ability to beneficiate
primary production in agriculture and mining, forcing the country to
continue exporting raw materials, with mineral exports accounting for over
40% of total exports. Deterioration in macroeconomic conditions mainly from
2000 to 2008 worsened the country’s political risk profile, while creating
hostile conditions for investment.
The global financial crisis, which engulfed the world economy in 2008, as
well as repercussions of the euro-zone debt crisis in 2011 and depressed
international commodity prices helped decelerate potential export growth,
hampering trade and growth prospects for commodity-dependent economies such
as Zimbabwe. According to the central bank, the deteriorating balance of
trade position has also combined with net service and income payments to
culminate in the incurrence of unsustainable current account deficits
amounting to 19,3%, 23,1% and 29,9% of GDP for 2009, 2010 and 2011,
On the positive side, the capital account rebounded to surplus levels in
2010 following a deficit of US$623,5 million in 2009 to a surplus of
US$1,566 million in 2011 largely on the back of increased access to both
short-term and long-term offshore credit lines mainly secured by the private
sector. Recently the PTA bank revealed that in the last five years it had
extended over US$600 million in lines of credit to Zimbabwean companies.
Against the background of an unsustainable current account deficit and
inadequate capital account inflows, the country’s overall balance of
payments position improved from a deficit of US$1,865 billion in 2009 to a
deficit of US$615 million in 2011. Due to depleted foreign currency reserves
and lack of balance of payments support, the country continues to finance
its deficit through the accumulation of external payment arrears largely on
official external debt obligations falling due.
Various policy recommendations have been put forward by analysts who argue
that the current trend on the current account needs to be urgently reversed.
In the short-term the country needs to put mechanisms to ensure that it
earns a fair value for its mineral and natural resource wealth.
Commentators argue that prominence should be given to the establishment of
production facilities that enable the country to weave its own cotton into
finished shirts, process its tobacco into cigarettes, polish its own
diamonds and beneficiate them into high value jewellery, and also refine its
own platinum, among other possibilities which can be explored to add value
to our primary products.
This was noted in the recently announced Trade and Industrial Development
Policies launched by Government on 29 March 2012, coined their shared theme
as “Promoting Value Addition for Sustainable Development.”
The Reserve Bank says the growing preference for imported consumptive goods
by Zimbabweans households has reached alarming and counter-productive
“The growing appetite for imports is not promotive of the revival of the
country’s manufacturing sector, which is struggling to find its foothold.
Other countries in the region such as South Africa recently moved in to
discourage the dumping of products such as chickens from Brazil, to protect
their local industry. In this regard, import tariffs ranging from 6,26% to
62,93% have been imposed as anti-dumping measures on low quality chicken
products from Brazil,” the bank says.
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:55
MUGABE-watching has become as much an art form as Kremlinology used to be.
When a little-known website reported that the 88-year-old Zimbabwe president
was near death in a Singapore hospital, first the Twittersphere then
international media went into overdrive, boosting the flagging spirits of
equity investors in Zimbabwe’s stagnant stock exchange and raising hopes in
the mining industry that the nightmare of indigenisation — majority
ownership by Zimbabweans – might soon be dispelled.
It was not to be. On April 12 Mugabe arrived back in Harare “fit as a
fiddle” — and the Zimbabwe Mail apologised and began looking for a
replacement news editor. Nevertheless, the episode raises again the issue of
just how — as well as when — Zimbabwe will make the transition to a
There is no shortage of scenarios.
A parliamentary committee drawing up a new constitution to replace the one
negotiated at Lancaster House in London in 1979 will publish its draft soon,
leading to a national referendum in September and fresh elections in
mid-2013 or later.
But unless the draft is approved by all three parties in the country’s
fractious, dysfunctional coalition administration comprising Mugabe’s Zanu
PF, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, and
its tiny breakaway rump led by Industry and Commerce minister Welshman
Ncube — constitutional deadlock will continue and Mugabe will be free to
dissolve parliament and call elections when he pleases.
He and his party want elections this year, presumably worried that his
health will not bear the rigours of campaigning in 2013 or beyond. But the
two wings of the MDC, with the backing of South Africa’s President Jacob
Zuma, insist there can be no elections until a new constitution and
electoral law are in place.
All of this suggests that unless the president’s health fails Zimbabwe will
remain in a policy and political vacuum that cannot be good for investment
or growth. The huge debt overhang — foreign debt exceeds GDP while arrears
are 75% of GDP — is unlikely to be tackled until a new administration is in
place. Earlier this week Tendai Biti, Finance minister, admitted that his
“cash budget” was US$93 million (about 0,8% of GDP) in deficit in Q1 2012.
Bankers and economists want to know how this is being funded given that,
having dollarised in 2009, the central bank can no longer print money.
Preliminary balance-of-payments numbers show over US$1 billion in fresh
offshore borrowing last year while investment inflows were tiny at US$200
Economic recovery depends on the election of a majority government that can
take tough decisions. Opinion polls — for what they are worth — suggest that
given a reasonably free poll, Tsvangirai would easily defeat Mugabe or
either of his two potential successors — vice president Joice Mujuru, a
political lightweight, or Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The latter
was an effective minister in challenging jobs including justice and finance,
but he is unpopular as well as feared because of his links with the country’s
Central Intelligence Organisation.
This parliament’s mandate runs out in May 2013 which, constitutionally, sets
the deadline for presidential and parliamentary elections. For all its
confidence in its public support, the MDC fears not only that securocrats in
the army and police will not allow a free poll, but that elections without
far-reaching reforms will unleash an orgy of violence as in 2008.
Mugabe’s departure, for whatever reason, would break the logjam: if the
president goes before his term is complete the two houses of parliament —
the Senate and the House of Assembly sit as an electoral college within 90
days to elect a successor for the remainder of his tenure in terms of
Constitutional Amendment Number 18, or a Zanu PF nominee takes over although
it’s not clearly defined how in accordance with Amendment Number 19 which
only applies so long as the Global Political Agreement subsists.
But that would not ensure that the poll would be free since the military,
which see themselves as the guardians of Zimbabwe’s sovereignty, would
likely block the transfer of power to the MDC’s Western-backed “sellouts”
It seems then that so long as the president stays fit enough for the job,
Zimbabwe will continue to be mired in political and economic uncertainty.
Some — from all three political parties — believe the most pragmatic
solution would be to extend the life of the coalition until a new
constitution is agreed or Mugabe steps down. Pragmatic though that might be,
it would leave the country in a state of continuous campaigning to the
detriment not just of the economy but of governance as a whole.
The belief in Western capitals is that post-Mugabe Zimbabwe will be a very
different country. That is based less on thoughtful analysis of the reality
on the ground than on the naive assumption that Zimbabwe can somehow go back
to its past of the 1980s or 1990s. But the dynamics within Zimbabwe and the
region have changed and whoever succeeds Mugabe is not going to reverse his
policies on land or indigenisation. It might be softened at the edges but
Zanu-PF nationalism runs so deep that even if he wanted to turn the clock
back, which is doubtful, Tsvangirai would not be able to do so.
Professor Hawkins teaches Economics at the Graduate School of Management at
the University of Zimbabwe.
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:52
Dr Ibbo Mandaza
ZIMBABWE’S post-Independence trajectory and political and economic
experiences thereof, is typically African, particularly with respect to the
key features that characterise the continent’s modern history. I refer here
specifically to the twin and interrelated factors —- the colonial legacy and
neo-colonial framework — that have shaped and accounted for Africa’s
post-independence path, Zimbabwe in particular, as we mark 32 years of
First, the colonial legacy and the political economy it bequeathed in the
form of largely extractive and labour-intensive economies, and a resultant
class structure in which the indigenous people were stymied from developing
a national bourgeoisie that would be the anchor class of the
post-Independence enterprise of nation-state-in-the-making.
Second, the neo-colonial framework inhered in such a political economy
rendering the post-colonial state neither a nation-state nor a nation, but
‘‘simply a state’’ whose political, cultural and economic structures were
linked to the interests of the former colonial and other metropolitan
As student leaders, activists and intellectuals associated with the national
liberation struggle during the 1970s, many of us argued strenuously — and
almost structurally and deterministically — that, because of the nature and
intensity of white settler colonialism in Zimbabwe and in Southern Africa as
a whole, Independence would, therefore, necessarily yield a qualitatively
different political and economic order from that experienced in other parts
More than three decades after Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980, we should be
less romantic and recognise the historical reality for what it is;
acknowledge the twin factors outlined above and understand that it is still
possible to confront these as part of a well-defined national development
strategy. But this requires a level of honesty and self-introspection,
especially on the part of those of us who have been participants in the
post-colonial state architecture in which credit must be given for work
done in the face of enormous odds, and likewise acknowledgement of mistakes
made when they could have been avoided.
It would be difficult to comprehend the problems attendant to the
post-Independence era without a consideration of the state we inherited as
part of the colonial legacy. Herein lies the fundamental contradiction: The
liberation struggle sought to uproot the white settler colonial state, and
yet the post-Independence state itself was, almost root and branch, an
expression of that very animal.
We should not have mistaken the change of the guards and personnel as
representing the transformation of the state at Independence and thereafter.
This is why some of the excesses of the post-Independence state bear such
strong resemblances to those of the colonial era and, in a number of cases,
We inherited the conventional Western bourgeois state but, unlike the latter
in which a national bourgeoisie was the anchor, the post-colonial state was
succeeded by a class of former school teachers, clerks, educated elite,
petty traders, etc. Hence the reliance, in those formative years of
post-Independence, on elements of the former Rhodesian regime, including
cabinet ministers for such key portfolios as finance and agriculture;
leadership of the Reserve Bank and its monetary policy oversight; the
Central Intelligence Organisation; the judicial system; British support
through which the army and other sections of the security and
law-enforcement organs of the state were developed and instutionalised out
of a former guerilla group; and a public service — including the Secretary
to the Cabinet — whose brief was continuity rather than change.
So, continuity rather than change is what characterised the transition from
Rhodesia to Zimbabwe, especially in the economic field — including land and
agriculture — wherein the African nationalists were least equipped in terms
of technical capacity and experience. The leadership in particular had
little appreciation of the workings of the economy and, at any rate,
completely underestimated its central importance in favour of a
pre-occupation with the ‘‘political kingdom’’.
As former school teachers who had never perused a balance sheet in all their
working experience, university graduates with little or no exposure to
either statecraft or business, the Zimbabwean leadership after Independence
constituted more of a caretaker state, facilitating an economy which, two
decades later, remained quite firmly in the hands of the former white
settlers and international capital.
All this was not accidental and relates to the colonial legacy, particularly
the Land Apportionment Act of 1930, on the basis of which Africans were
systematically and almost totally pre-emptied from competing with the white
settlers across the entire economy. Often forgotten historically is the
extent to which this Act and a raft of related legislation virtually ensured
there would be no meaningful African bourgeoisie until the traces of it in
the 21st century. Without such legislation and the rapaciousness with which
white settler colonialism — and international capital —ravaged the economy
of Zimbabwe to its advantage, indigenous capital could have grown and
overtaken the white settlers by the turn of the 1940s. Only a reminder that
colonialism was both political and, perhaps even more so, an economic
Not surprisingly, the land reform exercise that began in earnest in 2000
could not have been without the problems so far endured. This appears to
have been the logical prize to pay for having left a small minority in
charge of an entire agricultural economy for 90 years of the colonial era,
plus another 20 years afterIndependence.
In many respects, therefore, the land reform programme itself marks an
important watershed in the 32 years of post-Independence, and throws into
sharp focus the rise of the securocrat state as a defence line for a former
liberation movement now on the ropes from 2000 onwards. This was due to an
economy already on the decline (since the 1990s) given its narrowness and
limited capacity (due to the continuities from the colonial era),
unavoidable disruption of production attendant to land reform, and a
growing opposition from the MDC party.
Some of these problems might have been more easily dealt with in the context
of the proposed new constitution of 1999/2000. But the latter came a little
too late for an impatient MDC more concerned about outmanoeuvring President
Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF than the merits of a new constitution. So, as
Lloyd Sachikonye has indicated in his latest book, Zimbabwe’s Lost Decade,
the last decade of this country’s post-Independence period has indeed been a
wasted one, politically and economically. That Zimbabwe has survived is both
credit to the resilience of its people and a natural resource base without
which this country would be no better than some of the worst countries on
the continent which have little or no hope for a better future.
Yet the post-Mugabe era is already with us, beginning as it did with the GPA
in September 2008 and offering as it does so much potential on the back of
the current constitution-making exercise and a renewed Zimbabwean natural
resource nationalism. With a more defined focus and an attendant programme
that has job and wealth creation as its centre, this new nationalism might
yet see Zimbabwe overcome the twin problems referred to earlier. The new
constitution will hopefully attend to the restoration of our national
institutions most of which had fallen victim to a defensive state with an
increasing number of inept leaders at its helm.
Mandaza is an academic and publisher. He was a member of the Zimbabwean
National Liberation Movement from the 1970s to Independence and later a
senior civil servant before he was forced into early retirement.
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:50
ONE of the most famous quotes from former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith
is: “I don’t believe in black majority rule ever –– not in a thousand years.
I repeat that what I believe in is black and white working together. I
believe that if one day we have white rule and the next black rule then we
will have failed and that will be a disaster for Rhodesia.”
However, in 1980 –– four years later –– Smith was to witness the one thing
he declared would never happen in his life time –– majority rule ––
following a protracted armed struggle.
Thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans and freedom fighters died, while others
were maimed and endured untold hardship to liberate the country. Their
inspiration was to see a free Zimbabwe, which enjoys its right to
self-determination and development.
The liberation struggle heroes also fought to ensure the people had a right
to determine their political destiny and President Robert Mugabe, in a 1979
documentary, entitled Portrait of a Terrorist captured this very well.
In the documentary Mugabe, who like many other nationalists, believed Bishop
Abel Muzorewa had sold out by forming an “alliance” with Smith, said he
would not have problems with the Bishop assuming power provided he won
“The Bishop will not win, but if miracles happen and the Bishop won, well
fine, he should lead the country, why not? Yes we are for a democratic
system and in a democratic system you have to accept the verdict of the
people,” Mugabe said.
In that same documentary, the commander of Zanu’s armed wing Zanla Josiah
Tongogara declared he did not mind who ruled the country as a long as the
system of oppression was crushed.
“What some of us are fighting for is to see that this oppressive system is
crushed. We don’t care, I don’t even care whether I will be part of the top
echelon… I’m not worried. But, I’m dying to see a change in the system, that’s
all. I would like to see the young people enjoying together –– black,
white –– enjoying together, in a new Zimbabwe. That’s all.”
However, 32 years after Independence, many Zimbabweans feel betrayed. They
believe some of their liberators have become oppressors, denying them the
very freedoms that people like Tongogara and many others died for. They feel
Zimbabwe has followed a typical post-colonial trajectory, like many other
African states. The more things have changed after Independence, the more
they have remained the same.
While acknowledging the importance of Independence Day, some its
significance has become diluted because of how their dreams and aspirations
have been betrayed by the national leadership.
When Zimbabweans attained Independence in 1980, they naturally hoped for a
new dispensation which would be characterised by change from a colonial to a
democratic framework. They hoped they would be able to elect their
governments and leaders freely and fairly.
On the economic front, people hoped to get involved in the mainstream
economy and be part of the anticipated prosperity. The majority also
expected to live in safety in a state where their inalienable rights,
including the right to life and property, as well as civil and political
liberties, would be guaranteed by the constitution.
However, over the years Zimbabweans have seen their aspirations evaporate
amid bitterness over unfulfilled and broken dreams. Democracy has all but
been crushed and replaced by a new form of authoritarianism.
The economy has been brought down to its knees, impoverishing millions while
forcing hundreds of thousands into economic exile mainly in the former
colonial and other metropolitan powers’ capitals.
The constitution is hardly upheld. Rights and freedoms are arbitrarily
abridged or trampled on. Ironically, the war veterans who fought for
democracy and freedom are now at the forefront of crushing the same –– a
sign that the struggle has been betrayed by those who spearheaded it and by
As a result, over the years, Zimbabweans have become accustomed to war
veterans subjecting them to violence and intimidation, while the police,
supposed to be their protectors, are immersed in partisan politics, brutally
suppressing people’s freedoms. Even the military and other security forces,
who fought for democracy and freedom, are also now involved in a war by
other means against the people.
Because of these aberrations, war veterans who deserve respect for the role
they played in the liberation struggle are now sometimes viewed with
derision and contempt.
To many Zimbabweans, the January 9, 2002 declaration by security service
chiefs, just months before the presidential elections, that they would not
accept any new president without war credentials signified that their
liberators had become new oppressors.
Political commentator Blessing Vava believes such statements and behaviour
by those who liberated the country had over the years devalued the former
freedom fighter’s contribution to the struggle and their prestige, as well
as the meaning of Independence to most Zimbabweans, especially the youths.
“The most fundamental point to be noted is that Zimbabwean leaders have
deviated from the ideals and principles of the revolution and liberation
struggle. Our liberators have turned oppressors. They are shamefully hiding
under the jacket of the history of the liberation struggle to destroy the
gains of the same,” he said.
“That’s why the youth are no longer interested in such events because of the
partisan nature of how we celebrate our national independence and how the
history of the struggle has been privatised by a political party and leader
when the liberation movement was broad and inclusive. Young people are more
interested in things that affect them at the moment, such as business and
employment opportunities, access to education and other social services.
“Celebrations of independence should not be politicised or monopolised ––
rather they should be treated as an opportunity to unify Zimbabweans because
Independence is not for a certain political party but for all of us,
regardless of political affiliation, religion, race or tribe.”
Charles Mangongera, a Harare-based political analyst, believes Zanu PF has
monopolised the Independence commemorations, while alienating most people.
“While Independence Day is expected to be an important national day that is
supposed to be celebrated by all Zimbabweans regardless of colour, creed, or
political affiliation, the problem is that Zanu PF has appropriated it as a
party event. Unfortunately Zanu PF no longer enjoys popular appeal among
Zimbabweans and this has resulted in many shunning the event as they do not
want to be associated with that party,” he said.
“This is especially so among the younger generation who are experiencing
hardships as they face joblessness and lack of opportunities. To them
‘Independence’ does not mean much and they are smart enough to see that such
phony programmes like land reform and indigenisation are only for the
benefit of the political elite in Zanu PF.”
Over the years celebrations of Independence Day have been declining and some
people no longer even listen to what Mugabe says on this important occasion
largely because he usually uses it to advance a party political and personal
power agenda, instead of articulating national issues and his vision for the
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:45
WHILST this columnist has been a proponent of the notion of indigenisation
and economic empowerment for a long time, I have consistently condemned the
policies pursued to achieve those objectives. This is on the grounds that
their implementation would be counterproductive and would grievously worsen
the lot of most of the population.
Instead, I have advocated for tried and proven indigenisation policies which
have ensured wide-ranging economic empowerment in other countries.
Admittedly some of those successful policies would require some adaptation
to accommodate Zimbabwean circumstances.
Zimbabwe commenced its indigenisation drive with the enactment of the Land
Acquisition Act in 1990, the amendment of the constitution by the
Constitutional Commission in 1999, and the land acquisition in 2000.
The latter was coupled with the contemptuous disregard for the constitution’s
provisions for the protection of property rights. The oft violent
expropriation of land rapidly emaciated the agriculture sector, which had
been the foundation of the economy. It resulted in the country being unable
to feed the itself adequately, in contrast to its “breadbasket” of the
It also caused the loss of employment for over 300 000 Zimbabweans resulting
in further hardship. There was a further massive and unsustainable influx
of people into urban areas, to the extent that the massively increased
population overstretched the ability of the infrastructure to cater for the
essential utilities and other needs of the new urban dwellers.
Concomitantly, it fuelled a major economic decline, resulting in millions of
Zimbabweans seeking livelihood in other countries thereby decimating the
country’s human skills resource.
Unwilling to learn from the failed land acquisition process government then
proceeded to enact legislation to enforce indigenisation of all mines, and
of all other enterprises having a net asset value of US$500 000 or above.
Yet again, this was done with total disregard for the constitution’s
provisions to protect property rights, and equal disregard for many
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs) to which
Zimbabwe is a party.
The result was that otherwise readily attainable economic growth was almost
wholly precluded, and especially so as this policy became a major deterrent
to attaining vitally needed foreign investment and to the provision of
international lines of credit, further jeopardising the economy.
Concurrently it magnified the decline in Zimbabwe’s relationship with the
As a result, this column has recurrently castigated the indigenisation and
economic empowerment laws and tended to differ with almost anything and
everything said, or actioned, by Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere. This has not been done
to be deprecating on a personal basis but out of concern for the
intensifying ills occasioned by his statements. This aggression against
foreign-owned entities and the usurping and disregard of the country’s laws,
through actions not prescribed in the relevant legislation have brought
about this condemnation.
However, for once, it must be acknowledged that the minister has done
something right. His quoting of remarks made by President Robert Mugabe
dismissing Western media comparisons with the former Nazi leader, Adolf
Hitler, are very illustrative. Hitler succeeded in the destruction of what
had been a sound economy with a great growth potential.
Hitler dynamically sought the suffering and death of millions, including
Jews, Gypsies, the physically disabled and others. The minister is doing
likewise, be it intentionally or otherwise. Zimbabwe has the indisputable
potential for a very great economy –– to the extent that it could have the
fifth largest economy on the entire continent of Africa. But the manner in
which Zimbabwe is pursuing the indigenisation and economic empowerment
policies ensures that we will be unable to realise that potential. It will
also result in continued hardships and dearth of economic empowerment for
the majority of Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe’s economic circumstances are
concomitant with the Hitlerite decimation of Germany’s economy seven decades
The Global Systematic Analysis of National Causes of Child Mortality survey
report suggests that approximately 10 799 newborn babies die annually in
Zimbabwe, primarily due to inadequate medical services and inputs and the
shabby conditions in which many expectant mothers live, impacting adversely
upon the unborn foetuses.
Similarly, thousands of premature deaths continue because of malnutrition
and inaccessibility of essential services. Only through the consistent and
ongoing economic development and growth can these circumstances be
addressed. However, attaining that growth is impossible for aslong as the
minister pursues his present policies.
Hitler considered himself to be above his country’s constitution and laws.
It appears that Kasukuwere considers himself to be a super minister and
flagrantly disregards the frequent directives he receives from his superiors
as well as the constitution.
The Indigenisation Act does not accord him the power to do what he wants
with near total disregard for prevailing agreements to which government is
While in the past this column found it difficult to concur with the minister’s
actions and contentions, it must now shame-facedly acknowledge that, for
once, the minister was right, when he associated himself with Hitler.
By Eric Bloch
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:42
THE EU was “itching to mend Zim ties”, the Herald reported recently. This
followed a statement from EU head of delegation Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia
saying the bloc “wished to seriously engage in political dialogue with
“We hope that the dialogue will help define further steps towards a complete
normalisation of EU/Zimbabwe relations,” the statement said.
The EU was preparing a country strategy programme, Ambassador Dell’Ariccia
said, “to be signed as soon as conditions allow”. Baroness Catherine Ashton
will head the dialogue.
Now what is “itching” about this? The EU is simply pointing out it favours
normalisation of relations “as soon as conditions allow”. And you can bet
your bottom dollar that those conditions include implementation of the GPA,
something the government had hoped to ignore.
So can we have some less naïve reporting in the Herald such as this:
“Zimbabwe government officials insist that the time shall come when the EU
and other countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe will be falling over
each other to do business with this country.”
As they haven’t been doing any falling over each other to date, we can
safely assume it won’t be any time soon! What the EU has been doing is
extending aid to Zimbabwe and encouraging trade.
We were interested to see our old friend LovemoreMataire back in print
recently attacking his colleagues in the independent press. He was, readers
may recall, last spotted wearing a Che Guevara beret as editor of the
fawning People’s Voice. He is still in revolutionary mode although no longer
at the helm of the People’s Voice on account of its demise.
His targets last week were critics of the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
“It is my fervent view,” he wrote, “that the commission is justified in
seeking to block the entry into the country of such publications as the
Sunday Times and The Zimbabwean. It must be mandatory for all foreign
publications to have offices in Zimbabwe and register as stipulated by the
law. Not fulfilling these statutory obligations must be viewed as a serious
act of provocation and deviant behaviour that must be dealt with by the
relevant law-enforcement bodies.”
So here is a journalist calling upon the state to deal with independent
newspapers on the grounds that a “free press doesn’t entail being an outlaw”.
It is useful to have this “deviancy of a special type” in print just ahead
of press freedom day so the rest of the world can see how Zimbabwe’s
regulatory authorities harass its free press by using and abusing the agency
of state-sector reporters.
Mataire quotes BaffourAnkomah to assist his case that there is nowhere in
the world that has a really free press.
A case of the blind leading the blind!
And at no stage were there 100 000 whites voting which, it is suggested,
swung the vote in favour of “No” in the 2000 referendum. This was part of
the Zanu PF mythology that swarms of whites came back into the country to
vote in the referendum. It had no basis in fact but Mataire swallowed it.
The source? “Everyone who observed…” Yes, very scientific!
We liked the letter to the editor of the Herald that said “the scions of
colonialists were clucking in their boots”. Obviously some sort of colonial
duck. Perhaps the writer meant “quaking”?
Then we had Isdore Guvamombe telling us we may like or dislike President
Mugabe, but he had stood “the taste of time”. We can imagine Isdore licking
They are not getting any brighter at UZ either. Five students have been
charged with “deformation of character” following misuse of a picture taken
with the university’s vice-chancellor.
Still on the subject of “deformation”, we were surprised to see prominent
lawyer Alec Muchadehama’s firm dispatching writs across the city in
connection with a suit his firm is pursuing against a newspaper while at the
same time he heads the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe. All very
We are always amused by Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo’s tortured
attempts to market President Mugabe as a viable candidate for a fresh
In another about-turn in this week’s installment of his now infamous
Mahosoesque articles in the Sunday Mail, Moyo claimed that “succession is
not about individuals and is certainly not about age but about ideas,
ideologies, policy programmes and generation”.
This is the same Moyo who, only last August, said the old guard should let a
younger generation which he referred to as “Generation 40” take charge.
Moyo had admitted that it would be ridiculous to present Mugabe as a
candidate for the party in the next two or three years due to “allegations
of old age and alleged ill health” and believed the only solution is
Change, Moyo said, was one of the issues that “ties the tongues of some
comrades in the nationalist movement in ways that betray the revolutionary
Fast forward to April, 2012, and Moyo is predictably singing a different
“It is far better to have an older man like President Mugabe with a sharp
brain and good ideas to empower the majority of Zimbabweans than to have a
younger man like Prime Minister Tsvangirai who has a dead brain and whose
ideas seek to protect foreigners against Zimbabweans,” Moyo opined this
Suddenly President Mugabe, in Moyo’s view, is an older man with a “sharp
brain”, a far cry from his Mugabe is “now too old, too tired” mantra.
“Mugabe now lacks the vision, stature and energy to effectively run the
country, let alone his party,” Moyo said in one article written in 2009.
No wonder Moyo wanted to stop newspapers from republishing his old articles.
He probably finds them offensive as well.
Among the “gems” from Moyo’s articles causing him embarrassment are: “Why
Mugabe should go now”; “Mugabe now too old, too tired”; “Mugabe not telling
the truth’; “Mugabe leadership doomed to fail”; “Mugabe behaving like a
cornered rat”; “Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe”; “Mugabe incoherent,
disoriented” and so on.
Thank goodness for the printed word!
Amid the hullabaloo surrounding President Mugabe’s health, the fact that he
arrived home last Thursday from Singapore aboard a private chartered Airbus
jet, seemed to escape most people’s notice.
NewsDay reports that Mugabe and his entourage were initially due in Harare
on Sunday, but could not secure a flight from Singapore because of late
According to the story, authorities in Harare contemplated dispatching an
Air Zimbabwe plane to pick up Mugabe in Singapore, but the plan was
abandoned due to financial and technical reasons.
What a fitting indictment on Mugabe’s rule over the last 32 years that he is
now at the mercy of foreign airlines to travel. Sovereignty indeed!
At Independence, in 1980, Air Zimbabwe had 15 planes and was a major player
on the regional and international scene. The fleet has gradually been
whittled away as the Zanu PF government wreaked havoc with the economy.
Under Mugabe and Zanu PF’s rule the airline has become a laughing stock with
one of its planes being impounded late last year in London by a United
Mugabe, and his bloated delegation of around 100 people, was also stranded
in the United States last September after four tyres of an Air Zimbabwe jet
ruptured on landing at JFK International Airport.
An AirZim official had told the Daily News that the plane had only one spare
wheel and that the other spare wheels were being transported from London
where Air Zimbabwe has a workshop.
Air Zim is clearly ripe for indigenisation Cde Saviour Kasukuwere!
Meanwhile MDC-99 president, Job Sikhala, this week called for an
Independence Day snub as a protest against President Mugabe.
Instead, Sikhala, on Monday was urging Zimbabweans to “mourn the loss of our
true Independence” under 32 years of Mugabe’s uninterrupted rule.
“The regime has presided over the deaths of more people than Ian Smith since
1980,” said Sikhala.
He went on to say that Zimbabwe was under a “new imperial order of black
force oppressing its own”.
“Robert Mugabe is a tyrannical oppressor masquerading as a liberator who
must be shunned by all right-thinking people. He has monopolised the
Independence Day to suit his own delusionary agendas and those who gatecrash
it are ridiculed,” he said.
It seems Cde Sikhala had changed tactics after having threatened, in
February, that he and 70 members of his party leadership would go on a
66-day hunger strike at Africa Unity Square in Harare, “until Mugabe is
Quizzed about the significance of 66 days, Shikhala had said that “in terms
of scientific study, it is said a person can survive 66 days without food.
So we intend to stretch ourselves to the limit”.
Sikhala, who has been nicknamed “Jobless” after losing the St Mary’s
constituency seat, said: “We will be drinking water obviously” but on the
whole “we will not talk to anybody, we will not be holding any stones or any
axes. We are going to engage in peaceful means. If it fails and the dictator
continues, we will go into overdrive.”
Strangely Sikhala is now talking, despite threatening to make a vow of
Maybe this is the “overdrive” we were told he would introduce.
Muckraker was fascinated by the internal workings of our police force. Their
publication, The Outpost, provided this insight to a visit of the National
Support Group to Gweru earlier this year.
“I really hate it when people do things just because the NSG is coming to
visit,” lamented a senior officer.
“It was not difficult to agree with her for while some of the activities on
the ground pointed to a different scenario (like the orderly Operational
Orders files), many of the documents, files and books presented to the group
showed a pathetic state of neglect which was an indictment on the policing
resolves of the section’s commanders.
“There were entries in the Traffic Accident book register which looked as if
they had been entered by a person whose concentration was heavy with sleep
or drink or both.”
Finally South African President Jacob Zuma is set to add to his teeming
harem next weekend in a traditional ceremony in his hometown of Nkandla.
Gloria Bongekile Ngema will become Zuma’s fourth wife after having been
engaged to him for a number of years, reports the Sunday Times.
Zuma’s Nkandla homestead has undergone a massive R64 million renovation
which included the construction of six double-storey thatch rondavels for
Zuma’s wives and family.
According to the Sunday Times, each of the main bedrooms is connected to
Zuma’s main house by underground tunnels.
Intimate details of his personal life were revealed at his 70th birthday
party when guests were shown video clips of 70 questions put to him by his
He also disclosed that he would happily go on a date with Democratic
Alliance leader Helen Zille.
Asked if he was done with marriage and children, he answered “I think so” to
the first and “Yes” to the second. And how does he like his women? “I like
one with some body.”
We’re sure you do Cde Zuma!
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:32
SUCCESS and failure is part of life for individuals and organisations. The
same goes for nations. Everyone has a personal balance sheet of their
affairs, so do organisations and countries.
Zimbabwe celebrated 32 years of independence from Britain on Wednesday.
President Robert Mugabe addressed the main event at the National Sports
stadium in Harare. His 1 745-word speech — long in words but very short in
substance — was predictably soporific and incoherent, harking back to the
history of colonialism and the liberation struggle, but saying precious
little about the present and future.
Instead of using the opportunity to reflect on the past and present, and
also think about the future, it was used as a drum-beating occasion to
remind people about his liberation struggle heroics and bravery.
Every time Mugabe speaks he recalls his supposedly heroic life, the
struggles he has led and victories achieved in the name of the people, in so
doing tacitly demanding to rule for life. He always falls short of openly
demanding ruling till the end of time.
I always like reading Franzt Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, especially
around Independence Day. I will return to Fanon later after asking a few
questions and making observations about Zimbabwe’s post-colonial reality.
In the meantime, we need to ask: Have we realised the cherished dreams of
our freedom fighters and independence? In the past 32 years what have been
our significant achievements? What are the failures? What lessons are we to
learn? What is to be done going forward? What does the future hold for
When our freedom fighters took up arms to dislodge the colonial system, they
wanted democracy, freedom, development and prosperity. They envisaged a new
country in which Zimbabweans in their diversity live together in peace and
harmony in a thriving economy.
They also imagined a democracy based on the constitution in which
fundamental rights, civil and political liberties, the rule of law and
human rights are upheld. Freedom fighters would have envisioned that if
government could not build the future for their children then it would
surely build their children for the future.
After independence, Mugabe’s government started off well. It expanded social
services, buildings schools, clinics, houses, roads and utility
infrastructure. It also ran the economy relatively well, hence Zimbabweans’
standards of living by African benchmarks were relatively high.
But even then signs that the country was heading for disaster were there.
Soon after coming into office, Mugabe — who wanted to establish a one-party
state and a command economy — quickly resorted to systematic repression,
using the colonial apparatus and methods, to consolidate and maintain power.
The country soon became an outpost tyranny as he ruthlessly embarked on an
authoritarian project which has left the nation in ruins.
As Fanon would say, due to inevitable economic decline, unemployment and
poverty, mainly caused by leadership and policy failures, people began to
sulk. “From time to time, however, the leader makes an effort; he speaks on
the radio or makes a tour of the country to pacify the people. The leader is
all the more necessary as the party collapses,” he says.
“This party has sadly disintegrated; nothing is left but the shell of a
party, the name, the emblem and the motto. Today, the party’s mission is to
deliver to the people the instructions issued from the summit. There no
longer exists the fruitful give-and-take from the bottom to the top and
vice-versa which creates and guarantees democracy.”
Fanon says the leader and his party become feared by his own people who
harbour “bitter disappointment” and live in despair, simmering with
“This party, which used to call itself the servant of the people, hastens to
send the people back to their caves. The party, which of its own will
proclaims that it is a national party, and which claims to speak in the name
of the totality of the people, secretly, sometimes even openly organises an
authentic ethnical dictatorship.”
As the situation further deteriorates, the party “sinks into an
extraordinary lethargy”. Its members are only summoned when so-called
popular manifestations are afoot, or international conferences, or
In the end, Fanon concludes, the leader and his party become the “true
traitors in Africa, for they sell their own country to the most terrifying
of all its enemies: stupidity”. Need we say more? It’s as if Fanon had Zanu
PF and Zimbabwe in mind when he wrote his book in 1961.
Friday, 20 April 2012 09:34
WHILE at the Roadport bus terminus along Fifth Street to purchase a ticket
to South Africa, I had an unexpected opportunity to witness Zanu PF’s
coercive machinery at work as the party gears for the next high-stakes
Roadport, and the adjacent bus rank, is home to a motley band of informal
traders — from money changers to airtime traders, hairdressers and even
caterers trying to eke out a living from hordes of people passing through
While parked next to the bus terminus, and close to the crowd of informal
traders, several men wearing familiar T-shirts appeared. They were dressed
in white Zanu PF regalia ubiquitous during the last elections which boldly
proclaim “100% Empowerment, Total Independence”, together with an image of
party leader President Robert Mugabe.
One of the men, a strapping figure with a menacing look on his face to
complement his imposing frame, was going around reminding the traders that
they were expected at a Zanu PF meeting —- due to start shortly — to discuss
the next elections. The tone of his voice left no doubt that he would brook
no objection, and warned of repercussions for those who failed to turn up.
I would have wanted to ask him to explain how his party could “100%” empower
the hapless traders by forcing them to close shop and frog-marching them to
their meeting. However, the instinct for self-preservation got the better
of my curiosity. Meanwhile, the Zanu PF bouncer’s orders threw the traders
into helter-skelter, with some speaking in hushed tones while others
appeared to be debating whether to attend or lie low somewhere until the
coast was clear.
A stone’s throw from the Roadport terminus, and in clear view, was the Zanu
PF Harare Province Headquarters where some of the traders were gathering in
the searing afternoon sun. There they were led into singing party songs by a
brazenly energetic female cadre — precursor to a session of “political
With elections imminent, Zanu PF’s trump card remains unchanged: Coercion.
Old habits notoriously die hard, and for Zanu PF, pre-poll harassment and
intimidation have been the modus operandi since 1980. With the spectre of
losing power in the next elections looming large, the temptation to resort
to harassment and violence to assure victory would be too hard to resist for
the party. This is all despite Article 10 of the Global Political Agreement
clearly stating “… the Parties have agreed that there should be free
political activity throughout Zimbabwe within the ambit of the law in which
all political parties are able to propagate their views and canvass for
support, free of harassment and intimidation”.
Memories of the traumatic experiences of the 2008 presidential poll
un-off — characterised by a brutal campaign largely blamed on Zanu PF —
remain fresh in the minds of many. If events on the ground are anything to
go by, some will be forced to relive that ordeal as Zanu PF goes all out for
victory at all costs — including life and limb.
Ironically, during his Independence address on Wednesday Mugabe called for
Zimbabweans to be allowed to join political parties of their choice.
“Membership is not forced and should never be forced. People should belong
to the party of their choice,” he said.
Suggesting that political violence was a closed chapter, Mugabe added: “We
must take care and caution that the past is buried.” He could not have been
further from the truth. The past remains alive in those that have been
traumatised by poll violence but have received no assistance or compensation
while perpetrators walk scot-free. The past is also alive in the form of
Zanu PF members such as those at the party’s Harare provincial office
forcing vendors to attend meetings or risk reprisal.
And, if those forcing long-suffering Zimbabweans to attend their political
rallies wear Zanu PF T-shirts bearing Mugabe’s image, the people are bound
to believe that their tormentors are acting with Mugabe’s blessing.
By Stewart Chabwinja