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MDC-T in disarray ahead of congress

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:27

Paidamoyo Muzulu and Brian Chitemba

THE MDC-T has embarked on an “internal healing exercise” to patch up
differences that have erupted and are threatening to tear the party down the
middle ahead of its elective congress next week.

The three-day congress will be held in Bulawayo from next Thursday.

Party insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday that the MDC-T was in
disarray and that its national executive would meet today to map the way
forward after its provincial polls were rocked by factionalism, amid reports
of violence, vote rigging and intimidation.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the president of the MDC-T, and members of the party’s
standing committee have over the past week visited their structures in the
provinces to deal with the factionalism.

“We have embarked on an internal healing process to reunite our members and
bury differences,” a senior party official said. “We have visited all our
provinces except Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and North and Mashonaland
Central. We will go to these provinces next week before the congress.”

Others sources said the party’s standing committee met ahead of today’s
extraordinary national executive council meeting to iron out a litany of
complaints from provincial congresses held over the last two weeks.

Today’s meeting, according to the sources, would receive provincial
nominations for the national leadership, finalise the delegate list and deal
with other logistical issues. All posts in the national executive are up for
grabs at the congress, but Tsvangirai has been assured of retaining the
presidency without any challenge.

Provincial congresses in Masvingo, Mashonaland West, Midlands North,
Bulawayo and Chitungwiza were blighted by vote rigging, factionalism,
violence, vote buying and participation by ineligible persons.

Results from these provinces left the party divided prompting some members
to petition Tsvangirai to intervene and save the movement from
MDC-T national organising secretary Elias Mudzuri confirmed yesterday’s
meeting by the standing committee and today’s national executive committee
“The whole congress process needs a deep analysis,” Mudzuri said, “As an
organisation we should not fool ourselves that all is well. To that end, the
national executive is meeting tomorrow (today) to address complaints from
the provinces. I cannot foretell the outcome of such a meeting.”

Mudzuri added that the party was in a fragile state and the issue should be
handled delicately.

“The leadership has to address so many complaints to the satisfaction of the
members,” he added, “Failure to do so will leave the party fragmented and

Elections in Masvingo and Midlands North were done twice, but tensions were
reportedly still high on the ground.

Mashonaland West province wrote a strongly worded petition imploring
Tsvangirai to intervene and save the party from splitting.

The party split into two formations just before the 2005 senatorial

MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa yesterday could not immediately confirm the
standing committee’s meeting, but blamed factionalism and violence troubling
the party in Midlands North, Bulawayo and Masvingo to infiltration by Zanu
PF, adding that they were investigating the violence cases.

The intra-party violence in Bulawayo has sucked in bigwigs including Deputy
Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone, and
Bulawayo East MP Thabitha Khumalo.

Tsvangirai, party insiders said, would be in Bulawayo on Wednesday to rein
in the warring factions.

MDC-T sources blamed the violence in Bulawayo on losing provincial
chairmanship aspirant Mattson Hlalo who is working with Khumalo backed by
Makone, who is MDC-T women’s assembly chairperson. Khumalo, a close Makone
ally, is reportedly interested in the party’s vice-presidency post.

Lobengula MP Samuel Sipepa Nkomo has also been linked to the vice-presidency
post although he has not been visible in the province.

Hlalo, sources said, is close to Makone and Khumalo while newly elected
Bulawayo provincial chairman Gorden Moyo, who is also State Enterprises and
Parastatals minister, is aligned to Khupe.

After the election of Moyo a fortnight ago, marauding youths allegedly
belonging to the Hlalo camp, a Mzilikazi senator, have been disrupting
provincial assembly elections. The party polls have been abandoned twice in
two weeks following violent clashes between supporters of Moyo and those who
rally behind Hlalo.

The source said the violent scenes were meant to influence the outcome of
the election which was aimed at blocking Moyo from winning the influential

If Hlalo had won the Bulawayo provincial leadership, sources added, the
senator would have then nominated Khumalo for the vice-president’s post
during the party’s third elective congress.

“The plot was to block Moyo from winning, then Bulawayo province would not
nominate Khupe for the vice-presidency post which would make it difficult
for her to win because of a snub by her home province,” said a senior MDC-T

The official said youths who disrupted last weekend’s elections at the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions offices were hired from Makokoba by Hlalo’s
faction to sabotage the party programme.

The abandoned elections will be held on Tuesday where party members would
choose the provincial organising secretary, vice organising secretary and
vice secretary for administration. Hlalo is now targeting the provincial
organising secretary’s post.

Khumalo could not be reached for comment on Wednesday as her mobile phone
was not reachable while Hlalo and Makone’s phones went unanswered.
Tsvangirai last week tried in vain to bridge differences in the provinces
like Masvingo and Bulawayo. He travelled in the company of party spokesman
Nelson Chamisa and Mudzuri.

“We failed to reach an amicable solution to the feuding factions last week,”
Mudzuri said, “We hope that tomorrow (today)’s meetings will iron out these

Constitutional expert Lovemore Madhuku believes the congress divisions are a
stern test to Tsvangirai’s leadership qualities in keeping the party united
before and after the national congress.

Madhuku said: “The party will survive. It is common for political parties to
have differences during elective congresses but it depends on the
leadership. Everything rests on the shoulders of Tsvangirai.”

“Tsvangirai will have to heal the wounds of those defeated and rectify
anomalies in certain elections that were done unconstitutionally

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Chinese in deal to save Air Zim

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:25

Bernard Mpofu

GOVERNMENT has brokered a deal with a Chinese energy company to acquire two
new Airbuses 340-500 to save embattled national carrier Air Zimbabwe despite
earlier reports that the deal had fallen through.

Sources close to the developments said secretary for transport Patson
Mbiriri told senior management at Air Zimbabwe in an industrial relations
crisis meeting on remuneration of pilots three weeks ago that the two
planes, estimated to cost not less than US$200 million each, are believed to
be in Toulouse, France and are expected in the country in June.

The Airbuses, which are expected to augment the Boeing 767 on the long haul
routes were bought using “diamonds money” in a deal that was structured to
bypass European Union and US imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe .

Air Zimbabwe has also entered into a wet long lease agreement with Air
Zambezi to hire the 737-500 which would replace the ageing 737-200.

Air Zimbabwe acting CEO Innocent Mavhunga could not be drawn to comment. He
referred all questions to group chairman Jonathan Kadzura, who last week
told the Zimbabwe Independent that the proposed plan to buy the aircraft had
been put on hold indefinitely.

“At this point in time I cannot comment on anything on Air Zimbabwe,” said

Mbiriri would also not comment on the matter referring all questions to
Transport minister Nicholas Goche, who was said to be in a meeting when
contacted for comment.

However, Mavhunga was quoted this week saying the airline had embarked on a
programme to phase out ageing aircraft although he did not reveal how the
financially beleaguered airline would fund the project.

Air Zimbabwe pilots who appeared before a parliamentary committee on
transport and communications told lawmakers that time was running out for
government to replace the 737-200 ADV aircraft which must be retired by June
this year.

It is understood that Ministry of Transport officials entered into a deal
with Sonangol, a Chinese controlled oil company based in Angola to acquire
the aircraft from France. The sources said Sonangol, the “deal sponsor”
would then advance payment to Reliance Aerospace Solutions, an aviation
consulting firm which would then transfer the funds to Airbus.

The sources said negotiations on the deal commenced when a Airbus official
Richard Mohler a German-born Egyptian aviation expert, and  Reliance
Aerospace Solutions president Mohamed El-Borai, Simon Pipping of Reliance
and Captain David O’Shea who heads the flight operations and safety unit of
Reliance Aerospace, met with former Air Zimbabwe chief Peter Chikumba and
senior government officials last year.

The deal suffered a setback when government reportedly failed to raise
sufficient funds from alluvial diamond sales to bring the airbuses to
Zimbabwe by October 2010.

“A lot of things came out during the strike. Mbiriri indicated that the two
Airbuses are in France. China’s Sonangol will sponsor the deal because of
trading sanctions which are in place,” an aviation expert said.

“The two aircraft were initially manufactured for Kingfisher (Serial Number
MSN 886 and 894), an Indian owned airline, but Kingfisher later defaulted on
payment amid reports that business was low for the airline.”

According to the source, Air Zimbabwe cabin crew and engineers have already
received training for the Rolls Royce powered aircrafts.

“Our pilots are yet to receive training so the aircraft will come with
pilots hired from Reliance. The new planes will have a new livery, our
national flag on the tail while the rest of the fuselage will be white. All
these developments came after Air Zimbabwe completed a feasibility study in
June 2010,” the source said.

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Elephant meat for hungry prisoners

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:15

Wongai Zhangazha

PRISONERS in the country’s overcrowded jails may soon be fed with elephant
meat if a proposal by the Justice and Legal Affairs ministry to curb the
shortage of protein in prisons is accepted by government.
The ministry is proposing the culling of the “over-populated” elephants and
supply the meat to prisons where inmates have had meals without meat for
years. The country’s prison dietary requirements are said to be far below
international standards and what is required by the law. Inmates alternate
sadza with cabbages or beans as their main meal.

Unconfirmed reports were that prisoners had gone for four years without

In an interview last week, Deputy Minister of Justice Obert Gutu said while
“things have slightly improved in the prisons and prisoners are getting
three meals a day”, there were still limitations in terms of the dietary

“The meals do not meet the approved dietary standards as stipulated by the
law. In one of our meetings it was discussed extensively how the problem
could be solved,” said Gutu. “It was at this meeting that the ministry and
the Prison Services Commission considered elephant meat as an option. It was
agreed that since experts say that there is an overpopulation of elephants
in the country why not get some of the elephants and give them to prisoners
as meat, since we don’t have the meat neither do we have the money to buy
it. It was agreed to say let’s get into a deal with relevant authorities and
arrange something.”

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo
told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that they had not received any
communication from the Ministry of Justice regarding the supply of elephant
meat to prisoners.

However, the move to supply prisons with elephant meat was not welcomed by
wildlife activists.

Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force slammed the
proposal, arguing that the move would result in the extinction of elephants
and in the long result in the “killing” of the tourism industry.

He said: “This is the most dangerous thing that they will be doing if
approved. One of the biggest foreign currency earners in the country is
tourism. How then can we steal from our own heritage? Why are we selling our
future heritage down the drain? We should be looking after these intelligent
animals so that they are not killed. Government should actually be putting
in harsh laws to protect these animals.”

Rodrigues said despite claims by authorities that there were 100 000
elephants in the country, the number had gone down to less than 35 000.

Apart from food problems in prisons, jails are overcrowded and government is
failing to provide adequate prison garb.

Gutu said they had agreed that prisoners should start wearing their own
clothes to ease the uniform crisis.

“The uniforms are torn and we don’t have any new uniforms. It was agreed
that they start wearing their own clothes except for dangerous prisoners and
obviously we expect ZPS (Zimbabwe Prison Services) to use its discretion so
that it will not pose a security risk,” said Gutu.

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Diaspora Zimbos snub constitution-making

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:18

Wongai Zhangazha

ZIMBABWEANS in the diaspora have always vociferously complained about being
deliberately excluded from national processes by virtue of their physical
They have held night vigils in prominent world capitals demonstrating
against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe by the government and Zanu PF

They have also tried to get the backing of Sadc and even turned to the
courts to force President Robert Mugabe’s government to allow postal voting.
While they seemed to campaign a lot for inclusion in the constitution-making
process, they have somehow snubbed the ongoing representations for a new

Only a handful of them bothered to add their views through submissions via a
website set up as a platform for diaspora contributions by the
Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac).

Figures released by Copac last week showed that only a paltry 2 397
contributions were made by Zimbabweans in the diaspora via the website.

This is despite a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2010 report
titled “The Potential Contribution of the Zimbabwe Diaspora to Economic
Recovery” showing that at least three million Zimbabweans migrated to other
countries from 2000, when political tensions boiled over following the first
real challenge to Mugabe’s uninterrupted rule.

This basically means that a quarter of the Zimbabwean population is resident
in other countries.

Of these, an estimated 2,1 million are believed to be in South Africa while
the rest are spread over other countries that include the UK with 400 000,
and Botswana and elsewhere in Africa with 200 000 people.

About 50 000 are estimated to be in the US and Canada while Australia and
New Zealand have 20 000 and 50 000 are believed to be scattered in other
countries around the globe.

While economists and development experts agonise over how best to tap into
this huge human capital for the country’s economic recovery, politicians
have been making calculated moves to either include or exclude the
Zimbabwean diaspora from participating in electoral processes.

The MDC says that a majority of these Zimbabweans fled the country at the
height of political brutality and economic collapse on Mugabe’s watch and it
therefore assumes that if given a chance to vote, these millions would vote
against Mugabe.

On the other hand Zanu PF attacks them as sellouts and has vowed to deny
them the vote saying only those physically in the country can vote.

But Copac’s statistics might force a political rethink on whether their
demand to be allowed to vote is genuine or just a political gimmick.

Zimbabweans in the UK and SA demanded that the new constitution should give
them a right to vote in future elections and grant them dual citizenship.

Diaspora groups such as the London-based Council of Zimbabwe Christian
Leaders and Gabriel Shumba-led Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, among others,
requested Copac to include them in future processes and structures such as
the thematic committees, the second national stakeholders’ conference, the
drafting stage and the constitutional referendum.

Copac co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora told the Zimbabwe Independent that
there was general apathy by the diaspora in contributing to the
constitutional outreach process.

He said: “It is important to appreciate that the diaspora was contributing
in three different forms which is through the website or collectively as an
organisation via the website and physically individual organisations through
institutional submissions. The number of contributions or entry on the
website does not necessarily reflect the number of people represented.
Sometimes they would contribute only to their area of interest.”

He said the lack of participation by the diaspora was a tragedy as it added
to the general scepticism about the Global Political Agreement.

“Unfortunately I think that was apathy on the part of the diaspora,”
Mwonzora said. “It reflects the general characteristics of Zimbabweans of
not doing something about their fate leaving it to other people to transform
the country of which they will only be total transformation if everyone

“I am sure a lot of Zimbabweans in the diaspora are waiting for a better
Zimbabwe. But they are leaving it to Zimbabweans within the country to
transform it alone. It’s a tragedy. I just hope they will continue
contributing adding their numbers because we really want their contribution
to come before the referendum.

“The other problem is that most Zimbabweans home and abroad do not trust
Zimbabwe prophecies under the GPA. We can only transform this country
through active participation,” he said.

Copac co-chairperson Paul Mangwana said Zimbabweans abroad had not shown
interest in the process and were only “concerned about their economic

“It would have been a waste of resources for us (Copac) going there and
consulting them on what they want included in the new constitution. Zimbabwe
is now part of their history, not current affairs,” said Mangwana.

However, UK-based Zimbabwean journalist and community organiser, Chofamba
Sithole said with respect to the UK diaspora, Copac did not run any outreach
exercise including publicising the use of its website to harness submissions
from Zimbabweans outside the country.

“It isn’t a question of whether or not Copac did enough; rather, Copac didn’t
do anything remotely resembling a diaspora outreach exercise. Those who knew
about the Copac website and the Copac outreach programme itself are those
who are actively engaged with the situation back home and make every effort
to stay informed and involved.

“Diaspora groups themselves, such as (Zimbabwe Diaspora Development
Interface) ZDDI in the UK and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum in South Africa,
were largely responsible for initiating outreach programmes in their
communities and mobilising their own members’ funds to convene consultative
meetings from which views were gathered and submitted to Copac. Even these
self-initiatives were not without major barriers as it wasn’t clear which
team within Copac was responsible for liaising with the diaspora,” said

He said Copac’s failed outreach to the diaspora was not in any way
indicative of the political interest of Zimbabweans abroad to participate in
national political processes.

“It has to be said that Copac’s stop-go outreach exercise was thoroughly
confusing and frustrating even to those in Zimbabwe. The interest of
Zimbabweans abroad to participate in national processes, especially voting,
is phenomenal.”

Shumba of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum said consultations were as broad as
could be from his side as well as other organisations in the UK. However,
because of shortages of resources “it was well nigh impossible to consult
all representatives of the diaspora”.

“From our standpoint, we are disappointed that not enough resources were
given to Copac to make a meaningful engagement with the diaspora.

However, on the issue of the website, we think that not many were informed
as the Copac website was often difficult to access. It is also important to
dispel the notion that many in the diaspora are economically empowered
enough to have access to the internet on a regular basis. In fact, the
opposite is true,” Shumba said.

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Markets spooked by latest BEE regulations

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 20:36

Chris Muronzi

THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange’s mining index has fallen  11% from last month,
unnerved by the latest indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations
compelling foreign owned mining companies to dispose of 51%  shareholding to
designated entities  that include the Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation (ZMDC), companies owned  by ZMDC and the National Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment Board.
According to the latest regulations, mining companies are compelled to
dispose of controlling stakes in mines with a net asset value of US$1 to
government-linked entities, a move analysts said amounted to wholesale
The mining index closed at 205,26 points yesterday, down 11% from March 25,
when the regulations were announced.
The mainstream industrial index, however, fell marginally, weighed down by
talk of indigenisation and the contagion effects of the latest regulations.
The ZSE’s mainstream index was 164,12 points when  government gazetted the
regulations and closed yesterday at  159,31 points, down 2,6%.
Mining shares such as RioZim and Falgold have been worst affected.
Falgold on Tuesday was US1,5 cents softer  at US5 cents, down 23,1%, while
RioZim’s bids were US$1,20 from a peak of close to US$2 last month.
Falgold is now owned by Ian Saunders’ New Dawn, a Toronto Stock
Exchange-listed company.
The bloodbath continued Wednesday with Bindura closing at US8,01 cents down
or 11%.
RioZim closed at US$1,40 down by US29,99 cents from the last day of trade, a
drop of 17,6%.
The mainstream industrial index closed at 160,06 points yesterday, while the
mining index closed at 205,26 points.
Shares of parent companies of Zimplats, Mimosa and Unkimines; Implats,
Aquarius, and Angloplats respectively the shares have also suffered in
recent weeks, spooked by news that government intended to take over mining
companies by September, amid fears the designated entities might not pay a
fair value. Implats owns Zimplats, the largest mining venture in the
country, and co-owns Mimosa Platinum with Aquarius.
The new regulations supersede earlier regulations gazetted by Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere last year compelling
all foreign owned companies valued at US$500 000 to dispose of controlling
stakes to indigenous Zimbabweans.
A clause in the latest regulations provides that the valuation would take
into consideration the state’s “sovereign” rights in mineral resources.
This, analysts say, is an attempt to lower the price state entities would
have to pay for controlling stakes.

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Zimbabwe needs US$270m for maize imports

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 20:34

Paul Nyakazeya

ZIMBABWE will need about US$270 million to import one million tonnes of
maize this year, given a projected shortfall in local output of the staple
crop, the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said this week.
CFU president Deon Theron told businessdigest that a total 800 000 tonnes of
maize was now expected to be harvested locally, from an initial estimate of
1,2 million tonnes.
“The initial projection was revised to about 800 000 due to the mid farming
season drought experienced in some parts of the season,” he said.
Theron said the national maize consumption requirement stood at 1,8 million
tonnes per annum. Last year Zimbabwe produced 1,3 million tonnes of maize.
“If Zimbabwe is to import (maize) from Malawi it will cost about US$280 per
tonne,” Theron said.
Agriculture minister Joseph Made, however, said figures of how much maize
was expected this year were not readily available from government.
He said the country’s national requirement was 2,2 million tonnes and not
1,8 million tonnes as the CFU stated.
Made said: “There have been projections of maize production in the country,
mostly by organisations that are not based in Zimbabwe. Most of them do not
portray the correct situation on the ground. They will be wrong.”
Made accused organisations such as USAid-funded Famine Early Warning System
(Fewsnet) as not being transparent and sincere when dealing with Zimbabwe,
saying government had now resorted to ignoring their projections.
Some agriculture experts, however, said Fewsnet’s projections were “almost
close to the ground and accurate, ” as they deployed experts in all
provinces to record the correct situation on the ground.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union director Paul Zakanya said the national yield is
expected to double.
“We have received really good rains and this season should see us getting a
good national yield. The bumper harvest will also be driven by the increase
in the hectarage planted around the country. We are likely to double our
crop yields this year,” he said.
He however said the cost of inputs could hinder the projected yields.
Theron also forecast a deficit in the production of wheat, Zimbabwe’s second
staple grain. He said farmers had failed to meet annual wheat consumption
requirements of around 450 000 tonnes. Zimbabwe needed to import wheat worth
over US$150 million to meet an expected shortfall of 440 000 tonnes.
At least 60 000 hectares was supposed to be put under wheat this year but
farmers had planted only 10 000 hectares. Once regarded as the breadbasket
of Southern Africa during the first two decades after Independence in 1980,
Zimbabwe has for the past decade become a perennial importer of food,
relying more on handouts from aid agencies after farm invasions which
started in February 2000.
The agriculture sector, however appears to be emerging from the intensive
care unit after a decade characterised by political unrest, drought,
shortage of inputs and fuel, a declining economy, unreliable electricity for
winter farming and absence of collateral for farmers to access loans.
Some analysts, however, say the sector’s full recovery remains fragile and
will depend on political and economic stability, reliable electricity,
availability of inputs, cheap loans for farmers and favourable rains.
Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union president Silas Hungwe told businessdigest that
agriculture production had improved a lot in Zimbabwe.
He said: “It was important for farmers to build on last year’s encouraging
output as all major sectors of the economy’s revival largely depend on
agriculture. Compared to previous years the amount of hectarage planted is
encouraging. However, there is no support for the small grains, but
government is making subsidised fertiliser available to farmers.”
Hungwe said agriculture was the centre of gravity for the economy,
contributing 19% to gross domestic product last year.
GDP is the most important measure of economic activity in the country as it
is the crossing point of expenditure, output and income.
This year’s growth is expected to be driven by tobacco, which is expected to
reach 177 million kg from 123 million kg.
Agricultural Marketing Authority director Basil Nyabadza said Zimbabwe
needed a comprehensive and sustainable solution that would ensure
agricultural production was re-invigorated sustainability.
“New farmers should be able to apply to the land bank for soft loans to
finance purchase of farms and loans to begin or continue agricultural
production on an agreed cost recovery scheme with the financier,” he said.
“We experienced good rain this year which should translate into a bumper
harvest. We are looking at a possible increase in tobacco which will be good
for the economy. The agriculture sector has recovered considerably,”
Nyabadza said.
However, he said, fertiliser and inputs had not been readily available.

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Illegal settlers disrupt timber industry

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 20:33

Taurai Mangudhla

ILLEGAL settlers have disrupted the local timber industry as they have
invaded more than 5 000 hectares of commercial forestry land in Manicaland,
indiscriminately cutting down trees, and posing serious environmental
degradation threats in the process, according to timber industry players.
The timber industry accuses local authorities responsible for allocating
land under the controversial land reform programme as abetting the
squatters, thereby sabotaging the sector’s revival.  They say forestry
plantations are being used for resettlement despite the fact that they are
protected from invasion by the same land reform policy.
“The situation is political because the governor and the Lands officer are
responsible for land allocation. What I know is that if plantation
management is not in good books with these political appointees you are
likely to see your plantation being allocated to squatters,” said a senior
plantation manager who requested anonymity.
This was contrary to the forest-based land reform policy framework, which
recognises timber plantation as a viable land use option that should not be
converted to other uses.
Industry sources in Manicaland say because of these takeovers, their
companies are failing to secure foreign investment needed to revamp the
ailing sector.
“Chinese investors who had shown interest in some plantations said they
would only commit their resources to the tune of US$100 million once the
unlawful occupants were removed,” Timber Producers Federation’s (TPF)
chairman Franky Kufa said.  He said potential investors needed a secure
operating environment before they could commit their finances.
Efforts to secure the much needed funding required to revive the ailing
sector have been countered by continued plantation incursions.
The latest Timber Producers Federation’s (TPF) report indicated more than 5
000 hectares had been illegally occupied by close to 600 families and 1 241
settlers, most of whom were gold panners.
Kufa said the illegal settlements posed the greatest challenge to timber
plantations in the form of opportunistic harvesting, land clearing for
agriculture and uncontrolled fires.
Most of the unlawful occupants had already cut down trees to either grow
potatoes, maize and other crops.
Allied Timbers Zimbabwe,  the Wattle Company and listed Border Timbers
Limited are some of the major foresty companies that have been affected most
by the chaotic invasions.
Environment and Natural Resources minister Francis Nhema said collective
action was required to resolve problems arising from the invasions.
“Illegal setters are not sustainable to the industry and there is need for
engagement between local leadership, government, timber growers and the
illegal settlers to come up with a common ground” said Nhema.
Lands and Rural Resettlement minister Herbert Murerwa however, indicated the
chaotic situation could not be immediately resolved as anticipated by timber
growers, owing to policy complications.
Murerwa said government had the challenge to find alternative land for the
illegal settlers as part of a rehabilitation process which is required by

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BEE law devoid of clear definitions

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 20:28

Chris Muronzi

A COURT ruling that saw South Africans of Chinese descent being granted the
right to also benefit from Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) deals, citing
that they were also discriminated against during the apartheid era has
apparently had no effect on Zimbabwe’s proponents of black economic
empowerment. A ruling by a South African Court confirmed what South Africans
of Chinese descent had been claiming all along; “we are black.”

And they became black and benefitted from BEE deals.
South Africans of Chinese descent had been classified as “coloured” during
apartheid and faced discrimination as much as blacks. While Zimbabwe intends
that BEE beneficiaries should exclusively be black, the wording of its
indigenisation laws actually leaves it more open for people who are not
black to claim indigenous status, according to top lawyers –– Nick Willsmer
and Sternford Moyo.
Willsmer and Moyo last week brought to the fore some of the problems that
lay ahead as President Robert Mugabe and his Empowerment minister Saviour
Kasukuwere vigorously push for indigenisation of the economy.
The lawyers said definitions in the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
Act and regulations were so broad that even a Maori could claim to be an
indigenous Zimbabwean, and lawfully benefit from indigenisation programmes
in Zimbabwe.
Definitions such as “indigenous”, according to the lawyers, are ambiguous
and too broad.
For instance, “indigenous Zimbabweans” is according to the lawyers so
misleading that a “person who qualifies as an ‘indigenous Zimbabwean’ need
not be indigenous nor Zimbabwean.”
Apart from the regulations and act being loosely defined, the lawyers said
the piece of legislation was unconstitutional, saying it trampled underfoot
fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution such as freedom of
association, expression and sanctity of property rights.
But in a country where business leaders are generally prone to political
interference, analysts say the constitutionality of the act might never be
tested, especially given some rulings relating to property rights and
constitutional rights made by the Supreme Court over the years.
Observers say the country’s judicial system is not independent and is
sometimes at the mercy of politicians.
As expected, mines executives have refused to talk about the new regulations
affecting the industry.
Instead, the executives are meeting government officials behind closed doors
to try and dissuade them from wholesale nationalisation of the sector.
Analysts say although the planned indigenisation of the economy is noble,
the manner in which government is going about the exercise, casts doubt on
the success of the policy.
Judging by recent regulations that compel mining companies to dispose of
controlling stakes in mines to the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation,
companies owned by the government mining group, a government empowerment
body and sovereign wealth funds,  analysts say Zimbabwe now wants to
nationalize mines.
Ambiguous definitions aside, Willsmer says it would be impossible to ensure
that a company whose shares are traded daily on a stock exchange is 51%
owned by indigenous Zimbabweans.
He said the introduction of official “designated entities” as the recipients
of mining interests was in conflict with the “plainly-stated” purpose of the
Act  –– to empower indigenous Zimbabweans –– arguing official bodies “do not
qualify as indigenous.”
Moyo, a senior partner at Scanlen & Holderness, also blasted a clause in the
regulations that gives Kasukuwere the discretion to come up with valuations
of companies by taking into account the state’s “sovereign rights” to
minerals as an attempt to ensure that “little or nothing” was paid for the
He added that the regulations’ provision that Kasukuwere can impose partners
on mining companies violated freedom of association protected by Section 21
of the Constitution.
Apart from undermining section 21, the provision could fuel corruption and
see  Kasukuwere cherry picking the would-be beneficiaries on political and
even family basis, analysts say.
Moyo also said freedom of expression would be trampled underfoot should
government compel companies to submit empowerment plans.
He said: “Section 20 of the constitution enshrines freedom of expression.
That freedom includes the right not to communicate if one does not wish to
do so.  The Constitution does not, therefore, provide for submission of
empowerment plans. Consequently, the duty to produce a plan within 45 days
appears to be challengeable.”
Analysts said there is need to have clear definitions in the act and
regulations to spell out the would-be beneficiaries, amid concerns that the
policy is a veiled nationalisation plan, particularly in the mining sector.

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‘Two more blocs join common currency talks’

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 20:28

Nqobile Bhebhe

PLANS to adopt a single currency for the 15-member Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) by 2018 could be overtaken by a much broader
regional single currency and customs project that would include two other
trade blocs, Industry and International Trade minister Welshman Ncube has

Sadc, Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the East
African Community are in talks aimed at setting up a single monetary union
and a free trade area by 2016.
A tripartite summit is scheduled for South Africa in May.
Ncube said it would be wise for Sadc to “slow down towards a common
“The current roadmap is that we have a target for the common currency by
2016, assuming that all other issues such as the building blocks around the
customs union have been achieved.
“But I doubt that route would be pursued with any enthusiasm because of
discussions going on around the tripartite free trade area,” he said.
The tripartite was the coming together of Comesa, Sadc and East African
community with a view to constructing a bigger regional organisation, said
Member states of the Sadc integration project agreed to form a common
central bank and adopt a single currency.
In preparation for this, states had agreed to reduce their budget deficits
to 5% of gross domestic product and bring inflation to below 10%.
When the Sadc monetary union plan was mooted, 2016 was initially set as the
target for a monetary union and a single currency by 2018.
Ncube said with a bigger free trade area, attention would be directed at
integrating and consolidating the three bodies.
“If that happens, the movement by any of the three bodies towards a monetary
union would be difficult because you do not want to move the three
organisations towards completely separate monetary unions which would end up
“Therefore, it would be wiser to slow down movement towards monetary union
and create a three body regional free trade area, a bigger customs union,
before moving together towards a single monetary union,” he added.
Currently, Sadc has launched a regional payment integration system which
facilitates electronic settlements between banks within the region.
The regional payment system is widely seen as a forerunner towards the
single currency initiative.
However, some Sadc economies might find it a herculean task to bring
inflation down to single digit levels.
There are fears that the integration and the introduction of a single
regional currency will tilt balances of trade and investment in favour of
the more stable economies in the region that may eventually swallow the
smaller economies.
Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius, the DRC, Swaziland, Malawi and
Zambia are also in Comesa along with Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt,
Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Rwanda, Sudan, and Uganda.

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New papers yes, but are these new voices?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 20:53

Paidamoyo Muzulu

FOR the first time since Independence in 1980 Zimbabweans wake up to five
daily papers on the newsstands.

All the papers have large banners with nearly the same news and one is left
wondering if there is any change brought by newly registered players to the
industry. Does the media channels plurality translate into multiplicity of
voices and issues covered or is it still the same old voices that now have
more mouthpieces?

The five daily papers are the Herald, the Chronicle, NewsDay, the Daily News
and the Mail. These are in addition to two tabloids, H-Metro and B-Metro.

Media diversity and plurality is a creation of the hard-fought negotiations
between the three main political parties that culminated in the 2008 Global
Political Agreement. The Sadc-facilitated pact was signed to end a
decade-long political bickering. Among other issues, the signatories agreed
to overhaul the Zimbabwe media terrain to reflect the diversified opinions
in the country.

Zanu PF and the government dominated the print and electronic media for the
greater part of the last decade. They determined what news was and what the
people should hear. This unfair advantage was buttressed by ownership and
control of Zimbabwe’s largest media house –– publicly listed Zimpapers and
ZBC’s radio and television channels.

The other voices could be heard only once a week in privately owned weekly
papers such as the Financial Gazette, the Sunday Standard and the Zimbabwe
Independent. For the electronic media citizens had to install free to air
digital television decoders or tune in to independent Zimbabwean radio
stations hosted abroad like Studio 7, Short Wave Radio Africa and VOP.

The Daily News, an Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe publication, in 1999
was the first privately owned daily paper in the country. It created a
seismic shift in the media balance of power. Opposition political parties
had a window to criticise and contest Zanu PF on a daily basis.

This created a dichotomous media in the country –– pro-government and
opposition media. Only two voices dominated the media landscape, Zanu PF and

To counter the new dispensation, the then Information and Publicity minister
Jonathan Moyo steered through the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa) and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) to put the media
on a tight leash.

The Daily News’ days were numbered. Within three short years it breathed its
last, banned by the government for non-compliance with Aippa registration

The brief life of media plurality was gone only to resurrect seven years
later. New participants have arisen like a phoenix, mushrooming all over the
place but the narrative and the voices continue to be dichotomous. Zanu PF
and MDC continue to be the main news.

Media analyst and Media Centre director Earnest Mudzengi argues that the
proliferation of new papers has neither changed the political narrative nor
created space for other marginalised groups to be heard.

“These papers have largely remained the same,” Mudzengi said, “We hear the
same old voices, MDC and Zanu PF. We do not have the voice of the ordinary
people or any new analysts except the same old voices.”

Politics have remained the main lead story across the papers. MDC and Zanu
PF continue to hog the limelight. Other political parties like Zapu,
Mavambo, Zanu Ndonga, trade unions and non-governmental organisations are
rarely in the news.

Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe executive secretary Takura Zhangazha, on
the contrary, argues that the emergence of new papers was good for freedom
of speech and information.

“New players have broken the media monopoly,” Zhangazha said. “The papers
have given options to the people of Zimbabwe to consider. There is now a
semblance of diversity but it’s too early to tell.”

However, Zhangazha admitted that the political narrative has not changed
much neither has other issues covered in the press.

“I think the papers are competing in a tight market,” Zhangazha said, “They
are responding to market needs which dictate that politics sell hence the
headlines we see every day.”

The media euphoria is set to end at sometime. Papers will have to compete
for the market in a depressed economy where the majority of employed persons
earn far below the $500 poverty datum line. It remains to be seen if the
media environment will not replicate the post-Kamuzu Banda Malawian

From independence in 1964 to 1992, Malawi had only two papers, the Daily
Times and the weekly Malawi News published by the Malawi Broadcasting
Corporation and the Malawi News Agency.  Post-Banda in 1994 more than 20
papers were operating in Malawi but most quickly collapsed within two years.

Only four papers The Malawi News and the Daily Times (both owned by the late
President Banda’s business empire), and the Nation and Weekend Nation (owned
by Aleke Banda, the country’s agriculture minister and first vice president
of the ruling UDF) have remained the strongest players with a reasonable
impact on the market. The Mirror (owned by Brown Mpinganjira, the country’s
foreign minister and prominent personality in Muluzi’s UDF) has survived the
turbulent times in the newspaper publishing industry.

Publishers cited poor financing, high newsprint costs, poor skills in
managing a newspaper business and lack of trained newsroom staff as major
reasons for going under. Among the short-lived papers are.

The New Voice, The Watchers, The Malawian Michiru, SunCity Star, Financial
Observer, Weekly Mail, News Today, The Herald, New Express, Daily Monitor,
and The Democrat, which collapsed in 1996. The Independent and The Star were
phased out in 1999 because of lack of support from influential politicians.

Zimbabwe is still to experience the liberalisation of the airwaves. No new
broadcasters have been licensed. ZBC still enjoys a monopoly and Zanu PF
still has unfettered access to the medium.

However, Mudzengi argues that, “New broadcasters may fall into the same trap
that print media fell into. Broadcasting may be different because content
from the broadcasters will be determined by the type of licences granted to
each new player.”

Broadcasting licences may take the form of community stations, public
broadcasting and commercial stations. These in a sense will create space for
new voices and create plurality in the news. For the time, media plurality
and diversity is yet to come to our shores.

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Youth service source of women’s abuse

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:20

Wongai Zhangazha

THE introduction of the National Youth Service Programme (NYSP) in 2001 saw
an upsurge in politically motivated rape and other forms of sexual
exploitation, a report by the Harare-based Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU)
has claimed.
The report — Forced Concubinage in Zimbabwe — released last week claimed
that political sexual exploitation had become a constant feature in the
country, especially during election periods, and RAU has called for the
immediate arrest of perpetrators.

Women, the report averred, were being coerced into a sexual partnership with
a man or compelled to perform “wifely duties”.

The abuse was in three forms — rape, human trafficking and forced marriage
and dates back to the liberation struggle where young girls were taken
involuntarily to wash, cook, porter and have sex with soldiers and

RAU claimed that the attainment of Independence saw a reduction in
politically motivated rape and sexual exploitation. However, the abuse
intensified in 2002 after the establishment of NYSP by the Zanu PF-led
government in 2001.

Contrary to values that were supposed to be instilled in the youths — sense
of national identity, patriotism, unity and oneness, discipline, and
self-reliance – the trainees allegedly committed serious human rights
violations against women and girls.

“Girls were allegedly raped at the training centres, including by officials
and their male counterparts for whom they also carried out menial household
chores,” reads the report.

“Those who escaped the training camps related horrific stories as to what
transpires within the confines of the camps, including forced sexual
concubinage. The NYSP became the training ground for what has come to be
known as the youth militia and, from 2002 onwards, allegations of murder,
torture, rape, and the destruction of property were linked to these youths.”

Violence against women, including rape and other forms of sexual violence,
increased significantly during election periods, RAU claimed.

“Women and girls were taken to camps known as bases where they were detained
and subjected to violent abuse,” the report alleged. “Even though there are
very few documented reports by women who were raped and subjected to other
forms of sexual abuses at the bases, the number of victims is believed to be

The report said a study based on focused discussions with 150 women
nationwide revealed that 2% of women in Zimbabwe had experienced politically
motivated rape at bases and sometimes in their homes.

“The Aids Free World research revealed a systematic pattern of violence
against women accompanying elections periods starting with the 2000
parliamentary elections (when the MDC presented Zanu-PF with its first
serious electoral challenge) and continuing through 2002 when (Prime
Minister) Morgan Tsvangirai first ran for the presidency,” the report said.

“The rapes documented by Aids-Free World revealed a dramatic increase of
rapes in 2008 as compared with 2007. There was a surge in frequency — some
64%— occurring between the March presidential election and the June
presidential runoff election.”

The report also noted the increase in human trafficking for purposes of
sexual exploitation.

“Zimbabwe is a source and transit country for women and children trafficked
for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour. Women and children
are trafficked from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Mozambique
to South Africa through Zimbabwe,” the RAU report claimed.

“It is also a source country because Zimbabwean women and girls are
trafficked for sexual exploitation in brothels to neighbouring Botswana,
Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia.”

RAU recommended that government prosecute perpetrators of political rape and
others forms of sexual violence, trafficking for purposes of sexual
exploitation including forced prostitution and forced marriage to address
the problem of forced concubinage effectively.

The report also suggested that no amnesties be granted for perpetrators of
politically motivated sexual violence and also the establishment of service
programmes, including counselling and access to medical care for the
rehabilitation of women and girls who were subjected to rape, sexual slavery
(forced concubinage) during the election periods and for victims of

RAU called for an independent, innovative and dynamic judiciary which
progressively and effectively interprets regional and international human
rights instruments in the furtherance of human rights even where state
officials were involved.

It also called for the ratification and domestication of the Protocol on the
Suppression of Trafficking in Persons and increased awareness-raising
campaigns for government officials and the public on the nature of
trafficking of women and children for purposes of sexual exploitation.

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Political will crucial for recovery

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:22

Paul Nyakazeya

THE planned Zimbabwe Industrial Development Policy (ZIDP) for 2011-2015
should help restore the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the gross
domestic product (GDP) to 30% from the current 15%, the Minister of Industry
and International Trade, Welshman Ncube, said Wednesday.

If the plan is successful, the manufacturing sector’s contribution to
exports should also rise from 26% to 50% by 2015.

Addressing  captains of industry and CEOs at the National Industrial
Development Policy breakfast organised by the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industry (CZI) in Harare, Ncube said a conducive political environment was
needed if what was contained in the policy was to be achieved.

He said business wanted “certainties” but government tended to be slow in
implementing or addressing their needs, resulting in most policies failing
to achieve their objectives.

“If we are to move towards creating a vibrant, self sustaining competitive
economy we have to create an environment that enables our goods to be
competitive internationally,” he said.

“We cannot talk of an industrial policy without talking of an agriculture
policy because the two are intertwined. This includes other sectors that are
key to the economy such as mining. We also need to improve on availability
of statistics because business is all about numbers.”

He said government had identified four priority sectors as the pillars and
engine for the ZIDP — agro-processing (Food and beverages, Clothing and
Textiles, Wood and Furniture); the fertiliser industry; pharmaceuticals; and
the metals and electrical sector.

“These are sectors which can be developed without the need for massive
amounts of capital resources, but which can be partly re-capitalised from
the country’s own resources, including the remainder of the Special Drawing
Rights (SDRs) and local lines of credit being offered by local financial
institutions,” Ncube said.

Economist Luxon Zembe said everyone who contributed to the policy and wanted
it to work should ask what kind of a political environment they needed if
their objectives were to be achieved.

“To avoid having another document that fails to achieve its targets, we
should address what kind of a political environment we want for this
document to be implemented fully,” Zembe said.

Government and industry has over the years been accused of coming up with
policy documents and turnaround programmes that they fail to implement.

An average real GDP growth of 15% is targeted under the policy framework of

The framework also seeks to create additional employment in the
manufacturing sector on an incremental basis, as compared to the previous
planning period of 2004 to 2010.

“If fully implemented, the policy frame work will see an increase in
capacity utilisation from the current levels of around 43% to 100% by the
end of the planning period,” said Ncube.

He said the policy also sought to re-equip and replace obsolete machinery
and new technologies for import substitution and enhanced value addition.

The policy is also targeting to increase the manufactured exports to the
Sadc and Comesa regions and the rest of the world, and to promote
utilisation of available local raw materials in the production of goods.

The strategies to be pursued in fulfillment of the objectives would see
government establishing a bank primarily dedicated to financing short and
long term recapitalisation of industry.

“Sources of funding and the modalities for the operationalisation of the
institution will be completed within the first six months of the policy
coming into force,” Ncube said.

He said government would identify additional lines of credit of a short to
medium term with grace periods of three to six months and a repayment period
of over 12-24 months and make them available to industry on priority basis.

“The target is to finance the procurement of raw materials, packaging
materials, production consumables, laboratory chemicals, spare parts,
repairs and maintenance of plant and equipment and other working capital
costs,” the minister said.

As a short term measure, government would initiate revival packages for
distressed companies with a clear-cut exit policy on the basis of a
revolving fund.

According to the policy, government would review the import tariffs
structure on the customs duty and Vat on industrial raw materials and
packaging to level the playing field for locally produced goods.

“A Council for Technology Upgrades will be established to coordinate the
crucial role of modernising industry’s plant and equipment and to improve on
its systems and quality of products in line with international best
practice,” Ncube said.

He said during the five year period government will put in place a short
term investment strategy to unlock latent economic potential in a specific
geographical area.

The programme is said to be in line with the Sadc member states’ economic
vision which aims at transforming the respective members states’ economies
from operating as individual, fragmented markets into an integrated, vibrant
and globally competitive market, characterised by free movement of goods,
services, capital as well as labour.

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Mugabe caught between rock and a hard place

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:02

By Jan Raath

HUMAN rights organisation Amnesty International spoke of a dark shadow over
Zimbabwe at the 31st anniversary of its Independence on Monday, but the
darkness, diplomats say, has also begun to envelop President Robert Mugabe.
Two choices face the man who has ruled the country since Independence, they
said. He can follow the demands of his Southern African neighbours to end
the reign of fear and violence he has inflicted on Zimbabweans for the last
11 years since he first encountered a strong opposition, or he can tell them
to go to hell, as he has often told the West, the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund and the Commonwealth.

The first choice means holding free and fair elections under international
supervision, which he appears almost certain to lose. In March 2008, the
country was able to hold its first violence-free elections and he lost. He
held his grip on power by unrolling a savage campaign of violence against
his pro-democracy opponent Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic
Change in the following second-round vote.

In opinion polls since then he has lagged way behind Tsvangirai, now his
prime minister in a coalition government to which Mugabe was forced by his
neighbours to agree.

If he makes the second choice, the diplomats said, it will be so he can hold
elections his way, as they have been held since 2000, marked by violence and
rigging, and he can stay in power. Defiance to his neighbours, united under
the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (Sadc), carries the
high risk of being banished by the group.

“It will entail total international isolation,” said one Harare- based
Western envoy.

Mugabe and his cronies are already under targeted sanctions imposed by the
West, and he withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003 when it threatened to
kick him out for cheating in elections.

He found himself facing these uncomfortable choices not three weeks ago when
a group of four Sadc leaders, led by South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma,
told him to stop the violent persecution of Tsvangirai’s party, the MDC, and
to carry out a wide range of long-overdue democratic and electoral reforms.
Sadc had kept silent about Mugabe’s abuses for over a decade until the
leaders meeting on March 31 in Zambia, and Mugabe was shocked.

Mugabe is finding himself in a world that has shifted position radically
only since January, said the diplomat. Mugabe was specifically warned by
Zambian President Rupiah Banda at the March meeting of how the popular
uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East had shown what could happen
when leaders do not listen to their people.

Mugabe’s ministers and militias have been warning that in the next
elections, which he says he wants held by September, the violence will be
worse than the second-round ballot in June 2008 when more than 200 of
Tsvangirai’s supporters were allegedly killed and thousands brutalised and

This was followed by the crash of the economy and the currency, collapse of
infrastructure, national famine and one of Africa’s worst cholera epidemics.

The economy has staged a modest recovery since then, the currency has
stabilised and both basic and luxury commodities have become widely
available since the MDC took control over the country’s finances in the
coalition government.

“Over the last 31 years Mugabe and his Zanu PF (party) have evolved a regime
that is corrupt through and through, and the state is their private cash
box,” said the diplomat. “Mugabe having unfettered control over the economy
means chaos again.”

Any respectable legacy the aged Mugabe had to leave is now long gone,
observers say. But he still has a chance to redeem something by letting the
right things happen and conceding gracefully, the diplomat said.

If he doesn’t, he’s got the example to look to of Laurent Gbabgo, the loser
in elections in Ivory Coast late last year, who fought to hold on to his
elapsed presidency, causing the loss of thousands of lives, until foreign
troops had to dig him out of a bunker.

“Does Mugabe want to be like that?” asked the diplomat. “I don’t know, but
the prognosis is not good.” —

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Muckraker: Grovelling beneficiaries sing patronage praises

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:00

So Independence Day has come and gone with very little to show for it.
Despite all the crowing in the state media there is only one salient point
that stands out: Zimbabweans are significantly poorer today than they were
31 years ago. And that is due, not to sanctions as we are dishonestly led to
believe, but unrepentant misrule by a political oligarchy.
It was interesting to see how Mbada Diamonds has adopted the language of its
patrons. It speaks of “a moment to reminisce on irreversible empowerment
(and) reflect on a patriotic national economic agenda”.
They are “harnessing diamonds for the people”, they tell us.
How many “people” have benefited we wonder!
Other beneficiaries of Zanu PF’s misrule were in evidence this week. Air
Zimbabwe was “celebrating 31 years of Independence”, we are told, with a
picture of one plane airborne.
There were 15 in 1980.
Arda joined the line-up of those mismanaged corporations keen to draw
attention to themselves. So was Zinwa which showed us a tap gushing water in
the national colours.
“We shall always remember,” it told us. So will those thousands of people
who have to go without water every day!
“Economic empowerment guarantees total Independence,” the National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board told us. That presumably
includes use of the US dollar?
What can we conclude from all this? That those who shout the loudest about
sovereignty have managed to reduce the country to a pathetically dependent
status where it has to beg for food, fuel and just about everything else it

We were amused by a puff piece in the Daily News last week that referred to
the paper’s printing problems. Managing Editor John Gambanga bemoaned the
fact that because of a breakdown at their press, ANZ (the company that
publishes the Daily News) had been forced to subcontract the printing of
their paper to others — meaning us — at significantly higher cost and at
time slots that were “not suitable”.
“The good news,” he says, “is that our engineers (at ANZ) have now
identified the problem with our press …and we hope to be back to a print run
of 50 000 copies a day which is what we were selling before the inopportune
breakdown — and which makes us already the biggest daily newspaper in
Zimbabwe by far. If we had the capacity, in terms of having the newsprint
and the ability to distribute our newspaper effectively around the country,
we could easily sell 100 000 copies…”
Gambanga described his paper as “a blazing commercial success”.
“As it is, we note very happily how the competition is already copying and
aping our robust approach to news…”

This is presumably a reference to a Daily diet of Jonathan Moyo stories. We
will avoid comment for now on any “aping” that might be going on and confine
ourselves to Gambanga’s monkeying around with print figures.
He omits to mention that our printers, Strand Multiprint (a division of
Alpha Media Holdings), is the company that came to his rescue when ANZ’s
printer broke down. We charged the going rate, no more, no less, and printed
their paper on a first come, first serve basis. We were happy to help just
as we did when the Daily News printer was bombed in 2001.
We were also of course privy to their print run over the past few weeks.
This is not something we would normally publish but as Gambanga has made a
number of fanciful claims, they warrant a response.
At no time did the Daily News’ print run reach 50 000 copies a day. Last
week they asked us to print 15 000 a day. Gambanga appears to have borrowed
his figure of 50 000 from NewsDay which now prints 50 000. Most likely he
has taken it off the top of his head. As for being a “blazing commercial
success”, a quick look at the ad content against editorial will settle that
Muckraker is reluctant to get into a fist-fight with Gambanga, an old
friend, or anybody else on that side of the road. We wish them well. As we
have repeatedly said, the more the merrier on the market. Let the reading
public decide what product they prefer. Many people will buy both. We don’t
want to become a one-newspaper state! But please, no wild claims, especially
when they are so easy to check!

Zimbabwe will never attack Sadc or any of its members, Foreign Affairs
minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi told ambassadors and journalists last week.
“Government has never and will never attack Sadc,” he said. “We are friends
and allies. If there was any attack it was not from government but from
somewhere…You cannot do that. You know who speaks on behalf of government or
Zanu PF…they have never said anything,” he said.
This is of course an attempt at damage limitation. And it was completely
disingenuous. There were some gullible ambassadors present, who said
“misconceptions had been created by the media about the situation in
Zimbabwe”. But most of those present will know perfectly well that editorial
comments in the state media reflect the views of the Zimbabwe government. In
fact no editorial of the sort that appeared in the state media of April 3
would have been permitted without ministerial approval.
So Mumbengegwi’s attempt to pull the wool over diplomats’ eyes is unlikely
to succeed.
At least Zuma’s office will be fully aware of who wrote what.
If Zimbabwe’s leaders want to wave their fists at Zuma they should at least
have the courage of their convictions and not try and pass the buck to

Ludicrous is one word to describe a Farirai Chubvu’s contribution to the
editorial pages of the Herald last Thursday. Entitled “Cry my beloved
continent” Chubvu attempts to draw similarities between deposed Ivorian
strongman Laurent Gbagbo and Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba’s
assassination in 1961.
“It happened to Patrice Emery Lumumba in 1960 (sic) for precisely the same
reasons and now it has happened to Laurent Gbagbo with the same players at
the centre of the action,” Chubvu laments.
While we know that apologists for tyranny tend to bend historical events to
suit their purpose this is ridiculous.
It is mischievous to compare Lumumba, a true revolutionary and Pan-African
to a despot who had lost popular support and was clinging to power by hook
or by crook. Even the regional body Ecowas and the African Union told Gbagbo
to go.
Are we to believe then that the African Union and Ecowas have also been
colonised and the last vestige of pan-Africanism is ensconced in Harare?
Chubvu and commentators of his ilk have appropriated the right of Ivorians
to decide who should lead them.
“Ouattara has since been thrust into the position of Ivorian president,”
Chubvu goes on to say, as if the Ivorian electorate cannot make a choice on
who should lead them.
The mandate Ouattara was given through his election victory is apparently
Indefatigable, Chubvu goes on to say: “And this is what the myopic among us
are celebrating as ‘democracy’ dutifully labelling Gbagbo a ‘dictator’.
Dictator, what did he do?”
Well we can tell you what he did: Gbagbo clung to the presidency even though
he won only 46% of the vote to Ouattara’s 54% in last year’s election. He
was finally dragged from his bunker after two weeks of battle that
devastated the capital Abidjan displacing more than 100 000 people.

Once again ZBC was mandated to hype the Independence celebrations and true
to form they were excited on the people’s behalf.
“Zimbabweans from all walks of life,” ZBC told us on Monday, “are in a
celebratory mood ahead of Monday’s Independence Day anniversary.”
Harare residents hailed the “visionary leadership” of the Head of State and
Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President
Robert Mugabe. At least this time there were no claims of the president’s
“telescopic foresight”.
“Zimbabwe is one of a few countries in Africa that has managed to embark on
various programmes to economically empower indigenous people,” they go on to
They also forgot to say that it is also one of a few countries in Africa and
indeed the world whose economic meltdown was “unprecedented for a country
not at war”, according to the World Bank.

The African media has been criticised for lacking focus and commitment to
developing the continent, ZBC says. The situation had left a void which has
been exploited by Western media to create chaos on the continent.
In an interview with ZBC at the International Women’s Conference last week,
Namibian Gender, Equality and Child Welfare Deputy Minister Angelika
Muharukua said African media institutions have taken a back seat in matters
that concern the continent.
“Instead of protecting their continent, African journalists are destroying
it,” she said. “They have taken a back seat on matters critical to the
continent, and yet rely on articles emanating from the West which are
however atrocious and meant to cause chaos.”
We agree. Public media such as ZBC have forsaken their mandate to inform,
entertain and educate so as to instead further the agendas of tyrannical
regimes. The number of satellite dishes hanging from even the most humble of
abodes speaks volumes of their failure to perform their mandate.
In the same report Muharukua could not help but get on the praise-singing
bandwagon saying Zimbabweans “have a rare leader in the calibre of the Head
of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces, President Robert Mugabe”.
Namibia’s political class evidently have a lot of growing up to do!

Muckraker was last Saturday night condemned to watching an evening of ZTV
having suffered a collapse of DStv reception. It was excruciatingly bad from
beginning to end.
There was a little documentary about how “die-hard” Rhodesians resisted
transformation of the airforce in the early 1980s. Emmerson Mnangagwa was
wheeled on to say there was resistance in the army  but “no problem between
Zanla and Zipra”.
The interviewer forgot to ask him about Entumbane.
No 7 squadron welcomed new recruits, we were told, which rather undermined
the whole premise of the programme. There then followed a lengthy interview
with a government doctor on TB.
The doctor was erudite and knowledgable. But can you imagine peak viewing on
a Saturday night from 8.30-9pm on TB control?
Then there was a hagiographical programme on Simon Muzenda.
You can well understand why there is a proliferation of satellite dishes
around the capital with this dross occupying the state network!

Readers may recall a few years ago reports of Archbishop of York, John
Sentamu, taking a keen interest in this country. We now learn his full name
is John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu.
No wonder he has quietened down.

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Eric Bloch: The case for, against holding elections

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 20:58

ONE of the most voiced questions in Zimbabwe today, is whether the holding
of elections will have any impact upon the economy and, if so, what will the
impact be?

The prime motivation behind the question is the distressed state of the
economy, and fears that that it will worsen further, counterbalanced by an
anxiety and hope that the troubled economy will improve.

For the majority of the populace, their concerns are almost wholly centred
on the magnitude of their poverty, and for entrepreneurs (be it in industry,
commerce, mining, tourism, agriculture, financial services, or other
economic ventures), they are fearful as to whether their enterprises will

Government has constantly claimed, since 2009, that the formerly emaciated
economy is recovering, and there was certainly some substance to that
contention until about mid-2010.

From the abysmally-low economic circumstances of 2008, characterised by the
most immense hyperinflation ever experienced in the world, the exodus of
millions of skilled workers to seek livelihoods in other countries,
non-existence of new investment, to extreme scarcities of essential
commodities, the economy had evidenced meaningful advances.

The hyperinflation transformed, by the end of 2009, to deflation.
Scarcities of basic commodities became something of the past.

Industrial capacity utilisation rose substantially, agricultural and mining
outputs increased markedly, as did inflows of foreign exchange inflows, and
Zimbabwe began to be perceived as a desirable investment destination.

However, the magnitude of the economic recovery was exaggerated, for the
extent of that recovery was, in statistical terms, very extensive, because
it was measured against the very low base that existed when the recovery

The harsh reality was that although the economic circumstance was
significantly greater than previous, it was still extraordinarily low, as
compared to that necessary to sustain the populace in reasonable
circumstances and necessary to fuel further economic upturn.

Moreover, in many economic sectors the recovery was short-lived, and
downturn again set in as 2010 progressed, and further so in 2011.  The harsh
realities are that Zimbabwe’s economy is a very distressed one.

More than four-fifths of Zimbabweans desirous of employment are devoid of
gainful occupation.  In excess of 85% of the population struggle to survive
on incomes below the poverty datum line and more than half of those
impoverished Zimbabweans are so poor that they have resources below the food
datum line, being the minimum income needed to avoid malnutrition.

Widespread under-nourishment is horrendously impairing the health and
wellbeing of millions of Zimbabwe’s people.

The government’s claims of ongoing economic recovery centre mainly upon
improving volumes of agricultural production –– although still well below
the levels of a decade ago.

They also centre upon significantly enhanced outputs from the mining sector.
But those gains are outweighed by the paucity of performance of most other
facets of the economy.  Many in the manufacturing sector have had to
discontinue operations, while even more have considerably downsized their

Much of the financial sector is confronted with a gross liquidity
inadequacy, which constrains volumes of lendings and therefore minimises
Insufficiency of money supply is impacting negatively upon consumer spending
power, which is considerably restricting the extent of trade in the
distribution sector.

Most wholesalers and retailers are attaining inadequate sales volumes.

Almost all parastatals are grossly undercapitalised, and their illiquidity
is exacerbated by consumers, through force of circumstance, being tardy in
settlements of debts for parastatal services.  As a result, the parastatals
are unable to provide satisfactory service delivery, further constricting
the operations of most economic sectors.

This begs the question of whether the economy is going to continue in its
current lethargic state, or will decline further, or are there any real
prospects of a substantive, ongoing recovery.  There has been intense
political focus upon when Zimbabwe should have its next presidential and
parliamentary elections, and it has become increasingly inevitable for more
and more to ponder what impact such elections would have upon the economy,
if any.

The answer to that conundrum is unequivocal! Elections will undoubtedly have
a major repercussive effect upon the economy.  However, the greater
conundrum is whether the economic effects would be positive or negative.

On the one hand, as economic circumstance is a foremost issue in the minds
of the electorate, there must be a major probability that the politicians,
anxious to win those elections, will focus greater attention than heretofore
on economic issues.

They will probably be driven to pursue policies and take actions which are
conducive for improved economic circumstance.

For most of Zimbabwe’s politicians, this would be in very marked contrast to
their actions to date, those actions having been driven by their political
ideologies, irrespective of any consequential negative economic

On the other hand, the manner of conduct of the elections, including the
pre-election campaigning, and the outcome of the elections, will also have
pronounced economic effects.

In the event that the elections are genuinely free and fair, these elections
will then stimulate many post-election developments which would be highly
conducive to economic recovery.

Those developments will include radically enhanced relationships with most
of the international community, which would be catalytic of major support
for Zimbabwean economic recovery.  That support could well include debt
forgiveness, development aid, and international lines of credit.

Irrefutably democratic, free and fair elections would also trigger
restoration of investor confidence, yielding major investment in many of
Zimbabwe’s economic sectors.

That investment would increase employment and bring major benefits into the
economy downstream of the investment ventures.

It would also bring considerable foreign exchange inflows, increased
revenues for the fiscus, and much-needed state-of-the-art technology
transport, as well as access to skills to replace the many that have been
lost in recent years.

If, however, the elections are not, Zimbabwe’s international pariah status
will intensify, which will result in further worsening of the already
severely emaciated economy.

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Why it is hard to trust the African Union

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 20:47

Phidelia Amey

AFRICA undoubtedly has its own peculiarities, but what are our credible
alternatives and justifications for an Africanisation of democratic values?

The advent of the African Union (AU) which was established on July 9 2002 in
Durban, South Africa, was largely due to the inability of the Organisation
African Unity (OAU) to respond to the myriad challenges facing the
continent. Unlike the OAU, the AU has in its Constitutive Act Article 4 (h)
the powers to intervene in member states in respect of grave circumstances.
The Union also set up a Peace and Security Council in 2004.

The council, among others, is expected to intervene in conflict, replacing
the OAU principle of non-interference with one of indifference?

However, recent decisions and postures taken by the AU make one wonder
whether the people of Africa can lean on the continental body to see their
hopes for a brighter future come true. Initially, it appeared that the
transformation of the OAU into the AU was going to be a new beginning for an
organisation which claims that an integrated, prosperous and peaceful
continent is its ultimate goal for the betterment of the African people.

The past two months have seen very interesting events in Africa. The Ivory
Coast, Tunisia and Egypt are some of the major spotlights of challenging
times for the continental body. In contrast with these challenges though, is
the successful referendum in South Sudan for secession from the north as
part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 between the North
and South. In a bid to address these sensitive cases, the AU has made very
interesting decisions and taken positions that provide some food for
thought. Three important stands taken by the AU and its leaders in recent
times are discussed below, and the consequences for such actions are

The Ivory Coast

After several attempts to resolve the civil war that broke out in the Ivory
Coast in 2002, the Ouagadougou Political Agreement was signed. In fulfilment
of the agreement, presidential elections were held on November 4 and 28 with
incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo refusing to step down following the
declaration of Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the run-off by the
Independent Electoral Commission. This position was recognised and supported
by the international community including Ecowas, the AU and the United
Nations calling on the incumbent to give up power.

Following the deadlock, the AU sent former South African president Thabo
Mbeki to mediate the impasse between  Gbagbo — who refused to respect the
verdict and clung to power following the ruling by the Constitutional Court
that declared him the winner based on the cancellation of votes from 10
districts of northern Ivory Coast — and Ouattara. Mbeki was followed with a
visit by the current chairperson of the commission, Jean Ping, whose
mission, like the former, failed to  resolve the crisis.

Then came the appointment of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga as the
AU-appointed mediator in the post election crisis. What was the rationale
behind the AU’s appointment of Odinga as a mediator in a situation like
this? The circumstances under which Odinga became Prime Minister of Kenya
are still fresh in Africans’ minds. Was the AU wishing for Ivory Coast the
Kenyan and the Zimbabwean scenario, sacrificing the will of the people on
the altar of politicians’ cake-sharing ambitions? How on earth was he going
to represent a credible, impartial arbiter, taking into account the
peculiarity of the situation? The choice of Odinga was a wrong move, given
his own situation and the circumstances in which he was to act.

After failed attempts by Odinga the AU sent Mutharika of Malawi to try his
luck, but this also did not yield the desired result. In its next move, the
AU set up a five-member panel comprising one president from each of the five
sub-regional groupings.

The team of experts was tasked to come up with conclusions which would be
“binding” on all parties to the crisis. The hope was that they would be able
to succeed in finding a solution. But they got it all wrong again.

The AU, unlike Ecowas, does not have a supra-nationality status in its
constitutive act or any of its protocols. So how were they expected to
enforce the outcome of the decisions of the panel on the Ivory Coast which
is a sovereign state? Let alone a legally binding decision as the statement

Another issue is the democratic credibility of some members of the panel in
their own countries. What credentials do these leaders have for the citizen
of the AU to believe that they would eventually come up with a so-called
African solution to an African problem?

The AU has at its disposal “the panel of the wise” made up of respectable
statesmen and women in their own fields. One may suggest in situations like
this the AU may want to explore their wisdom and sound judgment. However, it
still looked like the club of presidents in their own wisdom and with the
authority they have vested in themselves in the AU charter, would come up
with a solution.

Mbasogo, chairman of the AU

Another subject of interest is the appointment of the president of
Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, as the new AU Chairperson.
This is a president who is known to be a dictator and has been in power
since 1979. He presides over a government associated with corruption,
poverty and repression of its people among others. In the next 18 months,
there are going to be about 20 elections due to be held in Africa. What kind
of leadership role is the AU president going to show given his own standing
and the thorny issue of elections in Africa should they come up during his
term of office?

Furthermore, Obiang in his acceptance speech is quoted as saying that the
concept of democracy, human rights and good governance should in his own
words “be adapted to African culture”. This is a statement that is common in
Africa. But what is this so-called African culture that we must adapt to?

Our leaders, after hiding behind colonial domination for all Africa’s woes
and realising that that argument is no more sustainable or sexy enough, have
turned to the need for adaptation of democratic values to an African

The AU chairman and all others who use this as the basis for their arguments
should come clear and tell us all about African culture and how to design
democracy, good governance and human rights in an African way. We need an
alternative proposal for their version of a standard ingenious African
democracy for Africa, in Africa, or stop this whole claims about African

The ICC, Kenya and the AU

After the post-election violence in Kenya that resulted in the death of
close to 1 200 people, a coalition government was formed as part of a peace
agreement brokered by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. Among some of
the highlights of the peace agreement was the institution of an independent
court/tribunal to try alleged perpetrators of the violence by the state.

Following the government’s inability to fulfil these requirements, the
International Criminal Court (ICC) named six people as a first step to
prosecuting them for their alleged involvement in the crisis. Kenyan’s
government has now thought it wise to stop the ICC process by seeking
support from the AU.

The AU Executive Council went ahead to endorse Kenya’s request for deferral.
When asked why the AU wanted to support Kenya in stopping the ICC from
prosecuting suspects, AU commissioner Jean Ping gave an interesting
response. He accused Moreno-Ocampo (prosecutor of the ICC) of bias. Ping
highlighted the lack of the court’s action in Gaza, Iraq and Burma as
evidence of double- standards against African states.

To what extent does this argument really justify why African leaders who are
committing atrocities against their own people should not be forced to face
justice? How does this argument justify the death of about 1 200 Kenyans in
the post-election violence?

There is no doubt that the ICC has so far been focusing its attention on
African and Eastern European perpetrators of international crimes. But let’s
be honest with ourselves. Africans are being killed, repressed and enslaved
by their own leaders on a daily basis. The alleged biases of the ICC do not
justify impunity in Africa. If the AU has proposals for an alternative to
the ICC, then they should come clear or allow the ICC to do its work.
Raising objections without providing alternatives only corner Africa and
victims of impunity in a state of hopelessness.

Ping has hinted that the AU leaders are considering the establishment of a
continental criminal court to prosecute Africans accused of grave political
crimes. With the current powers of African heads of states who have the
authority to set up this so-called independent body, and their profiles, it
is vain to envisage a moral and political will from them anytime soon,
knowing very well that they would be signing their own indictments sooner or

Committed leaders

International politics and the dynamics of globalisation do exist and are
not being overlooked in these analyses. However, African leaders need to
also sharpen their negotiating skills to hold their own against their global
counterparts. Africa needs to put its house in order and stop justifying
their poor performance on external factors.

What Africa and the AU need are transformational leaders with vision,
commitment and a resolve to make Africa a better place for its younger
generation and generations yet unborn. It is hoped that the people’s
revolution in Tunisia and Egypt will be a wake-up call for African leaders
and the AU. Leaders with the zeal to tackle the myriad  problems with mixed
policies and actions are what Africa needs now.

If the AU cannot represent its citizens, then the people themselves after
years of inequality and injustice will demand accountability for their
stewardship through revolt. The time to start making that history is now.

    Phidelia Amey is a fellow of African Leadership Centre and alumna of
King’s College London. She is currently on attachment with the Ecowas
Commission. This article was first published by Pambazuka News.

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CandidComment: Let’s have implementation for a change

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:13

By Itai Masuku

FMER, ZIMPREST, MERP, NERP, STERP. Sound familiar? The list could be longer
than the original snake, if one may borrow an expression from Zimbabwe’s
most prominent author, Dambudzo Marechera.
But what is this list all about? It’s about a string of inconclusive
economic programmes that became buzzwords but fizzled out just as they had
settled in. Most have now been confined to the annals of economic history,
useful only to students of economics with a special interest in economic
policies that were never pursued. Their usefulness can be compared to the
six-page essays on “the inside of a table tennis ball” that we wrote as
punishment during our schooldays.
For those who might not remember, FMER was the Framework for Macro-Economic
Reform (1991-1995), ZIMPREST was the Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and
Social Transformation, MERP the Millennium Economic Recovery Programme, NERP
the National Economic Recovery Programme and STERP the Short Term Economic
Recovery Programme. Now add to this ZDIP, the Zimbabwe Industrial
Development Policy, which was sprung on us at the beginning of the week. The
usual fanfare surrounding the launch of such plans has already taken place,
starting with a breakfast meeting at the golden-coloured five star hotel.
We don’t doubt the sincerity behind this plan and its predecessors, and with
all due respect to the minister introducing this, but there is nothing new
about what he is attempting. For those who read the Bible, like some of us
lesser mortals, King Solomon says in the book of Ecclesiastes that there is
nothing new under the sun. What will be new with ZDIP is if it is actually
implemented, and to its logical end. That’s what will make all the
difference. With the Government of National Unity’s future as shaky as ever,
the chances of the good professor seeing his baby through is quite
speculative. Really, all the minister needs to do is to dust up any of the
documents outlined above and simply implement them, lest he risks adding his
offering to the several grandiose plans that have gathered more dust than
the Gobi and Sahara put together. One may safely conclude that coming up
with grandiose economic plans (and we’re not against planning) is a
favourite pastime of all Zimbabwean governments. We used to think it was the
preserve of the Zanu PF government alone. But as can be seen, MDC-T joined
the fray when last year it introduced STERP. We haven’t heard about STERP in
quite a long time and how far it has gone, or was it short-term?  Now MDC-N
has also made sure it is not left behind by introducing ZIDP, or is it
Professor Welshman Ncube’s pet project?
You see, you can almost place a name to each of the above mentioned
projects, Bernard Chidzero to FMER, Richard Hove to MERP, and was it Simba
Makoni to NERP? And all these have been as William Shakespeare’s “poor
player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no
Of course, we know there’s a lot of money to be made in the process of
preparing these documents, the various economists that need to be consulted,
the smart ones merely go to government printers to get copies of the
abandoned and never implemented plans, dust them off a bit, and then change
dates and sequences.
The list is also as long as the unimplemented plans themselves. And of
course, those contracts, funded from taxpayers’ money don’t go to the
unconnected. We don’t want to prejudge the good professor but we would like
to be surprised that a plan is implemented for a change.

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Comment: Zanu PF pushing the limits yet again

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:10

THAT the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), a government mining
group, has been thrust to the centre of indigenisation and economic
empowerment policy in the country is worrisome to say the least.
More worryingly, the 26 subsidiaries the group owns wholly or in part have
met the same fate –– closure or operating way below capacity.

And to think that an exercise meant to uplift and empower citizens of this
country has been placed in the hands of the incompetent management at ZMDC
is scary.

The mining sector’s future and the future of this country depends on
experience. After ruining the once vibrant agriculture sector when it
launched its land reform exercise a decade ago, Zanu PF is now preparing for
another disaster in the one sector that might have rescued the country from
bankruptcy. This time they have raised the stakes even higher and the
consequences of the latest exercise will undoubtedly be felt in the economy.

Instead of having learnt from its past mistakes, those in government,
particularly President Robert Mugabe, the author of Zimbabwe’s decade-long
economic meltdown, is now pushing the limits yet again by entrusting a key
sector and valuable source of foreign currency and employment to incompetent
managers at the ZMDC.

How many mines owned by the state have been closed under the care of the
ZMDC? What became of Kamativi Tin Mines, Sanyati Copper, Kamativi Smelter
and Refinery, and Mhangura Copper Mine to mention just a few?

Even ZMDC realises the importance of partnership given its depleted
resources over the years. The corporation might not be broke but cannot take
over the mining industry even where government would claim sovereign rights
in the mineral resources in the country as provided for by the regulations
gazetted last month.

Why has ZMDC gone on to form partnerships where the state gets shareholdings
in greenfield projects on the basis of its mineral resources? How many
greenfield ventures has ZMDC entered into that are still to get off the
ground? The company is still to tell the nation what has happened with its
Todal (platinum) mining venture?

While ZMDC might have the mineral rights to some of the most enviable
resources in the country, the group has to all intents and purposes failed
to run a successful mining operation and is now courting investors to sink
money to get the mines running again.

The latest indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations designated
ZMDC and companies the corporation controls or has shareholding in. Japan
went through the same process of indigenising the economy and results are
there for all and sundry to see.

Japan after the Second World War embarked on an industrial development
programme that saw exports being promoted, high import duties, technological
advancement and a maximum of 49% foreign shareholding. But how the
Zimbabwean government is going about its own indigenisation exercise is
unhelpfully narrow and likely to drag the nation back to the ugly days of
nationalisation. For instance Zimbabwe cannot afford to have high import
duties because the local industry capacity utilisation is low and its
products too costly to produce. It’s cheaper for instance to import cooking
oil from South Africa than produce it at Olivine.

Although Japan refused foreign investment in some sectors, Zimbabwe cannot
afford to push away investors.

History will show that all the developed nations of today at one point or
other had indigenised their economies. But theirs was a well planned policy
and run by competent industrialists and backed by sound government policies.
Like Britain and the US in the mid 19th century, Japan, China and South
Korea are now some of the most industrialised nations in the world.

While the US, China, Japan and South Korea are now shining examples of
industrialisation that spurred economic development and growth, their
emergence has been largely free of the corruption and cronyism that
characterises Zimbabwe’s leap in the dark.

While other countries such as Singapore run one of the most viable airline
businesses, Zimbabwe, given its entrenched culture of patronage, nepotism
and outright corruption cannot be allowed to control a whole mining sector
that requires sophisticated equipment and experienced personnel.
Must we sit back and watch Zanu PF blunder again?

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Editor's Memo: Leaders failed principles of integrity

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 21:10

Dingiliswe Ntuli

NOTHING lasts long enough to make any sense. Nothing fits this description
more perfectly than independent Zimbabwe. On Monday, we celebrated our 31st
independence anniversary and as a patriotic Zimbabwean, I was looking
forward to following all proceedings on television at home.

I was eager to listen to President Robert Mugabe’s Independence message. But
Zesa threw my plans into disarray through its relentless blackouts by
cutting off my neighbourhood from 7am to about 6pm on Independence Day.
My mood for celebration was completely cut off by Zesa and it got me
thinking. Was it really Zesa’s fault? My mind raced down memory lane to the
eve of Zimbabwe’s Independence on April 17 1980. The then Prime Minister-
designate Robert Mugabe delivered a reassuring speech which won the hearts
of many sceptics.
Most Zimbabweans showed great enthusiasm for the speech and steadily warmed
to him. In part of his captivating oratory, which left many admirers and
foes in awe, Mugabe said: “Our majority rule could easily turn into inhuman
rule if we oppressed, persecuted or harassed those who do not look or think
like the majority of us. Democracy is never mob-rule. It is and should
remain disciplined rule requiring compliance with the law and social rules.
Our independence must thus not be construed as an instrument vesting
individuals or groups with the right to harass and intimidate others into
acting against their will.”
This speech was supposed to lay a solid foundation for a new Zimbabwe, but
it turned out to be just words camouflaging the bloody path to despair and
desperation that Mugabe would later steer the country towards. Actions have
shown us what is really inside his mind. Today, he presides over a regime
which uses brute force and violence for political objectives. No sooner had
the echoes of his speech died down that Mugabe moved very fast in achieving
absolute power for himself.
He assembled a rigid hierarchy with an effective network of informers and
enforcers and intelligence that instilled fear in the population. He chose
to be feared, rather than to be loved, as a means to retain power. Although
Zimbabwe has never skipped an election as Mugabe conveniently reminds us, it’s
no secret that he has maintained his uninterrupted grip on power through
intimidation and force, and dividing people by turning them against each
Periodic waves of repression have left the masses severely paralysed by
fear, including Mugabe’s ministers and some religious leaders. Zimbabwe is
full of flatterers and dissemblers who have yielded to the desires to please
Mugabe. Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Media, Information and
Publicity minister Webster Shamu take the title. They have dangerously
exalted him to godlike stature and vowed that only Mugabe can rule Zimbabwe.
This custom of offering praise to people is one that results in great evil,
but where is the church in all this? Do religious leaders share these
sentiments or are they fearful of being exposed for their hypocrisy? It’s
shocking that they have cowered in their cathedrals and churches even when
Mugabe is being blasphemously raised to divine level.
The Bible warns that where there is no vision, the people perish. Where
there is no counsel the people fall, but in the multitude of counsellors,
there is safety. Where are Zimbabwe’s visionaries and counsellors? Is Mugabe
presiding over millions of corpses? It’s frightening that in Zimbabwe today,
Mugabe has become everything, the first and last all the time while the
common citizen has dwindled down to less than nothing.
This explains why our cities, towns and villages have sunk into a state of
utter neglect and despair. Most of our roads have fallen into decay and
industry has come to a standstill. The economy is being plundered time and
again while civil servants have virtually become professional beggars. There
is even an attempt to make poverty an acceptable condition in Zimbabwe.
Our leaders have failed in the principles of integrity. They live luxurious
lives and have appetites gratified with the most delicate and expensive
dainties. The effects of this luxurious living and the free use of fine
expensive alcoholic beverages have clouded their intellect.
They blame sanctions for all our ills except for their palatial residences.
So obscene is the wealth of well-connected individuals that some even have
lifts in their houses. How do the likes of Local Government minister
Ignatius Chombo and his ilk explain their wealth when Zimbabwe is supposedly
reeling under severe sanctions? They own multiple properties, farms and
businesses while ordinary people have to be content with daily assurances
that they are the backbone of the revolution.

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