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Mugabe warned about uprising

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:07

Wongai Zhangazha

SADC chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation,
Zambian President Rupiah Banda yesterday warned President Robert Mugabe and
other Sadc leaders to avoid taking people for granted and urgently address
their grievances to prevent Egyptian-style uprisings in the region.

Banda delivered the chilling message to Mugabe and his regional counterparts
during the opening session of the Sadc double troika summit at the resort
town of Livingstone.

In an address which could have left some Sadc leaders nervous, Banda
suggested riots rocking North Africa and the Middle East could be possible
in the region if leaders fail to address their citizens’ demands by
resorting to repression and violence, while failing to deliver.

“If there is anything that we must learn from the upheavals going on in the
northern part of our continent it is that the legitimate expectations of the
citizens of our countries cannot be taken for granted,” Banda said.

“We must therefore continue at the Sadc level to consolidate democracy
through establishment of institutions that uphold the tenets of good
governance for human rights and the rule of law.”
In a speech which appeared targeted at Mugabe and other repressive leaders
in the region, Banda said Sadc governments should respect the rule of law
and come up with mechanisms to ensure democratic governance.

“We must also uphold the various international laws and conventions under
the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) that we are parties to.
The Sadc organ, under whose auspices we meet today, is the sub-regional
custodian of all these principles and has endeavoured to establish various
mechanisms of democratic governance,” he said.

North African and Middle East countries, including Tunisia, Algeria,
Egyptian, Yemen, Bahrain, Sudan, Jordan, Syria and Libya, have been reeling
from sweeping uprisings and unrest which have toppled some leaders, notably
former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The riots were triggered by
widespread discontent over political repression and socio-economic problems.
Zimbabwe has of late been cracking down on dissent in a panicky bid to
prevent similar revolts.

Mugabe’s previous regime and its current reincarnation in the inclusive
government have been widely criticised by Zimbabweans for violence and
intimidation, gross human rights abuses, breaching the rule of law, and
undermining property rights with impunity since Independence.

Human rights activists, civil society leaders, lawyers, judges, political
activists and journalists have borne the brunt of repression, including
arbitrary arrests, harassment and torture, over the years. The abuses are
currently resurfacing after a temporary reprieve following the formation of
the inclusive government in 2009 because of the growing election hype and
political tensions.

The inclusive government has had to hold special cabinet meetings to tackle
the issue of resurging political violence and intimidation fuelled by
leaders’ inflammatory election rhetoric.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition yesterday urged Sadc to intervene in Zimbabwe
to prevent the country from sliding back into crisis. Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai has been travelling in the region before the summit spreading the
same message.

“We, Zimbabwe civil society organisations under the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition banner, strongly urge the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc) to urgently intervene in the Zimbabwe crisis to pave way for
democratic elections that are without violence or intimidation,” the Crisis
grouping said. “We reiterate that Zimbabwe is not ready for elections in
2011 and that on her own, without direct assistance from Sadc and the AU,
Zimbabwe cannot deliver a credible election,” Crisis said. “We state
unequivocally that the conditions obtaining in Zimbabwe such as widespread
state-sponsored violence, partisan application of the law, increased
deployment of soldiers across the country openly intimidating citizens and
campaigning for Zanu PF, and increased arrests and harassment of rights
activists and MDC leaders all confirm that state institutions remain
unreformed and unrepentant.”

Banda said Sadc leaders must promote a culture of democracy and human rights
in their countries. The Sadc summit was held within the context of
consolidating the African Agenda, deepening the regional integration efforts
and strengthening the regional governance structures of the Sadc.

A number of substantive issues were dealt with, among them was discussions
on the political situation in the Sadc region with specific focus on reports
on the political and security challenges in Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Madagascar,
Democratic Republic of Congo and Swaziland.

Banda said the region was experiencing a number of political tensions which
he said needed to be addressed immediately.

“The issues that we will discuss require decisive resolution in charting the
future of our regional body. It is for this reason that we also have among
us the chairperson of the Sadc. The summit will receive a report of the
(Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security) MCO
and will also focus on new critical points related to the political and
security situation in the Sadc region.

“We are happy to note that our region has continued to enjoy relative peace
and stability. However we are also mindful that there are certain political
tensions in our region that we must address ourselves to today (yesterday)
for some of these cases will call upon various facilitators to present
reports on their mediation efforts,” he said.

“I wish therefore to call upon the Sadc troika to bring to live mechanisms
such as the Sadc Electoral Advisory Council, the Sadc Mediation Reference
Group and the Panel of Elders whose establishment was approved at the
Windhoek summit in August 2010.

“You will agree with me that Sadc certainly has come of age and should be
able to help bring about home-grown solutions where governance or indeed
electoral disputes arise,” he said.

The troika also considered ways to fast-track and monitor the implementation
of the Sadc Summit decisions. It will also re-state the importance of the
long-held democratic tradition and culture of ensuring that decisions within
Sadc and by extension the AU, should be reached through consensus.

It also sought to deal with the operationalisation of the Sadc Electoral
Advisory Council and encourage the “culture of holding regular elections
within Sadc member states and measures to ensure the promotion of peace and
security within Sadc through mediation and conflict prevention.

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Sadc tackles Zim’s political crisis

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:23

IN a move which shows growing anxiety within the region over Zimbabwe’s
resurfacing problems, Sadc leaders last night collectively tackled the
country’s decade-long political crisis for the first time in six months as
power struggles in the divided Government of National Unity (GNU) and
political violence escalate.

The Sadc double troika summit in Livingstone, Zambia, was seized with issues
surrounding the Global Political Agreement and the GNU itself. There have
been serious clashes between the parties in the GPA of late and this,
coupled with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s trips across the region,
prompted regional leaders to hold the summit to deal with the problem.

Just before yesterday’s summit, Tsvangirai met leaders of South Africa,
Zambia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, the Democratic
Republic of Congo and Tanzania calling for regional intervention to deal
with the Zimbabwe political crisis.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said his boss had met with the
Sadc leaders to update them on the untenable state of the inclusive

“The Prime Minister basically met with the Sadc leaders to update them on
the situation of the inclusive government where there is a situation of a
silent coup because of insincerity by other partners,” Tamborinyoka said.
“The PM is pushing for a clear roadmap to the next election with a
definitive role for Sadc to make sure there is an uncontestable outcome. The
GPA is a roadmap on its own, but it has been viciously violated.”

The main parties in the government, the MDC-T and Zanu PF, are at
loggerheads on several issues, among them the lifespan of the GNU, the
constitution-making process and the referendum, and the framework and timing
of the next elections.

Mugabe and Zanu PF want elections this year with or without a new

Zanu PF was last night expected to stick to its position that there is no
need for an election roadmap because the GPA is a roadmap on its own. The
party says that trying to draw an elections roadmap as South African
facilitators and the MDC factions are doing is tantamount to “creating a
roadmap out of a roadmap”.

The party further says the MDC-T was trying to delay the elections until May
next year by
encouraging  the issue of writing an elections roadmap and claiming there
was political violence.

The MDC-T’s position is that the inclusive government must continue until
the GPA is fully implemented before new elections could be held. It wants to
ensure that before genuine and credible elections could be held conditions
for free and fair elections must be created. A roadmap with benchmarks,
timelines and dates must be drawn up. This must be captured in an elections
roadmap drawn from relevant and critical elements of the GPA which relate to
elections. The MDC-T wants the roadmap to include electoral reforms, rule of
law and state organs, media reforms, national security issues, security
sector reform, traditional chiefs and freedoms of expression, assembly and
association. The MDC-T is banking on South African President Jacob Zuma to
help draw up the roadmap.
The MDC-N also wants the GPA to be fully implemented. It is pushing for an
elections roadmap which captures basic elements of the GPA that relate to
elections. MDC-N believes elections must be held in 2013.

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Factional fights rock MDC-T Byo

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:30

Brian Chitemba

THE MDC-T Bulawayo province has been rocked by fierce factional fighting as
the race to succeed Agnes Mloi as provincial chairperson gathers momentum
ahead of the party’s national congress in May.
Marauding youths aligned to Mzilikazi Senator Mattson Hlalo (pictured) are
alleged to have harassed party members who support his rival for the
chairmanship, State Enterprises minister Gorden Moyo during the MDC-T’s
district assembly elections held last weekend.

The elections were characterised by chaotic scenes as the rival groups
traded insults and almost came to blows during the elections.

Hlalo’s faction is alleged to have mobilised youths from the sprawling
townships of Makokoba and Thorngrove to block members loyal to Moyo from
ascending to district assembly executive committees.

The district assembly executive committees are scheduled to vote in the new
provincial executive in a fortnight. These provincial elections would be
monitored by the party’s national committee following complaints of
vote-buying, violence and sexism.

A party insider said: “There was a nasty clash between Hlalo and Moyo’s
supporters at the district assembly elections on Saturday. The race for the
chairmanship has increased tensions between the two.”
MDC-T deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo confirmed that ugly scenes marred
the Bulawayo district polls.

“In any electoral process there are bound to be clashes but we resolved our
differences and completed the district assemblies,” Khumalo said.

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai visited Bulawayo three weeks ago to try and
ease the political feud between Hlalo and Moyo. Tsvangirai told party
members that Moyo was eligible to contest for any position despite moves by
Hlalo’s allies to block him for not meeting the party’s regulations which
require one to have been in good standing for two years to stand for any
senior position. Moyo has only been a card carrying member of the party for
about three months.

Hlalo’s faction accuses Moyo of using the Bulawayo Progressive Residents
Association, of which he is patron, to build his political base and mobilise

Meanwhile, Khumalo said the MDC-T Matabeleland North provincial chairperson
Sengezo Tshabangu was arrested during district assembly elections for
staging the meetings without police clearance.

“We know that the arrest of our provincial chairman is part of Zanu PF’s
ploy to destabilise the restructuring programme ahead of the May congress
but we will not be stopped. These are some of the occupational hazards of
working with Zanu PF,” said Khumalo.

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Zanu PF to hold primaries in May

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:32

Brian Chitemba

ZANU PF is set to announce its primary elections date at a central committee
meeting to be held in Harare today as the party gears for polls which
President Robert Mugabe insists should be held this year.

A politburo meeting on Wednesday in the capital resolved that the primary
elections would be held in May followed by a general election in September.
The primary elections will dominate the agenda of the central committee
gathering to be addressed by Mugabe at the party’s headquarters.

Impeccable sources said the politburo tasked the Constitutional
Parliamentary Committee (Copac) through its co-chairperson and party member
Paul Mangwana to speed up the drafting of a new constitution to pave way for
national elections in line with the Global Political Agreement. The
politburo, the sources said, instructed Mangwana to ensure a new draft
constitution is in place by end of July.

“Mangwana briefed the politburo on the progress of the constitution-making
process and was upbeat that Copac will be able to meet the deadline the
party has set,” one of the sources said. “The party wants the draft
constitution to be completed by July and elections by September at the

Mangwana, according to the sources, told the politburo that they had
received US$5 million from the treasury to bankroll the constitution-making

The sources said Mugabe and hardliners in the party and some government
security chiefs were pushing for early polls arguing that Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC was at its weakest and had no functional structures
in both rural and urban areas. The MDC is currently restructuring the party.

However, both formations of the MDC argue that elections could not be held
without fulfilling the outstanding issues of GPA, which gave birth to the
formation of the inclusive government in February 2009. They also argue that
there was need for political, electoral and media reforms before fresh
polls. The parties are demanding a roadmap to the elections.

There are also fears that early elections would trigger political violence,
amid reports that some rural areas were already no go areas for MDC
supporters. Several cases of political violence have been reported
throughout the country.

The facilitator of the Zimbabwe political crisis, South Africa President
Jacob Zuma, also insisted on the full consummation of the GPA and recently
said he was working on an electoral roadmap for Zimbabwe. Zuma was last
night due to present a report on the Zimbabwe political crisis before the
Southern African Development Community’s Organ on Politics, Defence and
Security meeting in Livingstone, Zambia.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo yesterday confirmed that the central
committee would meet today to discuss rules and regulations governing the
party’s primary elections.

The central committee is Zanu PF’s supreme decision making organ outside
congress. The politburo is the central committee’s secretariat.

“We will discuss how we will have our primary elections. It’s on the agenda
of the meeting. We can’t say when the primary elections will be held now
until after the central committee meeting,” Gumbo said.

Mugabe has said he wants elections this year citing “foolish and stupid”
things happening in the inclusive government which he formed with political
rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai two years ago.

MDC-T and MDC as well as the civil society want a new constitution and other
critical reforms before elections can be held.

Sadc facilitator President Jacob Zuma’s team, which visited the country
earlier this month, also said Zimbabwe was not ready for elections this year
due to outstanding critical reforms.

However, Zanu PF has already started preparing for elections with soldiers,
police and the dreaded state security agency deploying in rural areas to
intimidate political opponents.

The party is also targeting the apostolic faith churches believed to have
two million members, as well as the youth and women under the guise of

Zanu PF’s theatre of propaganda, the state media, is swamped with party
jingles to spruce up the party’s bleak image ahead of elections.

Gumbo said they were preparing for elections which were still possible later
this year.

“We are always ready for elections because we know what the people of
Zimbabwe want. We are putting our mechanisms in place so that we win the
elections whenever they will be held,” he said.

Sources said the Wednesday politburo meeting also discussed the humiliating
defeat of Simon Khaya Moyo in the parliamentary Speaker vote.

MDC-T has claimed that Zanu PF splashed US$25 000 on five legislators to buy

SK Moyo polled 93 against Lovemore Moyo’s 105, proving that some of Zanu PF’s
96 legislators voted for the MDC-T candidate in the bitterly contested race.

The source said the politburo did not resolve what will happen to the MPs
who “sold out” but they would soon be named.

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New mining BEE law a bombshell — Analysts

Friday, 01 April 2011 13:05

Chris Muronzi

WHEN government gazetted empowerment regulations compelling foreigners to
“cede” controlling stakes in companies valued at US$500 000 to indigenous
Zimbabweans in March last year, foreign investors on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange (ZSE) retreated, triggering a share plunge on the exchange until
the last quarter of the year.

After the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Chamber of Mines
raised concerns over some of the terms in the regulations such as “cede”,
government went back to the drawing board and replaced the word “cede” with
“dispose” and promised to look at indigenisation on a sector by sector

The market waited and the recommendations of the sectoral committees never

Meanwhile the empowerment clamour continued, with President Robert Mugabe
ordering Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister
Saviour Kasukuwere to indigenise Nestlé for not buying milk from his (Mugabe’s)
Gushungo Dairy Estate.

But investors eventually came back to the ZSE and all seemed to be going
well again. And just when investors thought they would have a breather from
the empowerment and indigenisation threats, Kasukuwere was at it again. He
threatened last week to go after nominee shareholders on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange, with a view to unraveling their identities and compelling them to
dispose of their shareholding to indigenous Zimbabweans.

Kasukuwere’s biggest and latest and bombshell however, has been  his
gazetting last Friday of General Notice 114 of 2011, which outlined changes
to the law originally passed last year.

Under this altered  law, Government now says all foreign owned mining
companies with a net asset value of US$1 would have to comply with the new
regulations by September  25 this year. This is a change from the net asset
value of US$500 000 gazetted last year.

Essentially, every mining company in the hands of foreigners shall be sold
to “designated” entities. But that is not the catch.

The instrument says the value of the shares or other interest required to be
disposed of shall be calculated on the basis of valuation agreed to between
the minister and the non-indigenous mining business concerned “ which shall
take into account the state’s sovereign  ownership of the mineral or
minerals exploited or proposed to be exploited” by the foreign investors.

Legal experts say the clause is meant to effectively lower the values of
mining companies.

Asa Bridle of London-based Seymour Pierce Investment Bank questioned the
valuation method to be used and whether it would be give fair value.

Bridle said,“What is the valuation methodology to be used and how fair will
it be, is the great question. I get the feeling that Aquarius do not have
much clarity and they are not alone in that”.

Economic analyst Eric Bloch said the new regulations were tantamount to
theft and an attack on property rights enshrined in the constitution.

He said, “The new regulations evidence even greater contempt and disregard
for Zimbabwe’s Constitution, which seeks to protect property rights.  That
constitution prescribes that ‘no property of any description or interest or
right therein shall be compulsorily acquired,’ with the sole exceptions of
land required for settlement, for purposes of land reorganisation, forestry,
environmental, conservation or like purposes, or as necessary in the
interests of defence, public safety and like considerations.”

Bloch added that the constitution also prescribed that where property is
acquired for any such reasons, “fair compensation” must be paid.

“Moreover, even if a genuinely fair value were to be paid for the mining
interests to be acquired in terms of the Minister’s ill-considered,
peremptory, and economically-disastrous regulations, the harsh fact is that
those designated to be acquirers of the mining interests do not have the
resources with which to make payment,” said Bloch.

But industry leaders say the move is problematic and would hit investor
confidence.  They question Zimbabwe’s commitment to ensuring a sound
investment climate.

According to the general notice, affected companies must submit
indigenisation plans by May 9 2011.
In contrast, South African mining companies were given 10 years to reach the
26% black ownership threshold, and such the ownership included milling and
prospecting rights, depending on the empowerment levels, social plans and
staff development.

The decision to drop the net asset value of an eligible company to US$1 from
more than US$US$500 000 seems to be in reaction to prominent corporate
lawyer and senior partner at Scanlen & Holderness Sternford Moyo’s assertion
that the previous law was  meaningless as not many companies would have that
kind of net asset value.

Moyo told delegates to an economic  symposium in January that the net asset
value of $500 000 would be difficult  to enforce, given the decline of the
economy prior to the multi currency system and the huge liabilities most of
the Zimbabwean companies had.

Analysts say the dramatic lowering of net asset values to a dollar is an
attempt to ensure that all companies would be targeted.

There are also other glaring changes to the indigenisation policy in terms
of share recipients or people who are supposed to benefit from such an

The new law now uses words such as “designated entity” to describe the
authorised recipients of the shares to which companies must dispose of their
stake. The original act merely stated that shares were to be disposed of to
“indigenous” persons.

The act defines “indigenous” as “any person who, before the 18th of April
1980, was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or
her race, and any descendant of such persons.” This left the door open to
even non blacks to claim the indigenous status.

On the other hand, “designated entities” refers to the National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board, the Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation, any company formed by the Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation,  a statutory wealth fund,  an employee share
ownership scheme, or trust, or community share ownership scheme.

This, analysts say, is a confined approach to empowerment with state
companies benefitting the most.
Analysts say, Kasukuwere could end up with too much power under the new

This comes after Mugabe early this month empowered Kasukuwere to indigenise
Zimplats, Barclays and Nestle first and come up with measures to deal with
the named companies.

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Zanu PF campaign a sign of things to come

Friday, 01 April 2011 13:00

Reports from Bulawayo that Zanu PF youths have been forcing people to sign
the anti-sanctions petition will confirm the impression that coercion, of
the sort witnessed during elections, is playing a major role in the former
ruling party’s campaign.

People were told it was compulsory for all Zimbabweans to sign. In
particular schoolchildren were targeted.

The Welshman Ncube-led MDC reported that some of its officials had been
arrested for refusing to sign the petition. But police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena said the allegations were “absurd”.

“I can confidently say it’s not true,” he said, “because not signing the
petition is not a crime. That is a voluntary issue and no one can be
arrested for not signing.”

Then came the news that police had arrested Witness Dube, Thokozani Khupe’s
driver, at Nkulumane shopping complex for denouncing the anti-sanctions
exercise as a waste of time. Police were manning an anti-sanctions signing
point at the shopping complex.

Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights confirmed the arrest
saying the police were still investigating the issue. Dube was accused of
attempting to incite Zimbabweans to sabotage the programme.

We don’t doubt that most of those arrested last week will have been released
by now. But when Zanu PF presents its petition to the UK and US embassies as
planned, diplomats will be able to point out that coercion played a
significant role in obtaining the signatures which tends to invalidate the
process. Zanu PF youths in Bulawayo went door-to-door to force people to
sign, reports say.

While not signing the petition may not be a crime, that doesn’t stop Zanu PF
youths, officials and activists from bringing pressure to bear on people. Is
this the behaviour of a democratic party?

And in the state sector headmasters in districts such as Chivhu were ordered
to provide centres for signing. Shop owners at growth points were told they
would lose their licences if they didn’t sign, we are told.

Zanu PF has actually discredited itself over its handling of the petition
signings, looking like the bullies they really are and, as with the
Murambatsvina expulsions, attracting the condemnation of the rest of the
world. What we have here is a good idea of what we can expect during the
forthcoming elections.

It is an indication of how subservient we have become as a nation to read
some of the condolences expressed over David Karimanzira’s death. Here for
instance is the Ministry of Agriculture:

“The Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development
Honourable Senator Dr JM Made (MP), Permanent  Secretary Mr M Masoka,
Principal Directors, Directors and the entire staff of the ministry would
like to extend their heartfelt condolences to His Excellency the President
and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde RG Mugabe…”

So Joseph Made and his officials are up there in lights extending their
condolences to the president. Only thereafter is the Karimanzira family
given a mention.

We would have thought the condolences would have gone first and foremost to
the Karimanzira family!
And why is Made billed as “Senator Dr JM Made (MP)”? How can he be both a
Senator and an MP?

The latest person to claim that all the country’s problems can be laid at
the door of sanctions is Chitungwiza Central Hospital CEO Dr Obadiah Moyo.

He said last week that about three quarters of the medical equipment
imported from Europe and the US is lying idle “due to the West’s illegal
economic sanctions”.

One of the saddest facets of the anti-sanctions campaign is that you get
perfectly sensible and rational people blaming sanctions for just about

Dr Moyo was joined by Vice-President Joice Mujuru in denouncing sanctions
for thwarting government’s attempts to provide replacement parts for
imported equipment. Opthalmic equipment was in particularly short supply, we

We haven’t heard hospital officials express these views before so the
realisation that sanctions are to blame for everything must have just dawned
on them. No mention here of the real cause of the shortages, the absence of
a culture of supervision and maintenance!

We were interested in remarks by British Foreign Secretary William Hague,
made in a speech to business leaders in London last week. He said that the
examples being set in North Africa and the Middle East will ultimately
transform the relationships between governments and their populations.

Hague named African leaders including President Mugabe adding that the
security forces continue to act with impunity, ramping up intimidation in
order to instill fear in their opponents and to prevent the people of
Zimbabwe from expressing their democratic voice.

“Governments that use violence to stop democratic development will not earn
themselves respite forever,” Hague said. “They will pay an increasingly high
price for actions which they can no longer hide from the world with ease and
will find themselves on the wrong side of history.

“Governments that block the aspirations of their people, that steal or are
corrupt, that oppress and torture or that deny freedom of expression and
human rights should bear in mind that they will find it increasingly hard to
escape the judgement of their own people or, where warranted, the reach of
international law.”

Muckraker has been seething in recent months over the casual withdrawal of
DStv’s Dish magazine which was a vital component of the network’s viewing

We thought we were alone in this and that everybody else was taking it lying

Not so. Judging by the internet, Multichoice viewers have worked up a good
froth over what is seen as the company’s cavalier treatment of its

DStv viewers in South Africa still get the Dish magazine, but we who fall
under Multichoice Africa do not –– the spurious reason being they want to
reduce our carbon footprint. Somebody in an office in Mauritius dreamt this
up, we gather.

The Chronicle has been running some rather sad animal stories recently. It
told us about a bus driver who collided with a herd of elephants on the
Victoria Falls road. Passengers told the paper about drivers on that road
speeding in low visibility conditions. Some hailed the driver who had
negotiated his way through the herd of elephants as a hero despite the fact
that he hit one in the process. The bus then veered off the road and rolled

While 48 passengers on the bus escaped death by a whisker, it seems the
elephants weren’t so lucky. But the Chronicle didn’t provide details of
jumbo fatalities at the hands of what looked like a careless driver, not a

Then there was the shocking episode of cattle being axed in a grazing land
war in Matabeleland on the border of the two provinces. The dispute involved
fines by headmen on those who had allowed their cattle to stray. Villagers
seeking revenge against their neighbours in the dispute hammered four-inch
nails into the hooves of some 20 beasts. Which made it impossible for them
to walk.

You would have thought that somebody in the district administration would
have removed them. But no, the cows were just left to their fate with
everybody in the area saying how  terrible it was.

While the state security apparatus lamely denies allegations of partisan
conduct, their actions clearly speak louder than words. Energy minister
Elton Mangoma, NewsDay reports, was classified as a “dangerous criminal” at
Harare Remand Prison where he is being detained. In their view, the minister
was a threat to security.

The principal prison officer identified only as Gumbo is quoted as saying:
“My lord, the accused person is classified as ‘D’ Class meaning he is a
security threat. That is the reason he is in leg irons as well as

Meanwhile, Joseph Mwale and his accomplice, Kainos “Kitsiyatota” Zimunya,
accused of masterminding the gruesome murder of MDC activists in Buhera
during the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary election are still not deemed a
threat or danger to society to warrant arrest.

It seems that Henrietta Rushwaya and controversy are never too far apart.
Much like the controversial way she ascended to being Zifa CEO, she again
seems to have landed the vice presidency post of the Affirmative Action
Group (AAG) through the back door. Rushwaya was suspended and later fired at
Zifa after an investigation placed her at the centre of a match fixing
scandal. She was however not arrested over the scandal.

Following media reports of her joining the AAG, its national executive
council distanced itself from Rushwaya’s claims saying there was no vacancy
for the post of deputy president. AAG president Supa Mandiwanzira, in a
statement last Friday, said Rushwaya’s claims had “come as a shock”.

“The AAG wants it known to everyone that there is currently no vacancy for
the post of Vice President in the organisation and there won’t be any such
appointment until such time when the individuals currently occupying the
post were to step down or be caused to leave office in terms of the current
constitution of the organisation,” Mandiwanzira said.

The grouping already has three vice presidents, namely Advocate Farai
Mutamangira, Sam Ncube and former fitness trainer-turned-farmer, Themba

Founding president and chairman, Phillip Chiyangwa, then “put to rest” the
contestation over Rushwaya’s appointment claiming to have exclusive powers
to appoint the presidium by virtue of being the founder president and

“I am the founding president and I am the sole appointing authority. Ms
Rushwaya and Ms Mhlanga are the new vice presidents. I am the only one who
makes presidential appointments and any dissenting voice, you are out of
AAG. That is what the constitution says,” Chiyangwa said.

So much for democracy in an organisation purporting to be championing the
rights of the poor. It looks more like jobs for the boys –– or is it girls?

A Zimbabwean based in Dallas in the United States, according to the Herald,
has embarked on a solo anti-sanctions campaign that will take him through
three continents before he reaches Harare. According to the Herald Thomson
Mabvundwe would start his journey on Tuesday at the DFW Airport in Dallas
“as he launches his campaign that will see him through four countries”.

“In an interview from his Dallas base yesterday, Mabvundwe said he will
start the one-man demonstration for an hour in Dallas,” adds the Herald.

“I am travelling through London’s Heathrow Airport and on Wednesday (this
week) I will be there from 12pm to 5pm,” he said.

Mabvundwe said he will then travel to South Africa’s OR Tambo International
Airport where he will continue the demonstration for another two hours
before he heads for Harare. The one-man “international campaign” was due to
end at Harare International Airport yesterday.

This, to us, looks more like someone making his way from the US to Zimbabwe
via connecting flights. His “international campaign” will unfortunately be
confined to the departure lounges of the respective airports he will visit,
much to the bemusement of fellow travellers.

Finally, we had all the evidence we need this week to show Zimbabwe is a
dysfunctional state. Prison authorities could not take Energy minister Elton
Mangoma to court because they said there was no fuel. Mangoma is being tried
on charges of sourcing fuel when the country faced shortages.

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Political violence blights tranquil Chimanimani

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:42

Wongai Zhangazha

CHIMANIMANI is a sanctuary, a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of
hectic city life, enveloped in spectacular mountain and forest views.

Upon entering this tranquil Eastern Highlands evergreen location, situated
about 170km southeast of Mutare, one feels as though they have escaped from
deadlines, work demands and all the cares and burdens of this world.

The stunning sunrise, evergreen vegetation, intermittently interrupted by
sightings of diverse  bird species and other wildlife, are saturated in an
intimate ambience.

For outdoor lovers and nature enthusiasts, Chimanimani is truly one of
nature’s grandstands. While all this tranquility gives you a feeling of
comfort and love, running contrary and buried deep in the valleys of the
resort’s majestic mountains, is an atmosphere of violence, displacements and
rampant intimidation.

Herding livestock in the pastures can be a life threatening experience,
particularly for those termed as “traitors”.

When the Zimbabwe Independent visited the Nyambeya and Nhedziwa areas of
Cashel Valley on Monday, a tense atmosphere engulfed the area, following a
district meeting held by MDC-T supporters in preparation for the party’s
national congress in May.

After that meeting, more than 20 people fled their homes in Nyambeya’s Ward
1 after Zanu PF launched a terror campaign to “cleanse” the area of MDC
members and sympathisers.

The MDC-T office in Chimanimani claimed that hundreds had fled their homes
and those who had remained were forced to donate money, poultry and
livestock to Zanu PF youths for the sustenance of terror bases in the

The marauding Zanu PF youth militias and war veterans accused MDC supporters
of selling out to “whites”. They are also alleged to have tried to force
everyone to sign the Zanu PF anti-sections petition. Those who refused were
severely assaulted and some victims were admitted at Mutambara Hospital in
Cashel Valley.

At the hospital, the Independent spoke to Israel Mureyani, an MDC-T
supporter from Nhedziwa, who was admitted with head injuries.

Hospital staff said Mureyani’s head injuries were as a result of an assault
with sharp objects. Mureyani said he had been attacked by Zanu PF youths on
March 23 while herding cattle.

“I passed through Nhedziwa Township in the afternoon taking our cattle back
home from the fields. Four guys I know very well to be Zanu PF youths
shouted at me calling me a traitor who was selling the country to white
people,” said Mureyani visibly in pain. “I ignored them since I didn’t want
to fight and obviously knew that I would be overpowered. But they came
closer and kept on calling me a traitor. I answered back and said I was not
a traitor and one of them punched me in the face. I tried to fight back but
the four overpowered me.”

Mureyani said he was repeatedly beaten with clenched fists and stamped on.
When he managed to free himself from their grip, they attacked him with
stones. He sustained a deep gush at the back of his head after being struck
by a stone.
He reported the attack to the Cashel Valley Police Station and was advised
to return later with a medical report. Also not wanted in the Cashel Valley
area is Charles Chimberengwa who fled his home on January 20 with his wife
and four children.

The  Independent caught up with Chimberengwa on Monday while he was visiting
the area to assess the situation.

“The youths took me to their base at Nyambeya primary school at a District
Development Fund (DDF)  metal building where they stock their material and
warned me to leave Ward 1 with immediate effect because they accused me of
influencing villagers to support MDC,” said Chimberengwa.

Chimberengwa said he fled, leaving his two and a half hectares of maize and
sunflowers which were ready for harvest. When he returned he found that a
door to his two-roomed house had been damaged and the walls battered.

His children, one a Form Three pupil at Sunnyside Secondary School and
another who is in Form One at Nyanyadzi Secondary School, have temporarily
stopped going to school because of their family’s displacement. Another
victim of the political disturbances Moses Chimwanyisa, also from Nyambeya
Ward 1, said he now found it difficult to face his son Darlington after Zanu
PF youths and war veterans beat him up in front of his son.

Chimwanyisa said he had left his homestead on the morning of March 19 going
about his errands when the youths forced him to accompany them to the Cashel
Valley Forestry compound.

While there, he was questioned about MDC-T activities in the resettlement

Some of the youths went and raided his home and confiscated MDC-T material
he kept at his house. They also took Darlington to the base, after forcing
him to whip his young brother.

Chimwanyisa said his son Darlington was forced to watch while he was beaten
on the buttocks and back. After the marathon beatings, he was released and
told to leave the resettlement area with his family immediately if he didn’t
want further trouble.

Chimwanyisa said the youths also demanded three turkeys, chicken and a goat,
and also forcibly took $50 frm him. Chimwanyisa said he reported the case at
Cashel Valley police station. A police officer at the station told the
Independent he was aware of the incident but refused to shed more light,
saying questions should be directed to Manicaland police spokesman Brian

Efforts to get a comment from Makomeke were fruitless as he was said to be
out of the office and his mobile phone was continuously not reachable.
Mbuya Ethel Mureyani told the Independent from her homestead at Nhedziwa
that intimidation was the order of the day in the area.
“People are called several times to Zanu PF meetings by headman Maguti and
these days the topical issue is the anti-sanctions campaign. We are
threatened with all sorts of things. But I am not afraid. I will never
attend their meetings. They destroyed my house in June 2008 and beat up my
son and then they want me to join them? They can do whatever they want,” she
A war veteran who identified himself as Cde John refuted allegations of
intimidation and violence in Cashel Valley. Zanu PF MP for Chimanimani East
Samuel Undenge said he was not aware that such incidents were taking place
in his constituency.
“I don’t have information to that effect. I was out of the country for the
past 10 days. I will look into it and I advise those affected to come
forward with their problems. As a party we don’t have a policy of
intimidation and violence. We want a violence free society,” Undenge said.

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Whipping system takes away MPs’ freedom

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:40

Paidamoyo Muzulu

THE Westminster parliamentary system which Zimbabwe adopted at Independence
in 1980 has not only resulted in poor quality  debates in the House but also
in political parties deploying clueless individuals to the House of

One would have expected fireworks in parliament with robust no holds barred
debates because of the privileges and protection which cover MPs when they
are in the chamber, but the whipping system has taken away the power of
persuasion from individual MPs and bestowed all power on political parties.

In other words, MPs don’t have permission to think; they just have to toe
the party line even if the constituencies they represent hold a different
view on a particular issue.

All decisions are made by the party and the chief whips make sure that MPs
toe the party line on each issue brought for debate or vote in the House.

In Tuesday’s election of the House of Assembly Speaker, both Zanu PF and the
two MDC formations railroaded their MPs into voting for a candidate
nominated by the party’s hierarchy, even if individual MPs were against the

Zanu PF put forward its chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo, in the face of fierce
opposition from the party’s backbenchers. The party’s politburo unilaterally
handpicked SK Moyo and ordered all MPs to back him in spite of their
reservations. He had not been an MP for many years.

The MDC-T re-nominated Lovemore Moyo and whipped its members to toe the line
irrespective of murmurs of discontent from some quarters. He lived a
luxurious lifestyle and had a high regard of his own importance, they
alleged.  Moyo went on to triumph 105 to 93.

The government has over the years used the whipping system to pass
legislation not backed by the majority of MPs.

During the 2011 budget vote, chief whips of all three parties in the
coalition government whipped their members to okay the budget, even though a
good number of MPs had expressed serious reservations.

The formation of the inclusive government in 2009 did not bring any vibrancy
to parliamentary debates, but instead introduced rigidity since most MPs
were clearly afraid of rocking the fragile coalition boat by asking probing

Despite a concerted effort by MPs across the political divide to block the
budget vote, they were whipped into line.

Goromonzi North MP Paddy Zhanda of Zanu PF spoke eloquently and logically
opposing certain sections of the 2011 budget and urged fellow MPs to block
the vote until allocations for the department of agriculture and other
critical economic areas had been reviewed upwards.

Prior to that, the inclusive government had also used the whipping system to
withdraw Masvingo Urban MP Tongai Matutu’s motion calling for an inquiry
into the 2008 presidential runoff violence in the spirit of inclusivity.

The motion was withdrawn from the order paper after informal discussions by
the coalition partners in the government, despite the fact that the majority
of Zimbabweans wanted to know who had instigated, coordinated and
perpetrated violence against perceived political opponents.

The executive’s influence on developments also encroached into amendments to
draconian legislation such as the Public Order and Security Act. In a well
calculated move, Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese’s amendments to the Act
have been moving at a snail’s pace. The Bill has stalled in the Senate due
to simple technical issues.

Parliament has largely been dominated by Zanu PF and for that reason not
much criticism was aimed at the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe and his
government until the Unity Accord of 1987. Mugabe had it easy. No one dared
cross his path on policies, no matter how disastrous they were.

For example, debates on the Matabeleland atrocities were stifled. After the
Unity accord, Zapu MPs were worried for their safety and therefore did not
rock the boat. After all, their leader Joshua Nkomo and the entire senior
Zapu leadership had been forced into compliance and some imprisoned.

Constitutional Amendment No.7 of 1987 sounded a death knell on all calls for
accountability of government through parliament. The amendment abolished the
office of the Prime Minister and created an imperial presidency.

Mugabe became executive president and was no longer a member of the august
House, and could thus not be called to account for his government. His
relationship with parliament was to simply address the House on special
occasions, such as the State of the Nation, but not to answer any questions.

Zanu PF’s long-serving chief-whip Joram Gumbo believes that the whipping
system serves government well.

Gumbo, who has been Zanu PF’s chief whip for 18 years, said: “The whipping
system has over the years served us well. We cannot allow people to do as
they wish. Party positions should always be respected.”
Gumbo’s sentiments were once echoed by MDC-T deputy chief-whip Dorcas
Sibanda just before the 2011 budget vote last year.

The most prominent MPs to defy the whipping system with ghastly consequences
were the outspoken Lazarus Nzarayebani and Dzikamai Mavhaire.

Mavhaire invited the ire of Mugabe after he called on him to go in 1998. In
a debate on constitutional reform, Mavhaire argued that the constitution  be
altered to prevent a president from serving more than two terms, and then
added unexpectedly: “Mugabe must go,” to gasps from the chamber.

Suffice it to say, Mavhaire was denounced as a witch by Mugabe and stripped
of his party rank and barred from holding any party position for five years.

Nzarayebani also weighed in saying; “if somebody is elected president he
should serve at most two six-year terms and that’s it. No more...”.

Nzarayebani was thrown out of the party and later died a lonely death.

The MDC had its own controversial moments. It also expelled some MPs for
refusing to toe the party line. First among them was the dreadlocked former
Highfield MP Munyaradzi Gwisayi, who sided with Zanu PF during a land
debate, contrary to his party’s position.

In 2008, the smaller faction of the MDC expelled Abednico Bhebhe, Norman
Mpofu and Njabuliso Mguni for backing the MDC-T’s Lovemore Moyo in the vote
for parliamentary Speaker in breach of the party’s directive to vote for
Paul Themba Nyathi.

For all the talk of independence in parliament, members are still strongly
bound by the dictates of their political parties. It remains to be seen if
MPs would be allowed to abstain or vote against their parties on issues that
directly affect their constituencies.

The rising calls from MPs across the floor should act as a harbinger for
members to seek more freedom and independence from their parties when
executing their parliamentary duties.

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SK Moyo loses property in acrimonious divorce

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:37

Brian Chitemba

ZANU PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo has lost a mansion, a farm and an
oil marketing company to his long-time wife in a messy divorce.
Close family members told the Zimbabwe Independent that SK Moyo, who this
week lost the parliamentary speakership poll to the MDC-T’s Lovemore Moyo,
separated from Gertrude Moyo two years ago.

Family members said the divorce, which happened when Moyo was still Zimbabwe’s
ambassador to South Africa, cost him the lucrative SKOIL Fuel and Commodity
Marketing Company and a mansion in the leafy suburb of Selbourne Park in

Gertrude also seized a vast cattle ranching estate situated about 70km west
of Bulawayo.
Moyo declined to comment when approached by the Zimbabwe Independent. He
demanded to know the source of the newspaper’s story.

“You can ignore some of these things. I am sure it’s not worth writing
about. I can’t comment over that story because I also don’t even know what
you are talking about,” SK Moyo said.

His former wife was tracked down at the plush SKOIL offices where she first
admitted that she was Gertrude but later shifted her position upon being
questioned on her divorce.

“Yes I am Mrs Moyo,” she said initially, before somersaulting; “Mrs Moyo is
at SK farm. You can go and interview her. She lives at the farm.”

But workers at SKOIL insisted that Gertrude was indeed operating from the
company’s offices.

Moyo’s relative said when the former diplomat visited Bulawayo, he stayed at
the upmarket Motsami Lodge in Hillside since the mother of his four children
occupies the lavish Selbourne Park home.

“SK Moyo doesn’t own a thing in Bulawayo now after Gertrude took over his
properties following their nasty divorce,” said the relative.

Workers at Motsami Lodge confirmed that Moyo was a regular guest.

Family members said the divorce was solved in privacy because “it was a
sensitive matter which could deal a heavy blow to SK Moyo’s political

Workers at the Moyo farm also confirmed on Wednesday that the couple had
divorced and Gertrude had taken charge of the farm while Moyo no longer
visited the property.

“Mrs Moyo is not at the farm but she comes often. As for SK Moyo, he no
longer comes. They are no longer together and that’s why he doesn’t come
here anymore,” said a worker at the farm.

Zanu PF sources said Moyo now spends most of his time in Harare and hardly
comes to Bulawayo although he used to frequent the city.

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Loan scheme for academic glory

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:34

Paidamoyo Muzulu

BANKS and other private players should complement government’s efforts in
resuscitating the country’s education system by providing loans and grants
to tertiary education students, if the country is to return to its glory
days of academic excellence, the Ministry of Finance secretary has said.

Willard Manungo said tertiary institutions needed in excess of US$150
million annually if the government was to implement in full the loans and
grant scheme.

Manungo made the call on Monday when he appeared before the Higher and
Tertiary Education Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on the state of
government’s funding to higher education since dollarisation in 2009.

Government is struggling to provide adequate funding for tertiary education
and now owes a combined US$20 million since 2009 to the Ministry of Higher
and Tertiary Education for students’ loans and grants support. It still has
to release the US$15 million set aside for the cadetship scheme.

The treasury secretary told the committee that the economic collapse in the
last decade fundamentally changed government’s priorities and its ability to
fully fund education against other competing interests like agriculture and
health Manungo said,“We should bring on board financial institutions to play
a bigger role in tertiary education funding. Government alone cannot meet
the burden of fully supporting students at 13 state universities in the

He added that treasury could not fully implement the much touted loans and
grants scheme that Finance minister Tendai Biti wanted to resuscitate,
instead of the present cadetship scheme.

“I do not think that we have the capacity for full loans and grants.
Ideally, resources permitting, we should get back to the 1980s scenario,”
Manungo said.

Economic decline and the  Bretton Woods-inspired economic structural
adjustment programme of the early 90s dealt a body blow to the growing
education sector.

Manungo told the committee that Treasury had discontinued the loans and
grants scheme  because of hyperinflation in the last decade and a decline in
loan repayment by beneficiaries.

“The deteriorating economic environment compromised recovery of loans,
thereby making the burden of education funding fall on the government. The
new state universities also increased strain on funding,” Manungo said.

Higher and Tertiary Education secretary Washington Mbizvo had earlier told
the same committee that the Ministry of Finance had unilaterally changed the
cadetship scheme to a “loans and grants scheme” without consultation.

Mbizvo charged;“The Ministry of Finance prescribed without consultation and
one wonders if the ministry  is familiar with the implications and impact of
the change of schemes. Nobody consulted us. All we see is a figure of US$15
million in the Blue Book.”

However, Mbizvo conceded that the loans and grants scheme was the ideal
solution for financing tertiary education  in the country.

“The cadetship is simply a stop-gap measure,” Mbizvo said.

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Mashakada seeks firms’ compulsory registration

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:33

Bernard Mpofu

ECONOMIC Planning and Investment Promotion minister Tapiwa Mashakada has
stepped up his bid to compel foreign investors to register with the Zimbabwe
Investment Authority, after investors rejected an earlier deadline for
compulsory registration last year.

Mashakada said cabinet had approved plans to effect a raft of changes to the
Zimbabwe Investment Act, a law regulating investment in the capital-starved

He said the Attorney-General’s office was expected to draft a Bill soon for
tabling before  parliament. The amendments, Mashakada said, would also shore
up the recently formed ZIA One Stop Shop, which seeks  to reduce
bureaucratic inertia for new investors.

“We feel there is some mischief that we want to address. We don’t want
fly-by-night investors who walk into the country without meeting necessary
requirements. The new changes will provide for compulsory registration of
all investors,” said Mashakada.

His remarks come in the wake of a directive issued by the Economic Planning
ministry in July last year instructing “all foreign investors” intending to
invest in Zimbabwe or currently operating to register with the investment
body by October 30 2010.

Investors failed to comply with the directive and subsequently challenged
its legality.

“In accordance with this notice, foreign investors who have not been
licensed by ZIA but are currently operating in any sector of the Zimbabwean
economy are therefore advised to regularise their investments by obtaining
the ZIA Investment Licence,” Mashakada said in the notice.

Responding to this, a cluster of foreign investors, through their lawyers
Atherstone  &Cook said; “We have been instructed by certain foreign
investors in regard to the notice that was published in the Independent
newspaper on July 20 2010. Consequently we enquire from you on what section
in the Act you are  relying? This is not the legal position.”

Presently, there is no law in Zimbabwe which imposes an obligation to obtain
the approval of the Zimbabwe Investment Authority. Section 13 of the
Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act provides that investors may register with
the authority if they “wish” to.

Mashakada added that his ministry, among other reforms, is pushing for an
“automatic immigration quota” for new investors bringing specialised skills
given the flight of local professional skills.

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Why the AU fails to resolve conflicts

Friday, 01 April 2011 13:10

By Dumisani Nkomo

THE situation in Libya, the stalemate in the Ivory Coast, the Great Lakes
Conflicts as well as the re-emerging and unfolding Zimbabwean crisis have
brought to the fore the lack of effectiveness and efficacy of the African
Union (AU) in solving African conflicts.

The motif of “African solutions to African problems” surely is predicated on
the capacity of the AU to engage in appropriate interventions in order to
ensure that such conflicts, crises and disputes are resolved.

Tragically the AU has become part of the problem instead of being part of
the solution. This is due to a composite set of factors, political
realities, internal mechanics and political dynamics in the design and
architecture of the continental body which make it unwilling and at times
unable to resolve African problems decisively.

To its credit the AU made a stand against Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast
after he “stole the election” from Alassane Outarra.

However the AU was unable to translate this into concrete outcomes with
action limited to a mediation team which is likely to facilitate a
negotiated settlement accommodating both Gbagbo and Outarra. B

ut the multiplicity of internal contradictions and conflicting interests
within leading member states make the AU ineffective as an instrument of
promoting peace on the continent

Prioritisation of objectives
The AU appears to be enmeshed in internal conflict on which of its
objectives it should prioritise. On one hand the founding objectives,
principles and values include the imperatives of promoting unity and
solidarity of African states, protecting the territorial integrity and
sovereignty of members, non interference in the internal affairs of member
countries as well as the peaceful co existence of member states.

The other objectives and principles contained in Article 4 of the AU
Constitutive Act pertain to the following which appear to compete and at
times contradict or conflict with objectives, principles and values set out

    The right to intervene in situations of war, genocide or crimes against
    Respect for democratic principles, human rights, rule of law and good

Somewhere in between is the principle of “condemning and rejecting
unconstitutional changes of government”.

The likes of President Robert Mugabe have argued strongly at various AU
Assemblies on the critical importance of adhering to AU principles of
protecting African solidarity, sovereignty of member states and non
interference in affairs of member states.

Unfortunately the AU has tended to lead towards this argument at the expense
of promoting democratic processes and institutions, rule of law and good

The condemnation of unconstitutional changes to government may be
interpreted to mean that popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are
viewed as attempts to bring about “unconstitutional changes of government”
and thus lead to the AU appearing to side with President Muammar Gaddafi’s
government at the expense of the vast majority of Libyan people.

AU member states such as Swaziland and Zimbabwe have revelled under the
dubious front of “sovereignty” whilst systematically oppressing their people
under the guise of constitutional government.

What happens in cases where countries have constitutionalised dictatorship
by banning political parties, political activities and crushing fundamental
freedoms and liberties as is the case in Swaziland and Zimbabwe once again
where the state is crushing civil liberties.

A club of dictators?
A critical issue affecting the ability of the AU to rein in rogue states is
the very fact that a number of “rogue leaders” have been at the forefront of
the AU agenda. Gaddafi and Mugabe were some of the prime drivers of the AU
when it was launched and Gaddafi was the chairman of the Africa Union in
2009. Beyond this it is important to carry out an audit or scan of the AU
structures and organs and then construct a power map which then shows us who
wields power within the AU. The critical structures in the AU are the

    AU Assembly — this is where heads of state and government sit. No prizes
for guessing who represents Zimbabwe here;
    The Executive Council composed of foreign affairs ministers of member
countries.This could explain why Zanu PF insisted on this portfolio in the
inclusive government;
    The AU Commission which is the secretariat;
    The Peace and Security Council which implements AU resolutions and
resembles the powerful UN security council;
    The African Commission for Human Rights which promotes the African
Charter on People’s and Human Rights;
    AU special commissions or rapporteurs including commissions on
internally displaced people, human rights etc

A cursory scan of these structures reveals for example that a powerful and
dictatatorial member state can be well represented at various levels and
thus prevents discussion or resolutions pertaining to it.

A good example is Zimbabwe which is represented not only in the AU Assembly
and Executive Council but also in the powerful 15- member Peace and Security
Council which is supposed to address issues such as the prevention,
management and resolution of conflict.

Zimbabwe currently sits on the Peace and Security Council representing
southern Africa on a three-year tenure in the organ whilst fellow neighbour
South Africa is on a two- year term. Other members include Kenya, Equatorial
Guinea, and oh yes! Libya.

Institutional capacity
The AU is not just crippled by it infrastructural weaknesses but also by
endemic capacity deficiencies including financial limitations and personnel.
This severely affected AU missions in Sudan where 7 000 mainly Nigerian and
Rwandan troops were deployed. This incapacity unless addressed would render
the AU useless  in deploying peacekeeping forces, intervention forces and
effective electoral monitoring teams in countries with disputed and
disputable electoral processes such as Zimbabwe.

Unwillingness to act
The problems of the AU are not only to do with whether the AU is able to
intervene or not in situations which threaten ordinary civilians but whether
the AU is willing to intervene. A case in point is that of Omar al Bashir of
Sudan who received an international warrant of arrest from the International
Criminal Court for crimes against humanity but the AU is unwilling to

More recently the AU was not supportive of the UN “No Fly resolution”. To
show the contradictions in the AU, two of its members who are part of the UN
security Council, South Africa and Nigeria, voted in favour of the Security
Council resolution.

Unless there are fundamental changes both within the member states and the
AU itself the AU will continue being part of the problem when it is actually
supposed to provide the solution.

About the Author

Nkomo is the chief executive officer of Habakkuk Trust. He writes here in
his personal capacity. Email:

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Libya — It’s not all about oil

Friday, 01 April 2011 13:13

THEY have committed themselves to a war, but they have no plans for what
happens after tomorrow night. They swear that they will never put ground
troops into Libya, so their strategy consists solely of hoping that air
strikes on Colonel Muammar Gadaffi’s air defence systems (and on his ground
forces when they can be targeted without killing civilians) will persuade
his troops to abandon him. They don’t even have an agreed command structure.
So why is this “coalition of the willing” (which has yet to find a proper
name for itself) doing this? Don’t say “it’s all about oil”.That’s just lazy
thinking, all the Western oil majors are already back in Libya. They have
been back ever since the great reconciliation between their governments and
Gaddafi in 2003.

That deal was indeed driven partly by oil, although also in part by Western
concerns about Libya’s alleged nuclear ambitions. (Gaddafiplayed his cards
well there, because he never really had a viable nuclear weapons programme.)
But do you seriously think that Western governments have now launched this
major military operation merely to improve the contractual terms for a few
of their oil companies?

Maybe it’s just about local political advantage, then. President Nicolas
Sarkozy of France was the driving force behind this intervention, and he
faces a re-election battle next year. Is he seeking credit with French
voters for this “humanitarian” intervention? Implausible, since it’s the
right-wing vote he must capture to win, and saving the lives of Arab
foreigners does not rank high in the priorities of the French right.

Prime Minister David Cameron in Britain was the other prime mover in the
Libyan intervention. Unless the coalition government he leads collapses
(which is quite unlikely), he won’t even have to face the electorate again
until 2014. So what would be the point in seeking political popularity with
a military intervention now? Even if that were a sure route to popularity in
Britain, which it is not.

As for Barack Obama, he spent weeks trying to avoid an American military
commitment in Libya, and his secretary of defence, Robert Gates, was
outspoken in denouncing the idea. Yet there they all are, intervening:
France, Britain, the United States, and half a dozen other Western
countries. Strikingly unaccompanied by Arab military forces, or indeed by
anybody else’s.

There is no profit in this for the West, and there is a high probability (of
which the interveners are well aware) that it will all end in tears. There
is the danger of “mission creep,” there is the risk that the bombing will
kill Libyan civilians, and there is the fact that many of the countries that
voted for Security Council Resolution 1973, or at least abstained from
voting against it, are already peeling away from the commitment it implied.

They willed the end: to stop Gaddafi  from committing more massacres. They
even supported or did not oppose the means: the use of “all necessary
measures” to protect Libyan civilians, which in diplomatic-speak means
force. But they cannot stomach the reality of Western aircraft bombing
another third-world country, however decent the motives and however
deserving the targets.

So why have the Western countries embarked on this quixotic venture? Indians
feel no need to intervene, nor do Chinese or Japanese. Russians and South
Africans and Brazilians can watch the killing in Libya on their televisions
and deplore Gaddafi’s behaviour without wanting to do something about it.

Even Egyptians, who are fellow Arabs, Libya’s next-door neighbours, and the
beneficiaries of a similar but successful democratic revolution just last
month, haven’t lifted a finger to help the Libyan revolutionaries. They don’t
lack the means — only a small fraction of their army could put an end to
Gaddafy’s regime in days — but they lack the will. Indeed, they lack any
sense of responsibility for what happens to people beyond their own borders.

That’s normal. What is abnormal is a domestic politics in which the failure
to intervene in Rwanda to stop the genocide is still remembered and debated
15 years later. African countries don’t hold that debate; only Western
countries do. Western countries also feel guilty about their slow and
timorous response to the slaughter in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Nobody
else does.

Cynicism is a necessary tool when dealing with international affairs, but
sometimes you have to admit that countries are acting from genuinely
selfless and humanitarian motives. Yes, I know, Vietnam, and Iraq, and a
hundred years of US meddling in Latin America, and 500 years of European
imperial plunder all around the world. I did say “sometimes”. But I think
this is one of those times.

Why is it only Western countries that believe they have a duty to intervene
militarily, even in places where they have no interests at stake, merely to
save lives? My guess is that it’s a heritage of the great wars they fought
in the 20th century, and particularly of the war against Hitler, in which
they told themselves (with some justification) that they were fighting pure
evil — and eventually discovered that they were also fighting a terrible

This does not mean that all or most of their military adventures overseas
are altruistic, nor does it mean that their current venture will end well.
In fact, it probably won’t. No good deed goes unpunished.

About the Author

Gwyne Dyer is a London- based  independant journalist

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Accelerating economic demise

Friday, 01 April 2011 13:02

THIS column, last week, with great concern and regret, foreshadowed the
imminent and total demise of the Zimbabwean economy, as a direct consequence
of the dogmatically foolhardy manner in which the Minister of Youth
Development,Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere was
intending to pursue the commendable objectives of indigenisation and
economic empowerment.

However, despite the expectations voiced in the column, that the Minister,
aided and abetted by the President and various Politburo stalwarts, would
pursue their economically-suicidal intents with ongoing pronounced rapidity,
the column did not foreshadow that they would do so as expeditiously as
implementing the death sentence that same day.  Nevertheless, they did do

By Government Gazette Extraordinary, the Minister prescribed that by no
later than  September  24 2011, not less than 51% of the shares or
controlling interests in any non-indigenous owned mining business whose net
asset value is US$1 or above  must be disposed of to either the:

    National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund; or
    Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (or any company or other entity
incorporated by that Corporation) or
    Sovereign Wealth Fund to be statutorily created; or
    Employee Share Ownership Schemes or Trusts, or Management Share
Ownership Schemes or Trusts, or Community Share Ownership Schemes or Trusts.

Not only is such forced disinvestment by existing mining sector investors
devoid of any justice but, to add insult to injury, and to effectively
legislate for the acquisition of the mining interests is tantamount to
theft. The newly enacted regulations also encompass a valuation formula
blatantly targetted at minimising amounts payable to those forced to

The value of the forcibly disinvested shares, or other interests, is not to
be determined on a “willing buyer, willing seller” basis, as prevails in any
free market economy, but is to be a value agreed to by the Minister, taking
into account “the State’s sovereign ownership of the mineral or minerals
exploited, or to be exploited”.

This is a blatant stratagem to minimise any amount payable to those being
forcibly disinvested, in contemptuous disregard of the fact that the State
is compensated for the minerals exploited by substantial royalties payable
by the mines, over and above numerous direct and indirect taxes.

The new regulations evidence even greater contempt and disregard for
Zimbabwe’s Constitution, which seeks to protect property rights.  That
constitution prescribes that “no property of any description or interest or
right therein shall be compulsorily acquired”, with the sole exceptions of
land required for settlement, for purposes of land reorganisation, forestry,
environmental, conservation or like purposes, or as necessary in the
interests of defence, public safety and like considerations.

The Constitution also prescribes that where property is acquired for any
such reasons, “fair compensation” must be paid, and entrenches various
rights of appeal to the High Court by those being deprived of the property.
However, the Minister and his colleagues clearly believe themselves to be
above the Constitution, and to be  a law unto themselves.

Moreover, even if a genuinely fair value were to be paid for, the mining
interests to be acquired in terms of the Minister’s ill-considered,
peremptory, and economically-disastrous regulations, the harsh fact is that
those designated to be acquirers of the mining interests do not have the
resources with which to make payment.

The National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund is yet to become
possessed of any funds, and the Sovereign Wealth Fund has not even yet been
established.  Moreover, Government has already indicated that the financing
for these Funds is to be obtained by levies on the private sector.

Over and above such levies being devoid of any justice, the private sector
is already contracting catastrophically, and will virtually disappear as a
result of the direct and indirect consequences of the new regulations.
Therefore, inflows to the Fund will be miniscule.

In like manner, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation has a paucity of
monetary resources, and its only significant revenue source is the mining
sector, which the Minister has condemned to near total collapse.  Employees
of mines, and rural communities, are also devoid of resources with which to
fund trusts and share ownership schemes.

Therefore there is no possibility whatsoever of any timeous fair value
payments to those now being forced to disinvest.  And, if there is an
insufficiency of funding for acquisition of the 51% portion of all the
presently non-indigenous owned mines,  whence will the intended new owners
be able to provide the considerable working capital needs of the mines, and
the monolithic amounts required for development, plant and machinery, and
other essential operational resources?

The Minister blithely assumes access to funding from international monetary
bodies such as the African Development Bank, but in making such assumptions,
he is living in “Cloud Cuckoo Land”.  On the one hand, Zimbabwe already has
immense arrears in debt servicing, and financiers are ill-disposed to fund
debt defaulters.

On the other hand, the financiers also expect realistic ability to service
debt, and the already greatly beleaguered Zimbabwean economy not only cannot
do so, but its inability to fund obligations will almost immediately
intensify due to the inevitable further economic collapse of almost all
economic sectors in consequence of the new regulations.

Already, within days, the engineering industry is being confronted with
order cancellations from the mines, and all other sectoral suppliers to
mining will unavoidably experience likewise.  Similarly, Zimbabwe’s
financial institutions will now be most reluctant and hesitant to provide
facilities to mining clients, or to any businesses that are key suppliers to
the mines.

Concurrently, already non-resident shareholders in the mines have placed a
freeze on any remittance of funds to their Zimbabwean entities.  Not only
will this impact devastatingly upon the mining operations, but it will also
worsen further the existing, very great, scarcity of monetary resources in
the banking sector, and hence available to any and all economic sectors.

As if the Minister is not sufficiently destroying mining (the mainstay of
the economy), he is doing  likewise for the rest of the economy, not only as
a side-effect of the mining sector regulations, but also foreshadowing
forthcoming regulations for other sectors.

Because his Government “got away” with stealing the land, they obviously
consider they can do likewise with all else, despite their self-inflicted,
myopic disregard for the inevitable impoverishment of all Zimbabweans, for
the critically total death of the economy is now assured. It is tempting to
suggest that the Minister, and the Politburo, should think again, but how
can they do so if they were unable to think before?  Nevertheless, they
should belatedly try to think, and not destroy.

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Re-election of Moyo to Speakership inspiring

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:56

By Chris Mhike

IF there is anyone out there who still doubts that good will ultimately
prevail over evil, who wonders if Zimbabwe will ever be truly free again,
who questions the universal power of democracy,  then the re-election of
Lovemore Moyo to the post of Speaker of the House of Assembly is your
It is a deeply inspiring and hope-laden victory that benefits not just the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), the political party to which Speaker
Moyo belongs, but indeed the rest of the pro-democracy movement, including
the MDC led by Professor Welshmen Ncube, civil society, progressive elements
within Zanu PF, and the general citizenry.

The re-election of Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the Seventh Parliament of
Zimbabwe brings hope to peace-loving Zimbabweans, and friends of the nation
who share in the citizens’ desire for the transformation of the nation’s
rotten political system into a new, modern and internationally respectable
democratic order.

The hope derived from this election is a kind that comes at a most welcome
season in the nation’s history.  It is hope in the face of difficulty of
epic proportions, hope in the face of enormous adversity, hope in the face
of evil machinations by the forces of dark and destructive politics.

This re-election provides progressive Zimbabweans with their opportunity to
experience the audacity of hope.

There can be no doubt that, on the one hand, free and fair contestation
between players in the political “game”, is a good thing.  It entrenches
democracy.  On the other hand, the manipulation of justice delivery, law
enforcement, parliamentary, administrative and other systems for the benefit
of a power-wielding political party, is a wrong and most appalling practice.

On March 10 2011, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe overturned the highly
commendable and jurisprudentially sound determination of the High Court,
which had ruled against the challenge of Jonathan Moyo and his colleagues,
against Moyo’s ascendancy to the seat of Speaker of Parliament.

Jonathan Moyo and company had, in an exercise crafted to rock the boat and
to find relevance in the political scheme of things, submitted that Lovemore
Moyo’s election as Speaker on August 25 2008 had been irregular and
therefore had to be set aside.

As already said, the High Court did not find favour with Moyo’s arguments,
and accordingly dismissed the application with costs.  The litigants met
with luck only on appeal, at the Supreme Court.

Soon after the delivery of the Supreme Court Judgment, Clerk of Parliament
Austin Zvoma swiftly made moves to humiliate the “dethroned Speaker”,
describing him in the mass media as “an ordinary member of the public”.

Demands were made by Zvoma for Moyo to immediately surrender his service
vehicles, and to leave the residence rented for him by parliament within a
few weeks, without the slightest consideration for the man’s dignity and
practical difficulties arising from sudden withdrawal of facilities.

The state-controlled media started campaigning for the Zanu PF candidate,
Simon Khaya Moyo, granting him interviews and depicting him in cartoons as
the more suitable candidate for the position of Speaker.
Efforts by Lovemore Moyo’s and the MDC-T’s lawyers to find justice in the
courts of law in the run-up to the fresh election for Speaker hit a brick
wall as they met with all sorts and manner of obstacles, whose legitimacy is

The police embarked on a spirited blitz, arresting MDC-T MPs, apparently to
aid Zanu PF in gaining a numerical advantage over the MDC-T in the
forthcoming election at parliament.  To their credit, the MDC led by
Professor Ncube saw through the debauchery of the system at play, and backed
the MDC-T candidate on the eve of the election.

Energy and Power Development minister, Elton Mangoma was locked up under
circumstances that, in the mind of any reasonable person, were designed to
unfairly punish the Minister and legislator for his determination to fix
Zimbabwe’s broken governmental and political systems, and designed to deny
the gentle man of his right to vote at parliament in the fresh election for
the Speaker.

Right to the last moment in the run up to the fresh election for the Speaker
on Tuesday, Zvoma was adamant that Moyo would not have his right to vote in
the election at parliament.

Yet John Nkomo and Oppah Muchinguri were sworn-in as non-constituency MPs
just before the election, obviously to the advantage of Zanu PF.

Individuals from Zanu PF without the popular and democratic vote of a
national election suddenly had greater rights than a man who had trounced
Zanu PF in the last general election.  Nkomo and Muchinguri could vote, but
Moyo could not, nor could Mangoma.

The denial by Zvoma to have Moyo revert back to his position as MP for
Matobo North prevailed against common legal sense, against the good advice
of the Attorney General, and against the well-considered opinion of the
respected Professor of Law, Lovemore Madhuku.

Correspondences and court process from the Chambers of Moyo’s lawyers  meant
to put right what the unseated Speaker felt was illegal and unjust treatment
were not attended to at the relevant offices with the urgency they deserved.

Threats of arrests were issued against Moyo and some of his MDC-T
colleagues, and the stakes were generally piled against the unseated
Speaker.  The threats remain intact.

All that the MDC-T, civil society and other pro-democracy advocates have
sought, going by their declarations, is to usher in a democratic system as a
replacement to what is widely perceived, and sometimes experienced as a
repressive and corrupt system in the governance of Zimbabwe.

Democracy, fairness, equality before the law, justice, and other virtues
that have been sought by Moyo and the other partners mentioned above, are
undoubtedly good for Zimbabwe.

That is why the point is made here, that through Moyo’s victory at
Parliament, good has prevailed over evil.

Zanu PF’s claim in the aftermath of the election at parliament that
democracy prevails in Zimbabwe is not quite accurate.

“What we witnessed today is a shining example of democracy and rule of law
in Zimbabwe”, Zanu PF’s zealous Jonathan Moyo, who caused all the
pandemonium in the first place, is quoted as saying in a recent press

Of course not — the electoral cultures of Zimbabwe, including those at
parliament, are neither a shining nor dull example of how democracy should
work in Zimbabwe or anywhere else.

The woes faced by Moyo in particular, and the MDC in general in the run up
to the election are not conducive to the proper functioning of a democratic

The selective application of law, and detention of MPs from rival parties on
account of spurious charges, and on the excuse that there is no fuel to
transport rival politicians from the dungeon, cannot be illustrations of the
prevalence of the rule of law, or how democracy should work.

No doubt, the victory of Moyo inspires citizens from all walks of life to
believe again in the face of sickening propaganda, and unmitigated
repression that with determination and by God’s grace, Zimbabwe can be free
again, and that true democracy is a possibility.

The re-election is not a sign that democracy prevails in Zimbabwe, but that
the ongoing struggle for true freedom and liberty in Zimbabwe is a powerful
force that sometimes cannot be stopped by the forces of evil.

What perhaps enhances the feeling of hope here is the fact that several Zanu
PF MPs voted for Moyo; a courageous move on the part of those people, and a
clear sign that even after being summoned to their party’s headquarters and
reportedly being threatened with sanctions if they did not support the
“revolutionary” party’s candidate, they still went ahead and thought for

Whilst there may currently be elements of democracy and rule of law in
Zimbabwe’s governance, parliamentary, judicial, political and other systems,
what is needed now is a more advanced and developed system devoid of the
evils that are listed and unlisted in this article.

Congratulations to Moyo, and those who made his victory possible.  Zimbabwe
will soon be free again!

About the Author
Chris Mhike is a lawyer practising in Harare.  Parts of this article are
adapted from President Barack Obama’s Politics of Hope.

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Libya crisis: Another example of AU impotence

Thursday, 24 March 2011 20:12

By Bornwell Chakaodza

WESTERN governments have double standards and breathtaking hypocrisy when it
suits them in propping up some of the most hideous and undemocratic regimes
in Africa and elsewhere. What I am however most concerned about for now is
the impotence of the African Union (AU) in finding “African solutions to
African problems”, as we get told ad infinitum!
Media reports over the past week suggested that President Jacob Zuma, Sadc
mediator in Zimbabwe’s troubled power- sharing dispute, was sending missions
to Harare and Tripoli to help find solutions to political conflicts and
stalemates in these two countries.
The plan for Libya, as reported  in the South African media, was for Zuma’s
envoy to join other members of the High Level Panel appointed by the AU such
as Uganda, Mauritania, South Africa, Mali and the Republic of Congo tasked
with finding a lasting solution in the political crisis in that troubled
country. Zuma told his country’s National Assembly last week that South
Africa would coordinate its position on Libya with other members of the AU.
“South Africa supports the position of the African Union with regards to the
Libyan question and will work within the ambit of the AU,” Zuma’s office
said last Friday. But by Saturday the complexion of the Libyan crisis had
dramatically changed. The UN Security Council, with the support of the Arab
League and other regional groupings, supported the imposition of a No- Fly
Zone on Libya, and adopted Resolution 1973 which authorised international
air attacks against Libya.
The US, UK and France on March 19 launched missiles and airstrikes at
targets in Libya to halt attacks on rebel – held towns in the east of the
country. The coalition ordered Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi to withdraw
his forces from major cities after weeks of fighting that left hundreds
dead, in the bloodiest of popular uprisings to have swept north Africa and
the Middle East over the past two months.
Then reports emerged this week that the special AU panel established to
negotiate a solution for the Libyan crisis had been denied permission to
enter the country. According to the reports, the panel had requested
permission for the flight carrying its members to Libya to comply with UN
Security Council resolution that imposed a no — fly zone on Libya. This is
after weeks during which thousands of Libyans had been killed by pro-
Gaddafi forces.
The feeble steps by the AU condemning the violence and marshalling a
mediation panel are now a rather pathetic sideshow alongside the actions of
the wider international community, which has taken the bull by the horns —
despite my grave reservations about air strikes — to save Libyan civilians
who were being systematically slaughtered by a rather deranged man who now
seems to have lost all sense of what is right or wrong. I am registering my
grave reservations precisely because I do not know why the West gets
involved in these unending wars which at the end of the day they find
difficult, if not impossible, to get out. Witness the unending conflicts in
Iraq and Afghanistan for example!
The Libyan crisis is yet another glaring example of the impotence of the AU
in its declared resolve to find African solutions to African problems. It
defies logic that the AU was sending a negotiating panel to a war zone where
hundreds of unarmed civilians were being butchered by a government they
should be looking up to for protection. It would be interesting to hear how
the AU panel intended to proceed to bring Gaddafi and the rebels fighting
against him to the negotiating table under those dangerous conditions.
Without offering any viable alternative, AU had opposed any form of foreign
military intervention in Libya, though the three AU members on the UN
Security Council, Nigeria, South Africa and Gabon, voted in favour of the
no-fly zone. The AU Commission is due to hold a meeting in Addis Ababa
today, with representatives from the League of Arab States, the Organisation
of the Islamic Conference, the European Union and the United Nations to
discuss ways of resolving the crisis in Libya.
This sounds like a case of shutting the barn door after the horse has
bolted. This is one of the major weaknesses of the continental body — its
inability to be pro-active rather than reactive to spontaneous situations
confronting Africa.
African leaders need to appreciate that there are times when mere platitudes
and bombastic rhetoric are not enough — when actions speak louder than
words. Indeed, words cost little. Actions talk best.
The Libyan crisis follows similar uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt where
incumbent leaders were driven out through popular demand while the AU stood
helplessly by. While Tunisia and Egypt try to establish new government
systems to move their countries forward, the AU is conspicuous by its
absence from the scene.
Indeed,  events in the Ivory Coast where a civil war has already begun
because a losing presidential candidate — Laurent Gbabgo — refuses to give
way for the winner Alassane Quattara bears yet more testimony to the growing
catalogue of AU bungling in policing the continent. The question can really
be posed: what makes Africa so prone to dictators?
Although the AU has clearly come out in support of Quattara, whose electoral
victory was endorsed by the international community, it remains to be seen
what the AU will do about Gbagbo’s defiance. Chances are that faced with a
situation where it has to make a hard decision, the AU will buckle under and
recline into its shell to let matters take their course. Very sad indeed.
More importantly, where is Ecowas, the regional West African bloc, in this
Ivory Coast crisis?
Even to Zuma, the Zimbabwean situation must seem a hopeless case. At a time
when a country should be putting finishing touches to a comprehensive
political reform process towards a free and fair election, there has been an
upsurge of politically motivated violence and arrests targeting MDC
supporters. Last weekend, scores of MDC-T supporters and innocent people
were beaten up in Harare, Mutare and other parts of the country on suspicion
they were MDC supporters.
Cabinet ministers belonging to the opposition MDC were threatened with a
beating by junior policemen when they tried to address a party rally in
Chitungwiza. While the police banned rallies of other parties, Zanu PF was
allowed to go ahead with its anti-sanctions campaign in which scores of
people were forced to participate.
These are the crucial issues that Zuma and his facilitation team should
tackle if their efforts to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis are to bear fruit.
The much-touted Zuma roadmap for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe will
remain a well meaning slogan and nothing more unless there are decisive
measures to compel Zanu PF and its supporters to cease political violence
Events in North Africa and the Middle East have shown that you can suppress
the will of the people for only so long, but a time comes when people will
rise and say enough is enough.
lBornwell Chakaodza is a veteran journalist and former Editor of The Herald
and The Standard newspapers. Email: mail: .

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CandidComment: Noczim an anachronistic lost cause

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:48

ELTON Mangoma is languishing in cells for a lost cause. Noczim is the lost
cause. It is a vehicle that lost its relevance on April 17 1980. If we jog
our memory a bit, we’ll remember that Noczim, the official fuel procurement
vehicle, was a creation of the Smith regime as a sanctions-busting

The international community had imposed a fuel embargo on the then Rhodesia
to force it to grant majority rule to black Zimbabweans. The oil pipeline
from Beira to Feruka, in Mutare, via which Zimbabwe’s fuel used to be
delivered, was closed and there were to be no fuel deliveries at all to the
pariah state. Mozambique, even though it also had its hands dirty, complied.

However, UDI’s bosom buddy, or was it progenitor, apartheid-South Africa,
attempted to assist. Also with dirty hands, South Africa could not come
right out in the open that it was supporting an ostracised country.

The Rhodesians then came up with a plan to import fuel that would not
compromise their friend. A decision was taken that an agent be created that
could clandestinely procure fuel on the international market to support the
Smith regime. There was no time to come up with an appropriate name for the
agent and a quick decision was taken to anagrammatise the word agent, and
thus the word GENTA was formed.

GENTA is the forerunner of Noczim. Former post-Independence deputy minister
of Industry and Commerce Stuart Comberbach was one of the people involved in
GENTA and he was stationed in Gabon, where some of Rhodesia’s oil was

The fuel would then be shipped to South Africa and transported by road to
Zimbabwe under various guises. And so it was that the Smith regime continued
to procure its fuel in this manner. For reasons best known to itself, the
new Zimbabwean government retained GENTA and renamed it Noczim.

There was absolutely no need for this machinery post-Independence as the
international embargo was lifted. What should have happened then was that
the big five oil companies that were already in the country, Britain’s  BP,
Anglo-Dutch Shell, France’s Total and America’s Mobil and Caltex, should
have reverted to the pre-UDI system of sourcing their fuel independently and
retailing locally in competition with each other. The healthy competition
would have helped keep prices in check. But no, our government decided to
retain the procurement monopoly for fuel.

Okay, if government didn’t trust the multinational oil companies, why couldn’t
it have let them compete with each other while government itself would use
Noczim as a procurer of state fuel and for strategic reserves? The whole
fuel fiasco we experienced post-2000 would have been avoided had procurement
been left to efficient market forces instead of the inefficient,
corruption-ridden Noczim.

Furthermore, the fuel was not even sold at viable prices. But, we still have
Noczim with us today, despite it having outlived its usefulness 31 years
ago. The reason is that the fuel procurement company has been a milking cow
for corrupt politicians over the years.

The company’s accounts were perennially unaudited and any attempts to do so
met stiff resistance. If there were ever any audits, they were clearly kept
out of the public domain, yet this is a national asset, or rather liability.
It is only since the advent of the unity government that there has been an
attempt to bring the operations to the limelight. Even Zimra was at last
able to obtain some income from Noczim.

It was when Zimra virtually garnished Noczim that the chain of events
resulting in Mangoma’s arrest occurred. If the state wasn’t still involved
in the procurement of fuel, something done by the private sector worldwide,
we could have still been benefiting from Mangoma’s otherwise sharp mind.

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Editor'sMemo: Alliance key to dislodging Zanu PF

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:46

THE House of Assembly speakership election on Tuesday should serve as a
clarion call to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to seek alliances with
progressive forces, among them, smaller political parties and civil society.

That is the way to go in building the critical mass needed to dislodge Zanu
PF and President Robert Mugabe’s electoral dictatorship from power.

Welshman Ncube’s formation of the MDC stood up to the plate on Tuesday by
backing MDC-T candidate Lovemore Moyo to land the speakership after polling
105 votes against 93 for Zanu PF’s Simon Khaya Moyo.

Zanu PF’s political gamesmanship in the countdown to the parliamentary poll
seemed to have assured them of victory, but Ncube’s party turned the tables
when it backed Lovemore Moyo protesting the curiously timed arrests and
remand of MDC-T MPs, among them, Energy minister Elton Mangoma, which
precluded them from voting.

What the two MDC formations did on Tuesday is what they should have done in
the 2008 harmonised elections, and should do in future polls if they are
sincere in their struggle to dump Zanu PF in the dustbin of history. They
may have principled and ideological differences, but the task at hand is to
end Mugabe’s misrule hence there is every reason to unite and bring the
incorrigible misrule of Zanu PF to an end.

If the two MDC formations had participated in the March 2008 elections as a
loose coalition, Tsvangirai would have won the presidential election above
the 50% plus one vote constitutional requirement. The two parties would have
taken effective control of both rural and urban councils, of the House of
Assembly and a significant representation in the Senate.

Alas, the formations decided otherwise with Ncube’s MDC backing Simba Makoni’s
presidential bid, which resulted in the Mavambo/Dawn/Kusile president
garnering 8% of the votes, Tsvangirai 47% and Mugabe 43%. If the Makoni
votes had gone to Tsvangirai, the MDC-T leader would have landed the
presidency and dislodged Mugabe.

Tsvangirai and Ncube should subordinate their personal differences and
agendas and fight from the same corner against Mugabe’s tyranny. Tsvangirai
has a clear obligation to accommodate and create a working relationship not
only with the smaller formation of the MDC, but should reach out to their
political parties and leaders like Makoni along with civic society.

He should mend his relations with organisations such as the National
Constitutional Assembly and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions after they
went sour over the current constitution-making process. The two
organisations moulded Tsvangirai into what he is today and he must never
forget where he came from. They are critical in his struggle against Mugabe
given the influence they have in society.

Tsvangirai should be wary of surrounding himself with deadwood advisors,
some of whom have proved to be merchants of division, which does not take
his aspirations, dreams and desires and above all the cause of most
Zimbabweans forward.

Members of his kitchen cabinet collapsed unity talks between the MDC
formations before the 2008 elections only because they felt they would be
eliminated from the feeding trough. Kitchen cabinet members seem more
worried with the trappings of power than the desire to bring about real
change to Zimbabwe’s body politic.

Finally, Clerk of parliament Austin Zvoma’s behaviour before and on the day
of the speakership election left a lot to be desired.

Zvoma behaved as if he was joined to Zanu PF at the hip. He rejected the
advice of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana that Lovemore Moyo should retain
his Matobo North seat and he disparaged Finance minister Tendai Biti when he
questioned why he had adjourned parliament on March 22. On the poll day,
Zvoma set rules he later violated.

One of them was that he would not entertain objections to his actions and
that an aggrieved party should seek recourse through the courts. But when
Zanu PF made objections, he had a ready listening ear. Zvoma’s job demands
that he be apolitical and professional. Let’s see some of that.

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Comment: Property rights under attack

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:44

AFTER earlier unnerving markets with indigenisation regulations compelling
foreigners to dispose of controlling stakes in companies valued at US$500
000 to indigenous Zimbabweans, Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, as we report in more detail
elsewhere in this paper, is at it again.

He has amended the law governing indigenisation and economic empowerment so
that companies with a net asset value of US$1, yes, one dollar. shall now be
required to sell 51% of their stake to indigenous people.

Essentially, this means every mining company in the country will be forced
to dispose of shareholding to “designated” entities in the next six months.

Yes, six months.

Across the border, South African companies are required to sell a 23% stake
inside 10 years. Judging by the speed and overzealousness Kasukuwere is
pursuing with his narrow indigenisation plan, this exercise is no longer
about empowering ordinary Zimbabweans. Rather, it is now an exercise that
will simply see the state and state-affiliated entities and a handful of
so-called sovereign funds benefiting from the sale of mines.

Worse still, the new statutory instrument illustrates that valuation of the
targeted mines would not be fair. The minister has final say on what value
to be ascribed to the targeted company. Initially, the world had been made
to understand this would be an organised exercise. Now, it is apparent that
Zanu PF will seize any opportunity to steal or enrich themselves whenever
the opportunity arises under the guise of righting old wrongs.

The instrument is now silent on who an “indigenous” Zimbabwean is. Instead,
a new word — “designated” — has come into play. Forget “any person who,
before the 18th of April 1980, was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on
the grounds of his or her race, and any descendent of such persons.”

Ill-equipped and broke National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
Fund, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, any company formed by the
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, a statutory wealth fund, or an
employee share ownership scheme, or trust, or community share ownership
scheme are now said to be the only beneficiaries.

ZMDC has failed to create value for government since its formation. How many
viable mines owned by the corporation have been closed over the years? What
goodwill does ZMDC have?

President Robert Mugabe and Kasukuwere are now taking this noble need to
empower Zimbabweans as a petty and personal project to vilify and harass
foreign companies.

The duo needs to be reminded that foreign direct investment and capital is
crucial to any economy and should not take it for granted. They also need to
remember that capital always has a choice and is sensible.

Why will any foreigner invest in a mining venture now when one is forced to
sell the moment the business is worth a dollar?

Nestlé cannot be indigenised merely for Mugabe’s gratification and because
the company refused to buy the aged leader’s milk.

The instrument says the value of the shares or other interest required to be
disposed of shall be calculated on the basis of valuation agreed to between
the minister and the non-indigenous mining business concerned “ which shall
take into account the state’s sovereign  ownership of the mineral or
minerals exploited or proposed to be exploited” by foreign investors.

The minister is not an expert on valuations.

Legal experts say the clause is meant to effectively lower the values of
mining companies.

Others feel that this is a direct attack on property rights.

The constitution also prescribes that where property is acquired for any
such reasons, “fair compensation” must be paid.
This clearly illustrates their continued contempt for the Global Political
Agreement that calls for consultation with their partners in government.
One would have thought that after the disastrous consequences of a poorly
implemented land reform programme, Mugabe and his cronies would have learnt
the need for adequately planning such programmes.
Alas Zanu PF, with each programme, seems hell bent on dragging the country
into poverty and turmoil.

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