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Mugabe fights knockout plot

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:17

Faith Zaba

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is battling to thwart an internal Zanu PF plot
playing out within Copac, which also involves the other two parties, MDC-T
and MDC-N, designed to deliver a “technical knock-out blow” against him by a
joint force drawn from a cross-section of rivals straddling the three main
political organisations.
Mugabe, who recently survived efforts to knock him out of the next
presidential election through term and age limits, is now cracking down on
Copac and those behind the plot to oust him in a bid to halt them in their
tracks. Copac officials are now under pressure to fast-track the
constitution-making process and deliver a draft before it is given to the
management committee and then principals. It  will also go back to the
parties for final approval. The draft would then be taken to an
all-stakeholders’ conference, parliament, referendum and parliament again
for  adoption.

However, sources say the danger is that Mugabe and his party could block the
draft at any one of these stages unless they get a constitution they want.

Sources said Mugabe fears that there is a group linked to the Emmerson
Mnangagwa faction and which includes Zanu PF Copac co-chair Paul Mangwana
pulling out all the stops to delay the process and elections deep into next
year, thus knocking him out on age and health grounds. It is now generally
accepted in Zanu PF that if elections were to be held next year,
particularly during the last quarter, it would not feasible or practically
possible to field Mugabe as a winning candidate.

Sensing danger, Mugabe has awakened up the reality that his own party
members want him to go and is fiercely hitting back, throwing a monkey
wrench in their works.

Mugabe showed he was not aware of the plot and raised the political stakes
during last week’s Zanu PF politburo meeting where he demanded
a speedy conclusion to the constitution-making process. He went to the
extent of re-activating his team which includes Zanu PF negotiators Patrick
Chinamsa and Nichoals Goche and secretary for legal affairs, Mnangagwa, and
other members of the technical committee to bring finality to the
constitution-making process.

Politburo insiders told the Zimbabwe Independent this week Mugabe put his
foot down at the meeting after Mangwana told the politburo Copac was still
deadlocked and needed time resolve the “parked” issues by consensus.
Insiders said Mangwana’s indicated the process would take even longer than
was previously anticipated.

Politburo members said Mugabe saw this as a deliberate ploy by a certain
section in Zanu PF, aligned to both factions led by Vice-President Joice
Mujuru and Mnangagwa, who want to use the constitution-making process to
delay elections to next year and eliminate him from the race.
Mugabe (88) and his close allies drawn from the politburo and the Joint
Military Command (JOC) want elections as soon as possible but mainly this
year without fail, with or without a new constitution.

Mugabe told the Central Committee  meeting last week Zimbabwe would go for a
referendum in May, failure of which it would revert to the Lancaster House
Constitution and hold elections before the end of the year.

“Let’s conclude the process, whether we agree or disagree. The dance we have
had for the past four years is over. Let us have an election and end this
animal called inclusive government,” Mugabe said adding that “their days are
numbered and one should expect that by May we have a referendum that should
give us the way forward”.

He also charged: “I am told that there are some among us who do not want
elections this year. If they are there, they must go and join the MDC).”
Party insiders said Mugabe made it very clear at the politburo meeting that
he would not tolerate any further delays in the constitution-making process.
“By stalling the constitution-making process and thereby delaying the
elections, they want to give Mugabe a technical knockout blow. They want to
delay elections until next year so that it becomes unworkable for Mugabe to
stand as the party candidate,” a senior politburo member said.

“The Mnangagwa faction is mainly behind this. They are trying to use the
constitution-making process to force debate on the succession issue.
President Mugabe has now seen through their plan and is now fighting them

Copac was given until yesterday to hand over the report of the co-chairs on
the draft constitution to the management committee, made up of the three
negotiating teams. The team of negotiators – Goche and Chinamasa, Tendai
Biti and Mangoma from MDC-T and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Moses
Mzila-Ndlovu of MDC-N – were given 14 days to conclude the process and hand
over the final draft to the three party principals.

They met yesterday and made little progress on the major contentious. The
three parties have failed to agree on the structure of government,
devolution of power and dual citizenship. Zanu PF last resolved last week at
its politburo meeting not to move an inch, especially on devolution. The MDC
parties have also vowed not to compromise, leaving Copac facing collapse, a
situation which suits Mugabe.

A member of the management committee told the Independent soon after their
meeting: “There has been no movement on the key issues. No one is
compromising on devolution of power and dual citizenship. Our next meeting
is next week on Tuesday,” he said.

Zanu PF has set up a team which includes Chinamasa, Goche, Mnangagwa and a
five-member technical team to handle the constitution-making process.
Members of the technical team include senior politburo member Jonathan Moyo,
former Matabeleland North MP and chair Jacob Mudenda, Broadcasting Authority
of Zimbabwe (BAZ) chairperson Tafataona Mahoso, Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation chairman Goodwills Masimirembwa and author Alexander Kanengoni.

The team will prepare a draft and highlight disputed issue before handing it
over to the principals. Mugabe is said to have now taken the Copac process
by the scruff of the neck to prevent being pushed out.

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Moyo, Mpofu in stormy succession row

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:16

Faith Zaba/Brian Chitemba

ZANU PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and Mines minister Obert Mpofu last week
went for each other’s throats at a stormy politburo session over the party’s
factional and succession battles.
The battle between the two Zanu PF stalwarts comes amid fierce infighting
over succession within the party.

The fight for control and dominance has now shifted to Matabeleland where
turf battles are raging all over the region. The situation deteriorated
after Moyo and Mpofu, the party’s national secretary for economic affairs,
last week exchanged harsh words during the politburo meeting in a battle for
control of the Matabeleland region and  position themselves to succeed
ailing Vice-President John Nkomo. The Moyo and Mpofu clashes fall within the
Mugabe succession matrix.

Politburo insiders said the war of words started when Moyo took a swipe at
Mpofu, accusing him of causing problems.

Moyo, the sources said, accused Mpofu of trying to impose candidates ahead
of elections. A fuming Moyo chastised Mpofu for “randomly” changing the
provincial leadership without consultation.

Mpofu, who is building a fortune and political empire in the region, was
also accused of spearheading the sacking of former Matabeleland North
chairman Zenzo Ncube before he appointed his close associate Zwelitsha
Masuku as acting chair. But Moyo then fired Masuku and replaced him with
Headman Moyo, who was also booted out for associating with Mpofu. He was
replaced by Governor Sithokozile Mathuthu, Mpofu’s longtime rival. Bulawayo
chairperson Isaac Dakamela, a close ally of Mpofu, was sacked recently.

Moyo’s accusation did not go down well with Mpofu, who hit back at Moyo
saying he had failed to win elections. Moyo is not elected. Apart from
Mpofu, Kembo Mohadi, Sithembiso Nyoni and Jonathan Moyo are also Zanu PF MPs
in the region where the party risks being wiped out.

Sources said Mpofu accused Moyo of influencing state media to tarnish his
image while the chairman accused the minister of doing the same. Politburo
members were said to have been stunned by the confrontation.

Mugabe had to intervene in the fracas and ordered the two politicians to
close ranks ahead of make-or-break elections.

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Senior MDC-T MPs opt out of urban seats

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:15

AS general elections approach, senior MDC-T MPs are opting out of their
urban constituencies in the face of fierce competition by up and coming
leaders in primary elections expected in June.
MDC-T insiders revealed this week that some MDC-T bigwigs, who include
national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, Sekai Holland, Elias Mudzuri,
deputy chairman Morgan Komichi and Piniel Denga are opting out of urban
constituencies being hounded by new contestants.

Sources said the primaries would be hotly-contested with aspiring candidates
in the urban constituencies accusing the sitting MPs of failing to deliver
despite having been there for a long time.

“I can confirm that there will be stiff internal primary contests and as a
result we are seeing an exodus by senior MDC-T leaders running away for
safer havens in rural constituencies where they are well-known as courageous
individuals who have managed to wrestle power from Zanu PF,” said one top

Of late MDC-T has been torn apart by infighting as witnessed at a Marondera
rally that turned violent. Before its congress last year, the party was
rocked by internal strife and violence. Investigations into the incidents
are underway.

Violence broke out at an MDC-T rally in Marondera where the party’s
provincial chairman for Mashonaland East, Denga was severely assaulted by
party youths before his vehicle ran over two supporters as he attempted to
flee the venue. Several supporters were seriously injured, some sustaining
broken limbs, and hospitalised in Harare and Marondera.

Chamisa could neither confirm nor deny that he is eyeing his rural Gutu seat
but only said he is “a village boy” who loves visiting his rural area,
referring to his frequent weekend visits to Gutu.

Sources also claim that there is a growing chorus in MDC-T circles
concerning MPs who are now going for their fourth terms.

Komichi confirmed that he is ready to contest in his rural home, Sanyati, to
wrestle the seat from Zanu PF. “That is true, I will be contesting in
Sanyati and I am ready for the internal primary elections and we are putting
systems in place so that these elections are run smoothly,” he said.

Sekai Holland has been busy in Mberengwa South where she has been donating
maize seed, bicycles and groceries.

Warren Park legislator, Elias Mudzuri, has also shown interest in his Zaka
home area, opting out of a stiff primary election in his constituency.

Denga, who is also Mbare MP, said he is being forced to dump his
constituency by the pro-Zanu PF youth militia-group, Chipangano which has
turned Mbare township into a no-go area.

“I am not willing to leave the city but my constituency has become a no-go
area. I was recently banned from Mbare and beaten up by Zanu PF youths. I
cannot even supervise my CDF projects. If I walk alone I will be beaten up
just like a criminal by those people,” Denga said.

Insiders also said there were serious divisions in the MDC-T over when
primary elections should be held, with some senior members saying they
should be in June.

“There is a push from a certain group of individuals who want an early
election so contenders get less time to campaign,” said the source.

Sources said as the primaries approach, there could be more MDC-T officials
running for rural constituency cover, creating opportunities for new
contestants and a new crop of MPs for the party which would be battling to
maintain its urban stranglehold against Zanu PF that has been wiped out of
towns and pushed back to the rural areas. MDC-N would also be fighting to
pick up urban seats. –– Staff Writer.

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Nyikayaramba promotion divides army

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:14

Elias Mambo

THE controversial promotion of Douglas Nyikayaramba by President Robert
Mugabe last year from Brigadier-General to Major-General has come to haunt
the military amid claims of divisions within the army as some quarters
complain that better qualified officers were overlooked for promotion.
Nyikayaramba, who commanded the Three Infantry Brigade in Manicaland prior
to his elevation, has been at the centre of controversy and criticised for
often overstepping his role in the barracks and actively dabbling in
partisan party politics.

His behaviour and remarks have come to symbolise what the MDC-T and MDC-N
parties in government view as a problematic role of the military in local

Sources confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent that there is a criterion for
promotion in the defence forces which is not being adhered to. Appointments
in the military are now said to be partly based on political considerations
instead of merit

“First there must be a vacancy in the rank structure and officers vying for
the post should have gone for promotion examinations,” said the source.
“Issues of paramount importance also include seniority, professionalism and
in the case of a major-general, a course in command and staff is mandatory,”
said the source.

However, the sources said there were a number of irregularities being viewed
with suspicion in the military in Nyikayaramba’s case.

They said officers like Brigadier-Generals Herbert Chingono and Fidelis
Satuku, who are under investigations for alleged WikiLeaks disclosures, are
better qualified and should have been promoted ahead of Nyikayaramba.

For example, Chingono was the last Zimbabwe National Army commander to train
at the US National Defence University under the International Military
Education and Training programme in 1999, while Satuku received his military
training in Britain.

The two commanders are said to be highly respected in military circles and
the Nyikayaramba promotion has complicated the situation.

The sources said the way Nyikayaramba was promoted had been problematic to
his colleagues. “Preceding his appointment, he had declared his partisanship
position which warrants a disciplinary action before a court martial and a
cause for disillusionment in the military,” said the source.

At one point, Nyikayaramba was involved in the constitution-making process
and has called for Mugabe to be “president for life” and demanded that
“elections be held this year (2011) to ensure political stability in the

He also proclaimed that “I am in Zanu PF and Zanu PF is in me and you can’t
change that”.

He has also made several statements intimating that the MDC would never rule

National Housing minister and MDC-T secretary for defence Giles Mutsekiwa,
who is also a former army colonel, confirmed the disgruntlement in the
barracks over Nyikayaramba’s promotion.

“A lot of people in the military are expressing disgruntlement over this
issue,” said Mutsekwa. “However, it is the president who is
commander-in-chief of the defence forces who promotes, especially on
appointments such as brigadier going upwards. However, in this case the
promotion was a reward for Nyikayaramba’s constant attacks on the MDC-T
president Morgan Tsvangirai,” he said.

Mutsekiwa said besides the utterances by Nyikayaramba, the appointment,
which was made during the current lifespan of the inclusive government, was
not in tandem with the Global Political Agreement.

“This appointment did not go in line with the GPA which stipulates that
military practices be conducted in a manner that ensures that no political
or other form of favouritism is practiced,” said Mutsekiwa.

Efforts to get comment from Zimbabwe National Army spokesman Colonel Overson
Mugwisi were unsuccessful

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Govt tackles US$600m inter-parastatal debt

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:12

Paidamoyo Muzulu

GOVERNMENT is considering a cocktail of measures to tackle staggering
inter-parastatal debts amounting to US$600 million by directing Treasury to
deduct arrears from the individual companies’ 2012 budget allocations.
Should this proposal be endorsed by cabinet, Treasury would be empowered to
address inter-parastatal debts by deducting money which one parastatal owes
another from its budget allocation.

Currently all budget allocations are deposited into each parastatal’s
account, leaving them to offset their individual debts but because of the
high defaulting rate, some entities are now technically insolvent.

Among the entities which are bankrupt or battling to stay afloat are Air
Zimbabwe (AirZim), National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), mobile operator
NetOne, fixed line operator TelOne, Cold Storage Company (CSC), Grain
Marketing Board (GMB), Zupco and Zesa.

There are about 82 state-owned entities, most of which are struggling or
technically insolvent.

The inter-parastatal debt problem has a contagion effect on other
state-owned companies and the country’s fragile recovery after a decade of
economic meltdown. Without parastatal reforms and efficiency, the economy
will continue to suffer.

The choking debts were accumulated due to a myriad of poor policies, among
them government interference, mismanagement and failure to adapt to the new
multi-currency monetary regime.

Government was warned earlier this year that the huge inter-parastatal debt
level was generating negative spillover effects on the whole economy
dominated by the state enterprises which used to be the locomotives of
growth and employment creation.

According to a comprehensive 13-page document dated February 2012, outlining
the extent of the problem, the inter-parastatal debt stood at US$458 639 932
as at September 31, 2011. During this period, various ministries and
government departments owed parastatals a staggering US$107 million.

The report assesses the effects of the performance of the state enterprises
and proposes recommendations to the Council of Ministers and cabinet on how
to deal with the issue.

The document proposes recommendations that are expected to form the basis of
the envisaged comprehensive and stakeholder-driven Inter-Parastatal Debt

The document further recommends that cabinet issues a directive to
ministries and departments to pay off their debts immediately. It also wants
cabinet to instruct Treasury to pay directly to the owed state enterprises
by deducting the money from the ministries and departments’ 2012 budget
State Enterprises minister Gorden Moyo (pictured left) confirmed government
was discussing how parastatals could liquidate their debts to make them
attractive to investors during the government’s privatisation drive.
Privatisation of parastatals has been partly stalled by their debt profile
and general state of affairs.

“We are currently discussing on the strategy to find a method of settling
the debts between and among the parastatals and other outside creditors,”
said Moyo.

Moyo did not go into details about the strategies his ministry would adopt
to resolve the debt crisis in which most parastatals find themselves in.
However, the document claims the parastatals debt problem was mainly due to
customers’ failure to pay, weak debt-recovery mechanisms, failure to comply
with agreed payment schedules and decade-long adverse macroeconomic
conditions until 2009. It says price controls before 2009 made it difficult
for parastatals to make payments to suppliers.

The document also lists the introduction of multicurrency without any
recapitalisation from the shareholder, non-compliance to good corporate
governance, imprudent policies and weak internal control measures and
government directives as some of the major challenges affecting  parastatal

It indicates the transition to the multicurrency system eroded parastatals’
bank balances that could have been used to make payments to suppliers.

The debt situation has also affected the 10 parastatals which the coalition
government has earmarked for privatisation since its formation in February
2009. The 10 companies include Air Zimbabwe, NetOne, TelOne, POSB, GMB, CSC,
Agribank, Zesa, NRZ and Ziscosteel. Not much progress has been made to
privatise these entities, except for Ziscosteel whose deal is at an advanced
stage albeit still uncertain.

These 10 companies have a combined debt of US$32 million among themselves.
AirZim and NRZ owe other parastatals US$51, 9 million and US$26, 4 million

The briefing paper proposes possible strategies that include direct payment
of debts by Treasury to owed companies, debt service/product swap, debt
off-setting, phased debt retirement, moral suasion, disconnect/non-supply,
government taking over the debts and development of a secondary market for

Debt service/ product swap refers to the parastatals paying each other by
providing service to each other for free to pay off debts. For example, this
arrangement may see TelOne giving Zesa free telephone services in exchange
for electricity bills.

The creation of a secondary market for debt would see the government create
tradable instruments (bonds) that would have a specified interest and
redemption date to raise capital to retire the current debts.

Some parastatals like Zinwa, NetOne, TelOne and ZETDC (Zesa) have adopted
the disconnecting debt collection strategy and cutting supply to non-paying
state owned enterprises.

However, according to the paper the strategy has its own weaknesses, among
them the potential to send the indebted companies going into liquidation.
“This debt recovery strategy has worked positively in some cases with the
defaulting parastatals making immediate plans to settle their debts,” the
paper says, “This option is however detrimental to the operations of
state-owned enterprises whose supplies are disconnected.”

The white-paper observes most of these state-owned enterprises failing to
pay for utilities are in dire financial problems and disconnections will not
make them settle these debts, but will further negatively affect their
operations and probability to default on more obligations and, in the worst
case, be forced to wind up operations.

Most of the parastatals have experienced severe capacity utilisation
challenges, lack of capitalisation and trying to adjust to the new
dollarisation era. It has become very difficult for the companies to restore
viability and settle their debts.

The report warns: “Given the current financial positions of these two
entities (AirZim and NRZ), it is unlikely that they will be able to settle
their debts in the foreseeable future.”

The government has taken over AirZim’s US$140 million debt and ring-fenced
it so as to give the proposed new state airline a clean slate to start from.
The inter-parastatal debt and the contagion  pose a serious threat to
economic recovery.

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Relocate parly to Bulawayo –– Ncube

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:11

Brian Chitemba

SINCE 1980 the Matabeleland has have lagged behind in development, creating
deep seated social discontent among people in the region which accuses
President Robert Mugabe’s regime of marginalising it.
The three arms of the government –– the executive, legislature and
judiciary –– are all housed in Harare and there is nothing to show that
Bulawayo is the country’s second largest city.

Unlike in South Africa where the seat of government is in the capital
Pretoria while the legislature is in Cape Town and the Supreme Court of
Appeals is in Bloemfontein, all critical government departments in Zimbabwe
are located in Harare. Johannesburg is South Africa’s commercial hub.

But everything is so centralised in Zimbabwe that it is almost impossible to
get anything done if one lives outside Harare.

It is in this vein that Industry and Commerce minister and MDC president,
Welshman Ncube, is seeking to change the status quo and have Bulawayo
declared Zimbabwe’s legislative capital.

Ncube, who is also a law professor, told the Zimbabwe Independent this week
that his proposal to have parliament relocated to Bulawayo was feasible
because the inclusive government already had plans to construct a new
parliamentary building to accommodate the House of Assembly and its 210 MPs
as well as the upper house senate and its 93 members.

The Chinese government had agreed to help build the new parliament building
at a cost of US$10 million in the Kopje area in the capital and Ncube is
arguing that instead of erecting the new structure in the capital, Bulawayo
was a better option because of socio-economic and political benefits likely
to cascade to the region.

He said relocating parliament to Bulawayo would boost the  confidence of
Matabeleland people in the system who have been complaining of unfulfilled
promises and perceived marginalisation.

Underdevelopment and seeming marginalisation have resulted in the formation
of some radical groups such as the Mthwakazi Liberation Front which
advocates for secession of Matabeleland from the rest of the country.

Ncube also believes that moving parliament to Matabeleland would bring
members of the executive closer to problems that have sparked complaints in
the region over the years.

“We want the ministers to be in Matabeleland where people talk about
marginalisation and de-industrialisation so that they appreciate the
challenges, said Ncube.

He said construction of a new parliament in Bulawayo would create jobs to
absorb thousands of unemployed youths while the parliamentary budget through
accommodation and food costs would directly benefit the Matabeleland food,
hotel and transport sectors.

“There will be more economic and political activity since Bulawayo is always
quiet,” Ncube said.

Political commentator and activist Rodrick Fayayo said relocating parliament
to Bulawayo was feasible and the only thing needed was the political will.
Fayayo concurred with Ncube that if parliament relocated to Bulawayo,
business would be revived while other critical offices such as foreign
embassies may be encouraged to have sub-offices in the city.

“Indeed with the closure and flight of industries, it provides a basis for
the reindustrialisation of the city,” said Fayayo. “A lot of young men and
women who have no jobs shall be absorbed by the massive construction.
Anybody who opposes that opposes the livelihood of the people of the region
and that is untenable,” Fayayo said.

Habakkuk Trust chief executive officer Dumisani Nkomo said it was not a bad
idea to move parliament to Bulawayo because in other countries the
legislature was not necessarily in the capital.

“It would be expensive but could generate more economic activity in Bulawayo
as a result of more parliamentary activities,” said Nkomo. “People will also
have access to decision-makers but of course the initial cost will be very
high,” he said.

Political analyst Blessing Vava said if resources permitted, it puts to rest
the notion that everything should be conducted in Harare while for the
people of Bulawayo it would help in having ownership of important national
institutions that have a direct impact on their everyday lives.

“The notion that laws are made in Harare is wrong because Zimbabwe is not
Harare or vice-versa,” said Vava. “It will somehow bring infrastructural
development to the region, boost in hotels, employment creation to the
locals and a boost in tourism,” he said.

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Trust under fire over Joshua Nkomo hospital

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:10

THE Zimbabwe Healthcare Trust (ZHCT), which was been tasked with overseeing
the re-opening of former Vice-President Joshua Nkomo’s Ekusileni Medical
Centre, has come under fire for failing to mobilise US$80 million to revive
the facility.
The hospital was a brainchild of Nkomo and was closed in 2004 afteronly
three months of being opened after failing to meet minimum standards
required by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare for a medical centre.

The ZHCT chaired by Vice-President John Nkomo comprises deputy chairperson
Dr Daud Dube, the late VP Nkomo’s daughter Thandiwe, the National University
of Science and Technology’s Professor Lindela Ndlovu and Zanu PF politburo
member Joshua Malinga.

It has led efforts to re-open the medical facility for over a decade in vain
as the massive health institution located in the Hillside suburb of Bulawayo
remains a white elephant.

According to Ekusileni Medical Centre confidential documents compiled by the
Zimbabwe Leadership Forum (Zimlef)and made available to the Zimbabwe
Independent, the ZHCT said it required US$80 million to operationalise the
institution over the next two years.

Once in operation, the hospital would run 23 departments and 157 beds which
will increase to 265 on completion. However, US$7 million is required to
upgrade the hospital and US$30 million going towards purchasing of critical
equipment. The hospital also requires a staff complement of over 1 000,
which includes nurses, consultants, secretaries and physicians.

Efforts to resuscitate the hospital have been derailed by the ZHCT board’s
poor meeting attendances and recurring and unplanned deficits.

The board has been accused of failing to communicate with the executive
director while other board members are accused of back-biting.

The documents also show that Ekusileni Medical Centre owed US$1,3 million in
unpaid operational costs recorded in 2004.

At a meeting held at the hospital on March 24, Thandiwe Nkomo demanded
financial results showing the outstanding amounts and indicating the
previous board led by the late former Vice-President Joseph Msika cleared
the arrears.

Zimlef said there have been challenges securing adequate funding to open the
facility and run it.

It said activity within the trust was  slow, leading to a degree of apathy
amongst the trustees as well as other stake holders.

Other challenges blamed for lack of progress at Ekusileni, as noted by
Zimlef, are underfunding of the public healthcare sector, perennial water
problems in Bulawayo,  skills flight and the economic meltdown that gripped
Zimbabwe before 2009.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from VP Nkomo and Dube were unsuccessful.

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Zanu PF ministers snub: PM set to confront Mugabe

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:10

Staff Reporter

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is set to confront President Robert Mugabe
over the snub by Zanu PF ministers who boycotted the special Council of
Ministers indaba on indigenisation on Tuesday.
This comes in the wake of reports that some Zanu PF hardliners mobilised to
avoid the meeting, saying Tsvangirai wanted to take advantage of Mugabe’s
absence to chair cabinet through the back door.

Mugabe is presently in Singapore allegedly to “oversee” his daughter Bona’s
preparatory work for postgraduate studies.

Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka yesterday confirmed that the
premier would not take the boycott lightly and is set to raise it with
Mugabe when he returns next week.

“Obviously the prime minister will raise this with the president in their
next meeting,” said Tamborinyoka.

Sources said Zanu PF hardliners opposed to Tsvangirai and who want the
coalition to collapse orchestrated the boycott which was communicated to
ministers by Media Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu.

“What is clear is that these people caucused and came up with this
 position,” said the source. “Infact, Shamu is said to have called a number
of Zanu PF ministers informing them of the position that led to the

However, Shamu yesterday dismissed the allegations, asking: “You want me to
respond to gossip?”

Shamu has already set himself on a collision course with Tsvangirai by
repeatedly refusing to implement media reforms agreed to by the principals
to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and communicated to him through the
chief secretary to president and cabinet, Misheck Sibanda.

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Govt threatens to seize 900 hectares from Glenara Estates

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:08

Gamma Mudarikiri

GOVERNMENT has again threatened to seize another 900 hectares of land from
Glenara Estates wholly owned by the listed agriculture company, CFI
This comes soon after another threat early this year where the government
had indicated it would acquire 400 hectares for resettlement from the same
estate which is a hub of the company’s poultry and cropping business.

The acquisition will see the estate losing 1 300 hectares out of a total of
2 200 hectares which  company CEO Steve Kuipa says  will negatively affect
the group across all its business divisions.

Other business divisions of the group include Suncrest Chickens, Hubbard
Zimbabwe, Crest Breeders, Agrifoods, Vetco, and Agrimix, whose operations
Kuipa said were directly linked to the Glenara Estate.

Kuipa said  the company’s expansion  project to  increase its poultry unit
to  60 000 broilers  per cycle would also be incalculably disturbed  as the
area the  government  is eyeing is where the  water source for the project
and chicken runs are located.

The company invested US$2 million in the project to construct
environmentally-controlled houses with a capacity to hold 40 000 birds.

The structures after completion will reduce the poultry mortality rate to
below 5%, which currently is 10%. At the moment, CFI is using open-sided
Kuipa said his company borrowed US$3,8 million from PTA Bank, which was to
be paid over five years for the project.

The remaining US$1,4 million of the borrowed money will be spent on
upgrading the Victoria Foods plant, while the US$400 000 will go towards
upgrading Hubbard hatchery in Beatrice.

The estate also has 714 hectares under commercial maize, 270 hectares under
soya beans, 33 hectares under seed maize and 50 hectares under sugar beans.

Mashonaland Central governor Advocate  Martin Dinha, however, said he would
engage government to  consider  acquiring less than 500 hectares  as the
estate  was one  of the most viable and sustainable  remaining agriculture
structures  in the country.

Dinha said the  government  plan on the estate  was  to  give individuals 20
hectares of land  on a contractual  basis which would see them contributing
to the production  estate.

The governor said the expansion of Harare residential area towards
Mashonaland Central was threatening agriculture as it continues to reduce
productive farming land in the area.

“As Mashonaland Central we don’t see any rationale in Harare residential
areas  expanding towards us to disturb sustainable agriculture structures
like Glenara Estates. City authorities must consider vertical expansion,”
Dina said.

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Soldiers, police fuelling violence

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:06

Wongai Zhangazha

THERE have been increasing reports of violence with members of the police
force  apparently mobilising citizens to protect themselves against
 “enemies” of the state as the country gears for elections.
Arson attacks have already been reported against MDC-T activists in Bikita,
Masvingo Province.

Human rights organisations also reported increasing intimidation of
villagers in various areas which include Chakari in Mashonaland West and
Gokwe- Gumunyu in the Midlands. Soldiers based at Gokwe Centre are
reportedly involved in instilling fear in residents ahead of anticipated

According to witnesses, three police officers at Highlands police station
addressed about 20 people at the weekend inside the police yard on the
preparedness of the elections.

One of the officers was holding a clip board with the name T Matanga.

The source, however, could not establish whether the ordinary citizens were
members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committees.

It is understood that the officers who addressed the civilians told them
that they must know their “enemies” in the area.

“They were told that you must be Zanu PF otherwise you cannot serve someone
you don’t like. They were told to read the Herald and be up to date with
what is happening and if they were ever seen reading privately owned
newspapers they would also be viewed as enemies,” said the source.

Harare province police spokesperson Inspector James Sabau expressed
ignorance over the issue but said they would investigate the matter.

The source said the people were also told that they were going to be
instrumental before and after the elections and that they must be vigilant
and know their enemies.

No date has yet been set  for elections, but President Robert Mugabe, during
his address to the party’s central committee last week, indicated that the
dates for polls could be announced in May. This has been rejected by the MDC
formations who have insisted on reforms as agreed on in the Global Political
Agreement before elections can be held.

Tension is reportedly also building up in Sanyati.

Traner Ruzvidzo, the MDC-T Political Liaison officer for Jomic in the
Midlands, told the Independent that tensions were now very high in the area.
Ruzvidzo says she assisted victims of political violence in Mashonaland West
Province and there were clear signs that Zanu PF supporters on the ground
were already preparing for elections.

In one incident on the evening of March 27, MDC-T organising secretary for
Sanyati Reuben Banda was attacked by about six suspected Zanu PF supporters
in Sechuru.

Before the attack, Banda had attended a party training leadership meeting.
His attackers cited his involvement at the meeting as one of the reasons for
beating him.

“They started beating Banda accusing him of planning to create bombs at the
meeting they had on  March 26 that was based on training leadership. They
hit him with an iron bar in the head and this was at Nyarude business
centre,” said Ruzvidzo.

She said on the same day the Zanu PF activists led by war veteran Aneas
Mapfumo went to Madzivaenzou area where they attacked an MDC-T activist,
Amos Zhou at his home.

She said the assailants attacked Zhou with an axe and this affected his hip
and backbone.

Ruzvidzo claimed that the same group proceeded to another MDC-T supporter,
Josiah Shumba’s home where they wanted to take him to a base in the same
area for harassment and torture.

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Drought: Policy failure worsens situation

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:04

Wongai Zhangazha

THE sight of withering maize crop of uneven height along the Gutu-Masvingo
road is striking. Subsistence communal farmers have seen their optimism and
hopes of a good harvest gradually fade giving way to despair as they watched
their maize crop wilt into a complete write off.
Not that it’s anything new in these areas surrounding districts like Gutu,
Bikita, Zaka and Chivi located in one of the most drought-prone geographical
regions of the country, but 2012 has been worse and there are fears it might
deteriorate to catastrophic levels of the 1992 drought.

In 1992, the country experienced a severe drought resulting in human and
livestock fatalities.

Climatically, these area falls under natural region III. Natural regions in
Zimbabwe’s context are areas delineated on the basis of soil type, rainfall
and other climatic factors.

The drought and hunger stalking the country has forced cabinet to form a
committee to deal with the issue and food security at a national level.

The looming food crisis has several causes. Besides drought, there is the
issue of lack of productivity following the land reform programme and
government policy failures in agriculture.

Since the 2000 land seizures Zimbabwe has been surviving on food imports and
donations. At the height of Zimbabwe’s economic and political crisis in
2008, aid agencies estimated that at least five million Zimbabweans — almost
half the country’s population — survived on food aid.

Although the government has an uneasy relationship with the Western
countries over limited sanctions imposed on targeted individuals and
companies, there is a “gentlemen’s agreement” in which President Robert
Mugabe’s regime allows aid agencies to distribute food to avert mass

Even though the economy has shown signs of recovery since the establishment
of the coalition government, a major drought is threatening to expose the
fragile nature of the country’s economic recovery and food security. Like on
previous occasions, the inclusive government is reacting to the consequences
instead of planning ahead.

In the Mutoko District of Mashonaland East, most crops have wilted due to
moisture stress and, in most areas, the crops are a complete write-off.

Most farmers had applied for compound D fertiliser but this was followed by
a long period of dry weather, resulting in most crops failing. Communal
farmers in the Nyamuzuwe, Kawazva and Charehwa areas area have given up on
their crop.

Estimates show that at least half a million Zimbabweans would require food
aid but the number could be higher as the cost of the drought is still being

While the inclusive government is preoccupied with election issues, millions
of people, especially in the rural areas, face severe famine.

With most countries in the region unable to export maize amid reports that a
third of the national maize crop is a write-off while 55 000 tonnes of maize
were destroyed because of poor storage at the Grain Marketing Board,
Zimbabwe is clearly facing hunger

Agriculture and Mechanisation minister Joseph Made recently warned that
hundreds of thousands of people were facing starvation due to the drought
which has resulted in poor yields after vast tracks of maize failed. He said
according to the final crop assessment by government, about 500 000 hectares
of maize crop is a write-off due to poor rains.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director Paul Zakariya recently said the
outlook for the 2011/2012 agricultural season was not encouraging.

“Chiefly, most farmers failed to access inputs through the support scheme
launched by government. There was an acute shortage of AN fertiliser on the
market. Resultantly, most farmers lost a significant portion of their crop.
The situation was worsened by the late onset of rains,” Zakariya said.

The unpredictability of the rainy season continues to stifle the full
potential of local farmers. Owing to these challenges, hectarage for this
season has significantly gone down, and that in turn would lead to reduced

Against that background, government only provided US$226 million to
agriculture this year while the sector requires an estimated US$2 billion
each season if it is to realise its full potential.”

However, Commercial Farmers Union president Charles Taffs said poor planning
by both government and farmers resulted in the looming food shortages.

“It is more than just a drought. The agriculture policy is not conducive to
production. The problems on the land whether big or small is that farmers do
not have security hence they cannot put money into such business. There is
no planning or investment. People don’t plan for this agricultural season.
They wait for government handouts,” he said.

“The situation this year is that the planting season was done up to December
of which if you plant maize after the 15th of December don’t expect to get
much yields. The southern part of the country has always been known as not
the best area for maize seeds and it usually experiences erratic rainfalls
and there is nothing new about that. If you are a serious farmer, use
irrigation to mitigate that; plant early to cover the dry spell, but if you
don’t own the land you cannot do that,” he said.

Debay Tadesse of the Institute for Security Studies — African Conflict
Prevention and Risk Analysis Programme last week told African
parliamentarians in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at an inter-parliamentary
dialogue organised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, that variability in the
weather patterns as a result of climate change has had major implications
for pastoralist livelihoods and security.

Tadesse said: “Threats from climate change, particularly persistent drought,
have devastating consequences. The overall effect is that climate change
will fuel existing conflicts over depleting resources, especially where
access to those resources is scarce.”

Unless government makes decisive interventions, achieving the first
objective of the Millennium Development Goals (eradication of extreme
poverty and hunger) will be frustrated by changes in rainfall patterns which
threaten crop production and food security.

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Tollgate levies used as a political tool

Thursday, 05 April 2012 10:02

Tendai Marima

THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) announced that three
tollgates would be built along the Plumtree-Mutare highway over the next
three years. Two permanent gates would be constructed between Bulawayo and
Harare while a third is set for Ruwa.
Toll roads are found in many countries. The way they are funded and operated
may differ from country to country. Some of these toll roads are privately
owned and operated. Others are owned by the government. Some of the
government-owned toll roads are privately operated.

Some toll roads are managed under such systems as the Build-Operate-Transfer
(BOT) model Private companies build the roads and are given a limited
franchise. Ownership is transferred to the government when the franchise
expires. Throughout the world, this type of arrangement is common. The BOT
system is a fairly new concept which however is gaining ground.

Given that the system requires vehicles to stop or slow down, manual toll
collection wastes time and raises motor vehicle operating costs, government
should be using the money efficiently to reward citizens by investing in the
road network, not ripping them off.

However, in Zimbabwe, tollgate levies are among the most abused public
funds. Revenue theft is rampant because it is comparatively easy to steal as
has been shown by stories in the media.

According to Zinara spokesman Augustine Moyo, when the first of these
“state-of-the-art” structures is completed in September this year, toll fees
would be increased.

Moyo claimed higher charges were necessary to generate more revenue for
reconstruction of the US$206 million highway, but if history is anything to
go by, whatever Zinara is set to earn is likely to be diverted to finance
non-road related expenses.

If the “state-of-the-art” structures work well they will ensure toll roads
gain popularity, especially if improved technology is introduced. In
Zimbabwe, toll roads still require a toll collector and drivers to stop to
pay, resulting in delays and congestion in some cases, which defeats the
purpose of a toll road in the first place.

However, in other parts of the world technology has improved toll collection
to where drivers do not have to stop. The most popular is electronic toll
collection. This is usually where some electronic tag on the vehicle denotes
which car went through the electronic toll booth and how much the driver
should be billed. Another technological advance with toll roads are sensors
that can determine how many cars are using the toll road and the time it
takes to get from one destination to the next.

This can let drivers know how traffic conditions are on the toll road, and
more importantly, in the cases where a toll road uses congestion pricing,
determine the toll fee.

Widely used toll roads can financially operate autonomously, so even if the
government is having a budget problem and money needs to be saved and
funding cut, toll roads, unlike free highways, will still have funding and
therefore can still be maintained, improved, and even expanded.

Despite all this, a number of critics still contend that toll roads do not
benefit drivers and citizens. One criticism they have is that toll fees are
expensive, particularly when people cannot see the benefit by ways of
filling  potholes and improving the quality of roads.

In 2010, six months after toll gates were introduced, the Department of
Roads blew US$2 million buying computer equipment and vehicle repairs in
Mashonaland West and Matabeleland.

Without authorisation from parliament, the ministry diverted funds for its
own benefit rather than fixing dilapidated roads which have caused many
fatal accidents. In July of the same year, the Mid-Year Fiscal Review showed
most of the US$15 million intended for nationwide road repairs went to Zanu
PF’s political strongholds in Mashonaland West and Central, which includes
Zvimba — President Robert Mugabe’s rural home.

Using public funds as a political tool to curry favour with one section of
the electorate while short-changing other areas is a clear abuse of power
and the root cause of regionalism, but to the corrupt authoritarians running
Zimbabwe, it’s a survival strategy.

The recent exemption of 250 chiefs from paying tollgate charges is another
tactic by Zanu PF to control traditional leaders ahead of elections. The
issue was part of political negotiations which ushered in the inclusive

Although the news of chiefs being exempt from paying fees was hailed  as a
“victory”, the amendment to the Toll Roads Regulations 2012 endorses an
unhelpful sense of entitlement and ownership felt by the Chiefs Council.
In an interview with a local weekly, president of the Council of Chiefs
Fortune Charumbira declared: “Status of chiefs is not questionable. They are
the owners of the country.”
This is misleading. Zimbabwe belongs to all who live in it, but greedy
privilege and populist benefits are how inherited and elected leaderships
have established their authority in this country.
In a socialist democracy, which Zimbabwe aspires to be, everyone should pay
their way, but under a corrupt patronage system, chefs get  free-loading and
the people foot the bill.
At present, Zinara earns an average of US$17 million a year from toll fees,
which ranges from US$1 for an average car to US$5 for haulage trucks.
Further hikes would not go down well with over-taxed and impoverished

In the past, Zinara has been forced to back down after frequent commuters in
areas surrounding Harare protested at having to pay each and every time they
drove into the capital.

In a separate case, residents in Bulawayo won a rare victory against the
government which was ordered to move the toll gate outside the city and stop
charging motorists to travel to and from home.

From their inception, toll gates were never popular and although the
government initiative was meant to raise funds for road improvement, there
is little to show for it.

Three years since their introduction, there are more stories of how public
officials abuse funds and how Zinara loses millions through corruption,
rather than the actual benefit these concrete pillars have given the

Potholes continue to multiply at an alarming rate and US$2 billion is needed
to modernise the country’s crumbling road infrastructure, but bad governance
and volatile politics, as well as failure to service debts, have been a big
deterrent for international lenders like the African Development Bank, which
has funded Zimbabwe’s road programmes before.

Improving Zimbabwe’s highways would boost regional trade and foreign
investment, particularly at border towns like Beitbridge, the busiest inland
point of entry in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Plumtree, but instead, leadership
and policy failures have undermined development of infrastructure.

With the elections looming, there is a frightening possibility toll gates
fees would be diverted from improving the road network to funding political
events. So toll gate fees could be more than just a gripe from motorists,
but an issue of public national debate.

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MuckRaker: Chamisa outdoes Mugabe’s apologists

Thursday, 05 April 2012 11:40

SOUTH Africa’s Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) president Mangosuthu Buthelezi
said recently he was “stuck between the devil and a hard place”, and that it
would be “cowardly” of him now to leave the party he had founded, when it
was in difficulties, reports BusinessDay.
This is despite the fact that the IFP has been bleeding support since 1994,
losing control of 30 municipalities in the last local government election in
KwaZulu-Natal, a province it once led.

“No person who has built a house runs away if that house has started to
burn,” opined Buthelezi.
He said he had considered stepping down on previous occasions, but each time
the party had “asked that he remain”. The idea that he was clinging to power
“is nonsense”, he added.

Buthelezi said alleged rifts between the party and the IFP Youth Brigade “do
not exist”. He also said there were a few disaffected young people who were
“spreading lies about the party”.

BusinessDay cites political analyst, Daniel Silke, who observed that the IFP
had become “somewhat of a personality cult” around its leader, who had
failed to address the succession issue “over an extended period of time”.

Where have we heard this before?

Clearly we are not short of geriatric party leaders in cloud cuckoo land,
who believe they are the alpha and omega of their parties.
Buthelezi believes he can stem the IFP’s slide into political obscurity by
remaining in power, something he has failed to do for the past 20 years.
Albert Einstein once said insanity is doing the same thing over and over
again and expecting different results.

That will still not deter Cde Buthelezi, we are sure.

A cartoon in the Herald on Monday caught our attention. It referred to the
forthcoming Zim/EU reengagement talks. Two negotiators, one from Zimbabwe,
the other from the EU, are depicted as exchanging views. The Zimbabwe
negotiator, in reference to news a few days earlier that Zim/EU trade had
doubled, asked: “Without the restrictive measures wouldn’t it quadruple?”

Innocent Mpofu, in his cartoons, likes to portray white people as having
long pointed noses. In European folklore it is those who are economic with
the truth who are portrayed as possessing long noses.

We saw the headline last Friday about trade doubling but came to a different
conclusion. Why is the Zimbabwe government constantly bleating about
sanctions having undermined the economy when trade between the 27-member
bloc and Zimbabwe has grown so dramatically? Have they been lying to us all
this time?

The answer is of course a big Yes!

Another whopper appeared on Friday. It was a government statement saying
“Food woes, land reform absolved”.

Acting Minister of Women’s Affairs,Gender and Community Development
Sithembiso Nyoni was speaking at a conference in Dubai. She said that
shortages were a result of droughts. Maize production had actually increased
as a result of the land reform, she claimed.

What is the Joint Command and Staff Course that we are told Herald deputy
editor Caesar Zvayi and ZBC general manager (programing) Allan Chiweshe
attended on the role of the media in nation-building? Sounds rather sinister
to us. And why do we need to know the staff course is No 25? What is the
significance of No 25?

Equally sinister was a statement by George Charamba that “media
organisations can indeed undermine freedom of expression which is why their
protection under the constitution must be conditional”.

“Media organisations need to be regulated as they have the capacity to
injure freedom of expression,” Charamba was reported as saying.

What hogwash! The country needs protection from the predatory gang around
Mugabe, not the other way around. Who has inflicted injury on society in the
recent past? Certainly not the media. Anybody remember Mark Chavunduka and
Ray Choto?

Transmedia chairman Dr Paul Chimedza said his outfit was preparing for
community radio stations across the country.

“We realised that lack of transmission creates a vacuum,” he said, “and that
vacuum will be filled by pirate stations that are hostile to the country,”
he said.
“People will end up listening to pirate stations not because they love them
but because there will be no option,” Chimedza said.
Yes, partly true. But there are also ZBC’s lies and propaganda that make
people sick.

Chimedza should tell the whole story.

Although they received substantial funding from the government, they had
devised other ways of making money, Chimedza said.
Yes, Zanu PF always finds new ways of making money.

The last time we saw Charamba at a staff course he was pulling faces to make
the audience laugh.

When one of the speakers complained that Charamba was getting more time than
others, some pip squeak from ZTV declared that “Mr Charamba is welcome to
have my time”.

Truly pathetic.

Meanwhile Information Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa gave
Zanu PF apologists a good run for their money in waxing lyrical about
President Mugabe’s “visionary” leadership, the Herald reports.

“The President has provided leadership from the cockpit and we are prepared
to be the passengers,” Chamisa gushed.
Speaking at the launch of the National e-Learning Programme at Chogugudza
Primary School in Goromonzi, Chamisa said President Mugabe’s “wisdom makes
sure the plane does not crash”.

If his stunned listeners thought the MDC-T National Organising secretary had
extolled President Mugabe enough, they got another think coming.
In presenting an Apple iPad to President Mugabe, Chamisa stated that: “When
Moses descended from Mount Sinai, he had with him two tablets that had the
10 Commandments, however, today, your Excellency; we will provide you with
one tablet.”

“This tablet,” Chamisa went on to say, “will ensure that you are wiser than
all the kings we have known.”

We know Cde Chamisa is prone to bouts of capriciousness but this is
ridiculous. We are sure even Cde Webster Shamu, of the “President Mugabe is
Cremora” fame, would really feel outdone.

NewsDay reports that Chief Svosve has been accused of firing gunshots in an
apparent attempt to scare away a villager, Noel Nhire, following a dispute
over a piece of land at Ashlyns Farm in Wedza.

In an urgent chamber application at the High Court, Nhire accused Chief
Svosve, born Weston Zvenyika Kuwandikira, of always firing gunshots to scare
him away and sending youths to disrupt his farming operations.

“The respondent is always sending youths to unlawfully evict me from my
lawfully resettled piece of land,” Nhire told the court. “He is always
firing gunshots to scare away the applicant (Nhire) such that the applicant
is now in danger.”

Nhire also accused Chief Svosve of holding political rallies denouncing the
former and influencing villagers to revolt against him.
This comes in the wake of demands, by chiefs, for guns so that they could
“protect themselves”.

Chiefs’ council vice president, Chief Mtshana Khumalo, had recently said
they wanted guns to “assist villagers in the event that there are wild
animals troubling them”.

We had asked why they would want to usurp the role of the wildlife rangers
or even the police. Maybe the “wild animals” they were referring to were of
another kind!

The face of Harare is set to change, we are told, following amendments to
local development plans approving mixed land use. Mixed land use means
allowing commercial uses such as offices, restaurants and banks, the Herald
tells us.

The changes are aimed at bringing services closer to the people, it says.
The changes are a response to demand as people had already started invading
residential areas and setting up offices.

City director of urban planning, Psychology Chiwanga presides over these
changes. The Arundel local plan, for example seeks the expansion of the
suburban shopping centre and to integrate it with the surrounding
residential area.

“The plan will see the conversion of surrounding properties into commercial
use such as shops, restaurants, and offices”.

This is a disaster waiting to happen. Arundel is hardly a hop, skip and jump
from the city centre. And areas that are closer to town have seen the
ungainly conversion of private properties into offices and restaurants
without any consultation with neighbours. Indeed, it would be interesting to
know if Chiwanga has said No to any applicant. Press reports have placed him
as close to Zanu-PF and it would be instructive to know if this change to
urban sprawl has anything to do with Zanu PF’s election campaign.

A car sales yard has been set up across the road from Prince Edward School
and kombis now traverse the green space between the school and Cleveland Rd
in Milton Park. NewsDay carried a story recently on a widow who had leased a
property on Cleveland Rd to a former councillor, Charles Nyachowe, who is
refusing to leave the house. He is a former special interests councillor
appointed by Ignatious Chombo. He now runs a money-lending outfit called
Vantage Microfinance Banking Ltd.

His business has led to a dramatic increase in traffic in Cleveland Rd.

Most modern cities are desirable locations because they are properly planned
and by-laws are enforced. Harare is headed in the opposite direction.
Chiwanga needs to understand that allowing anybody to set up business
anywhere is not progressive. It is likely to end up as a free-for-all.
Cleveland Rd is emblematic of the problem.

Do you support President Mugabe and would you wear clothing advertising your
preference? If so, then you should wear something from the Gushungo fashion

“We want everyone who is patriotic to wear the brand,” Justin Matenda who
heads the outfitters told the Sunday Times.

“In Mugabe’s honour as a revolutionary, cultural icon, social leader and
president par excellence, we decided we needed to take this up,” he said.

This reveals a worrying lack of marketing skills, something the company
boasts of. How many people in Harare would want the world to know they
endorse Mugabe as a cultural icon?

“In honouring our president we thought why not introduce something that will
outlive him and even our own generation,” Matenda said.

Does he mean we have to put up with this “patriotic” display into kingdom
come? We thought it was just an election gimmick!

We have only spotted one T-shirt so far and the wearer said he had been
given it.

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Erich Bloch Column: Govt takes yet another wrong turn

Thursday, 05 April 2012 11:39

THIS column has, on several occasions, addressed the necessity for the
pursuit of indigenisation and economic empowerment. The need for the
economic empowerment of the greater majority of Zimbabweans, is without
doubt a noble cause.  However, doing so necessitates a virile economic
environment and that, in turn, is contingent upon good and sound national

Tragically, Government repeatedly functions in contemptuous disregard for
such governance, constantly jeopardising economic development, hindering
real and effective indigenisation, and wide-ranging economic advancement.
Instead, it achieves ever greater poverty for most Zimbabweans, to an extent
that many lives are endangered.

Prerequisites for the much needed economic growth and well-being of the
people, is that Zimbabwe be a recipient of considerable foreign investment,
technology transfer from abroad, lines of credit, and ready access to
international markets.  However, despite frequent statements that foreign
investment is welcome, and will be secure, Government legislates to the

From the onset of Government’s programme to promote indigenisation and
economic empowerment, with the enactment of legislation in 2008, Government
has been insistent that Zimbabweans be given at least 51% of every mine
which has a net worth of US1 and of every other enterprise having a net
value of U$500 000.  That insistence is very contemptuous of investment
funding and other necessary inputs by foreign investors.

The prescribed investors are Sovereign Wealth Fund, a Youth Development Fund
and Community Share Trusts, all of which are wholly unable to fund their
acquisition of equity in the economic ventures.  In rigidly pursuing this
policy of indigenous participation, Government obtusely disregards the fact
that very few foreign investors are willing to provide the majority of a
venture’s funding, technology, and other needs, whilst being denied
authority and control of the venture and its operations.  Provision of the
needs of an enterprise, while being denied authority over the usage of such
needs, is untenable for almost all investors.

Not only are such indigenisation and economic empowerment policies anathema
to foreign investors,but also to banks and other financial institutions from
which lines of credit are sought. Other Governmental policies and statements
exacerbate the reluctance to invest and to provide the needed operational

A few weeks ago, President Mugabe made a statement that foreign investors
need not fear for the security of their investments, and that foreign
investment into Zimbabwe is welcome.  In total contradiction to those
Presidential assurances, last week the Minister of Youth Development,
Indigenisation and Empowerment emphatically stated that no compensation was
to be paid to foreign mining sector investors in respect of the investors’
underlying natural resources, such as the under-ground ore reserves of
mining ventures.

He made that policy statement with unmitigated disregard for the
considerable expenditures of investors in  prospecting for the mineral
reserves, supplying the necessary expertise to do so, and the capital
expenditures incurred in accessing those mineral reserves.  He also
disregarded that mining enterprises pay for registration of claims ,mining
licences, and substantial royalties to Government for all minerals mined by
the enterprises.  In addition to those payments they are also liable for
income taxes on their profits, and withthholding taxes on any distributions
of those profits.

Not only do the mines pay so heavily for the mined resources, but they are
also a major source of employment, (very greatly needed in Zimbabwe) where
unemployment in the formal sector is less than 13% of the employable
population.  Moreover, mining favourably impacts upon the downstream
economy.  All of these factors are obliquely ignored by the Minister and
many of those in Government.  Such disregard gravely deters foreign
investors, deprives Zimbabwe of much of the desperately needed economic
recovery and growth, and is in blatant conflict with internationally-binding
agreements to which Zimbabwe is a party.

Zimbabwe has entered into numerous Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreements (BIPPAs), recent ones being with South Africa and
Botswana. Those agreements were dogmatically ignored and breached, when
Zimbabwe embarked on its programme of land acquisition and resettlement.

By his authoritarian declaration that no compensation for mineral resources
will be paid for the enforced disinvestment of non-indigenous investors in
the mining sector, the Minister is effectively stating that the BIPPAs are,
and will be, ignored and breached.  This is a further major deterrent to the
desperately needed foreign investment into the mining sector.  It is also a
discouraging, counter-productive and deterrent to non-indigenous investment
in other economic sectors.

The Governmental stance of enforced indigenisation and economic empowerment,
on totally unjust and inequitably prescribed terms, is endlessly
intensifying, with an insane failure to pursue the much-needed economic
indigenisation in a constructive, nationally beneficial manner, is steadily
driving investors away,  thereby endangering economic recovery, and
undermining the indigenisation and empowerment objectives.  The Government
is becoming increasingly beserk in its pursuance of the indigenisation and
empowerment programme.

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Angola: Ten years of peace but at what price?

Thursday, 05 April 2012 11:30

THERE may be much that is shiny and new in Angola, but 10 years after the
end of the war many ghosts remain, as Louise Redvers of the BBC reports
IT is a milestone that at one time few would have thought possible.
Yesterday, Angola marked a decade since the end of the 27-year civil war
which devastated the country, claiming countless lives and displacing

The conflict involved three different liberation movements and saw
intervention from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, the United States and
apartheid South Africa.

How times have changed. Today Angola can now boast of a booming
economy —forecast to grow 12% this year — and a growing regional and
international diplomatic profile.

Foreign investors are flocking to Angola hoping to share in the boom times.”
Angola’s physical transformation since the end of the war has also been

Oil revenues and associated Chinese loans have bankrolled an ambitious
national reconstruction programme of roads, airports, bridges, hospitals and
schools. In the sprawling cities, where the war-weary sought refuge during
the height of the conflict, urban slums are being given a facelift.  And
once productive agricultural fields are now being cleared of landmines ready
for replanting; industries like cotton and coffee are being revived and old
copper, iron and gold mines are being re-opened for prospection.

Meanwhile, foreign investors are flocking to Angola hoping to share in the
boom times and Luanda’s tiny Fourth of February airport is overwhelmed by
new flights coming from across Africa as well as Europe, Asia and the Middle

African success story? The president of nearly 33 years, Jose Eduardo dos
Santos, and his MPLA party remain the dominant power in the country, having
claimed a military victory over rivals Unita following the death of rebel
leader Jonas Savimbi in February 2002.

Senior members of the MPLA — which won an 82% majority in the 2008
legislative election, the second in Angola’s history — have a tight grip
over all aspects of the country’s economy and both state and private media
are heavily biased in the government’s favour.

On paper, and in the view of the ruling party, Angola is an African success
story — an example of how a war-torn nation can rebuild itself in peace.
In fact Dos Santos sees himself as a regional elder and this year holds the
presidency of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the
Community of Portuguese Language Countries.

Angola is now even helping to rescue its former colonial power, Portugal,
which has been hit hard by the Eurozone crisis and is selling off state and
private assets to raise cash. But scratch below the surface and the picture
is less pretty.

Despite the country’s rapid economic growth — rated as faster than China’s
during the past decade — it is estimated that up to half the country still
live on less than US$2 a day.

There may be vast new housing estates with neat gardens and swimming pools
springing up around the country, but for the majority of Angolans, home is a
shared bed in an unpaved, overcrowded slum with limited access to running
water, sanitation or electricity.

Unemployment remains stubbornly high and despite huge investments, the
roll-out of mass education is yet to yield tangible benefits. Health
services also remain severely limited. This is due to a lack of skilled
professionals as well as pervasive corruption.

Rates of child mortality have decreased significantly since the end of the
war, but one in five youngsters still die before their fifth birthday and
the country remains near the bottom of the United Nations Human Development
Index, ranked 148 out of 187 countries.

“In 10 years of peace the government has not delivered a true peace dividend
to the Angolan people,” says Paula Roque, a political analyst and Angolan
expert at Oxford University.

“It makes no sense that Angola should continue with the level of poverty we
are seeing when there is so much money coming from oil.”

But for Roque the issue goes deeper than poverty alleviation. She questions
just how peaceful and reconciled Angola really is when the ruling party has,
since the end of the war, silenced all narratives except its own and imposed
on the population what she calls a “superficial society”.

It is true that Angola’s school-taught official history belongs to the MPLA,
as do the nation’s symbols like its flag and national anthem.

Pearce, who has interviewed former soldiers in central Angola, points out
that integration and reconciliation appears to be very much on the MPLA’s
Roque adds: “There has been no conciliated narrative about the war or Angola’s
past. It is still struggling to define who it is and there’s very serious
discontent at many levels.”

This discontent showed its face last year when a group of young Angolans
staged rare protests against the government and called for the resignation
of the president, who vies with Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea
for the unenviable title of Africa’s longest-serving leader. Although small
in size and quickly put down by Angola’s notoriously tough police force, the
demonstrations revealed a free-thinking new generation which is not afraid
of the MPLA or scarred by war experiences.

The party reacted by accusing those involved of trying to destroy the peace
process and promote “national insurrection”.

State media was filled with religious leaders calling for peace to be
restored and political figures condemning what they said were “acts of
criminal insubordination” that threatened the country’s stability. Roque
suggests that the MPLA has actually taken “ownership” of the country’s
relative peace as a commodity, and is fiercely protective of it.

There is growing consensus, however, that it is the ruling party itself
which is increasingly unstable, unsure of how to deal with this new wave of
criticism which challenges its hegemony and threatens its access to state

Angola is scheduled to go to the polls later this year. There is little
doubt the MPLA will win.

This is as much down to the weakness of the opposition as to the ruling
party’s likely manipulation of the voting process. But it is what follows
next that is critical.

“There are cracks appearing in the MPLA’s system of governance and I truly
believe that change is coming to Angola,” says Roque.
“There are many ghosts and all are the ingredients for a palace coup. We
have to hope the change will come through dialogue and not violence.” —

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Mat provinces: Zanu PF’s faction-ridden Waterloo

Thursday, 05 April 2012 11:28

Brian Chitemba

MATABELELAND has been widely described as a political hotbed in recent years
due to  social discontent and long-running clashes among Zanu PF
heavyweights in what has now exploded into a full scale factional war.
The situation is made worse by the fact that the party is battling to win
back the hearts of the electorate which has shifted en masse to the MDC
formations in the last 12 years. Since 1980, Matabeleland region, across
which the original PF Zapu swept all the seats in 1985 during its last stand
against Zanu PF in the middle of civil strife and grisly civilian massacres,
has always been a cauldron of disgruntlement and restlessness.

There was temporary respite however in the region after Zapu emerged with
Zanu in 1987 following the killings in the Midlands and south-western
But when the MDC was formed in 1999, Matabeleland led the revolt against
Zanu PF and became the launching pad and power base of the MDC.

Up to now, the MDC parties have a stranglehold on the Matabeleland region
where President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are viewed by many with contempt
and derision.

In the next elections, the Matabeleland region would be critical as it would
hold the balance between the two main parties, Zanu PF and the MDC-T. With
the MDC-N fighting for survival and hoping to pick some seats there,
elections in the region would be fiercely contested.

The explosive situation in the region is made worse by Zanu PF infighting.
An intra-party war in Zanu PF broke out in Matabeleland North in December
last year after acting provincial chairperson Zwelitsha Masuku was suspended
for alleged incompetence and replaced by former chairperson Headman Moyo.
Moyo was subsequently removed two weeks ago and replaced by Matabeleland
North governor Sithokozile Mathuthu.

Party insiders said Masuku was Mines minister Obert Mpofu’s blue-eyed boy.
His sacking was orchestrated by party national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo as
battle for control of the party in the region escalated. Khaya Moyo and
Mpofu ferociously clashed over the issue during Zanu PF’s tense politburo
meeting last week. The fight was said to have shaken and even embarrassed
senior politburo members who watched in disbelief as the Matabeleland
bigwigs slugged it out.

Political observers said the infighting was likely to reach fever-pitch as
elections drew closer, but all the squabbling was a clear reflection of the
burning succession debate on who will eventually replace Mugabe even though
Moyo and Mpofu are fighting to replace Vice-President John Nkomo. The
broader picture is Mugabe’s succession issue.

Factional wars further intensified in Bulawayo a fortnight ago when
provincial chairperson Isaac Dakamela was ousted by the party’s provincial
coordinating committee.

His sacking followed a week of heated exchanges between Dakamela and
regional heavyweights, including Matabeleland South governor Angeline
Masuku, politburo members Absalom Sikhosana, Joshua Malinga and Eunice
Sandi-Moyo over the selection of special councillors. Special councillors
are selected by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to complement
skills and competencies lacking in local authorities.

Dakamela is believed to be closely linked to Mpofu and politburo member
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu. Ndlovu fought in Dakamela’s corner and managed to get his
suspension lifted.

Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said the confusion in the Matabeleland
provinces was a microcosm of broader infighting within Zanu PF. He said the
ongoing battle for the control of Matabeleland was not about the people on
the ground, but about factionalism and succession.

Ruhanya, a PhD candidate at the Communication and Media Research Institute,
University of Westminster, London, said unless Zanu PF decisively addressed
its succession problem by tackling Mugabe and his cabal’s sunset leadership,
the factional wars would stalk the party to its political grave.

“Relative to the specific provincial squabbles, it is a clear sign that Zanu
PF will lose more voters and seats in that divided scenario,” said Ruhanya.
“The call for elections by (Jonathan) Moyo and company could ultimately be
the call for him to retire depending on what  the factional calculations
are. These squabbles are all over the place in Zanu PF provinces. It’s a
reflection of the state of the party as a whole,” Ruhanya said.

Zanu PF is deeply divided between factions led by Defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Vice-President Joice Mujuru who have been leading the race to
succeed Mugabe.

Political analyst and Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe regional coordinator,
Dewa Mavhinga, said the Matabeleland suspensions pointed to a full-scale
factional war within Zanu PF, as well as desperate attempts by the party
long rejected by the people in that region to keep a foothold there.

He said the problem with Zanu PF was not the individuals in leadership, but
its insensitivity to the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans. Mavhinga noted that
since 1980, the people of Matabeleland had been fed on empty promises,
pointing to the much delayed Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project and several
other infrastructural projects that would have cured the perennial water
woes for the region.

As a result, discontent over the continued marginalisation continues to
grow. The Matabeleland leadership has come under fire for failing to address
the continued marginalisation of the region by Mugabe and his regime.

But the criticism of leaders such as Nkomo and Khaya Moyo has not helped
since they fiercely defended themselves, claiming the people from
Matabeleland were lazy and cry babies, remarks which have provoked further
anger against Zanu PF in the region.

Bulawayo-based political and economic commentator Godwill Phiri said the
current infighting stalking Zanu PF was worsened by the failure of the party’s
old guard to win elections in the region.

Phiri said they were only surviving on the goodwill of Mugabe who appoints
them into influential positions to save the Unity Accord of 1987 which
collapsed PF Zapu into Zanu PF.

Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa pleaded ignorance on the
raging infighting threatening to split the party in Matabeleland. “I am not
aware of the suspensions of chairpersons in Matabeleland,” said Mutasa.

Mutasa’s dearth of information on the goings on in Zanu PF reflects a  lack
of harmony and cohesion in the party as it gears up for a bruising fight in
the next elections that could be its Waterloo.

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Zanu PF must accept political change

Thursday, 05 April 2012 11:24

Pedzisai Ruhanya

CALLS to have by-elections in the 28 vacant parliamentary and senatorial
seats before the general elections in Zimbabwe being advanced by organic
intellectuals in Zanu PF led by Jonathan Moyo (pictured right) need to be
interrogated in the bigger scheme of things, and the broader underlying
trends and electoral stratagems of the regime.
By organic intellectuals I mean those intellectuals who work as agents of
class projects, in this case the ruling elite of Zanu PF. These are partisan
intellectuals who take positions and sides. Such intellectuals usually lose
their academic fibre and professionalism by trying to serve partisan
political interests.

The critical role of such intellectuals locally is to advance the position
of the ruling class facing collapse, barring the use of systematic violence,
intimidation and coercion.

What these Zanu PF regime intellectuals and their handlers fail to
appreciate is the argument that of all different types of regimes that have
emerged in the course of history — from monarchies and aristocracies to
religious theocracies, to fascist and communist dictatorships — thus far the
only form of government that has survived intact  has been liberal
democracy, notwithstanding its imperfections.

Democratic theorists such as Francis Fukuyama further argue that for a large
part of the world there is currently no ideology with the pretentions to
universality that is in a position to challenge liberal democracy, and no
universal principle of legitimacy other than the sovereignty of the people.

Respect for the sovereign will of the people that is exercised through
credible electoral processes and outcomes should be the guiding principle in
resolving the current problems in Zimbabwe. The current transitional
arrangement in Zimbabwe must be seized with such ideas.

However, the call to have by-elections by Zanu PF hardliners is an attempt
to defy the socialisation of human rights and democratic reforms in our body
politic ahead of the general elections. It is also any attempt by the regime’s
criminal cabal to test some of its strategies ahead of decisive elections.

During the course of the inclusive government which came after Zanu PF’s
historic electoral defeat in rural and urban areas during the March 2008
polls, as well as the first presidential poll loss by President Robert
Mugabe since Independence in 1980, the regime has been re-aligning its
strategies and tactics ahead of the next elections.

At the level of political method, the organic intellectuals in Zanu PF
working with the coercive elements in the security establishment would want
to gauge whether the use  of violence would produce the results as it did in
the June 2008 presidential election run-off. Never mind the illegitimacy of
that electoral sham that brought about Mugabe’s disputed victory.

Ahead of elections in which the regime knows only too well that it has
little  chance of winning if polls were to be free and fair, a method should
be devised to win by hook or crook. The by-elections would be a testing
ground for those coercive or fraudulent methods.

There is political precedence and empirical evidence to back this. Ahead of
the June 2000 elections, Zimbabwe held a constitutional referendum in
February 2 000 in which the combined forces of the political opposition and
civic groups under the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) defeated the
Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku-led Constitutional Commission’s draft promoted,
wholly or at least in part, by Zanu PF, although it must be said some in the
party also sabotaged the process.

After that defeat, the first for Zanu PF in a national plebiscite, Mugabe
postponed the elections that were meant for March 2000 to June 2000 and all
hell broke loose in both rural and urban Zimbabwe as the regime sought to
regain lost ground through violence sanctioned and funded by the state, and
led by the security apparatus.

However, even then the margin of victory for Zanu PF in the June poll was
very narrow. Zanu PF got 62 seats, the MDC 57, while Zanu (Ndonga) led by
the late veteran nationalist Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole  got one in a
national assembly of 150 elected MPs.

Analysing Zanu PF’s narrow victory, the late academic and political
scientist Professor Masipula Sithole said the “margin of terror” made the
difference. The same could be argued in the 2008 elections. The regime
resorted to its tried and tested method — the margin of terror, not error!

After Mugabe lost to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of
the March 2008 presidential poll, he unleashed violence to retain power.

Interestingly both violent elections in 2000 and 2008 were run in June. It
would not be surprising to hear the criminal cabal in Zanu PF calling for
elections in the same month for psychological reasons this year.

The other bigger picture that the Zanu PF organic intellectuals and
political strategists have in mind is to test the resolve of Sadc and the
AU — the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement  — ahead of the main

A muted response by Sadc, AU and the rest of the international community to
electoral malpractices  and resistance to reform will encourage Zanu PF to
rig the next elections and even use violence. This could explain the
resurgence of vigilante groups such as Chipangano.

Going to a critical poll without this empirical understanding and experience
would surprise the regime as was the case in March 2008 when they woke up to
an electoral defeat at all levels of governance, and had to resort to
stone-age political methods to remain in power.  The regime could also use
this opportunity to see how the MDC formations perform and whether their
involvement in government has boosted their chances of victory or not.

This sounds a plausible argument given a situation where Zanu PF and the MDC
formations could be supporting the constitutional referendum together
against civic opponents of the negotiated document whose sponsors are
claiming it was people-driven when it was not.

It could also be a way to judge whether misguided policies of the regime
such as the indigenisation policy gradually becoming a Zanufication of the
economy through expropriation more than anything else, have national appeal.

It has been argued that for the last decade Zanu PF has invested heavily in
recruiting organic intellectuals to articulate and mobilise support through
its vote-catching projects such as the land reform programme and

This is one aspect on which the MDC formations have been outfoxed by Zanu
PF. However, despite all this Mugabe and his party  lost the last elections
and are likely to lose again.

Ruhanya is a PhD candidate, Communication and Media Research Institute,
University of Westminster. Email: .

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Rabble-rousers must be stopped

Thursday, 05 April 2012 12:11

INDIGENISATION minister Saviour Kasukuwere last week delivered  disclosures
on government’s strategy regarding the transfer of shares in companies that
have been forced to cede equity under  the emotive empowerment programme.
The minister was quoted by this paper declaring that government would not
pay for shares grabbed from the indigenised companies, a dangerous
proposition indeed.

“We will not pay for the resources,” said Kasukuwere. “This will apply to
all companies and is not just confined to platinum mines. We are converting
mineral resources in the ground in exchange for equity in mines. Where we
are going to have shareholding, we are not going to pay,” he said.

Kasukuwere’s announcement can be dismissed as populist posturing because his
sentiments on compensation do not necessarily represent government policy.
But this –– coming from a party that has a history of grabbing without
recompense –– will have a chilling effect on investors. They will see
Zimbabwe as entering a dangerous phase of the empowerment process in which
equity grabbers are lining up to snatch and run. It’s a break-and-enter
strategy –– now targeted at banks.

Zimbabwe last year gazetted legislation providing for the transfer of
foreign-owned assets to Zimbabwean companies. The notice did not however
clarify whether the shareholdings handed over by foreign investors would be
paid for or whether expropriation of assets was on the cards.

A number of large corporates including Zimplats and Mimosa have agreed to
surrender part of their shareholdings in a plan which includes community
share ownership schemes and giving equity to the Indigenisation Board.
Analysts have pointed out that pressure that has been exerted on these big
players is most likely going to force smaller players to lend themselves to
this dubious plan of partial nationalisation.

If government succeeds in resisting compensating Implats, the whole deal
would be tantamount to expropriation or nationalisation by another name.
However, goverment has all along been saying it would pay fair value for the
equities surrendered to it by foreign-owned companies. The rules of the game
seem to be shifting every now and then and that makes the whole situation a
lot worse.

What has not helped matters is the absence of a clear policy statement from
the government of national unity on the transfer of the shares and who is
expected to benefit from the equity. The absence of a predictable policy
position on the issue was further exposed last week in Johannesburg at the
Fossil Fuel Foundation conference convened to discuss investment in the coal

At the conference Chamber of Mines economist David Matyanga told investors
that Zimbabwe’s indigenisation law stipulated that the state would not be
the shareholder, “but there will be designated agents”. He said the transfer
of those shares would be at market value. This is the local mining sector’s
reading of the policy. This position is also shared by Finance minister
Tendai Biti but his cabinet colleagues believe otherwise.

At a press conference on Monday Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pointed out
that the indigenisation policy continued to affect many sectors of the
economy and the mixed messages from government had not helped matters. “The
fact is that you cannot have a Ministry of Investment Promotion while at the
same time appearing to have adopted a policy that does not in any way
promote investment in the country,” he said.

His quest to convene a special Council of Ministers meeting on Tuesday to
deal with this issue fell flat on its face after Zanu PF minister boycotted
the session. There is discord in the GNU over this very critical issue and
amid these mixed messages the surest outcome is deliberate chaos which will
only help the looting gang whose interpretation of the indigenisation is

The same foggy policy path during the chaotic execution of the land reform
programme blocked fair value compensation to dispossessed farmers as laws
were changed arbitrarily to avoid paying for improvements. The result was
large scale plunder of farm machinery and fixtures, and of course hunger and
starvation. That we are heading this way again with the rest of the economy
is too ghastly to contemplate.

This government has inflicted huge damage on this economy through disastrous
leadership and policy failures which have ruined the country.

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Editor’s Memo: Mugabe in denial, resisting reform

Thursday, 05 April 2012 12:09

WHEN the GPA was signed in 2008, it was envisaged parties involved would use
the breathing space created to restore peace and stability after a decade of
a state of flux due to a political stalemate over disputed elections
outcomes and the devastating economic meltdown, while introducing
comprehensive reforms to create conditions for free and fair elections.

It was a transitional arrangement which came in the aftermath of the bloody
June 2008 presidential election run-off in which President Robert Mugabe and
his Zanu PF –– battling for survival amid fears of being held to account for
their excesses in power if they were defeated outright –– unleashed a
shocking wave of violence and brutality to remain ensconced at the helm.

The general understanding of the parties, informed by the GPA and the
circumstances of its genesis, as well as events during the preceding decade
of turmoil that posed a serious existential threat to Zimbabwe, was
elections would be held after a new constitution had been adopted.

The parties had a choice to use the already agreed Kariba draft. Zanu PF
wanted the Kariba draft, saying it  was part of the deal. The MDC-T, under
pressure from civil society, changed its approach and demanded a
“people-driven” constitution.

However, the trouble was the MDC-T resisted demands by civil society to have
an inclusive process. This led to clashes between the MDC-T and civic

At the time, as a newspaper, we warned the MDC parties that, by refusing to
include other various interest groups in the process, they were running the
risk of hopping into bed with Zanu PF alone and getting a raw deal in the
end. We argued the problem with a process driven by the three GPA parties ––
which represent a narrow section of society –– was that it would not capture
the full spectrum of people’s views and that in any case Zanu PF was playing
dirty games and would manipulate the outcome unless checks and balances were

But MDC-T officials mainly and their surrogate civil groups claimed it was
better to embrace a flawed process and get a new constitution and then make
improvements afterwards. They further claimed, rather naively, Zanu PF would
not renege on its promises because the GPA was binding and its guarantors ––
Sadc and the AU –– as well as the facilitator President Jacob Zuma would not
allow it.

We, however, warned that whatever their argument, the MDC-T mainly was
embarking on a dangerous game like running with the bulls. Many analysts at
the time, including Professor Jonathan Moyo  and Professor Lovemore Madhuku,
argued, albeit for different reasons, the process was flawed because it was
not inclusive. The outcome, they said, would also be equally flawed.

Most critics suggested a constitutional or constituent assembly, which would
balance the interests of the people and political parties, to spearhead the
process but were rebuffed. We insisted the difficulty was that after or
during periods of conflict, parties may not really represent the people, and
their role and influence may be a problem issue in constitution-making
because political parties have interests as parties, and politicians as

But no one listened. Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Predictably,
Mugabe and Zanu PF have treacherously changed course. The MDC parties have
now been reduced to merely reacting to Mugabe’s manoeuvres to stall or
manipulate the constitution-making process to suit his electoral agenda.

As things stand, transition and reform are stalled. Mugabe and his party,
running rings around the MDC parties, remain in denial, fighting a rearguard
battle to short-circuit or manipulate the process to suit their elections
agenda. Profound deficits remain in GPA implementation  and prospects of
securing comprehensive reforms before the elections are very remote.

Opportunities to build a foundation for sustainable political and economic
recovery are consistently undermined. Violence and repression are pressing
concerns; the police appear unwilling or unable to provide effective
deterrence or remedy and the expectation of a more proactive engagement by
Sadc is fading.

Mugabe and Zanu PF, which retains the dominant role in power relations, seem
to be succeeding in frustrating implementation of the GPA and now the
constitution-making process before early elections.

An elections endgame was the main objective in the GPA. But now the real
question  is: When will elections be held and under what conditions given
that the reform agenda has ground to a halt?

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Candid Comment: Govt fiddles while parastatals bleed

Thursday, 05 April 2012 12:08

Dingilizwe Ntuli

STATISTICS indicate that the government only had 14 efficiently run and
profitable parastatals at Independence in 1980. However, that figure has
dramatically gone down and almost all the existing 76 state entities are
operating at a serious deficit with a ballooning debt running into millions
of dollars.

Among the 14 viable parastatals the government inherited at Independence was
the flagship carrier Air Zimbabwe, which had replaced Air Rhodesia. Since
its inception in 1967, Air Rhodesia had operated profitably despite
comprehensive UN sanctions.

With the advent of Independence, the newly reconstituted Air Zimbabwe was
expected to expand its operations since new lucrative markets were now open
for exploitation. However, soon after 1981 the national airline started to
register deficits in spite of the new routes open to it.

This resulted in it relying heavily on state subsidies to survive, and since
then, the flagship carrier has hardly made any profit. It continued to bleed
the national fiscus until it was eventually permanently grounded last month
bringing 32 years of disastrous operations to a halt. At the time of its
shut down, the national airline had a debt of more than US$140 million and
virtually had no operational aircraft after all but one of its aging five
planes had been grounded because of a lack of spare parts.

AirZim finally came to journey’s end last month when the government
announced its shutdown. Although a new company to run a new airline has been
established, no one knows when it will start flying since no private
investors have been forthcoming as most are jittery about investing in an
entity in which the government is the majority shareholder.

The AirZim disaster is just the latest in a long list of failed parastatals.
Ziscosteel, Zupco, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority, Noczim, Cold Storage Company, Grain Marketing Board and
the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority, among others, are
dysfunctional and either technically insolvent or facing collapse.

They are all victims of rampant corruption, poor corporate governance,
mismanagement of financial resources, and lack of clear policy direction.
The monopolies these parastatals have enjoyed since Independence have been
of no help and have instead helped in destroying the economy through
numerous bailouts from depleted state coffers for them to remain afloat.

It is also disturbing that some government officials, particularly
ministers, ran most of these parastatals as personal fiefdoms by handpicking
their highly incompetent cronies to manage the entities for purposes of

No sooner had these managers been appointed than they began lining their
pockets. For example, Ziscosteel was the main foreign currency earner before
Independence, but incompetent management rendered its main furnace derelict
for years resulting in the company shutting down. The closing down of
Ziscosteel did not only affect the town of Redcliff next to Kwekwe where it
is located, but other towns linked by the railway line from the steel-maker
such as Bulawayo and Hwange. Bulawayo was worst affected since most
industrial companies dependent on steel for survival were shutdown throwing
thousands of workers into the streets.

Most of these parastatals have also been negatively affected by the
non-constitution of boards and too many people acting in senior positions.
As long as corporate governance is not adhered to in the running of these
entities, parastatals will continue to be used as gravy trains at the
expense of the overburdened and suffering taxpayer and the economy.

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