August 11, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Zimbabwe's feuding political parties failed to reach common ground
Sunday after a marathon session lasting more than 16 hours of intense
haggling over an elusive power-sharing deal.
It has emerged that the two parties failed to iron out the so-called sticky
points that have delayed the conclusion of the two-week old negotiations.
The talks are set to continue this Monday morning.
The veil of secrecy that has dominated the talks continued Sunday after both
the negotiating parties maintained a complete blackout on the progress of
Talks between the two parties began in earnest two weeks ago after the
signing of the Memorandum of Understanding that bound President Robert
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF and the two opposition MDC parties led by Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara to a two-week process of continuous
Negotiators from Zanu-PF and the MDC spent two weeks in Pretoria and came
back last Thursday night with a draft proposal for a power-sharing deal.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, the chief negotiator in the crisis
talks flew into Zimbabwe Saturday evening to help conclude the deal.
Hopes were high that the signing of a power-sharing deal would materialise
Sunday after the two parties gave statements during the week that the talks
were proceeding well.
But the South African leader failed to diffuse the tensions between the two
parties even with the bringing together of the three principals at the same
The talks began at 9 am on Sunday on the 16th floor of Harare's Rainbow
Towers and went right up to 01:30 hrs on Monday morning.
Anxious journalists who spent the entire 16 hours hoping to capture the most
defining moment in Zimbabwe's 10 year old crisis were disappointed after all
the parties to the talks failed to disclose what was delaying the signing of
President Mugabe, who was the first to emerge from the elevator to the
ground floor of the luxury hotel where the talks are taking place, said the
talks would continue in the morning.
"No, we have not concluded," he said. "We are hoping to finish tomorrow
Asked if there had been any sticky issues, Mugabe said: "Yes there will
always be sticky issues in any dialogue."
Tsvangirai, who emerged 10 minutes later also refused to shed any light as
to what had been discussed.
"No comment," he said as he struggled to find his way through a throng of
journalists, "I suppose President Mbeki is going to give comment."
Mutambara said the talks are continuing today.
"The talks are work in progress. We are continuing tomorrow morning," he
Nicholas Goche, one of the Zanu-PF chief negotiators said the talks would
continue after 10 am after the parties attend today's Heroes Day
commemoration ceremony at Heroes' Acre.
It was not clear if Tsvangirai, who has often stayed away from national
events, would attend the celebrations. It had been speculated earlier that
Tsvangirai and Mugabe would seal the signing of the agreement on Sunday by
making a joint appearance on Monday at a national ceremony that over the
years has become an exclusively Zanu-PF affair.
Close followers of the crisis talks say what could be delaying the talks
could be the roles to be played by both President Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
Mugabe feels he should be the dominant figure in the proposed structure on
the strength of the result of the June 27 presidential run-off which he won
in the absence of a challenger after Tsvangirai withdrew his candidature,
citing widespread violence.
The Zimbabwean leader, who lost the first round of the elections on March
29, went on against local and international pressure to declare himself
winner in an election in which he was the only candidate.
On the other hand, the MDC leader feels any package between the two parties
should proceed on the basis of the outcome of the March 29 election, which
The MDC leader however failed to garner the 50 per cent plus majority needed
for him to become President.
August 11 2008 at 07:14AM
By Peta Thornycroft
President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai were locked in talks
until the wee hours of Monday morning, having failed to reach a swift
agreement on the sticking points that keep them apart.
From noon on Sunday, mediator President Thabo Mbeki struggled to
strike the accord that would start a transitional era marking the end of
Mugabe's blood-soaked 28 years in power. By midnight, there was still no
deal in sight.
The six negotiators from both factions of the Movement for Democratic
Change and Zanu-PF, in talks under South African mediation for the last two
weeks, remained outside the closed doors of the 17th floor of a 5-star hotel
where Mugabe and Tsvangirai struggled to find common ground.
Tsvangirai, who beat Mugabe in the March 29 elections, but pulled out
of the second round because Zanu-PF militia murdered so many of his
officials and supporters before polling day, argued that both he and his
party had won majority support in the elections.
By late on Sunday night, the relaxed atmosphere at the hotel, where a
rich Harare family had gathered for a sumptuous wedding feast, began to
chill as even the state press began to realise the easy deal they had
predicted was slipping away.
There was an assumption by several of them that the "deal", as the
state-controlled Sunday Mail called the negotiations, was hours away and
would be in place before Monday - one of the most important days of Mugabe's
calendar, the annual Hero's Day commemoration at the national shrine in
honour of those who fought and died to end white rule.
The hotel, surrounded by members of Mugabe's Presidential Guard, was
also swarming with intelligence operatives and cabinet ministers.
Many of them face the end of their political careers, even if Mugabe
retains significant executive power as an agreement on a new transitional
cabinet has agreed, with almost equal members from each party in a
Some of the hardliners fanatically loyal to Mugabe are as unacceptable
to many younger members of Zanu-PF as they are to the MDC.
It was expected, if an agreement was reached, that Mugabe and
Tsvangirai would have equal numbers of cabinet ministers and one or two for
the smaller MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara.
The length of the transitional period was not considered vital,
according to political sources, as an agreement had been reached by all
parties that a new constitution would be hammered out within a specified
time frame, and then presented to the people - leading to fresh elections.
If no deal is reached, then Mugabe faces an economy that is
unravelling daily and no foreign currency to import food.
"I cannot even begin to wonder what is happening in Harare at the
negotiations, as here we are fighting over food," said an MDC MP from
southern Zimbabwe on Sunday.
"Here there is no maize, and peasants from my area who tried to buy
some from the state have been cheated out of what they paid for by Zanu-PF
people and the police. The maize they paid for was taken by police and the
"We know children were beginning to starve last week. I am trying to
manage the situation from Bulawayo, as I cannot go to my constituency as
police are always arresting me there."
Mugabe banned humanitarian agencies from fieldwork on June 4, which
means about 1,5-million people in need of emergency feeding programmes now
are going hungry.
In Chitungwisa, a dormitory town on the southern tip of Harare, people
say they have not even been able to find the staple food, maize meal, on the
black market for the past four days.
"Honestly, we really have nothing to eat but vegetables now," said a
clerk at a city centre drycleaning outlet.
Zimbabwe's most prominent civil rights activist, Lovemore Madhuku,
warned on Sunday: "Morgan knows that if he sells out, there will be a
tragedy and he will have betrayed the people and the struggle of the last
*At the time of going to print, no deal had been struck.
This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on August
By Delia Robertson
10 August 2008
Zimbabwe's political leaders held talks with South African President Thabo
Mbeki in a Harare hotel, amid hopes the leaders may emerge with a power
sharing deal aimed at ending the country's political, economic and social
crisis. The focus of Sunday's meetings is the composition of any future
power sharing government, and who will wield executive power. Marathon
session of talks Sunday ended without agreement on a power-sharing deal.
After the talks broke up for the night President Robert Mugabe said the
parties would meet again Monday. This report from Peta Thornycroft in Harare
and VOA's Delia Robertson at our southern Africa bureau in Johannesburg.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (R) walks beside South African
President Thabo Mbeki (L) at Harare international airport in Harare, 09 Aug
Will Robert Mugabe remain president but be reduced to a political figurehead
with real power resting in the hands of Morgan Tsvangirai in a new post of
executive prime minister? Will overall executive authority be retained by
Mr. Mugabe? Or will the final agreement reached between Zimbabwe's political
leaders be a leadership arrangement somewhere in between the two?
No one, except those directly engaged in Sunday's talks, knows what deal is
being discussed in Harare. The confidentiality demanded of participants in
the talks by the South African leader has been largely observed.
Even so, it is widely understood that accord on much of the agenda agreed to
just three weeks ago has been reached. It was left to party officials
themselves to make the decisions on how executive authority will be divided.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
won more votes than President Mugabe in the first round of the presidential
race in March, in an election widely viewed as generally free and fair. But
he failed to garner a majority necessary to win outright.
Mr. Mugabe won the uncontested presidential runoff race in June - but all
observer groups in that election said it failed to meet African election
standards, and did not reflect the will of Zimbabwean voters.
In the period between the two polls, humanitarian organizations said
supporters of Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party supported by the police and
military, launched a campaign of violence against opposition supporters, in
which more than one hundred people were killed, hundreds severely injured
and thousands displaced. That violence has largely disappeared now.
Analysts caution that whatever deal is reached by Zimbabwe's political
leaders, in order for it to work, it will have to be endorsed by the
country's powerful security establishment.
Meanwhile, with an official inflation rate of over two million percent, the
economy continues to decline at an exponential rate. Just this past week,
some Zimbabweans opted for barter rather than the Zimbabwe dollar and sold
vehicles in exchange for gasoline coupons.
August 11, 2008
By Pardon Kangara
ANY power-sharing deal that does not free the land from the grip of the
Joint Operations Command and its retrogressive behaviour will sow the seeds
for the beginning of a military-controlled government in Zimbabwe.
There is no point in anyone heading a powerless government whose welfare
will be at the mercy of a powerful and uncontrollable military. I certainly
hope that any coming agreement will strongly and unequivocally curtail the
power of the uniformed services to effect political change. It should allow
for the de-politicization of the armed forces.
Arthur Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai must put the cessation of violence
against the MDC members and innocent Zimbabweans as a precondition before
the signing of any power-sharing document. There should not be a repeat of
serious omissions of the process of cessation of hostilities like as
happened during Gukurahundi. A good agreement must be beneficial to the
country more than it can be to any political party. It is important to agree
not only on paper but also in the spirit of where we believe the country
A document condemning violence signed by the parties cannot substitute
actual practical measures that must be taken to eradicate the violence. On
the other hand, it is an adequate measure to call and bus all the military
personnel and the militias deployed in the rural areas, towns and cities
back to the barracks and following this to disband the militias.
There should be an unconditional release of all political prisoners. We all
know President Robert Mugabe freed some prisoners soon after being sworn in.
There should be assurance that those released were not part of additional
sleeper cells of green bombers.
There is a grave danger to the country and the democratic process if we put
the instruments of a true democracy on the back burner for the sake of
forming a transitional government. It seems that the machinations of these
talks and any power-sharing deal are not driven by a common goal to serve
the people but are a product of a process to cover up the horrors of
political violence unleashed on the innocent by Zanu-PF after March 29.
The lessons from Gukurahundi must be well learned. The MDC should not agree
with Zanu-PF for the sake of forming a power-sharing government. An
agreement based on principles which govern their political, moral, economic
and social leadership obligations to Zimbabwe is critical. If this document
cannot guarantee the hopes and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe, it
will be such a sad state of political malignancy, in both negotiating
parties, in the face of such a critical turning point for the country.
I also find it ironical that Mbeki who previously felt there was "no crisis"
in Zimbabwe should now convene these talks while refusing to be sidelined in
order to allow someone who is neutral to mediate. However, his efforts are
commendable though late because there has been a great loss in the country
of lives and property. If he had acted back then when he should have done
so, there would not have been need to force any amnesty deal for the
Whatever the deal, it is more imperative to have a governable country and a
good level of flexibility on the part of the transitional authority to
promulgate laws that begin to bring the full sense of a just and fair
society. There must be room in this agreement to deal ruthlessly with any
elements that seek to undermine the inalienable rights of Zimbabweans to
gather, speak and do business freely.
There should be adequate measures to ensure that that those who were members
of JOC and their backers are not given any influence on the current and
future military or any political party's structures. Mugabe and the JOC can
only be tamed by stopping the blood flow that feeds their power; the
militias and a politically biased uniformed services top brass.
By Peter Clottey
11 August 2008
Some Zimbabweans are reportedly worried the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) might betray ordinary masses at ongoing peace
negotiations. They say reports of regional and international pressure being
brought bear on the MDC to make significant concessions at the talks would
weaken the opposition. They say their fears were confirmed after a faction
of the MDC claimed the outcome of the peace negotiations might not
necessarily be the best, but that it would good for the interim as the
opposing factions find ways of solving the ongoing economic and political
Meanwhile South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki met Sunday with Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai amidst
reports of an imminent power sharing deal. Glen Mpani is the regional
coordinator for the transitional justice program of the Center for the Study
of Violence and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa. He tells reporter
Peter Clottey the negotiations seem to have lost focus.
"Without any tangible information coming out of the negotiations, which have
been shrouded in secrecy, it is very difficult for Zimbabweans to be
optimistic that the current negotiations will yield anything for them
because what they are looking at is the characters and the true record of
the two political parties. Zimbabweans have experienced previous unity
agreements before, and they have seen the level of intransigence
particularly on the part of the ZANU-PF, and they are quite doubtful that
anything is going to come out of these negotiations," Mpani pointed out.
He said although Zimbabweans are doubtful of a solution that could be found
at the talks, they are hopeful of an end to ongoing violence in the rural
"Because of the level of suffering in the country Zimbabweans would want a
solution to come out of it. That is why they are waiting anxiously for it,"
Mpani concurs that the main objective of the negotiations between the ruling
ZANU-PF and the opposition has been sidestepped.
"They are quite right because over the last one and a half weeks, the focus
of the negotiations have been to say what is going to be Mugabe's role, what
is going to be Tsvangirai's role. How long is going to be the transition or
the government of national unity? And I think the most important thing in
these negotiations is to say who has got the mandate to be leading this
process, and what are the issues to be tackled? What are we going to do with
the perpetrators of violence? Are we going to grant them amnesty or is there
going to be justice or what is going to be the framework of the transitional
arrangement? So, all those issues have not been teased out," Mpani noted.
He said the political parties might come up with an arrangement at the talks
that would only beneficial to their course, but not that of the suffering
"I'm now worried that we are now having political parties coming up with a
deal that might be in their best interest, and leaving behind the people of
Zimbabwe, who should be major beneficiaries of it," he said.
Mpani said the main opposition is under strain to make significant
concessions that could weaken its position in future engagements.
"I think the MDC is under immense pressure because if you look at what has
been going on where the media has been talking about say there are very few
issues that have been left under the current negotiations they are about to
sign. One of the pressures is coming from South African President Thabo
Mbeki who is going to be taking on the chairpersonship of SADC (Southern
African Development Community) this week. He would want to go to SADC with a
deal to show that the negotiations of Zimbabwe has worked," Mpani pointed
He said a division in the opposition could be an inhibitor of the
negotiating power that the MDC possesses at the talks.
"The second thing that we have is that we have got the Mutambara formation.
The Mutambara formation has positioned itself as an interesting part in the
sense that it has been quite malleable in inclining itself to the mediator
and to ZANU-PF. And if you read what the leader of the Mutambara faction
wrote today articulating the position that they would want a framework that
is Zimbabwean in nature, despite the fact that it might impact, but it
should be acceptable in the interim. So, there is already some position of
conceding quite a number of issues. And I think despite the amount of
support that the MDC has, I don't think they are in a position under the
current circumstances to be able to say we are pulling out of this deal
other than them being subjected to the fact that they are pandering to the
whims of the west," he said.
11th Aug 2008 00:59 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
IT IS not entirely inconceivable that, in African capitals from Pretoria to
Tunis, diplomats have been consulting feverishly on what position to take on
the ongoing bloody David-and-Goliath conflict between Georgia and Russia.
Since the former is backed by the West, there could be an unmistakeable Cold
War element in whatever decision the countries take.
If there was a United Nations Security Council vote on who to condemn for
the as-yet-undeclared war, you can guess which side South Africa and Tunisia
You can also guess which side Zimbabwe would support. In the Security
Council vote on sanctions on Robert Mugabe's regime, over the murder of
scores of unarmed opposition supporters since 29 March, Russia and China
scuttled any affirmative action by the 15 members.
So, Ambassador Chidyausiku might find himself scratching the Russian bear's
back, just as it scratched his country's pangolin over the sanctions.
You can imagine the foreign minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, telling a
press conference in Harare, in outraged, ringing tones: "The republic of
Georgia, being a puppet of the West, provoked the peace-loving republic of
Russia and must thus be condemned in the strongest language."
The cold war ended more than 20 years ago, but is about to be revived, with
all its needless carnage of human life because - to take a cynical view -
countries want to test the efficacy of their new weapons of mass
destruction, or the preparedness of their new lean, mean fighting machines
for a full-scale war against.somebody. .
Russia is so big - more than 140 million people, compared with little
Georgia's under five million - to say the latter could be swatted like a fly
would not be an insult to the Georgians.
One reason Moscow decided on the attack could be related to Georgia's
intention to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European
It is, probably legitimate for Russia to have retaliated for Georgia's
attack on secessionist South Ossetia on its border with the small former
Soviet republic. Yet there must be a good reason for the failure of
negotiations, before guns were fired.
When you consider that Vladimir Putin himself, the militant, war-mongering
former KGB boss now the prime minister of Russia, decided to personally
check on the military progress, you might not avoid linking this to his own
apparent intention to frighten the West into letting Russia deal with the
former Soviet republics as it wishes.
There are some analysts, in fact, who believe the pro-Mugabe vote at the UN
was probably more anti-West than anti-MDC, although there are others who
maintain there is little difference between the two.
This puts the new phase of the cold war into better perspective. What both
China and Russia seem to be aiming for is for the West to allow them
unbridled domination of certain countries, in exchange for their
own "neutrality" or "hands-off" policy in areas "controlled" or "owned" by
The strategies on either side are not as rigid or as predictable as they
were before the end of communism, but the lust for world domination by
either side remains as robust as it ever was.
In going to the Beijing Olympic Games, but being blunt in his criticism of
China's human rights record, President George W. Bush seemed to display a
pragmatic approach designed to appeal to the Chinese leadership. Bush, the
lame-duck Republican president, knows you can't risk trade opportunities
over nebulous short-term political benefits..
Still, this does not detract from Beijing's anti-democratic attack on the
media in general, with so many restrictions on their coverage and movements
during the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The murder of an American by a Chinese who later committed suicide might, by
now, have been explained away as the insane act of one mentally disturbed
person, but there are those who are bound to wonder...
What Africa's major concern ought to be is its continuing victimisation as a
"prize catch" in this new phase of the cold war, Sudan, for instance, has
definitely benefited from the patronage of China which has huge oil
interests in that vast country.
But the African Union's efforts to end the killing of innocents in the
Darfur region have been frustrated by the government of the dictator Omar Al
If China took a neutral stance in that conflict, there could be a dramatic
decrease in the killings.
That, of course, might parallel a guarantee of non-Chinese and non-Russian
opposition to a fresh UN Security Council resolution on sanctions against
the Mugabe regime.
The old cold war stakes were mostly political. Apartheid South Africa and
Mobutu Sese Seko's dictatorship in Zaire, for instance, were backed by the
West for the same reason - they were perceived as anti-communist bastions,
although both were hardly squeamish about killing their own citizens for
vocal opposition to the regimes, most of it untainted by ideological
Russia has so much going for it - vast natural resources, including oil and
gas. A recent report suggested the country has so much idle but fertile land
it has allowed British farmers to come in and exploit this precious
resource - on a commercial basis.
It could yet be the world's ultimate breadbasket.
But there was never any unanimity among the Soviet people that the world's
first one-party dictatorship should be dismantled. There are still some who
feel it should be revived, although how to subdue the former republics is an
Both China and Russia have made spectacular economic strides since
abandoning their strict dogma of the people's ownership of the means of
Russia has certainly shed many of the traces of the Marxism-Leninism that
dominated the economy until Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin came on the
scene. But China's displaying of portraits of Mao Zedong during the Beijing
Olympics must have been the cause for some disquiet among those who thought
the republic had turned over a new leaf.
This is the China which sends billions of dollars worth of arms to an
African country facing its worst economic crisis since independence.
Moreover, the country is not facing a military challenge from any quarter...
Its only formidable opposition is from an indigenous civilian political
party of former trade unionists, intellectuals and student leaders. The
party has galvanised ordinary people against the Chinese-backed group of
geriatric rulers who have to take massive doses of performance-enhancing
drugs before they even attempt to walk the few metres to their official
Both the Chinese and the Russians can only back the Mugabe regime for
economic and not political reasons. Their desire is to replace Zimbabwe's
traditional trade and economic partners, most of them in the West.
What that must entail is a surrender to the ideological dogma that both
countries were believed to have abandoned entirely after their economic
about-face which has now transformed them into economic giants...
But their readiness to resort to violence must disturb all in Zanu PF who
believe the economic benefits of this alliance is worth the risk of
surrendering some of their sovereignty to foreigners.
The Chinese have steadily raised their economic profile in Zimbabwe. In a
number of instances, they have treated the workers as if they were no more
than chattel or serfs.
In Zambia, there were fights between Chinese and Zambians at workplaces in
one case, with serious casualties. In South Africa, where the Chinese have
made similar economic inroads, reports suggest all has not been smooth
sailing. Their methods continue to be crude and uncaring, the prime
motivation being profit, at whatever cost.
The Russians are not entirely different, except perhaps in that they are
handicapped by a racism that has been detected by many Africans visiting and
working with Russians in their own country.
The Westerners remain the hated former colonisers. In every country which
won independence from them, a struggle had to be waged, which ended in
victory for the indigenous people.
Another round of liberation wars against the Chinese and the Russians may
not necessarily end that way. The cold war was vicious; Africa does not
deserve that kind of blood-letting now, 50 years after the dawn of
by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 11 August 2008
Ownership is a key construction concept in the development of an
Anglo-American socio-economic system that has been copied by post-colonial
Africa without much thought on the underlying obligations that an order
founded on the respect of property rights imposes on it.
The concept of ownership has existed for thousands of years and is
It is defined as the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over
property which may be an object, land/real estate, intellectual property or
some other kind of property and it is embodied in a right also referred to
Concepts such as money, trade, debt, insolvency, the criminality of theft
and private and public property that form a bed rock of ancient and modern
societies draw their origins from the ownership concept.
The nature, form and substance of the relationship between man and property
and between the state and property are important in predicting the success
or failure of nation building business models.
To the extent that citizens can gain, transfer and lose ownership of
property in a number of ways, the process and mechanics of ownership are
necessarily important in creating a competitive, progressive and dynamic
Property, a key construction concept in building a financially viable and
sustainable Africa, can be acquired through the intermediation of money,
trading it for other property, receiving it as a gift, stealing it, finding
it, making it or homesteading it.
It can also be lost through selling it for money, exchanging it for other
property, giving it as a gift, being robbed of it, misplacing it, having it
stripped from one's ownership through legal or extra-legal means such as
eviction, foreclosure and seizure.
Ownership of a company for example is self-propagating to the extent that
any profit produced by it will also be owned by the same owner or his/her
successors and/or nominees.
It has been accepted in human civilization that if one finds an object, one
can legitimately take ownership of that object as long as no one claims to
have previously lost that object.
Throughout history, nations and religions like individuals have owned
In some societies, only adult men may own property, while in others,
property is matrilineal and is passed on from mother to daughter.
In the majority of post-colonial African states, both men and women can own
property with no restrictions.
To own and operate property, any progressive society must create its own
institutions and structures to govern how assets are to be used, shared or
treated; rules and regulations may be legally imposed or internally adopted
Some of the many varied types of structured ownership include cooperatives,
corporations, trusts, partnerships, housing associations etc.
The interface between Africa and colonialism resulted in the alienation of
resources from natives.
The colonial business model was founded on the principle that natives had no
interest in modernity and could, therefore, not conceivably have any in
interest in land, mineral and other resources beyond what they needed in
eking a subsistent living.
The race factor that underpinned the colonial model had the unintended
consequence of distorting the true nature of ownership and how this concept
if properly construed can be a powerful instrument in nation building.
In constructing a non-sexist, non-racial and democratic post-colonial order,
very little attention has regrettably been placed on improving literacy on
key foundational concepts like ownership and the kind of responsibility
implied in assuming title to property to the property owner.
Unfortunately the ghost of colonialism is still omnipresent in many
post-colonial African states to the extent that ownership carries with it a
black and white stigma.
Whether a person is black or white, it is important that the concept of
liability that is inherent in ownership be properly understood.
The need to construct a legal and institutional framework, rules and
regulations that protects, penalises and rewards property owners in a
predictable and sustainable manner cannot be overstated.
In its proper construction, a government is a body corporate that is
governed by a constitution and is formed solely to serve its members.
Its focus should be on providing service in perpetuam and any financial
surplus generated should normally be retained to finance growth and
The standard Anglo-American model of governance is based on an "agency
model" in which the goal of political governance is to have state actors act
according to the will of citizens.
The post-colonial African governance model is in practice based on a
"principal model" in which the goal of governance is to have state actors
act not according to the will of the people but the whims and wishes of the
The ownership question as it relates to African resources has often been
used to mask the leadership bankruptcy in the continent by explaining away
the lack of progress in reducing the frontiers of poverty on ills of the
colonial ownership legacy.
It cannot be denied that the class relationships that were inherited from
the colonial order have been difficult to transform not because blacks are
inherently inferior entrepreneurs but due to a faulty understanding of the
complex interplay between ownership and performance.
It cannot be correct to argue that transferring title to blacks will
necessarily translate into economic performance without investing in an
understanding of the key foundational principles required to create a
At the core of human civilisation must be the individual who while pursuing
his/her personal interests should advance the national cause through a
purposeful and constructive interaction with fellow citizens.
If Africa needs sustainable investment from both domestic and foreign
sources, it must critically interrogate its understanding of the ownership
concept so as to correctly capture the kind of human imagination required to
spur development and creativity.
Who should drive the African economic agenda? Should it be the state or the
citizen? What should be the proper role of the state in post-colonial
Africa? Does Africa need intelligent leaders or enlightened and empowered
citizens? Who should own Africa's resources? What kind of Africa do we want
The paradigm that has informed the majority of post-colonial African
economies has been premised on the state serving three different and
conflicting roles i.e. as a shareholder of state institutions in which
political actors with no experience in business are expected to transmit
informed market signals to the firm as a market actor; as a referee in which
it is expected to maintain the institutions of a market system and
adjudicating disputes while accepting that the market system in foreign
construct to a majority of African political actors; the state as a
corrector in which it is expected to intervene in the market to correct some
failure such as mispricing of externalities or to provide public goods while
accepting that democracy in Africa can produce absurd outcomes in political
The utility of any organisation is ultimately measured by its ability to
respond to the needs of the target market.
The construction of accounting rules to determine a surplus or profit at the
end of each financial year is instructive.
At the top of the income statement must be located a sales value to
highlight the fact that an enterprise whose output has no market is doomed
to failure irrespective of who owns it.
Accordingly, the primary purpose of any enterprise is to serve the customer
and is so doing a surplus or profit can be generated.
Underpinning this construction is the fact that the residual benefit from
any enterprise must belong to the owner who is typically described as a
shareholder in limited liability companies.
A shareholder is nothing more than a holder of a piece of paper like a
passport or birth certificate. Owning the paper does not translate into cash
unless goods and services are produced and exchanged for value.
Equally at the top of the income statement of a government's income
statement must, therefore, be contributions by income earning citizens
Accordingly, no viable government can exist without contributions from
citizens in the form of taxes.
It must be accepted that a successful entrepreneur has to be smart enough to
know and anticipate what his target market needs.
This does not require academic qualifications but different skills.
A free society allows the consumer to make choices and it is incumbent in
the model that the sole purpose of enterprise is to produce a good or
service that someone is prepared to pay for.
Regrettably, Africa's post-colonial leaders are at their best using the
colonial language and arrogantly attempting to think for their citizens
rather than in serving them.
If Africa's fortunes are to improve, it is important that a dramatic policy
shift takes place in the construction of the development model from a
prescription-based approach to a user friendly one.
Ownership without performance is a hollow construct that serves no purpose
in advancing Africa's cause. - ZimOnline
By Charles G. Anderson Sr.
Special to the Reporter-News
Sunday, August 10, 2008
. Life expectancy: Men -- 38; women -- 37
. Unemployment rate: 80 percent
. HIV/AIDS infected: 1.8 million
. AIDS related deaths: 3,000
. Hospital occupancy: 70 percent of beds occupied by AIDS patients
Sources: Population Reference Bureau, CIA World Facts, People's Daily
Alvaro and Deborah Dos Santos, of Abilene, with their children, Bianca, 10,
and Jason, 12, walked to the front gate of their former home in Zimbabwe and
looked on with sadness and nostalgia.
A guard stood at the door of the house, which now showed neglect. No one
lived there anymore.
They did not ask to look around.
The family returned to visit their homeland last month amid skyrocketing
inflation and violence. President Robert Mugabe is negotiating a power
sharing agreement with a rival to help resolve a political crisis in which
dozens have been killed and thousands forced from their homes in the
violence that followed disputed presidential elections this year, according
to the Associated Press.
The Dos Santos family fled their country in 2005 because they feared for
their lives. They eventually made their way to Abilene, where they had
friends, on July 4, 2006.
Alvaro is a master shoemaker, and his business once employed more than 400
people in Zimbabwe and exported shoes around the world.
But when Mugabe came to power in Zimbabwe, land was taken from the white
Alvaro, whose family is white, found that new government rules made it
impossible for him to run his business. There were death threats to the
family, and he was paying the police thousands of dollars a month for
protection. He finally had no choice but to flee the country, although their
oldest, Philip, 28, still lives in Zimbabwe. He is hoping to leave soon.
Now, Alvaro travels the United States helping people understand the needs of
the Zimbabwean people and raising money to help feed them.
In July, the family wanted to go back to see relatives and to check on the
thousands of starving widows and children who had been in a feeding program
since 1990. While living in Zimbabwe, the Dos Santos family helped sponsor,
often with their own funds, along with hundreds of individuals and churches,
daily meals to 3,000 people.
The family returned to Zimbabwe on July 3. They found chaos.
"Many of the shops are raided daily by gangs," Alvaro said. "Our own
supplies of food for the poor had been raided, too."
They borrowed a car from a relative and were stopped often by young teenage
men and women militia.
A container of supplies for the poor had been shipped in advance, and the
officials made them pay more money to get it.
"Suffering is without words, desperation without an explanation," Alvaro
said in an e-mail sent secretly by a friend soon after they arrived. "It
hurts to see the devastation that this beautiful land is going through."
One of the things they saw was the hardship of the people and the terror
they lived with daily.
Official inflation has soared to 2.2 million percent in Zimbabwe -- by far
the highest in the world -- and has shot as high as 70 million percent in
the past year, according to an Associated Press story.
On the second day of their arrival in Mutare, Alvaro went out to try to find
some bread. He came back with four loaves costing $20 billion for each loaf.
"Before we left, it cost $100 billion a loaf," Alvaro said.
"I was very nervous during the trip," Deborah said. "But I felt it was good
for the family to go back again."
Once, Deborah and the children were waiting in the car while Alvaro went
inside a store.
Bianca was sitting under the steering wheel, and officers came by and
demanded to see her license.
When Deborah explained that she was just waiting for her father, an officer
said: "You white people think you can get by with anything."
"He then clicked his tongue in a disrespectful way," Deborah said.
Throughout the area, the electricity was off for most of the day, and in
some places, there was none. Alvaro said the only people with running water
were those with wells.
The family brought back an independent newspaper and another sponsored by
The independent paper carried pictures of men and women who have been burned
on their arms, buttocks and backs for opposing the present leadership. The
government paper tells of glorious things that Mugabe is doing.
"Everyone had to be very careful what they said," Deborah said.
Alvaro was driving in town, and a policeman stopped him.
"You ran a red light," the policeman said.
"I spoke politely to him and told him that I was sure that I did not,"
Alvaro said. "I knew that I did not."
The policeman told Alvaro that he would put him in prison.
Alvaro knew he had to do something.
"I am really sorry, sir," he said.
The policeman opened the back door of the car and got in.
"How much money do you have?" he demanded.
Alvaro knew he had no choice, so he took $400 billion and put it on the
It was about $50 in U.S. dollars at the time, and Alvaro asked him to please
let him keep some of it.
The policeman took it all, opened the door, and stuffed the money in his
"See you around," the policeman said. "Have a nice day."
There were big street rallies sponsored by the government, but the Dos
Santos family stayed away.
Alvaro said the government sent the militia into the country to bring people
in by the thousands to march.
"If they found anyone wearing a shirt with MDC (Movement for Democratic
Change) or refusing to march, they were beaten," Alvaro said.
Many of the medical professionals have fled the country, and the hospitals
are in bad condition, he said. Families must bring their own food and
medicine to the hospital.
The Dos Santos family was careful where they went and what they said.
The family returned to Abilene on July 30.
Jason, 12, said he would not like to go back to live in Zimbabwe.
"I felt sad," Bianca, 10, said. "I used to invite 15 to 20 friends over for
a birthday party, sleepover or swimming at our house."
She said only two of her friends are still living in the country.
"We are so blessed to live in America," Alvaro said. "Zimbabwe is a
beautiful country and was once the bread-basket of Africa."
He paused and looked away.
"Freedom can be lost so easily," he said sadly. "It could happen to any
The Dos Santos family first came to Amarillo to the home of missionary Lynn
Leverett, where they stayed 10 months. They had known Leverett when he
visited Zimbabwe with World Bible School. Leverett brought Alvaro to the
Abilene Christian University lectureships, and he met Raymond Blasingame of
Abilene who agreed to be his sponsor. They drove into Abilene on July 4,
He had a temporary work permit and worked for a while with Blasingame's shoe
companies, RAB's Comfort and Active Shoes and Leddy Brace and Shoe, but the
permit has expired. Alvaro hopes to have a permanent work permit, or green
card, soon. His wife is attending ACU. Meanwhile, he is traveling on behalf
of the starving people of Zimbabwe and raising money to help feed them.
Alvaro was born in Portugal but lived most of his life in Zimbabwe. His wife
and children are natives of Zimbabwe, but Alvaro is not. He lived there from
the age of 7. He holds a Portuguese passport, which enabled him to reenter
the country where he was raised.
|www.chinaview.cn 2008-08-11 10:12:40|
BEIJING, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Zibabwean veteran Kirsty Conventry smashed the world record in the women's 100 backstroke semifinals here Monday, shaving 0.20 seconds off the previous record set by U.S swimmer Natalie Coughlin.
Conventry, the Athens silver medalist of the event, led all the way to the finsh and touched in 58.77 seconds. The previous record of 58.97 was set by Coughlin at the U.S. Olympic trials in July this year.
Conventry said she herself was surprised at the world record-breaking performance. "I thought I'm good. I'm going to make it into the final. So I slowed my tempo down a little bit. I wasn't expecting it."
Conventry's parents and boyfriend were at the Water Cube to witness the exciting moment. "I swim really well when I'm feeling happy and my life is balanced, also with my parents and boyfriend in the crowd."
Conventry, seen as national treasure of Zimbabwe, has been training hard in hope to continue her Athens glory.
"I try to keep the ball rolling, training hard and pressing. I have been in great form. I expect nothing but fast fast swimming tomorrow morning," an excited Conventry said.
Conventry won three medals in the Athens Games, including one gold in the 200 backstroke.
Coughlin ranked second in Monday's semifinals in 59.43
seconds. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe broke the women's
100m backstroke world record in the semifinal of the Beijing Olympic Games here
on Monday. (Xinhua
Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe broke the women's 100m backstroke world record in the semifinal of the Beijing Olympic Games here on Monday. (Xinhua Photo)