|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
The report, which should have been released in October last
supposed to be published at the 33rd session of the commission in Niamey,
Niger in May this year but the commissioners claimed there was not enough
time to consider it.
African diplomats close to the
commission this week said the report condemns
President Mugabe and his regime for human rights abuses.
Reports on Zimbabwe's human rights record from Amnesty International and
Human Rights Watch have been rejected by African states who accuse the two
of Western bias.
Zimbabwe Human Rights
NGO forum chairman Albert Musarurwa on Wednesday said
publication of the report was overdue.
"At the moment we doubt if the report will be
made public at the 34th
session of the commission in Banjul, Gambia in October," said Musarurwa.
Diplomats this week said the failure to
table the report was part of a wider
cover-up strategy by the AU which is lobbying the Commonwealth to re-admit
Zimbabwe in the club in Abuja in December. Condemnation by fellow Africans
through the commission would bolster the Commonwealth's argument that
Zimbabwe should remain suspended from its councils, one diplomat said.
The AU fact-finding mission
visited Zimbabwe in 2001 to probe human rights
abuses and left with huge volumes of evidence mainly from civic society.
Musarurwa said the
delay in publishing the report stemmed from the
protectionist mode of African heads of state.
"The AU has become a trade union of leaders who want
to protect each other.
This is a cancer that will be with us for a long time," he said.
African rights activists are putting pressure on the
commission to make
public results of the probe ahead of the Abuja Commonwealth meeting in
An African Civil Society
Consultation meeting on Zimbabwe attended by
activists from Africa and Europe in Gaborone, Botswana from August 5 to 6
implored the commission to release the report.
"The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
should make its report
on the fact-finding mission public at its next session in October 2003,"
activists said in a communiqué after the consultation.
"The commission should then consider its mission report
submissions of civil society organisations and decide in line with Article
58 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights that a situation of
serious and massive violations of human rights exists in Zimbabwe and bring
this to the attention of the chairperson of the African Union and further,
make recommendations on immediate steps to be taken by the Zimbabwean
government to end the human rights violations," they said.
Budget criminal - Biti
THE government yesterday presented a $700 billion supplementary budget which
analyst said was meant to finance government's lavish spending. The
additional amount brings the total budget for the year to $1,442 trillion.
Half the supplementary budget will finance government's bloated wage bill
following hefty salary increases awarded to civil servants in July.
"A sum of $311 billion is needed to meet additional cost of the
evaluation," Finance minister Herbert Murerwa told parliament yesterday.
Murerwa avoided key issues of interest rates and galloping
analysts forecast will reach 1 000% by the end of the year.
"The additional spending will result in a budget deficit of
(7,3% of GDP) against the original $230 billion (11,5%) announced in
November last year," said Murerwa.
MDC shadow Finance
minister Tendai Biti said the budget was criminal and a
seal of approval for government's profligacy.
"It's a criminal budget that is meant to
legimatise government's fiscal
indiscipline," said Biti. "They have found a proper way to strip state
assets before their exit," said Biti.
Murerwa said nothing about the low interest rate which have
savings and fuelled speculative consumer spending.
"Domestic debt will definitely skyrocket as borrowing has
become the major
source of funds for a government facing imminent collapse," said Biti
An economic analyst with a local bank said
the budget was the hallmark of
"As long as
Murerwa said nothing about interest rates and inflation his
budget is a disaster. The budget will push inflation further up," he said.
CFU boss lashes out at govt
COMMERCIAL Farmers Union (CFU) new president Doug Taylor-Freeme has accused
the government of worsening the country's problems by refusing to bring
stability in the agricultural sector.
Agriculture, the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy, has experienced an over
70% decline in the past three years, throwing the whole economy into a
"Stability in the agricultural sector can only be
created by addressing
fundamental issues such as the rule of law and winning back investor
confidence," Taylor-Freeme said in an interview with the Zimbabwe
Independent this week.
"Everybody, including the
government, is avoiding these fundamental issues.
Unless serious action is taken, there will be a total collapse of the
Taylor-Freeme said he was concerned with the lack of
urgency by government
to restore stability in the farming setor.
"Crop forecasts for next season are already indicating another
this year's figures which were declared the worst ever. There is no doubt
that Zimbabwe will be forced to rely on donor goodwill for a couple of
years," he said.
"My message to farmers and all stakeholders
involved in the land question is
to take conflict out of the situation and everything will move forward," he
Taylor-Freeme said CFU
members were keen to get back into farming and use
the vital infrastructure that is sitting idle.
"We have a massive food import programme. There
infrastructure sitting idle such as irrigation schemes, tobacco facilities
"Small-scale farmers who
legitimately bought their farms have joined the CFU
and we are helping them with the necessary skills.
"The small-scale farmers are currently the
major producers of cotton and
other cereals in the country," said Taylor-Freeme.
Govt in efforts to save mining sector
GOVERNMENT and mining executives this week held an emerge-ncy meeting in a
bid to save the declining mining sector from collapse.
Mines minister Edward Chindori-Chininga met Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe
officials in Harare on Tuesday to work out a plan to rescue the troubled
sector which has deteriorated sharply over the past two years.
Chamber of Mines
chief executive David Murangari confirmed the meeting but
would not disclose details saying they were confidential.
"We met but we made an
undertaking not to reveal the details of the
meeting," he said. "The issues we discussed are sensitive and we won't
sources close to the talks said Chindori-Chininga and mining
executives had discussed measures to save the key economic sector from
The meeting focused on the government's policies on
the mining sector, the
exchange rate, the foreign currency crisis, fuel and power shortages and
Zimbabwe's mining sector
shrank 7,1% last year, and the situation is
expected to get worse this year.
A number of mines have either closed down or reduced operations
projects have been put on hold.
Whereas in 1996 the
mining sector contributed 4,5% to gross domestic product
(GDP), the industry's GDP contribution dropped to 3,9% in 2001 and 1,45%
Zimbabwe's GDP is about US$3,7 billion, two-thirds what it was
in 1998 when
it stood at US$5,4 billion. The economy contracted 11,9% last year and is
expected to shrink by 7,2% this year.
foreign exchange earnings capacity has also fallen from more
than 30% of total net proceeds in recent years to 25%.
Minerals that recorded
decreases in volumes last year include gold, black
granite, coal, chromate, cobalt, graphite, iron ore, iron pyrites, lithium
minerals, magnesite and nickel.
Zimbabwe produces base metals, platinum group metals,
industrial metal and
energy minerals. It has diamond and coal-bed methane reserves.
But gold production has been the worst affected due to the
scheme that always lags operating costs, creating cash-flow problems for
The shortage of foreign currency and the
inefficiency of the gold pool
facility set up to help companies acquire inputs have hit production.
Gold production is expected to tumble
another 27,6% to 11 tonnes this year -
reach its lowest level in 23 years.
Struggles stall war vets congress
BICKERING about power dynamics as well as the succession issue within Zanu
PF have indefinitely stalled the holding of the national congress of the
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.
ZNLWVA secretary-general Endy Mhlanga confirmed the indefinite postponement
of the congress. He also admitted that the succession issue had caused
divisions among war veterans.
"The congress had been scheduled for the first
week of July. I can't say now
whether it could be held before the (Zanu PF) conference (in December)
because we still have to sit down and organise as well as decide on dates."
But the issue of President Robert Mugabe's
successor in Zanu PF has added a
whole new dimension to the staging of the congress.
"Indeed, the succession issue is a thorn in the flesh,"
"People are fighting over the issue, with some having already formed
"But we are going to come up with
the association's recommendations for
submission to the president and the party (Zanu PF)," he said.
He said the congress had been postponed
several times due to the instability
in the country.
stayaways and some political tension. However, we are still planning
to hold the congress," he said.
The ruling party will be holding a national
congress next year at which a
new leadership will be chosen. It is generally believed President Mugabe's
successor will be chosen at the congress.
War veterans have become a factor in the contentious issue
Mugabe's successor, with aspiring candidates already using the former
combatants to campaign for them in the lower ranks of the party.
War veterans sources said Zanu PF heavyweights had developed a
interest in the affairs of the war veterans grouping.
is not at all the issue of lack of funds. The party made a commitment
bankroll the congress long back," a source said.
supposed to elect a new leadership. However, there are bigwigs
within the party who want the status quo to persist," he said.
the staging of the war veterans congress could open a can
"The congress can divide the association. It happened after
the one held in
Umzingwane (1998) when chaos erupted as people fought over the outcome,"
Patrick Nyaruwata has been acting war
veterans chairman since the death of
Chenjerai Hunzvi in 2001 and a substantive chairman was supposed to be
elected at this year's congress.
A faction within the ruling party wants the top post to be
given to Mugabe
as a life chairman, whilst another wants Nyaruwata to stay on.
Succession saga could blight talks prospects
ZANU PF'S succession struggle has now spilt over into the ongoing
inter-party talks with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Official sources said President Robert Mugabe's succession drama was now
playing out in the talks-theatre where Zanu PF officials engaged with the
MDC are pushing a takeover agenda for Zanu PF's secretary for
administration, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
This has widened the rift
over the issue in the already divided Zanu PF.
Ruling party hawks are said to be fiercely resisting dialogue. The division
over talks were manifested during the party's recent politburo meeting, the
While Mnangagwa and his allies wanted dialogue, die-hards like
deputy spokesman Jonathan Moyo were trying to derail the talks through the
Moyo has always advertised his hostility
to Mnangagwa and talks through the
government-controlled press that now seems ranged against movers of
When reports filtered in
February that Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe Defence Forces
commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe wanted to strike a power-sharing deal
with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Moyo reacted with anger, insinuating the
two were "coup plotters and electoral cowards".
Moyo's animosity towards Mnangagwa has a long
record. Writing in the
Zimbabwe Independent on June 28 1996, Moyo said Mnangagwa should not be
allowed to become president because of his involvement in the Matabeleland
atrocities in the 1980s.
Mnangagwa's allies are pushing for talks with the MDC. These
include Zanu PF head of delegation to last year's collapsed talks Patrick
Chinamasa, secretary for security in the politburo, Nicholas Goche,
secretary for the commissariat, Elliot Manyika and MP Saviour Kasukuwere.
Goche is seen
as Mnangagwa's key ally in the state security apparatus
together with Manyika and Kasukuwere who also have intelligence backgrounds.
State Security min-ister during the 1980s, is seen as wielding
vast influence in the Central Intelligence Organisation and the army.
It is thought he wants to use this clout to launch an assault on power.
minister Chinamasa is understood to be Mnangagwa's associate as he
worked under him when the former was attorney-general and the latter Justice
Chinamasa, Goche, Manyika and Kasukuwere - who
all initiated the current
talks - are talking to the MDC team led by party secretary-general Welshman
Ncube. The MDC group also includes deputy secretary-general Gift
Chimanikire, spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi and MP Priscilla
Sources said the Zanu PF
officials were anxious to see a negotiated
settlement to facilitate Mnangagwa's take over bid.
"Mnangagwa's foot soldiers are pushing
hard for talks with the MDC because
they think this will lead to a negotiated deal that will propel him to
power," a source said.
"The idea is
that Mnangagwa or his agent will emerge as the head of the
transitional authority that will organise new elections and during that
period consolidate his grip by recruiting some moderate opposition members
into his plans before taking over."
Zim gets nod to sell stake in Petrozim
MINING giant Lonrho has given Zimbabwe the green light to sell part of its
shareholding in the pipeline company, Petrozim, so long as government can
pay off directors' fees and loans amounting to US$30 million.
Lonrho owns 50% of the Mutare/Harare pipeline and has pre-emptive rights in
any proposed change in its shareholding. The government, through the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim), controls the other half but would
like to sell 50% of that portion (25% of Petrozim) to a Libyan company,
Industry sources this week said
Lonrho had told government at a recent
meeting that it was willing to divest from the pipeline so long as it was
paid what was due to it. Noczim, whose creditworthiness has continued to
plummet in the face of increased indebtedness, cannot raise the required sum
to pay off Lonrho.
Noczim is saddled with huge debts to Libyan Arab Bank (US$43
Tamoil (US$67 million), Independent Petroleum Group of Kuwait (US$65
million) and Engen of South Africa (US$25 million).
months ago, the government agreed with a Tamoil delegation to Zimbabwe
that the total value of the pipeline was US$60 million. The remaining
sticking point in the transfer of 25% of the shareholding to the Libyans was
the go-ahead from Lonrho who are divesting from Zimbabwe's mining and
The sources said if government fails
to raise the US$30 million to pay off
Lonrho, the Libyans would swoop on the shareholding to gain a controlling
stake. Tamoil would like to acquire the shareholding to form a joint venture
has also been learnt that Lonrho would like the government to clarify
results of multinational company, Engen's bid for part of Noczim's
shareholding in Petrozim. The sources said Lonrho could cede its
shareholding to Engen who are already established here.
Meanwhile, fuel marketers have started moving fuel from direct
through the pipeline as government procrastinates on a new fuel policy.
The sources said Noczim was handling fuel on behalf of the marketers from
Beira in Mozambique to storage tanks at Msasa.
Multinational companies are allegedly watching from the
anticipation of a new energy policy.
The pipeline has
in the past been used to move fuel imported by government
through Noczim. Private players normally use road tankers, which are more
The sources said the use of the pipeline should
cut costs for the marketers,
which is expected to lower the price of the commodity to consumers.
Marketers currently sell fuel at between $1 500 and $2 000 a litre through a
Zim defies Sadc election protocol
ZIMBABWE has failed to comply with basic electoral rules as set out in the
Sadc election protocol adopted by all regional countries in Windhoek,
Namibia two years ago, a human rights activist has charged.
Zimbabwe is signatory to the Windhoek declaration but has ignored its basic
tenets during elections.
Speaking at an election
reporting workshop in Kariba last week, Zimbabwe
Election Support Network (ZESN) chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove castigated
flawed electoral processes in Zimbabwe which he said were responsible for
political instability in the country.
Matchaba-Hove said any country that held elections that were
not free and
fair created grounds for political instability that sometimes led to armed
"If you look at countries like Tanzania and
Lesotho, the events unfolding
there are a result of flawed electoral processes that are leading to
instability and Zimbabwe is not an exception," Matchaba-Hove said.
He said Zimbabwe, as a country that was quick to
denounce anything from the
West, should at least be seen to be adhering to the Sadc protocol because it
"Zimbabwe must comply
with basic Sadc election protocol standards because
those standards are not set in Britain, the US or in Europe but were set as
guidelines and adopted by leaders in southern Africa," Matchaba-Hove said.
As a result of
flawed electoral processes, Matchaba-Hove said, African
countries would never enjoy political stability.
"The 1998 elections in Lesotho were
highly-contested and almost led to civil
war. This was largely due to a very seriously flawed electoral process that
left the opposition opting for non-electoral and unorthodox means of
Zambia the 2001 presidential, parliamentary and local government
elections were also marred by irregularities. In our own country Zimbabwe
the parliamentary and presidential elections of June 2000 and March 2002
respectively were seriously flawed," Matchaba-Hove said.
said this had resulted in political instability and several court
challenges by the opposition MDC.
Matchaba-Hove said Zimbabwe was the only
country in the Sadc that did not
have an independent electoral commission and allowed the military to run
"Apart from Swaziland,
which is a monarchy, Zimbabwe is the only country in
the Sadc that does not have an independent electoral commission.
People in the Electoral Supervisory Commission are mostly from the military
and that is unacceptable," he said.
New constitution answer to Zim crisis - NCA
AS the ruling Zanu PF and other political players work on a new constitution
to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
says that is the only feasible way out of the political impasse.
NCA chair Lovemore Madhuku yesterday said political parties and other
interest groups must urgently meet to consider a constitutional route to
deliver the country from the present political stalemate.
Madhuku said a new constitution could resolve the crisis
because it would
introduce fundamental reforms while settling contested political issues.
He said it would allow President Robert Mugabe to
leave office with dignity,
address the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s call for new
elections and usher in a democratic dispensation.
"This is the only way out of this situation because it
will give Mugabe a
safe exit and afford the MDC a chance to contest the election on an even
playing field," Madhuku said. "The constitutional avenue could provide a
solution to our problems."
Madhuku said the way
forward was to come up with a stakeholders' technical
com-mittee to study the rejected governme-nt-sponsored Const-itutional
Commiss-ion's and the NCA's draft constitutions to produce a "consensus
document that will be subjected to public debate before being adopted by a
A referendum could be held, if necessary, to endorse the
"This may or may not need a transitional government," Madhuku said.
"What is needed are organised structures to ensure that the process is
democratic and the outcome reflects the popular will."
However, sources said current efforts by Zanu PF and other
players to come
up with a new constitution faced serious hurdles.
They said an array of transitional issues that must be dealt
this process stand in the way of a new constitution.
The major stumbling block is Mugabe's immunity from
prosecution for human
rights abuses. Issues of truth, reconciliation, justice, amnesty and healing
are also hindrances.
to this constitutional formula are growing calls for
Mugabe's regime to be held to account for corruption and the stripping of
If a deal was to be struck with Zanu PF, the MDC would want a
executive authority (TEA) to manage the interim period before fresh
elections were held, sources said.
TEA would also have a
mandate to make state assets registers and audits,
control the distribution of state resources, expenditures, and ultimately
arrange fresh elections.
These issues would have to be articulated and contained in
document of the negotiated settlement that must be binding and irreversible.
But Zanu PF, which plans to introduce the
constitutional issue when talks
with the MDC resume, wants constitutional reform to deal with Mugabe's
immunity and asset-stripping now so that its leaders are protected after
The MDC however, wants an
interim constitution that would address issues
relating to electoral law reforms before a final constitution is agreed.
MDC seeks ban on military poll involvement
THE opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has filed an urgent High
Court application seeking a ban on the use of military, police and
intelligence details in the running of elections as members of the Electoral
Supervisory Commission (ESC).
In documents filed in
court yesterday, the MDC, through its director of
elections Remus Makuwaza, argued that the appointment of police, army and
intelligence details to the ESC was illegal according to the Constitution of
Zimbabwe and the Electoral Act.
The MDC is being represented in the case by Bryant Elliot of
The application cites as first,
second and third respondents the ESC, chief
elections officer Brigadier Douglas Nyikayaramba and Justice minister
secondment of members of the Zimbabwe National Army, including the
second respondent, the police force and the Central Intelligence
Organisation to the staff of the first respondent (the ESC) is illegal and
has not force or effect," Makuwaza said in his affidavit.
"The second respondent
(Nyikayaramba) is a brigadier in the Zimbabwe
National Army which is a very high ranking member of the army. At the same
time he purports to be the chief elections officer of the first respondent
application comes just a week before the holding of two by-elections
Makonde and Harare Central and local government elections on August 30 and
Makuwaza said the military, the police and intelligence
agents were not
civil servants and as such should not be part of the ESC staff. Section 11
(1) of the Electoral Act stipulates that personnel to be assigned to the ESC
should be civil servants. He said the definition of a civil servant as set
out in Section 113 of the Constitution disqualified the army, the police and
the CIO from staffing the ESC.
members of the uniformed forces and the intelligence were
biased towards the ruling party as they worked under instruction.
"These people are
taught to obey orders without question," said Makuwaza.
"In a democracy such people should not be involved in the process of
MZWT squanders $500 million
THE Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT) has exhausted the $500 million
it was allocated by government in the last budget although the project has
not taken off the ground, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.
million allocation is the largest amount government has injected
into the water project since the launch of the trust in 1998. The project is
forecast to cost $30 billion.
Rural Resources and Water Development minister
Joyce Mujuru confirmed at a
meeting of traditional and political leaders in Bulawayo last weekend that
the MZWT had exhausted its allocation and that her ministry had applied for
more funds from the government.
the funds the MZWT was allocated for the project this year have
been spent and we have already applied for an additional $1,5 billion in the
supplementary budget," Mujuru said.
The supplementary budget
was presented to parliament yesterday. There was no
specific mention of the MZWT.
Mujuru said the $500m was spent on constructing a 12-km access
houses to accommodate workers at the project site.
Sources close to the operations of the MZWT told the
Independent most of the
$500 million allocated to the trust was spent on general administration work
while spending on the actual project was minimal.
"The bulk of the money was used to finance trips by senior
MZWT staff to
Malaysia," said the source. MZWT chairman Dumiso Dabengwa said he would only
discuss the MZWT issue next week.
mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube said council had no
information on developments at the MZWT.
"Council, which is supposed to be the main implementer of
the project, is
not aware of any developments at the moment," said Ndabeni-Ncube.
"The government and the MZWT are the people who know best what is going on."
The government, through the MZWT and a
Malaysian company, Zimmal, have
pledged to finance the whole project to pipe water from the Zambezi River to
the city of Bulawayo, 450 km away.
But the future of the project is still uncertain as nothing has
despite numerous promises that work would start soon.
Sadc challenged to tackle Zim crisis
AMNESTY International has called on Southern African Development Community
(Sadc) leaders meeting in Tanzania on Monday for their annual summit to
urgently tackle the Zimbabwe crisis.
The international human rights watchdog said Sadc leaders should confront
the crisis whose contagion is poisoning political relations and damaging
economies in the region.
Amnesty wrote a letter to South African President Thabo
Mbeki, who is
involved in efforts to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis, incoming Sadc chair
President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, outgoing chair President Eduardo dos
Santos of Angola and chairman of the Sadc organ on politics, defence and
security, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, urging them to ensure Sadc dealt
with the crisis in Zimbabwe. Chissano was in the country last week to assess
However, Sadc leaders, who last
confronted the Zimbabwe crisis head-on
during their 2001 summit in Blantyre, Malawi are likely to dodge the problem
secretary Prega Ramsamy has already indicated that the
Zimbabwe issue will not feature during the Dar es Salaam meeting starting on
August 25. Addressing journalists this week in Tanzania's commercial capital
where the summit will be held, Ramsamy claimed the organ on politics,
defence and security was dealing with the problem.
South Africa is said to be
spearheading efforts to ensure Zimbabwe is not
discussed in public gatherings in line with its ineffective "quiet
It is understood
Pretoria - which is now flexing its muscle across the
continent - suppressed the Zimbabwe issue during the African Union summit in
Maputo last month. There is speculation that it will also prevent the
Zimbabwe question being discussed at the Commonwealth meeting in Nigeria in
Talks: Zim can learn from SA
AS the ruling Zanu PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
struggle with talks behind the scenes to resuscitate formal dialogue to
resolve the Zimbabwe crisis, experiences from elsewhere could provide
instructive lessons for local political actors.
The South African case during the Convention for a Democratic South Africa
(Codesa) between 1991/93 stands out as one of the most edifying political
experiences that Zimbabweans can learn something from.
Codesa ushered in a democratic dispensation in South Africa in 1994 with the
first popular elections that marked the fall of apartheid.
The negotiated settlement followed a long and rugged route to democracy. The
African National Congress (ANC), which eventually took over power, had
struggled for over 80 years to dismantle minority rule that had been built
over a period of more than three centuries.
But belligerent political parties and interest groups engaged in the Kempton
Park talks had to ultimately agree to hold democratic elections and
institute a new political and socio-economic order.
The key objective of Codesa was to establish “a modern, transparent, plural,
diverse, and effective democratic state based on an adherence to the rule of
A declaration of intent was adopted by all parties — except Inkatha Freedom
Party and Bophuthatswana bantustan government that wanted self-determination
for their regions — to ensure the process was binding. Decisions were taken
on a general or sufficient consensus basis.
After steering the dialogue process through turbulent waters, South African
parties managed to set up transitional executive committees made up of
technical experts to ensure ideal conditions were created for majority
The committees established control mechanisms to ensure fairness in the
decision-making process so that no one could influence the poll outcome.
The South Africans also established an interim constitution under which the
new government was elected.
After this a final constitution emerged through a certification process by
the newly created constitutional court, which was a major development in
South Africa’s jurisprudence.
In 1994 South African MPs were elected under the transitional constitution,
which had been agreed upon at a meeting attended by all parties, the
Multi-Party Negotiating Process.
The interim constitution was replaced two years later by the final one
agreed upon by a democratically elected 400-member national assembly.
But the ANC and the ruling National Party (NP) had major differences on the
constitution issue. The former wanted elections after an interim
constitution while the latter wanted polls before.
Prior to the new order, there were certain issues that the ANC, the biggest
opposition party then, felt should not be left to the NP government as they
directly related to running of elections.
The ANC sought influence over the electoral process and attendant issues of
law and order, media and finance that had a bearing on election results.
There were poignant risks and pitfalls during the South African
negotiations. Right wing elements among the Afrikaner extremists who feared
change always wanted to disrupt the talks and escalate hostilities. At one
time the violent reactionaries had the temerity to drive their car into the
venue of the dialogue, Ceasars Gauteng Hotel, in a desperate bid to beak up
The dialogue was always fraught with dangers. In 1993 ANC military wing
commander Chris Hani was short dead by a political zealot and this was a
huge test of leadership for all parties involved.
As the situation threatened to explode, former South African president
Nelson Mandela had to come out to calm down angry nationalists who wanted to
react with fury and rise against the regime.
FW De Klerk, who was then president after he succeeded PW Botha in 1989,
even gave Mandela a platform on state television to calm down emotions.
Prior to that, the talks had broken down for three months in mid 1992
because there was no consensus on objectives. When dialogue resumed the
parties came back with a paradigm shift necessary for progress.
The sum total of the South African experience could be enlightening for
Zimbabwean political players as they battle to find a solution to the
country’s crisis in circumstances similar in many respects.
The MDC seems to have already realised this and is trying to draw lessons
from the South African process that was characterised by more ominous
hazards than the local one. Opposition officials in June met Codesa veterans
to sharpen their bargaining skills as they prepare for the resumption of
talks with Zanu PF.
An MDC technical task team chaired by the party’s national executive
committee member Yvonne Mahlunge met seasoned Codesa political brokers in
Pretoria from May 30 to June 1 to gather “lessons, experiences,
perspectives, and ideas around the issues of talks, negotiation and
The Codesa group comprised former ANC key negotiator, Cyril Ramaphosa and
ex-NP chief broker Rolf Meyer, among others.
The key points that emerged from the Pretoria meeting that could be useful
to both the MDC and Zanu PF include that the first rule of talks is that
there are no rules.
It was observed dialogue is governed by circumstances and no-one should
dictate what has to be done to the negotiating parties. Unilateralism has to
be avoided at all costs.
The international community, which was not directly involved in South
Africa, can only play a supporting role. Its role is necessary insofar as at
times negotiating parties cannot agree on basic issues, at times even on tea
break or lunchtime.
Codesa veterans told the MDC that third party intervention was needed
especially when the balance of forces was such that the parties could not
meet as equals.
This is particularly important when there is a brutal regime that does not
hesitate to unleash the instruments of repression to crush defiance or
resistance by the people.
The other challenge for mediators is always to balance quick-fix and slow
consolidated solutions in trying to secure a political deal.
Judging by the South African case, there is an absolute need for both the
MDC and Zanu PF to sufficiently understand the terrain, challenges and
complexities of talks to be able to develop their own road maps or framework
of negotiations and transition.
South Africans say they learnt during their own talks that there is always
need to “establish mechanisms to secure the irreversibility of the
negotiation and transition.”
“Zimbabweans must think through the process of how to secure their own
transition,” Codesa negotiators told the MDC in Pretoria.
“There is need to strengthen the resolve for the internal process and make
sure you accord legitimacy to the exercise. Zimbabweans themselves must
control and have full say in the negotiations.”
South Africans managed their settlement without foreign involvement. This
was possible because there was an unbreakable stalemate that was becoming
The apartheid regime had lost legitimacy at home and abroad. Although it
still controlled the state machinery, it had lost the moral authority to
lead. Global events were also shifting and bringing pressure to bear on it.
However, the ANC was equally not in a position to impose itself on power. PW
Botha’s regime dug in heels and clung to power by force. But the ANC and the
international community applied on Pretoria pressure incessantly. The
situation is almost similar in Zimbabwe today although the characters,
objective conditions on the ground and dynamics may be different.
But whatever the qualitative differences, it is clear that the South African
experience holds profoundly important lessons for Zimbabwe.
Zanu PF playing game of deception
TALKS between the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), as recently reported in this newspaper, have been going on
behind the scenes for sometime now.
Although there seems to have been glacial headway in trying to remove
obstacles to dialogue, it is not clear how much progress the two parties
have made to resume formal talks to resolve the country’s multifaceted
After recent conciliatory gestures by the two parties during the opening of
parliament, it appeared that there would be some rapid move towards
Church leaders also weighed in to give the talks an added impetus.
But we all seem to have been taken on a wild goose chase by the mandarins in
Zanu PF. Zanu PF’s head of delegation to the talks Patrick Chinamasa has
been on a warpath against the clergymen. He has accused them of being MDC
sympathisers. This has inevitably generated hostility between Zanu PF
functionaries and the church mediators.
Zanu PF has also practically refused to submit its own position paper on the
agenda and the way forward as agreed with the church intermediaries.
The MDC submitted its own report three weeks ago and has been waiting for
the ruling party to do the same.
Then came the blow when Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo told the Sunday
News that no-one could tell his party how to do its business.
Deception and arrogance have been the hallmark of Zanu PF’s political
culture. How does one explain the fact that President Robert Mugabe tells
church leaders that their mediation efforts are welcome while Chinamasa
dismisses them off-hand as MDC activists?
There is a saying that politics is the antithesis of reason and an art of
deception. Zanu PF seems to be set on the letter and spirit of this metaphor
without any regard to the suffering it has caused the people of Zimbabwe.
The ruling party’s position on the talks smacks of chicanery camouflaged in
patriotic and flag-waving nonsense. It shouts the loudest about national
interest and putting people first but sabotages initiatives to resolve a
huge national crisis that it has itself created.
It may wield the instruments of coercion but it has lost the moral authority
to rule just as it has long lost the road map to the country’s salvation.
People are watching its latest antics.
It may not be far-fetched to say that the whole issue about dialogue is a
fraudulent and juggling exertion by Zanu PF to buy itself more time in
Zanu PF is engaged in national deception about talks and President Robert
Mugabe’s imminent retirement to keep the gullible working on fancy scenarios
while it is busy designing plots on how to win the next parliamentary
election in 2005 and the 2008 presidential poll.
The MDC would be well advised to watch out how it engages the ruling party.
They could well be singing from completely different hymn books for
different outcomes from different gods.
The timing of the current secret talks ahead of the Sadc summit in Tanzania
next week and the Commonwealth meeting in Abuja in December should raise
Zanu PF is waving the talks dummy to duck scrutiny and censure at these
crucial meetings. This speculation, which has been swirling in political
circles for sometime, has been consolidated by reports that South Africa
ensured Zimbabwe was not an issue during the recent African Union summit in
President Thabo Mbeki has in the past pretended to be moving to help resolve
the Zimbabwe crisis ahead of key meetings like the G8 summits only to relax
once they were over.
He has another opportunity to posture again now as a serious peace broker
between Zanu PF and the MDC. It would be nice for Mbeki to prove his critics
wrong for once.
Defective hammer cannot crack the nut
RARELY in history can any government have demonstrated its total inability
to recognise realities as does the Zimbabwean one, with nauseatingly
frequent recurrence, and especially so in the case of economic issues.
The magnitude of the repeated failure to recognise economic realities is
matched only by government’s ineptness at trying to counter the innumerable
economic ills which have now afflicted Zimbabwe for over six years and which
are continuously intensifying and bringing the economy closer and closer to
the precipice of total destruction.
Whenever government does become aware that untoward circumstances have
developed within the economy, its first action is not, as should be
expected, to try to counter and reverse those circumstances. Instead, after
a prolonged pretence that either the deleterious conditions do not exist or,
in the alternative, that they are very temporary and transitional in nature,
and will soon be replaced by a more favourable economic environment,
government finally and very belatedly acknowledges their existence.
Upon doing so, government first concentrates its efforts on identifying as
many as possible as it can allege are culpable for the creation of those
circumstances. It does so with utmost vigour, in order to divert any
possible criticism as may be suggestive that fault lies with government,
even though invariably that is where the fault does lie.
But government has long realised that if you repeat accusations sufficiently
frequently and vociferously, many will accept such accusations as
well-founded in fact, even if they are completely devoid of substance and
credibility. Thus, government has had no difficulty in ascribing the near
total collapse of agriculture to the acts of omission and commission of
those whites who were formerly commercial farmers but ceased to be so as
they became victims of a vicious, unjust, racially, nepotistically and
corruptly applied programme of land reform, redistribution and resettlement,
instead of a programme justly applied which would concurrently accord
agricultural empowerment to many whilst attaining development and growth of
Zimbabwe’s most economically important sector.
In like manner, in order that none should cast blame where blame is really
due, being at the feet of government, the diversionary tactics of the
government have successively attributed the catastrophic economic decline to
the evils of policies of the Bretton Woods institutions (the IMF and World
Bank), to the malevolence of the British and United States governments, to
“profiteering” industrialists, wholesalers, retailers, bakers and others, to
the vile actions of the much oppressed, discriminated against, white
minority in Zimbabwe and to sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the European
Union and many members of the Commonwealth.
The fact that those sanctions almost wholly comprise only travel
restrictions upon members of the government, senior public servants, and the
hierarchy of the ruling party, and upon the funds of such persons held
outside Zimbabwe, is irrelevant. The sanctions have no material or
significant economic consequences, but government happily suggests otherwise
in order that the populace not realise the very real extent that the country
’s numerous economic calamities are almost entirely attributable to
After embarking upon its diversionary tactics, inclusive of oft-repeated
misrepresentations within the media controlled by the state, government then
seeks to address the economic ills. However, due to its inability to
identify the real causes of those ills, it invariably fails to prescribe the
required medications necessary to restore the ailing economy to good health.
Instead, it consistently resorts to its standard medications which comprise
increased regulation of the economy, ignoring the unavoidable contrary
consequences of greater regulation and lessening of the influences of market
Moreover, the extent of the increased regulation is such as can only either
worsen the economic ills or cause new ones. Any who have the temerity to
advise government of the inefficacies of its intended remedial measures are
dubbed to be saboteurs and enemies of the state (as the president saw fit to
do when opening Parliament in July 2002, giving rise to the resignation of
then Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Simba Makoni).
Instead of heeding the well-intentioned advice of many well qualified to
give such advice, government arrogantly and with authoritarian dictates,
almost without exception resorts to excessively heavy-handed tactics. It
tries to crack whatsoever economic nut requires cracking, with a hammer,
thereby considerably overdoing its assault upon the nut, and rendering the
nut valueless. Moreover, all too often the hammer adopted by it is defective
and cannot achieve its intended task — instead of cracking the nut — it
demolishes the underlying economy upon which the nut is based.
One of the most recent, pronounced examples of ham-fisted, heavy-handed, and
as yet completely ineffectual actions has been government’s mishandling of
the Zimbabwean cash crisis. Undoubtedly the non-availability of $500 bank
notes was partially caused by cross-border traders and illegal foreign
currency dealers, who accumulated such bank notes as their stock-in-trade.
And undoubtedly the scarcity of those bank notes was exacerbated when, in
reaction to their diminishing availability, recipients of $500 bank notes
did not recirculate them through the banking system, but retained them to
service their own cash requirements and, in particular, to enable them to
pay wages to staff.
But their doing so could not have caused radically greater shortages of bank
notes, for they were still in circulation. Instead of being deposited with
banks who would, in turn, issue them to others, they were issued to
employees, suppliers and the like, or to third parties to issue them to
employees and others. Therefore, the notes continued to be, in the main, in
circulation, the role of the banks merely being circumvented.
By far, the overriding causes of the bank note shortages have been Zimbabwe’
s rampant inflation, now exceeding 400% per annum, and the greater need of
many for bank-notes in order to access otherwise non-available supplies. The
average person, at any time, needs to have at least four times the value of
bank-notes than he required a year ago, to buy the same volume and nature
of goods. In addition, with many products no longer being available from
traditional sources, including petroleum products and maize meal, a
flourishing black market has developed, but will only trade for cash and,
therefore, many need even more than four times the value of bank notes they
These factors would not have created a crisis if the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe had timeously issued additional bank notes, but it was precluded
from doing so as it was required to apply the foreign currency necessary for
the importation of bank note security papers and inks to the funding, albeit
insufficiently, of fuel and energy, and government demands. The “hoarding”
of bank notes only became a factor once the shortages were already very
pronounced, and then was not of magnitude as those who discontinued banking
them soon had to put them to use or made them available to others.
Instead of constructively addressing the situation, with simultaneous
expeditious release of new bank notes, containment of inflation and
deregulation of a nature as would markedly obviate black market activity,
government has once again resorted to a very heavy, but highly defective,
hammer, which it intends to use to crack (unsuccessfully) the cash crisis.
Abusing Presidential Powers intended for use in circumstances of
uncontrollable emergency, government has gazetted the Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures) (Promotion of Banking Transactions) Regulations, 2003
(Statutory Instrument 171 of 2003). Those regulations are intended to
prevent “hoarding” of cash, but can only frustrate normalcy of operations of
cash-based businesses and particularly so those as are large or have
They also restrict the size of cash transactions, which must inevitably
reduce trade volumes in an already sadly constricted economy. They prescribe
daily banking of trade receipts, which must place the banking sector under
unrealistic and excessive pressure, and contain many other draconian,
counter-productive regulations. Once again government resorts to a defective
hammer which cannot break the nut, but when it fails to do so, it will
undoubtedly find someone else to blame.
Why whine to dine with a kangaroo?
WHO is this fellow called Killer Zivhu? For one thing, he seems to be good
at his game of killing. For another, not even the government or its media
appear keen to tell us who he is. The only thing we are told is that his
organisation called Crossborder Traders Association of Zimbabwe has achieved
what even Zanu PF could not, that is to virtually kill the formal banking
sector and create an unprecedented cash crisis in Zimbabwe’s history.
Killer’s followers are now dubiously credited with exporting “billions of
dollars in local currency” and want to be granted safe passage to bring it
back, according to Monday’s Herald. What puzzles Muckraker is that state
media carry these reports in such a matter-of-fact way as if everything were
normal. Could this possibly be a hint that this killer is connected to
politically-correct and patriotic public officials?
Or is this yet another of many smokescreens being waved in the face of the
public to shield government’s ineptitude? Are there any billions of dollars
stashed in some vault across our borders and if so, what are they being used
for? What we know for certain is that the Zimbabwe dollar is not a
convertible currency. So what are these crossborder traders keeping it for?
And why has government’s reaction to Killer’s claims been so muted as to
suggest complicity in the cash crunch?
Meanwhile we have been promised there would be plenty of money by next week
after Killer and the Gang were given an amnesty to surrender their loot by
Sunday with a no-questions-asked assurance. We all await Killer’s miracle.
Muckraker understands a lot of the cash is in fact floating around the
country in the boots of the latest 4x4s to be exchanged for foreign
currency. Wholesalers are also said to be doing tremendous business selling
the cash at a premium to a desperate public. Surely this shouldn’t be an
issue too far beyond the reach of the law for the police to deal with. But
then the problem is whether we have the rule of law or a government that
knows what it is doing!
After all his ranting and raving against talks between the MDC and Zanu PF,
Nathaniel Manheru did get one question right on Saturday. The Meteorological
office had said the rains were coming (as if that were news) but: “Where are
the agricultural inputs such as tillage, seeds and fertiliser?”
Reading the lead story in the Herald of the same day, “Land audit report
complete” one would have thought Manheru’s question was the most logical
sequel. The Herald told us the report would be ready within a week. It
quoted chairman of the Presidential Land Review Committee Charles Utete as
saying what was left was just the editing.
“We want to say that what remains is polishing up the report,” said Utete.
“It was very complex,” he said of his committee’s task. “We were required to
travel the length and breath (sic) of the country.”
It does, however, appear that despite the committee’s breathtaking whirlwind
tour of the country, and no matter how soon they want to present it to
President Mugabe, the report is outdated before it is edited.
On Monday the Daily News reported that 1 000 settlers had been ordered out
of Little England farm in Zvimba to make way for the president’s relatives
and a few chosen families. The undesirables were given up to the end of the
month to vacate Little England and probably return to Zimbabwe where they
had originally come from in the euphoria of land invasions.
According to the Daily News report, the bearer of the message had descended
from the “highest offices” to deliver the good news to the startled
beneficiaries of the land reform and he would brook no questions from
anyone. He carried the sceptre from high up. The messenger declared: “We are
not going to accept questions from you. The time for questions has passed
and we are here to deliver the message. This is a directive coming from the
highest offices so I will not answer your questions.”
The land takeovers are not done and we can safely assume Manheru is putting
the cart before the horse. Tillage, seeds and fertiliser are not a priority
for those who have destroyed our agriculture. We wonder where that leaves
Utete’s completed report!
Meanwhile Muckraker hopes New England farm will be appropriately renamed New
Zvingland to reflect our rediscovered Africanness without completely losing
our colonial linkages. After all President Mugabe remains a spitting image
of the English gentleman, resplendent in his designer suits as he riles
against cultural imperialism.
The Herald on Tuesday this week carried a huge front page picture of Harare
councillors at Town House with Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo
ensconced in the chairman’s seat. Chombo reportedly told the councillors to
stop being “confrontational” as this would stifle development.
“I dare say there is a danger of council losing its relevance where it
continually refuses to participate in matters and issues that are obviously
beneficial to the residents,” said Chombo. “You will agree that unless and
until your council realises the value of complementarity, conflicts will
continue to prevail.”
Muckraker does not believe Harare residents agree with Chombo’s diagnosis.
Far from ratepayers seeing councillors as a hindrance to development in the
city, it is government interference that we view as the problem. Councillors
were elected to perform a service for city residents but government has
refused to let go of the council’s purse strings.
Chombo is right to say local authorities perform a delegated function by
virtue of the Urban Councils Act. He is however not entirely correct in
declaring: “Naturally having delegated the authority and functions
pertaining to the management of the welfare of its citizenry, government
retains the responsibility to monitor, supervise, assist and, in some cases,
even direct the manner of operation by any local authority, rural or urban.”
So far as the Harare City Council is concerned, it has never been given the
chance to show what it can or cannot do. Instead of delegating power to
council, Chombo appears to be personally keen to run its affairs himself.
How can council’s performance or lack therefore be fairly judged when Chombo
has decreed that it cannot employ certain people he does not like and cannot
make financial appropriations without his say so?
Another point Chombo is missing is that the concept of delegation implies
that you set a good example for subordinates to follow. Central government’s
failure in this regard verges on criminal neglect. Why then should it be
trusted to direct and monitor council’s effectiveness when it has itself
woefully failed in its mandate to manage the country’s affairs?
Perhaps Chombo is admitting that he has failed in the higher task as a
minister and wants to try his hand as council chairman. From the Herald
picture, he looked more comfortable there.
Australian prime minister John Howard’s remarks that President Mugabe was an
unelected despot seem to have touched a raw nerve at Munhumutapa Building.
Information minister Jonathan Moyo went apoplectic, branding Howard a
kangaroo prime minister and wondered aloud why his embed at the Sunday Mail,
Munyaradzi Huni, found “time for this kangaroo rubbish”. Despite claiming
that government had better things to do than worry about Howard, his
frenzied tirade against the Australian leader ran into almost 500 words.
“We are convinced that this is kangaroo noise from a kangaroo prime minister
who is frustrated that the international community has refused to be used as
a kangaroo court against Zimbabwe and President Mugabe,” raved Moyo as if
that was one of the “constructive things” he was busy doing.
“The Commonwealth has never belonged to a kangaroo. That is one thing that
is uncommon in the Commonwealth. Howard is the only kangaroo in the
Commonwealth.” Well said Moyo. We wonder why you are so keen to wine and
dine with a kangaroo?
Huni claimed in the story Howard’s remarks had surprised many in the
Commonwealth. The body of the story only revealed himself and Moyo as the
“surprised many”. Nor does Moyo’s language belong to the Commonwealth
either. The reason is simple. He is another unelected noise-maker. They say
in Nigeria that an old woman is always unease when dry bones are mentioned
in a conversation.
Head of Moyo’s Media and Information Commission Tafataona Mahoso refused to
be outdone by his master on the “cash crisis” front. With some epiphanic
realisation, Mahoso declared in the Sunday Mail: “With less selfishness,
less corruption, less greed, less racism and more patriotism and a higher
degree of public morale — the foreign currency we get would be enough to
meet our priorities. Without patriotism we do not have commonly agreed
priorities. So no amount of foreign currency can ever be enough.”
His article was titled “Who is to blame for cash crisis?” Unfortunately he
didn’t have the courage to carry the argument to its logical conclusion.
Almost everyone knows it is mainly Zanu PF hangers-on who have access to
Mahoso knows as most of us do which ministers have their children studying
at universities and colleges outside the country to escape the poisonous
fumes of Hondo Yeminda and Rambai Makashinga.
How are their fees paid when the country is failing to pay staff at foreign
missions abroad? Mahoso knows too that if agriculture and mining were as
vibrant as they used to be and industry and commerce had not been sabotaged
from the top, he would have as much forex as he wants.
Do we need to ask him why there is no “higher degree of public morale”?
Instead of telling his masters the truth about their mismanagement of the
economy, Mahoso got himself lost in the Third Chimurenga bush pursuing some
“young African woman” who told him the land reform would be reversed by an
MDC government. Poor fellow.
When next Muckraker located him he had forgotten about his unpatriotic cash
and forex hucksters. He was now attacking banks for installing television
sets and playing videos in banking halls to entertain customers tired of
standing in long stationary queues.
Someone should tell him this is a common practice in the whole civilised
world. You find this form of customer diversion even in airport lounges
while you wait for your plane. The good thing is that Mahoso can ignore all
this and read the Sunday Mail instead.
Mahoso was also worried about “down time” at banks when computers were
off-line. The government, which should be sorting out problems of fuel,
forex, the cash crisis and food shortages, has been in “down time” for
nearly three years. Is Mahoso the only one in Jerusalem who doesn’t know this?
MP Chapfika exposed
BUSINESS leaders say Zanu PF MP for Mutoko North David Chapfika should be
the last person to scream about Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) bosses being
removed from their lucrative jobs because he is a key player in the whole
Zimbabwe Economics Society president Lovemore Kadenge and
Chamber of Commerce policy and advocacy manager James Jowa blasted Chapfika,
saying he was overlooking the fact that the RBZ was "not autonomous and its
hands are tied by government".
economic consultant, said Chapfika seems unaware that he is
indirectly also calling for Finance and Economic Development minister
Herbert Murerwa's head.
Jowa, on the other hand, pointed out that government was simply
buck on the cash crisis because they are trying to exonerate themselves from
their economic mismanagement".
Chapfika and Zanu
PF MP for Murewa North Victor Chitongo on Tuesday
recommended to parliament that all RBZ bosses be sacked because they had
their contributions to debate on President Robert Mugabe's
address, the two legislators said the RBZ needed new brains.
"These are issues that are dealt with by the Minister of
Economic Development, Dr Herbert Murerwa," Kadenge said in an interview.
"It is surprising and disheartening to have such
statements coming from the
honourable MP who chairs parliament's Finance Committee which deals directly
with the issues raised. Is Chapfika, therefore, saying that he has failed to
do his job too?"
said: "Government has mismanaged the economy and is now just trying
exonerate itself. The RBZ governor is just a stooge. He gets directives from
government which should take the blame for the current cash crisis."
Chitongo, a journalist, and Chapfika, a banker, are
businessmen-turned-politicians with a strong influence in Mashonaland East.
Chapfika said the RBZ's Monitoring and Supervisory
Department had done
government a "disservice and required re-orientation on critical economic
In a follow-up interview on the
issue yesterday, Chapfika told
businessdigest that while he was chairman of parliament's Finance Committee,
he could not do the work of the RBZ.
"We are very unhappy about their performance," he said.
"I was not scolding them at all but si-mply telling them that
they needed to
pull up their socks. They are always complaining and saying that their hands
are tied. Tied by whom?"
Chapfika was executive
director of the collapsed Universal Merchant Bank of
Zimbabwe Ltd (Unibank) where, Jowa and Kadenge point out, "critical economic
fundamentals were thrown out of the window".
Unibank, launched amid much pomp and
fanfare in Harare and Bulawayo, was the
second indigenous financial disaster in Zimbabwe after the collapse of Roger
Boka's United Merchant Bank (UMB).
Tycoon Boka's UMB sent the country's banking sector into
turmoil when it
issued fake Cold Storage Commission (CSC) Bills worth billions of dollars to
When the scandal
was unearthed, Boka's generous facility, which had become a
"take-away for the who is who in Zimbabwe" was shut down immediately.
Bank Ltd (CFX) then snapped up Unibank in April 2002 after
"gross inefficiency and financial mismanagement had been unraveled at the
In its audited financial statement for the year
ended December 31 2002, CFX
said it had taken over an "accumulated loss of nearly $800 million from
Universal Merchant Bank Zimbabwe Ltd".
When Unibank was swallowed by CFX, all directors, including
resigned and shareholders appointed new management who immediately chalked
up $1,9 billion in profit.
The company has continued to
grow ever since.
RBZ admits failure on cash
AS politicians against Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe bosses draw daggers, the
central bank's acting governor Charles Chikaura says it has issued $5
billion worth of Zimbabwe dollar traveller's cheques since their
introduction on August 8.
The RBZ chief says notwithstanding these injections, the cash situation in
the economy, however, still remains tight, but is expected to ease as the
new measures announced by government are implemented.
Government announced that a new $500 note would replace
the existing one at
the end of September.
organisations holding Zimbabwean currency outside the
country's borders were given until this Sunday to return the notes.
"As of now, it is not
feasible, however, to determine in precise terms, how
much of the existing $500 notes have been returned to the banking system
since money constantly flows in and out of the system," Chikaura told
businessdigest in a written response to questions this week.
The shortage of cash, a first of its
nature in the history of the financial
services sector, has negatively affected confidence and service delivery in
queues are now the order of the day at banks and building
countrywide especially in Harare and Bulawayo where customers begin waiting
for their cash from as early as 5am to get sums as little as $5 000 - the
equivalent of five loaves of bread.
VIP customers accustomed
to receiving $100 000 in cash daily while sipping
coffee or tea have now had their allocation cut to a mere $10 000 per visit.
mothers and riot police, standing side by side, either
awaiting cash or, in the case of the latter, crowd trouble, have now become
a norm in Harare's First Street Mall where the majority of the financial
institutions are located.
"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has continued to inject cash
economy," Chikaura said. "In addition the bank has also issued $5 billion
worth of Zimbabwe dollar travellers cheques, since their introduction on
August 8. Notwithstanding these injections, the cash situation in the
economy, however, still remains tight, but this situation is expected to
ease as the new measures announced by government are implemented."
Bankers and politicians have lambasted the RBZ saying
the central bank had
waited too long before trying to solve the cash fiasco.
They said, furthermore, the traveller's cheque system had
haphazardly without merchants and customers knowing exactly how to utilise
Prominent banker and financial
consultant Andy Hodges said more education
was needed before the cheques were dished out to the unsuspecting public.
He said the merchants were
surprised about the decision because they were
facing problems especially as regards change.
"How does one change a customer with a $100 000
cheque wanting to buy goods
worth $40 000?" he asked. "This system might cause more problems than it is
solving. There should have been more education on how to use the cheques."
Trust Holdings Ltd chairman Tichaendepi
Masaya, whose group's net profit for
the period ended June 30 stood at a whooping $15,1 billion, said it was
imperative for "authorities" and industry players to urgently put in place
measures to overcome this crisis, and avert "serious dislocation of economic
"Parallel markets for foreign exchange develop whenever
demand outstrips supply, particularly if the official price does not respond
accordingly. Through various exchange control measures and directives, the
Reserve Bank has continued to intensify monitoring and surveillance of all
foreign exchange transactions by authorised dealers, to ensure that foreign
exchange receipts from export of goods and services flow through official
channels, and that the foreign exchange earned is fully accounted for. These
efforts are also aimed at eradicating banks' involvement in parallel market
The RBZ boss said as regards parallel market
activities that take place
between individuals outside the banking system, it should be understood that
prosecution of such individuals was a collective responsibility involving
all the "law enforcement agents".
these agents included the ZRP, National Economic Conduct
Inspectorate (NECI), and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
"The long-term solution to the problem of foreign exchange shortages and the
parallel market, however, lies in the implementation of a consistent and
comprehensive set of macroeconomic policies, aimed primarily at promoting
export growth, so as to ensure that the economy, realises adequate foreign
exchange," Chikaura told businessdigest.
He said speculators had taken advantage of the
resultant crippling foreign
exchange shortages to continuously depreciate the exchange rate, for
desperate importers utilising the parallel market.
IndependentProperty - RBZ calls in 'law enforcement agents'
THE acting governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Charles Chikaura
says the central bank is working with the ZRP and other "law enforcement
agents" to nab tycoons renting out their properties in foreign currency.
In Zimbabwe it is illegal to charge items using foreign currency. It is,
however, permissible to peg items in foreign currency in which case the
Zimbabwe dollar equivalent is payable.
Last week businessdigest revealed that thousands of
requesting United States dollars for their designer properties in the plush
northern suburbs of Highlands, Mt Pleasant, Borrowdale, Gun Hill and
Helensvale. Rentals were going for between US$300 and US$1 000 monthly.
While government has pegged the US greenback at $824 against
dollar on the parallel market it is going for as much as $3 500, making the
landlords monthly millionaires.
interviewed confirmed that the landlords wanted "United States
dollars only" and preferred diplomats for their mansions.
Diplomats are extremely
popular as tenants because they pay for their
accommodation in foreign currency and in full annually.
Some of the landlords are advertising
requesting six months rentals in
advance for their properties in what has been described as "maximum
profiteering at the shortest possible time".
Landlords living abroad, Zimbabwean politicians and business
have access to foreign currency own most of these designer properties, some
of which are fitted with elevators.
dollar is the legal tender in the country and, as such, all
payments must be made in local currency," Chikaura told businessdigest this
week in a written response seeking clarification on the issue.
"A dispensation was,
however, given to hotels and other tourist specialist
services to receive payment in foreign currency."
The RBZ boss said this measure had
become necessary to improve convenience
for Zimbabwe's visitors, while at the same time encouraging foreign exchange
payments for rentals, properties or other goods and services in
United States dollars is, however, illegal," Chikaura said. "Again,
collective action by both the bank and other law enforcement agents is
critical, in dealing with this problem."
The Estate Agents Council had pointed out that it
could not deal with the
sensitive issue since it was the responsibility of the RBZ to collect
foreign currency in the country.
market has became a hive of activity in Zimbabwe because of the
country's hyperinflationary environment. Inflation continues to shoot
through the roof monthly and has gone from about 200% in January this year
to 399,5% for July. Individuals and corporates including blue-chip counters
listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange are now eyeing the property sector to
hedge against inflation and add value for their shareholders.
Companies that have
decided to enter the property market include Mashonaland
Holdings Ltd, Zimsun leisure group, First Mutual Life Society of Zimbabwe
Individuals, on the other hand, are building designer
mansions some of which
are the envy of mega stars living in Hollywood, US.
Food stocks begin to decline
AFTER some improvement of household food stocks in March to May, this year,
stocks are now beginning to decline again with worsening situations being
experienced in Matabeleland North, South and Manicaland.
Donors say food scarcities are thus likely to grow during the coming months
and of greater concern is the fact that even if rains are good, unless seed
and fertiliser are made available, harvests could continue to be poor.
The donors said food scarcities would especially affect the
households who could not afford the priced inflation on inputs, and widening
income inequality in the rural areas.
A Non Governmental
Organisation (NGO), the Food Security Network (Fosenet),
says in its assessment of the food situation in Zimbabwe for the period
ending July that while nearly a quarter of households had more than a
month's food supply in May, this had fallen to 14% by July.
Fosenet involves 24 NGOs that
collectively cover all districts of Zimbabwe
and all types of communities.
Its members subscribe that food distribution in Zimbabwe
must be based on a
platform of ethical principles derived from international humanitarian law.
The NGO said the monitoring for July was drawn from
142 monitoring reports
from 50 districts from all provinces of Zimbabwe.
"The improvement of food availability from local harvests
has begun to
plateau in July, forewarning future shortages in late 2003," Fosenet said in
its report released this week. "Initial indicators suggest that food
shortages may cover half of districts in the country. Many districts report
that food needs are likely to be severe by October."
Zimbabwe is facing an acute food shortage caused by the
fast-track land resettlement programme where thousands of peasants were
given pieces of land by government in a move meant to try and solve the
sensitive land problem in the country.
However, some of
these individuals have not farmed on their land mainly
because they cannot afford inputs, are not trained in agriculture, and in
some cases, the land was unsuitable for farming.
Fosenet said after some improvement of
household stocks in March to May,
stocks were now beginning to decline again.
"While nearly a quarter of households had more than one
month's food supply
in May, this had fallen to 14% by July," the organanisation said.
"Districts reporting no improvement or worsening situations are clustered in
Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, and Manicaland. These are provinces
where chronic food scarcities have been reported since 2002."
The organisation said an increasing number of
individuals were reported to
be moving between districts to secure food.
Although movement had become a critical survival strategy, it
was also an
increasingly costly and time-consuming one, the organisation said, with 86%
of districts reporting transport difficulties in July compared to 42% in May
"Households currently face severe
constraints in accessing seed and
fertiliser which will affect 2003 planting if not addressed," the
organisation warned. "In five provinces all districts reported that seed was
not available and in two provinces all districts reported that fertiliser
was not available.
Prices of seed and fertiliser have increased since May by over 100% in
formal and parallel markets. About a third of households report that they
have no access to tillage or draught power. Matabeleland North and South are
The report said while support for these inputs was
critical for production
in the 2003/4 season, no reports were made of such inputs being organised.
Future doomed so long as Mugabe remains
EVERY week I read the financial and business articles in your paper with
great interest, as well as similar articles in the other publications of the
Commentator after commentator writes learned articles on the demons of
inflation, lack of foreign exchange and lack of bank notes and so on,
usually ending by calling for a "change in government policy".
Why is it that not one of these erudite people ever mentions
the real reason
for the economic meltdown, a reason well understood by most tuckshop owners,
gardeners and domestic workers? Are they blinded by their own science, or is
the truth too frightening to speak aloud?
all know that President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are the problem, and
that our economic problems will never, and can never, be solved until they
are removed. We all know that Mugabe's policies have brought ruination and
starvation to the nation. Consider these facts, which again we all know.
The purpose of the land grab was to achieve the following
lCompromise the judiciary by making most of them receivers of stolen goods -
other people's property;
lCompromise the police and
armed forces in the same way;
lReward loyal party cadres with the opportunity to loot the property and
sell the produce of others;
lDelude the povo and unemployable into believing they were
for nothing; and
Hit back at white farmers for
their perceived support of the rule of law and
good governance in the form of the MDC.
It was never about agrarian reform or extension, it was
never about food
supply, it was never about effective land utilisation and it was never about
the alleviation of poverty. It was only a bandit's method of rewarding his
gang to ensure their continued support.
agriculture did not just die, it was deliberately killed in order to
achieve a totally different objective. Tourism did not just die, it was also
killed more or less by accident as a bye blow of the programme to intimidate
the masses through naked violence, carried out in a large part by the
state-sponsored Green Bombers and war veterans. Remember that the late
Chenjerai Hunzvi said he was answerable only to Mugabe? And didn't Joseph
Chinotimba say more or less the same thing?
probably eliminated our two main sources of foreign exchange.
Next in the cycle of destruction we had really stupid price controls which
devastated commerce and industry and at the same time gave the fat cats a
wonderful and continuing opportunity to fleece the entire nation. Now we
have a government that is withdrawing notes supposedly in order to ease the
shortage of folding money!
These financial analysts also say we need billions in aid in
resurrect agriculture. The only reason we need these billions is because our
agricultural economy has been deliberately destroyed. No country in its
right mind is going to donate billions to the same people who carried out
the destruction. The world may be crazy, but it's not yet that crazy. The
only time we'll get any meaningful aid is when the culprits have been
removed and a credible government has replaced them.
all those financial pundits I say: "Put away your textbooks, put away
your mbanje-flavoured dreams and see reality. There is at present one, and
only one solution to financial problems, and that is to get rid of Mugabe.
That is what you should be thinking of 24 hours a day. You really know in
your hearts that until then the slide into oblivion will only accelerate -
there is no technical, financial, policy or other solution. Have the courage
to say so. Until our own "Weapon of Mass Destruction" is removed, we will
have no hope of a future.
'We have no links with the British'
I REFER to the article on the front page of the Sunday Mail of August 17
titled "Uproar over attempt by UK to politicise doctors' association."
It seems worthwhile to again lay out the aims and purposes of the Zimbabwe
Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR).
ZADHR is a non-political professional
association of doctors, with other
health workers having associate status. To date, ZADHR has approximately 130
members from all branches of the medical profession working throughout the
The primary objective
of the association is to uphold the principles of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which the government of Zimbabwe is
ZADHR will respond to human rights violations including
perpetrated by any group, political or not, in power or in opposition.
ZADHR is also concerned with issues of equity and rights
to healthcare in
relation to HIV/Aids. ZADHR has had no interaction of any kind with the
British government or the British High Commission.
The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David
Parirenyatwa, has been
fully informed about the objectives and activities of the association.
Dr D M Gwatidzo,
Governance issue at heart of Zim woes
THIS beautiful and productive country has been plunged
that no one could have imagined only three years ago.
When the fuel shortage started in 1999, we were told it was a passing
phase. Numerous deals were put in place. They all collapsed. At the moment
the government has no idea how cars are moving.
often said that some managers make things happen, others watch
things happen while another lot wonder what happened.
This government is wondering what is happening. Let us take sugar for
Zimbabwe still exports sugar. There is enough of it in the Lowveld. So
why has there been a shortage for over two years now?
imagined we would be short of our own local currency? The
problems besetting this country have a domino effect. Can we say that this
regime is trying hard to resolve the problems but failing, or can we say
that they have now given up and are bereft of any ideas?
We in MDC have said that the
crises can only be resolved in a holistic
manner. Presently, each minister of the so-called war cabinet is running
round like a decapitated chicken trying to solve the problems besetting his
ministry. The problem is a governance issue, period.
The purpose of this submission is to warn the
nation that unless we
enter into serious dialogue and resolve the governance issue, even if the
country receives sufficient rains in the next four months, there will still
be shortages of food to levels that have never been seen before. The factors
that will contribute to that sorry state of affairs are the following;
shortage of seed, shortage of fertilisers and cost of both seed and
fertilisers. I will now expand.
approximately 800 000 active farmers in the country. These
are mainly communal farmers and those who were properly resettled before the
chaotic land reform.
These farmers can be relied upon because they have
are good farmers and they may have their own draught power. If each of these
farmers was to cultivate only two hactares, each would need a minimum 500kg
of compound D, 400kg of AN and 50kg of maize seed.
At current prices, this translates to $540 000 per
farmer. The average
yield for communal farmers is about a tonne per hactare.
The total production would therefore be 1 600 000 tonnes. If this was
to happen, other farmers would then produce maybe another 600 000 tonnes,
giving us a total of 2 200 000 tonnes, sufficient for one year's
This is easier said than done. Let us look at some facts.
With 800 000 farmers each tilling 2 ha means 1 600 000 ha. The seed
required would be 40 000 tonnes at $800 000 per tonne equals $32 billion;
compound D 400 000 tonnes at $600 000 per tonne equals $240 billion and AN
320 000 tonnes at $500 000 per tonne equals $160 billion. To finance maize
production for next year, the farmers must raise $432 billion.
As we have seen above, each farmer must raise $540
000. We know that
there is a shortage of local currency in the country. Communal farmers do
not have cheque accounts. They operate on cash, which is now not available.
Even if the government was to print money to
help farmers with inputs,
I don't believe there is enough printing capacity to produce the volumes of
But this assumes
that the inputs are available. We do not have enough
seed in the country. We do not have enough fertilisers either. Any scheme to
revive agriculture should have long been put in place. Farmers should by now
have received the bulk of their inputs. As nothing has been done, nothing of
any significance can be done now.
Two years ago we produced about 240 000 tonnes
of wheat. Last year,
after much hype, only 140 000 tonnes were produced. This year the wheat
which is in the ground will be enough to feed the nation for one month, a
mere 40 000 tonnes.
Next year there will be no
wheat at all.
What is the solution? The government, in its inherent malfeasance, is
preoccupied with readmission to the Commonwealth in December. It is my
submission that one of the most urgent matters is the growing of food next
We have only two months at most to put plans
together. We have no
fuel, we have no sugar, we have no cooking oil, we have no money, we have no
mealie-meal. The costs of these items if they become available, are
The government has asked the
World Food Programme for total food aid
this year as they have no money! If this is not abrogation of responsibility
and total admission of failure, then I don't know what is.
The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and
Resettlement is today, so late
in the season, seeking foreign currency to import seed and fertilisers. Who
is going to be responsible for the starvation of the people in this country
next year? Who is planning for the food production for next year? Can we
really say that we have a government that is in charge other than in charge
of violence and repression?
I go back to my earlier point. The problems of this
country cannot be
solved in isolation of the governance issue. We in the MDC have plans that
will address the economic meltdown, not piecemeal, but totally. We have
already developed sub-strategies for each sector.
In agriculture, we can revive production within the
time provided it is part of the overall political solution. The political
solution will bring back the rule of law, readmission into the comity of
nations, access to international finance, return of donors and an
opportunity to negotiate on what to do with our huge foreign debt. We will
also rationalise the land reform to ensure productivity returns.
Like I said, because nothing has been done up to now,
even though the
weather forecasters are predicting a good season, we will embarassingly be
begging for food again next year. What an indictment for a country endowed
with such natural resources.
In the words of
the erudite Pius Wakatama, those who have ears, let
Renson Gasela (MP),
MDC Shadow Minister of Lands & Agriculture.
GOVERNMENT'S attempt to camouflage its failure to resolve the country's cash
crisis through the issuance of travellers' cheques has been a huge flop.
Banks were not informed about commissions and other charges when handling
these pieces of paper. Wholesalers and retail shops are sceptical about
their use value.
The public in general is not comfortable carrying paper that
hurriedly printed that nobody immediately recognises at its face value. In
short, the introduction of travellers' cheques as a substitute for the
Zimbabwe currency is not only being rejected but has also created a
monumental public relations disaster for both the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
and the government.
The reasons for this rebuff are not
hard to find. The travellers' cheques
were issued as a knee-jerk reaction to a crisis that has been simmering over
a long period without government offering a plausible explanation or
solution. Their sudden introduction was seen as some gimmick to buy time.
Why the sudden inspiration to print some paper and call it money when
government has been watching the problem ballooning without acting?
Why not print proper money if the travellers' cheque itself is as safe to
use as the $500 bill?
An issue that
has been raised by members of the public is that the first
cheques issued had a face value of $100 000. Human nature being what it is,
people are bound to be suspicious of parting with their money or goods on
the basis of a piece of paper they are not sure will be honoured by the next
dealer. What if it turns out to be fake and their goods and change have
gone? People are naturally resistant to change, especially unguided change.
This gets more pronounced under a system where everything appears to result
from crisis management.
Like in any other crisis, the hardest hit are the poor.
According to the
grapevine, wholesalers and supermarkets will accept your new $100 000
travellers' cheque. The condition is simply that there is no change. The
prices of their goods have either doubled or trebled in the past three
So whatever denomination you take for your shopping
they make sure you take
away as few goods as possible to reduce their own exposure to the new
phenomenon. You could accuse them of profiteering, but their answer is
equally cogent: we are taking on a very grave risk and we don't want to lose
our goods for a song. The poor man is caught in a vicious circle. Talk of
Zanu PF putting people first. They are the first in the firing line.
But there are lessons to be learnt from all this. One
should be that people will resist government imposts of any sort if they are
not consulted. A simple public relations exercise would have helped to
educate people about what the government and the RBZ were trying to do.
The first target would have been the banks - make them appreciate
magnitude of the bank note crisis the government was facing, that
travellers' cheques were merely a stop-gap measure while a lasting solution
was being worked out and explain whether commissions would be charged and at
what rate. Banks already understand the dangers of printing money in a
hyperinflationary environment, so the lessons are clear.
Retailers and wholesalers also needed an explanation of what
trying to do. They are in business to make a profit, not to solve
government's problems. They need to be persuaded to cooperate with
government, not to be ordered to accept pieces of paper of very dubious
TV and radio could have been put to good use to
educate members of the
public against hoarding money, to report people dealing on the parallel
market and how to use the travellers' cheques in a more economical way.
There is too much ridiculous propaganda like Rambai Makashinga on radio and
TV when what people want to know is when they can expect relief on problems
like cash, fuel and food shortages.
years of this kushinga nonsense when people are hungry is too long and
has become a major source of frustration even for government's most ardent
supporters. Rambai Makashinga, whatever that is supposed to mean, seems to
have become an end in itself instead of an exhortation on people to endure a
brief phase of inconvenience while relief is sought. It is especially
irritating when people can't get their own currency and government has taken
leave of absence.
The idea is not to heap blame per se
but to point out government's shocking
inco-mpetence and mismanagement. Apart from a few well-connected foreign
currency hucksters, nobody else is reaping any dividend from this mess. The
point must be made, too, that the nation is paying politicians and
profession-als at the Reserve Bank to deal with these fiscal and financial
matters. We get nothing for our taxes.
Thousands of people spend literally days standing in queues to
get their own
money when they should be either in their offices or on the shop-floor doing
productive work. This is in addition to spending hours in fuel queues and
outside supermarkets in search of scarce food commodities. There can be no
greater form of economic sabotage than these lost man-hours caused by
government's criminal delinquency.
The biggest problem
is, of course, not lack of adequate regulation. It is
simply that government itself has become a bewildered bystander while the
rot runs riot. Why not ad-mit failure and quit with dignity? There will be
nothing to mourn.
President's score no more than zero
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe finds he has managed to cling on to the position
which he "won" last year amidst widespread local and international
disbelief, but he is very much a lame-duck president, unable to do anything
We are in our fourth year of the fuel crisis and no one any longer believes
there will be any initiatives from him to ease the situation. He recently
felt obligated to tour the graveyards of Libya "mourning" Gaddafi's deceased
relatives, but even that did not move that country to supply any more fuel.
is a word Mugabe finds much comfort in, but those offering it
limit it to verbal support. Libya, Nigeria, South Africa and many other
countries in Africa and beyond cynically offer him their solidarity, but not
one of them is willing to come to the aid of Zimbabwe in the face of its
problems. Mugabe is more pleased by their hypocritical verbal support than
he is bothered by the fact that they all are cultivating closer ties with
the Western countries he claims to be fighting against.
A man of what had once seemed
to be exceptionally high calibre, it is
strange that he feels comforted by the solidarity of leaders of mostly
dependent, dysfunctional states. Instead of giving those countries an
example to look up to, he is quite satisfied to have Zimbabwe go down to
Out of deference to his
being one of the last of the surviving African
freedom fighters still in power they are polite to him, but he seems not to
notice that by many of their actions they do not have much respect for him.
He once used to be at the centre of African politics, now he is a sad,
isolated figure who is merely tolerated, finding great comfort in small,
meaningless gestures like being invited to talk shops.
Virtually every time he talks he
issues warnings against someone or other.
Warding off increasing opposition has become such a full time job that there
is no time or energy to address mushrooming problems. He has so far
succeeded in avoiding open insurrection, but at great cost to himself. He
remains cloistered in the presidential palace, coming out only rarely under
heavy guard on very carefully controlled occasions.
There are countless laws to shield him from democratic
criticism, fear and harassment are effectively used tools, but still he does
not appear like a relaxed, confident president at peace with himself.
Apart from his own many personal foibles, whatever of his
was left is being rapidly used up by the shocking levels of theft, plunder
and other kinds of crookedness by many of his top lieutenants. He is aware
of it, but is now too weak and personally compromised to do anything about
Some ministers and other top aides spend far
more time on their personal
enterprises, a lot of them simply confiscated from fellow citizens, than on
affairs of state.
government positions are only conduits to getting cheap or free
resources with which to oil their personal activities. This is done so
blatantly it has completely stripped Mugabe of any moral authority. His
authority is now almost entirely from control over the means of force, which
he uses rather effectively, the only skill he has really perfected in his
time in office.
Using that skill, he brutally decimated white farmers as an
block challenging him. His well-to-do cronies have benefited
disproportionately from an exercise he claimed was to empower the landless
poor blacks. Along with economic decline that had begun long before, his
method of land redistribution has left in its wake accelerated economic
decline and massive hunger.
The latter is only
ameliorated by the food handouts of the same countries he
blames for his international isolation. A cold, unfeeling man, he seems
unmoved by the suffering he has personally caused to millions of
Zimbabweans. His goal of millions of disgruntled people who are too weak and
hungry to challenge him has been achieved, but it may not be for too much
has a reservoir of support in parts of Africa and the black world beyond
for his strong anti-white stance, but supporters do not explain the
brutality and great suffering caused to mainly blacks by his racism. He has
succeeded in squandering the potential of Zimbabwe and his own to be a
beacon of economic success and freedom to a tired, depressed Africa. Instead
of raising the stakes of what Africans should expect from independence and
majority rule, he has merely been content to feed on and fuel age-old
resentments without putting food on anybody's table.
It is one reason many of his
most vocal supporters do it from the safety and
comfort of Western countries, or NGOs funded by the West! Violence has been
a hallmark of his rule, excused by many of his apologists because by the
standards of the massacres the world has seen in so many African countries,
Mugabe's methods look tame by comparison. This is yet another example of the
low standards in which those who claim to be the strongest Africanists hold
Mugabe is an absolute disgrace to Zimbabwe and Africa. No
examination of his rule is excessive because of the high hopes of an
enlightened Africa of dignity, peace and prosperity he has failed to live up
to after 23 years at the helm. With as much singular power as he exerts over
so many critical aspects of life and politics, the reversal of Zimbabwe's
plight as just another failed African state is not possible as long as he
remains president. I give him a score of zero.
Chido Makunike is a Harare-based writer