August 21, 2008
By Allister Sparks
WHILE everyone is surely anxious to see the Zimbabwe negotiations succeed in
bringing relief to the long-suffering people of that country, it is
nonetheless galling that the process should be taking place at all. For it
is sending a terrible message to tyrants everywhere.
It is telling them that when you face defeat in an election, the thing to do
is to launch mayhem in your country, beating and butchering and bludgeoning
your own people until horrified peace-keepers come hurrying to the scene to
stop the carnage and you can then negotiate a continuing role for yourself
in the power structure.
It is a form of blackmail. The moral equivalent of the hostage-taker who
threatens to go on shooting his hostages unless his demands are met.
The sane world always faces a dilemma in such situations. To yield to the
hostage-taker's demands is to encourage their replication, and so there has
been a growing reluctance to do so and the painful decision has been taken
to leave hostages to their fate. But when whole communities are involved it
is a quantitatively different matter.
Still, I believe the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the
African Union (AU) could be doing better in the case of hostage-taker Robert
Mugabe. As this column has noted repeatedly for more than a year, those two
bodies are committed by their own charters not to recognise any regime that
takes power by unconstitutional means. So they should have warned Mugabe in
advance that if he rigged this year's election again, as he did in 2002 and
2005, they would not recognise his government.
It would be an illegitimate regime and Zimbabwe would be suspended from both
bodies and isolated.
That, I believe, would have stopped him. Mugabe may thumb his nose at
Britain and the US, but he would not dare do so at the rest of Africa.
Indeed, SADC should be acting in that way right now. Instead of trying to
negotiate a power-sharing deal, they should be telling Mugabe collectively
and bluntly that he lost the March 29 election, that he extended the run-off
illegally, that his campaign of violence and intimidation was unacceptable,
and that he cannot therefore be recognised as head of the Zimbabwe
They should tell him he must step down, and that if he does not step down
SADC will withdraw all support from him and his government. He will be
isolated on his own continent.
Sadly, President Thabo Mbeki, as SADC's appointed negotiator, has not had
the strength of character to do that. He is in awe of Mugabe's reputation as
a liberation icon, and perhaps in fear of being denounced as a tool of the
west, which is Mugabe's stock-in-trade response to his African critics.
And so the timidity has become pervasive. Nobody has been prepared to stand
up to the old tyrant except Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia, who died yesterday in
France (though he had been sedated following a stroke, he still managed to
send a message of admonition to the leaders in Sandton) and Botswana's gutsy
new president, Ian Khama, who boycotted the meeting to protest at Mugabe's
presence there as Zimbabwe's unelected president.
Even some of our media and professorial analysts seem stricken by
obtuseness. The other day I heard an SABC commentator say, as the SADC
leaders headed for Sandton, that "the ball is now in (Morgan) Tsvangirai's
How preposterous! Here is a man who has been robbed of an election victory,
had his organisation smashed and his supporters beaten, tortured and killed,
being told that the onus is on him to make concessions so that peace can be
The point is that Mugabe's insistence that he be the head of the so-called
"power-sharing" government, with the power to appoint - and thus also to
dismiss - members of that government, including Tsvangirai as prime
minister, is so obviously unacceptable to Tsvangirai that I cannot
understand why it was not instantly dismissed as a negotiating position.
Tsvangirai is not a fool. He and everybody else in southern Africa know how
Mugabe swallowed up Joshua Nkomo and his Zapu party without a trace in what
purported to be a power-sharing deal in the 1980s. It is as plain as a
pikestaff that this is what Mugabe is trying to do with Tsvangirai now - and
that Tsvangirai would be crazy to fall for it.
Yet we keep getting reports saying there is only one obstacle remaining in
the negotiations - even though that obstacle is the size of Everest.
The problem with SADC is that too many of its leaders have too much in
common with Mugabe. They are imbued with the notion that their parties of
liberation have a historic right to rule indefinitely; that as "vanguard
parties" only they have the wisdom and ideological insight to chart the
course of the unending "national democratic revolution". They form a kind of
freemasonry that closes ranks with fellow members of that self-righteous but
One can imagine, for example, that Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been
president of Angola for 29 years, feels somewhat reluctant to tell Mugabe
that after 28 years it is past time for him to go.
The AU, too, has some less than enthusiastic champions of free and fair
elections. There is Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled for 27 years, who
habitually locks up his opposition at election time and appears now to be
preparing to hand over to his son, Gamal. And of course Muammar Gaddafi, who
has held power in Libya for 39 years and counting.
What needs to happen is for the SADC leaders to cast off their craven
obsession with the egotistical needs of one stubborn old man and focus
instead on the increasingly desperate needs of the Zimbabwean people.
Zimbabwe's economy is disintegrating. The currency is devaluing at the rate
of 1000 percent a week. Inflation is reckoned to be in the vicinity of
50-million percent. This means that the money is worthless. It can't buy
anything, and in any case there is nothing in the shops to buy. The maize
crop this year is one-third of what is needed to feed the nation with its
most basic staple.
The people are facing starvation. A human catastrophe is looming. Africa
itself does not have the resources to save the 10-million or so people still
left in Zimbabwe. Only the western donor countries can do that. They have
pledged $4bn over two years, which is about half Zimbabwe's gross domestic
product, to kick-start a recovery.
But the donor countries won't give the aid if Mugabe remains head of the
government. This is understandable, because he squandered the wealth of what
was once a prosperous country and would surely do so again to keep his
cronies happy while the ordinary people continue to suffer in penury.
In any case, how can any donor country justify asking its taxpayers to bale
out a tyrant and subsidise an illegitimate regime?
No, the onus is on the SADC leaders to do the right thing. They must tell
Mugabe to go, now, so that the people of Zimbabwe can start living again.
(Sparks is a former editor of the Rand Daily Mail and a veteran political
By Basildon Peta in Johannesburg
Friday, 22 August 2008
Robert Mugabe has abandoned a negotiated solution to the Zimbabwean crisis
at the behest of the generals who prop him up, sources have told The
The embattled President, 84, has set himself on a collision course with the
opposition and international community after declaring he will open
parliament next Tuesday despite his failure to agree a power-sharing deal.
Zimbabwe's military chiefs, led by Constantine Chiwengwa, the head of the
army, believe Mr Mugabe has already offered to cede "too much power" to the
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in a deal now on the table, which Mr
Tsvangirai has refused to sign.
Other senior figures in Mr Mugabe's inner circle, including the leader of
the feared war veterans' militia, have demanded that the President makes no
further concessions to Mr Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change,
even it means the dialogue collapses completely.
Instead, they are pushing Mr Mugabe to dissolve parliament shortly after it
resumes sitting next week. He could then order fresh elections in which the
ruling Zanu-PF party could overturn the MDC's narrow majority through a
campaign of terror similar to that deployed between the first and second
round of presidential voting.
It is unlikely that Mr Mugabe would resort to that drastic a step. The MDC
instead fears a campaign of targeted assassinations of its MPs, several of
whom are said to be in hiding. This would force by-elections which the
Zanu-PF regime would win through violence to regain Mr Mugabe's majority.
The ruling party controls 99 seats, Mr Tsvangirai 100, while a smaller
faction of the MDC, led by the erratic Arthur Mutambara, controls 10. The
remaining seat is held by an independent. Mr Mugabe only needs to regain
seven seats to control parliament. He is already trying to woo opposition
MPs with bribes.
In the deal now on offer, Mr Mugabe would retain executive control of the
security services, while Mr Tsvangirai would be handed the task of repairing
the economy and facing the humanitarian disaster created by the current
"If President Mugabe goes ahead to convene parliament and appoint a new
cabinet, it means he is proceeding to violate the conditions of the
[memorandum of understanding] which means he may have abandoned the basis
for the talks. But we don't know what his intentions are," Mr Tsvangirai
said in Nairobi yesterday. "A violation of the MOU will have to be dealt
with by the mediator," he added.
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, the official mediator, also appears to
have given up on a settlement. Instead, he has joined the Mugabe camp in
trying to bully the opposition into accepting the deal.
The MDC leader told The Independent that a situation in which the prime
minister was asked to take responsibility for certain ministries while other
ministers reported directly to the president was untenable.
He described as "non-negotiable" his position that he should become
executive head of government in charge of appointing the cabinet, chairing
it and formulating and implementing government policy.
August 22, 2008 NAIROBI (AFP) - Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change said Thursday it
will attend the swearing in of new MPs next week but opposes the convening of
Parliament.MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said any
parliamentary session would be “a violation, repudiation of some of the
conditions on the Memorandum of Understanding” signed with President Robert
Mugabe last month on power sharing talks. “President Mugabe would not proceed to do anything unilaterally. Any step
that we take has to be by consensus,” he told reporters in Nairobi where he came
to seek advice on the workings of a power-sharing government. “We are going to Parliament to defend our mandate. Our problem is with the
convening of Parliament not the swearing in of members,” MDC secretary general
Tendai Biti also said earlier. The MDC has said it did not consent to the re-convening of Parliament after
controversial elections, claiming it could endanger talks aimed at resolving the
country’s devastating political crisis. In Harare Edwin Mushoriwa, a spokesman of the breakaway faction of the MDC
which is led by Prof Arthur Mutambara, said its elected MPs would not boycott
the swearing-in ceremony, which is scheduled for Monday. “If we don’t attend, Mugabe’s MPs would choose the speaker and deputy. We
cannot boycott the sitting of Parliament”, he told AFP. “We are opposed to the rule of Mugabe”, he added. “We may vote on a
particular issue (with Zanu–PF or MDC-Tsvangirai), but we’re not getting in
partnership with one or the other.” He denied his party had entered into an informal agreement with the Mugabe
regime. “We are a distinct political party,” he stated. “It is untrue that there was
an informal agreement with Zanu-PF.” Tsvangirai held talks with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga who in February
signed a power-sharing agreement with President Mwai Kibaki to end deadly
post-election violence that resulted in the death of some 1,500 people. Tsvangirai called for a sharing of executive authority with Mugabe in a final
coalition government agreement. “We want cooperation and sharing of power not sharing of positions, but
sharing of power. Executive authority should be shared between the president’s
office and the prime minister’s office,” he said. The MDC president said the talks adjourned last week deadlocked on the issue
of the roles envisioned for the prime minister post and the president. “There is one stumbling issue that we have been grappling with which is the
framework (of) powers and roles of the president and the new position of prime
minister for the duration of transition leading up to two and a half years,”
Tsvngirai said. “”That has been the crux and fundamental basis of this agreement. That’s why
I think the Kenyan experience becomes very important lesson to learn from.” Under the Kenyan peace agreement, the prime minister - who has two deputies —
supervises the functions and affairs of the government while the president
retains executive powers. Violence in Kenya erupted in the wake of presidential elections held on
December’s 27, which then opposition candidate and pre-poll frontrunner Odinga
said were rigged by Kibaki. The dispute ignited a wave of protests which were fiercely put down by the
police and soon led to ethnically-driven clashes and a cycle of revenge
killings, mainly in Nairobi and the western Rift Valley region. Former UN chief Kofi Annan led an internationally-backed mediation that
eventually yielded a power-sharing agreement. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party both suffered
historic defeats in parliamentary and presidential elections held in March. The
veteran leader was re-elected in a June one-man presidential run-off which was
boycotted by Tsvangirai, who had defeated Mugabe in the first round. Tsvangirai cited violence against his supporters.
August 22, 2008
NAIROBI (AFP) - Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change said Thursday it will attend the swearing in of new MPs next week but opposes the convening of Parliament.MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said any parliamentary session would be “a violation, repudiation of some of the conditions on the Memorandum of Understanding” signed with President Robert Mugabe last month on power sharing talks.
“President Mugabe would not proceed to do anything unilaterally. Any step that we take has to be by consensus,” he told reporters in Nairobi where he came to seek advice on the workings of a power-sharing government.
“We are going to Parliament to defend our mandate. Our problem is with the convening of Parliament not the swearing in of members,” MDC secretary general Tendai Biti also said earlier.
The MDC has said it did not consent to the re-convening of Parliament after controversial elections, claiming it could endanger talks aimed at resolving the country’s devastating political crisis.
In Harare Edwin Mushoriwa, a spokesman of the breakaway faction of the MDC which is led by Prof Arthur Mutambara, said its elected MPs would not boycott the swearing-in ceremony, which is scheduled for Monday.
“If we don’t attend, Mugabe’s MPs would choose the speaker and deputy. We cannot boycott the sitting of Parliament”, he told AFP.
“We are opposed to the rule of Mugabe”, he added. “We may vote on a particular issue (with Zanu–PF or MDC-Tsvangirai), but we’re not getting in partnership with one or the other.”
He denied his party had entered into an informal agreement with the Mugabe regime.
“We are a distinct political party,” he stated. “It is untrue that there was an informal agreement with Zanu-PF.”
Tsvangirai held talks with Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga who in February signed a power-sharing agreement with President Mwai Kibaki to end deadly post-election violence that resulted in the death of some 1,500 people.
Tsvangirai called for a sharing of executive authority with Mugabe in a final coalition government agreement.
“We want cooperation and sharing of power not sharing of positions, but sharing of power. Executive authority should be shared between the president’s office and the prime minister’s office,” he said.
The MDC president said the talks adjourned last week deadlocked on the issue of the roles envisioned for the prime minister post and the president.
“There is one stumbling issue that we have been grappling with which is the framework (of) powers and roles of the president and the new position of prime minister for the duration of transition leading up to two and a half years,” Tsvngirai said.
“”That has been the crux and fundamental basis of this agreement. That’s why I think the Kenyan experience becomes very important lesson to learn from.”
Under the Kenyan peace agreement, the prime minister - who has two deputies — supervises the functions and affairs of the government while the president retains executive powers.
Violence in Kenya erupted in the wake of presidential elections held on December’s 27, which then opposition candidate and pre-poll frontrunner Odinga said were rigged by Kibaki.
The dispute ignited a wave of protests which were fiercely put down by the police and soon led to ethnically-driven clashes and a cycle of revenge killings, mainly in Nairobi and the western Rift Valley region.
Former UN chief Kofi Annan led an internationally-backed mediation that eventually yielded a power-sharing agreement.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party both suffered historic defeats in parliamentary and presidential elections held in March. The veteran leader was re-elected in a June one-man presidential run-off which was boycotted by Tsvangirai, who had defeated Mugabe in the first round.
Tsvangirai cited violence against his supporters.
The Editor, The Times
Newspaper Published:Aug 22, 2008
It might sound unfair, but this is how parliamentary democracy works'
EDITORIAL: ZIMBABWE's parliament will finally be convened on Monday, almost
three months after its members were elected. The delay in swearing in the
210 members was due to the losses suffered by the ruling Zanu-PF in the
March 29 elections.
a.. Zimbabwe Special Report
For the first time since independence in 1980, Zanu-PF will go to parliament
with fewer seats than its rivals.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change won 100 seats at the polls -
one more than Zanu-PF - making it the largest party in the new parliament.
But the MDC does not have enough seats to boast a majority in the
legislature, and the balance of power hinges on the breakaway MDC faction
led by Arthur Mutambara.
Because the main MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, and Zanu-PF have failed to
agree on terms for a unity government, it now seems certain that Zimbabwe's
political fate will be decided by Mutambara's group.
If his faction, which has 10 seats in the legislature, throws its lot in
with Tsvangirai, Zanu-PF's Robert Mugabe would find it difficult to form a
new government that excluded the opposition.
Such a government would have little hope of international recognition,
especially because even the African Union has said it will accept nothing
less than a unity government in Zimbabwe.
But if Mutambara joins forces with Mugabe, Tsvangirai's party could find
itself on the back foot. It would be forced into the opposition role even
though it garnered the largest number of votes at the polls.
It might sound unfair, but this is how parliamentary democracy works.
Tsvangirai has insisted all along that a unity government will have to
recognise the outcome of the March 29 presidential poll. That election also
produced a hung legislature, and a deal by two of the parties would be
recognised as legitimate.
by Patricia Mpofu Friday 22 August 2008
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party resolved this week not to
give in to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's demand for full executive
power, a development that probably puts the last nail in the coffin of
stalled power-sharing talks between the two rivals.
Sources in ZANU PF told ZimOnline that the ruling party's inner politburo
cabinet met in Harare on Wednesday to receive a report from Mugabe on last
weekend's summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
ZANU PF's chief negotiator in talks with Tsvangirai's MDC party Patrick
Chinamasa briefed politburo members on progress in the dialogue and
obstacles to a political settlement.
"We resolved that no further executive powers will be given to Tsvangirai,"
said a member of the communist-style politburo, speaking strictly on
condition he was not named.
"Members were adamant that what he has been offered is enough and the issue
of President Mugabe maintaining his present executive powers is
non-negotiable," the politburo member said.
The ZANU PF official added that if Tsvangirai did not sign by Monday the
power-sharing proposal that is on the table and that was endorsed by SADC
leaders, then Mugabe and his party would "proceed with our Plan B".
The ruling party official declined to go into the details of Plan B.
However, there is widespread speculation in Harare political circles that
Mugabe could turn to a breakaway faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara
in a desperate attempt to form a government that includes opposition
Mutambara's faction that is also a participant in power-sharing talks
insists it has not entered any deal with Mugabe. But the faction says it is
agreeable to the deal on the table that proposes Mugabe retains his
executive powers while Tsvangirai becomes virtually a ceremonial a prime
minister without power to hire or fire ministers or to chair Cabinet.
Tsvangirai would be officially designated deputy chairman of Cabinet under
the proposed deal that however is silent on who between the MDC leader and
an acting president would chair Cabinet in the absence of Mugabe.
Mugabe has two deputies who take turns to perform presidential duties
including chairing Cabinet when he is on leave or out of the country.
ZANU PF deputy spokesman Ephraim Masawi confirmed the politburo received
reports on the Johannesburg SADC summit and the power-sharing talks but
refused to disclose details because politburo discussions are confidential.
Masawi said: "We were informed the SADC supports us in the deal, including
Botswana. I can't give you full details on the talks but we were fully
Disagreement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai over who between them should
control the power-sharing government has stalled a political settlement that
only a few weeks ago seemed within reach after the two rivals agreed for the
first time in nearly 10 years to sit at the same table to negotiate.
Mugabe insists on keeping his wide-ranging powers mostly intact while
Tsvangirai says he will take up the position of prime minister only if it
comes with full executive authority.
In a sign he may be losing patience with the stalled talks, Mugabe plans to
convene Parliament on Monday and officially open the House the following
day. He has not indicated whether he would proceed to name a new Cabinet to
run the country.
The Zimbabwean leader had delayed convening Parliament or forming a new
Cabinet to give talks a chance.
Tsvangirai told journalists in Nairobi on Thursday that plans to open
Parliament would violate a memorandum of understating (MOU) on talks,
labeling the move a "repudiation" of the MOU.
Tsvangirai's secretary general Tendai Biti was more direct, telling
journalists in Harare: "If you convene Parliament, you are closing the door
However Biti said the MDC, which holds 100 seats against ZANU PF's 99 in the
key lower chamber of Parliament, would attend the swearing-in of new members
of parliament on Monday.
"We are going to parliament to defend our mandate. Our problem is with the
convening of parliament - not the swearing-in of members," he said.
Mutambara's faction with 10 seats holds the balance of power in the House of
Assembly enabling whoever it backs to enjoy controlling majority in the
A government of national unity is seen as the best way to end Zimbabwe's
crisis that is marked by the world's highest inflation of more than 11
million percent, severe shortages of food, jobs, foreign currency and
Western nations, whose financial aid is vital to any effort to revive
Zimbabwe's economy, have said they will support such a unity government only
if its executive head is Tsvangirai. - ZimOnline
East African Standard
Published on 22/08/2008
By Martin Mutua
Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Thursday held a private meeting with Zimbabwe's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai at his Karen
residence in Nairobi.
Tsvangirai was in Nairobi for a one-day visit to consult with top Kenyan
Government officials over the Zimbabwe stalemate. He met Raila early in the
morning, and said MDC would not get into government with President Robert
Mugabe unless there was "real power sharing".
Tsvangira was interested in knowing more about the Kenyan negotiations that
led to the signing of the national peace Accord and formation of the Grand
The Kenyan mediation talks was spearheaded by a Panel of Eminent Persons and
chaired by former UN Chief Koffi Annan.
"Tsvangirai's coming to Kenya would mean that there are real problems facing
the negotiations between him and Mugabe," said a political analyst.
Tsvangirai said plans by Mugabe to convene Parliament would violate and
repudiate the African Union memorandum of understanding.
He said by opening Parliament next week, Mugabe may have decided to abandon
power-sharing talks aimed at ending Zimbabwe's deepening crisis.
The MDC leader later told a press conference at the Intercontinental Hotel,
Nairobi, that his party's position was that if the position of Prime
Minister was to be created, then it must have not only responsibilities but
the "necessary authority" to run government.
"It has to be accountable authority necessary and that the Prime minister
and the President must have shared responsibilities," he added.
By Blessing Zulu
21 August 2008
With Zimbabwe's parliament called to convene on Tuesday, the main political
parties including President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and both formations of
the Movement for Democratic Change are positioning them for the first
critical vote for speaker of the lower house.
The outcome of that vote by the 210 members of the house of assembly could
set the tone for a parliament in which the combined opposition Movement for
Democratic Change holds a majority - but may not exercise it as many
anticipated after the March general election.
Political sources said the MDC formation of Arthur Mutambara will put
forward Paul Themba Nyathi as its own candidate for speaker when parliament
is recalled next week.
The MDC grouping led by Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to nominate its
national chairman, Lovemore Moyo. Division between the two MDC camps could
open the door wider for a deal between Mutambara's MDC and ZANU-PF, which
might seek to secure the post of deputy speaker - and court the MDC faction
as a coalition partner by backing Themba Nyathi
The ZANU-PF central committee was to meet Saturday to choose its own
candidate. But party sources said the short list includes National Chairman
John Nkomo and ministers defeated in the general election on March 29,
including Oppah Muchinguri and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.
Compromise candidates include former ZANU-PF politburo member Dumiso
Dabengwa, who broke with the ruling party in 2005 over its forced eviction
and demolition drive, former speaker Cyril Ndebele and Mutambara faction
Vice President Gibson Sibanda.
While the opening of parliament seems a sure thing, there are many questions
regarding the cabinet. Some lawyers say Mr. Mugabe can name ministers who
lost their parliamentary seats for an additional three months, while others
say they must step down.
National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional
expert, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
there is no constitutional impediment to recalling parliament even though
Tsvangirai and other MDC officials have warned that it breaches the July 21
memorandum setting power-sharing talks.
JASON MOYO AND MANDY ROSSOUW - Aug 22 2008 00:00
"The MDC is the Trojan horse of British interests ... Why do you think after
every little thing that is put on the table (Movement for Democratic Change
leader Morgan) Tsvangirai has time for reflection? It gives him time to
consult with the white people."
In an interview with the Mail & Guardian this week Robert Mugabe
spokesperson George Charamba's comment underscored the intense underlying
hostilities that have left the Zimbabwean settlement talks in ruins.
Charamba indicated Zanu-PF's intention of swallowing up the MDC, much as it
did Zapu after the 1987 agreement, saying that the talks had to be concluded
speedily because this would shift the MDC "out of the way".
"Only when the talks are over will the MDC become the national party with a
national consciousness," he said. "We need the MDC out of the way so that
Zimbabweans are on the same side. Then we can begin to discuss who owns what
Charamba also denied any economic crisis in Zimbabwe, saying: "I don't know
what you are terming as economic decline. In terms of the stats, Barclays is
declaring a dividend every year; so does Stanbic and Zimplats.
"All the real players are sticking it out and doing brisk business ... The
condition of the Zimbabwean black will remain the same for years from now."
Despite the weekend summit of the Southern African Development Community,
which focused on the Zimbabwean crisis, there was no further movement
towards settlement this week. Zanu-PF leader Mugabe and Tsvangirai are
digging in their heels, insisting they will not move from their closing
positions in last week's talks.
Mugabe's insistence on reopening Parliament has escalated tensions and made
a settlement look even more unlikely.
The Memorandum of Understanding, which set the agenda for the talks last
month, barred him from convening Parliament without the consent of the other
parties to the negotiations. But the SADC undermined this by giving its
blessing to the reopening of the legislature. It also bought President Thabo
Mbeki's view that the MDC is the principal obstacle to settlement and urged
Tsvangirai to soften his stance.
Although Tsvangirai said he would not oppose the opening of Parliament, MDC
general secretary Tendai Biti said in a statement that "convening Parliament
decapitates the dialogue".
MPs have been out of work since the March 29 elections and want their
salaries and parliamentary perks restored.
Zanu-PF believes reconvening parliament will heighten pressure on Tsvangirai
to sign the proposed deal in its current form. Zimbabwean law requires the
appointment of a new Cabinet as soon as Parliament is sworn in.
Mbeki was hoping for a settlement by last Sunday. "Together with the rest of
our region, the leaders of the people of Zimbabwe hope that by this day,
SADC Day [August 17], they will have concluded their negotiations, creating
the possibility for them to act together to resolve the political and
socio-economic challenges this sister country faces," he wrote in a message
printed in an SADC booklet distributed in Sandton.
The main logjam in the talks remains the division of powers between Mugabe
and Tsvangirai in a new government, with the MDC insisting that this should
reflect its superior showing in the first presidential election in March.
Zanu-PF argues that as Tsvangirai did not participate in the June 27
elections, he cannot lead the government. The June elections were widely
condemned as neither free nor fair.
The MDC is now looking to Mbeki to pressure Mugabe into making concessions.
"We're not moving from this point. Our position will not change," an MDC
insider told the M&G.
Tsvangirai's strongest bargaining chip is Zimbabwe's continuing economic
implosion and the fact that he holds the key to the international economic
aid the country desperately needs. He also calculates that without his
participation, the government will face the same crisis of legitimacy as it
did immediately after the presidential run-off.
However, MDC officials worry that he has overplayed his hand, as Mugabe is
indifferent to the state of the economy and solely preoccupied with
Said one: "For him and the people around him things are just fine. The worse
the economy does the better for them. They can buy foreign currency at the
Reserve Bank at low rates and sell it for much more. They are making a lot
of money out of the crisis."
Patrick Chinamasa, Zanu-PF's chief mediator, also indicated this week that
his party will make no further concessions. Parliament must now convene, he
said, "and we must carry on with the business of running the country".
"There is no basis whatsoever to justify Tsvangirai's demands," Chinamasa
said. "He wants President Mugabe to become (former titular president Canaan)
Banana. But judging by the March 29 election, there can be no basis for
these demands. What he is asking for is a transfer of power, not a sharing
of power," said Chinamasa.
Mugabe, who insists on appointing and chairing Cabinet, has offered
Tsvangirai the deputy chair. Zanu-PF officials claim the prime minister's
proposed powers exceed those of Kenya's Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.
The MDC countered by offering Mugabe the position of army commander, which
Tsvangirai wants to appoint his party deputy Thokozani Kupe as deputy prime
minister, with the other deputy post held by Zanu-PF.
The MDC says it will continue negotiating and that the reconvening of
Parliament will not affect its stance. "The economy will implode within
three to four months," said one MDC official. "If he [Mugabe] wants to go
ahead and deal with inflation of 11-million percent with an imitation
government, he can do so."
However, the official conceded that the SADC summit at the weekend was a
disappointment, as the MDC had hoped the region would ratchet up the
pressure on Mugabe.
An African diplomat sympathetic to Mugabe said that member states had told
Tsvangirai to "stop being a stumbling block and sign the agreement" after
receiving information and documents about the Zimbabwe talks.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
21 August 2008
Despite formal condemnations of political violence by all parties to
Zimbabwe's power-sharing negotiations, such violence remains a daily
occurrence in Manicaland province.
Sources there said war veterans and ruling ZANU-PF militia on Wednesday
visited Cidimu farm near Old Mutare Mission and threatened the owner with
forceful eviction if he did not vacate by the end of the month. The owner
confirmed to VOA the account of that visit.
Last week, ZANU-PF militia members invaded another farm in Rusape,
In Buhera South constituency, war veterans have continued to abduct and beat
opposition members as such violence has tapered off elsewhere.
Much the same has been happening in the Makoni South and Chimanimani
In Bikita opposition members are being denied food assistance, sources said.
War veteran leader Joseph Chinotimba, defeated in March in a bid for the
Buhera South seat, is said to be directing much of the violence.
VOA was unable to reach Chinotimba for comment on the allegations.
Political analyst John Makumbe, a professor at the University of Zimbabwe in
Harare, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
Manicaland has rejected ZANU-PF rule, and the local leadership of the ruling
party is still venting anger.
$105m goes walkabout in misty Zimbabwe platinum deal; Andrew Groves and Phillipe Edmonds rush to the rescue, capes flapping.Barry Sergeant
On April 11, when London-listed resources stock Camec announced a platinum mining deal in Zimbabwe that appeared to be the sweetest thing since finding El Dorado in your backyard, few outsiders had insight into what was really going on. Fast forward to this week, and the panic bottom has been hit as north of $100m remains walkabouts.
Camec, skippered by Phillipe Edmonds, who once apparently played cricket for England, and Andrew Groves, son of a Harare policeman, has spent the past few years accumulating vulnerable mining assets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, working hand-in-glove with Conrad Muller "Billy" Rautenbach, a Zimbabwean who ranks as a fugitive from justice in South Africa.
Back in April, Camec described how it had acquired a choice duo of platinum deposits on Zimbabwe's Grand Dyke. Camec bought 100% of dodgy-sounding Lefever, a (no surprise) British Virgin Islands company, from Meryweather Investments, a misnomer of note. Lefever owns 60% of Todal, a Zimbabwean company, which has the rights to the Bougai and Kironde platinum concessions, owned until then by Anglo Platinum, in which Anglo American holds a near-80% stake. Everything points to the two concessions suffering zero-payment confiscation from Anglo Platinum.
For Lefever, Camec agreed to pay Meryweather $ 5m cash, plus 215m new Camec shares. Camec also agreed to loan $100m in cash to Lefever. This is to be repaid by Zimbabwean state-owned mining company ZMDC, which owns the other 40% of Todal. This thinly disguised donation is nothing less than an unsecured cash loan to the Zimbabwe government; for that, read "the president Robert Mugabe regime".
Now the thing is this: back on April 11, the 215m Camec shares were worth a princely GPB 118m, a King's ransom. Since then, all kinds of nasty things have happened, not least the cooling of the world's economy, along with carnage in commodity prices, and a severe hammering of listed resources stocks. One of Camec's key claimed products, cobalt, has seen a halving in dollar prices over the past six months. Today, the 215m Camec shares are worth just GBP 62m; an amount of GPB 56m, equal to $105m, has gone walkabouts.If this sounds like a rotten story, it only gets worse. Back in April, the various virtuous parties to the transparently wonderful platinum deal agreed that half the 215m Camec shares would be locked up for six months, and the balance for a year. Camec's stock price is already down 53% from its highs, and given the characterisation of those waiting impatiently with their grubby paws on the 215m shares, there's no question that cash is going to be preferred to Camec paper.
In October, more than 100m Camec shares are scheduled to hit markets like an enraged monsoon ripped to the tits. In April 2009, ditto the action. Today, August 21 2008, Camec announced that it is calling a general meeting "to seek shareholder approval to purchase its own shares and thereafter to commence a share repurchase programme". In a statement, Groves is quoted as saying that "We believe that Camec's shares are currently significantly undervalued. We intend to enter the market to repurchase shares and will continue to do so until we believe that the shares are more appropriately valued".
Zimbabwe's political opposition have vowed to reverse Camec's cool platinum deal, but that is another story. For the meantime, Camec's trusty partners in Harare are in panic mode, and so is Camec. If Camec was serious about buying back shares - it has 2,6bn in issue - it would quietly start with the 215m in the hands of its ravenous Zimbabwean partners. Sometimes, just sometimes, a plan does indeed come together.
Thursday, 21 August 2008 18:35
POWER-SHARING talks between Zanu PF and the MDC factions now hang in
the balance, with the opposition saying Zanu PF's plans to convene
parliament next Tuesday would be a "clear repudiation" of the framework for
The controversial move to swear in MPs and senators on Monday before
convening parliament on Tuesday has left the three political parties in the
talks, Zanu PF and the two MDC factions, in disarray. The latest shift in
events threatens to sabotage the negotiations that have been rambling on
MPs will be sworn in by the Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma at 10am
on Monday. This will be followed by the election of Speaker and deputy
Speaker of parliament.
Negotiating parties have been frantically lobbying for the positions.
Zanu PF and the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai have been locked in a
bitter struggle for the posts, leaving Arthur Mutambara's smaller MDC group
well placed to tilt the scales, with a good chance of producing a compromise
None of the three parties has a majority in parliament. Zanu PF won 99
seats, Tsvangirai's MDC 100 and the Mutambara faction 10 seats in the House
of Assembly. To control parliament a party needs 106 seats.
After the MPs, senators will be sworn in at 2:30pm and subsequently
there would be an election of president and deputy president of the senate.
Zanu PF is expected to easily win the posts if President Robert Mugabe
chooses the five appointed senators and 10 provincial governors who are due
to be sworn in on Monday as well.
Appointed senators and the governors, bolstered by 18 chiefs, would
give Zanu PF an unassailable 63 senators in the 93-member Upper House.
Tsvangirai's party has 24 and the Mutambara faction six senators.
The issue of cabinet - which Mugabe might move to appoint if he
secures a deal with some opposition MPs - appointment of senators, governors
and the Speaker of parliament, are part of the talks. The process which
might follow next week's events could disrupt the already stalled
Mugabe will officially open parliament on Tuesday. Sources said that
Tsvangirai's MPs are likely to boycott the opening session after they are
sworn in on Monday.
Mugabe is unable to form a functioning government on his own after his
party lost control of parliament in the March elections. This has created an
unprecedented dilemma for him since he came to power in 1980 as he has to
rely on the MDC to extend his rule, particularly after signing a Memorandum
of Understanding (MoU) on July 21 to guide the talks.
The MoU prohibits such measures as the convening of parliament without
mutual consent by the negotiating parties. Mugabe's decision to assemble
parliament has sparked off an uproar with Tsvangirai's party which has
warned this might scuttle the talks.
Sadc leaders at their summit last weekend in South Africa sanctioned
the assembling of parliament "to give effect to the will of the people as
expressed in the parliamentary elections held on 29 March 2008".
It is said that Mugabe lobbied Sadc for approval to avoid violating
the MoU and find a convenient cover for his actions. Mugabe also came out of
the Sadc summit with a façade of legitimacy after his counterparts tacitly
Tsvangirai's secretary-general Tendai Biti said this week the
assembling of parliament would ruin the talks.
"Any decision to convene parliament will be a clear repudiation of the
Memorandum of Understanding, and an indication beyond reasonable doubt of
Zanu PF's unwillingness to continue to be part of the talks. In short
convening parliament decapitates the dialogue," Biti said.
"Article 9 of the MoU signed on 21 July 2008 makes it clear that no
party, during the subsistence of the dialogue, shall take any decision or
measure that has a bearing on the dialogue, save by consensus. Such a
decision or measure includes, but is not restricted to, the convening of
parliament or formation of a new government. In the present case, the MDC
has not consented to the convening of parliament."
Tsvangirai initially said that "let parliament be reconvened" - before
he tried yesterday to shift his position to align himself with his
secretary-general while in Kenya by stating that the convening of parliament
would undermine the talks.
Tsvangirai told a news conference in Nairobi Mugabe's intention to
open parliament next Tuesday was a "repudiation" of the MoU.
"A violation of the MoU will have to be dealt with by the mediator,"
he said. South African President Thabo Mbeki is the mediator.
"If President Mugabe goes ahead to convene parliament, appoint a new
cabinet, it means he is proceeding to violate the conditions of the MoU
which means he may have abandoned the basis for the talks but we don't know
what his intentions are."
Sources said Mugabe is manoeuvring in a bid to outflank the opposition
by luring some of their MPs through promises of government positions and
other inducements to secure a parliamentary majority and form a new cabinet.
It is said Mutambara, who would be deputy prime minister if the talks
succeed, could be amenable to a deal with Mugabe although he has denied it.
A number of Tsvangirai's MPs have also been targeted by Zanu PF and
this prompted the party last week to go public about it in an effort to keep
Mugabe at bay.
The convening of parliament would come amid growing criticism that the
current government - run by an old cabinet dissolved on March 27 - may not
only be illegitimate, but also unconstitutional.
A group of lawyers monitoring parliamentary affairs said government
was running without parliament for six months and this was unlawful.
"The Constitution stipulates that the country should not be governed
without a parliament for more than 180 days (Section 62). We are well past
this (the 180 days expired in mid-July)," the lawyers said.
They also said the clause in the MoU which says parliament should not
be convened before the negotiations are concluded "is merely a contract
between the political parties, which cannot contradict the supreme law of
Mugabe dissolved parliament on January 24 ahead of March elections.
However, constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said the 180 days
apply to the period between two sessions of the same parliament, not
different ones as is the case now.
Madhuku said the real issue presently was that Mugabe did not follow
the constitution when he took the oath of office on June 29, while
parliament was not sworn in.
By Dumisani Muleya
Thursday, 21 August 2008 18:32
THE country's main political parties have been wrong-footed by
President Robert Mugabe's decision to convene parliament next Tuesday, with
policy differences emerging in the MDC while hardliners in Zanu PF are
uncertain of their future in government.
Sadc leaders approved the convening of parliament during their summit
at the weekend in Johannesburg prompting President Mugabe to gazette the
swearing in of MPs on Monday and the opening of the House on Tuesday. The
move has caused problems in Zanu PF and both factions of the MDC.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC has since issued contradictory
statements on the assembling of parliament with the party leader giving it a
thumbs-up, while secretary-general Tendai Biti said it would "decapitate the
dialogue" process and show that Zanu PF was unwilling to continue with the
"Any decision to convene parliament will be a clear repudiation of the
memorandum of understanding (MoU) and an indication beyond reasonable doubt
of Zanu PF's unwillingness to continue to be part of the talks. In short,
convening parliament decapitates the dialogue," Biti said in a statement on
His stance contradicted that of Tsvangirai who initially said they had
no problem with the convening of parliament as this was "an expression of
the will of the people".
Yesterday, however Tsvangirai made a U-turn in Nairobi, Kenya, saying
the convening of parliament would violate the MoU, an issue that would have
to be dealt with by the mediator, South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki.
In the other faction of the MDC there are fears among the MPs that
Mutambara might have struck a deal with Zanu PF that would see the robotics
professor landing the deputy premiership if the talks succeed.
But Mutambara and his chief negotiator Welshman Ncube have denied any
such deal, saying they would only sign a tripartite deal involving
Yesterday, Edwin Mushoriwa, the Mutambara faction spokesperson, also
denied they had done a deal with Zanu PF.
"We are a distinct political party," Mushoriwa said. "It is untrue
that there was an informal agreement with Zanu PF."
Sources in Zanu PF said hardliners and ministers in the party who lost
in the March 29 elections were opposed to the convening of parliament, as
they feared losing their ministerial positions if Mugabe appoints a new
The hardliners, the sources said, also want a permanent stay of the
talks and hoped that Mugabe would appoint them non-constituency senators so
they remain in cabinet.
"The hardliners do not want a power-sharing government with MDC, one
of the sources said. "They are afraid that they would lose out."
The sources said apart from the hardliners, the army, police and
intelligence chiefs who meet under the Joint Operations Command were also
opposed to the talks, especially after it emerged that if a deal is sealed
Tsvangirai would attend their meetings as prime minister.
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 21 August 2008 18:24
THE Zimbabwe People's Party president Justine Chiota is seeking to
stop the swearing-in of legislators and opening of parliament next week.
Chiota's demand is contained in an urgent Supreme Court application in
which he wants the nullification of President Robert Mugabe's re-election
after recently securing a judgement which invalidated his exclusion from the
presidential election in March. The nomination court in February rejected
Chiota and the United People's Party leader Daniel Shumba's papers to enter
the race saying they were filed late.
However, a recent Supreme Court ruling said the nomination court's
decision to reject the papers was invalid.
Chiota has demanded that if his application is successful, fresh
presidential elections be held within 90 days.
In his application, Chiota said Mugabe should be interdicted from
swearing-in MPs and Senators on Monday and also from constituting a new
But Chiota appears to have cited an incorrect respondent on the
swearing-in of legislators because the ceremony is officiated by the Clerk
of Parliament, not the president.
In the same application he also demanded that the power-sharing talks
between Zanu PF and MDC be stopped.
Chiota, a controversial former Central Intelligence Organisation
officer, stated in his application that the political future of Zimbabwe
would be shaped by negotiations predicated on an election conducted
regardless of the fact that his rights were violated.
"I also submit that the settlement talks based on the results of the
election impugned herein are equally an infringement upon my rights as
already declared by this court, and the constitution of the government of
the Republic of Zimbabwe based on such talks will be in itself an
infringement on my rights aforesaid," he said.
A fortnight ago Chiota lost his legal bid to join the Sadc-initiated
talks between Zanu PF and the two formations of the MDC in the South African
Justice Ephraim Makgoba of the Pretoria High Court dismissed with
costs the urgent application saying the court did not have the power to
pronounce on a matter outside its territorial jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, Shumba recently approached the Sadc Tribunal seeking to
have his party included in the power-sharing talks being mediated by South
African President Thabo Mbeki.
By Lucia Makamure
Thursday, 21 August 2008 18:16
BOTSWANA has reacted sharply to claims carried in the state media that
it had softened its stance on Zimbabwe after it was initially "misled" by
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on the political crisis in the country.
State media reported this week that some Sadc leaders apologised to
President Robert Mugabe during the regional bloc's summit at the weekend in
Sandton for their stance against his government.
The Herald claimed that leaders from Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania
expressed "embarrassment" at having "blindly supported" Tsvangirai on the
political situation in the country.
The leaders reportedly said a briefing they got on Zimbabwe from South
African President Thabo Mbeki during the summit had enlightened them.
The newspaper quoted Botswana's Foreign Minister, Phandu Skelemani, as
saying that Tsvangirai had lied to his country.
But the Botswana Foreign ministry on Wednesday dismissed the reports
and insisted it did not recognise Mugabe as the legitimate president of
"The Botswana government has not altered its position on Zimbabwe and
the reports from the Harare Herald are misleading," the Foreign ministry
said in a statement.
The Herald in its report claimed that African countries were warming
up to Mugabe after realising that they had been lied to by Tsvangirai.
"The biggest surprise, however, came from Nigeria, which sent a high
profile emissary to South Africa on Sunday to seek a meeting with President
Mugabe and offer apologies for taking an uninformed position on Zimbabwe's
electoral processes during the last AU summit in Egypt," the story claimed.
The newspaper further said that Botswana -- whose leader Ian Khama
boycotted the Sadc summit protesting against Mugabe's presence -- had
softened its position after being lied to by Tsvangirai.
"He (Skelemani) said his analysis of the situation was that Tsvangirai
had misled them on Zimbabwe's political processes," the Herald claimed. But
Botswana says there has been no change in its position on Zimbabwe.
Botswana is among countries that include Nigeria, Liberia, Tanzania,
Kenya and Zambia, which have not endorsed Mugabe's re-election, seeing the
process as flawed.
By Loughty Dube
Thursday, 21 August 2008 17:56
THABO Mbeki's briefing to the media after the Sadc summit held in
Johannesburg on August 17.
Questions and answers
Question: Mr President I would like to know if you have any sense of
when we can expect to see a final agreement signed by the negotiating
parties in Zimbabwe? Can you also give us a sense of the concerns around the
Answer: It is clearly not possible to say when the negotiations would
be concluded. It is a matter of the negotiating parties convening to look at
whatever matter might be outstanding. One cannot allocate a date to this and
the Sadc Organ did not indicate a date by which this matter should be
concluded with regard to the completion of this process, except to indicate
the urgency of the matter. So, it is not possible to say when the
negotiations would be concluded.
Q: Mr President, you said that the Organ agreed that the documents
provided form a good basis on which to conclude the negotiations. Does that
mean that you feel that there is no need to negotiate over the documents?
A: I am not aware if this communiqué has been distributed. You will
see that that particular paragraph expresses the strong opinion of the
Extraordinary Summit of the Sadc Organ having studied the documents to which
I referred earlier, came to that conclusion looking at those documents
relative to the decisions/resolutions of Sadc and the African Union on the
matter, expressed that opinion but said that negotiations should continue
and that would include concluding negotiations and signing any outstanding
agreements as a matter of urgency.
So essentially, what the Extraordinary Summit was saying was that
negotiations should continue but of course, having had the possibility for
the first time of looking at the entirety of the documentation, the Organ
felt it should express its own view about this because bearing in mind,
these two resolutions - Sadc and the African Union - so, it says that
negotiations need to continue but it is of that view with regard to the
quality and extent of the work that has already been done by the Zimbabwean
negotiators that they have produced a set of documents that in the view of
the Organ do indeed address the issues that were raised in these two
resolutions and to that extent, they believe form a good basis for a speedy
resolution of outstanding matters but that the negotiations must of course,
Q: Mr President, what are the outstanding issues in the agreement?
A: Let me explain something before we get more questions. I am
speaking here not as the facilitator but as the chair of Sadc. Now you are
asking me to get involved in a discussion that deals with the facilitation
and I must say that I cannot answer questions posed to the facilitator.
I can answer questions posed to the chair of Sadc but bear in mind
that there is an agreement in the facilitation process arrived at by all the
parties that we would not handle the process of negotiations through the
media and indeed I am sure you will remember this because it is also
included in the Memorandum of Understanding so to that extent, there is a
limitation that is imposed with regard to how much detail we can express but
that is a matter that belongs to the facilitation process.
But with regard to what the Organ discussed I think it is properly and
fully reflected in the communiqué of the Extraordinary Summit of the Organ.
Q: Mr President, yesterday, when you were speaking as the chair of
Sadc, you said that the negotiations needed to be concluded to extricate the
Zimbabwean people from the dire situation in which they find themselves.
Could you give us an impression of what you see as the humanitarian urgency
for a deal?
A: What drove Sadc in the first place to last year convene an
extraordinary Summit of the Organ in Dar-es-Salaam in March to discuss
Zimbabwe - there were other matters on the agenda like the DRC and so on -
was driven by very serious concerns about the matter you have referred to,
the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.
And the discussions that have taken place over the last three days
focused us on really trying to assist to speed up the process of the
conclusion of the negotiations and the implementation of the agreements that
would come from these negotiations. It is driven precisely by these very
deep seated concerns in the region that the political concerns must be
created so that with the greatest urgency this humanitarian, economic and
social condition in Zimbabwe can be addressed as a matter of urgency by an
So it is a matter of fundamental concern to the region - this
socio-economic and humanitarian condition of the people of Zimbabwe. But we
believe that we need this inclusive government to drive this process of
addressing these challenges but this consideration of the humanitarian
situation of the people of Zimbabwe is fundamental to all of the statements
that are made and this decision of Sadc emphasising the urgency of this
matter. It is not just to address the political stability but also to create
the conditions so that you have an inclusive government that would then
address these other urgent issues.
Q: Mr President, as the chair of Sadc, do you believe that any deal
that leaves President Mugabe with any power is going to be acceptable to the
international donor community and is it going to be a long-term solution to
the crisis in Zimbabwe?
A: The two resolutions that bind the facilitation - the first one said
specifically that could the facilitator please get the ruling party and the
opposition to meet and discuss in order to resolve the political challenges
The African Union resolution said the same thing. And so, we have
indeed been working over this period with the ruling party and the MDC led
by Mr Tsvangirai and the MDC led by Professor Mutambara and the decision
that will be reached about what needs to happen will come from the
It certainly would not be correct for the facilitator to hand down any
prescriptions to say that the person or group that should be part of the
inclusive government to which these parties have agreed so it would be a
matter really that the Zimbabwean parties would agree to - who is in that
inclusive government and the role that they would play in that inclusive
That must truly come from the Zimbabwe parties because I think of all
of us, they know best what is good for Zimbabwe and the thing is that
everybody - the facilitator, Sadc, the international community - would have
to respect what the Zimbabwe political leadership says about Zimbabwe and I
am quite certain that the Zimbabwe political parties would answer the
question you have posed on the basis of what they think is right for
Zimbabwe, what they think is required in Zimbabwe.
It is not any determination that can, nor indeed should, be made by
anybody. Let's really allow the people of Zimbabwe to determine their
future. This is critically important because any solution that is imposed
from outside will not last, it will not last, unless it is a common product
that is owned by this entire collective of the leadership of Zimbabwe. I
think if the facilitation tried to impose any solution we would be creating
a situation that actually would amount to creating conditions for the
failure of whatever might be incorrectly described as a solution.
*The South African Department of Foreign Affairs recorded the
Thursday, 21 August 2008 17:42
AS if the current frequent power-cuts were not enough, long-suffering
Zimbabweans are set to spend even more on candles and firewood as Zesa
The power utility needs to export the power saved through
load-shedding to Namibia as re-payment for the US$50 million loan Zimbabwe
received in a Power Purchasing Agreement from NamPower earlier this year.
Information gathered from Namibia and Zesa this week shows that
power-cuts will be a long-term feature until Hwange Thermal Power station is
Under the deal signed between the two countries when President Robert
Mugabe visited Namibia in March last year, Nambia would receive 180
Megawatts for a minimum of five years as part of a power purchasing
agreement with Zimbabwe Electricity and Transmission Company (Zetco)'s
holding company, Zesa.
The US$50 million would then be used to refurbish and expand Hwange
power stations to levels that would eventually result in a "significant"
reduction in power-cuts throughout energy-crisis hit Zimbabwe.
The plan was to have the last of the four generators fully repaired by
August this year. The four generators at Hwange are capable of generating a
total of 480MW, but have operated erratically as Hwange struggles to cope
with frequent equipment breakdowns and coal shortages. In fact, Zimbabwe has
failed to refurbish Hwange power station with the loan so that it can
increase electricity generation to serve the country and Namibia.
Up to US$2 billion is required to install new equipment and expand
production at the country's two main power plants in Hwange and Kariba to
meet increased industrial and domestic demand.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing debilitating power-cuts due to the
declining capacity of its aging power plants, which have been starved of new
investment as the country battles severe foreign currency shortages.
Businessdigest understands that the deal between NamPower and Zimbabwe
states that Zimbabwe will "meet its other part of the bargain" regardless of
the electricity generation in the country.
"If they (Zesa) cannot generate the power to supply us, they still
must find the power elsewhere to fulfil their part (of the agreement),"
NamPower managing director Paulinus Shilamba told the media recently.
Namibia started receiving power from Zimbabwe in January this year, as
Hwange power station was hit by breakdowns. Cutting power to Namibia was not
Regional power utilities have also reportedly been progressively
reducing supplies to Zesa Holdings.
The reduced supply from the region has also piled pressure on Zesa
which has been unable to produce enough electricity for the country due to
poor capitalisation and obsolete equipment.
Zesa is said to getting about 100MW from Cahora Bassa in Mozambique
and 50MW from Snel in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Initially Zesa was getting 150MW from Cahora Bassa but the supplies
were reduced to due to non-
Zesa is generating about 800MW monthly and adding up imports of 150MW,
the country is getting 950MW against a demand of 1 850MW. An undisclosed
amount is sent to Namibia. This gives a shortfall of about 900MW which means
at any given day half of the country will be in the dark.
Industry has been particularly hard-hit by regular power outages,
which have caused a decline in production and contributed to an economic
crisis and escalating political tensions over Mugabe's 28-year rule.
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 21 August 2008 17:40
THE long uninterrupted hyperinflationary environment in the country
has resulted in the soaring prices indexed to foreign currencies ending up
at four times more than anywhere else in the world.
With no immediate long-term economic plan or growth on the ground,
Zimbabwe is said to have "devalued" its major trading currencies, the US
dollar and South African rand.
While prices in Zimbabwe are influenced by the US dollar because of
inflation, the parallel market rate which happens to be the "acceptable" way
of pricing in the country has left the country's products costing about four
times more than in other parts of the world.
Most outlets are using the street parallel market rate, which they say
is fair value as opposed to the "controlled" inter-bank rate.
Some companies are appearing to be using the transfer rate which is
nearly 20 times more than the interbank rate.
A 10kg bag of parboiled rice, which cost about R100 in South Africa,
or K75 000 (about R150) in Zambia is being sold for R500 or $5 500 in
A loaf of bread in Zimbabwe cost $150 or US$1,50 using yesterday's
rate. In Europe the average cost of bread is US$0,75. In South Africa the
average price for a loaf of bread is US$0,64.
A product which cost US$20 in Zimbabwe, will probably cost about US$8
in the region or about US$5 in Europe and America.
Hotel accommodation and catering charges in foreign exchange are now
threatening to drive away foreign tourists to neighbouring countries.
A day's stay at a five star hotel in Zimbabwe cost about $22 000 or
US$220 using the parallel market rate without breakfast. The same facilities
cost less than US$150 with breakfast included elsewhere in the region.
"There is no way a right thinking tourist would be attracted to a
country where hotels charge about US$40 for a hamburger," said a tourism
"This is ridiculous, yet most of our players charge this much. Zambia,
South Africa and Botswana quite naturally will record an increase in
arrivals due to these distortions." A burger costs less than US$5 in the US.
Independent economist, Erich Bloch attributed the price increases in
US dollars to low production in industry and the resultant ballooning of
"Business is selling smaller volumes at those prices to recover
overheads which are much higher than foreign companies . . . Secondly
people are tackling this issue based on projected value of the local
currency. Inflation is now feeding on itself," Bloch said.
A recent survey by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries indicated
that business was now operating below 30% capacity utilisation thereby
pointing towards an increase in imports from neighbouring countries to meet
Residential properties cost about five times more in US dollar terms
than anywhere else in the world.
The property market, an erstwhile investment option for pension funds
and large companies is now increasingly being steered by individual
Demand from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora has also pushed the cost of
residential properties in United States dollar terms.
"The attraction of property for investors is its ability to outpace or
at worst keep pace with inflation as well as supposedly maintenance of a
United States dollar value," said Admire Mavolwane, an investment analyst.
Mavolwane however said the cost of renting business properties was
generally lower in Zimbabwe in comparison to other properties in the
"The residential property would appear to be the most attractive at
the moment, as the market remains strong as a reflection of the limited
stock and speculators' attempts to hedge against inflation."
Meanwhile the number of traditionally subsidised parastatals and
government departments charging some of their services in foreign currency
is on the increase as the government continues on its desperate bid to
replenish dry foreign currency reserves.
This development, analysts said signaled "progress" towards the
complete dollarisation of the economy.
By Bernard Mpofu
Thursday, 21 August 2008 17:33
STRUCTURAL issues associated with power and water shortages, foreign
currency challenges and high inflation need to be addressed urgently so that
producers in Zimbabwe remain competitive and relevant in the face of
enormous pressure from regional competitors following the signing of the
launch of the Free Trade Area (FTA) in the region.
Zimbabwe had over the past two years adopted a more protectionist
approach to trade, which has seen the government charging imports such as
clothing and passenger vehicles in foreign currency, taxing cross-border
traders and charging duty on newspapers.
The signing of the FTA means most goods produced in the region can now
enter member countries free of customs duties, which means all the charges
should fall away.
As of January next year, 85% of goods in the region will be exempted
from tax with an aim of being fully liberalised by 2012.
The Free Trade Area precedes a Customs Union planned by 2010, a Common
Market by 2015, Monetary Union by 2016, and a single currency by 2018.
This will help to facilitate smooth operation of business among Sadc
member states and reach out to an estimated 230 million consumers in the
Economic analysts said Zimbabwe could prove to be the region's
Achilles' heel as Sadc embark on an ambitious path to open up national
economies and improve trade.
"It remains to be seen how the region will bring Zimbabwe's tariff
regimes in line with the rest of Sadc or meet the objectives," a local
With all economic indicators pointing against Zimbabwe it's likely
that Sadc will in the long term adopt a more serious approach to assist
Zimbabwe because they would not want any member state to be the stumbling
block along the path to the envisaged customs union.
The Sadc Secretariat was last April tasked to come up with an economic
rescue package for Zimbabwe but has so far remained mum on the contents of
The regional economic targets include single-digit inflation and
budget deficit for all member states by the end of 2008, a proposition that
has proved to be a tall order for Zimbabwe whose inflation is 11 200 000%.
"We are going to interfere with agreed regional tariffs as long as
things remain the way they are,"independent economist John Robertson said.
The Trade Law Centre of Southern Africa (Tralac) said high transport
costs, multiple affiliations and conflicting interests over proposed tariff
reforms among Sadc member states could affect any advantages the FTA might
bring to the region.
Genesis Bank group economist Brains Muchemwa said the exogenous risks
associated with rising global food and oil prices have exerted enormous
pressure on inflation around the world, and the Sadc region has not been
spared, putting a lot of pressure on monetary policy. The pressure build up
has pushed inflation above single digit, and Botswana has been hit the
"With Zimbabwe's productive sector operating at 10% capacity, there is
huge scope on the upside," said Muchemwa.
"However the structural issues associated with power shortages,
foreign currency challenges and high inflation need to be addressed urgently
so that the producers in Zimbabwe remain competitive and relevant in the
face of enormous pressure from regional competitors," he said.
Muchemwa said Sadc countries margins will narrow significantly, and
only those with efficient production processes will see more benefits
accruing onto their balance sheets.
The launch of the Sadc Free Trade Area could therefore prove to be the
nudge that has been lacking in the region's approach to Zimbabwe's economic
and political crisis.
Regional leaders could now be forced to take resolute action to
resolve the crisis or risk being labelled as the people who failed to launch
the first steps towards regional economic prosperity.
Analysts said South Africa's import tariffs are instruments of
industrial policy to be used selectively to protect selected local
industries like clothing, textiles and automotive.
For the rest of Sadc member states, import tariffs are an important
source of revenue and tariff reduction poses challenges for their fiscal
There were fears that Zimbabwe might increase Value Added Tax (VAT)
under the new set up to increase its revenue.
Multiple affiliations to intra-regional bodies by member states also
compounds the situation.
The free trade area "required a lot of compromise to be made on a
number of sensitive issues," including requiring member states to relinquish
some of their sovereignty, said Tomás Salomão, executive secretary of Sadc.
By Paul Nyakazeya
Thursday, 21 August 2008 18:06
IN my discussions with patriotic Zimbabweans across the globe, I have
discovered that there is a very strong view that if Morgan Tsvangirai's
signature is the one that will save the country then he should be accorded
the power that is commensurate with the power of his signature.
Tsvangirai appears to be asking for clarity of his role in a
Government of National Unity. This is necessary to avoid unwarranted
conflict in a situation where tension will be inevitable --- in any change
process -- because people are resistant to change.
The idea of a ceremonial role is understandably viewed as an insult by
both President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai because you do not fight an
election to have a ceremonial role. People do not elect leaders to have a
ceremonial role. In a situation that Zimbabwe finds itself in since March
29, it makes sense for Zanu PF and the MDC to share power equally.
Arthur Mutambara of the smaller MDC faction has been a subject of
serious criticism for tipping the balance of power in favour of Zanu PF, and
misusing his king-making position. Zimbabweans hope that Mutambara has good
reasons for his decisions.
Mutambara lives among Zimbabweans and it is the mark of a
transformational leader to listen to the people who follow him lest he is
accused of being arrogant and out of touch with reality. This would be a
cardinal sin that any leader can ever commit in politics. For a person of
Mutambara's intellectual ability it should be easy to gauge and ascertain
the people's wishes and feelings.
Change is about people's feelings and emotions and if you cannot
connect with people then there will be no buy-in and change. Tsvangirai has
been referring to the March 29 election as a measure of ascertaining the
people's feelings. In that election he was ahead of President Mugabe.
Mugabe told the nation in the period leading to the June 27 run-off
election that the pen will never defeat the gun. In the on-going talks
between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, it is clear that the pen and the
gun should co-exist. In any case, it was the signatures of Mugabe, Joshua
Nkomo and Ian Smith (and even Bishop Abel Muzorewa) that brought the
Independence of Zimbabwe at Lancaster House in 1980.
It is true that Zimbabwe will not move forward without Tsvangirai.
The question for Tsvangirai is: Does he go into the theatre without
enough tools or go in and ask for the tools once he is inside? He has many
people who support him who are ready to work with him in these difficult
circumstances. Some of these people have risked their jobs and lives and
there is no such thing as a perfect moment.
Tsvangirai should not underestimate his power. His presence in the
theatre will make a difference to the lives of the people of Zimbabwe. It
cannot be disputed that Tsvangirai's role in the future government is of
great importance if the country is to rebuild the future of all its
Thursday, 21 August 2008 17:11
I AM disappointed with the apparent breakdown of the talks. My
assessment is that the MDC is overplaying its hand.
There are indeed echoes of Zanu PF in MDC's take no prisoners approach
to the talks.
It must be remembered that in essence these talks did not begin after
the March election, they have been going on for a very long time now and if
truth be told the negotiators from the three parties had negotiated and
compromised on most issues which is why a draft agreement was in place.
What remained was for the principals to agree on the powers of the
president and prime minister.
MDC-T has been saying that 57% of the voters rejected Mugabe so the
agreement should reflect this.
This figure is based on the fact that almost 43% voted for Mugabe.
Yet using the same argument it is fair to say that 52% of the voters
rejected Morgan Tsvangirai since he got almost 48%.
This kind of argument does not take us far.
Zanu PF can also argue that they got the popular vote (1 111 625)
compared to the total vote the MDC-T received (1 038 617) and so on.
The important starting point for me was for the two major parties to
understand that they both need each other to extricate Zimbabwe from the
problems facing the country.
And this is where I believe that the MDC-T overplayed its hand.
It is unfortunate that there was this veil of secrecy over the talks
otherwise people would see for themselves the kind of vacillation from
How do you discuss and agree on most of the things in the draft and
then come the following afternoon with a 24-page document that seeks to undo
all those things that you have agreed on?
Unfortunately I cannot say much on this now but when the full story of
the Sadc dialogue is eventually told I hope people will be frank enough to
agree that Tsvangirai made some strategic blunders.
Although the draft agreement is modelled on the Kenyan system it would
have given Tsvangirai more powers than are granted to Raila Odinga.
It seems to me that there is an obsession with getting President
Mugabe's head on a platter.
There's this idea that Mugabe has to be humiliated and forced out of
This is why there has been this insistence on having a ceremonial
Make no mistake, a ceremonial presidency will simply not be accepted
by Mugabe and his backers.
I know that victims of Zanu PF's violence will probably say Tsvangirai
is right but what they fail to appreciate is that the political logjam such
as we have in our country will not be sorted out if we fail to accommodate
The greatest irony in all this is that Zanu PF has bequeathed to us
its culture of intolerance.
We hate and are angry with Zanu PF so much that we have begun to act,
speak and behave like Zanu PF.
It seems true what Isaiah Berlin said that: "It is a terrible and
dangerous arrogance to believe that you alone are right, and have a magical
eye which sees the truth, and that others cannot be right if they disagree."
There is this belief that the economy will bring Zanu PF down.
This may well be the case, but the fact of the matter is that the
economy will bring us down before it brings Zanu PF down by which time it
may be too late.
Now Sadc has met and the deal has still not been signed.
Tsvangirai says he will embark on a southern African regional tour.
Answer me this my brother: You spent almost two days with Sadc leaders; what
exactly do you want to tell them on this tour that you could not tell them
this past weekend? And if you are not signing this deal what is your Plan B?
The MDC will lose the momentum that it had gathered.
The AU will not assist, because their chairman Jakaya Kikwete was
there in Sandton for the Sadc meeting and is part of this same Sadc which
issued a statement to say you should sign.
Menkerios from the United Nations was also there. There is also
nothing that the UN Security Council can do so long as Russia and China have
veto powers. Look at the conflict between Russia and Georgia.
Do you think Russia can vote to support a position that is sponsored
by the US or UK given their public spat on Georgia?
Within the region itself King Mswati who had started to question
Mugabe is now certainly guaranteed to change his attitude towards Zimbabwe
given the public demonstrations and lambasting that he got from civil
society organisations during the Sadc meeting.
They lumped him together with Mugabe as dictators who should not be
He will now think twice before any condemnation of Mugabe.
The late president of Zambia Levy Mwanawasa had had enough on Zimbabwe
and was also starting to be critical but he is now no more.
The acting President of Zambia Rupiah Banda is no fan of Tsvangirai
and you can expect Zambia's attitude to change especially given Tsvangirai's
intransigence this week.
So what is MDC's Plan B? Nothing, it is simply not there.
If they do not sign this agreement, I am almost certain that Mugabe
will convene parliament and in the not too distant future appoint cabinet.
The tag that the MDC is a puppet party taking its instructions from US
and UK will gain currency. And the people of Zimbabwe . . . well, the people
will continue doing what they have done best . . . suffering.
Is it too much to ask that the politicians put their differences aside
and begin to build this country?
This has to happen now because in the long run we will all be dead!
By Percy Makombe: A Zimbabwean political commentator based in South
Thursday, 21 August 2008 17:09
ACROSS Africa, dedicated activists are beavering away at a variety of
causes -- environmental degradation, gender violence, human rights abuses,
They are the members of churches, non-governmental organisations
(NGOs), social movements and trade unions known collectively as "civil
society". They are animated by the noble ideal of making life better for
all. Well, sort of.
At a recent workshop on governance that my organisation co-hosted with
local partners in Southern Africa, a certain uninvited gentleman I'll call
He purportedly heads a governance activism outfit which seems to
consist of a Yahoo e-mail address and a cellphone number.
Apparently, he regularly gets wind of workshops, makes his way over,
and promptly requests his "transport reimbursement".
Now Merlin seemed an intelligent, educated fellow, and may be
genuinely passionate in his activism, but he is also motivated by the "per
diem", the stipend handed out at conferences, sometimes called a "seating
allowance", "transport reimbursement" or "daily subsistence allowance". It
is commonly paid at meetings in Zambia, Malawi, Kenya and many places
besides and it's symptomatic of the problem affecting civil society in
Providing a small stipend to conference goers is not unusual, for
transport costs can be considerable. To some in the developed world, the
stipend may be a token amount that makes the stay comfortable, but to many
it might literally be the source of the next meal.
So for some, becoming a recognised civil society activist is a paying
Contemporary thinking accepts the need for a country's development
processes to be "owned" and supported by society as a whole, not just by its
Where governments are inefficient, incapacitated or corrupt, civil
society provides an important counterweight. So donors -- embassies,
philanthropic foundations, multilateral institutions -- pour millions into
programmes to boost capacity in African civil society.
For the activist, these amounts -- a few thousand Euros for a
community project or US$5 or US$10 a day at a workshop -- are attractive,
especially against the alternative.
Landing a steady white collar job is difficult: there are few of them
around and getting one often depends on who you know.
Attending conferences not only pays something and is intellectually
stimulating, but it could provide a springboard to more lucrative jobs
working for a donor agency or embassy, or even beyond to London, Paris or
Activism, therefore, becomes a rational economic and lifestyle choice.
African civil society has a tendency to see itself as left-wing and
"mass-based". This engenders frequent hostility to business, capitalism,
profits, "neo-liberalism" or "the corporate sector".
It encourages posturing, as groups jostle to demonstrate the breadth
and influence of their representation.
This is turn opens the door to a strange menagerie: legitimate NGOs
share the floor with bringos (briefcase NGOs), mongos (my own NGOs), pongos
(politicians' NGOs), mangos (mafia NGOs), and congos (commercial NGOs).
Each markets itself as a credible voice of "the people", while
harbouring some unspoken interest, not least the chasing of funds.
Sadly, for many in civil society immersed in this perverse system,
their personal futures depend on not resolving their issues.
Aid can function as a resource like oil or diamonds. It is the one
resource accessible to civil society.
Whatever its problems, though, civil society needs support, as no free
society can exist without it. Committed groups such as the All Africa
Conference of Churches (AACC), the South African Institute of Race Relations
and Institute for Democracy in South Africa, the Foundation for Democratic
Process in Zambia (FDPZ), the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) and
the Centre for Democratic Development in Ghana (CDDG), are but a few of the
diverse thousands around the continent doing commendable work in stimulating
discussion about common problems, and advocating measures to resolve them.
Their work would be nigh impossible without the support of donors and
partners and the charge that receiving money makes them agents of "foreign
interests" is ludicrous, given that the governments making those charges
rake in far larger sums in foreign aid.
Until Africa has developed an economy that provides the tax revenues
and financial backbone to dispense with outside help, both governments and
activists will have to rely on it.
Civil society has to change its mindset.
Firstly, it should reconsider what its activism aims to achieve. Is it
really about principle or policy, or the per diem?
Activists must recognise that they too are capable of greed,
malgovernance and poor judgement.
Secondly, activist bodies should drop their posturing and numbers
A large following may be important, but it is not the be-all and
end-all of credibility.
Merlin should represent himself, rather than his mongo, and stand or
fall by the quality of his thinking, not by his putative constituency which
is only meaningful if it truly exists.
Thirdly, civil society should curtail its antipathy to business.
Africans need the career choices and opportunities for prosperity that only
a healthy market economy can provide, which in turn will allow only the
truly committed to choose activism.
But back to Merlin. He made an impassioned plea for the redistribution
of land. Fair enough. He also vowed to expel all investors instantly when he
While that might not eliminate poverty, it would probably generate a
lot more workshops. By the final day of our workshop, he had moved on -- to
attend another conference that paid a better per diem than ours. -
ByTerence Corrigan :a researcher and seminar facilitator at the South
African Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Thursday, 21 August 2008 17:04
A SOLUTION to the country's decade-long crisis should not be
outsourced to foreigners, but outside pressure is needed to prod the main
protagonists, President Robert Mugabe and the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai, to
implement a political settlement, analysts have said.
The analysts said it was clear from protests by members of civil
society at last weekend's Sadc Summit in Sandton, South Africa, that there
were people who wanted the regional bloc and the international community to
prescribe a solution to the protracted crisis in Zimbabwe.
Members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the little known
Revolutionary Youth of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum, Zimbabwe
Exiles and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition picketed outside the venue of
the summit last Saturday against the continued participation of Zimbabwe in
the regional body's forums.
During the demonstration, organised by the Congress of South African
Trade Unions, civic society called on Sadc to deal decisively with the
They called for a transitional government headed by a neutral person
and to come up with a people-driven constitution and embark on institutional
Pressure for external intervention in the country has been mounting
since the March 29 harmonised elections and heightened after the June 27
one-man presidential election run-off.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the second election alleging state-sponsored
violence against his supporters, but the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission went
ahead with the poll.
"From then on, there has been pressure on Sadc, the African Union, the
Group of Eight and the United Nations Security Council to come up with a
solution to the Zimbabwe crisis," observed political scientist Michael
"The danger is that a foreign solution lacks ownership of the people
of Zimbabwe and may in the long run prove to be disastrous."
Zimbabweans, with the assistance of Sadc and the AU, he said, should
come up with a homegrown solution.
"The on-going Sadc-initiated talks between Zanu PF and the MDC create
the best base for a homegrown solution.
"If Zimbabweans agree on how they want to be governed, I do not
foresee the international community rejecting a deal desired by the people,"
The US, Britain and its allies in the European Union are on record
saying talks between Zanu PF and the MDC should result in Tsvangirai
becoming the leader of the country after he out-polled Mugabe on March 29.
They said they would reject any deal that does not thrust Tsvangirai
into the leadership seat.
This entails that economic sanctions on Zimbabwe would remain in
place, further worsening the country's political and economic situation.
The negotiations are deadlocked on what powers Mugabe and Tsvangirai
would have in a unity government.
The talks mediator, South African president Thabo Mbeki, told
journalists after the Sadc Summit on Sunday that any deal in the country
should be by Zimbabweans.
"That (solution) must truly come from the Zimbabwe parties because I
think all of us know best what is good for Zimbabwe and the thing is that
everybody -- the facilitator, Sadc, the international community -- would
have to respect what the Zimbabwe political leadership says about Zimbabwe,"
"It is not any determination that can, nor indeed should, be made by
anybody. Let's really allow the people of Zimbabwe to determine their
"This is critically important because any solution that is imposed
from outside will not last, it will not last, unless it is a common product
that is owned by this entire collective of the leadership of Zimbabwe."
He said if the facilitation tried to impose any solution, it "would
amount to creating conditions for the failure of whatever might be
incorrectly described as a solution".
Zimbabwean-born South African businessman Mutumwa Mawere said the
solution to the crisis must ordinarily come from Zimbabweans, but argued
that to Mugabe the problems are externally driven and, therefore, he does
not believe that the solution lies in any change of policy or direction.
"The crisis has been framed as a crisis of governance and there is a
legitimate expectation that any resolution that leaves Mugabe at the helm
will not be necessarily legitimate," Mawere argued.
"It has been accepted and recognised that without the use of the state
machinery, the results of the June 27 election would have been dramatically
He averred that the AU and Sadc leadership believed that change was
required in the country, but were not convinced that the people of Zimbabwe
are mature enough to know what they want.
"For how can Sadc observers condemn the June 27 run-off election and
then the same body through Mbeki's mediation come to the conclusion that a
beneficiary of an irregular process ends up at the helm of a negotiated
arrangement?" he questioned.
University of Zimbabwe political science professor Eldred Masunungure
said Zimbabweans should be the authors of their destiny and was optimistic
that a negotiated political settlement would be found soon.
"I don't see any exit route from this protracted crisis, other than a
Zimbabwean political settlement," Masunungure said.
"The two main protagonists, Mugabe and Tsvangirai, need more prodding.
The circumstances compel that a political settlement be found."
At the talks, Tsvangirai is reportedly insisting that if he is to
become prime minister in an inclusive government he should be its head and
He also wants the government to be in power for at least 30 months. On
the other hand, Mugabe wants to retain executive power and the unity
government to be in office for five years.
These sticking points have stalled the negotiations, with Sadc
insisting that the talks continue until a compromise is found.
National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku told an
international radio station this week that an internal solution was
desirable, but was pessimistic that a deal was nigh.
"It is unthinkable for Mugabe to sign away his power. He is not going
to budge as he probably thinks he has gone far enough by offering Tsvangirai
the prime minister's post and some ministries," Madhuku said. "So this
process will either collapse or the MDC will capitulate. The fact that they
have stayed in this process this long shows they could eventually capitulate
and be swallowed by Zanu PF."
By Constantine Chimakure
Thursday, 21 August 2008 18:10
"THE best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate
intensity," said William Butler Yeats in his poem The Second Coming, a
He wasn't of course referring to the plight of ordinary Zimbabweans
who have no voice in the current inter-party talks. If these Zimbabweans
lack anything, it is knowledge of the objects of dispute between their
political leaders rather than what they themselves want: peace and food.
It is those least affected by the standoff who are against any
immediate political settlement -- in the name of "the people". The people
have become so indeterminate that everyone wants to speak on their behalf so
long as there is money to be had.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has expressed his commitment to the talks
between his party and Zanu PF. His formation's secretary-general Tendai Biti
this week said "failure is not an option".
Both men know what they are talking about, having been engaged in the
talks for close to 15 months. It would however be disingenuous of them to
insist on the March 29 electoral upshot as a non-negotiable benchmark as if
they were ignorant of the law.
Similarly, it would be unconscionable for Mugabe to offer, and
unimaginable for Tsvangirai to accept, a non-executive portfolio in any
transitional authority, given his performance and that of his party in the
March elections. It is not for foreigners to tell us this; fair play
commends it, so does commonsense.
But let these power games not be confused with a desire to fulfill the
"will of the people". People elected their parliamentary representatives who
have a legal mandate and they are waiting for them to deliver on their
What has marred the "talks about talks" is either malicious propaganda
or the ignorance of those who have been excluded. They are being treated as
the final thing when they should not be.
My understanding is that those involved who signed the MoU are
discussing only the structure and mechanics of the transitional authority or
unity government, and how executive power should be shared.
There is no final constitution as yet.
The draft constitution which will be adopted at the talks will be
subjected to a referendum under the transitional authority where everyone
will presumably have a say.
Part of the propaganda is driven by those obsessed with the
facilitator in the talks, Thabo Mbeki's failure. Having convinced themselves
that he is engaged in a conspiracy with Mugabe, they can't admit that they
were wrong; that Mbeki might be on the verge of a breakthrough . Thus any
sign of progress must be grudgingly attributed to the lone actions of
Botswana or Zambia.
In any event, he can't get anything right unless and until he can see
the Zimbabwean crisis through Western eyes. That's why Botswana's Ian Khama
has become such a salutary example of how all African leaders should behave.
I would agree if the argument was that Mbeki should leave the final
solution to Zimbabweans. But instead, it was the Sadc summit in Johannesburg
which was expected to conjure up a solution. That solution was in the form
of a ban on Mugabe from attending, notwithstanding that he is one of the key
stakeholders who was supposed to tell his side of the story.
I don't know if those organisations pushing this bizarre line expected
Sadc leaders to take them seriously.One of them was the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions which has been so entangled in politics it is hard to know if
it still represents workers.
While it is calling for an increase in daily cash withdrawals, I know
nearly 50% of workers in industry don't earn more than $300. Why has it
placed itself in this awkward situation where its leaders have to fight in
the same corner as capital against workers?
Meanwhile Mbeki has once again demonstrated his neighbourly concern,
cautioning after the Sadc summit against over-reliance on foreigners to
dictate what is good for Zimbabwe.
"This is critically important because any solution that is imposed
from outside will not last; it will not last unless it is a common product
that is owned by this entire collective of the leadership of Zimbabwe," he
Tsvangirai deserves better in any political settlement for the sake of
both national progress and healing. But those advising him impetuously to
pull out of the talks are misleading him. They are the same
politically-blind dark forces, "full of passionate intensity" who cheated
him out of the June 27 election which Mugabe went on to win on a silver
Their motivation is neither in Zimbabwe's nor Tsvangirai's interest.
Their personal desires have become "the people".
For any rational person to insist on the March 29 presidential
election result as the only benchmark on the way forward is to miss both the
logical and legal argument in a political forest.
By Joram Nyathi
Thursday, 21 August 2008 18:08
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has over the past two weeks come under
unprecedented pressure to sign a draft agreement establishing a transitional
government in which, it is expected, he will occupy the post of prime
The point at issue is how much authority he will exercise in the new
Obviously he will want to be responsible for policy implementation if
there is to be economic recovery. On the other hand, President Mugabe will
hang on to as much power as he can. Indeed, it is he who is refusing to
budge in the current stalemate. Tsvangirai, his advisors believe, has
already conceded more than he should.
We need to refresh our memories here. Tsvangirai won a majority of
votes in the first round of polling in March -- 47% to Mugabe's 43%.
While this would be seen as unremarkable in a developed democracy, in
Mugabe's Zimbabwe it was nothing short of a landslide.
Mugabe held all the levers of power -- the military, the police, the
state bureaucracy were all beholden to him.
He also had unlimited resources, thanks to the collusion of the
Reserve Bank, and controlled the country's single broadcasting outlet. The
only voice heard across the country was his.
At the same time a stable of newspapers sang his praises daily while
spewing a volcanic lava of hostility against the opposition.
To vote against the president was treachery, it was suggested, because
Tsvangirai's MDC was a Trojan horse for Western powers seeking
Despite such fatuous blandishments and threats of dire consequences
for rural voters who opposed him, a defiant nation said it had had enough of
Zanu PF's misrule.
The result was a landmark defeat for the incumbent and the bankrupt
policies he espoused.
But owing to the MDC's failure to propitiate Arthur Mutambara's
formation, the result was insufficient to avoid a run-off.
In that run-off, a campaign of violence was unleashed against the MDC
and those suspected of having voted for it. Over a hundred died. Others were
mutilated and their homes burnt.
The institutions of the state were suborned into backing a candidate
voters rejected in the first round when there was a semblance of a free
vote. It was the darkest chapter in the nation's history since Gukurahundi.
Now Zanu PF and the MDC have agreed on a raft of reforms which in most
situations would be seen as progress. But there is a structural fault in
this agreement which Tsvangirai is being pressed to sign. Mugabe is
reportedly refusing to concede to his putative prime minister authority over
Clearly, economic recovery is top of Tsvangirai's agenda. That
requires him to exercise control over the cabinet -- he must make
appointments and chair meetings. In other words the prime minister must be
the head of government who is responsible for day-to-day policy
The danger in leaving an imperial presidency unreconstructed is the
scope it provides for populist interventions.
A quick look at the distortions and lies in the state media this week
will illustrate that. If anything goes wrong or recovery isn't fast enough
the prime minister will be blamed. It is an invidious situation for
Mugabe has shown time after time that he will not take responsibility
If Tsvangirai is to be prime minister, he will be responsible for
managing the inflow of over US$2 billion in recovery funds. Obviously he
will need to ensure those funds are properly accounted for and not diverted
to damaging vote-catching schemes. Zimbabwe is in its current morass
precisely because there has been fatal economic mismanagement.
Recovery will only come when the international community perceives
that money invested in the country is safe.
Tsvangirai will therefore need to have his powers guaranteed by
Mugabe -- in writing -- and backed by regional heads. Like the law of the
Medes and Persians, it will need to be cast in stone. Otherwise the misery
will simply go on.
Tsvangirai in March received an unambiguous mandate for change. His
party won a majority in parliament.
He should be allowed an opportunity to show how he can manage it while
those opposed to change should get out of the way.
How long do they want this suffering to go on before they let someone
else respond to the needs of the people? It is time Tsvangirai was given a
chance to do what Mugabe obviously can't.
Thursday, 21 August 2008 17:01
IT was the renowned French statesman, Georges Pompidou, who said:
"Statesmen are there to serve the nation, politicians wish the nation to
In the abysmal circumstances of Zimbabwe today, it matters not who the
forthcoming government may be. What matters is whether that government will
be comprised of statesmen, or of politicians. If the latter, then the
ongoing emaciation and destruction of Zimbabwe will not only continue, but
will accelerate to total, irretrievable destruction, but if the former, not
only will Zimbabwe recover, but it will transform into a jewel of Africa,
with a happy, healthy, thriving people.
Zambia recently described Zimbabwe as a blot on the face of Africa,
and that it certainly is, but statesmen can bring about a metamorphosis
whereby Zimbabwe will be a brilliant and radiant light on the continent,
with a well-nourished, joyful populace for whom life is ongoing happiness
Today Zimbabwe is a country whose economy has been decimated to levels
of near extinction. It is less than two-fifths of its size of less than a
decade ago. Over 85% of its employable population is without formal sector
employment and that despite the fact that at least a third of the previously
employable population has sought pastures new beyond Zimbabwe's borders. It
is a country wherein more than two-thirds of those that live within it
struggle to survive at levels well below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL), being
the minimum income needed to sustain oneself (and one's immediate
dependents) without endangering health and survival.
It is a country in which average life expectancy has fallen to less
than half of former levels, and in which literacy levels are plummeting
downwards as ever fewer can afford education. It is a country of broken
homes and shattered families, as children have to return from urban to rural
areas to maximize prospects of survival, and as evermore breadwinners depart
for countries further afield, in a desperate effort to earn a livelihood for
themselves and for those that depend upon them.
The independent Zimbabwe of 1980 was one of justifiably high hopes and
expectations. Today it is one of misery, despondency, pessimism,
negativeness, suffering and distress, wherein malnutrition abounds, few can
afford healthcare (albeit that availability of that life-preserving service
becomes scarcer), and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, are homeless.
The Zimbabwe of 2008 is a country wherein inflation is the second highest
ever to have prevailed on the earth, exceeding 20 million%, year-on-year,
and rising not monthly, not daily, but hourly. It is a country whose
infrastructure is teetering upon the precipice of total collapse, with
energy-generation at a minimum, many suffering loss of electricity supplies
for 6 to 8 hours daily. Water becomes increasingly in short supply in many
urban areas. Telecommunication operations are horrendously appalling.
Hospital, health clinic and other essential medical services are
intensifyingly not available, due to a constantly growing insufficiency of
the medically skilled, the recurrent breakdown of essential equipment and
the absence of resources to effect repairs, and intense non-availability of
medications and other health care requisites.
Zimbabwe is a country whose fiscus is bankrupt, with domestic debt
surging endlessly upwards (in the second quarter of 2008 it rose by 7417, 5%
, to $790, 6 quadrillion, not revalued,) whilst foreign debt is so massively
great, and so grievously in arrear, that Zimbabwe is a pariah in
international monetary markets, with neither public or private sectors able
to access lines of credit. And all of these are but a few of the myriad of
characteristics of the devastated Zimbabwean economy, of an economy which
could have been an example to all under-developed and developing countries.
It is time that Zimbabwe has a government which does not focus its
concentration, wholly and solely, upon its survival, self-edification and
enrichment, but in the entirety devotes itself to halting and reversing the
destruction of Zimbabwe, its economy, and its people. Much is necessary in
order to do so, but the very first action is to cease the vituperatively and
unceasingly striving to divert perceived culpability to others.
Instead, the government must lead transformation, and must facilitate
it, by constructively and energetically addressing each and every one of
Zimbabwe's ills, as against the policies of the past of seeking absolution
from blame by attributing (usually falsely) that blame to others. The
measures and actions necessary are very many, but first and foremost they
include (and the following is in no manner exclusive or all-embracing):
* Realisation that Zimbabwe cannot survive in isolation. It cannot "go
it alone", and it cannot flourish by interaction with only a few fair
weather, self-centred friends. Zimbabwean survival and growth requires
positive, reciprocal interaction with the global community. Therefore,
Zimbabwe must work assiduously at restoring former harmonious relationships,
at achieving reconciliation with those from whom it has grown apart.
Reconciliation is a must, and that can only be if Zimbabwe is willing to
comply with international norms of genuine democracy, unlimited respect for,
and maintenance of, law and order, total regard for human and property
rights, and mutually cooperative diplomacy, instead of never-ending recourse
to vitriolic insults and, more often than not, baseless accusations.
* Good governance, including determined containment of corruption,
resolute containment of State expenditure to levels within the nation's
means, with meaningful prioritisation of such expenditures as are incurred,
real autonomy for the central bank, economic deregulation, a free, fair and
just judicial system, assuring justice and equity for all.
* A determined drive to contain inflation, including facilitation of a
transitional social contract, enhancement of productivity, restoration of a
fully operational infrastructure, generation of substantively greater
inflows of foreign exchange, curtailment of printing of money, and much
* A positive drive for, and facilitation of, investment throughout
Zimbabwe's economic sectors, by both domestic and foreign investors,
reinforced by substantive, enforceable, assurances of investment security,
interfaced with practical, viable, and equitable indigenous economic
* Viable, fair and positive measures for recovery of the foundation of
the Zimbabwean economy, being agriculture, with a simultaneous return of
past able and skilled farmers, and the enablement and development of new
ones, concurrently with belated compliance with bilateral investment
It doesn't matter who may comprise the government. It matters that
that government puts Zimbabwe and its people's interests and wellbeing first
and foremost. It matters that that government DOES IT, and does it right,
instead of blaming others. It matters that that government be solely
comprised of statesmen, not of politicians!
Thursday, 21 August 2008 16:54
NOBODY can accuse this regime of being less than robust in its
dealings with perceived enemies.
Blair, Brown and Bush have all had abuse of some sort thrown at them
because they dared criticise Zanu PF's misrule.
But now a new "enemy" has walked onto the political stage and
immediately attracted a heavy barrage of flak.
Botswana president Ian Khama, or Seretse Khama Ian Khama as he is
officially known, has been assailed by our witch-hunters almost to the
exclusion of all the other more familiar targets. His sin? He found Zimbabwe's
presidential run-off seriously flawed.
What a cheek, he was not elected, we are told. In fact he heads a
military junta. And worse still, his mother was British!
This last insult came from the Chronicle which evidently has no idea
of the ordeal his parents went through in the 1950s at the hands of the
colonial authorities. The British High Commissioner in Pretoria banished
them in response to pressure from the Afrikaner Nationalist government in
South Africa. And in any case did Ian Khama get to choose his mother?
Khama was a "rabble-rouser" who headed a "tiny country", we were told
this week. Last week Jonathan Moyo was counting goats.
The accusation that Khama heads a military junta is a tad ironic given
the accusations that have been made about the role of JOC in Zimbabwe's
Quite evidently our propagandists, having run out of home-made
insults, are borrowing the terminology of their opponents!
The Bechuanaland Protectorate invited British rule and never had to
struggle for its independence, some of our more cerebrally challenged state
publicists have charged.
Can the same not be said of Lesotho and Swaziland? Lesotho is now one
of Harare's closest allies, prepared to endorse all manner of misdeeds.
And what about the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda,
Tanzania and Malawi? How hard did they have to struggle for their
independence beyond constitutional negotiations where the British seemed
happy to concede power? Many nationalist fist-wavers are blissfully unaware
that all those countries chose to retain Queen Elizabeth as head of state on
their attainment of independence. And most kept the outgoing governor on as
With the inauguration of a republic a few years later the prime
minister -- Nkrumah, Nyerere, Banda -- would seamlessly take over as
president. Hardly revolutionary stuff!
Botswana became independent in 1966 without bothering with this
transition. Sir Seretse Khama became president from the outset. Today
Botswana is an African success story, not because like Zimbabwe it is rich
in minerals, but because it was blessed with enlightened rulers who eschewed
populism and racism.
No wonder Zimbabwe's menacing mob loathe Ian Khama. His is a very
different paradigm of governance.
Morgan Tsvangirai is under huge pressure to sign a document that will
not do justice to his electoral performance in March when he defeated
President Mugabe in the first round of voting, and which will place him at a
disadvantage by leaving Mugabe in a position to continue damaging the
It will also leave the public media under the control of the President's
Office exposing Tsvangirai to mendacity of the sort we witnessed on Tuesday.
Under the heading "MDC-T leader lied to us about Zim situation", the
newspaper's political and features editor, Mabasa Sasa, told us that at last
weekend's Sadc summit "leaders from Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania expressed
'embarrassment' at having 'blindly supported Tsvangirai',"
This exposes the danger of allowing a deceitful media to remain
unreconstructed. Is it seriously suggested that leaders from all three
countries used exactly the same words? That they all together expressed
"embarrassment" at having "blindly supported Tsvangirai"?
Their remarks were placed in quotation marks suggesting Sasa was
quoting them. But that seems unlikely. What we almost certainly have here
are words being put into their mouths.
This is a common technique in the state media. It is of course wholly
unprofessional but deeply ingrained.
We were for instance told that a Nigerian emissary sought a meeting
with Mugabe to apologise for taking an "uninformed position on Zimbabwe".
How likely does that sound? We can be sure that was the author of the
story talking and not the Nigerian emissary. A quick phone call to the
Nigerian embassy would settle that claim just as a call to the Zambian,
Botswana or Tanzanian embassies would put to rest the claims about their
What we do know is that Zambia's foreign minister Kabinga Pande said
the elections were "a serious blot on the culture of democracy in the
region". Sasa left that authentic quote out of his story.
What all this illustrates is the danger of Tsvangirai returning to the
negotiating table to sign an agreement when the state media remains free to
lie about him.
Sasa's predecessor Caesar Zvayi told Herald readers last Friday about
his ordeal at the hands of the Botswana authorities. He was picked up in
Gaborone and driven to the border where he was placed in "a small stinking
cell" prior to his deportation to Zimbabwe.
Zvayi waxed indignant as he recounted his treatment. He even insulted
Botswana's founding fathers for not being sufficiently revolutionary over a
century ago. But he omitted to tell us about the number of journalists
incarcerated in small stinking cells in Zimbabwe during the presidential
election. Nor did he mention those Batswana television journalists arrested
near the Plumtree border post in 2006 for practising journalism without
Then of course there were the Cosatu visitors bundled into a kombi and
driven down to Beitbridge and deported.
Amazing isn't it how short memories become when writing for the
Muckraker thinks it regrettable that anybody should have to go through
this ordeal including Zvayi. We feel no sense of vengeance here. But when
complaining about the iniquities of EU sanctions, Zvayi should reflect on
the sanctions his former employers imposed on the Daily News and the
Tribune. How sympathetic was he towards his colleagues at those newspapers?
Muckraker was interested to read that on Armed Forces Day President
Mugabe paid tribute to the government of China for facilitating the
procurement of military clothing material to make uniforms.
So this is the rich bounty of the Look East policy is it? They now
supply, in addition to military hardware, material for uniforms which
Zimbabwe is unable to supply itself. Are we really reduced to this? How
China's economy is forging ahead by leaps and bounds. Zimbabwe, whose
ruling elite has pauperised the country, is reduced to accepting handouts of
That's the best we can do. Meanwhile, blankets, mattresses and vehicle
tyres come by courtesy of the Reserve Bank, once again demonstrating
inappropriate quasi-fiscal use of its resources.
We saw the full-page ad attempting to justify this misuse of resources
and frankly it doesn't wash. The worst thing about it is that it fuels
inflation. The RBZ should not be part of the problem. Gideon Gono must learn
to say no to the insatiable demands of his political masters for resources
to hand out so they appear as benefactors of the people.
Does Gono really want to be remembered as the governor who contributed
in a significant way to Zimbabwe's collapse?
Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu says government won't tolerate
"continuous phone calls on talks from the BBC and CNN which continue to
misconstrue our Zimbabwe situation".
Apparently he is being pestered for comment following Tsvangirai's
alleged walkout.The West must stop interfering in the negotiations, he
So what's he going to do? Refuse to accept donor money?
It's very entertaining of the Herald to put a loser like Ndlovu on its
pages. People will have a good chuckle over his pathetic attempts to appear
militant. What situation are the international networks trying to
"misconstrue"? Food shortages?
Ndlovu "warned the West and the private media against trying to force
negotiations to be done through the media which is against the principles of
the MoU signed by all the parties involved in the dialogue".
Did we sign the MoU? Does it say we can't comment on whatever deals
are being struck?
Ndlovu should put up or shut up. If the BBC and CNN didn't ask him for
comment on their stories he might have room for complaint. But complaining
because they did ask him for comment is hardly cause for a juvenile
tantrum -- containing the mandatory reference to "imperialists" and designed
to attract presidential attention
ahead of new cabinet appointments.
Ndlovu lost his bid for a seat and therefore no longer qualifies for
office. If voters don't want him why should we? Meanwhile, the Sunday News
we gather is in deep mourning.
This could mean no more free drinks.
Thursday, 21 August 2008 16:51
WE commiserate with the families of those who perished when part of a
building housing a well-known watering hole collapsed last Thursday night in
Results of the initial probe into the accident have revealed that
there were too many people on the shoddily constructed landing which gave in
to the weight of the revellers.
On Thursday night emergency services were scrambled to attend to the
emergency. The fire brigade pulled out the dead and the injured from the
debris while ambulances rushed the injured to hospital. There were policemen
and a large throng of people who came to watch the grim spectacle. The
pilgrimage to the site continued for the greater part of the weekend. Many
man-hours were lost in the process.
This week engineers and officials from the City of Harare were probing
the cause of the accident as the injured were recuperating in hospitals
while two of the dead were buried at their rural homes. I hope the probe
will help answer a number of questions regarding the operations of the
collapsed pub. The investigators will hopefully tell the nation who
authorised the construction of the landing and when building inspectors last
visited the place. Was this a properly licensed operation? Was someone
allowed to cut corners and who should be charged with crimes which resulted
in the loss of life? There is a cost to all this.
Tragedies like the collapse of the pub always come at a huge cost
whose corrosive impact will continue to be felt well after the tragic
incident. And often huge resources employed to rescue a situation are not
commensurate with results achieved.
Last week's accident, albeit freakish, is instructive about the state
of this economy. The tragedy that has befallen this nation as a direct
result of years of misrule, neglect and corruption is an expensive
enterprise. We have committed huge resources in rescue and salvage
operations and in nursing the comatose economy. We have employed large
amounts of money and formed many committees, taskforces and operations to
deal with the emergency which has manifested itself in the form
hyperinflation, low productivity in industry and on the land, and a
breakdown in infrastructure. The Reserve Bank has pumped millions of dollars
in foreign currency into farming and in industry but there has been very
little to show for the investment. The monies have gone into saving
businesses from closing and have kept farmers away from the fields. The need
to survive has superseded any pretence of growth.
We have as a country which has reached the stage where there appears
to be counter forces conspiring to deflect all efforts to put right the ills
afflicting us. Our negative collective conscience is a major driver of this
inertia. We have become accustomed to the failure around us because we are
"hanging in there" or are busy trying to survive using archaic means.
We are busy investing more resources to cope with the failure and we
are content to jostle for space in the dungeon of mediocrity. Industrialists
have stopped complaining about 12 to 20-hour daily power cuts. Generators
have come in handy. Residents of Hatfield, Msasa Park, Mabelreign and
Greendale have taken to digging shallow wells to get water because they are
convinced that Zinwa is beyond redemption. Forests and woodlots adjacent to
urban areas have virtually disappeared as residents seek alternative energy
sources. The water crisis has increased incidents of illness thereby
overstretching the already not-so-healthy public health service. The cost of
the emergency is staggering.
At Zesa even capital injection is no longer enough to turn things
around. The Zesa website -- which appears stuck in a groove -- was this week
still carrying a statement announcing the refurbishment of Hwange Power
Station through a US$40 million loan from Namibia. The statement was issued
It said Hwange Power Station, with a capacity to produce 750MW had
been experiencing technical hitches due to AGEING (my emphasis) equipment
that resulted in persistent system breakdowns hence the excessive
load-shedding that has become cause for concern to electricity consumers.
Energy minister Mike Nyambuya also announced there was a
recapitalisation plan for the Hwange Colliery Company Ltd to augment efforts
to sustain the power supply system.
Seven months later and with so much money sunk in the power station,
we still have power cuts because there are technical problems at Hwange
Colliery which is also ageing. The distribution infrastructure, including
cables and transformers, is also ageing. There is therefore no guarantee
that refurbishing aged Hwange would bring power to the people.
This is another crisis on our hands. There is a huge cost that comes
with keeping old equipment and infrastructure working. As a nation, this has
kept us engaged in multiple collapses, breakdowns and accidents. Old
equipment cannot provide for growth.
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1. Call for the Nation to Pray
2. Sup with the Devil
1. Call for the Nation to Pray : Saturday 24th August 2008
This is a call to the Church, the Body of Christ, to pray specifically for Zimbabwe at this turning point in the Nation's history. There is an Intercessory prayer initiative starting on Tuesday night, and culminating in a nation wide network of prayer that "will stand in the spiritual gateways" of the nation on Saturday the 24th.
Psalm 33:12 - "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord"
As Christians we need to choose which god will be Lord of Zimbabwe. We can make this choice and not leave it up to others.
Christians are all called to be Gate Keepers within the body of Christ.
Psalm 84:10 "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked."
A Gate Keeper (door keeper), has authority to allow what comes in and what stays out. It's a position of influence at a personal level; your own heart (Rev 3:20), your home, your church, your place of work, and what will influence this Nation - either the Kingdom of Light or the kingdom of darkness; what is good or what is evil.
When we pray, the door of heaven is opened to allow God's influence to intervene, that His Kingdom may come to Zimbabwe. Psalm 24:7-10 "Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of Glory may come in"
Therefore we are asking every believer in Christ to pray in their place of influence. On Saturday will you join with two or more believers and pray over areas that need redemption in Jesus' Name. Stand in spiritually strategic places where possible, in your area, to pray for God's will to be done (Ephesians 6:10-18 ).
For further information contact:
Langton Gatsi 0912-223884 or 0912-223911
2. Sup with the Devil
I was very interested to read yesterdays story about Kobus Joubert having to sleep in his vehicle because he had been chased off his farm, (Scotsdale.)
I clearly remember Kobus Joubert addressing a farmers meeting in 2002 at the Peterhouse school hall. He was the ZTA President at the time.
He stated that he was 'batting' for tobacco, and if he has to 'sup' with the devil he will.
(He and others in the ZTA, and CFU were clearly only 'batting' for themselves.)
Mrs Kerry Kay then asked Kobus Joubert why the ZTA had done nothing to help her husband (Ian) after he was badly beaten, and left for dead by Zanu PF War-vets, and forced off the farm.
Kobus Joubert's reply was, "Kerry, everything that has happened to the Kay family has been bought upon by yourselves, I have no sympathy".
Well the wheel of life sure moves quickly.
Ian Kay has stood up to the devil, and now represents his people in Government.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for Agriculture.