NEGOTIATIONS between the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) and
two international petroleum companies to supply fuel to the country have
collapsed after disagreement on pricing.
Sources in the oil industry told the Zimbabwe Independent that Noczim
was about to clinch a fuel deal with Independent Petroleum Group of Kuwait
and BP Shell of South Africa, but it fell through after Noczim insisted that
the landing rate be set at US$0,60 a litre.
"Negotiations collapsed. The two international companies said the cost
of landing must be between US$0,70 and US$0,90 a litre if they were to make
a profit, but government was adamant that it should be US$0,60," one of the
As a result, the source added, the two companies opted out of the
deal, forcing Noczim to look for alternative sources of fuel, including
The industry sources said this week's state visit by Equatorial Guinea
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo would see the Zimbabwe government
intensifying negotiations with the West African country to supply fuel.
"We expect the government and that of Obiang to reach a fuel
agreement. Negotiations have been ongoing and something must have been
reached this week," another source said.
Obiang is scheduled to open the Harare Agricultural Show today as part
of his state visit.
About three weeks ago, a high-powered government delegation was in
Equatorial Guinea to hunt for fuel.
The trip was also necessitated by the recent freeze on the price of
fuel, which virtually dried up the country, deepening acute shortages in the
The team was headed by Energy and Power Development minister, Mike
Nyambuya, and included Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono.
Government has been on the hunt for fuel in Equatorial Guinea and
Libya in recent months.
In the past, government obtained but failed to pay for fuel from
Kuwait, Libya and other countries.
Efforts to secure fuel from Iran, Sudan, and Angola also failed.
The country has been without adequate fuel since 1999 due to lack of
foreign currency and the severing of lines of credit by foreign banks and
Zimbabwe cannot get lines of credit due to its poor credit rating and
high political risk.
Zimbabwe consumes 3,5 million litres of diesel, three million litres
of petrol and five million litres of Jet A1 daily. It needs about US$130
million a month to import fuel.
In March, government came up with a plan to trade diamonds illicitly
mined from Marange in Manicaland in exchange for fuel from Equatorial
The two countries developed strong diplomatic and trade relations
after the arrest in 2004 in Harare of alleged mercenaries led by Simon Mann,
who were allegedly en route to Equatorial Guinea to overthrow Obiang.
Mann, a security expert and former British Special Air Services
officer, is presently facing extradition to Equatorial Guinea where he is
accused of being the ringleader of a foiled coup.
Zimbabwe received fuel worth US$24 million from Equatorial Guinea
which it was unable to pay for, resulting in the government coming up with
three options to settle the debt.
The options were: sourcing the fuel through the purchase and sale of
diamonds; Noczim supporting the Minerals and Marketing Corporation of
Zimbabwe with financial resources to mop up diamonds for resale; and the
state-run oil procurement company going into diamond mining.
While the Energy ministry was in support of the first option, the
central bank opposed it saying the process was flawed.
In turn, the RBZ said it could come up with a debt settlement
agreement with the West African nation "rather than be part of an illegal
It was reported in June that government was negotiating with a Libyan
bank for a fuel line of credit, but the deal was said to be far from being
sealed after the financial institution demanded guarantees for loan
The National Economic Recovery Council reportedly recommended the use
of diamonds, beef or tobacco to back up the line of credit.
Efforts to get a comment from Noczim chief executive officer,
Zvinechimwe Churu, were in vain yesterday as he was reportedly out of his
OVER 3 000 orphans, other vulnerable children and elderly people in
Harare who were benefiting from a food voucher scheme run by a
non-governmental organisation, face starvation after the supermarket that
supplied the food is unable to do so anymore, the Zimbabwe Independent has
Sources said the supermarket was emptied of basic commodities
following a government blitz on businesses for overcharging last month.
A recent report presented by Brett Davidson, a media consultant for
the Regional Hunger and Vulnerability Programme at a two-week course on
Poverty and Rural Reporting for Sadc journalists in Swaziland, says Action
Aid has since 2004 been providing food to over 3 000 vulnerable persons in
Harare through a food voucher scheme.
The scheme involves the distribution of vouchers, which beneficiaries
can exchange for pre-determined quantities of food commodities which traders
can redeem with implementing agencies within a set timeframe.
Action Aid contracted leading supermarket chains OK and TM to supply
beneficiaries with the food items.
However, following recent price controls, basic commodities have
disappeared from supermarket shelves, leaving beneficiaries facing
"Implementing such a social transfer programme in a context of food
scarcity and when the country is depending on importing its own staple food
crop is a major challenge," said an official who refused to be named.
"This puts the lives of those dependent on charity more at risk
because there is just no source of food locally," he said.
Non-governmental organisations such as Care International and World
Vision are also providing food packs to vulnerable people in urban and rural
The UN World Food Programme says due to crop failure and escalating
poverty in both rural and urban areas, around 2,1 million people will face
serious food shortages by the third quarter of this year.
Food scarcity has reached alarming levels amid reports that some
families are going for weeks without the staple food.
In Harare and Bulawayo, the poverty situation is being worsened by the
unavailability of water, with some suburbs going for over two weeks without
The increasing poverty in the country was also highlighted in
Parliament this week where legislators called upon government to act
urgently to avert disaster.
Speaking during a question-and-answer session in Parliament last
Wednesday, Nkayi legislator Abednico Bhebhe and Pumula-Magwegwe legislator
Esaph Mdlongwa said people in their constituencies were facing starvation
and called on the Social Welfare ministry to immediately intervene.
"Some families in my constituency have gone for over a week without
anything to eat. There are no government food relief programmes at the
moment. What is government doing about this?" asked Bhebhe.
Mdlongwa said some families in his constituency - especially the
sick - were starving and the situation was worsened by the unavailability of
water in the suburb.
"This is affecting home-based cares givers, mostly women who have
dedicated their lives to assisting the sick. What is the Ministry of Health
doing to solve this problem?"said Mdlongwa.
ESIGODINI in Matabeleland South resembled a war zone on Tuesday when
soldiers went on a rampage, breaking into shops, looting goods worth more
than $60 million before severely assaulting newly resettled farmers.
More than 70 uniformed soldiers based at Bomb Range Training Camp in
Esigodini caused terror at Ntabende Shopping Centre in revenge after
colleagues were beaten during a brawl with villagers at a beer drinking spot
in the area.
The place is about 50 km south of Bulawayo. According to the
villagers, the beatings were in retaliation for what happened last Saturday
when two of their colleagues were thoroughly beaten during a fist-fight with
Five villagers with broken arms and legs, including a pregnant woman,
Tracy Ncube (23), were admitted at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) while
scores have sought treatment at Mpilo and Esigodini Hospitals.
Relating the incident from his hospital bed at Mater Dei Hospital,
village headman and owner of one of the shops which were looted, Joel Ncube
(68), said he lost goods worth more than $60 million to the soldiers in the
"I was shocked to see two army trucks full of soldiers in uniforms
arriving at the shopping centre. They jumped out and started beating up
everybody randomly at the centre before they broke into my shop looting
"The soldiers also went into the village beating up anybody they met
and destroying people's property," said Ncube
The case was reported at Esigodoni Police Station. When the Zimbabwe
Independent crew visited the police station, police officers were busy
taking statements from 15 victims, who were visibly in pain as they had
lacerations all over their bodies, swollen heads and faces and had
difficulties in walking.
Police spokesperson, Oliver Mandipaka, when contacted for comment
yesterday said: "I am out of office at the moment but I will check the
details when I get back to the office."
Contacted for comment, army spokesman, Simon Tsatsi, said: "I am yet
to get details from our Matabeleland regional public relations office at
Brady Barracks in Bulawayo otherwise can you put all your questions in
AS the water crisis in Bulawayo deepens, a Zanu PF councillor last
week commandeered a Bulawayo City Council (BCC) water bowser to deliver
water from near her house.
Cowdray Park councillor, Stars Mathe, on Thursday last week ordered a
driver of a BCC water bowser to abandon scores of water-seeking residents at
Mahlathini Primary School in the suburb and relocate it near her house for
A visit by Zimbabwe Independent to Cowdray Park confirmed that the
water bowser is stationed at a terminus, 100 metres from the Zanu PF
councillor's house while residents walk long distances to access the water.
The MDC-led council has allocated Cowdray Park only one bowser to
deliver water to residents.
"The driver of the BCC water bowser was hapless as Mathe, in the
company of her supporters, told him that the council bowser should only
deliver water from near her house," said one of the witnesses, a Cowdray
Park resident, Violet Ncube.
Mathe won the councillor's seat on a MDC ticket in 2005. She later
defected to the ruling Zanu PF last year.
Mathe, when contacted for comment, said: "No one is being denied
water. It's only a coincidence that the terminus is near my house. It is
also the only central place for residents to access water."
But BCC spokesperson, Pathisa Nyathi, noted: "Politics should not be
at play in the distribution of water when we are facing a critical
Residents in most of Bulawayo's high density suburbs are going for
more than two weeks without water as the crisis, that has seen council
decommission three dams inside six months, continues to worsen.
The remaining two dams - Insiza and Inyankuni - are supplying a mere
67 000 cubic metres a day against normal requirements of about 145 000 cubic
THE Harare Agricultural Show is increasingly becoming irrelevant as it
is shunned by both local and international exhibitors as the country's
The annual agricultural event, which will be formally opened by
Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema today, is now a shadow of
what it used to be when the agricultural sector formed the backbone of the
Since the launch of the controversial land reform programme in 2000,
the sector has been in free-fall.
The relevance of the exhibition has come under the spotlight as
agricultural production continues to shrink due to government's failure to
provide inputs to newly resettled farmers.
A tour of the Exhibition Park this week showed that a number of
companies have snubbed this year's event, leaving the exhibition halls
almost empty and a number of stands unoccupied.
Exhibition halls such as Home Industries and Rajiv Gandhi Hall, which
used to be packed with indigenous entrepreneurs and farmers displaying their
produce, were virtually empty. Even new farmers had nothing to showcase.
Most of the space in Rajiv Gandhi Hall was taken up by government
ministries such as Energy, displaying jatropha plants, Rural Housing and
Agriculture displaying model rural houses and a resettled farmer. In the
Home Industries Hall, a hair saloon occupied most of the space. Various
stands on the grounds had very little to showcase.
However, government has tried to make the event relevant by
reintroducing the cattle section, which had stopped in 2001. It even tried
to lure people into attending by allowing an auction to be conducted at the
show. But the price-monitoring team ordered the sale to be cancelled.
Cattle from President Robert Mugabe's Gushungo Investments farm in
Mazowe dominated the section, bringing in dairy cows, fattened slaughter
cattle and breeding heifers. Gushungo Farm, formerly Foyle Estates, is one
of the farms that Mugabe seized during the land reform programme.
Cattle farmers said they were hoping to sell their animals at
Farmers had come to the show anticipating buying fertiliser and
chemicals in preparation for the next cropping season but they could not get
Observers said the recent closure of three quasi-governmental
fertiliser firms revealed that there is nothing to showcase since the sector
is in a state of collapse.
Dorowa Mine, Iron Duke mine and Zimphos were closed last month due to
power cuts and non-availability of various raw materials, which spells
disaster for food production next season. The closures mean that there will
be no compound C fertiliser needed for planting tobacco. Irrigated tobacco
planting is expected to start next week.
The closures are also likely to affect Sable Chemical since phosphate
is one of the raw materials in the production of ammonium nitrate.
Zimbabwe's power utility company, Zesa Holdings, was at pains
explaining to customers at the show the problems it faced in generating
Zesa spokesman Fulland Gwasira said Zimbabwe was only generating hydro
power since its two coal-fired plants were not functioning due to coal
Before the land reform, Zimbabwe was a net exporter of maize to
neighbouring Zambia and Malawi but is now importing food from these
countries to bridge local shortfalls.
A FACTION in Zanu PF backing President Robert Mugabe's continued stay
in power last weekend failed to secure the suspension of Bindura executive
mayor, Martin Dinha, on allegations that, among others, he is leaking party
secrets in Mashonaland Central to the media.
The camp led by Youth Development deputy minister Saviour Kasukuwere
and minister without portfolio Elliot Manyika tried to have Dinha suspended
during the ruling party's provincial coordinating committee meeting held on
Saturday at Bindura municipality offices.
Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that a motion to suspend Dinha
pending a disciplinary hearing was moved by John Muchavezi, the province's
youth secretary for security.
Muchavezi - who reportedly belongs to the Kasukuwere camp - accused
the mayor of granting an interview to Zanu PF's official mouthpiece, The
Voice, last July in which he claimed that tractors allocated under the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe agricultural mechanisation programme in the
province were being misused.
Dinha was also accused of furnishing the Independent with information
regarding the contentious succession debate in Zanu PF, especially in
Mashonaland Central, where the Kasukuwere faction was reportedly weakening
the grip of Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Dinha is perceived to be a Mujuru loyalist.
However, Muchavezi's motion was shot down for lack of evidence.
"They (Kasukuwere camp) failed dismally to have the mayor suspended,"
a senior Zanu PF official in the province told the Independent yesterday.
"Their case lacked merit and evidence. They wanted Dinha suspended so
as to prevent him from seeking re-election as mayor next January."
Zimbabwe is expected to hold council elections in January.
The fight to have Dinha suspended from the party started over a month
The sources said despite the failure to have the mayor suspended,
Kasukuwere and his faction were reportedly working on a petition to oust
Zanu PF Mashonaland Central provincial chairman, Chen Chimutengwende,
this week professed ignorance of the Dinha case.
"No communication to that effect has come to my attention,"
Chimutengwende said. "Ask Kasukuwere or Dinha on that issue."
When told that he was also accused by the Kasukuwere camp of rooting
for Mujuru, Chimutengwende said: "It is futile imagination to say I belong
to a faction."
Chimutengwende is also Interactive minister in the office of the
This week, Dinha was unreachable, while efforts to get a comment from
Kasukuwere were in vain.
THE minister of Finance Samuel Mumbengegwi will present the mid-term
fiscal policy review statement and supplementary budget next week on
In a statement yesterday the ministry of finance said the mid-term
fiscal policy which was postponed indefinitely last month would be presented
on September 6.
"The secretary for finance advises that the minister of finance, Dr
Samuel Mumbengegwi will present to parliament the 2007 Mid Term Fiscal
Policy Review Statement and the 2007 supplementary budget on Thursday
September 6," the ministry said.
There are only two months remaining before Mumbengegwi presents the
2008 national budget. The actual budget will be presented in November.
Parliament is currently on recess but will reconvene on September 4
two days before the minister's presentation. The Senate will resume seating
on September 11.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono is expected present
his mid-year monetary policy before the end of September.
Gono postponed his mid-year monetary policy review in July saying he
would get a cue from the supplementary budget in order to recalibrate the
monetary policy in line with the fiscal policy.
Mumbengegwi faces a daunting task to come up with a policy and
supplementary budget that would revive the country's economy which has been
cruising in reverse gear at an alarming rate over the past two years.
The economy has been characterised by rising expenditure pressures
emanating mainly from escalating inflation currently at 7 6634,8% for in
Shortage of basic commodities and water supplies, fuel, power cuts and
the dollars continuous loss of its value against major currencies has been
the order of the day.
Expenditure targets outlined in the 2007 budget presented last
November stood at $4,6 trillion, of which $1,5 trillion had been allocated
to capital expenditure, which was 24,4% of total expenditure for the year.
The remainder of $3,1 trillion or 75,6% of total government
expenditure for the year had been allocated for recurrent expenditure
consisting largely of salaries and wages.
The $6,2 trillion is said to have included provisions for
over-spending government agencies.
Analysts say the supplementary budget will be funded mainly from
borrowings on the local market. They say this would stoke inflation. The
situation is worsened by the fact that the government has lost more than 90%
of its revenues because of the price blitz which has led to less taxes. Most
companies are likely to report losses because of the blitz and will
therefore not be liable to pay corporate taxes.
Reduced sales volumes especially on basic commodities will result in
less VAT revenue for the government.
The supplementary budget will increase the budget deficit which is
currently more than 70% of the GDP. The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
recently said Zimbabwe's inflation could close the year at a massive 100
000% unless something is done urgently to address the crisis.
By Mutumwa Mawere
A BILL is before the Parliament of Zimbabwe that will allow the
government of Zimbabwe to compulsorily acquire a controlling interest in
There has been much debate about the real agenda underpinning the
legislation in as much as there was and continues to be debate about the
land reform programme.
The question that needs to be addressed is whether in fact the
proposed indigenisation law is a case of hypocritical manipulation by a
government that has run out of enemies to divert attention from the
unprecedented political and economic crisis or is a genuine attempt to
prosecute and complete a national revolution.
Independence in 1980 was expected to bring with it a comprehensive
national democratic revolution encompassing civil and economic rights.
At face value, indigenisation represents nothing but an attempt to
democratise the economic space in as much as the liberation struggle sought
to assert the rights of black and white citizens of Zimbabwe to determine
their own destiny.
Even the fiercest critics of Mugabe would concede that the economic
empowerment of the majority is a necessary ingredient to ensure the
stability of the country.
No one can deny that the Rhodesian economy was race-based and the
asset ownership architecture was racially defined.
Blacks were alienated from their natural resources and some may argue
that poverty of the African majority was racially induced and was not a
product of market forces.
In attempting to enact a law that seeks to indigenise the economy in
terms of enterprise ownership, the government is making a significant
concession that it has failed to address this enduring colonial question.
The critics of indigenisation are many and the arguments advanced play
very well in the hands of any populist who can easily take advantage of the
confused messages for political expediency.
Some of the arguments advanced in 2007 are no different from the
arguments that were advanced against the liberation movements.
In fact, even Mandela was considered a terrorist for participating in
a struggle for economic and political justice and yet today his statue
shares the same space in London as Churchill and Lincoln.
On the issue of land, it was argued that democratisation of ownership
will necessarily lead to starvation and poverty.
Equally, it is argued by many that indigenisation for a country that
is in the intensive care unit is hardly the medicine required.
In this argument is an allegation that black Africans cannot be
trusted custodians of economic assets and, therefore, any policy that seeks
to empower them is not in the national interest.
The argument in its naked form is canon fodder for any politician
under siege who depends for political survival on the ignorance of the poor.
The notion that the rich are in some way responsible for creating
poverty is widely held not only among the poor but among the intellectuals.
There are many who also hold that view that workers should be in control of
enterprises and entrepreneurship is necessarily a sin against the national
The poor are made to believe that an exercise of transferring share
certificates from the haves to the have-nots will advance the national
In 2007, Africa is much wiser and the world has fundamentally changed
for anyone sensible to ask why the government thinks that indigenisation
will cure the economic and political injury that confronts Zimbabwe.
In addressing this key question I can only draw on my personal
experience as the pioneer black entrepreneur in large-scale mining in
In 1996, I successfully negotiated the acquisition of the entire
shareholding of Shabanie Mashaba Mines (Private) Ltd (SMM) from a British
controlled company, T&N Plc.
The assets were owned by a foreign private company and the transfer of
ownership to a black African would be a welcome development by any
government that is committed to a national democratic revolution.
I was the first to dare to intervene in the economy not as a micro,
small or medium-scale business owner but as a principal in the mainstream
It took 16 years for me to become a pioneer and the government had no
involvement in the negotiation with T & N Plc.
Some will recall that the indigenisation movement only gathered
momentum 14 years after independence when many aspiring entrepreneurs came
to the conclusion that the government was not committed to the
democratisation of the economic space.
No visible programme was evident from the government regarding
indigenisation. The government had in its wisdom accepted the notion that
blacks could only play in the SME space through loans and equity advances
from state institutions such as Sedco and Industrial Development
In some sense my acquisition of SMM was revolutionary in that it
opened the floodgates for other people to think bigger.
As Zimbabweans debate the need for or against indigenisation in 2007,
it is important that they reflect on the actual experiences that some of us
have gone through.
Firstly, President Robert Mugabe has never been convinced that the
black bourgeoisie can be trusted to prosecute the national democratic
His views are no different from many former liberation heroes who
believe that the state is a better custodian of the national wealth.
Based on this observation, it must be noted that the GOZ had no
programme for empowering private black individuals and there is no evidence
to demonstrate the government's commitment to this cause in respect of its
With the exception of Anthony Mandiwanza and Silvester Nguni who
inherited state-owned institutions when they were privatised, and Telecel I
am not aware of any government initiative that resulted in blacks acquiring
a significant stake in the enterprises on the back of a conscious effort to
empower previously disadvantaged groups.
Secondly, Zanu PF has been involved in many private sector initiatives
with partnerships. I am not aware of any serious attempt by the party to
partner with blacks in economic activities.
I am aware of President Mugabe's close relationship to messrs O'Reilly,
Cluff and other investors who were allowed to take advantage of
opportunities in Zimbabwe as foreign players.
The party managed over the years to conclude deals with the likes of
Lonrho, Tregers, Fribrolite and others. If the party had a commitment to
black economic empowerment, I am sure that it would have used its poor
cadres as instruments but regrettably this has not happened.
Thirdly, in the context of mining, the government in 1983 enacted the
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe Act (Chapter 21:04) that
effectively nationalised the output of all mining companies in respect of
All mining companies were not allowed to export their minerals but
were forced to sell such minerals through the MMCZ.
The rationale behind the establishment of MMCZ was that the government
did not trust the mining companies.
The MMCZ is now 24 years old and yet no one is asking what has been
achieved by this institution.
If the government is already in control of all mineral exports then
how on earth can it justify the enactment of the indigenisation law on the
basis that mining companies are externalising.
When I acquired SMM, the government had given a dispensation to the
platinum industry to be exempt from marketing through the MMCZ. SMM's
exports were marketed through MMCZ.
However, in reality the MMCZ had delegated the entire marketing to
three foreign agents who had a free reign.
On the day I took control of the company, SMM was sitting with stocks
valued at US$30 million and debtors of an equivalent amount. MMCZ was the
sole debtor of the company.
The average collection period was over 120 days and yet SMM had to pay
its creditors in 30 days. SMM had no direct access to the market.
SMM had no clue about the actual prices paid to the agents. MMCZ's
interest was only in respect of commissions.
The staff of the MMCZ was closely aligned to the agents who
occasionally facilitated payments to them. The biggest opposition to my
acquisition came from the MMCZ who enjoyed the benefits of a system under
which they were not accountable.
My first assignment as chairman of SMM was to change the debtors'
collection period to 30 days. Two of the agents agreed to the change but the
third one who was more politically connected decided to fight. He had the
full support of the RBZ and ministry of Mines and I was threatened not to
change the contract terms.
At the time, a Tom Shitto was the deputy general manager of MMCZ. He
also was close to the agents and was not supportive of the acquisition.
In the end, I was forced to terminate the marketing arrangement and
the agent owed about US$5 million that has not been paid till today.
MMCZ refused to take legal action against the agent and SMM was forced
to institute legal action to recover the money. Needless to say that Tom
Shitto resigned from the MMCZ and joined one of the asbestos agents based in
When SMM put pressure on MMCZ to pay on time and reduce stocks, the
institution was not capable of responding.
The imposition of MMCZ in the value chain was just an extra cost but
also presented funding challenges for SMM. With a thinly capitalized
marketing agent, banks were reluctant to take a view of the debtors' book of
SMM and yet MMCZ could not come to the party to finance the book. The
problems are more acute for non-tradable commodities like asbestos fibre
because there is no reference price of the commodity on any exchange.
Accordingly, one cannot take an informed view on the debtors' book.
When confronted the government could not defend the role of the MMCZ
and finally in 1997, SMM was allowed to market its own asbestos like the
SMM managed to takeover the staff of MMCZ who was responsible for
asbestos marketing with the exception of Tom Shitto.
Shitto subsequently left the MMCZ and joined one of the agents of MMCZ
where he is still working until today. The irony is that when the government
decided to terminate the marketing dispensation in April 2004, Shitto's
Jewish controlled company was appointed as the sole agent to takeover the
markets previously handled by SAS.
The government has no problem trusting foreign investors or agents but
has serious problems trusting black entrepreneurs.
If one believes that the government is serious on the indigenisation
front, it is important to ask the question whether its attitude to black
entrepreneurs has changed.
The victims of externalisation allegations have been largely black
confirming the widely held view that the proposed legislation has nothing to
do with advancing any national interest.
Although established with the purpose of protecting national
interests, my experience with the MMCZ's operations suggests otherwise.
I am not even sure that the government is convinced that MMCZ has
discharged its mandate efficiently and effectively. The broader question
remains regarding the need of a monster like MMCZ in the value chain. Can
the existence of the MMCZ co-exist with the indigenisation of the mining
industry? What are the implications on the future of MMCZ if the industry is
Fourthly, Mugabe has never trusted the market system in so far as
determining the exchange rate. When one combines the MMCZ and the RBZ in the
value chain of mining, it is apparent that the government is already in
control of all the affairs of mining companies.
How can indigenisation co-exist with market unfriendly policies? How
would black entrepreneurs relate to an environment where their sales
revenues are determined by the state? Can an arbitrarily determined exchange
rate be facilitator for indigenisation? If all blacks with access to foreign
currency are accused of externalization, where would foreign investors find
I acquired SMM in 1996, and, barely ten years later, it was
nationalised using draconian measures including state of emergency powers.
There is no guarantee that the government will not use the same
tactics against future entrepreneurs especially when there is a legal
framework for the state to play a role in the asset transfer process.
Will the attitude of the government to black wealth accumulation
change with the passing of the indigenisation laws? If the government has
not managed to come up with an empowerment framework in respect of
procurement over the last 27 years, what confidence do citizens have that it
is serious about advancing the national interest? Would the localization of
foreign-owned companies result in an economic turnaround? How is such a
turnaround going to be financed? Who is going to finance the beneficiaries
of such empowerment?
The handling of the land issue has demonstrated the inherent problem
that the government faces and the inability to make choices that advance the
In advancing arguments against the proposed indigenization laws, one
has to be extremely careful to avoid using a language that plays into the
hands of populists who are anxiously waiting for racially insensitive
Mugabe has taken the role that many Africans are afraid to assume i.e.
of challenging the hegemony of imperialism and its instruments in form of
transnational corporations. However, some of these corporations were invited
by the government and offered incentives only to find out that when the
political heat intensifies their host has no loyalty.
By Renson Gasela
REPORTS in the state media that Dorowa Mine, Iron Duke mine and
Zimphos were closed last month due to power cuts and non- availability of
various raw materials spells disaster for the production of food this coming
What has happened at these companies is nothing other than total
failure by the government. It should not be called "challenges".
If this problem had been highlighted at the beginning of the year,
there would have been time to try and do something. People will remember
that when the power cuts started getting worse, we were told that the power
was going to wheat producers. Ask wheat producers how much power they have
been getting. I happen to be one of them. I am sure that the management of
these companies have loads of correspondence to government about the
Closing shop was a last resort for these fertiliser companies. What
should have been done is to use the little foreign currency available to
import maximum power from Snel, Eskom and Mozambique. Instead fleets of the
latest vehicles have been imported to please a few powerful people in Zanu
Those farmers who got tractors are raring to go, so we are told. Only
160 000 tonnes against 600 000 tonnes of fertiliser, have been produced.
There is no more production. Even if something was done now there would
still be a shortfall of more than 50%. It is common knowledge that compounds
are required at planting. Planting should really be over by the end of each
In all crops, the best planting time is extremely limited. You miss
that, you are finished. Every day counts and lost opportunity can only be
remedied the following year.
Tobacco planting starts next week. Please don't blame shortage of
tobacco and foreign currency in April next year. The consequences of
omissions done now will visit the nation next year. I can see these closures
spilling to Sable Chemical as their product AN contains phosphate. The
problem will also spill to Windmill and Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company.
It appears to me that one of the greatest things lacking in this
government is the ability to sit down and plan ahead.
* Gasela is the MDC secretary for lands and agriculture.
THE business community was last week surprised when government allowed
price reviews, but the big question that every industrialist and
entrepreneur was asking was whether they would ever recover from the
two-and-a-half-month price blitz.
The devastating effects of the price freeze exercise have been felt
across all sectors of the economy, with government being the latest to
realise the blitz had hit its sources of revenue.
Business lost over $40 trillion since government declared war on big
business. As a result government lost $13,1 trillion in revenue and that is
when the warning bells sounded, prompting a rapid policy shift on the
However, the decision to review prices has been received with mixed
feelings by manufacturers, consumers and government officials alike.
Economist Eric Bloch lamented the appalling consequences of government's
price controls over the past nine weeks.
"The magnitude of the damage that has been done, and which is
continuing to be suffered, is as immense, if not greater, than the abysmal
harm caused by the most pronounced tsunamis," said Bloch.
Shelves in stores throughout Zimbabwe have been emptied of basic goods
after producers reacted to the government's order to freeze prices by simply
President Robert Mugabe, although he has not commented on the latest
reviews, was confident that the situation would remain normal.
In a speech last month, Mugabe denied that the price freeze would
prove a flop and accused manufacturers who claimed that production was no
longer viable of being part of a Western plot to topple his government.
"We are saying to all factory owners you must produce," Mugabe said.
"If you do not produce, we certainly will seize and nationalise firms
which were profiteering excessively in a bid to incite Zimbabweans to revolt
against the state," he said.
A director who was arrested during the price blitz said business was
not going to recover overnight in a "non-performing economy".
"If the prices were pegged in line with their cost build-up it would
have benefited the consumer, manufacturer, business and the economy," said
the director who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"Manufacturers had to discontinue, or reduce, production in order to
minimise losses. As a result, almost all businesses have sustained immense
losses and consumers are still struggling to survive in view of the
near-total non-availability of essentials."
He said there was now a more vigorous and virile black market than
previously existed due to the intensity of demand in the absence of goods in
the formal market, which could take months to reverse.
"With demand massively exceeding supply, black market merchants are
able to command prices very considerably greater than those which were being
charged by retailers prior to the controls being introduced," he said.
"Thus, instead of reducing inflation, government has caused real
inflation to soar as business will struggle to improve until December."
Economic analysts said the failure by the cabinet taskforce to come up
with a pricing structure will result in a sharp decrease in revenues for
government, with markedly lesser value-added tax (VAT) in view of lower
sales by businesses.
It would also result in decreased Pay As You Earn (PAYE) inflows as
businesses progressively reduce numbers of employees, and reduced Customs
Duty as values of imports decrease.
In a major policy u-turn after realising that it had shot itself in
the foot, government approved increases in the prices of goods ranging from
foodstuffs, soap, farming inputs and tyres to improve supplies on the
Adjustments for train and airfares, telecommunications and freight
tariffs were also approved.
Foodstuffs whose prices were increased include sugar, tea leaves,
chicken and bicarbonate of soda. The prices of Geisha bath soap, Cobra floor
polish, Key bar laundry soap, Omo washing powder and blankets were reviewed
Farming inputs whose prices were reviewed include maize seed. Prices
of motor vehicle tyres and Bata shoes were also increased.
Government said the benchmark for all other prices of commodities not
covered by the review remain at June 18 levels until further notice.
Chairman of the Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and
Stabilisation, Obert Mpofu, said retailers would be allowed to put a maximum
mark up of 20% and charge VAT of 15% on a commodity.
For example, a retailer who gets a product from a supplier at $100 000
will sell the product at a maximum price of $138 000 per item.
By Mutumwa Mawere
IN raising this question, I am acutely aware that even among Africans,
we seem to have lost some compass in terms of what, if any, we stand for as
part of the human race.
We were once colonised in the majority and yes, we were once slaves,
but we have come of age. The modern Africa began a journey that we are still
traversing even today in 1956 with the independence of Sudan.
As we continue to interrogate the post-colonial African experience, we
should critically address the question of why the African brand seems to
have no African ambassadors as if to suggest that no investment has been
made by Africa to create a new and confident African that can operate in any
mind and market-space.
The absence of African ambassadors is striking and unmistakable. The
space is so open that people like Bono, Bill Clinton, Madonna, Tony Blair
etc have stepped in and are now the global ambassadors for Africa's pain,
replacing the Mandelas of yesterday. The struggle for Africa's political
emancipation was led by Africans and yet the struggle for economic
emancipation in the post-colonial Africa seems to have no African champions.
India, China, and other newly industrialising countries have their own
indigenous ambassadors. Colonial Africa invested in its own demise through
the missionaries who armed future revolutionaries with toxic knowledge and
the end of colonialism was, therefore, predictable once the natives had been
given the opportunity to read and write without being given an environment
to practice their trades.
Evidence available suggests that post-colonial Africa has invested
substantially in building the continent's human capacity that is well
recognised in developed states that have been able to assimilate such skills
The brain drain is nothing more than the externalisation of Africa's
expensive investment in human capacity. The role of the African
intellectuals often created at a great cost to the continent in addressing
the political and economic challenges of the continent is an issue that
requires sober analysis. Where the hell are these people? Is it the case
that Africa is a hopeless patient who when she invests the last dollar is
not able to salvage her position in the global marketplace?
If one were to undertake an exercise to identify all the professional
and business people who share an African heritage but are now calling
Europe, America and other developed states as home, I have no doubt that the
number would be staggering.
What would be of more interest is to aggregate their earnings and
wealth and compare it with Africa's gross income. I have no doubt that the
African economy represented by the diaspora may be one of the largest
economies of the world and yet there appears to be no evidence of its
existence or organisation to help challenge the widely held view that
Africans can never get it right.
Why would Africans in the diaspora do well and yet their comrades in
the continent are suffering often at the mercy of tyrannical African
regimes? It is instructive that Jewish, Irish, Indian; Polish etc people in
the diaspora are the ambassadors of their own brands and yet Africans in the
diaspora have collectively failed to take ownership of their brand.
We lack organisation and maturity to define the African agenda when we
are so privileged to do more. What is amazing is that Africans in the
diaspora are the biggest source of vocal diarrhea about why people should
not take the continent seriously without ever taking a minute to locate
their own actions in the value chain of the continent's problems.
It takes Oprah to invest in a girls' school in South Africa and no
similar initiative seems to be coming from Africa's own nameless and
faceless icons. Where is Africa's Oprah? Can Oprah still be considered as an
indigenous African when history has eroded the memory of what it means to be
African? But Oprah has seen what many Africans who emigrated as free people
have not been able to see.
Even when you look at Africa's institutional players, it is evident
that there are very few such institutions that are owned and controlled by
Africans in the diaspora.
To what extent are Africans in the diaspora responsible for
contaminating the African brand? What should Africa's expectations be on its
most costly investment? How can Africa be universally credited for being
mismanaged when its most expensive investment appears to be alive and well
in the sanctuary of imperialism?
Incidentally, I have yet to see African clamoring to immigrate to
socialist and failing nations. We all seem to want the good life.
Africa's mines, industries, financial institutions and other key
drivers of transformation are owned and controlled by non-Africans and as
such the ambassadors of economic change cannot reflect anyone other than the
source of capital. Africa's supermarkets remain dominated by products
produced by institutions controlled from without.
What role if any have the Africans in the diaspora played in
democratizing the African shelf space?
Africans, like Jews, may be resident in foreign areas but surely
should have a memory about their origins. Jews in the US for instance are
relevant in shaping Israel's political economy in as much as Irish Americans
are relevant to Dublin. Apart from the fragmented remittances of cash to
Africa, Africans in the diaspora have failed to provide the kind of
leadership that Africa needs.
In the main we do not have interests in the continent for us to be
relevant in the discourse. The few that have economic interests in the
continent and choose to reside outside the continent are often viewed with
The lack of organisation by Africans in the diaspora is no different
from the state of play in the continent and yet the Africans in the diaspora
seem to think that they have some superior advantage and are often critical
of their peers who remain misgoverning the continent.
What is striking is that for example, a professor who elects to teach
in England and another who elects to be a government minister would
invariably regard the one that remains in Africa as corrupt and useless even
though they may have gone to the same university and qualified with the same
grades. Why is it that there is a discount that is placed on service to the
continent and a premium on service to former colonial masters? Only the
people in the diaspora must start to think about this.
Brand ambassadors are similar to brand evangelists in that they also
have a vested interest in seeing their favorite brand succeed. It should not
be so much that they should attempt to influence other customers to buy a
product but they should share their passion for a brand with their fellow
Whereas a company markets to customers in order to sell more products,
brand ambassadors must attempt to relay their passion for a brand (Africa)
to non-Africans. If Africa has to succeed, it needs its own brand icons and
brand ambassadors in as much as people like Mandela and others provided for
the success of the civil rights movement.
A way to get any brand noticed amidst all the brands in the human
marketplace is to get brand endorsement.
Who is there to endorse and affirm the African brand? What are we
doing as Africans to get the brand visible and projected in a positive
manner or are we through our actions and in many cases our inaction adding
to the undermining of the brand that we all love?
The investment in Africa's rich mineral resources is a testament that
non-Africans are more passionate about the continent's possibilities than
people who call themselves Africans and choose to be armchair
revolutionaries while the continent's future is being mortgaged by the day
by its unaccountable political brand ambassadors.
The key question to pose is whether brands are built by brand
ambassadors. The answer is a yes and no. It is a big Yes if the brand
ambassador you choose and nurture is one that is solus not promiscuous for
your category. And a big and vehement No if the ambassador you choose is a
promiscuous one, focusing not only on your brand but also on others!
Brand ambassadors must not moonshine! Brand ambassadors who focus on
one brand can achieve great results. How many of us want Africa to be a
little Europe and are promiscuous brand endorsers.
In order for Africa to build a continent that is safer, secure, more
comfortable, dynamic, innovative and productive, it is incumbent upon all of
us to play our part without expecting others to do what we are not willing
to do ourselves.
For more than half-a-century, the African brand has been synonymous
with poverty and insecurity and yet the quest for civil rights was premised
on a brand promise of advantage for the majority and not the new
classification of disadvantaged citizens.
In these complicated times, more than ever before in Africa's history,
citizens have no choice but to turn to the Africans in the diaspora to help
solve many of the most complex problems confronting the continent. The
diaspora African brand is well known in the global labour market and is a
valuable asset that must be harnessed and deployed to the advantage of the
continent. Brands that are recognised and respected should help the African
One of the ways Africa can build and protect its image is by using the
diaspora African and resources to leverage its position in a globally
competitive world. The sustainable development of the continent can only be
guaranteed and inspired by its own people otherwise the risk of non-Africans
playing football with the continent's vast untapped resources is high.
In conclusion, it is the responsibility of all Africans to stand up
and be counted. We must be the change that we want to see. The only power we
have is the power to organise.
Are we organised? Who is going to organise us? How can we make our
money speak for us?
Don't assume that anyone will work in your interest and bring the
change that you want to see. Only you can make the difference.
* Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column appears on New Zimbabwe.com.
By Tanonoka Joseph Whande
IF there is one thing that has always irked me, it is the Zimbabwean
people's penchant to inflict political wounds and paralysing handicaps on
From soccer administration to running trade union affiliates, we have
this propensity to regurgitate and recycle proven failures from days gone
In politics, we, Zimbabweans, are unintelligently too tolerant to a
fault. Our tolerance borders on masochism, as successive white regimes in
the land may care to confirm, even from beyond their graves.
Today, it is Robert Mugabe's turn.
"Leadership qualities" is something that distinguishes exceptional
citizens from others yet Zimbabweans do not react when a "leader" imposes or
is imposed on them.
Zanu PF, the ruling party since Independence in 1980, has always
stunted emerging brilliant young leaders while promoting tired old goats and
praise-singers into the forefront.
Today, the nation of Zimbabwe continues to frolic in a pool filled
with an endless string of tried, tired and useless leaders who are no longer
relevant to our situation today.
Today, whenever we talk about Mugabe's successor, four names make
themselves prominent but for different reasons. None impresses me.
Edgar Tekere is a respectable man. I think he owes his respect to
having been the first to openly "challenge" Mugabe for the presidency.
But Tekere waited too long and supported Mugabe just a little bit too
much. Even today, I am not sure whether his departure from Zanu PF was
caused by meaningful differences of principle or was necessitated by other
Tekere seems to have been spared the expected Zanu PF backlash and
abuse and actually appears to have been left well alone, a curiosity for
someone who put up such a spirited effort to humiliate Mugabe at the polls.
Others who did less against Mugabe found themselves dead, arrested on
frivolous treason charges or were "dealt with" into silence and a pauper's
However, I applaud Tekere's statements several years ago that he was
retiring from politics and was just going to be a commentator. I urge him to
stay on that course. He should not bother recommending to us Mugabe's
successor. Zimbabweans do not need endorsements of potential leaders from
former Zanu PF stalwarts.
Tekere did his undisputed part for Zimbabwe and that is as far as it
Enter one Enos Mzombi Nkala.
Like Tekere, Nkala was one of those closest to Mugabe, a member of the
original inner circle. And, like Tekere, the party took good care of him.
When people in his Matabeleland constituency rejected him at the
polls, Zanu PF rammed him down the throats of the people of faraway Kariba.
Mugabe continued to give Nkala several high-profile cabinet posts
among which were Finance, Defence and Home Affairs. But typical Zanu PF
greed saw him being the first to be ensnared in the widely publicised
Willowvale scandal. So through fault of his own greed, he stumbled and fell.
But recently Nkala told reporters that he was getting back into active
politics so as "to frustrate Robert Mugabe's bid to stand for re-election
And to achieve that, Nkala chose, as his vehicle, the Patriotic Union
of Matabeleland, a regional nonsense that advocates the autonomy of
Desperation and oblivion can cloud people's minds. Nkala, founder
member of Zanu PF, but with hardly any constituency at all, now believes
because Mugabe has turned into a fiend, people will listen to him. It is
sad. It is truly pathetic.
Nkala justifiably benefited from Zanu PF as ministerial portfolios
given him testify. He was instrumental in the horrific massacres in
Matabeleland and the Midlands. To his credit, he admitted his complicity and
apologised. But now, left with no choice, he is denouncing Mugabe and Zanu
On my part, I say to Nkala: Zimbabwe gave you support and a chance but
you abused it. You now threaten to "spill the beans" on Mugabe but
conveniently ignore that you are just as much to blame. Spill the beans and
give us the evidence to incarcerate you too because you were party to all
that went on.
Secondly, you are a damn coward since you want your "book" to be
published after you are dead. Let it be published now so we can all flock to
you for clarification and authenticating. You want to throw Zimbabwe into
perpetual chaos with unproven announcements.
When politically dead people start publishing after they are
physically dead, I get mighty suspicious because our country has gone
through hell because of Zanu PF political dinosaurs.
If it's true, why wait till you are dead? Zimbabwe needs your help
However, I hear that you are fronting some obscure "party" that
champions the autonomy of Matabeleland.
Please understand that not an inch of Zimbabwean land is ever going to
be parcelled out to any tribe for any reason. Zimbabwe took care of you and
you failed on your own; now you want to cause unnecessary chaos because you,
like your benefactor Mugabe, have proved to be liabilities to the nation and
are out of time.
Zimbabwe is Zimbabwe. There was never any Mashonaland or Matabeleland
or Manicaland, just Zimbabwe.
Do not fool anyone in your part of the country into believing that
there is ever going to be a separate state or a federal nation or something
so atrocious. Zimbabwe does not belong to a tribe and no part of it ever
I have heard about Joice Mujuru. She is not a contender for the
presidency. Mugabe used her just to cause confusion and almost succeeded.
Then there is the third twin, Simba Makoni. So much is being said
about him and his potential to be president of Zimbabwe. He is the real "Mr
Teflon", squeaky clean as Mr Min might say.
Sadly, no one in Zanu PF is clean.
I concede that, outwardly, Makoni entices me with his mind, demeanour
and "a seeming appearance" of political cleanliness. But clarifications
Who is trumpeting Makoni's presidency?
Makoni is a member of Zanu PF. That alone is a fault that even the
heavens can hardly correct. He was Mugabe's blue-eyed boy who, like all the
others before and after him, was discarded when he had performed for the
master. When he ran out of luck, like Kamuzu Banda's Aleke Banda, he started
mutedly mumbling negatives about his benefactor.
And Makoni has no constituency. I cannot recall an election he won in
his own name. He also appears to have been fired from all the public jobs he
was appointed to. So why is his name always being pushed forward?
The two camps vying for Mugabe's throne are courting him.
"Makoni," says zimbabwejournalists.com, "is likely to align himself
with the small Manyika sub-clan, most of whose important officials -
including Security minister Didymus Mutasa, Justice minister Patrick
Chinamasa and Agriculture minister Joseph Made - are supporting Emmerson
Mnangagwa's bid for the presidency".
Apart from the revolting tribal card, how can Zimbabweans feel they
have a new decent president when he is known to be "in the pocket" of people
like Mutasa and Chinamasa? Will Makoni be ours or theirs?
The same site also reported that "powerful retired army commander
General Solomon Mujuru has ditched his wife, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, as
his ideal successor and is now opting for former finance minister Simba
Makoni". He is said to have no presidential ambitions of his own but would
like to be "the power behind the throne". In other words, he wants to be a
Forgive me, but just why are all the Zanu PF malcontents, who have
something to answer for, vying for Makoni? Will he be our president or
theirs? Will he be, as former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi said of Uhuru
Kenyatta, "(easily) guided"?
I am afraid Makoni will not be ours and his deep roots in Zanu PF make
him very suspect.
Meanwhile, there are thousands of young men and women, in and outside
Zanu PF, who are more deserving than "compromise candidates".
There is nothing more dangerous than a "compromise candidate" who
might not execute his responsibilities fully as he attempts to pay old
Anyone with IOUs to Zanu PF stalwarts is worse than Mugabe. What will
he give them as quid pro quo? Immunity from prosecution?
Don't say I didn't warn you.
* Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean writer.
THE House of Assembly and the Senate last Tuesday resumed sitting for
the Third Session of the Sixth Parliament of Zimbabwe, with the
reinstatement of motions from the last session, debate on the presidential
address, tabling of seven portfolio committee reports and the initial
reading of four Bills, before adjourning to September 4.
The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill, Warehouse Receipt
Bill, Precious Stones Trade Amendment Bill and the Electricity Amendment
Bill were read for the first time on Thursday and referred to the
Parliamentary Legal Committee for scrutiny on their constitutionality.
Gutu South legislator Shuvai Mahofa (Zanu PF), who chairs the
Portfolio Committee on Youth, Gender and Women's Affairs, presented her
committee's first report on youth service and vocational training centres
which highlighted appalling living conditions endured by trainees at the
The committee recommended the temporary closure of the centres until
the economic situation improved.
Fidelis Mhashu (MDC), the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on
Education, Sport and Culture, presented the fourth report on operations of
The report noted that there was gross under-funding of state
universities by central government since the 1990s and this was negatively
affecting the quality of education.
It said "university education is crumbling at a rate that has never
been experienced in the history of the country" and that government should
adequately remunerate lecturers and improve infrastructure at the
Higher and Tertiary Education minister Stan Mudenge acknowledged the
committee's findings and recommendations, adding that he had personally
written a letter of appeal to the Finance ministry in February for urgent
funding of various projects at universities which was never responded to.
Mudenge said state universities had submitted a combined bid of $2,5
trillion for various projects under the 2007 Public Sector Investment
Programme (PSIP) but only about $39, 4 billion was availed by Treasury.
He appealed to the House to approve a realistic budgetary allocation
for state universities.
The committee recommended that government should provide funds for one
project at a time to ensure completion; timely release of funds to hedge
against inflation and the need for universities to be innovative and embark
on income generating projects to augment fiscal allocations.
Water Resources and Infrastructural Development minister, Munacho
Mutezo, presented his ministry's response to the second report of the
Portfolio Committee on Local Government on the takeover of water and sewer
reticulation in urban centres by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
Mutezo told the House that there was no going back on the takeover and
Zinwa had since taken over 70% of the urban centres.
He pointed out that Zinwa needed massive financial assistance either
through low cost loans or the PSIP.
Despite concerns from residents and other stakeholders, Mutezo
maintained that there was prior consultation before the cabinet decision on
the Zinwa take over.
Shadreck Chipanga, the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, presented his committee's third
report on the operations of the Civil, Labour, Administrative, High,
Community and Primary Courts.
The report said the courts were not running smoothly due to inadequate
Committee member Tongai Matutu (Masvingo Central MDC) said: "Honestly
we cannot have an important ministry like the Ministry of Justice running
like an orphanage or an old people's home where you find that conditions of
service, for example, for prosecutors and magistrates, are not enough.
"The conditions are appalling. Most of these people are taking home
less than $3 million per month.
"How do you expect a prosecutor who takes high-profile cases to
prosecute a very senior official who has a lot of money?"
The report said apart from poor remuneration, courts were operating
from dilapidated buildings with inadequate furniture, defunct type writers,
inadequate stationery and malfunctioning toilets, among other negative
In some cases issuing of judgements was delayed due to lack of
stationery and defunct typewriters.
There were disparities in the remuneration of Labour and
Administrative Court judges and those from the High Court.
The committee recommended that courts should be allowed to retain 80%
of the revenue collected instead of the current 5%.
It also recommended the provision of adequate funds to the ministry,
review of salaries and allowances of staff, equipping of law libraries and
rehabilitation of buildings as well as construction of new ones.
A report on the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act and the fourth report of
the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs were also tabled. The
latter was on the first quarter budget review of the Ministry of Defence. A
joint report of the portfolio committees on Health and Child Welfare and
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare on the proposed National Health
Insurance Scheme, was also presented in the Senate.
On the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act, an analysis of court cases
presented to the committee by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the
Registrar General (RG)'s response showed that the RG regarded all Zimbabwean
citizens with a claim or entitlement to foreign citizenship by descent as
dual citizenship holders.
Zimbabwean law requires one to renounce their citizenship by descent
to acquire local citizenship.
However, the provisions of this law under Section 9 of the Citizenship
Act, has created several difficulties of interpretation and application,
resulting in many claimants being denied Zimbabwean citizenship.
The committee recommended that the RG's office should embark on a
massive awareness campaign on the provisions of the Citizenship Act to guard
against unnecessary litigation between the claimants and the RG's office.
On the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme, senators argued that
the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) lacked the capacity to
administer the scheme as it had failed to run pension schemes.
They argued that NSSA officials were abusing existing schemes by
buying posh cars at the expense of pensioners and other retirees who were
getting unrealistic pension payouts or compensation for injuries.
Following three days of business, both houses adjourned to September 4
to allow female legislators to attend a workshop in Masvingo and others to
participate at the parliament pavilion at the Harare Agricultural Show where
portfolio committee public hearings were conducted.
IT is difficult to imagine how the tug-of-war over water supply and
distribution between the Bulawayo city council and the Zimbabwe National
Water Authority (Zinwa) will end. This is a matter of both revenue and
politics. Who eventually wins the purse wins the politics, too.
So far the prospects are not salutary for the MDC-led council, except
that it occupies the moral high ground against a predatory monster state,
for Zinwa is, in material terms, no more than government's grasping paw to
oust the MDC from urban local authorities.
Since government decided last year that Zinwa should take over from
local authorities the supply and distribution of water to residents, the
agency has taken over these functions in Harare, Chitungwiza, Mutare,
Bindura and Masvingo. This process has unfortunately not been matched by any
improvement in service delivery. In many instances, residents assert, the
situation has deteriorated.
For the first time since the hostile takeover, many suburbs are going
without water, never mind the quality, any water at all, for up to two
weeks. The explanation from the agency is not anything to lift anyone's
spirit: lack of pumping capacity at water purification plants, ancient pipes
leading to leakages, and lack of financial resources.
Residents have heard all these excuses before when Zinwa rushed to
take over these functions from opposition councils. The impression given by
Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo when he announced the decision
for Zinwa to take over was that finally he had found a solution to our
perennial water crisis: people who could do the job, with or without money
The situation has taken a more sinister twist in Bulawayo where
government has resorted to outright blackmail to force the city authorities
to surrender water supplies, hence revenue, to Zinwa. Bulawayo metropolitan
governor Cain Mathema was recently reported in the media asserting that
government would not "intervene" to resolve the city's crippling water
crisis until Zinwa was allowed to take over.
This was later polished by Water and Infrastructure Development
minister Munacho Mutezo, who said government would help all the people of
Zimbabwe regardless of their geographical location. Given government's
lethargy in dealing with Bulawayo's water woes, perhaps Mathema had put it
too crudely. But anybody who believes that government is now determined to
do anything significant without seizing the purse from the Bulawayo council
will believe that the pipeline from the Zambezi River to Bulawayo can be
completed before next year's elections.
The residents of Bulawayo are reportedly getting water for a few
hours, once in three days. Many buy it from those who have private boreholes
for $25 000 for a 20-litre container. Those who can't afford to buy it,
queue at council boreholes for days on end or fetch it from unprotected
sources, with the attendant hazards of water-borne diseases.
Lately industry, which previously had been spared the gruelling water
rationing regime, has been dragged in. That means a potent threat to their
survival, employment for many residents due to reduced output or outright
closure, or a relocation for some companies.
A question that begs an answer is whether this is a deliberate
strategy by government to suffocate Bulawayo through deindustrialisation or
a genuine lack of resources?
Calls for lasting water solutions are not new. What is new are
requirements that water can only be made available once Zinwa takes over,
whether the residents want it or not.
But Zinwa has not shown itself to be a model of administrative
competence that residents would like to stake their fate on. Its failures in
Harare and other cities are not a good advertisement for other towns, moreso
when it is failing in cities that have sufficient raw water already. What
difference can it make for Bulawayo where most water sources have dried up?
The only face saver for the government is a cynical one: that its
failure to provide water to Bulawayo is more to do with its congenital
inability to deliver service to citizens in general than any political
design. Its policy blunders, from the disastrous land reform to the latest
assault on business, are the reasons the country is in this mess.
Unfortunately it will not allow the people of Zimbabwe to look for other
In this regard, the residents of Bulawayo will have to decide whether
they succumb to political blackmail before next year's crucial presidential
and parliamentary elections or stand up to the likes of Mathema. Which is
where the opposition will need to demonstrate in its election programmes
that it can go beyond the promises that the Zanu PF government has made
about the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project before every national election
since Independence, just to win votes. It is indeed, an unenviable task.
By Joram Nyathi
AS he surveyed the mortal danger Britain faced from Nazi Germany more
than a year into World War II in November 1940, when the rest of Europe lay
prostrate, Winston Churchill observed: "It is lucky that we did not make any
extravagant optimistic promises or predictions (about the pain or duration
of the war) because a succession of melancholy disasters and terrible
assaults and perils have fallen upon us. We have had to face these
calamities; we have come through the disasters; we have surmounted the
perils so far; but the fact remains that at the present time all we have got
to show is survival and increasing strength and an inflexible will to win."
Even this was a gross understatement of what he had promised the
British people when he took over as prime minister after Neville Chamberlain's
resignation earlier in May, whereupon he warned: "I have nothing to offer
but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
Britain won the war. Some say it was because of Hitler's invasion of
Russia, others say it was because of Japan's foolish bombing of Pearl
Harbour which forced the US's entry into the war at the time it did. To me,
Churchill won the war for Britain.
I was reminded of Churchill's words as I read the "extravagant
optimistic predictions" in the state media at the weekend about the next
agricultural season. It was all about how Operation Maguta, massive new
irrigation projects and mechanisation would boost agricultural production.
Before I could even digest this deluge of euphoria, reality reared its
disconcerting head: there wasn't enough electricity for tobacco and winter
wheat cropping, and three fertiliser companies had shut down, the same media
reported. Whereas the country required 600 000 tonnes of fertiliser, there
was a mere 160 000 tonnes available. We are talking less than two months
before the onset of the rainy season.
The similarity between Churchill's Britain in 1940 and the launch of
government's land reform in 2000 is the lack of preparedness. The big
difference is: for Zanu PF the timing was politically expedient; for Britain
it was survival or death. Churchill maintained an unfailing sense of
perspective on the enormity of the task ahead. While he extolled Britain's
victories in different theatres of the war, he knew the war still needed to
This, I think, is where we got the land reform propaganda entirely
wrong. We mistook a few victories in skirmishes with white farmers for
agrarian victory. People who invaded commercial farms were given the
impression that farming was easy; that there was no need for skill or
investment; that it could be done on a part-time basis, even by cellphone.
There was no need for discipline; cattle of every pedigree were slaughtered
for beef while agricultural machinery and irrigation equipment were
vandalised with impunity.
We were told Africans were natural farmers.
In two years Britain had proved itself equal to Hitler's brutal war
machine. Germany's threatened land invasion was virtually impossible after
the Luftwaffe failed to overcome the RAF.
We are in our seventh year of glossy propaganda about the success of
the land reform; we are still making fancy predictions about food
production, yet figures for tobacco, cotton, soya beans and maize show a
precipitous decline since 2000. We have even breached our treaty obligations
with Sadc which entrusted Zimbabwe with the food security portfolio.
I shall be happy to listen to anyone who can demonstrate that Zimbabwe
has in the past seven years faced greater odds than England did in 1940
other than a failure of leadership.
Let's accept the truth: that we failed to plan and execution was bad.
The consequences have been catastrophic for the whole enterprise. Noone is
accountable. Senior Zanu PF officials have been hopping from one farm to
another, hoping one day to hit a rich vein leading to fabulous wealth. As I
write there are people in Mashonaland West shooting each other over disputed
land ownership - seven years on and seven land audits!
Because there is no planning, every cropping season comes upon us as
an emergency: no seed, no fertiliser, no draught power, yet there is a
minister employed full-time. Many melancholy disasters have befallen us
since 2000. We are barely surviving on what we produce.
We have resorted to food imports. We don't have the foreign currency
we should be earning since the start of the land reform. This has had a
terrible impact on other necessities such as drugs, fuel, power,
infrastructural development, education and general healthcare.
These symptoms of our failure to execute the land reform, instead of
making us face up to the reality, have led to more propaganda. It sounds
more revolutionary to exaggerate the effects of Western "targeted sanctions"
than to own up to our shortcomings.
While Churchill declared Britain would never surrender, he did not
pretend that external help was not vital. Those who sympathised with its
cause fought with it. There are many who "back" our land reform in the
region but have not taken up the cudgels with us. Could it be that
government is too arrogant to admit its mistakes and that we need help or is
it content to live with its propaganda of success?
One cannot escape the conclusion that self-serving propaganda at the
expense of national wellbeing is no better than outright treachery. The
lesson from Churchill? When faced with a national crisis, don't
over-simplify it lest you induce sloth and complacency; don't exaggerate it
because you induce despondency.
There are limits to what propaganda can achieve.
SENATOR Aguy Georgias has announced he is suing the British government
for refusing him leave to enter or transit through Britain while en route to
New York. His name appears on a list of people banned by the European Union
from travelling to EU states. Georgias claims he suffered inhuman treatment
at the hands of British immigration officers.
Let us remind ourselves here that EU sanctions were imposed after the
expulsion of EU elections monitoring team head Pierre Schori in 2002. It was
made clear to Zimbabwe that political violence and electoral manipulation
could not be tolerated and that position has not changed.
Abductions, beatings, and torture persist. The leader of the
opposition was savagely assaulted while in detention. The recent voter
registration exercise has revealed extensive anomolies.
Georgias wasn't asked about any of this in his cosy interview with
Caesar Zvayi who, by the way, repeated the official lie that Kofi Annan had
called for the lifting of sanctions.
Why wasn't Georgias asked about journalists and trade unionists booted
out of Zimbabwe? Did they not feel "grossly violated"? Guardian
correspondent Andrew Meldrum was deported in defiance of a court order after
living in the country for 23 years. Georgias was merely inconvenienced for a
As for balance of payments support and access to lines of credit,
those will only come when Zimbabwe has settled its arrears with the IMF and
put in place macro-economic measures that promote stability.
There is no sign of that at present. No bank will lend to a country
where the government is actually sabotaging the economy and seizing people's
property. Georgias should as a businessman understand that.
But he is a Zanu PF legislator and as such he will remain blind as to
what needs to be done. Sanctions will go of their own accord once Zimbabwe
is restored to democratic normality. And by the way, if sanctions are
hurting the regime so badly, why has its spokesmen always said they are of
We had a couple of useful revelations in the Nathaniel Manheru column
last week. The well-connected waspish commentator was able to confirm that
President Mwanawasa had sacrificed his foreign minister for Zimbabwe's sake.
This reveals the extent to which the Zambian leadership can be bullied
by Harare. Ever since his "sinking Titanic" remarks, Mwanawasa has been
under sustained pressure to recant.
The dispatch of a fawning vice-president to Harare didn't quite do the
trick, it would appear. Nor did the insertion of a wanted criminal at the
Zimbabwean embassy in Lusaka to keep the Zambians steady. So outspoken
foreign minister Mundia Sikatana had to go.
Mwanawasa himself was obliged to say Zimbabwe's crisis had been
"exaggerated". It is difficult to know how 7 600% inflation can be
"exaggerated". If anything it is an understatement.
And what about the tens of thousands streaming into South Africa every
month? Have their numbers been "exaggerated"?
You have to be completely delusional to suggest that Zimbabwe's
advanced state of decline is "exaggerated". But it would be fair comment to
say that several Sadc heads are showing signs of the same cognitive
dissonance our own dear leader has been experiencing.
The University of Namibia's last-minute decision to cancel John
Makumbe's public lecture, "Landscapes of Poverty - Daily Life and Social
Crisis in Zimbabwe" sponsored by Unam's sociology department and the Namibia
Institute for Democracy, exposed the same craven cowardice in the face of
political pressure. An alternative venue was found at a local hotel.
The Zimbabwe embassy in Windhoek issued a vitriolic statement that
told us more about the insecurity of the Zanu PF regime than it did about
Makumbe who they described as a "discredited" academic.
"There was no need for Mr Makumbe to pander to the nauseating,
nonsensical whims of the largely racist and anti-Zimbabwe audience," the
The Namibian authorities thus not only tried to prevent public
discourse on Zimbabwe, they permitted the Zimbabwean embassy to insult
Namibians exercising their right to attend the lecture. While we expect no
less from our rogue regime, we are surprised the Namibians allowed
themselves to be so easily manipulated.
It all goes to show how poorly rooted democracy is in the region and
how far Sadc states will go to appease the predatory regime in Harare.
When Sadc approaches the EU with its begging bowl later this year we
hope this and other episodes, such as remarks made by the Zambian
authorities in preventing democracy advocates from entering that country,
will be borne in mind.
Manheru also told us last week that he is a beneficiary of the
government's land seizures.
Comforting writer Alexander Kanengoni who, in a recent revealing
article, had waxed despondent about the state of land reform, Manheru told
him not to worry.
"This year Alexander, with you and me atop the new tractors, breaking
the clod, inseminating the bounteous earth. Then the earth will swell and
explode green, all creepy crowlies (sic) in wild flutter, in hymnal tribute
to a fecund territory. And the children shall eat and eat until their cheeks
bulge, their stomachs shine."
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has once again applied to the UN for food aid. It
is estimated that 2,1 million Zimbabweans are in need of support.
The Sunday News featured Andrew Ndlovu in its hagiographical
"Luminaries" column last weekend. His claim to fame, it would seem, is
linked to the farm invasions.
"Cde Ndlovu is a hero of the third chimurenga," the newspaper
declared, "as he used 14 of Sankorp's vehicles together with the late Cde
Hunzvi to occupy farms in 1999 and also assisted them to get war veterans
the $50 000 gratuities."
So that is the stuff of which heroes are now made? And don't we recall
some word of impropriety regarding Sankorp? Something to do with
Muckraker is ambivalent over the Pius Ncube affair. Clearly the man
showed remarkably poor judgement in some of the choices he made. The same
can be said for his public pronouncements. But once we see prelates like
Trevor Manhanga joining the fray (Herald, July 24), then it is obvious there
is more to this than meets the eye.
Last week the Zimbabwe Independent exposed the role of the state
security service in the setting up of a media sting to nail the archbishop.
More is expected on that front.
But what made Manhanga think we would benefit from his predictably
censorial view on Ncube's behaviour? The church should never personalise
issues or demonise people, he ventured.
Indeed, but couldn't he see that Ncube had been set up and that
neither the state nor its media had clean hands in the way this matter came
to light? If so, he didn't say.
Manhanga should understand that he is steadily eroding public
confidence in his "the Zimbabwe we want" project by acting as an apologist
for a regime nobody wants.
Why when the president slammed church leaders who sleep with other
people's wives, did Manhanga not ask Mugabe why he confined his criticism to
As Caesar Zvayi helpfully reminded us, what was egregious about this
case was that one of the victims of Ncube's advances was his married
Didn't that ring a bell, good bishop? Or is any amount of hypocrisy
and double standards OK with you judgemental Pentecostals?
The impact of air pollution is one of the major environmental and
social issues facing the country, the secretary for Environment and Tourism
Margaret Sangarwe told a workshop in Harare last week.
"Air pollution continues to have a negative impact on our health,
ecosystems, biodiversity, crops, infrastructural materials and our cultural
heritage," she said.
So why doesn't government do something about it?
Government was committed to ensuring environmentally sustainable
social and economic development, Sangarwe claimed.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Every day trucks and cars
pump dangerous quantities of lead and other toxic materials into the
atmosphere. The state has the legal apparatus to test and punish offenders.
But for some strange reason no attempt is made to control these emissions.
Again, motorists are charged with a carbon tax. But that goes straight
to the fiscus instead of the purpose parliament intended for it.
Sangarwe's speech was typical of speeches heard at conference where
government spokesmen are full of good intentions, citing all sorts of
"challenges", but do nothing.
Next time you see a taxi imported from the Far East belching black
smoke, take down the number and ask Sangarwe what she is doing about it.
There was an interesting Comment in the Herald this week, calling on
Zimbabwe to sever diplomatic ties with Australia. The writer complained that
Zimbabwe was not benefiting from maintaining relations with Australia except
to boost its GDP by sending school children there.
"Isn't it better to send them (children) to friendly countries in line
with our Look East policy.?" asked the writer.
Indeed, why are Zanu PF officials still keen to send their children to
Australia where they get "tainted" by associating with "descendants of
criminals" as George Charamba put it? Let them go to China if they cannot
endure inferior education in their motherland. This should be the logical
Isn't it a big irony that four years after Zimbabwe quit the
Commonwealth in a huff, senior party and government officials still cherish
the skills and values of that "useless" club? Meanwhile, the Herald
editorial writer should know that Zimbabwe's embassy is not located in
One explanation for the anger shown towards Morgan Tsvangirai in the
official press this week, with fatuous headings like "Tsvangirai thanks
paymasters for sanctions", could be a sense of pique that the MDC leader's
visit to Australia is attracting more interest than the visit here of
Equatorial Guinea's president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. As noted
above, chefs are bitter as well that their kids are getting kicked out of
Australia and sent home to experience the paradise that Aeneas Chigwedere
has created for them.
Then there is Nelson Mandela's visit to London for the unveiling of
his statue which has taken some of the gloss off events in Harare.
Just contrast the two visits. Mandela, imprisoned by a repressive
regime, gets a hero's welcome from Gordon Brown and the citizens of the
British capital. Here is a true son of Africa. But in Harare two rulers
representing repressive regimes provide a different view of Africa, one
rooted in the past and meting out arbitrary cruelty to their citizens.
Anybody sentenced to an Equatorial Guinean jail is unlikely to come
out alive. In Zimbabwe the regime's critics are savagely beaten while in
Mandela and Brown have presided over successful economies that have
seen their citizens prosper. But Mugabe claims "we have governed this
country better than Blair has done to his Britain".
Three million Zimbabweans disagree.
By Eric Bloch
LAST week, the state-controlled media reported that the Minister of
Water Resources and Infrastructural Development had said that government
would not intervene to address Bulawayo's water problems until the city had
ceased its resistance to the intended take over of water distribution by the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).
As the state media is allegedly stringently factual and correct, that
report must be presumed to have been factually accurate.
However, only one day later, the same media published a statement by
the same minister that government had no intent to hold the residents of
Bulawayo to ransom, that it was concerned for the wellbeing of all,
irrespective of political affiliations or inclinations, and that therefore
government would vigorously address Bulawayo's critical water needs.
Those needs have reached crisis proportions. Most of the city's supply
dams are empty, or near-empty, primarily due to the grossly inadequate
rainfalls in the last season, exacerbated by diminished inflows from the
feeder-rivers, which have suffered immense siltation in consequence of
excessive, uncontrolled, gold-panning, and in consequence of pronounced,
destructive, river-bank cultivation.
The city's adverse water-supply circumstances have been compounded by
the miniscule inflows from the Nyamandlovu acquifer, and by ageing
distribution infrastructure that could not be fully rehabilitated and
maintained by the city's local authority, due to the magnitude of amounts
owing to it by government and residents (exceeding $47 billion) and due to
inadequate availability of requisite foreign exchange.
The result of the intense insufficiency of water is catastrophic. Some
residential areas have had no water supplies for over a week, whilst all
areas other than industrial, commercial and the city centre are subject to a
minimum of seven and a half hours of water cuts per day.
The business and city centre are now subject to 12 hours of water
cuts, three days per week and in some instances are subjected to even more
pronounced discontinuances of supplies.
Not only are the residents subject to extreme discomfort, but the
potential health hazards are appalling in the extreme. At the same time, the
city's economy (already severely battered by Zimbabwe's distressed economic
circumstances) is being subjected to yet further operating constraints.
The tragedy is that, notwithstanding that climatic conditions have
contributed to the city's devastating ills, those conditions could readily
have been compensated for, and surmounted by available measures to
distribute sufficient water to all in Bulawayo.
To an overwhelming extent, recourse to those measures has been
prevented by past and present governments, with the predominance of
culpability being attributable to the present one.
Fault lies with both the past, and the current, governments, for
Bulawayo not having assured water supplies from the Zambezi River, and from
the dams that could have been developed in Matabeleland North which, in the
past 25 years, has been proven to be a more fertile water catchment area
than Bulawayo's existing one to the South-East.
It was 95 years ago that the concept of pumping water from the Zambezi
to Bulawayo was first developed, and yet after almost a century there has
been little done to turn that concept into a reality.
The magnitude of the Zambezi's water flow is such that, as evidenced
by authoritative studies, the offtake required to sustain Bulawayo, and
substantially to enhance agriculture and agro-industry in Matabeleland
North, would have no negative environmental or downstream negative
But government after government has done nothing to bring the
Matabeleland-Zambezi Water Project into being, except that, very belatedly
and half-heartedly, some work on the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani dam
was commenced last year, and is progressing intermittently.
But the greatest blameworthiness must incontrovertibly be attributed
to the post-Independence Zanu PF government for, save for its limited
support of the Gwayi-Shangani dam construction, it has not only done nothing
to address Bulawayo's needs, but it has actually frustrated pursuit of
remedial actions, and thereby has severely worsened the situation.
Fourteen years ago the Mtshabezi dam construction was identified as a
potential major water source for Bulawayo.
But, despite recognising the contribution the Mtshabezi dam could make
to the wellbeing of Bulawayo, a pipeline from the dam to Bulawayo has yet to
For years government persisted in its demands that Bulawayo fund that
pipeline, thereby striving to evade its own responsibilities. This year, at
last, contracts for its construction were awarded, but six months later the
progress is limited.
But government's inattention to Bulawayo's water needs did not end
there. Through Zinwa it has allowed boreholes and their pumps at the
Nyamandlovu acquifer to fall into abysmal disrepair, in some instances, and
to be vandalised and cannibalised and that despite the considerable extent
of voluntary funding support given by the City of Bulawayo to the
rehabilitation of the boreholes and pumps.
Also contemptible is that five months after the city's municipal
authorities sought government's declaration of the city as a water shortage
area, government has failed to effect such declaration.
Were it to have done so, government would have enabled the city to
resort to some constructive, palliative measures, such as commandeering
Other positive actions that have been recurrently proposed, but as yet
have been devoid of action or implementation, include the transportation of
water from the Zambezi river in tanker trains, if necessary reinforced by
the rental of requisite rolling stock from South Africa's Spoornet.
Admittedly, the cost thereof would be great, encompassing not only rental
and labour charges, but also higher consumption of costly scarce coal and
But the cost of economic decline occasioned by water scarcity, and
loss of future economic benefit which would flow from investment, if not
deterred by non-availability of water, is markedly greater.
Recurrently, until last week's retractive statement by the minister,
government has intimated that no consideration to Bulawayo's water needs
would be given until Bulawayo ceased to resist the take over of Bulawayo
water delivery and supply by Zinwa.
And yet, that resistance was fully justified, and strongly supported
by commerce, industry and most of Bulawayo residents.
There is a great awareness that, despite fiscal and political
constraints, the city's local authority remains the most efficient and
attentive of all those in Zimbabwe, and possibly within the entirety of the
southern African region.
In contradistinction, with a few notable exceptions, government's
parastatals are incompetent and ineffectual in the extreme. Foremost amongst
the incapable is believed by most to be Zinwa.
Its track record of not only having failed in its obligations to
effect requisite supplies of water to the City of Bulawayo for onward
distribution to the city's residents, but of vast other failures, is
pronounced and renowned.
It is not only in recurrent default in supplying regular water
delivery throughout Harare, but there have been frequent reports of such
water being unsafe for human consumption, and it is significant that those
reports have generally not been refuted. It also has a poor track record of
delivery performance in Victoria Falls, Kariba and elsewhere. But government
dogmatically and obdurately demands that the City of Bulawayo desist in
opposing a Zinwa takeover.
Government is dismayed that the city does not masochistically submit
to probable greater destruction, and the reports in the state media, albeit
thereafter countered by a follow-up ministerial statement, are very highly
suggestive that government's tardiness in addressing Bulawayo's needs was
founded almost wholly upon political considerations.
Allegedly, the leopard does not change its spots, but if the minister
and his government have the genuine concern for the wellbeing of the people
of Bulawayo, as he now contends, then there should be no further delay in
declaring Bulawayo a water shortage area and should desist in its attempted
expropriation of Bulawayo's water delivery operations.
By Dumisani Muleya
IT was to be expected. After every major meeting where Zimbabwe is an
issue, South African President Thabo Mbeki often comes out with guns
blazing. His record, dating back to 2000, was evident last week in his ANC
Today column, his platform for spinning yarns and spewing spleen.
Like him or not, Mbeki has his own strategy of managing the media and
ways of trying to advance his diplomacy even if this may be a hard sell.
Last week Mbeki wrote in his column, titled Sadc Returns to Lusaka,
that the regional bloc had not turned its back on Zimbabwe; Sadc expressed
unqualified respect for Zimbabwe's sovereignty and its people's right to
determine their destiny and that it will help Zimbabwe out of its crisis.
While Mbeki was waxing lyrical about this, President Robert Mugabe's
spokesman George Charamba, in his anonymous column, The Other Side with
Nathaniel Manheru, was saying "no aid cent will come from Sadc countries".
Although Mbeki thinks Zimbabwe needs Sadc help, Charamba, whose views
observers say often reflect those of Mugabe, says not at all. Mugabe himself
said after the summit that Zimbabwe would continue with its own economic
programmes whatever Sadc is doing. If this is not a clash of views and
division, what is it then?
Mbeki also said it's a media fabrication that Sadc leaders were
divided in Lusaka over Zimbabwe's economic report.
Typically, Mbeki lambasted the media for saying there were divisions
among the Sadc leaders over the report on the Zimbabwe economic crisis, but
did not provide evidence to the contrary.
There is nothing new or surprising about Mbeki's views. We have heard
this line from him more than a hundred times before! What is, however, new
and rather astonishing is Mbeki's simplistic rhetoric about Zimbabwe having
scaled new heights.
For the past seven years - including yesterday - Mbeki's prognosis on
the prevailing Zimbabwe crisis has been the same.
Even though events on the ground have changed dramatically, Mbeki
still offers no dynamic analysis of the situation, but a frozen view which
in the process simply portrays him as a Harare envoy.
Perhaps this explains why President Mugabe and Zanu PF think Mbeki is
there to defend them. Evidence of this is contained in Zanu PF's central
committee minutes of March 30.
Briefing the party on the extraordinary Sadc summit in Tanzania,
Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi revealed: "President Mbeki
was also mandated to carry out diplomatic work in support of Zimbabwe,
including with the (UN) Security Council." South Africa is currently a
member of the UN Security Council.
Mumbengegwi said Mbeki was "tasked to communicate the Sadc position to
the opposition and demand the renunciation of violence and the MDC
dissociation with Western powers". This also probably explains why after the
Dar es Salaam summit, Sadc issued a hopeless communiqué replete with
pro-Mugabe propaganda on land and sanctions.
Mugabe himself said Mbeki defended his regime at the summit. Mbeki did
not deny this in public and left many wondering if he was fighting from
Mugabe's corner. Charamba says Mbeki has been supportive of Mugabe, although
Harare is hostile to his interventionist policy.
The thrust and purpose of Mbeki's column last week was to say Sadc is
behind Mugabe's regime regardless of the tragedy unfolding in the country
simply because "their problems are our problems".
Mbeki's diplomacy on Zimbabwe raises more questions than answers. What
is his grand design and main objective? What does he want to achieve through
his mundane "quiet diplomacy" and talks and how? Why is he always claiming
progress in his talks but fails to deliver in the end? If Sadc is prepared
to haul Zimbabwe out of this crisis, why have they not done so to date?
Where will the resources to support Zimbabwe come from? Sadc or South Africa
simply don't have such resources.
Why does Mbeki say Sadc has not attached any conditions to aid for
Zimbabwe but then goes on to quote the preconditions on exchange rate
adjustment and budget deficit reduction, among others, in his article? Doesn't
he see the contradiction?
If South Africa and Zimbabwe, as Mbeki has said in one of his ANC
Today columns, are sister countries linked by history, geography, culture
and language, why is it that Zimbabweans are the only ones in the region who
need visas to visit South Africa?
The economic crisis is not the reason because visas have been there
before. Zimbabweans are constantly harassed during travel to South Africa,
detained in squalid conditions at Lindela and brutalised during deportation.
What has he done about this?
If Mbeki respects Zimbabwe's sovereignty and the people's right to
determine their destiny, as he says, why is he deeply involved in local
affairs to the extent of holding secret talks that exclude some key
Zimbabwean interest groups about the country's future in his own backyard?
Why is he involved in local politics to the point of trying to resolve
internal differences within the opposition?
Is there any greater assault on a country's sovereignty than this
besides naked invasion?
While it is clear that Mbeki wants to curry Mugabe's favour to secure
his support for his faltering talks, his remarks unfortunately give a
hostage to fortune to Mugabe.
His appeasement strategy and buttressing of dictatorship to wring a
solution will not work.
Mbeki's revisionism on Zimbabwe and combative attacks on the media are
very unhelpful. The sooner he realises this, the better for himself and
THE article headlined "Zanu PF plans cyber warfare against online
publications" (Zimbabwe Independent, August 10) caught my eye. Particularly
in light of the Interception of Communications Act. Reading that "Zanu PF
plans cyber warfare against online publications" gave me the visceral chill
of dread which doubtlessly the paper intended with the headline.
But the body of the article told a slightly different story.
Apparently, a "blacklist" of 41 online publications was tabled at a recent
politburo meeting and "is said to have caused alarm among party members
during a heated debate on the media", unnamed sources said.
The purported politburo discussion sounds like sheer paranoia, and the
Independent's uncritical reporting of the meeting feels like simply more
fear mongering. The most important point of the article is the second
paragraph: "It was not immediately apparent what measures, if any, the party
can take against offending websites."
The regime's mistrust of independent news and differences of opinion
is as unsurprising as it is un-newsworthy.
Supposedly the blacklist is connected to comments made by Zanu PF
secretary for science and technology, Olivia Muchena, in a report on the
role and importance of information and communication technologies
on July 26. According to the Independent, the report says: "Comrades,
we are all aware that Zanu PF is at war from within and outside our borders.
Contrary to the gun battles we are accustomed to, we now have cyber-warfare
fought from one's comfort zone, be it bedroom, office, swimming pool, etc
but with deadly effects."
Muchena reportedly said "Zanu PF must pause and think who is behind
the creation of these websites, the target market of the websites, the
influence and impact they have on Zimbabweans and what the image of Zanu PF
and its leadership looks like out there as portrayed".
So the "cyber warfare" is the one which Muchena claims is being fought
against Zanu PF. And if that is the case, a more interesting,
thought-provoking article would have been the one that asked a few questions
about some of the websites on the "blacklist", which was published at the
end of the Independent article.
Like of all the news sites on it, why are neither SW Radio Africa nor
VOA Studio 7 featured, when they're the ones the regime is busy jamming? Why
CNN and PBS but not the BBC? Why global voices but hardly any of the
Zimbabwean bloggers they draw on for their coverage of the country? What is
the bias of ABYZ News, which acts as a portal to all kinds of news sources,
local and foreign, for practically every country imaginable? Why the
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, and the US Embassy in Harare, but
not those blasted Brits at all? And what kind of anti-Mugabe agenda does
Technorati, the blog-tagging website, have? Who knows, but they're on the
list. It doesn't look much like a cunning list of strategic targets in an
orchestrated campaign to smash cyber-dissent and proclaim Zanu PF hegemony
The Independent would have done well to leave the fear mongering to
the ruling party, and expose the list for what it really is - a list of
websites a handful of petulant politicians don't like because they said a
few nasty things about them here and there.
We all keep lists - grocery lists, book lists, wish lists, favourite
song lists. Most of mine stay where they belong - in my diary. They
certainly don't rate as national news.
THE recent endorsement of the Zimbabwe regime by the Sadc heads of
states in Lusaka is indicative of the whole problem in Africa today: the
reason, surely, why the African continent is the poorest continent (and
getting poorer) is because African leaders do not appear to be willing to
face the real problems.
The complete lack of a forthright response by Sadc sends a ringing
message loud and clear throughout the world: African leaders would rather
not have good governance, democracy, the rule of law, individual freedoms,
human rights and economic prosperity for the masses.
Rather they want the old system, like in Zimbabwe, where the chief is
the prime minister, the president, the law maker, the judge, the spiritual
leader, the land owner and the one who decides all things for the nation.
Those ecstatic drum beats of applause by the heads of state for Robert
Mugabe in Lusaka echo out to the world as if they were beaten on the hollow
bellies of Zimbabwe's suffering people. If African independence wars were
fought so that African people could really become independent, why that sick
and hollow applause for a man who has put his people into a bondage of
If these leaders really care about the African people why not censure
a man that has brought his country to poverty, hunger, economic collapse and
In Zimbabwe, life expectancy is the lowest in the world; Zimbabwean
laws are amongst the most draconian in the world; hundreds of thousands have
had their homes bulldozed by the police; more than a million people have
lost their livelihood as farm worker families to make room mostly for the
chefs; most of the time Zimbabweans cannot buy mealie meal, bread, fuel,
sugar, cooking oil; the inflation rate is the highest in the world; much of
the time there are power blackouts; most people do not have piped water any
more; and a huge number of Zimbabweans have now fled their country.
What more needs to happen for the problem not to be passed off by Sadc
Where are the audit reports?
FOLLOWING the meeting in Lusaka and the statements that the reports on
Zimbabwe are exaggerated, one can therefore assume that a concerned
Zimbabwean taxpayer would have the right to ask questions of this
transparent and well-run administration.
The question most taxpayers I am sure would like to know is: is the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe still audited? One must assume it is. Therefore why
is the auditors report not available for public consumption?
With the country having so many exchange rates, I want to know who are
the beneficiaries of the foreign exchange sold by the RBZ at the US$1:$250
rate? Taxpayers want to know the criteria used to selecet these
Because of lack of transparency of this administration, I don't expect
to get a straight answer. With the auditor-general also under government,
how believable would his anwer be?
I HAVE a few questions for Zinwa bosses and I would like them
answered as would a lot of other readers. These questions have been building
up over the past few weeks, and quite frankly, we are sick.
Why is it that in Greendale we have had only one day of water
this whole month?
Why is it nearly every time we phone the Zinwa call centre, we
are given a different excuse? Examples of these are:
"Sorry our pumps are not working at all." "Sorry the pumps are
pumping very slowly." But the most recent one is: "Sorry, it is because of a
lake turn at Chivero."
When I asked what a lake turn is, I was given a rather
ridiculous explanation, and to be quite honest, I'm sick and tired having to
travel to the other end of town just to take a shower.
Why can't Zinwa manage the water supply properly?
Respect small shareholders
OVER the past decade or so I have noted a distinct decline in
the quality of the new breed of senior staff of listed companies and other
organisations as compared with the previous generations. There seems to be a
serious lack of business etiquette and concern shown for customers and small
Perhaps they are more concerned with amassing greater wealth and
other selfish interests than the wellbeing of others. As an example I
outline a couple of incidents that arose with OK.
Recently OK held its AGM but failed to notify its shareholders
in time. The annual report and notification was posted on August 8
(according to the envelope frank) and delivered by Zimpost on the 10th, too
late for me to arrange attendence. I expressed these sentiments in an e-mail
to the company secretary (one C Boriwondo) who to date has failed to
Shopping at one branch of the OK a while ago I slipped on some
cooking oil on the floor, and was fortunately very lucky not to be seriously
injured. Seeing the potential danger to other shoppers, the thoughts of some
elderly person slipping and breaking a hip or cracking a skull, I
immediately sought the attention of staff.
The individual that I did manage to approach did not understand
the potential hazard, being quite unresponsive, so I demanded to see the
manager, with little initial success. Eventually, after involving other
staff members, she appeared and offered the usual "sorry". I was so incensed
at the sluggish actions and obvious lack of concern I decided to e-mail the
CEO, Willard Zireva. I never received a reply from him. Apparently he was on
leave at the time yet on his return obviously decided not to bother to
I then sent a copy to another senior executive, who did respond
but to my mind was more concerned with defending the company more than any
I would like to see incorporated in the annual best companies
selection an element that gives an indication on how a company treats their
customers and small shareholders, the latter held in distain and contempt by
most listed companies!
Shut him out
WHY are you giving evil Jonathan Moyo a column in our newsaper?
After all he contributed towards the collapse of the media and nation at
large. It seems you people at the Independent play double standards and are
hypocrites, why not be in solidarity with all those affected during his
tenure and Zimbabweans at large?
These culprits like him deserve to be brought to book for their
evil works. Look at western countries and USA and Australia who are not
going back on targeted sanctions and deportations.
You are destroying the newspaper please.
Politics is the name of the game!
IN the Zimbabwe Independent of August 17 you published an
article by Mutumwa Mawere. The opinion was incisive and the language
temperate. I enjoyed reading the article although without necessarily
sharing his sentiments.
Mawere highlighted a very interesting aspect of Zimbabwe's
political landscape. Morgan Tsvangirai, a not-so-schooled trade
unionist-cum-politician, derives support from the urban intellectuals while
Robert Mugabe has support of the rural folk yet he is an intellectual even
by world standards. This is a paradox, infers Mutumwa Mawere in his article
and rightly so. And yet upon further analysis, it ceases to be a paradox:
the name of the game is politics!
It feeds and thrives on the gullible. Either urban intellectuals
and business, who support Tsvangirai's MDC, do so because they find him
gullible and malleable as to serve their class interests or they sincerely
believe the politician genuinely represents their interests.
The same can be said about Mugabe: either the rural population
supports him for what his government does or the peasants are simply
gullible and malleable.
Whatever the case, the name of the game is politics.