December 9, 2012 in Politics
Zanu PF has accused the two MDC formations of perpetrating political
violence, hence the party was mobilising funds for victims of political
violence as the country prepares for next year’s harmonised polls.
Report by Ndunduzo Tshuma
According to a Central Committee Report tabled by President Robert Mugabe at
the party’s 13th Annual People’s Conference that ended in Gweru yesterday,
the party said since the formation of the MDC, it had experienced an
increase in the number of their members falling victims to political
violence. “Now that election time is upon us again, we must be prepared for
any eventuality, especially with regards to the victims of political
violence,” reads the report.
“Since the formation of the MDC, we have over the years witnessed an
increase in the number of our members who have fallen victim to political
violence. Some have suffered permanent injuries and some have lost property
at the behest of the MDC thugs. Again funds must be availed for such an
Ironically, the MDCs have accused Zanu PF of being the chief culprit in
perpetrating political violence.
In 2008, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential
run-off election citing violence against his party members.
The MDC-T has also expressed fears over the recent reported deployment of
the army along the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border, saying the soldiers might be
used to engage in violent activities in the area on behalf of Zanu PF.
Meanwhile, the party said it will introduce “proper” monitoring mechanisms
to “provide checks and balances to the operations on Non-Governmental
Organisations in the country”.
l Is Zanu PF right in blaming MDC formations for fanning political violence?
Share your thoughts with others on our Twitter page: @thestandardzim and on
Facebook: The Standard Newspaper.
December 9, 2012 in Politics
BULAWAYO — MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has warned senior party officials
engaged in an alleged conspiracy to oust him in a plot code-named “Project
By Nqobani Ndlovu
Insiders say Tsvangirai’s leadership credentials were being questioned by
senior party officials angling for his post during the next congress set for
They are reportedly working with provincial executives to rally support in
provinces since they are in constant touch with the grassroots structures.
In Matabeleland, some provincial executives said to be part of the 2016
plot, are reportedly working with Zanu-PF and the Welshman Ncube-led MDC.
If the plot succeeds, insiders say, this will result in the re-unification
of the two MDCs.
Tsvangirai last week said he knew of the 2016 plot during an MDC-T
provincial council meeting held in Lupane, Matabeleland North province.
The meeting was held at Mpofu Primary School.
“There is a conspiracy, a conspiracy to remove Tsvangirai in 2016. It is an
act of stupidity to be talking about 2016 now.
“We will remove you now before 2016,” Tsvangirai told the provincial council
“This is a diversionary tactic. We have to be a team . . . let’s finish the
job that we started [remove Mugabe and Zanu-PF].”
Tsvangirai advised senior party officials angling for his post to be
patient, saying, “Your chance will come.”
December 9, 2012 in Politics
If anything, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week appeared as a man on
the ropes, as his future crept under an unlikely spotlight.
Report by Nqaba Matshazi
Seemingly comfortable in his position as the indisputable leader of his
party, Tsvangirai set the cat among the pigeons when he told an MDC-T
meeting that he would step down if he lost the next election.
Tsvangirai was made to beat a hasty retreat and claim that his statements
were a misconstrued joke, but all of a sudden, his once invincible status
seemed to be under contestation.
There are reports that there is a project to unseat the MDC-T leader at the
next elective congress, reigniting rumours of a party that is divided.
Tsvangirai confirmed reports of the presence of a plot within the party at a
rally in Lupane about 10 days ago, threatening to crush the rebellion.
“One of the major criticisms of [President Robert] Mugabe’s leadership,
including from the MDC, was that he has stayed too long in power, something
that Tsvangirai must not lose sight of, especially riding on the democracy
platform,” Dewa Mavhinga, a political analyst said.
“By 2016, Tsvangirai would have been at the helm of the MDC for some 17
years, giving legitimacy to leadership renewal discussions within and
outside of the MDC.”
Mavhinga said discussions on Tsvangirai’s future should not be treated as
conspiracy theories, but rather should be seen as the party’s way of seeking
“If the MDC is to establish itself as a party different from Zanu PF, then
it must ensure timely and smooth leadership renewal in accordance with its
internal democratic rules, as well as general national expectations,” he
But Trevor Maisiri, a senior analyst for southern Africa at the
International Crisis Group, reckons that while Tsvangirai may quit after the
next poll, he was the unifying force in MDC-T.
“Apparently, Tsvangirai stands as the brand that drives the party. His
personal brand is stronger than the brand of the party as an institution,”
he said, arguing that this was something synonymous with the traditionalist
approach to politics in Africa.
“Currently he is the mortar that holds the party together and he attracts a
lot of respect within the party, which is, however, not the case with many
of the ‘lieutenants’ around him.
“His departure as party president will lead to some instant factional
fighting, as well as incoherence around leadership issues. However, the
MDC-T must begin to build the brand of the party as an institutional entity
if the party is to survive in the post-Tsvangirai era.”
MDC-T members demand transparency
Confusion over selection of candidates ahead of the next elections has also
rocked Tsvangirai’s boat, with some MDC-T members rebelling openly against
what they term an undemocratic exercise.
The party says sitting legislators and councillors will go through an
endorsement process and if they fail to garner a two thirds majority, they
will then undergo primary elections.
But some party members are demanding primary elections, claiming the
endorsement process was meant to protect incumbent legislators and
Only recently, party members in Bulawayo are reported to have printed flyers
protesting the electoral system.
“We do not want anyone choosing leaders for us. Tsvangirai, stop forcing us
to accept leaders that are chosen by you, that we do not want,” read the
flyers. “We want primary elections, that’s all.”
This is probably the biggest rebellion to the MDC-T leader since the split
of the united MDC in 2005.
But like all revolts before, Tsvangirai will hope to crush it and head to
next year’s elections with a strong and united party, to face his long-time
Unlike Mugabe, Tsvangirai will hope that this election is not his swan song.
December 9, 2012 in Local
Murehwa — A Murehwa Deputy Sheriff yesterday descended on a United Methodist
Church (UMC) conference, impounding 19 vehicles in a long-running salary
dispute between the church and its workers.
Report by Nqaba Matshazi
The deputy sheriff confirmed that he had confiscated the vehicles in
execution of a writ of the High Court, as the church had failed to pay its
workers since January.
The UMC was in the middle of holding a conference in Murehwa when the deputy
When The Standard arrived at the church where the conference was taking
place, the mood was tense with tight security at the gate.
Efforts to speak to the church leaders were futile, as security at the gate
would only allow in people that were attending the conference, saying the
senior priests were busy.
The workers’ lawyer, Karen Muyangwa confirmed that she had obtained a writ
to have the cars impounded over salaries the church owed to six workers.
“Workers of the church’s publications unit had not received their salaries
since January, so we approached the courts in April,” she said. “They [UMC]
then said they would start paying in May but then they defaulted.”
Muyangwa, chronicling the legal battles she had fought with the UMC, said
the church kept giving dates of when they would pay the salary arrears, but
each time they kept defaulting, forcing her clients to seek arbitration and
recourse from the High Court.
She said the arbitration order had granted the workers US$13 000, but since
time had elapsed since the order and the execution of the writ, the amount
was now above US$20 000.
“Now they have to factor in a 13th cheque since we are now in November and
with legal costs and the deputy sheriff’s costs, the figure is now above
US$20 000,” she said.
Muyangwa said the church had been deducting money claiming that it was
forwarding to statutory bodies such as the National Social Security
Authority, but investigations showed that this was not the case and the
Methodists had to reimburse the workers the deducted money.
She said the Methodist Publications Unit was not a registered company, hence
the mother body, the United Methodist Church, was responsible for the
salaries and well-being of the workers.
December 9, 2012 in Local
A cabinet minister said the outbreaks of diarrhoea and enteric [intestinal]
diseases are crippling the health ministry, which is under-funded.
Report by Tatenda Kunaka
Addressing an audience at typhoid, cholera, common diarrhoea and other
enteric diseases outbreaks update recently in Harare, the Minister of Health
and Child Welfare, Henry Madzorera said the outbreaks were costly to the
health delivery system.
“Outbreaks are costly to the health delivery system which bears the brunt of
the inadequacies of these key health interventions.
In the public health sector, the proportionate spending on health remains
far below the Abuja target of at least 15% of the government budgetary
allocation to health. It also falls short of the world health organisation
guidelines of at least US$34 per capita spending on health,” said Madzorera.
Effective response to outbreaks require resources which are not available at
Madzorera added that his ministry would continue to improve the conditions
of service of health care workers in a bid to reduce morbidity,
complications and deaths.
December 9, 2012 in Local
REBECCA Chisamba, popularly known as Mai Chisamba through her talk show, has
dismissed as “malicious, wishful thinking and baseless” allegations that she
was involved in an extra-marital affair with Anglican bishop, Nolbert
Report by Wellington Zimbowa
Her husband Arnold Chisamba also poured cold water on reports that were
awash on social network sites and some sections of the media alleging that
his wife and Kunonga had a sound and flourishing relationship.
“Maybe it’s a Christmas joke. I don’t actually know where this is coming
from, but whichever way, this is not a pleasant one. These claims are just
unfounded and are part of a destructive agenda,” said Mai Chisamba.
“These allegations have been doing the rounds since 2007 with some
assertions that we were frequently spotted together at midnight. But even my
husband can testify that at these alleged times I would be comfortably by
his bedside, if not in his arms.”
The former teacher who has won numerous awards as a talk show host said they
were only related to Bishop Kunonga through Gogo Chisamba, mother to her
husband, whom she said was a close relative of Gogo Kunonga [Nolbert’s late
She also said it was just unfortunate that Gogo Chisamba had passed on a
month ago, saying her testimony would have put the matter to rest.
The Anglican Church, since 2007, has been ripped apart by a fierce battle
between two factions, one led by Kunonga of the Province of Central Zimbabwe
and the other by Chad Gandiya of the Province of Central Africa. The feud
recently ended in the Supreme Court.
Gandiya won the right to control Anglican properties, but Kunonga is still
challenging the issue in the courts.
On her position in the Anglican Church squabbles, Mai Chisamba could not be
drawn into saying much.
“I am not a spokesperson of either side, but we all understand that Zimbabwe
has freedom of worship and as an individual I am free to exercise that
right. However, as a law-abiding citizen, I respect court processes and the
laws of Zimbabwe,” she said.
As a parting shot, the motherly figure who at one point scooped the
Communicator of the Year Award said she believed in communication as the
ultimate route to a better world and said her message was “peace only”. She
also thanked “vadiwa vatariri” [the viewership of the Mai Chisamba Show] for
their unwavering support.
No female marriage officers in the Anglican Church
Responding to allegations that her alleged relationship with Kunonga saw her
landing the post of a marriage officer in the church, Mai Chisamba said this
was just imaginary as far as the Anglican Church doctrine was concerned.
“In the history of the Anglican Church, only priests can be marriage
officers and there has never been a female priest in the Anglican Church the
world over, unless I am the first one to change that doctrine of the
Anglican Church,” she chuckled.
Although the bubbly character appeared not to be tormented by the
allegations, she however, pointed out that much as she was a public figure,
she expected to enjoy her peace as an individual and implored on journalists
to be more responsible and professional.
“What can one expect as a public figure? These are the ups and downs that
characterise our offices, but journalists should be more professional in
order to retain the credibility of their profession.
Maybe there is a culture that is foreign to our society and that we need to
deconstruct through the show. How many celebrities or top people have had
numerous inventions peddled against them?
“If that journalist had done his homework, he would have found out that only
priests can be marriage officers as per the Anglican Church tradition and
priests can only be males.
On reports that she was the best lady at the Kunongas’ wedding anniversary
in 2007, Mai Chisamba said, “Actually, it was another bishop and his wife
from the region who were the best man and best lady respectively,” she said.
The mother of five and grandmother of two said as a social activist, she
remained apolitical and that in the quest for a better Zimbabwean society,
she is spurred by such tribulations.—Chisamba
December 9, 2012 in Local
BULAWAYO — Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) have hit out at Matabeleland
North governor, Thokozile Mathuthu for allegedly claiming they were a
“security threat” during a meeting with senior security officials.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Mathuthu, who refused to speak to The Standard last week, met senior state
security officials from the army, police, prison and the President’s Office
on Thursday in Lupane.
The officials were touring provinces as part of their one-year strategic
training course on national security. They had also visited Manicaland,
Masvingo and Bulawayo.
The delegation that met Mathuthu comprised brigadier-generals, air
commodores and their equivalent in ranks in the Zimbabwe Republic Police
(ZRP), Zimbabwe Prisons Services (ZPS) and the Presidents’ Office.
Mathuthu reportedly told security officials that non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) compromised national security.
In separate interviews on Thursday, NGOs blasted Mathuthu for the alleged
They noted that it was Mathuthu who was compromising their security since
her statements denied them protection from the police and exposed them to
physical attacks by Zanu PF militias.
Thabani Nyoni, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson and Bulawayo
Agenda director weighed in saying “Whenever Zanu PF and the state are
preparing to delegitimise the civic society, they start by making such
“Already, the crackdown has started and we have seen CSOs being persecuted
by prosecution. We are now seeing CSOs being asked to explain how we conduct
our activities and why we talk about elections and the referendum.”
Abel Chikomo, the director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said
Mathuthu was threatening NGOs because her party [Zanu PF] did not want a
free and fair election.
“Zanu PF is worried about NGOs as we approach the referendum and elections.
They know that NGOs are vigilant during this period by monitoring and
recording all the abuses that they do against the people of Zimbabwe,”
He added: “We must remember that when Zanu PF talks about national security,
they will not be talking about security of Zimbabwe but their own security.
They want to remain in power by whatever means necessary and anyone who
questions their agenda is viewed as a security threat.
“Zanu [PF] is anaemic to accountability and so anyone who calls for
accountability such as the NGOs is an enemy of the state. The danger is that
it creates an impression that NGOs are unlawful and do not deserve the
protection of the law.”
December 9, 2012 in Community News
Pirate taxis are making brisk business after the blitz by Harare City
Council to stop commuter omnibuses from entering the central business
district (CBD) in a bid to curb traffic congestion.
Report by Tatenda Kunaka
The taxi drivers say the ban of kombis, as commuter omnibuses are commonly
referred as, from entering the CBD was a blessing in disguise as their
business now flourished.
“The Copacabana route has become our cash cow as commuters look for
alternative transport to get to their work places early and to get back to
the terminus after work,’’ said a driver who referred to himself as “One who
plies the Fourth Street—Copacabana route.”
Most commuters who disembark from the Fourth Street terminus said they now
forked out more of their hard-earned cash by paying the bus fare twice in
order to get to work early.
“I’m left with no choice but to pay for transport four times a day since my
workplace is far away from the designated drop point, so we opt for pirate
taxis which are cheaper than the conventional ones,” said Audrey Phiri who
works at the Kopje area.
The developments have seen the rise in unregistered taxis who are taking
advantage of the present situation.
Registered operators’ business is now on the decline as pirate taxi
operators charge R5 for the same trip which the registered operators charge
“Relevant authorities must take action since these dubious operators are
pricing us out of business, we can’t have a lawless country where these
fly-by-night taxis come and do what they want.
“After all, these same people will give our taxi industry a bad name as some
will use their vehicles to rob the commuters,” said Andrew Chimusoro, a
registered taxi driver
December 9, 2012 in Community News
MUTARE — Suspended Mutare mayor, Brian James, has called for an independent
probe and audit of all land sales in the eastern border town.
Report by Clayton Masekesa
James was responding to accusations that he allegedly used his position to
acquire stands in the city when he was the mayor.
It is alleged that James and Dangamvura-Chikanga senator, Keresencia Chabuka
(MDC-T) each got a stand in the leafy suburb of Murambi East.
“The sale of the stands was above board. I bought the stand as per Dr
Ignatious Chombo’s directive, that all councillors were permitted to access
a residential stand within their ward,” James said.
“I was offered the choice of a stand within a newly surveyed portion of
Murambi East, and at that time other appointed councillors had already
claimed their allocations within the same area.”
He denied influencing the survey work and the size of the stands, asserting
that he had accepted the terms and conditions regarding the purchase of the
James, who insists his hands are clean, says only an audit can prove that
everything he did was above board.
“Perhaps this [audit]could start with my stand allocation and progress to
all councillors’ stand allocations and land purchases followed by management
allocations, purchases and sales, including green belt developments,” the
suspended mayor said.
“Finally, this investigation could move onto larger commercial properties
including those opposite the Sakubva Soccer Stadium and the Mutare Main
James believes that his suspension from council was a ploy by councillors
and the city’s management to block the process of having the council
finances and land sales audited.
James became unpopular with the council’s top management and councillors
when he tried to institute investigations on his councillors who are
suspected of having been involved in corrupt activities, which could have
catapulted them from “rags-to-riches” within the short time they have been
December 9, 2012 in Community News
MUTARE — A local non-governmental organisation, Platform for Youth
Development (PYD), has accused some Zanu PF members of hijacking the
Chisumbanje Ethanol Project, describing the move as “selfish and
BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
In a scathing attack, PYD director, Claris Madhuku, said villagers in
Chisumbanje had become poorer and were living in hell since the inauguration
of the ethanol project four years ago.
“The project has been hijacked by political and partisan players who are
selfish and capitalistic, therefore, divisive and incapable of attracting
co-operation from villagers and the government,” he said.
“In this case, Zanu PF is in control of the project and all those perceived
to be anti-Zanu PF are victimised and sidelined.”
The Chisumbanje Ethanol Project is a joint venture between Agricultural
Rural Development Authority (Arda) and Macdom Investments.
PYD represents the local community in promoting dialogue between the ethanol
project and the villagers.
Madhuku said resettled families, particularly those perceived to be aligned
to MDC-T, were yet to receive compensation while those said to be close and
loyal to Zanu PF were given first preference.
He added that the project, if managed well, had the capacity to change the
livelihoods of many people.
“However, the activities and administration of the project is characterised
by controversy that makes it difficult for Zimbabweans to be optimistic that
the project was meant to benefit the nation.
“The project seems to be meant for Zanu PF individuals and their secretive
shareholders,” Madhuku said.
He said it was sad that the company has been telling the whole world that it
had employed 5 000 employees, including locals, yet only a few people had
been employed from the local community.
“The project has failed to co-exist with the local community,” Madhuku
He accused the company of defying recommendations made by an
inter-ministerial committee led by Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara,
which advised the company to work with an independent committee, as opposed
to a handpicked team of politically-biased people from the community.
December 9, 2012 in Opinion
Recently it was reported in local newspapers that the government plans to
build a new capital city in Mt Hampden.
The newspapers quoted senior government officials such as Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and Urban Developent Ignatius Chombo, who confirmed
that the capital would indeed be moved to Mt Hampden because Harare has
become too congested.
The new site in Mt Hampden will reportedly have a Parliament, a Presidential
palace, the Supreme and High Courts, the Reserve Bank, posh suburbs, hotels
and modern shopping malls.
Presuming it’s true and having lived in Harare for the past few years, I
have to say on this I agree with the politicians — at least in principle —
Harare is congested and moving the capital to another location is, in my
opinion, a welcome development.
But I disagree on the timing of such an ambitious project, the location and
whether a new city is necessary. More importantly, this latest government
project attempts to divert a problem and offer temporary solutions without
addressing the causes.
Most Zimbabweans will agree that now is not the time to be building new
cities considering that our economy is fragile and there is not enough money
to efficiently run the country.
We lack good health facilities, food, shelter and our industries desperately
need every cent we have.
Education is underfunded, some tertiary institutions such as Nust remain
unfinished decades after construction began and our roads are in a terrible
condition; the government says it cannot hold elections because it is broke,
unemployment is high and civil servants are not earning decent salaries.
Against this backdrop, is it prudent to start building a new city? Where
will the funding for the new city come from?
Perhaps the politicians will provide the money themselves — by all accounts
they are as rich as Croesus.
Assuming that we have the money, should we not use it in other sectors where
it is more urgently needed such as education, our roads and providing
adequate and clean water to the residents of, say, Bulawayo?
The capital could then be moved to another smaller city such as Mutare,
Gweru, Bulawayo or Masvingo, thereby solving two problems at once: Firstly,
Harare is decongested and, secondly, the other city also grows— something
that has not been happening to any Zimbabwean city other than Harare.
However, the most important question that should be asked is why Harare is
congested and why it is growing when other towns are not. Moving the capital
city without addressing this problem will not change anything, whatever
attracts people to Harare — or what makes people leave other places — will
continue doing so and Harare’s congestion will only get worse.
The most obvious reason is the lack of government investment in other cities
and provinces and the government’s obsession with having everything in
We could learn a few things from other countries such as South Africa,
Germany, Italy and the United states. In those countries, cities like
Munich, Chicago, New York, Johannesburg and Milan are not capital cities yet
are as important as any other city in that country.
Huge companies have their headquarters in such cities, for example, BMW and
Siemens are headquartered in Munich.
It is surprising then to see Mbada Diamonds [Private] Limited having their
head office at New Office Park, Borrowdale in Harare instead of Mutare where
the diamonds are mined. This is the sad case in many other businesses and
government departments, especially government departments.
Because the government ignores Masvingo, for example, the people there
migrate to Harare in search of better economic opportunities.
To permanently solve the congestion problem, people must find it worthwhile
to live in other places and this can only be done by decentralising. This
will also increase the efficiency in the issuing of critical documents like
passports and driver’s licences which, in the case of driver’s licences,
take more than two years to be processed.
More importantly, provincial leaders will be responsible for the
developments in that particular province and will be answerable to the
people. Because of the differences in culture, language, geography and
stages of development, provincial leaderships can focus on the needs of that
province without affecting the whole country.
This will increase development as revenue collected in a province will
primarily benefit that province and the money raised from, for example a
toll gate, will be used to develop and maintain that particular road.
This will in turn motivate businesspeople and the general populace to invest
in their provinces and will lead to the growth of other towns, thus solving
Harare’s congestion problem.
December 9, 2012 in Opinion
Transparency International (TI) launched the Corruption Perception Index
(CPI) 2012 on December 5 2012.
Opinion by Munyaradzi T Nkomo
The CPI ranks countries or territories based on how corrupt their public
sector is perceived to be.
It is a composite index, a combination of polls, drawing on
corruption-related data collected by a variety of reputable institutions.
The CPI reflects the views of observers from around the world, including
experts living and working in the countries or territories evaluated.
Previously, countries were ranked on a corruption scale from one to 10 where
one was the highest level of corruption and 10 being the least.
For the year 2012 however, TI updated the methodology for the CPI 2012. CPI
is now presented on a scale from 0 [highly corrupt] to 100 (very clean).
Zimbabwe, being one of the countries assessed, scored 20 on the CPI score
and out of the 176 countries it was ranked number 163. In 2011 Zimbabwe had
a CPI score of 2,2 an overall rank of 154 out of 182 countries assessed.
This year’s score therefore reveals that corruption is on the increase in
Over the year a lot of corruption issues have emerged in the media from some
of the key institutions and sectors such as education, health, mining,
sports, and agriculture, among others.
Corruption has been rampant in the education sector where gross nepotism has
been used by education officials to exclude deserving orphans from
benefiting from the Basic Education Assistance Module.
In the health sector, drugs meant for free distribution to HIV-positive
people were being sold by nurses.
The extractive industry has been tainted with incidents of bribery in the
issuing of mining licences and claims.
All this shows that corruption in Zimbabwe is a key governance issue which
is affecting development and the democratisation process, Corruption amounts
to a dirty tax, and the poor and most vulnerable are its primary victims.
There is need, therefore, for the government to step up anti-corruption
initiatives. Politicians and leaders should show the will to combat
corruption. The government must prioritise better rules on lobbying and
political financing, make public spending and contracting more transparent
and make public officials and institutions more accountable.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission remains incapacitated to achieve its
mandate. While legal frameworks to combat corruption exist, it is also
imperative to move towards implementing and enforcing various legislation
such as the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, the Prevention of
Corruption Act and international instruments such as the United Nations
Convention Against Corruption that deter abuse of office.
Since corruption has a demand and supply side, it is important that the
citizens of this country take a lead in fighting corruption by denying
bribes and kickbacks.
Over the past few years critics have blamed corruption on the office bearers
and those in power.
In-depth analysis of the matter reveals that it’s the ordinary citizens who
are actually fuelling corruption through bribing the bureaucrats and the
office bearers. This means that the power to combat corruption does not lie
in the various pieces of legislation and institutions, but in people and the
culture that they choose to adopt.
After a year with a global focus on corruption, people’s expectations were
that the governments would take a tougher stance against the abuse of power.
The Corruption Perceptions Index results demonstrate that there are still
many societies and governments that need to give a much higher priority to
this issue. The government is strongly called upon to have a serious
re-think in enacting effective anti-corruption mechanisms for the betterment
of the country
December 9, 2012 in Environment, Opinion
No longer can farmers employ the same agricultural techniques they used a
decade ago and expect to reap as much as they might have back then.
Column by Chipo Masara
Farmers in Zimbabwe have not been spared from the effects of changes, mostly
climatic, that have over the past few years persistently hard-hit especially
the agriculture sector. The climatic changes have been credited to that
much-talked-about phenomenon called climate change, currently a hot topic in
Zimbabwe and the world over.
Whether or not the changes are really owing to climate change, what everyone
in Zimbabwe would not have failed to observe is that there indeed have been
a lot of changes, most of which have transformed the face of agriculture in
the country in a major way.
Where people used to know exactly when to plant their crops and the measures
to apply to ensure they reaped maximum yields, erratic rainfall patterns
that are currently being experienced are making it hard to timely plant
In most cases, people plant way too early (having been misled by the early
rains), only for their crops to be ravaged by long dry spells and the
unbearable heat that normally characterises such periods. Before long, most
crops planted too early would have been wiped out, making replanting
necessary. This has had a negative bearing on most farmers’ pockets as money
keeps getting wasted. If farmers had irrigation facilities, the situation
would not be so bad. Unfortunately, the bulk of them have to rely completely
Many farmers that are in the country’s remote areas do not have or have
limited access to reports from the country’s meteorological department; thus
they normally do not have a clue on the weather patterns. And then, there
are still many more that have never heard of climatic change, with many
having decided to blame the persistent droughts on God’s anger over people’s
In the meantime, scientists assert the warmer atmospheric temperatures that
have been experienced over the past decade, characteristic of climate
change, have resulted in more vigorous hydrological cycles, leading to
intensified soil erosion and the resultant soil degradation.
Many farmers are evidently battling with soils that have become too tired
and barren to produce much. In an effort to increase their yields, most tend
to scale up on fertiliser and other yield-enhancing chemicals.
Unfortunately, in most instances, the overdependence on chemicals has only
served to tire the soils even further.
Sadly, it is not only commercial farming that has been adversely affected by
the changing climatic conditions; it has been a thorn in the flesh even at
household levels, rendering most households food insecure, leaving them in
dire need of assistance. Millions of people in Zimbabwe currently face
starvation and require food handouts.
However, it is not all farmers in Zimbabwe that are at wits’ end over how to
continue farming in the face of the climatic changes.
Some have chosen to adapt and have embraced new ways of doing things, to
minimise the impact of the devastating climatic changes.
Tamuka Matambo of Mvuma peri-urban plots is one such farmer that has decided
to open up to new ways of doing things, and it has worked wonders for him.
Retired from civil service, Matambo now spends the bulk of his time working
on his piece of land, which besides being considerably small, produces
enough to guarantee his family food security, leaving him with surplus
produce to sell.
With support from Forestry Commission, Matambo has successfully ventured
into Alley Cropping — a method of planting in which rows of a crop are sown
between rows or hedges of nitrogen-fixing plants, the roots of which enrich
This method, which Matambo said was not labour-intensive, greatly reduces
the need to use fertiliser, helping the soil regain its fertility. The
accumulating mulch from the hedges helps prevent weed growth.
In spite of the intense heat that had ravaged most vegetation in the area,
Matambo’s plot is evergreen and looks healthy. This, he explained, was
because the hedges helped to trap in rain water, controlling water wastage
through run off.
He kept residue from last year’s harvest in the field, which he said served
as manure, further reducing the need for fertiliser.
Agric sector must embrace new methods
It is farmers like Matambo, who have taken up conservative methods of
farming, who can look forward to a bright future in the business.
Those that choose to do things the same old way are bound to continue
wasting resources while reaping very little, if anything.
It is time players in the agriculture sector took cognisance of the climatic
changes and harnessed all the knowledge they need to make the new conditions
work for the country.
December 9, 2012 in Editorial
Mutapa Hall virtually looks like it did way back in 1964; just a rectangular
building which African residents of the township of the same name used as a
bioscope at the weekend.
The Standard Editorial
In other countries it would have been made a national monument, for that
decrepit hall is where Zanu PF was founded back then. It is the place where
monumental decisions that shaped Zimbabwe’s history were made.
But the monstrosity built by the Chinese recently where Zanu PF held its
annual conference last week will overshadow the more historical building.
This discrepancy is a metaphor to the transformation the party has gone
through in the past 50 years.
The humble Mutapa Hall symbolised not only all that was wrong with the
colonial set up, but also the fighting spirit that was to shape the
The world over all resistance to an oppressive system has had humble
beginnings, be it in a bus as did the American civil rights movement when
Rosa Parks refused to give a seat to a white passenger in the racially
segregated America of 1955 or the farmhouse in Rivonia where Nelson Mandela
and other militant members of the ANC began their activities.
The new hall, with all its trappings of modernity surely must symbolise all
that has gone wrong with Zanu PF.
The ostentation in display belies the underlying poverty in the country and
is the manifestation of detachment from the people that the leadership now
revels in. Mutapa Township, 32 years into independence, remains its old
self, overcrowded and dirty with some of its residents only until recently
still using bucket latrines.
With the choice of Gweru as the venue of this year’s conference, one would
have expected the fulfilment of the old adage, “what goes around must come
around”. The party was expected to take a deep look into itself, take stock
and define a new path.
But it has been the same old rubbish; the same old platitudes and the
self-same path to stagnation based on populism and self-destruct tendencies
marked by the total lack of rejuvenation. God bless Zimbabwe!
December 9, 2012 in Editorial
A joke did the rounds a year ago about how President Robert Mugabe summoned
the Services Chiefs to State House to find out how they were doing and what
could be done to boost the morale of the uniformed forces.
Editor’s Desk by Nevanji Madanhire
The Commander of the Defence Forces intimated that salaries were low and his
guys were badly demoralised; they needed something to cheer them up, such as
an annual bonus.
The Commissioner of Prisons said almost the same adding his guys had done a
good job keeping all those MDC malcontents locked up with the lice. A
festive season bonus would just do the trick, he said.
But Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri remained eerily silent.
The Old Man in his wry humour asked him: “Ko vaChihuri, ndeipi?” (What have
you got to say for your guys, Chihuri?) Upon which the top policeman cleared
his throat and said: “Don’t worry Chef, my guys know what they gotta do.”
Now the cat is finally out of the bag.
“Mapurisa, mapurisa, mapurisa,” boomed Mugabe at the official opening of the
Zanu PF conference in Gweru on Friday.
When a word of reprimand is repeated thrice, the gravity of the offence
Mugabe described how police roadblocks are set up so as to extort money from
the motoring public, saying some drivers were asked to pay as much as US$200
as a bribe to policemen for imagined vehicle defects.
He told the police: “We want you to be straightforward people. You are
representatives not only of government, but of the people as a whole.”
It was high time.
Surveys have shown that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is the most corrupt
police force in the region. The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa
only last week reported on how Zimbabwean traffic police officers have
become as brazen as to ask for bribes in public.
The report says some policemen had become inexplicably stinking rich
overnight. They own fleets of omnibuses and houses in suburbs normally
deemed to be for the very rich.
Disturbingly, the officers, the report says, share the proceeds of their
nefarious activities with their superiors back at their Head Office. Those
who choose not to, are reportedly victimised by being transferred to less
Last week The Standard carried a story about how one of our senior reporters
nearly perished in an accident because the driver became reckless due to the
frustration of having to pay bribes at each and every roadblock, and there
are many on the roads. Motorists are amazed there are often as many as four
roadblocks on the 30km stretch between Harare city centre and Ziko Township
in Seke, each with fresh demands for bribes!
But the police are hardly the only corrupt institution in the country.
Mugabe also named the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) but there are many
Interestingly, for the first time he admitted some of his ministers are also
very corrupt. It has been said that the president’s failure to fight
corruption will blight his legacy when history is finally written. He, for
instance, didn’t have to wait for former South African president Thabo Mbeki
to tell him that his ministers demanded bribes from prospective investors.
He should, a long time ago, have asked himself where the now very rich
members of his team acquired their wealth. It is common knowledge that some
of them are richer than whole cities. Some huge projects mushrooming all
over the country should surely have raised his eyebrows. What about the huge
acquisitions by certain individuals such as private jets and banks, shouldn’t
they be probed a bit to prove their cleanliness?
On the latest Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index,
Zimbabwe was ranked 163 out of the 176 countries surveyed; that should make
every Zimbabwean bow his head in shame. The TI survey says corruption is on
the increase in the education, health and mining sectors.
In the education sectors, needy children are denied the financial assistance
meant for them which is diverted to the rich. In the health sector, nurses
are denying people living with HIV and Aids anti-retroviral treatment
selling the drugs on the open market instead. And, in the mining sector
licenses are granted only to those that would have paid kickbacks.
The education and health sector examples illustrate how evil corruption can
be; when a nurse watches a supposed legitimate beneficiary of ARV drugs
writhing on the floor dying but diverts that person’s drugs to someone else
who can afford to pay for the same drugs in drugstores, that surely is an
act of evil. The same applies when an official leaves an orphan without
education while giving the money to the child of a rich relative.
But what effect does corruption or the perception of it have on a country?
Corruption generally makes doing legitimate business more expensive. If, for
example, one has to pay a whole chain of Zimra officials in order to land
capital equipment, it becomes prohibitively expensive to set up new
factories or replace obsolete equipment. In the end industry is adversely
affected and the ripple effects are widespread.
Foreign investors generally shun countries that are corrupt or even just
perceived to be corrupt.
China, the world’s second largest economy, fared poorly on the latest
corruption perception index. If not put under control, corruption might
scuttle its standing in the world. That is why its new leadership has spoken
loudly against corruption during its recent congress.
Despite its controversial indigenisation policies, Zanu PF is overly aware
of the importance of foreign investment, hence President Mugabe dwelt
significantly on the corruption issue.
But in bemoaning the lack of whistle-blowers, he might be viewed as not
being serious about his pronouncements. The state has at its disposal many
organs that can sniff out corruption. These include the Anti-Corruption
Commission of Zimbabwe (ACCZ), the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate
(NECI) and most importantly the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
Corruption is a serious national security issue. What if a minister sells
our strategic mines to the enemy simply because he has been given generous
kickbacks? Shouldn’t the institutions above know about this? Or, are these
institutions corrupt too?
The fact that President Mugabe has for the first time spoken so strongly
against high-level corruption is the opening of a new chapter. But is he
going to walk the talk?