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Mugabe says will resist reforming security forces

Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:46pm GMT

* Mugabe to lead party for another five years

* Mugabe says will not reform security forces

* ZANU-PF emerges from congress much stronger, Mugabe says

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was on Saturday
endorsed to lead his ZANU-PF party for another five years and vowed to
resist demands by his opponents to reform the country's security forces.

At 85, Mugabe is in the twilight of a political career spanning more than
half a century and has led ZANU-PF since the mid 1970s when the party fought
a guerrilla war against white minority rule.

But the veteran leader was forced to share power with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party after losing its
parliamentary majority for the first time in March last year.

The coalition has been rocked by differences over how to share power and the
MDC is pressing for reform of the security forces it accuses of being used
by ZANU-PF to stifle dissent.

"May I state this clearly and categorically, as ZANU-PF the defence of our
sovereignty rests with us and with no other. Any manoeuvres to tamper with
the forces will never be entertained by us," Mugabe said while closing a
ZANU-PF congress.

Many senior officers in the security forces fought in Zimbabwe's war of
independence and remain loyal to Mugabe. They have vowed never to recognise
Tsvangirai as leader.

ZANU-PF and the MDC are involved in a round of talks to clear outstanding
issues of a political deal signed last year.

The MDC wants the central bank governor and attorney general replaced, and
party treasurer Roy Bennett and some senior officials sworn-in as deputy
agriculture minister and provincial governors, respectively.

ZANU-PF passed a resolution on Saturday rejecting the demands and said,
instead, the MDC should call for the removal of Western sanctions and
persuade radio stations broadcasting from abroad to stop.


While Mugabe has managed to remain at the helm of ZANU-PF, a raging battle
is underway over who will eventually succeed him, threatening the future of
a party that had enjoyed uninterrupted rule from independence in 1980 till
last year.

ZANU-PF retained Joyce Mujuru, 54, as Mugabe's deputy while party chairman
John Nkomo, 75, filled in the vacant second vice president position. He will
be sworn in as Zimbabwe's deputy president on Monday.

Mugabe on Friday condemned internal fighting over leadership posts in the
party, saying this was "eating up" ZANU-PF but on Saturday the veteran
leader said the party had emerged from the congress much stronger.

"We go back much stronger, a better focused party raring to go, to take on
the enemy who has sought our ruin through sanctions," Mugabe said.

He accused Western countries of plotting to reverse seizures of white
commercial farms to resettle blacks but said they would not succeed.

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Mugabe: Zimbabwe's unity govt has 'short life'

Associated Press

By CHENGETAI ZVAUYA (AP) - 26 minutes ago

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Saturday the
unity government is short-lived and he plans to regain his hold over the
country he has ruled for nearly three decades.

Mugabe appeared triumphant after being re-elected to the leadership of his
ZANU-PF party, which has been severally weakened after it lost its
parliamentary majority in last year's contested elections.

The 85-year-old leader was forced into a power-sharing deal with former
rivals after the 2008 poll, but many fear it is doomed to fail as Mugabe
clings on to power.

"The inclusive government has a short life of 24 months," he said. "So we
must be ready for the elections and we must not be defeated like we were
last year. We must win resoundingly and regain the constituents we lost."

A new election date has not been set, but many observers fear that the build
up will see the return of the violence that has marred previous polls.

Joice Mujuru, a former guerrilla fighter in the bush war, retained her post
of second vice president. John Nkomo was elected as the party's other vice
president to replace Joseph Msika, who died this year.

Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, will take over from
Nkomo as party chairman.

The party has been long divided over who should eventually succeed Mugabe,
but the liberation hero has thwarted any challenges to his leadership.

On Friday, Mugabe lashed out at about 10,000 delegates, saying infighting
was "eating" the party and had cost them last year's election.

Election officials declared a runoff was necessary after the 2008 vote, but
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dropped out, citing attacks against his
supporters. Mugabe was later declared the winner, but he formed the unity
government in February with Tsvangirai as prime minister.

Zimbabwe is struggling to emerge from political gridlock, economic collapse
and international isolation and sanctions.

Critics blame Mugabe's land reform policies for Zimbabwe's economic meltdown
after he ordered the seizures of thousands of white-owned farms in 2000,
disrupting the agriculture-based economy in the former regional breadbasket.

However, on Saturday, Mugabe remained characteristically defiant.

"Land reform is irreversible," he said. "We took the land and we are not
going to hand it to the white farmers."

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Talks to resume on Friday

Saturday, 12 December 2009 22:30

THE inter-party talks to save the unity government, which adjourned last
week due to the Zanu PF congress, are set to resume on Friday, amid reports
that an announcement on progress in the talks will be made by the principals
this week. President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara last week received reports from their
party negotiators.
They were expected to make the announcement after their traditional meeting
tomorrow but Mugabe and Tsvangirai would be in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the
climate change conference.
The talks were adjourned last week to allow Zanu PF negotiators Patrick
Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche to attend their party's 5th National People's
Congress, which ended in Harare yesterday.
The two negotiators from the Mutambara-led MDC, Welshman Ncube and Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, are also currently out of the country on government
business.  MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti is also out of the country.
Last week, South African President Jacob Zuma dispatched his facilitation
team of former ministers Charles Nqakula, Lindiwe Zulu and Mac Maharaj to
Harare for a second meeting with the negotiators.
Zulu yesterday said they had presented a report to Zuma, who would now relay
it to Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, who chairs the Sadc Organ on
Politics, Defence and Security. "After our last meeting, we reported to
President Zuma, and he will now report to President Guebuza of Mozambique,"
she said.
"We have not finished our work. But our next visit can only be determined by
what is happening that side (the parties meeting in Harare)."
There are growing fears that with the way the negotiations have been
dragging on, the process which was supposed to have lasted not more than 30
days would now spill into next year. The talks could be further delayed if
Mugabe decides to go on his annual holiday in January.
But Zulu insisted the process was still on track, although she would not
indicate when they expect the parties to be through.
Some of the thorny issues include Mugabe's refusal to reverse his unilateral
appointment of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana.
Last night the Zanu PF congress resolved that their negotiators must not
back down on Gono, Tomana and security forces.
They want a constitution that guarantees the gains of the liberation
The veteran ruler is also refusing to swear in MDC-T treasurer general Roy
Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture.


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Zanu PF has ‘lost the plot,’: Nyabadza

Saturday, 12 December 2009 22:28

BASIL Nyabadza, the Zanu PF chairman for Manicaland who resigned in dramatic
fashion on the eve of his party’s crucial congress last week, says his party
has “lost the plot” by sticking to outdated politics. He said instead of
focusing on regaining the space it has lost to the MDC during the last
decade, the fractious party was concentrating on rescuing the 1987 Unity
Nyabadza said there was no need for Zanu PF to risk its demise by trying to
protect the accord because the political environment has changed drastically
since the formation of the unity government in 1987 between Robert Mugabe’s
Zanu PF and the late Joshua Nkomo’s PF Zapu.
The Rusape-based farmer quit his post after Manicaland province failed to
secure support from other provinces to back Zanu PF secretary for
administration Didymus Mutasa to become chairman.
Other Zanu PF provinces did not support Mutasa’s candidacy on the grounds
that the post of national chairman in Zanu PF was a preserve for politicians
from the former PF Zapu.
As a result Simon Khaya Moyo, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, landed
the powerful post ahead of Mutasa.
But Nyabadza on Friday said Zanu PF should realise that its future does not
depend on the accord but from countering the MDC’s growing political
“The enemy of Zanu PF today is not the Unity Accord but the MDC which is
taking our political space,” Nyabadza said from Rusape.
“That is what we must focus on. Unity was secured and is secure.”
He said reserving the Zanu PF chairmanship for former PF Zapu members should
not be a lifelong arrangement.
He said the controversy of the distribution of the top posts in the
presidium was the reason behind the intensifying factionalism in the former
ruling party.
“If we bring a national balance to our politics there will be no
factionalism because everyone will be represented at every level,” Nyabadza
However, he defended his decision to quit in protest against Nkomo and Moyo’s
elevation saying it had nothing to do with tribalism.
Zanu PF youths have threatened to “flush out” party officials who shared
Nyabadza’s ideas because they were “tribalist”.
But the former chairman said Manicaland nominated President Mugabe, Joice
Mujuru, John Nkomo and Mutasa to create a national political balance.
He said he did not regret his decision to quit.
“It’s an issue of principle,” he said. “We are being factual and honest.
“The issue at stake is to make people see the importance of striking a
national balance.
“That is why we cannot have a presidium without Matabeleland so as to
balance our politics.”
Nyabadza said he was not bitter that his political mentor, Mutasa, had lost
the chairmanship but admitted he was “disappointed”.
However, he is known to be a long time political disciple of Mutasa, the
most powerful Zanu PF politician from Manicaland.
Nyabadza said he was unhappy that Manicaland has not been considered for
posts within the presidium for the past 30 years. “Our cry in Manicaland is
that we have not taken part in the presidium for the past 30 years. We want
to give a better balance to our politics.”
He, however, believes Zanu PF still needs Mugabe saying: “We need Mugabe
more. He is an astute leader whose vision goes beyond Africa.”
There were reports that Nyabadza had been arrested for an unknown offence
but on Friday he said he was “free as a bird”.


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Zanu PF Avoids Major Fallout

Saturday, 12 December 2009 22:25

FORMER Information Minister Jonathan Moyo made a triumphant return to Zanu
PF's central committee yesterday as the announcement of his election was
made amid the loudest and prolonged  applause.

But the Fifth Zanu PF National Congress failed to agree on crucial
amendments to the party's constitution, after ethnic divisions that have
been simmering over the years intensified.

In order to contain the explosive situation, the Congress elected people by
acclamation. The outcome was retention of the old line up. President Mugabe,
as a result, did not appoint members of his party's politburo.

The party leadership spent most of the time in what was supposed to be two
days of serious deliberations scheming ways of pre-empting a potentially
divisive fall-out from disgruntled members who felt there was "a serious
disregard of the voices of people at the grassroots".

After getting wind of plans by some members to move motions from the floor,
the party leadership decided to defer amendments to the constitution to the
next central committee.

It is hoped Mugabe will have a better chance of reining in rebellious
supporters within the central committee.

Sources said the draft list of amendments had six pages containing more than
100 items.

The party's legal affairs secretary Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed the
deferment of the amendments, saying the process would now be handled by the
central committee.

"We have deferred the amendments because they are too many," Mnangagwa said.

"We cannot finish them at this congress. But this does not mean we have
dropped them, we can always discuss the amendments at the central committee
meetings according to the existing constitution."

Zanu PF sources said the postponement was one of the many desperate attempts
by the party's leadership to contain the chaos that had been building up in
the run up to the congress.

"In terms of what was supposed to be done, it's just as good as this was a
one-day congress. Most of the issues which we expected to be tackled were
either deferred or dropped from the agenda," said the source.

"All this is because of the leadership's fear of a revolt from people who
wanted to challenge what is now common practice by the leadership to subvert
internal democracy.

"People elect their candidates, but you have the politburo just sitting and
reversing those processes, and imposing losers on the people."

"This fear of internal democracy flies in the face of the very ideals the
party fought the liberation struggle for - which is democracy."

Among other things, the disgruntled members wanted to nominate Oppah
Muchinguri for the Vice-Presidency from the floor.

In the only province where there was an open challenge for the other
vice-presidential post, Muchinguri clobbered the incumbent Joice Mujuru by
84 votes to 25.

"I can assure you, if given a chance, people would have reversed a number of
politburo decisions, and also clarify tendency that in the presidium there
is never an election. We are always presented with names for endorsement,"
added the source.

"What the provinces claim is not a true reflection of what the districts
want. Most of those nominees are not wanted by people at the grassroots."

In the initial list of central committee nominees, Manicaland had left out
former provincial chairperson Mike Madiro and Freddy Kanzama, who had been
overwhelmingly elected by their district.

But the names had to be included after protests from ordinary supporters
from Manicaland.

Sources said there were near violent scenes especially during debate of a
report on the state of the party.

South African Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale who led a
delegation of the African Nation Congress (ANC) also made reference to the
"heckling" that characterised proceedings at the congress.

He pleaded with Zanu PF to fulfill the Global Political Agreement (GPA),
saying "what goes wrong in Zimbabwe will and must also affect South Africa
because we are joined by a little river called Limpopo".

The congress saw National Healing Minister John Nkomo and Zimbabwe's
Ambassador to South Africa being elevated to Vice-President and Zanu PF
chairman respectively.

By Vusumuzi Sifile and Valentine Maponga

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WOZA Women say CIO Stalking Them

Saturday, 12 December 2009 20:04

JENNI Williams, one of the leaders of the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (Woza), says state agents have been monitoring their movements since
their return from the United States where they received the 2009 Robert F
Kennedy Human Rights award. The group made the observation in Bulawayo last
week where they were back in court facing charges under Section 37 of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly organising illegal

The hearing failed to take off because an officer who had keys for the room
where their file was being kept was said to be on leave.

Magistrate Nonkululeko Mkhonto postponed the case on Tuesday to tomorrow
after the chief law officer, Martha Cheda, said she needed time to consult
the Attorney-General's Office on whether a duplicate file was being kept.

Mkhonto ordered the state to bring the original file. During that
appearance, Williams said it was clear that they were under surveillance.

"Throughout the proceedings it was very evident that plain clothes
detectives had quite a lot of interest in us and what we were doing," she

"In previous years we have always observed them around during court
proceedings but this time around there were quite a few and they did not
make an effort to hide their presence.

"They were standing very close to us trying to hear everything we were

Williams however said they were not deterred by the behaviour of the police
who tried to eavesdrop on their conversations and followed them outside
during breaks.

Williams says the prestigious John F Kennedy award, handed by US President
Barack Obama to her and Magodonga Mahlangu for standing up to "the dictator"
President Robert Mugabe, has emboldened Woza.

"This award has been an important development, a welcome opportunity to
speak about the issues that affect us Zimbabweans on a daily basis,"
Williams said.

"We were able to bring out these issues such as social injustice, human
rights abuses, economic injustice from as far back as Gukurahundi up to
today, directly to policy makers who have influence and power.

"I am glad to say that President Obama really understood all these issues
that we stand for as Woza."

The award came with US$30 000 prize money and Woza said it would mainly be
used for its programmes. The organisation was formed in 2003 and has been a
thorn in the flesh for the authorities with spontaneous demonstrations to
highlight the plight of long-suffering Zimbabweans.


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In the Dock for ‘insulting’ Mugabe

Saturday, 12 December 2009 19:58

MASVINGO — A 62-year-old man was last week taken to court for saying that
ageing President Robert Mugabe “has failed and must go”. The state says
Rashidu Omar also castigated the land reform exercise, blaming it for food
shortages that have plagued the nation.

Omar appeared before magistrate Stanford Mambanje facing charges of
insulting the President and his Office. He has been remanded out of custody
to January 6 next year.

Charges against Omar, brother to losing Zanu PF Masvingo Urban candidate
Jusby Omar, date back to February 30 this year when he allegedly made the
statements in front of a local Zanu PF official.

The state, led by Sophie Bhusvumani, alleges that Omar made the statement
publicly in front of Zanu PF Ward 4 Women’s League chairlady, Hilda Mauto,
at Food for Africa Restaurant.

The court further heard that Omar said that the violent takeover of mainly
white-owned commercial farms largely by veterans of the liberation struggle
was “a failure” since most resettled black farmers are sitting on the land,
“growing grass” and leaving “their crops to compete with weeds”.

The accused’s statements did not go down well with the Zanu PF Women’s
League official, who made a report to the police, leading to his arrest.


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Zimbabweans Caught up in new Wave of SA xenophobia

Saturday, 12 December 2009 19:53

BEITBRIDGE - Enock Madziro (36) was sharing a room with six colleagues from
Zimbabwe at Westerberg Settlement in South Africa's northern city of
Polokwane when an army of men wielding iron bars burst in. The menacing
South Africans were shouting: "Zimbabweans we want to kill you now!

"You are taking our jobs, you are raping our sisters and you are killing
South Africans."

Madziro says within minutes his colleagues were lying on the floor and
bleeding profusely.

"I was relieved that someone quickly called the police and they rescued us,"
he said.

The father of two from Makoni district in Manicaland is one of the hundreds
of Zimbabweans who were caught up in a new wave of xenophobic violence in
the neighbouring country last week.

The six were severely injured during the attack forcing the authorities to
evacuate Zimbabweans who were in danger to a temporary shelter at the Peter
Mokaba Stadium.

The attack was sparked by the discovery of a body of a South African woman
who was raped in the streets of Polokwane. Zimbabweans became prime

They were also accused of stealing jobs and wives of locals.

Shiela Hombe (22), who was also caught up in the violence with her
six-month-old baby said returning to Zimbabwe had not crossed her mind.

"We can't just go back to Zimbabwe because the situation is not good."

About 2 000 Zimbabweans are still living in temporary shelters in the
farming town of De Doorns near Cape Town after another outbreak of
xenophobic violence.

Despite the formation of the unity government in February, Zimbabweans
continue to trek into South Africa in search of jobs that are still hard to
come by in their country.

According to immigration officials in Beitbridge, 16 000 Zimbabweans enter
South Africa every month while only a handful have been voluntarily

An estimated three million Zimbabweans now live in South Africa after
escaping the country's high unemployment rate and economic collapse.

However, most of them are illegal immigrants and compete with ordinary South
Africans for menial jobs.


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Mt Pleasant, not so ‘pleasant’ in the dark

Saturday, 12 December 2009 16:54

VERY few people in Harare are aware that life in the plush suburb of Mount
Pleasant can be very unpleasant at times. One would think the people behind
those leafy residential stands  are the happiest in Harare.

To get a clear picture of how life is in Mount Pleasant and many northern
suburbs in Harare, one should talk to people like Custon Mutoti, the general
manager for Barbour’s department store in the capital.

For Mutoti and many other residents in the Groombridge area of Mount
Pleasant, home is not the best place to be.

“Most of the time we have no electricity and this is a major setback, both
at home and for our businesses in the area.

“At times we go for days without power and whenever we get it, it is usually
at 10pm to 5am, when most people are in bed,” Mutoti said.

When the problems started worsening, Mutoti and his neighbours understood
the explanation by authorities at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(Zesa) that this was due to a problem in Kariba that was being attended to.

But when it continued to get worse even after the completion of the
maintenance works and when they gathered other parts of the capital were not
experiencing the same problems, Mutoti and his neighbours got worried.

“I believe this is discriminatory. It is very unfair because some areas are
not affected.

“I am so bitter because we have been bombarded with all sorts of promises,
but it seems our situation is actually getting worse by the day.

“I am not a politician, but I am put under pressure to mobilise other
residents who are also at a disadvantage like me. There is no fairness. We
need answers. I am very angry as a resident; as a citizen of this country to
be experiencing all this.”

Other residents in the area share the same concerns.

One of them, Phineas Fundira was forced to suspend his small communications
business after going for months without power.

“We went for more than 11 weeks without power. Supplies were only restored
this week on Monday, but still we do not have power most of the time,”
Fundira said.

“I run a small business here, but I was forced to dismiss employees because
our work had ground to a halt.

“I was spending too much money on fuel for the generator, but at the rate
things were going, I would be broke by now.”

Although statistics were not immediately available, residents said there
have been rampant thefts of mostly borehole pumps, electric motors for gates
and generators.

Ward 17 councillor Warship Dumba said the power cuts were inconveniencing
residents, and Zesa was not helping the situation by asking residents to
“donate” replacements for stolen transformers.

Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said of late, it has been “problem after
problem” for the power utility.

And it is not the Mount Pleasant residents alone who are experiencing the
ever increasing load shedding.

“In October, we had maintenance works at Kariba, which went on until
mid-November,” said.

“Just after we had completed the maintenance works and everything seemed to
be getting on track, there was a technical fault on the Mozambican side and
this meant we couldn’t import power from Mozambique.”

The Mozambican fault has since been resolved, but the power outages are
still with us. Enter the rainy season.

‘The problem now is the rains. During the rainy season there is a high
failure rate, especially for joints.

“This generally affects all our customers, not necessarily Groombridge,” he

Gwasira said such lengthy outages like in Fundira’s area are a result of the
theft of transformers.

“Our greatest challenge at the moment is vandalism of transformers,” he

“Right now the country needs about 2 000 transformers and that figure rises
every day.

“The cheapest transformer costs between US$8 000 and $10 000.

“As a company, we do not have that kind of money readily available to
replace the transformers.”

Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) chairperson, Simba Moyo said
what was worsening the situation was the failure by the authorities to give
an explanation.

“This is clearly not load-shedding, it is a blackout,” said Moyo.

“We expect Zesa to explain to us what is happening.

“At the moment the power just goes, there is never an explanation and no one
seems to understand what is happening.

“It is important for them to at least keep us informed.”

But on the unavailability of information, Gwasira has one piece of advice to
Moyo and other residents: they should watch state television and listen to
state radio.

He did not say what they should do when there is no electricity to power
radio and television sets.

Moyo said they had held consultations with Energy and Power Development
Minister Elias Mudzuri, who pleaded with the residents not to boycott paying
Zesa rates.

Mudzuri was not available for comment yesterday.

For some time now, Zesa has been struggling to restore normal supplies in
most parts of the country.

At some point, the power utility appeared to have run out of options to get
back on its feet.

The situation was worsened by the failure to come up with and abide by a
clear and realistic pricing regime.


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Residents Mount Clean-up Campaign

Saturday, 12 December 2009 16:52

THE Meyrick Park Residents' Association (MPRA) in Harare has come up with a
novel idea to deal with council's failure to collect refuse from the area.
Regular clean up campaigns in the neighbourhood are now the in-thing in a
suburb that has also become one of the cleanest in the city.

Ange Green, the association's vice-chairperson said the initiative followed
a realisation that council was still far from restoring normal services.

It is a similar story with municipalities throughout the country where
refuse removal is no longer a priority because of the competing areas that
need urgent funding.

"In my area, we got concerned about the rubbish which kept piling up on the
roads and in the vleis and we decided to take the initiative and clean up,"
Green said.

"The first step was to form a residents' association on October 31 this

But from about 150 households in Meyrick Park, only 30 are participating in
the project in which the association is partnered by the Harare City

Under the partnership, the residents pick up all the rubbish dumped in
various sites in the suburb and the council collects the refuse for safer

"What we do is apply for clearance to do the clean-up from the police and go
ahead with the exercise once given a date," Green said. "All the 30 members
participate and for those who cannot make it, they send their domestic
workers to come and assist.

Green said although able bodied and working people showed more interest, old
and retired people too were participating.

Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said the partnership with Meyrick Park
residents was one of many initiatives being undertaken to restore Harare's
Sunshine City status.

Others include ward-based initiatives which are being driven by councillors,
with some involving the clearing of storm water drains.

"Some of these projects have non-government organisations' support like the
one being done in Dzivarasekwa with the support of Goal Zimbabwe," Masunda

"In some cases, incentives have to be given to entice residents to take part
for example Goal pays US$5 per every task completed and we pay US$0.80."

But Masunda believes a lot still needs to be done to discourage residents
from polluting the environment.
He said council intends to engage beverage companies, bottle stores and
other beer outlets to map the way forward on the disposal of rubbish as they
were some of the biggest polluters.


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Govt Mulls Judicial Services bill

Saturday, 12 December 2009 16:49

BULAWAYO - The inclusive government will next year bring to Parliament the
Judicial Services Bill (JSB) that seeks to improve conditions of service in
the country's justice system. Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs,
Jessie Majome, said the bill will among other things see the introduction of
the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) that would look into issues of
remuneration and working conditions for judicial officers.

Under existing legislation, President Robert Mugabe through the Judges
Salaries, Allowances and Pensions Act effectively sets the remuneration of
judges while other judicial officers are paid by the Public Service

Critics say the many assaults on judiciary independence stem from the
justice system's over-dependence on politicians and the PSC's failure to pay
competitive salaries.

Two years ago Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono gave judges gifts that
included computers, satellite dishes and plasma televisions.

Majome said removing judicial officers from the ambit of the PSC must be a
priority next year to ensure judicial independence.

"We believe with the tabling of the Judicial Services Bill and its
subsequent passing into law, we will be able to deal with the challenges
facing staff in the ministry," she said in an interview.

"This will obviously involve the setting up of the JSC which will be tasked
with looking at the welfare of the staff."

She added: "At the moment, our hands are tied.

"It is the Public Service Commission that employs and determines the
salaries of the staffers.

"When the act is in place, we will be able, as a ministry, to look at the
salaries of our staff and make adjustments where it is necessary and
according to the grade of a particular employee."

Majome said government was aware employees in the ministry were working
under "deplorable conditions."

"It is true that some of the conditions where our employees operate are bad.
Buildings are in a bad state or need refurbishment.

"We will strive to ensure that we make those conditions better going into
2010," she said.

Turning to top-of-the-range vehicles allocated to judges while some
magistrates and senior staff in the ministry are forced to scrounge for
transport, Majome said the ministry was also looking into the problem.

"We appreciate there is a problem when it comes to vehicles. Some of the
vehicles allocated to judges are part of their conditions of service," she

"The ministry is looking into means and ways in which we can address this

"We are clear that at times our staffers are exposed to the people they are
supposed to be handling and this poses a serious threat to their lives,"
Majome said.

Finance minister Tendai Biti has proposed a separate budget for the
judiciary for next year saying there is need to delink the judiciary from
the executive.

In his budget speech, Biti said: "Consistent with the country's constitution
that recognises a clear distinction between the three pillars of the state,
the 2009 position where the judiciary and the legislature were treated as
part of the executive will not be maintained.

"This does however not mean there will be uneven and unequal treatment of
actors in the same state."


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RBZ Official Denies Turning Residence Into Medical Clinic

Saturday, 12 December 2009 16:47

THE ongoing extensions to a house belonging to a senior Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe official, Munyaradzi Kereke, has set tongues wagging among
residents in Harare's upmarket suburb of Mount Pleasant who suspect he is
constructing a state-of-the-art clinic. Kereke is the advisor to the RBZ
governor, Gideon Gono.

He also features among Zanu PF officials currently restricted from
travelling to the European Union and other Western countries.

Residents who live in the neighbourhood of the property located on 92
Norfolk Road in the suburb said they were suspicious that the current
developments were more than just extensions.

"He has submitted a planning application to the City Council for Special
Consent to convert his residential property into a 24-hour emergency Medical
Centre," said one resident, who requested anonymity.

Among other things, the resident claimed the new state-of-the-art clinic
would have a "24-hour emergency centre, 24-hour ambulance services, 24-hour
pharmacy, fully-fledged medical laboratories, CT scanners and ultrasound
equipment, and eye, dental and other medical advisory services".

"All this would be on a normal one-acre plot in the middle of a residential
area at 92 Norfolk Road, Mount Pleasant," said the source.

But Kereke denied the claims, saying he was merely extending his house.

He said he did not have plans to develop it or any of his properties into a
medical facility.

"It is just a housing extension," said Kereke. "I have got stamped papers
from the Harare City Council to prove this.

"It is certainly not true that I am converting the house into a clinic.

"I know there are some people who just go about making this claim, I don't
know why."

Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi was not immediately available for
comment. But Warship Dumba, the councillor for Ward 17, said he was aware of
the residents' concerns about the project but would not give any details.

"I have received concerns from some residents, we are looking into the
issue," Dumba said.

When The Standard visited the house on Thursday, construction workers were
busy on the project.

They said all they were doing was refurbishing the house in line with the
specifications they had received.

But another resident was adamant the extension was the first phase of the

"Everyone here knows that it is a surgery," said another resident, who
requested anonymity.

"We have gathered that he will first disguise the project as a housing
extension, and once it is approved, he will apply for permission to convert
the premises into a surgery."

Those close to the project said the various rooms at the house will be
converted into fully fledged medical facilities once the extension has been

This, they said, will make the whole process much shorter than if Kereke had
applied for permission to build a medical centre right away.


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National Healing Crucial for Constitution-making

Saturday, 12 December 2009 16:44

BULAWAYO - The success of the new constitution-making process hinges on the
national healing and reconciliation programme that seeks to address Zimbabwe's
deadly culture of political polarisation, Constitutional and Parliamentary
Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga said recently. Matinenga's observations came
amid revelations that principals in the unity government were considering
extending the timeframe for the process to come up with the country's first
post-Independence constitution due to delays.

Funding constraints are derailing the process and a fortnight ago the
Parliamentary Select Committee leading the drafting of the new supreme law
delayed the deployment of outreach teams.

Differences between political parties and civil society over what course to
take have also been cited as one of the reasons behind the snail's pace at
which the process has moved.

Matinenga said lack of a conducive environment in the country for
Zimbabweans to input their views without fear is "the biggest challenge"
affecting the constitution-making process.

"The biggest challenge that we face in the constitution-making process is
achieving a conducive environment for everyone to participate in the process
openly and freely without fear," Matinenga told Bulawayo residents attending
an outreach programme at the Large City Hall .

"How do we achieve this (conducive environment).without a truly and proper
healing of the nation; it will be difficult for the nation to produce a new
constitution," he said.

The Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration is conducting
outreach programmes to gather views on how the sensitive process should be

The process falls under the terms of a power-sharing deal signed last year
between Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change formations.

Under a power-sharing deal signed last year, the country is supposed to have
a new constitution in the next two years to pave way for fresh elections.

But Matinenga said following a realisation that the timeframe for coming up
with a new constitution will not be met, President Robert Mugabe, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara will
have to consider extending the deadline.

"The three principals are also concerned about the delays and they are
discussing the possibility of extending the timeframe without going to
Parliament," Matinenga said.

Zimbabwe relies on the 1979 Lancaster House Constitution, which since
Independence in 1980 has been amended a record 19 times.

nMeanwhile, Nqobani Ndlovu reports that officials and consultants for the
Youth and National Healing ministries are in Rwanda to draw lessons from how
that country conducted a healing and reconciliation process following the
1994 genocide.

Zimbabwe's shaky unity government formed in February to resolve a political
and economic crisis has put high on the list a national healing and
reconciliation programme in an effort to address the growing culture of
political violence.

Over 200 Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) and human rights activists
were killed last year while hundreds were left nursing severe injuries
during the violence in the run up to the June 27 Presidential election
run-off where President Robert Mugabe eventually ran uncontested.

MDC-T leader and now Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, was forced to pull
out of the poll citing intimidation and violence against his party

The Youth Ministry and consultants from the Organ on National Healing,
Reconciliation and Integration who travelled to Rwanda on Tuesday believe
Zimbabwe can learn from the Central African country, which has undergone a
healing programme in the aftermath of its own politically-motivated

Deputy Youth Minister Thamsanqa Mahlangu and representatives of Zanu PF and
the two MDC formations make up the 15-member delegation.

Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere confirmed the trip saying the delegation
returns to the country this week.

"It's basically a familiarisation tour of Rwanda's healing and
reconciliation process after the 1994 genocide.and to see peace-building
initiatives that can be applicable to Zimbabwe," Kasukuwere said on Friday.

Rwanda witnessed the worst form of genocide in 1994 after clashes erupted
between rival ethnic groups - the Tutsis and Hutus - resulting in the death
of thousands of civilians.

Zimbabwe's Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration is
conducting outreach programmes to gather views on how the sensitive process
should be undertaken.

The process falls under the terms of a power-sharing deal signed last year.

However, differences on how to conduct the sensitive process have emerged
with analysts saying it is a litmus test for the shaky coalition government.

Civic groups and churches favour a truth and justice commission for
perpetrators but political parties seem to be interested in a blanket



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USaid Honours Life-changers

Saturday, 12 December 2009 15:58

THE United States Agency for International Development (USaid) last week
honoured groups and individuals for their contribution to raising awareness
about HIV and Aids as well as fighting stigma. The annual Auxillia Chimusoro
HIV and Aids awards were presented by visiting American actor Debra Messing
on Thursday.

Reigning CNN journalist of the Year Hopewell Chin'ono emerged tops in the
communication category with the film, Pain in my heart.

The production, which also helped him win the CNN award, tells a story of
two people living with HIV who are struggling to survive because of the
unavailability of treatment in the country.

Judges said they recognised Chin'ono for his "significant contribution,
commitment, creativity and sensitivity in broadcasting to many Zimbabweans
on issues of HIV and Aids using film."

In the Community Participation category Batanai Support Group from Masvingo
walked away with the prize.

The group was chosen for its "outstanding and significant contribution and
commitment in mitigating the HIV and AIDS crisis in their community by
putting in place an effective support system for those living with HIV".

Former Premier Soccer League boss Chris Sambo was the winner in the
leadership category.

Sambo was awarded for demonstrating "conviction and innovation in increasing
the quality and depth of public discourse on the epidemic".

The veteran football administrator is behind the formation of the first ever
soccer league for women living with HIV in Zimbabwe.

This year's league title was won by a team from Epworth known as the "ARV

Through their success, the women have managed to change the negative
perceptions of people in their community about HIV and Aids.

In the Social Investment category Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe was awarded for
its efforts in mitigating HIV and Aids by putting in place a "comprehensive,
effective and sustainable work based policy on HIV and Aids".

A paediatrician at Parirenyatwa Hospital, Dr Rose Kambarami, also got a
special recognition for her efforts in helping children living with HIV.

Messing, who said she lost a close family friend to Aids, said she decided
to become an activist so that she can speak on behalf of women and girls who
were more predisposed to HIV and Aids because of gender imbalances.

Health and Child Welfare Minister, Dr Henry Madzorera congratulated the
winners saying Zimbabwe needs more and men and women who are dedicated to
mitigating the effects of HIV and Aids through various ways.

Speaking at the same ceremony the new US ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles A
Ray said his government would continue to support Zimbabwe's fight against
HIV and Aids with more resources.

The awards are named after Auxillia Chimusoro, one of the first people in
Zimbabwe to openly disclose their HIV positive status in 1987 at a time when
most people were in still denial.


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Positive Counsellors Graduate From New Life Centre

Saturday, 12 December 2009 15:56

WHEN Lilly Napata was diagnosed with HIV in 2005, she thought it meant the
end of life and for some moments, the whole world seemed to be crumbling on
her. Narrating her ordeal, she said she could see all hopes of a better life
vanishing in the air and all that lay ahead was misery, a hell on earth

"The first time I always cried, it was hard for me. I was so scared and I
could not even tell my parents," she recounted.

"Whenever I heard people talking about Aids I would be so much stressed.

"I had no confidence in myself," said Napata with a smile that confirmed her
hopes for the future.
She says her life has been clear testimony of "the fact that being HIV
positive does not mean the end of the world."

Last week, Napata was part of a group of persons living with HIV and Aids
who recently graduated with certificates in HIV Care and Counselling
courtesy of the New Life Centre.

New Life Centre site manager, Stanley Marowa said this year's graduation
ceremony was the second since 2007.

He said the training for the graduates consisted of structured sessions
covering topics on HIV, opportunistic infections, anti-retroviral care,
nutrition for patients, disclosure of status as well as how to write a will.

The thrust of the programme, he said was to assist people living with HIV to
lead a healthy and normal life regardless of their status.

"We believe this will help them to look after themselves and their
 families," Marowa said.

American actress, Debra Messing who was the guest of honour commended the
initiative by the New Life Centre and stressed that emphasis on reproductive
health issues was critical in the fight against Aids.

She called for the integration of HIV and reproductive health services.

She said, "Integration of these services is so important in the fight
against HIV and Aids as well as to reduce stigma and help people to know
their statuses."

Napata is currently receiving anti-retroviral therapy and she said the
counselling services she received at the New Life Centre helped her cope
with life and realize that after all there was light at the end of the

"I would like to encourage people that living with HIV does not mean the end
of life but it's the beginning of something new. It's normal,"  she said.

She now spends most of her time going around various firms in the capital
giving her testimonies, a move she believes will go miles in raising
awareness on HIV/AIDS issues in the workplace.

She is also writing a book entitled "Life of a Battered Soul" in which she
gives a narration of her life from when she tested positive.

Her hopes for a better life, she said, had also been boosted by her
acceptance by family members, relatives and the society at large.


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Obama pays tribute to ‘brave’ Zimbabweans

Saturday, 12 December 2009 15:53

OSLO — Zimbabwe was under the spotlight once again when United States
President Barrack Obama spoke after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo,
Norway. Obama mentioned Zimbabwe, Iran and Burma’s despotic regime in the
same breadth in which he said his country would stand for the voiceless.

“We will bear witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu
Kyi, to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of
beatings to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently through

In his acceptance speech, Obama justified the use of force in fighting

“Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding
ourselves to certain rules of conduct.

“I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in
the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction
tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later.”—
Own Correspondent.

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€110m Boost for STERP

Saturday, 12 December 2009 15:47

THE European Union (EU) is in the process of implementing a 110 million euro
commitment to support Zimbabwe’s Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme
(STERP), a top diplomat said on Thursday.

Xavier Marchal, the EU head of delegation to Zimbabwe told participants at
the two-day seminar on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that Brussels
has been supportive of the county despite the 2002 suspension of government
to government cooperation.

“The EU has also committed to implement a 110 million euros Short Term
Strategy, in line with government priorities of the STERP. This commitment
is now being fulfilled,” he said.

STERP was launched in March as a stabilisation measure and will be succeeded
by a medium term plan.

Under STERP, government targeted to lift industry’s capacity utilisation to
60% from as low as 10%. Some industries such as beverages are operating at
80% capacity while others are below the forecast, according to Finance
Minister Tendai Biti.

Brussels’ move to honour the commitment on STERP is expected to speed up the
normalisation of relations with Harare based on Article 8 of the Cotonou

The EU has also thrown its weight behind the inclusive government but says
Zimbabwe has to fully implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

This will see the 27-member bloc responding by its own roadmap of
progressive normalisation of ties with Zimbabwe, Marchal said.

Zimbabwe’s bid to normalise relations with Brussels culminated in the
launching of a dialogue in June between a delegation led by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and the EU ministerial troika.

Marchal said trade relations were not a subject of restrictions from the EU.
Zimbabwe has benefited from preferences under the African Caribbean and
Pacific (ACP) and EU relations under the Cotonou Partnership agreement,
Marchal said.

“She (Zimbabwe) can meet the existing beef export quota, and if she has not
met it, it is due to the Foot and Mouth Disease and not sanctions.

“As a sugar protocol country, she is significantly benefiting from financial
support for an adaptation strategy for the sugar industry,” he said.

Zimbabwe is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) that is
negotiating for EPAs with the EU.

The government signed an interim EPA with the EU to secure the continuation
of free access to EU markets for the country as a non-least developed ACP

ACP countries used to enjoy unilateral trade preferences from the EU but
that honeymoon ended in December 2007 as the two blocs complied with the
world trading rules that allow for reciprocity in trade agreements.

The full EPA provides for duty and quota free market access on 100% ESA
exportable products into the EU.

It also provides for duty free and quota free market access on 80% of EU
exportable products into the ESA region by 2022.

Goods excluded from liberalisation include products of animal origin.

Cereals, beverages, paper, plastics and rubber and textiles and clothing.

Footwear, glass and ceramics, consumer electronics and vehicles are also
excluded from liberalisation.

But analysts say the level of development in ESA countries is different and
the opening up should also cater for the stages of development.

“If non-LDC countries are doing it in 15 years, LDCs are looking for a
longer period.

“The one-size-fits-all ends up being a problem,” said Moses Tekere, a trade
expert with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Statistics show that in 2007, total EU imports from the 11-member ESA bloc
were a mere 0.38% (Euro 3.17 billion) of all imports.

He says some countries are prepared to open up their markets up to 75%.

If Zimbabwe had not signed the interim EPA, it would have paid 14.9% duty on
tobacco to the EU.

However, EU exports to ESA raked in 3.96 billion euros.

Figures show that 61% of exports to the EU covered only eight products and
only 10 contributed provided the bulk of the exports.


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State to Audit External Debt

Saturday, 12 December 2009 15:41

ZIMBABWE will set up an office to audit the country's external debt in the
first step towards settling the US$5.4 billion debt. In his 2010 national
budget, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the Debt Management Clearance
Office will be housed in the ministry to validate the country's debt.

"Government will, in 2010, set up a Debt Management and Clearance Office in
the Ministry of Finance, whose primary mandate is to validate and reconcile
the country's debt in conjunction with the creditors," he said.

Biti said the objective of the office was to come up with "an agreed
National Debt Reduction and Arrears Clearance Strategy which takes
cognisance of the country's capacity, growth objectives as well as creditors

According to the Debt Sustainability Analysis exercise done this year, the
country's debt would be highly unsustainable until 2029.

This means that Zimbabwe currently does not have the capacity to clear its
US$3.8 billion in arrears and pay for other amounts falling due.

The new thrust to be adopted by Biti is a shift from the previous government's
way and an admission that the country has no capacity to clear off the
external debt.

Currently there are four options Zimbabwe can take to resolve the debt and
that is using internal resources, Paris Club debt rescheduling, resource
based restructuring and the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative.

Zimbabwe does not have the money to service the debt as the bulk of revenue
inflows are chewed up by salaries for civil servants.

Resource based debt restructuring is premised on the understanding that
Zimbabwe has abundant mineral resources which can be used.

In 2007, Angola used its oil reserves to pay off its US$2.3 billion debt to
the Paris Club without assistance from both the International Monetary Fund
and the World Bank.

In the case of Zimbabwe it is tricky as the country is bound by the
International Bank for Reconstruction "negative clause" which compels
countries to seek the bank's Executive Board approval for mortgaging natural
resources in exchange for debt financing.

Under the Paris Club Debt rescheduling, Zimbabwe has an option of seeking
bilateral debt rescheduling from the group subject to the country being
under an IMF supported programme.

However, the programme is only confined to Paris Club members only.

At least 34% of Zimbabwe's bilateral debt is with the Paris Club and thus it
does not offer a holistic approach that addresses the debt burden.

As a result of Zimbabwe's situation, some stakeholders have proposed that it
should go the HIPC route.

For a country to qualify it should be an International Development
Assistance (IDA) -only and Poverty Reduction Growth Facility eligible and
should have per capita income of less than US$1 095.

The country is not yet IDA-only and owes IMF US$138 million under the
Poverty Reduction Growth Facility Trust. However per capita income as of
2008 was US$340.

For a country to qualify it has to face a sustainable debt burden.

The country should establish a track record of reform and sound policy
implementation under the auspices of an IMF and IDA supported programme.

At the end of August, Zimbabwe met most of the conditions.

For the country to attain the HIPC status it also has to clear multilateral
arrears to IMF, World Bank and AfDB.

The trio has a preferred creditors' status meaning that arrears have to be
cleared first before a country can benefit from the HIPC debt relief.

The HIPC initiative is credited for reducing debt service paid.

Of the 35 countries in which the HIPC package was approved debt service paid
declined by 2.5% of Gross Domestic Product between 1999 and 2007.

This means that countries have more fiscal space and can use the money for
other activities that stimulate economic growth.

But critics say Zimbabwe is too rich to be poor and cannot be humiliated by
being classified as a struggling poor country.

Since 2005, government has been sued by a number of creditors including KFW
(Germany), Daro Film Distributors (Switzerland), UBS AG (Switzerland),SACE
(Italy),  ING (Netherlands),Exim Bank (USA), West Merchant Bank and Lloyds
Bank (UK).

Some of the creditors have won court cases against the government.

In the case of Exim Bank, government ended up paying an amount of US$42.2
million in 2007 towards its arrears.

Daro Film Distributors received a payment of US$0.87 million.

In 2006, ING and KFW won court interdicts to attach Zimbabwean properties
abroad, thus setting a precedent which remains precarious for the state.

KFW used its arbitral award to attach ZISCO shares in Ramotswa Steel of
Botswana and is seeking a court order in South Africa to attach NRZ shares
in Pan African Mining Development Company.

A number of litigation cases are pending with judgments likely to go in
favour of creditors due to Zimbabwe's inability to clear arrears, analysts
have warned.


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‘Budget growth targets too ambitious’

Saturday, 12 December 2009 15:38

GWERU — Zimbabwe’s economy will be the same size as it was in 1997 in two
years’ time and in 2019 it will be the fifth strongest economy in Africa,
according to a Zimbabwean economist. Dr Eric Bloch said this at a
post-budget meeting breakfast in Gweru organised by the Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce Midlands Chapter.

Bloch said that there were positive indicators in the economy and he said
the success of the growth of the economy would depend on the full
implementation of the Global Political Agreement.

Bloch said it was not true to say that the economy had stabilised as alluded
to by the Minister of Finance Tendai Biti in his presentation of the budget

“We cannot say there is economic stability when over 8 million people are
still living below the Poverty Datum Line and there is still malnutrition in
the country. The economy is recovering,” Bloch told the Midlands business

Bloch said while the budget was a positive one there were some ugly and bad
sections in it. Among the ugly sections, the economist noted,  is the
ultimatum given to businesses to have acquired electronic Tax Register
machines by April next year.

“Business is likely not to be able to fund the ETRs. They should have been
given until end of 2010 to acquire the machines.”

Bloch said while he was positive that agricultural output would improve, he
said the tobacco production expected by finance minister was wishing for the

“To expect to produce 200 million kg of tobacco from last year’s 46 million
tonnes is not possible.”

Bloch said farmers were still unable to access farming inputs. “Seed is
expensive in the market and where it is cheap at the Grain Marketing Board
it is not available. The new farmers have no working capital and no
collateral value to the leases they have.”

He urged partial or total privatisation of loss-making parastatals and said
it was a fact that the government was broke and unable to pump in money to
parastatals such as the national airline, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority and The NationalRailways of Zimbabwe.

Bloch also said the US$10 million given to RBZ was too little. “How can
anyone make investment when the capitalization of the Reserve Bank is US$10
million? Maybe there is need for private sector shareholders.”

Bloch also noted that the budget lacked investment incentives for
employment-generation and said the tax threshold adjustment was not very

“The threshold should be above US$300 instead of taxing people living below
the PDL.”

Speaking at the same meeting, Martin Charumbira an economist from the
Midlands State University said the budget presented showed that the
government no longer took planning for granted.

Charumbira said there were positive indicators in the budget that gave hope
to Zimbabweans including the fact that, Zimbabwe was now also trying to
match international best practices, that there would be legal enforcement on
those that evade taxes and are corrupt and also that this government does
not take people’s input for granted as the people’s input was taken into

The Midlands business community also hailed the assurance by the Minister of
Finance that the multi-currency system will continue to be in use until 2012
and they said statements by some government officials that the return of the
Zimbabwe dollar was imminent had begun again to unsettle the economy and
scare investors.

Meanwhile other residents said although there were parts of the budget that
they were not happy with, they said that it was pleasing to note that
inflation was going down and the projections that the economy will be
growing were a relief to many families who have been struggling for the past

Others also noted the money set aside for the constitution-making process
and the healing process saying these were positive steps to show that the
government was still committed to having a new constitution and also
committed to healing the nation from the political violence that has been
rocking the country.


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State Utilities the new Source of Inflation

Saturday, 12 December 2009 16:35

WHETHER you are the woman selling tomatoes on the street or the venerable
economics professor at the university, every Zimbabwean knows that the main
cause of inflation was the wild printing of paper money.  Paper money
increased by 400 000% in August 2008 and by 2 million% by February 2009.

The concomitant inflation brought about the death of the Zimbabwe dollar.
Nobody could tell its value any more, as the value changed within a few
hours of the same day.

Monetary sanity came about when everyone refused to accept the Zimbabwean
dollar, and the whole country was forced to change to the use of foreign

The tragedy could be seen in the thousands of Zimbabwe dollars thrown on the
streets, particularly at bus stations.

Today we face another source of inflation, and it is the city councils,
particularly the Harare City Council, as well as other utilities such as the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) and the telephone companies.

These culprits are deliberately causing inflation by charging unbelievably
high prices for the basic utilities, such as rates, garbage collection,
water, electricity and telephones.

Amazingly we are about five to ten times more expensive than our neighbours
or overseas countries. It seems these utility companies and municipalities
feel they are justified in over-charging the consumers in order to make up
for the past five years of losses.

I will use my personal accounts as an example. In January 2009 I received a
bill for rates which came to Z$227 208 767 094, which at that time was less
than 25 revalued Zimbabwean cents.

I actually wrote out a cheque for 25 revalued cents, but I never sent it as
I realised this was nonsense.  How come we had thrashed our money in such a

In November 2009 my rates came to US$124. Wow, what a difference! My
electricity bill, US$70; my water bill was Z$142 (I had failed to pay for
several months - I didn't mind them cutting it off as I was not receiving
any water any way);   and my telephone bill about US$250. Added together, my
utilities will cost me US$586. My pension for being a minister for many
years is US$100 a month.

If I am responsible enough to live within my means, and also responsible
enough to pay my utilities I will be in a serious minus balance! I guess I
will have to give up food at this rate!

This is a personal account. What about business, commerce and industry?
Industries will add their utility bills to the cost of manufacture, and
shops will add their utility bills to their prices.

As a housewife who shops for food, I have noticed that South African
margarine costs US$85 cents, whereas Zimbabwean margarine costs US$1.65.

Naturally I am tempted to buy the cheaper product. Why is it cheaper? Is the
cost of utilities one critically important reason? Sadly, any analysis will
tell you that the extremely high price of utilities is the main cause of
inflation today.

It is essential for utilities to look at how their pricing regime is
destroying the economy.

Accepted that they have not had any money for maintenance, new equipment and
new construction for the last five years, some for the past fifteen years.

Nevertheless it is entirely destructive of the economy to charge the
consumer for problems which were not caused by the consumer in the first

The consumer should be charged the basic cost of running the utility, plus
perhaps 10 - 15% in addition to this.

The profit motive should really stop being in terms of hundreds or thousands
of percent.

It should be more reasonable, in line with our neighbours. How come prices
are half as much in South Africa as they are in Zimbabwe for example?

The capital costs should be shared with government, and government should
make low interest loans available to the utilities to enable them to repair,
re-equip and renew.

What about utilising a US$100 - US$200 million of the US$510 million from
the IMF for this very purpose, lending it out to the utilities at 1%

IMF is charging Zimbabwe half a percent interest, so 1% is very suitable for
refurbishing our utilities. In this way the government can help the economy
as a whole. A more carefully considered plan by the utilities and by
government is needed, and the plans need to be synchronised.

It is also amazing when civil servants, such as a permanent secretary with a
Ph. D. and thirty years of experience, are paid less than US$200 a month,
when utility employees have a minimum wage of at least US$300.  Is there no
co-ordination and co-operation between government, its parastatals and its
local authorities?

It appears it's a free-for-all, where each unit tries to make as much money
as possible, totally forgetting the good of the ordinary citizen and the
health of the economy as a whole.

Local government and parastatals need to see their role as pre-eminently to
serve the country, rather than to serve their own pockets.  Central
government should also stop seeing local government and parastatals as their
milk cows, from which they can dip in for personal travel and other

The exorbitant charges made by local government and parastatals are very
destructive of the economy.  If utilities actually cost more than the salary
of a  civil servant,  if street cleaners earn more than permanent
secretaries,  isn't something wrong??  And isn't this free-for-all a sign of
a weak government which is not doing its job properly?


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Alex Magaisa: Budget and the Language of the People

Saturday, 12 December 2009 16:31

WHEN the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti delivered the country's budget, I
was away in Cape Town attending a conference on among other things,
harnessing the capacity and opportunities presented by the Zimbabwean
Diaspora for the reconstruction of Zimbabwe's fragile economy. The business
of that conference and the inevitable demands on time explains the truancy
of this column from these pages last week.

I have since read the budget statement. It's fair to say that there is a
sense of realism that underpins the current approach to Zimbabwe's economic
circumstances. There is an acknowledgement that whilst we may be blessed
with an abundance of nature's offerings, at this point we are of poor stock.

We are broke. We are, like our hunter-gatherer ancestors of the Stone Age
era, literally living from hand to mouth. And we must live within our means.

There is no need to make outlandish promises often fuelled by the
extravagant and it has to be said, reckless imagination of yesteryear.

Gone are the days, you could say, when unrealistic promises were made to the
people on the basis of non-existent resources. The hope is that the
government exercises the necessary discipline to ensure they stick to their
undertakings as proposed by the Minister in his budget.

There are lots of things in the budget warranting some commentary. But I
like to think there are some who are better placed and more able than me to
comment on those technical issues. I shall from time to time in the coming
weeks, pick on those issues that I have the facility to comment upon.

On this occasion, I wish only to comment on a matter of concern about public
access to the budget and technical issues surrounding it. The theme here is
about enabling citizens' democratic participation in the financial and
economic affairs of the country.

I argue that the language of the budget, the mode of presentation and the
vehicle for its dissemination leaves a lot to be desired. It is by and large
inaccessible to the ordinary members of the public.

This is odd, given that there are few things that impact directly on the
livelihoods of ordinary people than the matter of the national budget.

Yet strangely, this subject remains intelligible only to a few members in
higher stations of society, mainly those equipped with the technical lexicon
of business and economics.

The ordinary people, whose circumstances the budget seeks to deal with have
very little space or indeed, the facility to understand more clearly how
this process works, let alone what is actually articulated.

They know that the Minister comes to Parliament, raises his briefcase to
photographers who dutifully capture the moment.

They know he will read the long budget statement for a lengthy period during
which the men and women sitting on parliamentary benches retire in large
numbers, snoring violently in broad daylight.

Occasionally, the television cameras will capture these moments, providing
occasion for laughter. The point is, even these MPs have very little clue of
what the Minister of Finance will be talking about, such is the
inaccessibility of the language of national finance and economics.

This is not necessarily Minister Biti's problem - it is the problem of a
system that requires some transformation. Part of the change that people
have been calling for extends beyond personalities to transformation in the
way things are done.

Having read every bit of the recent budget statement and the media reports
that followed, it occurred to me that there is much that is lost to the
public but through no fault of its own. The traditional language of the
budget is not for the ordinary person. It's as if there is a perennial
conspiracy to pitch the budget above the heads of ordinary people.

Ironically, speaking of the proposed reforms to the Income Tax Act at
paragraph 399 of the budget statement, Minister Biti had this to say: "The
Zimbabwe Income Tax Act was first promulgated in April 1967. Several
amendments have been made to the Act without changing its structure and
Victorian language which the average taxpayer cannot fully comprehend. The
Act is, hence, not in line with modern trends".

The Minister is right and the Income Tax Act needs to be reformed, both to
modernise its substance but also to make it more comprehensible to users.
The same could be said for other pieces of legislation on Zimbabwe's statute

Likewise, the budget needs to be expressed in simple and more intelligible
language. It forms a key component of democratic participation, especially
in respect of transparency and accountability. Citizens are more able to
hold their leaders to account if they have clear information at their

The budget provides a good source of such information regarding financial
accountability. The public should be able to access and make use of that
information to ensure that it's better able to hold politicians to account.

Take for example, the issue of foreign travel that even the Minister laments
in his budget. Some $28.4 million was expended on foreign travel this year
compared to only $8.1 million spent on medical supplies and services.

These items need to be accounted for and ordinary Zimbabweans need to ask
why so much is spent on activities that would make Vasco da Gama green with
envy whilst Florence Nightingale would weep at the sight of spending on
matters of the nation's health. But they can only ask these things if they
know the meaning of what they are told.

The language of the budget statement is written on the assumption that
everyone knows what the minister is talking about. The technical terms are
not explained; they are just thrown about in the belief that consumers know
what it's all about. What exactly is "capital expenditure" and how does it
differ from "current" or "re-current expenditure"? What is a "Vote of
 Credit" and what is its use? Now, my economist friends will say,
"waMagaisa, these are obvious things my brother."

But they are obvious to those who know; those who have been schooled or at
the very least acquainted with the language of finance and economics. It
makes little sense to those who don't know and yet are expected to
participate in this supposedly democratic process. In my view, there is much
to be said for simplifying things. If the budget must be translated to make
it more accessible to the ordinary members of the public so that they can
participate fully in the process, then this must be done.

This proposition of simplification is not new and being a member of the
legal profession I should know.

The law has historically been couched in language that is inaccessible to
the ordinary people who are not trained in the discipline. In recent times
however, there has been a movement for the simplification of the law, to
make sure that it's captured in language that is intelligible to the users.

Similarly, on a larger scale, one of the key features in Zimbabwe's recent
history has been the constitutional reform movement.

Whereas few people in the eighties and nineties paid much attention to the
constitution of the country, today it is a word that used with much ease by
a greater number of people.

That is not to suggest that everyone has suddenly becomes an expert on
constitutional law; but at least, the debates and greater dissemination of
information about the constitution has raised the issue in the public

More people are able to converse about the constitution today than they did
in 1999. Indeed, a key goal of this reform process should be to ensure that
the new constitution is simple and accessible and that citizens start from a
young age to know more about the constitution and human rights.

But while civil rights literacy has advanced in recent years, financial
literacy remains embarrassingly low. We know very little about our country -
it's purported wealth and attendant issues. The Minister proposed a new
development facility called the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Citizens should be able to ask how this really differs from the District
Development Fund (DDF) which they have known for years.

They need to know that this is not yet another vehicle for siphoning the
little resources of the state. They have to know how the administrators of
this new facility will be made more accountable than has been the case with
the DDF.

They need information that this is not the MP's fund, which can be abused
for political mileage. As I have said, as part of transforming the culture
of governance, the Inclusive Government and progressive elements within it
need to do more to make information accessible and simplifying or even
localising the language of communication would be a great start.

Our civil society has been very good at standing guard for people's civil
rights. They also need to step up and think more about the how to empower
citizens to hold their leaders accountable in financial matters.

It starts with understanding the language of the budget. If it must be
written in Shona, Ndebele, Kalanga, etc then it has to be done. Donors,
there is something useful to do.

Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and can be
contacted at or


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Comment: World Soccer Finalists Shun us

Saturday, 12 December 2009 16:29

Much has been made of the country's image-perception management programme
and how it is the panacea to attracting more tourists to Zimbabwe ahead of
next year's soccer extravaganza. But the recent announcements by nations
coming to the World Cup in South Africa and the Orange Africa Cup of Nations
in Angola suggest otherwise.

Ghana, Cameroon and Cote d'Ivoire have announced their training bases for
the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations which Angola is set to host next month and
World Cup in South Africa in six months, giving Zimbabwe a wide berth.

Zimbabwe was pinning its hopes on attracting the continent's major soccer
nations coming to establish training camps in the country.

It had been argued this would contribute to its image-perception management
programme with the resultant influx of foreign tourists. The country is also
trying to lure Mexico and Brazil.

However Brazil appears to have made up its mind and will be camping in South
Africa. The announcement by Brazil a fortnight ago is a blow particularly to
Zimbabwe, which last month serenaded a representative from the South
American nation.

There is something Zimbabwe is not doing right or its efforts are clearly
misfiring. When African nations can't even consider camping here there is a
serious problem. There are major hurdles to clear in attracting world soccer
representatives from Europe, South America and far afield when countries on
the continent are avoiding us.

But if we have to be brutally frank, we have to acknowledge that taking
representatives from Fifa and from countries such as Brazil to uncompleted
facilities with no sign of renovations underway and then expecting them to
take us seriously is taking others for granted.

We have all along known that Angola and South Africa will be hosting major
soccer showpieces. Zimbabwe should have engaged local companies to advise on
and undertake refurbishments.

Renovations at Rufaro Stadium in Harare and Barbourfields in Bulawayo should
have been carried out at the same time artificial turf was installed.

South African companies marketing the facilities there could have been
contracted to package Zimbabwe's stadiums as part of the overall SA's
marketing strategy. The mileage would have been considerable.

But with less than a month to go before Angola there are no major
renovations to the changing rooms at the soccer facilities at Rufaro or
Barbourfields that Zimbabwe hoped the visitors would use.

Why the work was not contracted to private companies if the local
authorities and the football governing body did not have the resources can
only demonstrate a dearth of creativity. This is an opportunity squandered.
It is important to know one's limits and to respect that others are good at
some things that we are not so gifted at.

It is common knowledge that resources for refurbishments are scarce, but it
is precisely for this reason that the renovations should have been farmed
out to contractors who could recoup their money from gate takings.

If this approach and external marketing had been adopted from the outset
Zimbabwe would have been assured of hosting some of teams coming to Angola
and South Africa.

It must be considered a slap in the face when countries such as Ivory Coast
choose Tanzania ahead of Zimbabwe for their camp. If we cannot pause to
reflect on the importance of the move by the Ivoirians, then our claims to
being  clever count for nothing.

Zimbabwe should understand that a mere visit by representatives of world cup
finalists does not automatically translate into a commitment. We have been
dealt a blow and supporters of the beautiful game in Zimbabwe are the real


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Sundayopinion: Citizens are the Real Heroes

Saturday, 12 December 2009 16:12

I am not a street activist, but more from the irritable pool of intellectual
key-punchers who hope that President Robert Mugabe and his cronies are
literate enough to notice how collective resentment and hatred for
dictatorship is better expressed in the written word. I say this because
there is a fallacy pervading Zimbabwean society that the number of times and
period that one is beaten and arrested is the only means of verifying
serious political activism.

And perhaps there is precedence to this malnourished viewpoint, given that
the icons of Africa's liberation struggle have, at one time or other, had a
bruising encounter with local justice systems.

The tragedy is that nationalists, like Mugabe, have used this as a basis for
extended stay in power, arguing that long periods spent in colonial gaol
give them the right to oppress their countrymen.

Critics of Professor Arthur Mutambara have raised the same argument that he
never received as much political bashing and detention as Morgan Tsvangirai,
thus his claim to political fame is flimsy and frivolous.

The good news is that this viewpoint is devoid of good judgement and
destined for extinction.

In awarding Magodonga Mahlangu the coveted Robert F Kennedy Human Rights
Award, United States President Barrack Obama mentioned that the firebrand
Zimbabwean activist has been arrested more than 30 times.

No doubt all progressive cadres of the struggle against Mugabe's
 "scientific" tyranny will and should applaud Mahlangu's recognition, but I
am one of the few who do not particularly subscribe to the theory that the
number of times one is convicted for a good cause emits a force equal to or
equivalent to the motion towards liberation.

Moreover, the struggle  takes a further mortal knock when one, like Mahlangu
does,  goes further to justify activism purely on the basis that his or her
parents, friends, neighbours and relatives were at one time or another,
victims of Mugabe's Gukurahundi genocide.

More often than not, we Zimbabwean activists exaggerate our encounters in
the struggle.  Zanu PF has always been reminded that everyone fought against
colonialism, thus heroism is not only a preserve of former Mozambican and
Zambian exiles, members of the Central Committee or victims of
post-independence detention and genocide.

Girl child activist Betty Makoni is currently exiled in England, advancing,
like many of those Zimbabweans who inhabit that land, another case of
persecution by the Zanu PF government for exposing alleged ministerial girl
child abuse. No doubt she is in line for another award of recognition for
her "struggle" against tyranny.

There is no doubt that other cadres like former hostage Jestina Mukoko,
human rights lawyer Otto Saki and constitutional activist Dr Lovemore
Madhuku deserve all the accolades they get from the world movement for

A crucial part of the struggle against oppression is confronting and
defeating Zanu PF it in its natural habitat - in the streets, but to limit
recognition of this struggle only to the number of times one is arrested
from the trenches belittles greater good.

My point is that the struggle to unseat tyranny is not about "rented"
college students doing street push-ups, old women and lactating mothers
sacrificed on the altar of fiery fury of the dragon, merely to score
political points.

More often than not, strategic partners of governance and democracy have
been accused of supporting only institutions that "raise hell and dust" in
running battles with Mugabe's uniformed sympathisers in the alleys.

This is a narrow view of resistance, for there is more like us who find
pride in pounding tyranny from the keyboard. It may not be glamorous, elicit
blood or swollen foreheads, but the message spreads far and wide. Street
activists accuse us of "conference room activism" because there is no glitz
and glamour accrued from making interviews for CNN from hospital beds.

The moral of my argument is that when seminar attendance registers and
police charge sheets become the only genuine evidence of political activism,
strategic partners have taken the eyes off the ball.

"Anniversary" day activism manifested in protest handbills and posters,
glossy advertisement, angry press statements and red roses handed out at
street corners are part of the continuum of the struggle against Zanu PF

However, the demands of modern day transformative revolution require that we
shift the gear from mere defiance to a higher pedestal of popular

The answer lies in paralysing the business supply systems that keep the Zanu
PF dragon bite venomous. Restrictive and targeted sanctions are part of this
exciting high-yield strategy; the other is embedded in protest consumerism.

. Rejoice Ngwenya writes for  He is founder of Coalition
for Liberal Market Reforms, a Zimbabwean think tank.


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