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Polls: War vets promised $2 000 a month

December 14, 2012 in Politics

IN a move which further shows the military will be a major factor in next
year’s make-or-break general elections, Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) chief
General Constantine Chiwenga has joined the Zanu PF campaign trail,
promising war veterans –– the party’s foot soldiers during polls –– US$2 000
a month between January and September next year.

Report by Herbert Moyo/Elias Mambo

Informed sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week Chiwenga said the
money would come from the Marange diamond fields and investment in the
Lupane gas project which government is moving to embark on with Russian

Sources said Chiwenga announced this while addressing more than 800 war
veterans at One Brigade Headquarters in Bulawayo three weeks ago.

ZDF public relations officer Major Matarirano yesterday confirmed the army
commander has been meeting with war veterans but could not disclose the

War veterans leaders interviewed by the Independent say Chiwenga promised
them huge allowances, which were far more than what an average local worker
earns, if they campaigned for Mugabe and Zanu PF.

“He told us that we have 10% shares in Marange diamond fields. We will also
be getting something from Lupane because the government is partnering
Russians to exploit methane gas so there won’t be any problem in paying us,”
a war veteran leader said.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association secretary-general
Shadreck Makombe confirmed holding meetings with government over their
demands, saying there was nothing sinister since they never received full
compensation in the first disbursement in 1997.

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Zanu PF ministers demand $10m bribe

December 14, 2012 in Politics

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is reportedly fuming after former South African
president Thabo Mbeki told him and provided evidence senior Zanu PF
ministers had demanded a US$10 million bribe to facilitate a US$1 billion
investment by African National Congress (ANC)-linked investors.

Report by Owen Gagare

Informed sources said this week Mbeki, whose wife Zanele is involved in
business, told Mugabe during Zimbabwe’s Diamond Conference in Victoria Falls
from November 12-13 he was shocked by ministers who tried to extort US$10
million from ANC-connected businesspeople who wanted to pour a US$1 billion
investment in diamond mining and other areas.

Before Mugabe hinted on the issue at the Zanu PF conference in Gweru last
weekend, the Zimbabwe Independent was already investigating the story after
picking up leads during the recent Victoria Falls meeting.

Sources say Mbeki named the ministers, some of whom have built vast business
empires from nowhere, to Mugabe and promised to give him evidence of
extortion. It is said Mbeki last week sent an envoy, who was part of his
facilitation team during Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement negotiations,
to give Mugabe the evidence.

Efforts to get comment from Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba failed, while
Mbeki’s spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga refused to speak on the issue now under

Among the proof is information clearly showing the names of the ministers,
who they met, when and where and how they demanded bribes, effectively
scuttling huge investment to Mbeki’s annoyance. Mugabe was said to have been
angered by the information, especially insinuations that he was going to get
a cut from the US$10 kickback.

After getting the evidence from Mbeki of which ministers were demanding
bribes, Mugabe, irked and disappointed by his appointees, menacingly hinted
on the issue at the Zanu PF conference.

“I was getting complaints from outside. Former South African president Thabo
Mbeki was saying some of their people in the ANC wanted to come intending to
do business and this is what they have been told: ‘If you want to do this
business, you bring US$5 million and from that US$5 million we take US$1
million that we will take to the minister to give to the president’,” Mugabe

“If I get information stating that so and so minister is doing this, he
goes. Unfortunately, sometimes complainants do not want to identify the
ministers, fearing persecution but that is happening in the ministries.”

The now defunct Canadile Miners director, Lovemore Kurotwi was arrested in
2010 for allegedly ‘fraudulently misrepresenting’ to government that his
company had money to mine diamonds, when in fact it was bankrupt. Officials
claim this effectively ‘prejudiced’ the government of US$2 billion

However, Kurotwi has insisted the fraud charges are linked to his telling
Mugabe that Mines minister Obert Mpofu had demanded a US$10 million bribe to
licence his company.

Sources say the bribe from ANC-linked investors was demanded as “commission”
and “facilitation fees” for the removal of obstacles to do with the
indigenisation programme to ensure the businesspeople did not encounter any

An internal government investigation has reportedly been launched on the
issue which could open a Pandora’s Box on high-level corruption, bribery and

Zanu PF ministers, who live in huge mansions and own luxury vehicles, are
some of Zimbabwe’s well-off people despite that their sources of income are
not clear.

Several Zimbabwean ministers have allegedly enriched themselves by demanding
bribes and kickbacks from investors using Mugabe’s name. Some bribes have
been demanded from those wishing to invest in the telecommunications, road
construction and energy sectors.

Although some of the ministers have caught with their hands on the till,
Mugabe has failed to act and kept them in his government. For instance,
Mugabe has been told by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s source of wealth should be
investigated but nothing has been done.

Apart from dealing with Zanu PF ministers such as Enos Nkala, Maurice
Nyagumbo and Frederick Shava involved in corruption in the 1980s and later
Chris Kuruneri, Mugabe has largely ignored or neglected dealing with corrupt

Ministers continue to loot public resources, including Marange diamond
revenues, without consequences.

Mbeki was said to have been disappointed as he highlighted that the
ministers’ demands were militating against investment and Sadc’s efforts to
assist Zimbabwe’s US$10 billion Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme
(Sterp) endorsed by the Sadc summit in Swaziland in March 2009.

One of the Sadc resolutions reads: “The extraordinary summit noted the Sterp
developed by the Zimbabwe government to guide the country’s actions and
efforts towards economic and social recovery, estimated at US$10 billion.
The extraordinary summit urged member states to support Zimbabwe to
implement Sterp in the form of budget support, lines of credit, joint
ventures and toll manufacturing.”

Addressing delegates at the Diamond conference in Victoria Falls, Mbeki,
after informing Mugabe of his ministers’ corrupt behaviour, went on to say
Zimbabwe’s resources, including diamonds, should be used genuinely to
benefit the ordinary people, not the well-connected.

“This must also mean that this country’s political leadership, including all
the parties which serve in the current inclusive government established
because of the GPA, must absolutely ensure that the diamond mining industry
is not governed by a predatory elite which uses its access to state power to
enrich itself, against the interests of the people as a whole, acting in
collusion with the mining companies,” Mbeki said.

There are a number of ANC-linked businesspeople with interests in Zimbabwe’s
mining sector, among them Mzi Khumalo and Bridget Radebe, the wife of South
Africa’s Justice minister Jeff Radebe. South African business magnate
Patrick Motsepe and other tycoons have been to Zimbabwe searching for
investment opportunities.

Although it remains uncertain if the former ANC Youth League leader Julius
Malema also has business interests in Zimbabwe, he is known to be close to
Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

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DRC deployment: Mugabe did not consult cabinet

December 14, 2012 in News

CABINET and parliament as well as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were not
consulted by President Robert Mugabe when he decided to deploy Zimbabwean
troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of a Sadc
peacekeeping force.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

Sadc leaders decided to send 4 000 troops on a peacekeeping mission in
eastern Congo after the regional bloc’s Extraordinary Summit of Heads of
State and Government held in Tanzania last weekend.

M23 rebels have sustained an eight-month siege of the eastern DRC and seized
the provincial capital of Goma, before retreating less than two weeks after
taking control of the strategic city end of November.

The rebels have been demanding direct talks with President Joseph Kabila.

They have retreated to Kibati, just 15kms from Goma, allowing the Congolese
army to move back into Goma alongside a neutral force which Zimbabwe is
sending its troops to join.

Zimbabwe immediately agreed to send troops to the war-torn mineral-rich
country after an International Conference on the Great Lakes Region resolved
to send regional peacekeepers.

This would be the second time Zimbabwe has deployed troops to the vast
country following the 1998 mission which helped prevent the overthrow of the
current president’s father Laurent Kabila, after rebels had overrun the
Congolese army from Goma right up to the capital Kinshasa.

Then, Mugabe unilaterally deployed the soldiers without consulting
parliament, and to date no information on casualties or the cost of the
deployment to Zimbabwe has ever been released.

Namibia, which helped the Congolese army alongside Zimbabwe and Angola to
drive the rebels out of Kinshasa in 1998, has said it is not sending troops
to the country again despite the Sadc decision.

According to The Namibian newspaper, the country’s permanent secretary in
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Veiccoh Nghiwete this week said Namibia was
not sending troops to join the Sadc peacekeeping force, indicating there
were other ways his country could assist without deploying its soldiers.

Finance minister Tendai Biti yesterday said there was no cabinet or even
parliamentary approval to send troops to the DRC.
“This issue was not discussed in cabinet or parliament,” said Biti.

“While it is good for Zimbabwe to help its brothers and sisters in the DRC
as part of a peacekeeping mission, things must be done in terms of the
constitution and the law. In this case, this was not done. We just read in
the newspapers that Zimbabwe is sending troops to the DRC. Even though it’s
part of a Sadc resolution, we still need to follow the constitution and the
law and not behave like warmongers.”

Biti said Zimbabwe needs to first ensure peace, security and stability at
home before rushing off to do that in other countries.

“We also need transparency in terms of the levels of troop deployments and
funding. We don’t want to go back to a situation like the one in 1998 when
our army was deployed arbitrarily and without transparency and
accountability,” said Biti.

Permanent secretary in the Foreign Affairs ministry Joey Bimha said Sadc,
the DRC government, the United Nations and African Union would fund the
peacekeeping mission.

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Alarm bells toll at Zanu PF indaba

December 14, 2012 in News

WHEN President Robert Mugabe asked delegates attending Zanu PF’s annual
conference in Gweru last weekend to declare 2013 “the year of electoral
victory”, only a few mumbled a tepid “yes”, with the majority remaining

Report By Owen Gagare

The lukewarm response, which was clearly not lost on Mugabe and other senior
party leaders, epitomises the deep lack of confidence ordinary members now
have in the party’s leadership.

It also reflected this year’s conference’s low-key nature compared to
previous fired-up sessions characterised by glowing rhetoric and feverish
demands for elections to end the “dysfunctional” unity government.

Zanu PF resolved at its conferences in Mutare and Bulawayo in 2010 and 2011,
respectively, that elections would be held in 2011 and then this year
without fail.

The party has again revised its dates, now insisting elections would be held
in March 2013 without fail, although it is increasingly becoming clear polls
are likely in the second half of 2013.

Mugabe and Zanu PF officials’ pronouncements, particularly on elections, and
their failure to ensure they are held in response to their menacing demands
as was the case prior to the coalition government formation, shows they have
lost most of their control and influence of the political situation. Their
word is no longer anybody’s command.

Zanu PF conferences are clearly fast becoming lacklustre and uninspiring to
the party members and sympathisers.

Gone are the days when the conferences, though rubber-stamping platforms
where guided democracy prevails, sent ripple effects across the political
landscape and served as a barometer of the political situation.

The conferences have now degenerated into mere political calendar events of
no real consequence beyond sloganeering, speechifying and high-sounding
promises designed to woo an increasingly sceptical electorate.

Revealingly, during the Gweru conference the singing was hardly passionate;
there was none of the kongonya dance popular during the liberation struggle
which usually characterised Zanu PF gatherings.

The chanting of slogans usually deriding the opposition, seemed half-hearted
and mechanical at best. Gone are the days, it seems, when delegates would
passionately sing revolutionary songs such as Mbiri Yechigandanga designed
to send shivers down the spines of rival political parties with their
implied violence.

The conference’s lethargic pace was not helped by Mugabe –– whose health is
deteriorating due to advanced age –– as he appeared jaded when delivering
his speeches. Mugabe appeared drowsy, slurring some of his words while
occasionally leaning on the podium as if to support himself.

Senior Zanu PF members privately admitted their annual conferences have now
become monotonous with nothing new emerging since Mugabe, at the helm of
Zanu PF since 1977, has managed to crush all forms of dissent.

It was evident Zanu PF’s failure to resolve the contentious succession issue
resulting in fierce factionalism was heavily weighing down on delegates,
while high-level corruption continues to erode the party’s popularity and

Zanu PF is now deeply divided into two major camps, one reportedly led by
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and the other by Defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa, although the two have of late been strenuously denying leading
opposing camps.

The issue of factionalism and succession abruptly flared up during Zanu PF’s
central committee meeting last week as reported in the Zimbabwe Independent,
proving the problem remained a powder keg despite belated attempts to deny
its existence.

At the conference many delegates slammed factionalism in what appeared to be
an attempt to propitiate Mugabe, with no one daring to tackle the causes of
the problem and the attendant succession battle.

Mugabe and senior party officials insisted at the conference factionalism
and internal power struggles were rampant and destroying the party. The
problem has bedevilled the party since the liberation struggle and has
evolved over the years, reaching a crescendo in the run up to the 2004
congress as Mujuru and Mnangagwa battled it out for the post of

Mujuru prevailed after serious internal strife, leaving the party fractured
and weak.

So deeply-entrenched is the factionalism that a section of the party did not
celebrate the construction of the controversial Gweru Convention Centre by
Zanu PF’s Midlands province, dubbed the “Hall Of Shame”, as they deemed it
part of Mnangagwa’s efforts to boost his image and enhance his prospects in
the succession race.

Although most Zanu PF officials are uncomfortable about going for elections
with a candidate who would be 89 next February, the party’s provinces
stampeded over each other to endorse Mugabe as their “sole candidate” in the
next elections.

However, judging by the lacklustre conference, Mugabe might yet again have
to ride out internal resistance and sabotage during the next elections.

Mugabe was more direct in his criticism of factionalism, even mentioning
Mujuru and Mnangagwa by name in his remarks.

“It’s said these people belong to Emmerson Mnangagwa and these ones Mujuru,”
said Mugabe. “The people are saying that and that’s the way they see it.
That is dangerous, absolutely dangerous. Let the people see your leadership
as unifying them; the leader should see the people as all his people.”

Mugabe said “during our time” people never used to campaign for posts, in
what seemed to be a realisation that he had overstayed his welcome and
belongs to a bygone era.

Apart from Mugabe’s forthright remarks on factionalism, as well as
behind-the-scenes manoeuvres on succession, the conference sent alarm bells
ringing that Zanu PF might again lose the next elections unless it pulls out
all the stops to arrest internal strife and discontent.

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‘I’m the GNU stabilising factor’

December 14, 2012 in Politics

DEPUTY Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who is entangled in a drawn out
court battle with Welshman Ncube over the leadership of the smaller MDC
formation, says his record of rising above party politics makes his
political future bright irrespective of which party wins next year’s
critical elections.

Report by Elias Mambo

Mutambara said this in an exclusive interview with the Zimbabwe Independent
this week although he preferred to dwell on government issues only. He
however promised to talk on political issues including his fall-out with
Ncube next week.

Mutambara said he has been the stabilising factor and troubleshooter in the
shaky tripartite coalition government often characterised by open acrimony
among the parties, successfully operating above party politics for the good
of the country instead of scoring cheap political points.

“My approach has always been different from others because my focus is on
what is of national interest and I stay away from partisan aspirations and
personal agendas,” said Mutambara.

“I have been the glue that has kept government players together and focused.
Whenever there has been bickering which had elements of partisanship and
party posturing, I have managed to unlock value by bringing the players
together,” he said.

The robotics professor-cum-politician said he has often found himself in
troubled waters in the coalition government but has always managed to come
up with solutions aimed at benefiting the country.

Mutambara currently chairs the inter-ministerial taskforce established to
resolve the Save Conservancy crisis following the invasion and subsequent
partitioning of the country’s richest wildlife conservancy, the largest
private wildlife sanctuary in the world, by Zanu PF leaders and army

Mugabe has blasted the invasions saying they were motivated by “greed”. He
warned they could be damaging and costly to Zanu PF as it prepares for
elections next year.

“The Save Conservancy is work in progress and within the next two weeks we
will have a solution to the crisis,” Mutambara said.

Mutambara has also chaired the committee on the Chisumbanje ethanol project
in which Zanu PF and the MDC-T were involved in a turf war to control the

“I have managed to resolve these crises that cut across the political divide
because there is more that unites us as Zimbabweans than politics,” he said.

Mutambara stepped down as MDC leader by choosing not to stand for
re-election at the party’s congress in January last year where Ncube was
elected unopposed. He said then “the time has come to hand over the baton to
another individual”.
Mutambara later made a dramatic about turn and challenged the validity of
Ncube’s election claiming he had breached party procedures to ascend to the

Mutambara challenged Ncube’s election at the High Court in Bulawayo and lost
the case. He has since lodged an appeal which is pending at the Supreme

By appealing to the Supreme Court, Mutambara is accused of abusing the court
system to prolong his stay as deputy premier helped in no small measure by
President Robert Mugabe who is seen as using him as a political stick with
which to beat an increasingly vocal and aggressive Ncube.

Contrary to views that he is politically finished and has no legitimate
claim to the MDC presidency, Mutambara said he firmly believes he will ride
on the successes he has achieved in the inclusive government and still has a
role to play in rebuilding Zimbabwe.

“Besides that, we are in an inclusive government where there is competition
by cabinet ministers and party politics.

“My belief has always been that we stay above politics and suspend all our
differences for the duration of the coalition so that the GNU (government of
national unity) can deliver,” Mutambara said.

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Nkomo’s health triggers internal strife

December 14, 2012 in Politics

WHILE President Robert Mugabe emerged unscathed during last weekend’s Zanu
PF annual conference after suppressing the explosive succession debate which
had unexpectedly surfaced, a bruising battle for the vice-presidency
triggered by Vice President John Nkomo’s deteriorating health has erupted,
pitting the party’s heavyweights in Matabeleland region against each other.

Report by Owen Gagare

Nkomo — whose condition is said to be grave — has been ill for some time,
forcing him to miss important party and national events, including the
conference in Gweru. He started by scaling down and eventually stopped his
involvement in his hectic official duties as his condition moved from
serious but stable to critical, then extremely critical and now grave health

As a member of the Zanu PF presidium, Nkomo was supposed to play an
important role at the conference as part of the management committee — which
oversees the running of conferences — but he is now in a grave condition in
which only close family members are allowed to see him. Sources said Nkomo
was flown from South Africa last week where he was being treated so he could
“recuperate” at home.

However, when the Zimbabwe Independent visited Nkomo’s Milton Park residence
in Harare this week to check on his condition amid rumours of his death, the
paper was told he was in a grave condition and only close family members
could see him. There have been many unfounded rumours of his passing on of

While Nkomo is critically ill, his colleagues from Matabeleland are already
jostling to replace him before his death.
Although Zanu PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo is seen as the favourite to
succeed Nkomo if he retires as he is now incapacitated or dies, sources say
Mines minister Obert Mpofu’s growing influence in the region has also
brought him to the fore as possible successor.

Moyo and Mpofu, as well as Zanu PF politburo member and former Zapu chairman
Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu and former Zipra commander Ambrose Mutinhiri,
were involved in fierce political tussles around Nkomo’s rise to
vice-presidency after the death of Joseph Msika in 2009.

Now Moyo and Mpofu seem to be the ones slugging at each other over the

Mpofu, who calls himself “Mugabe’s ever-obedient son”, has never been a
favourite of most Zanu PF gurus from Matabeleland largely because he
floor-crossed to Zanu PF before the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987, and
is thus viewed as a “traitor”.

His biggest weapon, however, appears to be the grassroots support he enjoys
in the region, especially in Matabeleland North and Bulawayo where he has
used his resources to build a solid support base and endear himself to the

The Matabeleland turf war has been protracted, resulting in suspensions and
counter-suspensions of Bulawayo and Matabeleland North Zanu PF chairpersons,
until elections were held a week ahead of the party’s conference.

The elections somewhat confirmed Mpofu’s dominance after his allies swept to
power in a convincing win. In Matabeleland North, former Zanu PF District
Coordinating Committee chairman for Umguza, Richard Moyo, who is close to
Mpofu, won the provincial chairmanship by a crushing margin after defeating
Patrick Utete by 6 689 votes to 674. Khaya Moyo and Matabeleland North
governor Thokhozile Mathuthu were backing Utete.In Bulawayo another Mpofu
ally, Killian Sibanda also won the elections, putting the two provinces
under the minister’s control. Mpofu is said to be now working on a plan to
spread his influence to Matabeleland South where Khaya Moyo hails from.

In recent weeks Khaya Moyo and other senior officials from Matabeleland have
escalated their campaign to discredit and thwart Mpofu, who has been
attacking them saying they have alleging they no popular support.

At the Zanu PF conference last week, Khaya Moyo passionately denounced
corruption and urged the party to take action against individuals implicated
in corrupt deeds, in remarks seen as targeted at Mpofu.

“Entrepreneurs have been replaced by corruptepreneurs,” said Khaya Moyo.
“Where entrepreneurs have been replaced by corruptepreneurs, such conduct is
unacceptable. Such conduct must be curbed by all. It is my considered view
that once we deal with corruptepreneurs, we will succeed to indigenise,
empower and create employment.”

Mpofu, who has controversially built a vast business empire, insists he
acquired his wealth by legitimate means and allegations of corruption were
purveyed by his detractors. Mpofu also says Zanu PF officials from
Matabeleland without constituencies were the ones against him.

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Parastatals turning the corner — Moyo

December 14, 2012 in News

STATE Enterprises and Parastatals (SEPs) are slowly returning to
profitability after decades of loss-making mainly caused by mismanagement,
poor corporate governance and corruption, SEPs minister Gorden Moyo has

Report by Our Staff Writers

An internal report issued by Moyo last week and seen by the Zimbabwe
Independent reveals that seven SEPs had implemented various strategies and
policies which had improved their profitability and viability in 2011.

These are TelOne, NetOne, POSB, Zesa Holdings, Zimbabwe Power Company, Petro
Trade and the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe.

Several other SEPs showed signs of turning around as proved by reduced
levels of losses in 2011 compared to 2010.

“The SEPs which significantly reduced their losses during the period under
review include Agribank, which improved from a loss of US$8,1 million in
2010 to a loss of US$286 409 in 2011, and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB),
which improved from a loss of US$18,7 million in 2010 to a loss of US$6,2
million in 2011,” reads the report.

Capacity utilisation in some SEPs has increased from about 30% in 2009 up to
an estimated 60% due to economic improvement caused by political stability.

The Industrial Development Corporation, Agribank and Zupco realised
increased working capital after they accessed lines of credit in 2011.

However, most SEPs are still beset by multi-layered problems including
amplified liquidity challenges, undercapitalisation, debt overhang,
recurring power outages and lack of credit lines, as well as inadequate
funding for plant retooling and upgrades.

Moyo said his ministry was actively promoting good corporate governance in
SEPs through monitoring compliance to relevant Acts of parliament,
subsidiary legislation and the Corporate Governance Framework launched in
November 2010.
Under this framework, the ministry prepares two corporate governance
compliance reports up to June 30 and December 31 respectively.

Out of the 76 SEPs, only 30 submitted compliance reports for the first half
of 2012, giving a 39,5% response rate for the half-year period (January 1 to
June 30 2012). Last year 65,8% of SEPs complied with the bi-annual reporting

Moyo reported some line ministries have appointed boards for SEPs under
their portfolio, such as TelOne, National Railways of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe
Power Company.

He however lamented some SEPs including the Postal and Telecommunications
Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, Zimpost and the Traffic Safety Council of
Zimbabwe were operating without properly constituted boards.

The GMB has managed to hold its first annual general meeting in 81 years.

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Zanu PF must learn from SA counterpart

December 14, 2012 in Politics

ZANU PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo will lead his party’s delegation to the
African National Congress (ANC) elective conference which starts in
Bloemfontein, South Africa, tomorrow.

Report by Our Staff Writer

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed Khaya Moyo would lead the party’s
delegation but could not name other members of his entourage.

Although Zanu PF has been sending delegations to the ANC elective
conferences held every five years, party representatives appear to treat the
conferences as mere excursions as they have failed to use such invitations
to learn vital lessons on how leadership contests help revive and strengthen
the ANC.

President Robert Mugabe has led Zanu PF virtually unchallenged since he
manoeuvred his way to the top in 1977. Instead, the party’s provincial
structures have stampeded to endorse his leadership months ahead of all
party gatherings, including elective congresses. In contrast the ANC is a
dynamic party which allows any member in good standing to be nominated by
the party’s branch members for any leadership position.

South African President Jacob Zuma will be challenged by his deputy Kgalema
Motlanthe for the ANC presidency after he accepted nomination yesterday.

Zuma was nominated by six provinces to remain party leader while Motlanthe
has the backing of three provinces.

Whereas talk of leadership renewal in Zanu PF is taboo, several ANC branches
and national executive committee members have openly nominated Motlanthe to
challenge Zuma in open intra-party democracy that Zanu PF believes is alien
as long as Mugabe wishes to continue leading the party. Each of the ANC’s
over 4 000 branches make nominations for the party’s top six officials,
including the president and deputy, and 80 members of the national executive
committee as well as delegates to the conference. Voting is ultimately by
secret ballot conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission.

Motlanthe accepts ANC nomination

AFRICAN National Congress deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe yesterday
announced his intention to challenge party and South African President Jacob
Zuma at the party’s elective congress in Mangaung next week.

Motlanthe’s announcement ended months of speculation over what course of
action he would take after being nominated by the party’s youth league,
although indications are that he is unlikely to win.

South Africa’s media has been awash with reports Zuma is heading for a
comfortable victory on the basis of votes taken by a show of hands in ANC
branches around the country.

Motlanthe is not even likely to retain his post as deputy president after
former ANC secretary-general Cyril Ramaphosa emerged the leading contender
in the provincial nominations.

Zuma registered strong support in provinces like KwaZulu-Natal, which has by
far the most conference delegates, as well as Mpumalanga, North West, Free
State, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape. All in all he has 2 521 branch
nominations and Motlanthe a paltry 863.

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Freda Rebecca gold production up 66%

December 14, 2012 in News

Freda Rebecca gold production in the six months to September increased 66%
to 36 335 ounces leading to revenue of US$59,6 million from US$36 million.

Report By Staff Reporter

In a statement accompanying the interim results, parent company Mwana Africa
said operations at Freda Rebecca Gold Mine have performed well throughout
the period with the current annualised rate of gold production now standing
at 72 000oz.

“At these production levels, the current gold resource will support a mine
life in excess of 10 years,” said the group.

The group said there had been an increase in milled tonnage, head grade and
recoveries whole cash costs had been reduced to below US$800 per ounce
resulting in improved margins.

Freda Rebecca Gold Mine in Zimbabwe restarted operations in 2009.

In the year to March 2012, Freda Rebecca produced 47 770oz of gold.

Average monthly production for the six-month period was 6 055oz of gold, and
the highest level of gold production achieved in a single month was in
August when 7 242oz of gold was produced. Recoveries improved to 82%.

On Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC), Mwana Africa said following the success
of the rights issue, work commenced on the restart programme at Trojan
Nickel Mine.

The work focused on the mobilisation of the workforce, the commencement of
underground operations and the refurbishment of certain components of the
milling, flotation and concentrate handling facilities.

BNC is planning to ramp up to a production rate of 7 000 tonnes per annum of
nickel concentrate, with first concentrate expected in the second quarter of
2013. Nickel concentrate will be sold to Glencore International.

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Avoid over-reliance on natural resources: Expert

December 14, 2012 in Business

ZIMBABWE must avoid over-reliance on its natural resources and instead
leverage on them to grow alternative forms of capital and become a
sustainable economy in the long-run, a top think-tank said.

Report By Taurai Mangudhla

Alan Gelb, a fellow of the Centre for Global Development (CGD), said the
drive can however not be achieved without political and institutional
consensus, which has proved to be a major challenge in other economies.

Resource-based economies, he argued, faced a lot of uncertainty as market
fluctuations expose producers to huge revenue and trade shocks.

“Who would have thought crude oil prices could fall to US$34 per barrel from
as high as US$100,” said Gelb in his keynote presentation at a World Bank
and Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit High-Level Technical
Dialogue on Zimbabwe Growth Recovery forum this week.

“If you want to be rich you need more than just natural resources or natural
capital. You must move to produced and intangible capital. When countries
are poor, they have mostly natural capital and they move to produced and
intangible capital as they get richer.”

Currently, mining is Zimbabwe’s major economic driver, contributing 12% of
fiscal revenue in 2011, excluding diamond proceeds, and is expected to
contribute up to 25% of income in 2012.

Latest Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe production figures as at the end of
October 2012 show the country’s mineral production in the 10 months to
October amounted to US$1,6 billion spurred by gold production.

To diversify the economy meaningfully, Gelb said government should reduce
the cost of doing business in non-resource-based sectors like manufacturing
and spur productivity through other measures like local procurement

“The country should also use infrastructure created for the resource-based
sectors to support non-resource-based sectors,” he said. “They should also
build human capital, improve the business environment and reduce costs.”

According to World Bank notes on Zimbabwe growth recovery in mining, the
extractive sector is expected to grow in the next five years with the value
of production anticipated to increase by 293% by 2018, exports by 287% and
fiscal revenues by 344%.

The World Bank said results show the expected increase in production between
now and 2018 would be significant under the current mining policy, mineral
fiscal regime and state infrastructure, but there is need for
rationalisation of the tax regime and ownership policy with respect to
indigenisation to attain mining growth in the long-run.

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Mobile phone money services on the rise

December 14, 2012 in Business

CASHLESS trading is fast becoming a reality in Zimbabwe as banks and mobile
network operators scramble to set up partnerships offering a variety of
mobile money transfer services.

Report by Taurayi Mangudhla

The moves, which dovetail with government’s initiative to encourage use of
alternative forms of money, have seen the rapid proliferation of mobile
money services.

In the 2013 National Budget Statement, Finance minister Tendai Biti said
banks should issue mandatory debit cards without application to encourage
use of plastic money.

He said his department would also commit resources towards promoting use of
e-banking platforms through point of sale (POS) facilities.

However, card-based systems tend to cost banks more as they have to invest
in extensive infrastructure such as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and POS
which read the cards before accepting card-based transactions.

Some banks have introduced innovations where customers can effect cardless
withdrawals from ATMs using the cellphone-based technologies.

With most of Zimbabwe’s estimated 14 million people currently in the
unbanked bracket and government failing to solve the small change crisis
emanating from the adoption of a multiple currency regime in 2009, experts
say mobile money transfer services offer an ideal solution.

A FinScope survey launched in May 2012 revealed only 38% of Zimbabweans are
served by formal financial institutions while 40% of the population is
financially excluded from both the formal and informal financial products or

The survey indicates only 24% of the other population have access to a bank
account, 27% of the adult population keep their savings at home instead of
using formal financial savings products, 51% of the rural adult population
is financially excluded.

The appetite for mobile money is huge in the country with, most of the
population having access to mobile phone services.

Latest figures show the country’s three mobile networks-Econet Wireless
(Econet), NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe (Telecel)- have a combined 10,5
million subscribers, whilst mobile penetration is now estimated at over 70%.

Earlier this week, Econet integrated its 45% owned TN Bank on its mobile
money transfer facility, Ecocash, a week after unveiling CBZ Holdings as the
first of five top banks the mobile phone company will be connecting with
directly to grow the mobile money service.

The move, Econet CEO Douglas Mboweni said, would see EcoCash becoming a
financial service and not just a mobile money transfer service as EcoCash
registered banks’ account holders would be able to transfer money from their
bank accounts to their EcoCash wallets and vice versa.

“Anyone with a bank account does not need to go to an EcoCash agent anymore
to put money into their EcoCash account, and they do not have to wait for
banking hours to move their money,” said Mboweni.

In addition, depositors can also check their accounts, get statements and
transfer money using their cell phones. They can also make payments using
their bank accounts and withdraw cash at any time of the day.

CBZ Holdings said the move was a major step in bringing convenience to both
the banking public and the unbanked in the pursuit of a cashless economy.

“This partnership allows existing bank account holders to easily make
payments from their accounts through EcoCash to beneficiaries of their
choice without visiting banking halls. Non account holders who were only
using EcoCash to collect cash should now be able to make payments to any
beneficiary bank accounts without having to collect cash,” said CBZ Holdings
CE John Mangudya.

Since it was launched in August 2011, Ecocash has 1,8 million subscribers
and has handled funds worth US$300 million in the first year of operation.

The amount is expected to exceed US$1billion in the second year on various
initiatives that include partnering with banks and developing new products
like the Ecocash commuter, which is used by commuters to pay their public
transport fares.

Econet’s move comes after Telecel abandoned its Skwama product, a mobile
money transfer service it launched in 2011, for a broader product connection
on ZimSwitch.

ZimSwitch, a Zimbabwean third party transaction acquiring business operated
by Uniswitch, is connected to almost 20 of the local banks.

NetOne also has its mobile banking facility, branded OneWallet, principally
for money transfer service, airtime top-up and utility bill payments.

The mobile money transfer facilities are common with the rural population
who have no access to banks, but are near shopping centers where some
retailers are Ecocash agents or have POS machines.

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Eric Bloch: Policy shift key to economic recovery

December 14, 2012 in Opinion

ZIMBABWE has irrefutable potential to have a thriving economy of such
magnitude that poverty amongst its populace would be virtually non-existent.

Column By Eric Bloch

It could have one of the most vibrant economies in Africa, with employment
for almost all desirous of income-generating work, and nationwide economic

The desired economy would be devoid of national debt, have a recurrent
favourable balance of trade, fiscal inflows more than sufficient to assure
continuous provision of essential services by government including health,
education, provision of utilities, maintenance and enhancement of
infrastructure and much else).

The ability of Zimbabwe to create and develop such an economy is
indisputable because of the magnitude and diverse nature of its resources.
There is tremendous wealth of mineral resources including gold, platinum,
diamonds, lithium, chrome, tantalite, coal, methane gas and much more in

Although the country has a significant and growing mining sector, the extent
of its production is a fraction of that which it could be.

In addition to the minerals is land of long-proven immense production
potential of different agricultural products, with burgeoning outputs
throughout the twentieth century.

Sadly, production has fallen instead of increasing. The country also has
exceptional tourism sector potential, being vested with a remarkable array
of spectacular attractions.

Although currently withered and derelict, Zimbabwe manufacturing sector was
extremely buoyant, producing a wide variety of products for the local and
export markets.

Given the right national policies and effective recovery measures, industry
can not only be revitalised to its former levels but also develop to even
greater levels.

And, despite the magnitude of the “brain drain” of able Zimbabweans to
neighbouring territories and further afield, there are still many with
considerable skills and aspirations which can be used productively.

However, not only is very little of this massive potential being realised,
but the economy endlessly limps along, with more and more becoming
unemployed and increasingly poverty-stricken.

Government (or, more correctly, elements of the political hierarchy) would
have one believe that the cause of the long economic morass is the
imposition of so-called “illegal international sanctions”.

This seeks to mislead the populace and divert recognition from reality that
the pre-inclusive government political leaders continue to pursue
destructive economic policies which not only preclude the economy’s
recovery, but also worsen the country’s economic circumstances.

The impediments to economic recovery and growth include immense deterrents
to achieving investment which is a prerequisite to recovery. If economic
wellbeing is to be restored and enhanced, both domestic and foreign direct
investment is crucial.

That investment triggers off employment creation, generates export
enhancement and import substitution, is the source of substantial downstream
economic activity, and increased revenue inflows to the Fiscus.

This heightens gross domestic product.

Of the many deterrents to investment foremost are Zimbabwe’s disastrous
policies of indigenisation and economic empowerment. None can deny there is
a critical need for participation in the economy by indigenous Zimbabweans,
and for an overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans to be meaningfully,
economically empowered.

But Zimbabwe has sought to achieve this in a deleterious manner, triggering
the collapse of many enterprises while creating yet another deterrent to
investment necessary to stimulate and facilitate economic wellbeing.

Almost all investors demand investment has substantial security.

When an investor is confronted with a statutory requirement that after
injecting the necessary capital resources and operational funding into the
investment venture, and often also effecting technology transfer and of
diverse proprietary rights (such as usage of patents and trademarks), as
well as releasing access to the investor’s markets, a majority of the
venture’s equity must be vested in indigenous individuals or entities, the
investor is confronted with massive potential loss of investment security.

Moreover, that loss is often accompanied by limited expectation of equitable
compensation for the enforced disinvestment. This has been so since 2008.

Zimbabwe’s legislation has prescribed a minimum for indigenous ownership of
enterprises of 51%. Since that legislation was foolhardily promulgated,
investment in the Zimbabwean economy has dwindled to minuscule levels.

As if sufficient harm to attracting investment had not been done by the
ill-considered and damaging legislation, that harm has been progressively
intensified by dogmatic and authoritarian statements, threats and
enforcement actions directed by government at the mining and financial
sectors, as well as at multinationals and other enterprises avariciously
sought after by those who are well-connected politically.

But instead of learning from the tragic experiences of the past five years
or so, some of the senior political leaders have been more and more
vociferous in demanding intensification and acceleration of the
indigenisation programme.

Last week the discouragement of investment was increased multifold. Speaking
at the Zanu PF annual congress in Gweru, President Robert Mugabe is reported
to have stated 51% indigenisation of the nation’s enterprises did not
suffice, and that the indigenisation level should be 100%.

That was effectively a blatant statement that non-indigenous investment is
unacceptable, and has driven yet another nail in the economic recovery

That statement, if correctly reported, is even more damaging to Zimbabwe’s
contemptuous disregard for property rights.

Until there are major policy transformations and a complete metamorphosis,
economic recovery will remain mere wishful thinking, while intensified
decline is assured.

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Zimbabwe Military needs to be restrained

December 14, 2012 in Opinion

ZIMBABWE’S treacherous political transition to a possible democratic
dispensation has so far shown that no institution matters the most to the
Zanu PF regime’s survival than the military and therefore the
democratisation process cannot succeed without a positive role played by the
security establishment.

Report By Pedzisai Ruhanya

This is not to blindly suggest the military’s role alone is sufficient to
make a successful transition to democracy in Zimbabwe because there are
social, economic and political factors and unforeseen events that can
influence how a democratic shift unravels.

However, the decisive involvement of the military in Zimbabwe’s political
and electoral affairs in the past elections in 2000, 2002 and 2008 makes
cogent the role of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and other security
institutions, including the police, intelligence services and prison
service, is critical in the process leading to democratic transition and
power transfer.

The recent annual Zanu PF conference in Gweru shows the party’s membership
has declined in Masvingo and Matabeleland provinces, while in regions like
Mashonaland Central province, the party is disorganised.

This suggests that without the support of the security apparatus it is not
possible for Zanu PF to retain power.

Given this apparent decline in Zanu PF support across the country, by its
own admission, it is imperative to closely and critically scrutinise, as
well as interrogate what determines the support of the military for
President Robert Mugabe’s regime and why the soldiers are propping up Zanu
PF’s political elite.

Like any other huge organisation, the military has institutional interests
to protect and advance.

In this regard, the military’s move to back Zanu PF in electoral and
political administration of the state or not, support for the democratic
contingent or decision to stay neutral and respect the will of the people
will depend on several issues that should be diagnosed, while putting proper
solutions in place ahead of crucial elections next year.

As has been witnessed in the Arab spring upheavals, a number of internal and
external factors shape and determine the military’s response to the
democratic aspirations of the population.

Questions such as how legitimate are the regimes in the eyes of the soldiers
and top military commanders as well as those of the general populace?

How does the military relate to the state and civil society?

Is there consensus within the rank and file of the military to support the
regime and do the military and the security services have blood on their

Answering these questions will give some ideas on why the military in
Zimbabwe side with Mugabe’s regime, not the people.

In general, the stronger a regime’s record of satisfying political and
socio-economic demands, the more likely the armed forces will prop up the

This is a critical aspect of the relationship between the top military brass
with the political elite in Zimbabwe.

Through an elaborate patronage system established to reward partisan senior
military commanders and keep them loyal to Zanu PF and Mugabe, the military
has increasingly played a central role in directing production and
controlling ownership of the means of production.

The military, through political patronage, has also become a significant
part of the domestic bourgeoisie and many top commanders have teamed up with
politicians and businesspeople to form political and economic interest
groups venturing into lucrative businesses such as farming, platinum,
diamond and gold mining as well as running a number state-owned enterprises.

A state that pays its senior army officers generously, as Zanu PF has done
through the involvement of the military in economic affairs, will be better
placed to receive their enthusiastic protection.

Top army commanders from 2000, when Zanu PF lost its grassroots support to
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have been openly campaigning for
Mugabe and his party, in many instances abusing human rights in the process.

The soldiers have on several occasions pronounced they will not respect any
victory other than that of Mugabe, thereby pre-determining electoral
outcomes in flagrant violation of domestic and international conduct
expected of professional armies; besides breaching the constitution and the
law. There is clear cohesion between top army officers and regime elites
based on their economic interests which they protect by maintaining and
promoting the status quo.

The military has been accused of human rights violations as they prop up the
Zanu PF regime in past elections as was seen during the sham June 2008
presidential election run-off when the army was part of the election
campaign for Mugabe which ultimately became a political onslaught on civil
and political liberties of opponents.

An army that has a record of extensive human rights violations is more
likely to shamelessly stick with a norm-violating regime than support the
democratic contingent.

These are the issues that should necessitate behind-the-scenes negotiations
with the military to persuade them to remain professional.

A clear fear of possible prosecution in a new democratic dispensation will
make some military elements continue to abuse human rights in the next
elections in order to maintain the status quo that will guarantee them

Like in any situation where the military sides with a political
dictatorship, the key external variables are the threats of foreign
intervention, the impact of widespread democratic diffusion that can lead to
a revolution and the type and degree of education or training that military
officers may have received abroad.

If the army in Zimbabwe realises a real possibility there will be both
regional and international intervention in the event they blatantly subvert
the sovereign democratic will of the people either through a violent
electoral process or a blockade of a democratic transition, it will soften
its stance and abandon the political cabal clinging to power through
illegitimate methods.

As the country prepares for elections in 2013, partisan military generals’
decision to support continued violation of human rights and subversion of
the democratic process on behalf of their political handler, Zanu PF, will
be largely affected by their calculations on whether foreign powers might
intervene to back the democratic contingent or not.

It is therefore critical to continue advocacy work among Sadc and AU-member
states, showing empirical evidence of the interference of the military in
the electoral and political affairs of Zimbabwe ahead of elections next

Ruhanya is a PhD candidate and director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute.

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Let’s gradually promote locally-produced goods

December 14, 2012 in Opinion

FIGURES from the 2013 budget recently presented by Finance minister Tendai
Biti show the country’s import bill for the period January to October 2012
totalled US$6,5 billion compared to exports of US$3,09 billion for the same

Report ByPeter Gambara

The import bill is projected to grow to US$8,5 billion, while exports would
go up to US$5,5 billion in 2013, resulting in a negative current account
balance of US$3 billion.

OK Zimbabwe’s chief operating officer Albert Katsande acknowledged his
supermarket business is importing 65% of the goods on their shelves.

A few weeks ago the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries survey showed that
capacity utilisation in industry has gone down from an average 57,2% to
44,5% over the past year.

It is not a secret that Zimbabwean companies declined to near-collapse or
closed during the hyperinflation period leading to 2008, and by the time
dollarisation was eventually introduced in February 2009, most of them had
crumbled and had to start afresh.

Capacity utilisation eventually improved from lows of 10-30% in 2009 to over
50% in 2011. However, we seem to be on a downward trend once again.

Coming from that hyperinflation environment, it made sense to simply import
almost everything as our shelves were completely empty then.

Those supermarkets that could easily import goods from South Africa like
Spar quickly established themselves at the expense of the traditional ones
like OK and TM.

However, it would look like our supermarkets have failed to adjust since
then; they seem to go the easy route, just importing everything at grave
consequences to local industry.

Having recovered from that difficult period, companies should deliberately
promote local products at the expense of imports.

We need to support the resuscitation of local industry by preferring local
products to imported ones.

How do we expect capacity utilisation in our local industry to go up when
65% of products in supermarkets are imported? We need to abandon the
business as usual approach and adopt a paradigm shift for the good of our

We can learn a few tricks from the Chinese. They have managed to grow their
economy to the second largest in the world because they are selfish and it
has helped them.

They manufacture almost everything, their own cellphone handsets, tractors,
vehicles, clothing, you name it, but they always try to have a Chinese
version of it.

We mock their products as “Zhing Zhong”, but look at what is happening to
their economy as they support their products religiously. Supermarkets can
start by reducing imported goods in their shelves to at most 50%.

They can also try to promote local products by adopting differential mark-
ups for local products, for instance where they were applying a uniform
mark-up of say 15%, they could lower the mark-up on local products to 10%
and increase the mark -up on imported goods to 20%.

They can also deliberately import less of those goods that are made locally,
for example cooking oil, soaps, margarine etc.

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa was right when he recently pointed out
that the Meikles/Pick n’ Pay partnership is a real slap in the face for
locals. Visit TM Westgate and see how the current changeover to Pick n’ Pay
has resulted in local goods being substituted by imports which now account
for over 90% of the produces in the store. Only fresh vegetables and
confectionaries are still local.

Our own shopping is another way through which we are shooting ourselves in
the foot.

How many of us will choose to buy a Zimbabwean product when faced with an
option of same-priced imports.

I have had numerous wars with my wife when we go shopping together because
when I try to persuade her to buy a Zimbabwean product even if it cost a few
more cents she has always argues that if she adds up those few cents, she
might end up buying something extra.

I am sure a lot of shoppers think the same way, but by doing so you are
denying a Zimbabwean colleague a job as many companies continue to close
down due to dampened demand for local products.

It is therefore welcome Finance minister Biti is imposing a 25% surtax on
soaps, meat products, beverages, dairy products and cooking oil, in addition
to imposing a US$1,50 per kg or 40% customs duty on imported chicken.

We hope this will take away the price advantage that imported goods have
over locally-produced ones.

Many people lamented Biti could not allocate enough resources to the various
demands presented to him but I tend to agree with the chairman of the budget
portfolio committee Paddy Zhanda who said we should aim to have a US$10
billion budget before we can seriously talk of allocating adequate resources
to different sectors and ministries.

However, we can only reach that US$10 billion budget if we start now by
choosing to support our own Zimbabwean products.

The more products that our companies produce, the more profitable they would
become, hence the more tax revenues to the fiscus. As these companies
prosper, they will employ more people and pay their workers good salaries
which mean more buying power for the workers and hence more demand for the
goods in the supermarkets.

The workers will also pay more taxes on their salaries and VAT on the goods
they buy, once more resulting in more revenue accruing to Treasury.

Biti also highlighted during the last budget that most of these imported
goods are escaping the net at the ports of entry and are not paying the
customs duty, hence depriving the state of much-needed resources.

Zimra officials are just too comfortable, the department keeps a certain
percentage of the monies that they collect and therefore can afford to pay
very good salaries to their staff.

We need a wakeup call at Zimra.

One area Biti needs to exercise his mind over his promise to deepen and
widen the revenue base is the informal sector. He should seriously engage
Zimra in trying to collect taxes from that sector.

It is very clear that our industries that create jobs are not expanding.
Limiting exports will help local industry recover and create jobs.

Peter Gambara is an agricultural economist and agricultural consultant with
AgriExpert, a consultancy firm. He writes in his personal capacity. His
email address is

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Land not the economy

December 14, 2012 in Opinion

PROGRESSIVE nations are beginning to employ strategic human resources (HR)
concepts to address perculiar national challenges.


A case in point is the government of Singapore who happen to be a member of
a highly respected strategic HR institute. Singapore has a very low
fertility rate of 1.1, which is below the population replacement rate of
2.1. Human capital, being Singapore’s chief national resource, a fertility
rate persistently below the replacement rate threatens to reverse Singapore’s
hard-won economic gains.

Under these circumstances immigration would have to be a key national policy
priority. Accelerated immigration would bring with it the potential
challenges of a society fragmented around national origins, language and
religious persuasion — possibly leading to the development of an enclave
culture fanning social tensions. The question before the leaders of this
nation-state was how to address the twin challenges of future human capital
shortages and a potentially unstable social structure. Multiculturalism was
the answer. To this end, Singapore crafted a deliberate national housing
policy requiring neighbourhoods and housing blocks to reflect

Land not the economy
What Singapore lacks, Zimbabwe has in abundance — minerals and land. That
which Singapore has, a strong human capital base, Zimbabwe has too. Sadly,
the irony is, Singapore with a population size of 5,2 million produces a
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about US$250 billion. That’s an astonishing
per capita GDP of close to US$50 000. Contrast that with Zimbabwe — 12
million or so people produce about US$9 billion of GDP (honestly speaking,
no one seems to have an authoritative knowledge of the real figure) — and
this with abundant mineral resources and land.

Singapore’s case clearly demonstrates that land is not always the economy.
Abundant natural resources do not always translate to economic prosperity.
In fact, history has shown that nations with scarcity of natural resources
have been spurred to come up with innovations that have created globally
competitive industries.

Put differently, many nations have turned natural resource scarcity into a
competitive advantage. Britain has some of the world’s top quality clays for
ceramic tiles. However, Italy not Britain is the world’s top producer of top
quality ceramic tiles though Italy does not have high quality clays.
Physical space constraints in Japan have led the Japanese to develop
miniature technologies for everyday home life. That expertise inspired many
Japanese innovations such as Just in Time (JIT) manufacturing systems.

In contrast, other nations where physical space constraint is not an issue
were using Just In Case systems, leading to relatively higher manufacturing
costs. Another famous Japanese innovation was the compact car which not only
economised on space but was also fuel-efficient and more affordable than the
traditional big and fuel-guzzling Western car models. A national physical
resource challenge supercharged Japan’s economic progress and set its
long-time world dominance in electronic and vehicle exports.

Ideas are the economy
We need a decided paradigm shift in Zimbabwe that interrogates the economic
Let us imagine a Zimbabwe without diamonds, gold, platinum and other mineral
deposits. Compound that picture and imagine a Zimbabwe without its rich
wildlife. Let’s further complicate that scenario and imagine a Zimbabwe with
rich agricultural land but with a dry climate. We now have a future
imaginary Zimbabwe devoid of its current economic base.

Under these imagined circumstances land ceases to be the economy. What
would we do as a nation when land ceases to be the economy? What sort of
economic agenda would we craft? What sort of a future Medium Term Policy
would Economic Planning minister Tapiwa Mashakada craft? What sort of a
national budget would a future Minister of Finance come up with? What kind
of content would go into a 30-year economic vision such as the current
US$100 billion economy by 2040? Put differently, how will the pillars of
the current Vision 2040 of a US$100 billion economy change if the imaginary
future circumstances we have highlighted became a reality today?

The answer to these questions is that the thrust, content and assumptions
going into our key economic policies will be radically different.

This kind of approach rescues us from the curse of resource-abundance in
which natural resource advantage fails to translate into economic prosperity
and improved living standards.

Imagine the possibilities, for instance, what sort of technologies would we
develop to take advantage of rich agricultural resources constrained by an
imaginary dry climate? One foresees benchmark breakthroughs in science and
technology as a result of our heightened need to guarantee food security
which will result in unique expertise. We could develop a cluster of related
industries leveraging on this core expertise. These related industries could
develop into global exporters. Now extend this kind of thinking to
addressing possible day-to-day constraints people would face as a result of
our imagined national constraints.

In general, this kind of thinking is lacking in our nation.

Land and ideas the economy
Having adopted an ideas-is-the-economy approach, the next step is to then
leverage on the abundance of our natural resources. We then need to imagine
future global social, political and environmental scenarios that will impact
on the world economy. For these scenarios, we then seek how to position our
nation’s natural resources to develop solutions to future global challenges.

If we fail to see the future ahead of time, other nations will develop the
knowledge and expertise necessary to spur future economic growth. As has
been the case in the past, these nations will come to us for our natural

Chulu is a strategic HR consultant who has consulted to listed and unlisted

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