Thursday, 17 December 2009 20:23
ZANU PF has refused to dismantle the Joint Operations Command (JOC), a state
security organisation that was reportedly behind the bloody presidential
run-off poll last year that retained President Robert Mugabe in power.
This comes as the MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai is demanding that
two keys ministries — Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs — be re-allocated to
his party in the ongoing talks to resolve outstanding issues of the global
political agreement (GPA), further widening cracks in the inclusive
While the negotiating teams from Zanu PF and the MDC formations have made
concessions on a number of issues to do with the media, external radio
stations, a land audit, tenure systems, electoral vacancies and external
interference, disagreements on critical issues that caused the deadlock
The negotiating teams led by Zanu PF’s Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche,
MDC-T’s Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma, MDC-M’s Welshman Ncube and Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, have failed to agree on the key appointments of
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana.
They have also disagreed over the swearing-in of deputy Agriculture
minister-designate Roy Bennett, appointments of provincial governors and on
Tsvangirai chairing cabinet in the absence of Mugabe.
In addition there are also new areas of potential contestation in the new
year, such as the re-allocation of the two key-ministries.
According to a report from the negotiators to the Sadc Dialogue Facilitation
team and the principals of the GPA, which is in the possession of the
Zimbabwe Independent, the MDC-T wanted JOC to be dismantled now that there
was a National Security Council in place.
The facilitation team was appointed by the new negotiations facilitator,
South African President Jacob Zuma, and is made up of his political adviser
Charles Nqakula, special envoy Mac Maharaj, and the president’s
international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu. The report was handed to Zuma.
JOC is made up of army commanders, Central Intelligence Organisation
directors, police and prisons commissioners.
“Zanu PF expressed the contrary view that JOC only dealt with operational
issues whilst the National Security Council dealt with policy issues,” the
report said. “The MDC-T also raised, on the subject of security reform, the
existence of a formalised and legalised intelligence agency covered under an
Act of Parliament.”
It was agreed that members of the negotiating team, who were members of the
National Security Council, should raise the issues at their meetings.
JOC has been accused of master-minding the wave of brutal violence that
engulfed Zimbabwe after Mugabe lost the March 29 2008 presidential election
to Tsvangirai. The strategy was to ensure that Mugabe is re-elected on June
27’s presidential run-off at any cost.
The MDC-T claimed that at least 200 of its supporters died during that
period, while thousands of others were tortured, injured and displaced. The
defence forces have always maintained that they were not responsible for the
violence and deaths.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Constantine Chiwenga, Police
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Commissioner of Prisons Paradzai
Zimondi are on record as saying they would never salute a president other
than Mugabe, least of all one who did not participate in the war of
On the review of ministerial allocations, which was supposed to have been
done in August, the report said MDC-T wanted the ministries of Foreign
Affairs and Home Affairs to be re-allocated to the party.
Currently, the Ministry of Home Affairs is co-ministered by Kembo Mohadi of
Zanu PF and Gile Mutsekwa of MDC-T.
“In respect to Home Affairs, it is their (MDC-T) view that the
co-ministering is not working as exemplified by the breakdown of relations
between the two-co-ministers,” says the report. “They propose that Foreign
Affairs be re-allocated to them and that in return Zanu PF should be
re-allocated the Ministry of Public Service.”
MDC-T also wants the current co-minister of Home Affairs from Zanu PF to be
appointed a Minister of State.
As an alternative, it suggested that Home Affairs could be split into two
ministries, one being ministry for the police and the other encompassing all
the non-security aspects in the ministry such as immigration.
Contrary, Zanu PF felt that the co-ministering was working well and the
current discord was a deliberate ploy to create the false impression that
all was not well.
The matter was not resolved with Zanu PF negotiators arguing that it had no
mandate to discuss a general ministerial review.
Turning to the role and funding of non-governmental organisations, Zanu PF
argued that they were aligned to one political party, thereby affecting the
political playing field.
They want transparency in respect to funds being channelled to NGOs, in
terms of both the amounts and the recipients.
MDC-T denied that NGOs in Zimbabwe were acting for and on its behalf.
The negotiators then resolved that all funding and assistance to Zimbabwe
from NGOs be channelled through the government, which should have the right
of determining where resources were to be channelled.
The negotiators failed to agree on the mode of communication among
principals, with MDC-T saying Tsvangirai should have direct access to Mugabe
by telephone rather than the current situation in which the premier could
only access the president through his assistant.
It was then agreed that Zanu PF would consult on the matter.
On Tsvangirai’s transport arrangements, which MDC-T said was inadequate;
Zanu PF negotiators indicated that they would have to consult their party
first as the matter raised protocol issues, which include the question of
what arrangements existed for the two vice presidents.
On the appointment of governors, it was agreed that MDC-M gets a post, while
either Zanu PF or MDC-T gets five and four plus a minister of state. The
question of who between Zanu PF and MDC-T get four and the minister of state
post had to be referred to the principals for discussion in February next
On sanctions, it was agreed that the re-engagement committee set up by
cabinet be convened as a matter of urgency to deal with issues like the
work-plan, with time lines in respect of engaging the European Union, the
United States, the Commonwealth and multi-lateral financial institutions.
The principals are expected to meet next week and issue a statement at a
press conference restating commitment to the GPA and calling for the removal
On the media, all parties agreed that the Broadcasting Services Authority be
set up to immediately process and finalise all applications for broadcasting
licences that are pending and to immediately produce and flight adverts in
the national media inviting interested parties to make applications for
On the Zimbabwe Media Commission it was agreed that it be sworn in and be
directed to immediately process all applications for media licences that are
pending and call upon interested parties to make applications for newspaper
On external radio stations, they agreed to formally request Sadc to prevail
on governments of Botswana and Madagascar to terminate its facilitation of
the external broadcast to Zimbabwe.
The negotiators also agreed to convert ZBC into a public broadcaster with an
independent board appointed by the president from a list given to him by the
Standing Rules and Orders Committee of Parliament.
While they agreed on the land audit, the negotiators disagreed on how to
implement the policy of compensation on improvements made on farms acquired.
On by-elections, the three parties agreed to extend the agreement not to
contest each other in any by-election to cover the entire lifetime or
duration of the inclusive government.
On Tsvangirai chairing cabinet, Zanu PF argued that in the absence of the
president, one of the vice presidents who would be acting should chair
cabinet, not the premier.
They also did not agree on the cabinet and council of ministers rules,
ministerial mandates, parallel government and on who should determine
The matter referring to the role and position of permanent secretary of
Media, Information and Publicity George Charamba was deferred, with the
MDC-T saying it was not proper or acceptable that a presidential
spokesperson be a permanent secretary in the ministry. Zanu PF saw no
problem with the permanent secretary speaking for the president in his
governmental capacity and also in his capacity as leader of a political
The negotiators also agreed that the Constitutional Amendment No.19 be
gazetted as passed by parliament in December, which had 18 more pages than
the one gazetted on February 13.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 20:17
NUANETSI Ranch which is being developed under the stewardship of
controversial businessman Billy Rautenbach has become the site of a serious
turf war between various interests in Zanu PF.
The various groups are locked in a fight for a strategic position in the
huge capital venture in Masvingo province's Mwenezi District.
Party stalwarts have seen opportunities for self-enrichment in the over 350
000-ha ranch which is owned by the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ).
The DTZ has got into bed with a consortium of mainly white farmers,
Cutstart, to form Zimbabwe Bio-Energy (ZBE). The company has started to
implement massive agro-investments on the land.
DTZ which was formed by Vice-President Joshua Nkomo in 1989has over the
years failed to derive benefits from the project largely due to lack of
capital investment. The coming of the new investors led by Rautenbach has
given the ranch a new lease of life but it has now created ructions in the
DTZ was formed as a not-for-profit organisation but its newfound marriage to
Cutstart changes this status. It is now big business.
Rautenbach is said to have become an eminent sponsor of Zanu PF activities
and competing forces in the fractious Zanu PF are locked in a fight for
those resources. His spokesperson however denies this assertion.
Rautenbach has interests in mining, farming and the transport sector. His
close ties with the Zanu PF presidium have made everything political he
touches turn into gold. Since the takeover of the control of the estate by
ZBE last year, the project has been linked to President Mugabe and Defence
minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. ZBE managing director Paul Smith in an
interview this week rebutted this.
"That is not true at all," said Smith. "The shareholding register at the
company registration offices is open for anyone to inspect. Zimbabwe Bio
Energy is owned in partnership by DTZ who have contributed land, and
Cutstart is the capital investor."
He added: "We want to keep our neutrality so that we are not attacked by
anyone group.My job as managing director is to ensure that we move forward
as quickly as we can without any favour or bias towards any group."
Smith said Rautenbach had since resigned from the ZBE board. He said
Rautenbach resigned from the ZBE board last year when he was put on the US
and European sanctions lists as he felt that his presence in ZBE would
jeopardise the project. Smith however acknowledged the influence that
Rautenbach played in pushing for the approval of the tie-up by senior
politicians including President Mugabe, Msika and VP Joice Mujuru.
"We were looking for a piece of land which did not have issues, land that
was not in dispute," said Smith. "At the same time Mr Rautenbach had been
able to see VP Msika to unlock the land."
The departure of Rautenbach has remained academic though. He has generally
remained the face of the project and the centre of contestation.
On the issue of who would benefit from the profits Smith said this was up to
"When we declare a dividend, the money goes to DTZ and it's up to them to
decide what to do," said Smith. "But we have already started to develop
communities on the ground. We believe the trust will take care of that."
President Mugabe is the patron of DTZ while new Vice-President John Nkomo
has succeeded the late VP Joseph Msika in the chair. The most senior Zanu PF
member from the former PF Zanu holds the DTZ chair.
There is another feature of the fight over the ranch; archaic regional
politics pitting the Ndebele and the Karangas. DTZ resident director Charles
Madonko in an interview last week aptly surmised the problem at Nuanetsi
when he - quoting the late Msika's view on the purchase of the farm - said
"good project but wrong province".
The dispute over the project is fomenting on two platforms. There is the
Masvingo /Matabeleland struggle and then there is the intra-province duel in
Masvingo pitting the so-called Hungwe and Mavhaire factions.
There is fierce contestation between Masvingo province and DTZ over the land
in Nuanetsi. The political leadership in Masvingo contends the estate should
be used to benefit the people of the province.
For a long time ranchers from the province were grazing their cattle on the
estate free of charge. Smith said the new developers had to seek the
assistance of Msika to drive out the "grazers" who have taken court action
against DTZ. Ironically, now Finance minister Tendai Biti represented the
grazers in the contest.
Zanu PF leaders in Masvingo registered their intent to take away the estate
from DTZ two years ago when then provincial governor Willard Chiwewe wrote
to Land Reform minister at the time Didymus Mutasa demanding that the
government acquire Nuanetsi ranch to resettle thousands of villagers in the
area on the pretext that the land was lying idle.
"It would be unfair to leave such land idle when thousands of Zimbabweans
need land," he reportedly said.
The attempt to settle people on the estate was blocked by Msika. But parts
of Nuanetsi have been occupied by villagers at the behest of politicians.
Attempts to move them have failed as the settlers were brought in by their
There are now accusations that DTZ is driving out black farmers to bring
dispossessed white farmers onto the land. Madonko acknowledges the ructions
over control of the land but contends that that those claiming ownership on
the basis of geographical location were missing the bigger picture.
"What we now have is exactly what the old man (Joshua Nkomo) wanted to see
when this project was conceived," said Madonko. "We now have an investor who
can develop the land into a national asset so that it can benefit the
generality of our people as a national project."
He said there was a problem with politicians saying the project was "Joshua
Nkomo's farm". "The property is owned by a trust and we are here to create
an environment that would transform this area."
Thursday, 17 December 2009 20:14
TENSIONS have escalated between the Speaker of the House Assembly and the
Clerk of Parliament over the production of the speaker's portraits to be
hung in all offices at Parliament Building and parliamentary constituency
information centres around the country. The clash has worsened the
already-poor working relationship between Speaker Lovemore Moyo and Clerk of
Parliament Austin Zvoma. The two have of late been battling over the control
of the constitutional reform process.
Moyo is chairman of the MDC wing led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
while Zvoma is seen as a Zanu PF supporter. The wrangling between Moyo and
Zvoma is reflected in letters which have been exchanged between their
offices since last month over the portraits dispute.
Moyo's office through the public relations department wrote a letter to
Zvoma on November 17 seeking permission to engage a photographer to shoot
and develop 10 portraits for the speaker at a cost of US$75 each.
"Authority is sought to engage Mathambo Ngoma to shoot and develop 10
portrait photos for the Speaker of the House of Assembly at a cost of $75
each, totalling $750. These portraits will be hung in his office and at
entrances and other strategic places within the building," the letter says.
"The speaker (initially) had his portrait photos taken in August 2009. I was
informed by Fiona, the communications officer in the speaker's office, that
he does not like the (current) portrait anymore and would rather have
another one taken. Fiona also advised that the speaker would like his
portrait hung in each and every office at parliament and in each
parliamentary constituency information centre."
Zvoma's office replied on December 9, rejecting Moyo's request.
"We cannot justify a repeat of expenditure already incurred after selection
of the portrait photograph taken and produced in August 2009," the reply
reads. "The cost of producing and hanging of the Speaker's portraits in each
and every office at parliament and in each parliamentary constituency
information centre is not budgeted for in 2009."
Zvoma's office also warned Moyo against using a communications officer who
is not officially employed by parliament. It also said Moyo's portraits
request would have to be considered in the context of a bicameral
parliament. The reply was copied to Moyo and President of the Senate Edna
Madzongwe. Sources said the rejection of Moyo's request left him angry and
bitter at Zvoma's actions.
The latest fight between Moyo and Zvoma came as Zanu PF and the MDC-T
prepared for a second round of fighting over the contentious Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe Amendment Bill recently passed through the House of Assembly but
which faces renewed resistance in the Senate.
Informed sources said Zanu PF was secretly again mobilising to block Finance
minister Tendai Biti's Bill seen as targeted at Reserve Bank governor Gideon
Gono whom MDC-T is battling to force out.
Sources said Zanu PF has renewed its opposition to the Bill after Biti
frustrated the party over the access and disbursement of the more than
US$500 million special drawing rights from the International Monetary Fund
After its congress last weekend, Zanu PF attacked Biti over the IMF money.
The party said it condemned "in the strongest of terms, the reckless actions
of the Minister of Finance, T Biti, in particular his abuse of
constitutional authority to prevent the release of the US$510 million IMF
Global Financial Crisis mitigation facility, his systematic denial of
seasonal support to the agricultural sector and his peanut budget for the
year 2010 in pursuance of petty personal ambitions and the parochial
reactionary agenda of his MDC formation".
Sources said Zanu PF has now decided to hit back at Biti using the Bill.
Biti says he wants the Bill passed into law to ensure the central bank
focuses on its core business and operates transparently, while Zanu PF
argues his proposed law is draconian and is only designed to rein in Gono.
Debate on the amended Bill in the senate has been postponed to February 9
2010. - Staff Writer.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 20:09
THE smell is overpowering. It knocks you back almost half a km before
reaching its source, a clearing in the bush seething with prehistoric life.
It is a combination of decay, faecal matter and ammonia.
Scores of workers here perform a myriad of tasks not pausing to contemplate
the overpowering stench. They have no choice because the source of the acrid
smell is the reason for them being at Nuanetsi.
Piet Rautenbach or Baba James - a Karoi rancher - is the boss here. His
well-appointed office does not escape the stench. He lives it.
It is his lifeblood. He soon takes us to a large warehouse, the largest
sauna I have ever seen. For the 10 minutes we stood in the hot humid room,
four baby crocodiles, almost a foot long are helped out of eggs by bare
hands which have over time been schooled to tell which egg to hatch and
which one to discard. The process is a full-time vocation played out
throughout the day.
The hatched crocs are placed in a plastic dish before being transported to
another section to be examined, weighed and given a thorough medical. There
are personnel waiting to hand-feed them before they are placed in pens where
for three years they are put on a special diet of meat, carrion, fish and
grain before they are harvested for their skins.
Rautenbach explains that there are about 60 000 crocodiles in the project
and there should be about 100 000 by year-end. This is an orderly operation
which at full capacity should yield 200 000 skins a year for export.
"Everything is recorded here, the costs of the feed and the amount we feed
to each croc is weighed so that at the end we see if we are making money,"
he said. It will cost roughly US$180 to raise a single croc whose skin will
fetch between US$200 and US$300 in markets in Southeast Asia. Multiply that
by 100 000 and potential revenue of US$30 000 000 is forecast.
Piet is the younger brother of controversial mining magnate Billy whose name
is often mentioned in the same breath with Zimbabwe's top political
leadership. He arrived towards the end of last year in Nuanetsi with a group
of investors under the banner Cutstart to initiate what should be the
largest agro-industrial investment project in the country in a tie-up with
the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ).
They have formed Zimbabwe Bio-Energy (ZBE) to execute a grand project whose
size and capital injection is matched by the controversy it has courted.
Billy Rautenbach and his colleagues are now in control of land that is more
than 350 000 ha in extent; that is almost 1% of Zimbabwe's total land area,
most of which is virgin bush.
Of that hectarage there are plans to put 60 000 ha under sugar cane to
produce 500 million litres of ethanol per annum in 10 years. The company
says the spin-off from local usage and exports should translate to US$500
million per year - the benefits for the fiscus will be derived from these
volumes of trade. The company has 5 000 head of cattle and hopes to double
this figure to 10 000 by end of next year. The ultimate vision is a herd of
40 000 cattle.
ZBE MD Paul Smith said the idea of the sugar project was to start a green
energy revolution in which the company should produce 100 million litres of
ethanol annually and generate 100MW of electricity.
The large sugar cane project however depends on the company securing water
for irrigation. At the moment there isn't any. Mwenezi River which passes
through the estate is dammed further up to form Manyuchi Dam which is owned
by Triangle Ltd, a rival in the sugar business.
Triangle has said it has absolute rights to the water and will therefore not
allow Zimbabwe Bio-Energy to access the water. Triangle is currently using
water from Manyuchi Dam on the Mwenezana cane project which is 150 km from
the mill in Triangle. ZBE are proposing a swap deal, where Triangle releases
Mwenezana in exchange for a piece of land on the Mtilikwe area which is
closer to the mills. As a result, Triangle will no longer require water from
"When we commenced operations in Nuanetsi we approached the water authority
Zinwa and they sold us water permits for Manyuchi with the blessing of
Triangle," said ZBE in a statement to the Zimbabwe Independent. "There is
lack of clarity over water rights on Manyuchi but we are in talks with Zinwa
for an amicable way forward to benefit both sides."
It added: "Initially players in the sugar industry were concerned that we
would have a competitive effect on the market but now the stakeholders
understand that our niche is energy - consisting of power generation and
ethanol - not table sugar. Our relationship with Triangle has tremendously
improved and we have bought our seed cane from them to start our project."
ZBE have now set their sights on completing the long-stalled Tokwe-Murkosi
Dam and Greenfield project in the form of the Runde-Tende Dam. The company
has said it is seeking investors for the project.
With the investment on the ground, the project is now irreversible but its
acceptability to the community in Masvingo will now depend on who picks up
the dividend tab. Expectations are high and the queue of would-be
beneficiaries looks long at the moment.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 19:18
PROFESSOR Jonathan Moyo is likely to land the powerful post of national
political commissar or secretary for information in Zanu PF's politburo, to
be announced by President Robert Mugabe at the party's central committee
meeting pencilled in for mid-January. However, top Zanu PF sources said it
was unlikely there would be a cabinet mini-reshuffle to accommodate Moyo.
"Moyo is heavily tipped to bounce back into the politburo as head of
information or commissariat. He will be more effective heading the
commissariat where he will have a free rein," a senior Zanu PF official
Moyo's election to the central committee at the party congress at the
weekend was greeted by huge applause from the over 10 000 delegates, the
state media reported.
Zanu PF, the sources said, wanted the former Information minister to come up
with strategies to revive the party and woo the electorate in preparation
for future elections.
The sources said although Moyo had proved to be effective on the
communication and information front, he was likely to land the commissariat
post and would be charged with the responsibility to reorganise the party
and rationalise its structures as resolved by the congress.
The congress resolved that the party should be re-organised and should
re-introduce "focused ideological education at all levels of its leadership
and membership, shun factionalism and stop its current obsession with
leadership positions to refocus on advancing the interests of the people and
meeting their needs".
Moyo, the sources said, would also be tasked to come up with mobilisation
strategies and develop a "clear-cut leadership renewal and continuity policy
at all levels in order to continually reinvigorate, renew and ensure the
effective transfer of the party's ideological underpinnings, values,
practices and the ethos of the liberation struggle between successive
generations of leaders".
Also tipped to be elevated into the party's politburo, is Zanu PF's only
legislator in Harare, Hubert Nyanhongo, who has the backing of war veterans
and some security organs of the government.
Sources in Zanu PF told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that war veterans
and senior central intelligence officers, who were irked by what they
described as "daylight robbery" of the elections in Harare, were pushing for
Nyanhongo's appointment, which would make him one of Amos Midzi's bosses
although Midzi is the provincial chairman.
The move to appoint Nyanhongo, the sources said, was meant to appease his
supporters in Harare, who had vowed to continue with their parallel
structures until the election of the Midzi executive was nullified.
Mugabe, upon advice from security agents and some party heavyweights, had to
include Nyanhongo in the central committee to calm emotions at the congress
where tensions were high, almost threatening to disrupt the congress.
"The appointment of Nyanhongo to the central committee was Mugabe's
indication that he was not happy with Midzi's leadership and wanted him
(Nyanhongo) in a senior position," said a party insider. "If Nyanhongo is
going to be appointed to the politburo, he will become Midzi's senior in the
The sources said plans were also afoot for the newly elected chairperson,
Simon Khaya Moyo, to work fulltime for the party to superintend its revival.
Moyo is the country's ambassador to South Africa and was widely tipped to be
appointed to cabinet as one of the three co-Ministers of National Healing.
He will replace John Nkomo who was sworn in on Monday as the country's
Thursday, 17 December 2009 19:16
CHIEF law officer Michael Mugabe, who has been handling high-profile cases
including that of MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett, has been transferred to
Mutare amid reports of rising tensions between law officers and the director
of public prosecutions. Mugabe, who represented the state in the Bennett
case before the case was taken over by the Attorney-General Johannes Tomana,
and the director of public prosecutions, Florence Ziyambi, is the second
senior law officer to be transferred out of Harare in the last three weeks.
Jonathan Murombedzi was transferred at the end of November to Marondera
under unclear circumstances.
Mugabe remains chief law officer while in Mutare, where he was moved to on
Monday last week.
Sources in the AG’s office believe that Mugabe’s transfer was because of the
clashes he allegedly had with Ziyambi.
“These were personal and not professional conflicts,” said a source. “Things
have not been going on well here and morale has gone down.”
Chris Mutangadura was appointed acting chief law officer, replacing Mugabe.
However, this has raised eyebrows in the AG’s office because he is regarded
as being relatively junior, after having recently graduated from the
University of Zimbabwe’s law school.
Mutangadura’s appointment reflects the underlying skills flight in the AG’s
office. Experienced law officers have left the AG’s office, citing poor
working conditions while young graduates from the University of Zimbabwe who
might have been recruited are also opting for private practice.
“The situation has been deteriorating in the past few months and the AG’s
office is now manned by inexperienced staff as well as police prosecutors,”
said the source, adding that the police officers had to deal with cases in
the High Court as well as the Supreme Court.
Usually, the AG’s office takes in graduates from the University of Zimbabwe
and other approved law schools, as well as those from the Judicial College.
When asked for comment on Wednesday, Tomana referred the Independent to the
administration department at the AG’s office, who in turn referred the
matter back to the Attorney-General saying he was the only authorised person
Sources said the absence of a Deputy Attorney-General (Criminal) was also
hampering work at the office and Ziyambi has had to carry out those duties.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 19:14
THE Zimbabwe Council for Tourism has accused Willowvale Mazda Motor
Industries (WMMI) of failing to supply in time vehicles ordered by its
affiliate for hiring during the Fifa World Cup in South Africa next year.
Addressing a year-end state of tourism press conference yesterday, ZCT
president Emmanuel Fundira said the Zimbabwe Vehicle and Rental Association,
a member of the tourism operators organisation, stands to lose business from
the South Africa-hosted soccer safari after the WMMI failed to meet a
deadline to supply a fleet of four-wheel drive vehicles they ordered.
"Some members of the vehicle and rentals association made deposits to
Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries to bring car kits required in the
assembling process," Fundira said. "They were told that these kits would
arrive between April and May 2010 and quite clearly this would not be good
He said the council was pursuing a number of "good enquiries" to host
various soccer teams to train in Zimbabwe.
Vehicle Rental Association president, Beverley Sande, yesterday confirmed
that orders made by the association several months ago had not been
The Zimbabwe Independent understands that the car assembler should have been
able to import the kits within a month.
WMMI assembles Japanese Mazda vehicles that include BT50s, Mazda 3 and the
"Willowvale have advised us they do not have kits for BT50. They will
receive the kits in April 2010.
Our experience with them is that when the kits arrive they will take a month
to assemble them and it means that we will get the cars well into the 2010
(World Cup)," Sande said. "There are other people who have paid six or seven
months ago, but they haven't received the cars. This (failure to supply the
cars) is doing our business harm."
The troubled company, she added, was not in a position to refund the
Efforts to get comment from WMMI spokesperson Rutendo Chabururuka were in
vain at the time of going to print, but a source in the company confirmed it
had failed to supply the vehicles and could only do so next year.
Reviewing 2009, the ZCT president said the industry was on a recovery path
buoyed by a rise to 60% occupancy compared to 30% registered last year.
"The challenge is to depoliticise tourism and we encourage the political
leadership to speak with one voice to help lure visitors," Fundira said.
Fundira also criticised vote allocations granted to tourism during the 2010
National Budget saying the ZCT would lobby for a "special budgetary
allocation" for the soccer tournament.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 19:11
PRESSURE is reportedly mounting on Nestlé Zimbabwe to accept milk from
Gushungo Holdings, a company owned by First Lady Grace Mugabe, with the
latest tactic being delaying the granting of a work permit to the company's
newly appointed managing director. The milk processing company bowed to
international pressure in September and stopped buying milk from Gushungo
Holdings. This led to a fallout with various political and economic players
sympathetic to Mugabe as they said the dairy company was applying sanctions
on the First Family.
In September Nestlé had its accounts frozen by the Reserve Bank citing
irregularities. Interested parties have continued to pile pressure on the
dairy firm to reverse its decision and there have been threats of its
The latest attempts to armtwist Nestlé into accepting milk from Gushungo
Holdings has prompted high ranking officials, including the head of the
Eastern and Southern African region, to come to the country and try to find
a solution to the problems.
Nestlé Zimbabwe appointed a new managing director last October who was
expected to have started work immediately. However, this has not happened as
there were delays in processing a work permit, a development which has been
linked to the attempts to armtwist Nestlé into reversing its decision to
stop buying milk from Gushungo Holdings.
Sources at the milk processing company confirmed that they were still
waiting for regulatory approvals before the new boss could take office.
Nestlé remains one of the leaders in the dairy industry with relatively more
disposable cash than other players in an industry that is facing stiff
competition from South African products.
As such, Nestlé is able to pay for milk deliveries on time while other
players in the milk industry have been struggling to raise cash making it
the preferred buyer of the product.
This has prompted sympathisers of Gushungo Holdings to continuously look for
an opening and have the decision to stop buying its milk reversed.
Nestlé Zimbabwe did not have a long-term contract with Gushungo Holdings and
seven other milk producers and it only started accepting milk from them in
February this year after the other players failed to pay for deliveries.
This decision was made to save the industry.Nestlé has been in Zimbabwe for
50 years.-Staff Reporter
Thursday, 17 December 2009 18:59
CIVIL society groups have embarked on road shows nationwide to stimulate
debate on the constitution-making process, which will go full swing on
January 12 when an outreach programme to capture people's views begins. The
Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe (CCZ), the Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe
(ROHR), and the Students Solidarity Trust (SST) have been at the forefront
of constitutional reforms and have since last month been holding meetings in
the country encouraging people to participate in the writing of a new
Under the global political agreement (GPA) signed by the country's political
protagonists - President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
his deputy Arthur Mutambara - a new constitution should be in place by
October next year.
A select parliamentary committee was set up in April to spearhead the
programme but little progress has been made due to lack of funds and
disagreements between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations on the right course
Zanu PF wanted the committee to use the Kariba Draft constitution crafted by
the parties during talks that led to the signing of the GPA, while the MDC
formations insisted on a people-driven process.
It is against this background that civil society groups have decided to
embark on road shows to educate people on the drafting of a new constitution
and the meaning of constitutionalism.
Explaining the objectives of the road shows, SST programme officer Sostina
Takure said: "The purpose is to educate communities on the role they can
play in the writing of their constitution. The aim is to get their voices
heard so that we can take it up to the policy makers. The end product is
having a grass-roots constitution in which the people can identify with and
say 'we made this constitution'."
She said her organisation would have shows in Manicaland, Harare and the
three Matabeleland provinces.
At one of the road shows organised by SST at Hauna Township, Manicaland,
last Saturday villagers and pupils spoke about the need to guarantee
education for all in the new constitution. They argued that schools in their
communities had acute shortages of resources and dilapidated infrastructure.
"We want to have every child in school," said councillor Monica
Bvunzawabaya. "Every child has the right to a better education and
affordable fees. We also want the government to improve resources at our
In a recent survey, Unicef and the Central Statistical Office said 71% of
school-going children did not attend classes due to financial constraints.
An assessment of primary and secondary education carried out by the National
Education Advisory Board showed that most schools did not have textbooks.
CCZ in conjunction with ROHR recently held its own show in Mhondoro-Ngezi,
Mashonaland West, where villagers and their councillors were clear on what
should and should not be captured in the new constitution.
They said the imposition of the Kariba Draft would be undemocratic and an
affront to the people's mandate to write their own constitution.
The people said the new constitution must outline demarcations on the
responsibilities of the three arms of state; the judiciary should strive for
independence from government interference and control and should not be a
tool of oppression by those in power; and there must be equitable
distribution of state resources without discrimination on grounds of
Looting and abuse of state resources, the villagers said, should be stopped
while uniformed forces should carry out their duties professionally without
discriminating on partisan grounds guided by a code of conduct that respects
The people said torture by the police force should never be tolerated and
such acts of impunity should be punished severely.
Ward 1 councillor Frank Denhere said Zimbabweans should seize the
constitution-making process to express their aspirations and objectives.
"This is an opportune moment to replace the Lancaster House Constitution
which did not reflect the aspirations and wishes of the people of Zimbabwe,"
He said a genuine people-driven constitution should protect the people's
rights and freedoms and not oppress them as reflected by the current
constitution which has been doctored 19 times to bolster the stranglehold on
power by individuals against the people's expectations.
Farai Machaya from CCZ challenged the youth and women to seize the
opportunity to address their plight by making empowering inputs into the
constitution to address issues of gender parity and unemployment.
ROHR Zimbabwe programmes manager Clifford Hlatswayo advocated the
domestication of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African
Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights in the new constitution, the
inalienable universality of human rights and the formation of independent
commissions that are free of political interference to guard the people's
fundamental human rights.
Hlatswayo also encouraged people to demand transparency and accountability
from elected public officials.
The road shows were likely to complement the parliamentary select committee's
outreach programme to gather the views of the people which begins on January
This followed the injection of funds by the UNDP and treasury, which
culminated in Wednesday's announcement of 17 thematic committee members to
spearhead the outreach programme.
The outreach and consultation teams comprised 560 people, MPs and civil
society activists, and would be deployed throughout the country to gather
views within 65 days.
Douglas Mwonzora, co-chair-person of the parliamentary committee, welcomed
the road shows.
"There is nothing wrong with civil society going around educating people on
the constitution," Mwonzora said. "We welcome groups that will be conducting
such activities. However, we appeal to them that they should not spread hate
language and propaganda."
Some civil society groups like Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe,
ZimRights and Artistes for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust claimed that they
were barred from holding their road shows in Mashonaland Central by Zanu PF
Mwonzora said the Kariba Draft would not be foisted on the people by his
His co-chairperson Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) said the outreach programme would
"There has been considerable delay because we wanted to be assured that the
resources were available to conduct the outreach activities. The resources
are now available and we are ready to go for outreach," Mangwana said. "We
agreed that the deputy chairperson of the (outreach) team should come from
the civil society and have a representative of 30% parliamentarians and 70%
from civil society (in every thematic committee). We also made sure that
there is gender balance to ensure that the committees are inclusive."
Finance minister Tendai Biti allocated US$43 million for the
constitution-making process in 2010 National Budget.
The committee claimed that some affiliates of civil society groups against
the current process had turned against their mother bodies and were now part
of the thematic committees.
Mwonzora claimed: "ZCTU as un umbrella body has not changed its stance that
it will not take part. But we have a number of organisations that fall under
it that are in the (thematic committee) list like Gapwuz, Commercial Workers
of Zimbabwe and Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe. As for NCA we
have individuals like Nobuhle Mathe and Mable Sikhosana who have indicated
their interest in taking part."
However, NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said those the committee claimed were
its members were not, adding that even if they announced the outreach dates,
whatever they produced was going to be a defective constitution.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 18:10
WHEN President Robert Mugabe told his supporters at the close of the Zanu PF
congress on Saturday that elections would be held soon, people did not know
whether to laugh, cry or just dismiss it as his usual posturing in front of
crowds. But why were people, including senior Zanu PF officials, so quick to
dismiss his statement as mere politicking?
One Zanu PF politburo member told the Zimbabwe Independent that people
should not read too much into what Mugabe said at the congress.
"It was just politics. Don't tell me that people took his call for an early
election seriously. We don't want these elections, neither do the two MDCs,"
A number of factors show that elections will not be held any time soon in
Most Zimbabweans agree generally that things are getting better under the
Global Political Agreement compared to the chaos and violence of 2008 and
the years preceding it. Most hope the marriage continues until the economic
situation stabilises and there is some guarantee that there is no repeat of
the June 27 conditions when close to 200 MDC supporters were killed and
thousands were injured and tortured.
But people are also aware that at some point the inclusive government will
have to give way to a popularly elected government. According to the Global
Political Agreement the government of national unity is supposed to last no
more than 24 months but indications are that it is likely to last a full
"Let's begin to work for the party and to organise it strongly. Elections
are not very far off," said Mugabe, adding that "the inclusive government
was given a short life - 18 months, 24 months - and then it goes. The
remaining part is very short. Perhaps it has outlived its life."
Analysts say despite such statements, none of the three political leaders
are ready for an election within the prescribed 24 months.
An early election, analysts say, would be suicidal for Zanu PF because
Mugabe's party may never regain absolute power after having lost its
parliamentary majority, more so now when it is at its most divided on ethnic
lines since Independence in 1980.
Former newspaper publisher and political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said it is
difficult to take Mugabe seriously because he knows that he cannot afford an
election now when Zanu PF is increasingly being weakened by in-fighting over
who will succeed him when he decides to eventually step down.
At the moment there seems to be no candidate strong enough to unite the
party and challenge MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mandaza did not see Mugabe getting his party's endorsement if he decided to
stand in the next elections, likely to be held in 2013, by which time he
would be 89 years old.
"Don't get misled," Mandaza says. "Zanu PF cannot afford elections. Mugabe
is deceiving people. He is finished. Everyone in Zanu PF is of the consensus
that he must go. Basically, no one is on his side - they just want him to go
peacefully. He is history."
Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku says Mugabe's statement should be
viewed as nothing but utterances that cannot be taken seriously.
"He is not serious. He is cheating the people. He is just playing a
political game wanting to give an impression that his party is the only one
with no contention over an early election. They were just utterances because
Zanu PF is not ready for an election when it is so weak," he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara and co-chairperson of the
constitution-making process Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana are on record saying it
was unfair to cut short parliamentarians' five-year terms. They have both
said elections would only be held in 2013.
Madhuku said: "Both Zanu PF and MDC stand to benefit from a prolonged GNU
term. MDC still wants time to consolidate resources and its support base."
It is not only the politicians that are not ready for early elections, but
also Zimbabweans who need time to heal; and the economy, which is just
starting to improve.
Analysts said Zimbabwe is not going to be ready for elections in the next
two years as these are likely to violently disturb the calm and stability
that the inclusive government is seeking to achieve.
Mandaza pointed out: "The country does not need an election now and they are
most likely to be held in 2013. Neither MDC nor Zanu PF wants an election.
Both parties can't afford an election now. It is just the euphoria - he is
excited by crowds and shouting and applause - otherwise why else would he
call for an early election?"
Even the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) has suggested that the situation could deteriorate if an early
election is called.
OCHA said elections in 24 months could plunge Zimbabwe back into political
turmoil and violence as the country's political parties compete for power.
"Politically general elections expected in 24 months may result in internal
competition and renewed violence and human rights abuses as the parties to
the inclusive government try gaining popularity by discrediting their
rivals," said OCHA when it announced a US$718 million consolidated appeal
for humanitarian support for Zimbabwe a few months ago.
In addition, elections can only be held after comprehensive constitutional
reforms. This process was initially supposed to take about 18 months from
the inception of the GNU. However, there has been very slow progress due to
lack of funds for the constitution-making process, which is already facing a
delay of six-months.
If government has been struggling to raise US$11,3 million required for the
constitution-making process, what makes Mugabe so confident that he can
raise more than US$35 million required for the referendum and millions of
other dollars for voter education, registration and compilation of a new
voters roll in addition to the delimitation process within the next 24
The next harmonised elections are likely to cost more than the US$43 million
allocated for the constitution-making process - which Mugabe never
considered when he spoke at the Zanu PF congress.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is broke.
It does not even have money to hold by-elections in at least nine
constituencies that fell vacant since last year, violating the constitution
which stipulates that an election should be held within 72 days after a seat
falls vacant. Some constituencies have not had a representative for more
than a year.
The inclusive government has no money to finance most of its activities, let
alone an expensive election process.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 17:56
THE year has come to a close with the stuff that would make another good
Western clip in the league of legendary director Sergio Leon's The Good, the
Bad and the Ugly. Marriages of convenience, specifications, MDC-T
compromises and later disengagement from the government of national unity
were some of the highlights of the year.
Business magnates John Moxon and Nigel Chanakira spend the better part of
the year at each other's throats.
In January, then acting Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa officially
announces the use of multi-currencies in a bid to contain inflation and
restore stability to the economy. The move works.
In February, political rivals - President Robert Mugabe and MDC-T leader
Morgan Tsvangirai - finally form a government of national unity, almost five
months after inking the global political agreement.
In March, Mugabe launches the Short-Term Emergency Recovery Programme
(Sterp), a supposed know-it-all economic blueprint.
On the business front, mobile phone operator, Econet, invests US$94 million
in its Zimbabwean operation to boost capacity.
In April, Tsvangirai visits the EU and US to bridge severed diplomatic ties
with the international community but the trip is downplayed by state media.
In September, the International Monetary Fund releases US$510 million to
Zimbabwe in Special Drawing Rights.
In the same month, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe stays permanently the
prosecution of former television news anchor and human rights activists
Jestina Mukoko and others after ruling that they were unlawfully arrested
and tortured by state spies for allegedly trying to topple Mugabe's
In November, Zimbabwe and South Africa finally sign a long-mooted Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with the Zimbabwe government
promising to respect property rights in a bid to shake off doubts over the
country's high risk perception.
The battle between Moxon and Chanakira to control Kingdom Meikles Ltd (KML)
is settled after the two protagonists agree on the finer details of the
In December, TN Financial Services announces plans to reverse-list Tedco
Ltd, the fist such announcement of a major deal on the ZSE.
The deal will see the emergence of TN Financial Holdings, a new entrant on
the financial services scene strongly aided by Tedco' branch network.
Finance minister Tendai Biti projects the economy will grow by 7% next year.
John Nkomo elevated to party and national vice-president.
From March and for the better part of the year, farm invasions continued.
In June, Deputy Youth minister Thamsanga Mhlangu is arrested for stealing
former farm invasions commander and war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba's
cellphone - a Nokia 1110. Mhlangu denies stealing Chinotimba's cellphone.
He is later acquitted.
In October, Chanakira is airlifted to South Africa after being overwhelmed
A few weeks later, Econet Capital - an Econet Wireless investment vehicle -
sells its 10% stake in KML to a consortium led by Rainbow Tourism Group
(RTG) CEO Chipo Mtasa, Temba Mliswa and Philip Chiyangwa.
A few days later, Chanakira emerges with a 49% stake in KFHL after cornering
The move to exit KML leaves Chanakira without any backing in his fight with
In November, Aico CEO Happymore Mapara is sent on forced leave but he gets a
US$1 million golden handshake amid rumours that the executive would have
dragged the temple along with him had the board decided to send him away
IN February, MDC Deputy Agriculture minister-designate, Roy Bennett, is
arrested on the day he was supposed to be sworn in.
And Mugabe refuses to swear him in, arguing that Bennett faced "very
Vice-President Joseph Msika dies in August sparking a power struggle.
In October, Bennett is re-arrested on charges of attempting to topple Mugabe's
government. In the same month the MDC, citing lack of sincerity on Zanu PF's
part in resolving outstanding issues of the GPA, announces a disengagement
After a fortnight of boycotting cabinet and government duties, MDC re-joins
the unity government at the behest of the Sadc troika on politics, defence
and security, which ordered a fresh round of talks.
In October, weapons of war, 20 AK-47s and a shotgun, are stolen from Pomona
military base. The usual suspect, MDC-T, is fingered in the latest plot to
destabilise government and an army major commanding the base reportedly
commits suicide while in military detention. MDC transport manager Pasco
Gwezere is arrested over the arms and is languishing in remand prison
despite the High Court granting him bail. The state invoked provisions of
the law to keep him in gaol.
A new list of outstanding GPA issues balloons to over 20 further widening
the differences. The new issues included the demand for security reforms,
the setting up of the national economic council, the failure to kick start
national healing, working relationships between Mugabe and Tsvangirai and
land audit, etc.
In the same month, the parties fail to meet the troika's deadline to resolve
the sticking points.
In October, a Bulawayo man alleges being sexually harassed by John Nkomo - a
move seen as part of the dogfight for the vice-presidency in Zanu PF.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 17:52
THE year 2009 is coming to an end. A lot has been said throughout the year
but the quotes below have stood out. Zimbabwe had its second inclusive
government after the one formed in 1980 and was forced to ditch its own
currency. Meanwhile America had its first black president. "This business of
blowing vuvuzelas of insanity should stop. But no matter how loud the noise
becomes, a vuvuzela will never play the Mozart or Beethoven sound, and we
will never dance to those decibels." -- Finance minister Tendai Biti
responding to accusations by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono that he was
blocking urgently needed loans from international financial institutions.
"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing
of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will
extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." -- United States
President Barack Obama during his inauguration speech in January
"It is better to own 10% of an elephant than 100% of a rat." -- Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara explaining the importance of government divesting
from parastatals to allow private partnerships in order to save them from
"I went to Oxford -- I taught at MIT, I'm a Rhodes Scholar. I think it's
fair to say that I know better than Obama what is good for Zimbabwe, that I
know better than Hillary (Clinton) what is good for Zimbabwe. So it is very
arrogant and patronising for Hillary or Obama to prescribe what is best for
Zimbabwe without talking to me first." -- Mutambara attacking the United
States for alleged intrusion in the country's political affairs.
"Taka kiya- kiya (we have used hook and crook)." -- Biti's response when
quizzed at a press conference on how he obtained cash to pay civil servants
during the first month (February) of using multiple currencies.
"There are more ministers in this country than there are for bigger
countries like Britain, France and Germany." -- Economist John Robertson
expressing his view on the bloated cabinet set up after the formation of the
inclusive government in February.
"No, why do you want, why do I want to talk things in the UK where the UK
people doesn't want to see me there? I don't have a visa. If I was having a
visa to come to the UK, the UK people banned me to come to the UK and you
want me to talk things which is needed to be broadcast in the UK where the
UK people doesn't want to see me, why?" -- War veterans leader Joseph
Chinotimba in an interview with SW Radio's Violet Gonda.
Gonda: What are you farming?
Chinotimba: I'm farming people. -- Chinotimba again in the same interview
"We are working on them. This is still premature to discuss them. He's not
the only person who's head of state who is that old. The Queen of England is
much older than our President and nobody had ever referred to her as an old
lady. You all respect her very much. You people are racists aren't you?" --
Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Didymus Mutasa responding to a
question on President Mugabe's plans to step down in an interview with the
Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"There was discipline in parliament. Last year, MPs were still raw, they are
polished now, they are dignified and they can be called honourable. Last
year they were dishonourable." -- President Mugabe commending MDC-T
parliamentarians for not heckling him during his speech in the House of
Assembly like they did last year.
"I am not going to quit because I knew that I was going to swim in
sewage." -- Finance minister Tendai Biti on his participation in the
"It is political suicide. When people are determined to commit suicide, no
matter how much you try to help them they will always try to find a way of
killing themselves." -- MDC-T spokesman and ICT minister Nelson Chamisa on
Zanu PF's 2009 congress resolution to rule out negotiations with the MDC on
the appointment of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and central bank
governor Gideon Gono.
"It has not been easy for me. I was asking for oranges to make orange juice
but some people were giving me lemons. Ah ah. you cannot make orange juice
from lemons but that is what I got." -- A jubilant soccer championship
winning Gunners coach, Moses Chunga, on why it took him almost a decade to
win the league championship.
"Why forcefully, we are not violent people, we have big thoughts --
tinepfungwa kukunda ma (we have brains better than the) British and
Americans. We are leaders, so things should be done properly." -- Chinotimba
commenting on the unrest in the war veterans organisation after a splinter
group announced plans to hold a congress to elect new leaders.
"What do we do when we have uninvited guests at our meeting. I love to have
my grandfather and aunt with me but I do not need to have them follow me to
my bedroom." -- An irritated delegate at the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations Directors' Summer School expressing his
displeasure at having Central Intelligence Officers monitoring the
"If Zanu PF are facing west we are facing east." -- Chamisa describing the
disagreements with Zanu PF over the fulfilment of the Global Political
"Now, make no mistake: History is on the side of these brave Africans, not
with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power. Africa
doesn't need strongmen, it needs strong institutions." -- Obama addressing
the Ghanaian parliament during his first presidential visit to Africa .
"My understanding is that it is a move which is the ringing of a bell, to
say: 'Look Mr President, President Mugabe please, please, please wake up --
things are not moving, things are cracking, please wake up. Let's engage
meaningfully.' That is how I understand the disengagement. As I say it is
not something which we would encourage, but we do understand the frustration
on the part of the MDC." -- Botswana Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani
commenting on the disengagement from government by the MDC.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 17:38
THE Zimbabwe Independent looks at how ministers fared during the year while
operating on shoestring budgets, among other negative factors. Below is our
assessment of the performances of some of the ministers.
Tendai Biti - Minister of Finance
Will be remembered for his wars of attrition with Reserve Bank governor
Gideon Gono. Arguably the hardest working minister, he produced results this
year. Government revenue has increased from as low as US$4 million in
February to over US$110 million and has introduced financial discipline in
government. He however failed to fully finance Sterp. His stance to hold on
to the US$510 SDR funds advanced by the International Monetary Fund was
unacceptable; he should have used the money to prop up the economy for rapid
Recommendation: He is in the right direction; less talk and more action next
year would make him even more popular.
Nicholas Goche - Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development
Little attention paid to the country's roads. Introduced tollgates, which
have raised more than US$5,3 million but the money is being collected by
Zimra, yet there is no mechanism for the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority
to monitor and control the fees inflows. Goche has done little to resolve
this issue while the country's roads are continuing to turn into death
traps. His decision to discontinue pre-testing for learner drivers was
Recommendation: Needs to solve the dispute between Zimra and Zinara and
ensure the money raised is ploughed back into road maintenance.
Welshman Ncube - Minister of Industry and Commerce
Industry's capacity utilisation has increased under him and is still
increasing. His immediate tasks were to ensure adequate supply of fertiliser
for winter cropping by end of May, identify recipients' lines of credit for
key strategic sectors, develop a pricing model with regional countries and
to work towards establishment of a commodity exchange to ensure the farmers
get competitive prices. He didn't deliver on many of these.
Recommendation: Should work harder to achieve the targeted industry
utilisation next year.
Emmerson Mnangagwa - Minister of Defence
Indiscipline is said to be on the rise in the army due to alleged hunger,
low salaries and nepotism. Despite Mnangagwa's feared personality and
character, on his watch guns were stolen at Pomona and there are several
reports of absenteeism. What else is happening at the barracks, one may ask?
Recommendation: Put your house in order before things get out of hand.
Elton Mangoma - Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Planning
Some notable achievements, eg the investors' conference in July. Some
foreign investment deals have been negotiated but Mangoma has been accused
of failing to ensure parastatals operate efficiently. A lot is still
expected of him to kick-start a lot of sectors that have not been performing
over the past five years. Mangoma seems to know what is expected of him and
his success depends on Zimbabwe improving its diplomatic relations with
Recommendation: More action and less workshops and so-called strategic
Samuel Sipepa Nkomo - Minister of Water Resources Development and Management
Lots of stumbling blocks (political, resources and financial) in Nkomo's
way. Has done little to improve water supply. Another cholera outbreak looms
but he has done nothing to avert it. Situation still as bad as it was in
August last year when the epidemic broke. He should also stop picking
unnecessary fights with local authorities.
Recommendation: Should be transferred to another ministry or return to the
Walter Mzembi - Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry
Overrated because of a sprinkling of charisma and colourful attire. No
feasible plans on how Zimbabwe stands to benefit from the Fifa World Cup in
South Africa next year.
Recommendation: Lots expected of him in the face of the World Cup; he should
extensively market the country and avoid fawning over certain individuals,
especially the President. Tourists and investors are not interested in that.
Webster Shamu - Minister of Media Information and Publicity
Shamu seems reluctant to ensure fundamental legislative reforms are put in
place to allow for a pluralistic media. The struggle for the opening up of
airwaves and the transformation of the state-controlled ZBC continues with
no immediate solution in sight. This is despite the fact that the GPA and
Constitutional Amendment 19 contain provisions that recognise the importance
of freedom of expression and the role of the media in a multi-party
democracy and calls for the issuance of licences to broadcasters other than
ZBC. Lack of political will to allow for more broadcasters was displayed by
the minister's appointment of the Tafataona Mahoso-led Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe. However threats to journalists seem to have
lessened - there are fewer arrests and physical abuse. But he has
recommendations from the stakeholders indaba in May which he has up to now
not made public.
Sincerity required: people want more newspapers and broadcasters and
undemocratic media laws repealed.
Henry Madzorera - Minister of Health and Child Welfare
A slight improvement in the health delivery system but it still falls far
short of the pre-2000 levels. Recruitment in the majority of departments has
improved to 50%, with that of nurses and junior doctors going up to as high
as 70% but some specialist services are still at 0%. Lack of funding has
hampered Madzorera's goals of ensuring that 60% of infrastructure at all
central hospitals is functional. Local production of drugs is next to zero
and government has to rely on imports. Drug supply at government health
institutions is below 60% and people have to rely on the private sector to
buy vital drugs.
Recommendation: Keep on trying.
David Coltart - Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture
To Coltart's credit, most of the schools opened and most of the teachers
resumed work. Examinations were marked. Unlike in 2008 when there was very
little education because of prolonged strikes by teachers, 2009 went by with
very few work stoppages. However, the education sector is still very fragile
with shocking pupil-textbook ratios and infrastructure in a poor state. His
gains were however almost wiped out by the chaos that surrounded
registration of Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations when close to 70%
of students failed to meet the deadline to pay examination fees because they
were beyond the reach of many parents. On the sports side he seemed to be
still in a shell.
Recommendation: No to privatisation of education; and please address the
quality of education in the rural areas. Overhaul the way football is run;
facilitate Test cricket return; restructure sporting associations'
Herbert Murerwa - Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement
In perpetual reverse gear, spineless and powerless, Murerwa has failed to
secure the farming environment. Conflicts and disputes on the land have been
on the increase over the past few months; has failed to ensure security for
farmers, their workers and assets while continuing to pander to the whims of
securocrats who seem to be running the ministry for him. Recommendation: A
comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit needed soonest, and
you need to deal effectively with the new invaders or resign.
Joseph Made - Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation
Lack of preparedness has always been Made's weakness and it seems he never
learns from past mistakes. Once again Zimbabwe is facing a disastrous
agriculture season. For some strange reason Mugabe seems to adore him.
Recommendation: He should leave and let others run this ministry.
Francis Nhema - Minister of Environment and Natural Resources
Invisible the whole year. Cities and the countryside are an environmental
disaster. No policy in place to clean up. Very likeable, he has been allowed
to get away with murder.
Recommendation: Face reality and make yourself useful. Move around and sees
the level of litter around CBDs, industrial and residential areas.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Simbarashe Mumbengegwi
He was rather aloof the whole year only visible when President Mugabe was
globetrotting. He is however credited with re-engaging Zimbabwe with the
European Union and is trying to do so with the rest of the world.
Recommendation: Much of the country's turnaround depends on Zimbabwe's
diplomatic relations with other countries. Professional diplomatic relations
more aligned to a "win-win situation" not based on politics needed. Probably
the right person for this ministry but should wake up.
Minister of State Enterprise and Parastatals Gabuza Joel Gabbuza
A lot was expected of him. What has happened to the state enterprises and
parastatals he identified for restructuring? Has he set up a performance
monitoring system for these? When will he carry out mandate and legislative
review of state enterprises and parastatals?
Recommendation: Yet to behave like a minister; has not read the riot act yet
when dealing with state enterprises and parastatals.
Minister of Labour and Social Services Paurina Mpariwa
Has met most of the goals she set out for 2009: signed a social contract
under the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, is in the process of drafting a
social protection strategic framework to improve existing social protection
schemes which include paying tuition for orphans and vulnerable children and
cash transfers which provide free cash assistance to the elderly,
chronically ill and disabled persons. But has not dealt sufficiently with a
demoralized, undocumented and deregulated workforce.
Recommendation: Strengthen resource mobilisation from donors and give us
Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Saviour
Kasukuwere was actively involved in party politics more than his ministry.
Seems to have brilliant ideas about his ministry, if only he could put them
into practice. The national youth service will always be a blot on his
personality. His name pops up wherever something underhand has occurred.
Recommendation: Should clean himself up.
Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa
Has been in the same ministry for far too long - 10 years. Has continued to
sing for his supper. Needs to move away from party stunts especially
regarding the GNU. One wonders when he will meet the needs of prisoners,
operationalise the judicial services commission and meet the minimum
standards, best practice and needs for a sound justice delivery
Recommendation: Is it possible for a hawk to turn into a dove? Too much
darkness and hate dog him.
Minister of Public Service Eliphas Mukonoweshuro
Still waiting for the audit on the civil service, a review of salaries and
conditions of services and to the harmonisation of the Public Service Act
with the Labour Act. Yet to implement the personnel performance system for
Recommendation: Run your ministry like a listed company. Civil servants want
to be updated regularly.
Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development Ignatious Chombo
In Zimbabwe there are ministers, then controversial ministers, then there is
Ignatious Chombo. He always has a sly way of doing things. If he was an
actor he would not need a script. He enjoys too much free rein.
Recommendation: If only there could be someone who could take a good look at
this guy! Being one of the richest guys in the land shouldn't he be excused
so he could run his Babylonisque empire?
Minister of Energy and Power Development Elias Mudzuri
When Mudzuri took over in February, he ordered Zesa to stop disconnections
until March when new tariff charges were expected. He was commended by many
but to everyone's shock, Zimbabweans were hit by unjustified bills, in some
instances exceeding US$1 600. This was despite the fact that the country was
facing worsening power outages, with some suburbs going for weeks or even
months without electricity. Recommendation: Prioritise refurbishment and
rehabilitation of infrastructure.
Higher and Tertiary Education Stan Mudenge
Mudenge has privatised public tertiary institutions through fees beyond the
reach of the majority of students. He has failed to improve the living,
working and learning conditions at the University of Zimbabwe, which was one
of the best in Africa. The university has been forced to close the halls of
residence because of the state of dilapidation, forcing students from
outside Harare to be squatters. Some students have been forced into
prostitution and criminal activities to raise money for accommodation and
fees. Recommendation: Needs to be more visible and show he still has the
energy to clog on?
Minister of Mines and Mining Development Obert Mpofu
Mpofu was one of the most visible ministers because of the controversy
surrounding the Chiadzwa diamonds. The mining sector is showing signs of
recovery. Despite the positive achievements, Mpofu lost the plot when he did
not float a tender to select prospective investors to partner government in
diamond extraction in Marange, overlooking better equipped and experienced
Recommendation: Should be transparent especially in the awarding of
Paul Nyakazeya/Faith Zaba
Thursday, 17 December 2009 17:31
IT is hard to predict anything in Zimbabwe, but a special report by the
Centre of Intelligence’s Spiritual Intelligence desk, a crack unit whose
brief is to gather traditional healers, prophets, soothsayers and psychics
to predict major political and economic developments, has come in very
handy. The spooks, after analysing the data sourced from sangomas and
prophets, are convinced that the following headlines will come to pass in
Tsvangirai fights like a tiger
On the political front, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will fight like a
tiger next year to push through political, security, judicial and media
reforms emerging with more political power.
Security chiefs finally salute Tsvangirai
Zimbabwe’s security service chiefs have announced that they are going to be
apolitical this year and are ready to salute Tsvangirai. Speaking at the MDC
headquarters in Harare, the commanders of various security organs said they
would recognise Tsvangirai as the country’s legitimate leader. He said: “We
have realised that our conduct in the past has been very unprofessional. As
such we are throwing all our support behind the Prime Minister. We want to
eliminate any shadow of doubt that we are apolitical.”
President Mugabe steps down
While the nation is trying to come to terms with the recent announcement by
security chiefs that they are ready for new leadership, President Robert
Mugabe, who turns 86 next month, has announced he will retire with immediate
effect. He will, however, stay on to allow for a smooth transition of power
and government. The veteran leader says he needs rest and will be
channelling all his energy to his memoirs, Chronicles of a Misunderstood
Leader. But Mugabe says he is ready for a comeback if the people beg him. He
says he will honour the people’s wishes as he has done in the last three
decades. At the time of going to print, Zimbabweans interviewed by the
Independent said Mugabe must concentrate on his book.
Evil West lifts sanctions
The evil West and its allies have bowed to ratcheted pressure to lift
illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe. This comes after threats by Mugabe to
disengage from a year-old coalition government saying sanctions were hurting
his family and friends, who can only visit the Middle East and China on
holidays. He said: “These sanctions have caused me and my family untold
suffering. As a result I was willing to disengage from government. I was
very committed to disengaging and I am glad the West knows I was not
More newspapers launched
Five more independent newspapers have been established after Zimbabwe
successfully instituted media reforms. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
says he is happy that more independent newspapers have been launched in line
with the Global Political Agreement. He said this showed that the “GNU was
working perfectly. We are very democratic and my only intention is to shame
the West, who caricatured me as a dictator.” But the presidential
spokesperson has quit citing irreconcilable differences with the 86-year-old
leader over the manner he handled media reforms. When reached for comment
the spokesperson said he had been offered the same position by the North
Korean government where he hopes his experience will come in handy.
Gono, Tomana fired
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and Reserve Bank chief Gideon Gono have
been fired. Gono and Tomana had to be dragged kicking and screaming from
their offices after defying President Robert Mugabe’s order to step down in
line with the GPA. While being dragged Gono screamed: “I can’t go yet. The
President knows I am going to make the economy better by printing more
money. The MDC is lying to him. Put me down! I will walk on my own.” Tomana
said he was quitting because of political pressure from the prime minister.
Biti brings back Zimdollar
Finance minister Tendai Biti says Zimbabwe is ready to bring the Zimbabwe
dollar back into circulation. He told the Herald that annual GDP growth of
15% supported the return of the dollar. He said he had been inundated with
calls from business people to return the local currency. Biti added that
increased capacity utilisation and booming investments running into billions
from South African businesses would keep the economy on this growth
trajectory. “I am no longer willing to commit suicide over this matter. Our
economy is booming buoyed by Chiadzwa diamonds that are fetching record
prices. Our decision is also premised on Economic Planning minister Elton
Mangoma’s growth predictions for next year. He sees the economy adding a
further five percentage points in 2011.”
Tsvangirai blasts West
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has lambasted the US and European Union for
meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal politics. He was speaking in Pyongyang,
North Korea, after meeting Kim Jong-il. The visit was organised by the
United Nations Commission for Human Rights.
Villagers acquire 51% Old Mutual stake
Government has okayed a billion dollar empowerment deal that will see Uzumba
villagers own 51% in Old Mutual Zimbabwe. Empowerment minister Saviour
Kasukuwere says critics of his policy have been proven wrong. “We do not
want politicians and a connected few to benefit again like the land reform
exercise,” Kasukuwere said.
Mutambara quits GNU
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has disengaged from GNU alleging he
is being politically sidelined by Tsvangirai and Mugabe. He said after
taking a beating at the hands of the police with Tsvangirai, he deserves
recognition. He announced: “The MDC is disengaging from government. I don’t
have to be a rocket scientist to know I am being sidelined and sabotaged in
government. I taught space engineers at MIT in the states. We are only
disengaging from the MDC-T.”
World Cup final in Zim
South Africa has decided to let Zimbabwe host the World Cup final saying its
northern neighbour had shown so much excitement in the tourney one would be
forgiven for thinking the football showcase was happening in Rudhaka Stadium
in Marondera. President Jacob Zuma said: “Our Zanu PF comrades have spent
more money on advertising for the World Cup than we South Africans have
spent on infrastructure development to make this a reality in their own
country that we feel its only fair to the tourism authorities to let them
have the final at Rudhaka Stadium.”
Constitutional poll in January
Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga has said Zimbabweans will
next January vote for a “people driven” bill of rights after Zanu PF
politicians blasted the once controversial Kariba draft as “undemocratic”.
“Next month marks a historic moment in our country,” said Matinenga.
“President Mugabe is a democratic leader.”
Chris Muronzi/Bernard Mpofu
Thursday, 17 December 2009 17:08
DECEMBER 2 saw the announcement of the much-anticipated maiden National
Budget Statement from the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti. It has been
hailed as one which attempted to be as frank as possible. It gave credence
to the realisation that despite the financial needs of the country as
expressed by the requests of the various line ministries, revenue generation
is still a far cry of the requirements.
The minister managed to significantly trim budget expenditure from the US$12
billion requested to US$2,25 billion. However, this is still much more than
the revenue target of US$1, 4 billion.
What is pleasing about this is the realisation, or rather acceptance, that
resources are scarce and that Zimbabwe has to start living within its means
and increase them as rapidly as possible if it wants standards of living to
improve. This despite cries that certain allocations were well below
expectations. Nonetheless, this acceptance was not consistent across all
sectors, specifically so for the financial sector.
From an investment point of view the minister did make a number of key
changes which hopefully will act as a major incentive for investment into
the Zimbabwean economy.
Corporate and personal taxes were reduced which should see aggregate
consumption rising and so further stimulate demand in the economy. Increased
growth will only come about with increasing use of resources much of which
depends on much increased investment.
The idea there is to get a smaller piece of a larger pie but still managing
to increase revenues. Attempts were also made to curb revenue leakages by
improving monitoring and tax collection systems.
These are all welcome developments and should they act in the manner
anticipated, growth in the economy should be stimulated.
However, when it comes to the banking sector an adjustment in policy would
be suggested. It is true that generally transaction charges in the banking
sector are a bit on the high side and attempts to bring these down are
Additionally, it is generally accepted that total bank deposits in Zimbabwe
are sitting at just over US$1 billion dollars.
By the Budget Statement's own admission only US$15, 8 million of these are
classified as long-term deposits. Still, with that, about half of the total
deposits have been lent out to businesses in various forms.
On this, the minister alluded to the fact that banks should take a less
conservative approach and instead increase the allocation of loans to about
80% of the deposit base. This is where I beg to differ.
Firstly, let us take it as fact that the banking system is run by
unscrupulous, errant and greedy bankers.
Would they then not be motivated to dish out as much money as is possible to
as many clients as they can?
On that basis alone would it not suggest that if that were possible, banks
would want to loan out most of the deposits they hold to maximise profit?
Then again, is the world not in a financial crisis as a result of over
extending credit to maximise profits?
One could even argue that the 50% loans-to-deposit ratio is high given the
current environment. With the greater part of deposits classified as
short-term and borrowers willing to go as long as possible, the potential
mismatch could be devastating should depositors require their money and
borrowers not be able to pay on time.
That, in part, has been the reason a bank cannot have too many of its
deposits out in loans if most of its deposits can be called in at short
notice. In addition, the issue of lender of last resort has not been
addressed by the authorities implying that should a mismatch occur a bank
would have no recourse to accommodation from the central bank.
Pushing banks to loan out 80% of their deposits can only be achieved if the
government can guarantee to pay back depositors' funds in the event of a
bank failure. At this stage, scope for this is limited by the scarce
If anything, Zimbabwe should be taking a leaf out of the global financial
The investment banking model where some institutions could operate without
the government insuring depositors' funds has shown it is subject to some
pitfalls. The policy pronouncements seem to be pushing for this without due
consideration for the potential downside.
The solution there lies not so much in raising public sentiment that banks
should provide more loans to the would-be borrowers but instead deliberately
looking for external support, foreign partnerships and so forth to
complement the efforts of the local financial industry.
Solving one problem by increasing the potential for another is not a
By Tich Pasi
Thursday, 17 December 2009 16:54
"FRAGILE - handle with care!" This is what would possibly be written on a
container if Zimbabwe's potential for investment were to be packaged and
exported to foreign suitors. This is so because despite the expectations
shown by the country following the political settlement in February, many
deals just petered out without coming to fruition, leaving the market
wondering what should have been done.
Zimbabwe's political stage, despite the establishment of the inclusive
government, continues to be fragile and this has been worsened by unclear or
contradictory policies, especially on indigenisation as well as the threat
to investments as was the case with Nestlé in September.
A solution to the country's political problems was found at a time when
globally, governments had started to act on the effects of the financial
crisis and the country was expected to join the train at that crucial time.
A tourism conference was held in March with enquiries being made and this
was followed by an investor's conference in July as well as a mining
conference in September, which were expected to attract investment.
This, the market thought, would be a harbinger of more businesspeople coming
to invest in the country that had so much potential, but in retrospect, one
would reckon that this was a false start.
Throughout the year, everything worked to the advantage of foreign investors
as the adoption of multiple currencies meant that companies had to source
funds for capital investment which were non-existent in the country because
of a liquidity crunch.
There were no lines of credit ready for local businesses and the few local
institutions which were lending were doing so on a short-term basis and at
Foreign investors were then expected to come in with millions of dollars and
this would boost capacity utilisation which was then at a paltry 10% on
average, with government through its policy document, the Short-Term
Emergency Recovery Programme, targeting 60%.
Negotiations were said to have started with many companies working on
capital-raising initiatives. Listed entity OK Zimbabwe led the pack, opening
talks with South Africa's Shoprite.
This is a deal which was expected to change the country's retail sector and
at the same time boost OK Zimbabwe's dominance on the local market with the
injection of R167 million.
Midway through these negotiations, Shoprite announced that it was pulling
out and while the retail giant was mum on the reasons, it was clear that the
threat that had been posed to Nestlé Zimbabwe at that time made it illogical
to make a move.
Nestlé Zimbabwe had bowed to pressure and refused to accept milk from
Gushungo Holdings, a firm that is owned by First Lady Grace Mugabe.
This led to fallout with authorities and the milk-processing firm had its
accounts frozen by the Reserve Bank and there were people who threatened to
take over Nestlé.
It is still not clear how far this deal has gone because despite the
announcement of Shoprite's pullout, OK has continued to issue cautionary
statements saying it was still in negotiations.
Another deal involved CFX Financial Services and a Zambian investor before
it was blocked by fugitive businessman Gilbert Muponda who argued that he
still had an interest through Century Bank which was incorporated into the
CFX could not meet the central bank statutory reserves requirements and it
was only rescued by Interfin which has since taken over the financial
This means that the two potential deals involving local companies and
foreign investors had fallen through, raising questions if the country had
the lustre which many talked about at the beginning of the year.
Economist Emmanuel Chinyaukira said the glitter was still there if things
were put in order.
"Globally, there are indications that economies are recovering, thus this
will trickle down to Zimbabwe," said Chinyaukira. "The companies which are
expanding may want to invest in Zimbabwe and what they look for is a stable
environment and currency. The potential is still there in Zimbabwe but we
should also remember that investors may want to know what the actual
position on indigenisation is."
International investors have shown preference for mining companies with
Mwana Africa managing to get US$10 million for the second-phase
refurbishment at Freda Rebecca Mine.
Another mining company, African Consolidated Resources, raised US$16 million
for the expansion of its mining business in the country.
Another analyst said there was a mismatch between what foreign investors
wanted and what the locals asked for.
"There is a perception that Zimbabwean stocks are cheap and the
businesspeople are very desperate," said the analyst who requested
anonymity. "On the other hand, the local businesspeople are arguing that
what they are being offered on the table is too low and given that they have
been holding on at the most critical time, then they would not let go their
stock for a song."
This explains why deals involving local businesses have been successful.
An example is CFX which, despite failing to enter marriage with a Zambian
investor, found a ready suitor in Interfin. Another successful deal involved
Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) and Billy Rautenbach for
its estates in Middle Sabi and Chisumbanje.
Other companies such as NicozDiamond, Fidelity and African Sun have managed
to raise capital through private placements and rights offers.
State-owned enterprises and parastatals which include Ziscosteel, NRZ,
Hwange Colliery and Zesa have been wooing investors over the last 10 months
but not much has been achieved.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 16:47
WHEN politicians sneeze, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) catches a cold.
The year 2009 will be remembered as a season that market forces, driving the
local bourse, were delicately responsive to the politics of the day.
For the first time in many years, the ZSE reacted directly to political
undertones and manoeuvres.
The global political agreement that gave birth to the inclusive government
between President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy
Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara suddenly became the compass for the stock
The formation of the coalition administration and subsequent resumption of
trade at the stock exchange on February 19 brought high hopes to Zimbabwe's
once moribund command-type economy.
Despite the clear appetite to pocket the greenback since the Zimbabwe dollar
became redundant, market punters exercised extreme caution after Finance
minister Tendai Biti rang the bell to signal the first trade of the year.
Only 3 026 Apex shares worth a dime went through. Optimists on one hand felt
that the lifting of the Reserve Bank-ordered three-month suspension was a
resurrection of a once revered giant, the second most active stock market in
the region after the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Prices opened depressed,
with noticeable absence of buyers as most counters had sellers only on a
So high were the expectations that market watchers such as Rennaisance
Capital at one time made Utopian projections of a 500% growth of the bourse
by year-end. Reality dawned last week when the liquidity-strapped ZSE
registered only 200% growth from the $1,6 billion market capitalisation at
the start of the year.
The passing year also came with a new phenomenon developing on the ZSE. As
appetite for the African markets grew in the aftermath of the global
financial recession, Eastern European investors took a keen interest on the
relatively cheap ZSE stocks.
Buoyancy on the market continued to the extent that some analysts expected
the trend to be a happily-ever-after tale. Between February and June, the
stock exchange grew from 53, 8 points to 154 points before it began to run
out of steam, receding to 146,59 points in July.
Coincidentally this occurred a month before the slated and postponed review
of the inclusive government pact. After painting a gloomy picture of the
government, Tsvangirai began to open up on the tensions within the coalition
This recession continued in the following month as there was nothing new on
In September, the market surged to 158,07% as investors anticipated good
news from companies which were due to release results for the period ending
Apart from the politics, the continued dreary results which were released by
the companies continued to pull the market down and investors started
looking for alternative destinations for their funds.
On the downside, the October "partial disengagement" by the Tsvangirai-led
MDC sent shivers down the bourse. The shattering effect of the disengagement
saw the ZSE benchmark industrial index tumbling a massive 15% in a week,
enough to scare away investors. The mining index also fell 22,2% during the
same period and the overall market cap fall 11% to US$4 billion.
The introduction of Grain Marketing Board Bills in October following sharp
criticism on Biti's policies also slowed down activily on the ZSE.
Political undertones by President Mugabe to reintroduce the worthless local
unit "in protection of our national sovereignty" were first dismissed as a
mere bagatelle or at least a subject for debate among economists, but when
central bank governor Gideon Gono told a parliamentary portfolio committee
that government had serious plans to bring back the Zimbabwe dollar, the
market panicked and retreated.
Biti threatened to throw in the towel, clearly demonstrating the discord in
government. The finance leader reportedly threatened to resign if the policy
change was made within 12 months. The debate was temporarily put on hold
during the 2010 budget when the Finance minister downplayed the issue but
hinted that the discourse would resume in the coming year.
Most analysts argue that the use of the US dollar had stabilised the economy
and reduced the country's risk in the eyes of international investors .
Has the bourse transformed from what one academic termed a phony market to a
real market-responsive bourse? An analyst with a stock broking firm said the
ZSE was supposed to respond to monetary and fiscal policies as well as
political actions because it had become a real stock exchange.
"This is the norm and we are not surprised," said the analyst who asked for
anonymity. "In fact we anticipate this to happen because we are now a real
economy not what we were doing in the past. This is also happening for the
simple reason that the stock exchange is dominated by foreign buyers,
accounting for close to 90% of the trade, thus they are very cautious."
For many, 2010 would be a year company chiefs will have to demonstrate their
business acumen. Failure to declare dividends by the bulk of listed
concerns, save for only three, will put company executives on the spotlight.
Or will the yet-to-be-implemented issues to the GPA leave investors more and
Bernard Mpofu/Leonard Makombe
Thursday, 17 December 2009 18:22
IT must be said, there is always some good-value entertainment emerging from
the Zanu PF Congress. Muckraker’s choice this year was President Mugabe
singing Rule Britannia. This was something that will live in posterity. He
was recalling an earlier era when, it was said, the sun never set on the
The account by Tendai Manzvanzvike in Saturday’s Herald suggests Mugabe sang
it as “Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the world”, when it should of course
be “Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves”.
It is an evocation rather than a statement of fact. Mugabe is unlikely to
have got it wrong, learning to sing it as a schoolboy alongside God Save the
But whatever the case, the spectacle of the perfect English gentleman, as he
is known to biographers, belting out Britannia’s clarion call to its sons
with the stirring injunction, “At Heaven’s command”, must have bewildered
the gathered comrades who put aside their fractious pursuits for five
minutes to listen to their tuneful first secretary.
Another thing that caught our attention was the report of Didymus Mutasa’s
administration department to the Central Committee. It stated that it was an
“undeniable and very important fact that we tell our people that the
positive economic changes that we are beginning to experience as a direct
result of the multi-currency system have been made possible by policies
formulated and implemented by the Zanu PF government”.
Should we laugh or cry? Here is a party that has done everything possible to
sabotage the economy and is still deterring investment by its seizure of
farms and property.
This is the same party that hung on to the Zimdollar despite the
inflationary damage it was doing and only agreed to let go as recently as
Patrick Chinamasa’s budget at the beginning of the year. It was left to
Tendai Biti to stabilise the economy, while the Zanu FP comrades thought up
new ways to block reform.
Mugabe was only recently contemplating the Zimdollar’s reintroduction before
the end of the year. Even Gideon Gono, the Zimdollar’s errant godfather, had
to intervene at that point to say it couldn’t be done.
Now Zanu PF wants to take credit for the turnaround we are experiencing.
We recall all the past turnarounds that didn’t work. Now we have one that
does work, Zanu PF wants to grab it!
Fortunately nobody will believe the claim that Zanu PF authored the
recovery. How many people outside the conference hall associate Zanu PF with
Mugabe cannot disguise his irritation that the country doesn’t share his
disdain for Roy Bennett. His fossilised views on race clearly find no
purchase with today’s generation.
“Open your eyes,” he told the MDC-T. “This is your country and not for
whites. Not the Bennetts. They are settlers. Even if they were born here
they are offspring of settlers.”
Here is a head of state stigmatising one section of the population as not
entitled to the same rights as others on the grounds of race. Let that be a
matter of record.
Fortunately Mugabe’s blandishments cut no ice with voters and it is highly
significant that Bennett remains one of the most popular figures in the
country despite Mugabe’s repeated denunciations. His palpable frustration
says it all!
The irrelevance of Mugabe’s message to Congress was best reflected in the
suggestion that “there was a need to reverse the uncanny and insidious
encroachments by treacherous Western-sponsored political formations and a
host of fake NGOs that have hidden their regime-change intentions under the
convenient but false cover of claims about the rule of law, human rights and
So the president doesn’t believe there have been human rights violations or
any interference with the rule of law? What did the courts rule in the
Mukoko case? What happened to Morgan Tsvangirai, Sekai Holland and Lovemore
Madhuku at Highfield police station in 2007 that led to Sadc’s involvement?
How “false” were those episodes when Mugabe boasted afterwards that
Tsvangirai got “bashed”?
So, in the same speech Mugabe claims in reference to Bennett that white
Zimbabweans don’t have the same rights as their black compatriots and then
says NGOs are working under the “false cover” of human rights.
We would have thought his remarks provided evidence of just why Zimbabweans
need human rights NGOs to keep a record of such things and to alert the
world to Zanu PF’s malignancy.
The South African comrades are meanwhile having ructions of their own.
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, whose head has been swelling by
the day, encountered a roadblock last weekend when he was booed, along with
Tony Yengeni and Billy Masetlha, at a special conference of the South
African Communist Party in Polokwane, according to the Sunday Times.
The three had been introduced to the audience as delegates of the ANC.
Malema slammed SACP chair (and ANC secretary-general) Gwede Mantashe for
failing to protect him from the SACP comrades.
It was a great spectacle, we gather.
Malema, who fancies his chances as a future president, is none too popular
in the SACP after accusing their deputy secretary-general Jeremy Cronin of
behaving like “a white messiah” when he publicly condemned Malema’s call for
the nationalisation of mines. Cronin said the call was inspired by
struggling black economic empowerment capitalists who wanted government
Young Communist League general secretary Buti Manamela described Malema as
“a drama queen” who did not deserve any red-carpet treatment at the SACP
“Today we have ministers, deputy ministers, MPs, MECs and various titles
co-determined together with the ANC and Cosatu.
“This is not a reflection of the generosity of the ANC,” Manamela declared,
“but a reflection of the strength of the SACP.”
Mantashe had reprimanded the comrades for booing the ANC delegation, but
Malema felt this was inadequate.
Rural Electrification Agency chief executive Vurayayi Guvakuva’s effort to
defend the unsustainable rural electrification programme in the Sunday Mail
last weekend did not address the concerns raised in the Zimbabwe Independent
last week. The programme is a populist exercise meant to help Zanu PF hold
on to its rural supporters who have been its backbone for the past 30 years.
Guvakuva should admit to that. But in the PR piece in which he was
purportedly interviewed by Business editor Augustine Moyo, he did not tell
us whether any tariffs are being collected from the electrified rural areas.
It was also interesting to know that 6% of all tariffs collected from areas
where it is possible to do so, namely the cities, the mines, industry and
commerce, is thrown into this project for no return at all.
Zesa should now tell us what percentage of the tariffs collected is used to
refurbish our power stations so they continue to generate power. Our
contention last week was: Which should receive top priority, generating more
power or expanding the grid when the country is facing a huge power deficit?
By the way Mr Guvakuva, how many hours a day do these rural outposts have
electricity so that the glamorous projects you wax lyrical about become
remotely close reality?
Finally, Muckraker was sad to see the near-disappearance of Santa Claus from
our Christmas scene. Despite Zimbabwe’s location in the sub-tropics, Santa
was a regular visitor to department stores and malls around the country
meeting the needs of generations of demanding youngsters.
So we are delighted to report that Santa was spotted alive and well in
Greatermans this week. The photo below shows Standard senior staffer Ndamu
Sandu’s daughter Makanaka (3) looking delighted with her visit to Mr Claus.
We didn’t see his sleigh or reindeer because they were reportedly circling
the block looking for parking.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 18:18
SINCE the "inclusive government" came into being, Zimbabwe has made some
significant strides in reversing the abysmal economic decline which has
prevailed for over 11 years. The world's greatest-ever hyperinflation has
been slain, replaced with deflation. Basic commodity scarcities have
disappeared, replaced by ready availability throughout the country.
Although far from sufficient, industrial productivity has almost quadrupled.
Foreign and domestic investor confidence is beginning to be expressed,
albeit as yet with only limited investment materialising. These are but a
few of the many indicators of a developing economic upturn.
However, the ravages of gross governmental economic mismanagement for more
than a decade have been of such magnitude that the advances achieved in 2009
are very small, as against those necessary. Much more has yet to be
Comprehensive economic recovery requires restoration of wellbeing,
productivity and growth, in all sectors, including agriculture, mining,
manufacturing and tourism.
Such restoration is possible (even though, inevitably, not as rapidly as
desirable), provided government has a real will to achieve it, to an extent
of subjugating political considerations to the vigorous and constructive
pursuit of sound economic policies, and determined implementation of those
However, although the drive and facilitation of the economic recovery must
be dynamically pursued in respect of all economic sectors, that which can
most rapidly attain substantial growth is mining, and therefore a key focus
must be upon its development (whilst in no manner disregarding the needs for
recovery of all other sectors).
A rapid return of mining to former production levels, and then a speedy
enhancement of that production to greater heights will yield much needed
employment and consequential sustenance for many. It will generate
considerable downstream economic activity, and will be the source of major
inflows from abroad, by way of investment and from the export of production.
And it will be a source of considerable revenues for the fiscus, in part by
way of taxation on mining profits, and to a major degree from indirect
taxes. These include customs duties and other import imposts, taxation of
employee earnings, and the taxation on the employee expenditures of their
Regrettably, however, this appears not to be fully and properly understood
by government. In his recent 2010 Budget statement, Minister of Finance
Tendai Biti said (amongst the innumerable other statements made by him in
his two-hour-and-ten-minute long presentation to parliament) that although
the mining industry enjoyed considerable revenues, it paid minimal taxes.
He was very critical of this, berating the industry for its limited
contributions to the fiscus, scathingly suggesting that mining is depriving
Zimbabwe of its vast mineral natural resource, without adequate
compensation. He contended that this was because of excessively generous
taxation allowances to mining ventures, concurrently with very low taxation
rates applied to the sector's income.
Although it is indisputable that some mining ventures have been
beneficiaries of considerable incomes for the minerals mined, the minister
was oblivious of the extensive expenditures which most mines must inevitably
incur to produce those incomes, and unfortunately have had to do so in
The mining industry, as has been the case for all other industries, has been
faced with endless demands for wage increases.
These increases are a very material factor in operational viability, as
unavoidably mining is very labour intensive. It has been faced with vast
escalations in utility tariffs, and in addition has had to expand very
substantially on alternative sources of utility supplies, in view of the
unreliability and irregularity of service delivery by Zimbabwe's
Much has had to be expended on mining infrastructure maintenance,
refurbishment and rehabilitation, and upgrading. And many revenues have not
been received by the industry, the foreign currency inflows having been very
extensively "expropriated" and retained by the Reserve Bank.
However, Biti's desperation for fiscal inflows have blinded him to the
realities of most in the mining sector, whilst at the same time he has been
erroneously convinced that the industry is "milking" Zimbabwe, wholly to the
industry's benefit and advantage.
In so misguiding himself, he has been aided and abetted by the Minister of
Mines, Obert Mpofu, and the Minister of Economic Planning and Investment
Promotion, Elton Mangoma.
As a result, Biti not only flagellated the mining sector for alleged minimal
contribution to the economy and the fiscus, but also whipped and beat it
with additional taxes, and threats of even more.
In introducing his proposed tax measures on mining, Biti said: "The current
mining tax regime is highly preferential in recognition of the capital
outlay related to the sector. As a result, the contribution of the mining
sector to the fiscus is minimal, compared to other countries in the region."
Amongst his 2010 taxation intents for the mining sector, Biti is:
* Removing the option to spread taxable income derived from the sale of
a mining claim over four years, such income becoming taxable, from 2010, in
the year of claim disposable (irrespective of when sale proceeds are
* Reducing Exclusive Prospecting Orders from 65 000 to 20 000 hectares,
with key application and renewal fees being raised to US$100 000;
* Introducing a fee of US$100 per hectare per annum on unworked claims
* Increasing royalties on precious metals (gold and platinum) from 3% to
10,0%, with effect form 1 January 2010.
Although it is understandable that Biti has rapacious hunger for fiscal
revenues, as such revenues are presently minimal as compared to the
gargantuan demands upon the fiscus by all arms of government, by
intensifying taxation upon the mining industry he is "killing the goose that
lays the golden egg".
He should be facilitating the growth of the industry, thereby not only
aiding the initially necessary, overdue acceleration of economic recovery,
but also massively enhancing the fiscal inflows he so desperately needs.
He would achieve that enhancement not only by direct taxation on the mines,
but also on the downstream beneficiated economic enterprises.
He would also achieve it through considerably greater Paye revenues from
greater numbers employed, and through much increased indirect taxes on the
expenditures of the mines and their workers.
Instead, he is constraining the industry's viability and growth, and
minimising his future revenue receipts. He should fatten the goose that lays
the golden egg, not slaughter it.
By Eric Bloch
Thursday, 17 December 2009 18:04
ZIMBABWE is currently in the process of writing a new constitution. One of
the major challenges lies in recognising the rights of the Zimbabwean
community living abroad.
Currently Zimbabweans abroad are not allowed to vote in any election in
Zimbabwe despite the fact that a great number are still on the voters' roll.
Only members of the armed forces are exempted.
The unfortunate outcome is that of the 210 MPs and 93 Senators in Zimbabwe,
none represents the interests of Zimbabweans abroad.
Those in the diaspora eager to make it in politics have had to relocate back
to Zimbabwe and stand in constituency elections to be elected. A case in
point is that of the late John Nyamande of MDC-T who was settled in the UK
together with his family but had to stand in the constituency of Rusape
Zimbabwe has witnessed massive emigration in the past decade due to the
economic and political instability characterising this period and still
Most of those who have emigrated belong to the active working age group. As
a result, massive brain drain has seen our highly skilled manpower seeking
refuge in greener pastures in far lands. No doubt therefore that Zimbabwe
has lost many of its brightest citizens.
The majority of the people in the diaspora have maintained their intimate
links with Zimbabwe. Most confess that they will jump at the earliest
opportunity to go back when the situation substantially improves politically
and economically. A good number have established business in various sectors
of the economy, and the majority still send money to beloved ones every
There is compelling need for this constituency to be tapped in more ways and
utilise their expertise in various fields. Most people advocate for their
right to vote in elections in Zimbabwe.
This is noble and the new constitution must recognise this. However, just
being allowed to vote is not good enough.
What is required is a more advanced mechanism that allows the diaspora to
have an established voice at the highest level in Zimbabwe and in their host
countries. Voting for an MP in Rusape will never advance interests of the
people living abroad. In addition to being allowed to vote, the notion of
expatriate MPs can be developed to give permanence in terms of
Most Zimbabweans who have emigrated are settled in South Africa, Botswana,
the UK, the US and Australia. The exact numbers are not known.
However it is estimated that about three million Zimbabweans are living
outside the country. These countries could be designated as constituencies
for the purpose of elections. Political parties and individuals would be
allowed to participate in elections and be voted as MPs.
Of course these demographic regions are not uniform, which makes the
first-past-the-post and constituency-based voting difficult. The best
solution would be to elect using proportional representation.
For example the UK could be allocated five parliamentary seats.
Zimbabweans in the UK would vote for the party of choice and seats would be
allocated to the parties according to the number of overall votes gained.
Then the respective party would hold internal elections based on their own
criteria to elect individuals who would then seat in parliament. The current
system used by the European Union (EU) for election of members of the
European parliament could be a good starting point.
The expatriate MP would be just like a resident MP. Same rights, duties and
The only difference is that they would be serving an overseas Zimbabwean
constituency. It is highly improbable that they will be able to sit all
sessions of parliament but concessions could be made on the number of
sessions they would be required to sit in each parliamentary session.
The idea of having expatriate MPs is not without foundation, though it is
still evolving. France through the efforts of President Nicolas Sarkozy has
amended the constitution to provide for 11 expatriate MPs for the 2011
elections. It will be the first time that expatriate French would have the
opportunity to choose their own MPs to represent them in the French Lower
Portugal allows expatriates to vote by post for MPs in two "emigration
constituencies" ("Europe" and "outside Europe"), electing a total of four of
the 230 MPS.
A government proposal in 1980 sought to increase the number of emigration
constituencies to three (Portuguese-speaking countries, Europe, rest of the
world), each with three MPs, but was not debated in parliament. It was
revived recently and has substantial backing within the Council of
However, there are several challenges if this idea is to become reality.
Firstly, there is a very large number of the Zimbabwean expatriate community
that is undocumented or have false documents. In the UK there are lots of
Zimbabweans who have all types of passports, ranging from Malawian to
Some have none at all, neither do they have national ID cards. These
categories might not feel secure to be involved because of the fear of being
found out mainly by the immigration authorities.
In addition there are thousands who have sought asylum but their cases have
not been finalised. Their documents will be in the hands of the immigration
This poses the first great hurdle of confirming and verifying the exact
number of Zimbabweans abroad in certain countries and determining their
eligibility to vote or participate in the electoral process.
Secondly the issue of who would be tasked with the mandate to verify and
register these citizens has to be addressed.
This process is necessary to come up with a voters' roll, which will also
determine the number of seats to be allocated to individual geographic
If the reform process in Zimbabwe had moved with speed and we had an
impartial embassy staff, they would have been the ideal persons to deal with
this problem. However the present institutions are still heavily skewed
towards Zanu PF that most citizens would not trust them to come up with a
Then there is the issue of those who have acquired foreign citizenship.
Currently Zimbabwean law forbids dual citizenship. This law was promulgated
mainly to segment a certain electoral constituency which Zanu PF felt would
have voted for the MDC.
At its height there were more than 750 000 farm workers in Zimbabwe and more
than 4 000 white farmers. Trends in the 2000 referendum show they were more
likely to vote for MDC than Zanu PF.
A good number of these, and those who have attained new status in their
current host countries, have not gone through the process of renouncing one
of the citizenships they hold which the law requires. It is hoped however
that dual citizenship will be returned in the new constitution thereby
allowing them to participate in future elections.
In addition, Zimbabwean communities abroad are not well known for being very
organised themselves. Whereas there is a plethora of organisations that
represent certain Zimbabwean interests, we lack unifying bodies that would
make policy lobbying coherent and consistent.
Sanderson Makombe can be contacted at email@example.com This e-mail
view it .
By Sanderson Makombe
Thursday, 17 December 2009 18:00
FOR an event which had become pretty routine ever since the first such in
1984 in post-independent Zimbabwe, the Zanu PF People’s Congress this year
was bound to be of particular historical and political significance, for
both the party itself and the nation generally. Here, we highlight only
three observations in support of this assertion.
Firstly, this year’s congress underlines the inevitability of the
transition, from the Mugabe era to the next dispensation which, with the
benefit of brief historical hindsight, has been unfolding since 1999.
The Zanu PF Congress that year laid the foundation for what has now emerged
as the new power bloc within the party, ready to succeed Mugabe and likely
to forge a working relationship with the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). Remember, too, that it was in 1999 that the MDC launched itself and
has since become an integral part of Zimbabwe’s political life.
Of course, many will argue that this has been an endless transition, and
might even caution against misplaced optimism.
For, the 2004 Congress also raised similar expectations until Mugabe, almost
single-handedly, scuttled the succession hopes of Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru,
on the back of that television interview on the occasion of his birthday in
2007, and the subsequent Zanu PF politburo meeting of March 31 in the same
However, as the African saying goes, hapana chisingapere (everything and
everyone has its/his life-span!). In this regard, Zanu PF as a whole will
have been acutely aware of this historical reality; more so, the architects
of the leadership slate that took form weeks in advance of the congress.
So, there would appear to be little or nothing Mugabe could have done to
stop the process this time around.
Indeed, it would be in the best interest of both his party and himself, in
particular, to assist in the smooth transition from himself to the younger
As has already been intimated, this is a process that might not be enough to
save Zanu PF from the political demise caused by Mugabe having overstayed
his welcome, but it might certainly compel the new party leadership to come
to terms with the political realities on the ground, carve out an
arrangement with Tsvangirai and the MDC, and thereby ensure their own
reproduction as a class of people with so much material wealth to savour and
safeguard. I will return to this theme shortly.
Second, the recent Zanu PF Congress places in high political profile the
enduring legacy of Zanla (and related elements of Zipra), as the real
anchor of power in Zimbabwe’s post-independence history.
There is nothing unusual about this given the history of post-liberation
politics and their former guerrilla armies: from Angola to Mozambique, and
now Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa, there has been this persistent claim
that those who fought for liberation are also those who should inherit
power, sine die.
So what has been caricatured as the “Mujuru faction” in Zimbabwean politics
is, in reality, the subtle but formidable alliance of the former guerrilla
generals across Zanu PF and Zipra, as expressed, in real power terms, in the
form of the leadership of those key sectors of the state apparatus, namely
the army, police, prisons and the Central Intelligence Organisation.
And whichever way one looks at the power prism of Zimbabwe, Solomon Mujuru
is there to be seen; and the mistake is to exaggerate the perceived
political differences between Solomon Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa because,
when push comes to shove, these gentlemen belong to the same power bloc that
is anchored in the former guerrilla armies of Zanu PF and PF Zapu.
Recall how Mnangagwa denied having been the architect of the “Tsholotsho
Rebellion” in 2004; it was, he implied, the act of those “Young Turks”
(including Jonathan Moyo, of course) whom Mugabe had elevated to politburo
status in 2000, the same clique that tried in vain to overlook and overtake
the very securocrats of whom Mujuru and Mnangagwa are part. In this regard,
Dumiso Dabengwa is firmly within that bloc, as time will soon reveal.
But were it a sheer expression of military power, such a power bloc might
have been as crude as its Angolan counterpart, the MPLA, which has virtually
hegemonised the entire society.
Yet, it is fair to conclude that it has been this securocracy without which
the Zimbabwean state might have foundered over the last decade. No doubt,
without the violence that some sections of this securocracy meted out — and
continue to threaten — on a population ever since the post-election period
to the present, there could already have been another political dispensation
in Zimbabwe. So, how much more proof is needed that securocracy is the very
centre and anchor of power in Zimbabwe?
The state has been their theatre of material dreams, initially on the back
of dubious activities in relation to military supplies and contracts; but,
gradually, appearing to gain a degree of capitalist legitimacy, as they
accessed the formal economy, the commercial banks, not to mention their avid
participation in the primitive accumulation associated with both land reform
and Gideon Gono’s gravy train.
Whatever the case, it is inconceivable that our gentlemen (and ladies) of
the securocracy could have emerged so conspicuously wealthy on the strength
of mere civil service “salaries and wages”.
As a class with so much to savour and safeguard, the securocrats have
developed threads of relationships with members of the emergent middle and
comprador classes a good number of whom have thereby thrived in relation to,
and under the protection of, these key elements in Zimbabwean society.
However, it is in the political realm that our securocrats appear to have
triumphed most, as the recent Zanu PF congress will confirm; and, already,
they are the caretakers of the unfolding dispensation that began with the
Global Political Agreement.
By now, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his team in the inclusive
government will have realised just how indispensable the securocrats are in
Zimbabwean political life, and likewise to his own security as an integral
part of the state. I return to this theme shortly.
Clearly, this is an argument that runs in the face of those for whom
political life in Zimbabwe can be understood only in terms of “tribes” and
Remember, that seminal piece by the late Masipula Sithole, Struggles
Within-the-Struggle (1977). Well, one Basil Nyabadza was singing a similar
tune last week, albeit bereft of neither substance nor historical coherence.
The point is that neither Nyabadza nor Didymus Mutasa, in whose cause
Nyabadza resigned as chairman of “Zanu PF Manicaland”, qualifies as
representatives of the “Manyika people”. To begin with, Zanu PF has been
largely rejected by the same people, as the last election demonstrated; and
evidence within Zanu PF itself blames Mutasa’s sins of omission and
commission as having been responsible for the party’s defeat in the
Therefore, it is not true that people vote tribally, even if the latter
appears to coincide with other equally important factors and political
Well, I witnessed the Manyika reject their own would-be son in last year’s
presidential election: in the heart of Sakubva itself, at Sakubva Stadium,
Simba Makoni attracted no more than 3 000 people to his campaign rally in
March 2008 and on the next day, Morgan Tsvangirai, a supposedly non-Manyika
and would-be Karanga, drew more than 20 000 at the same venue.
The message was clear: the “Manyika people” would have nothing to do with
anything even remotely associated with Mugabe’s Zanu PF: and had hoped that
the vote for Tsvangirai and the MDC would bury the former party of
liberation, once and for all.
The Manyika question in Zimbabwean politics is more complex than Mutasa and
Nyabadza would have us believe. For a province which, because of
geographical proximity to the guerrilla bases in Mozambique, was the virtual
cradle of the struggle for independence in Zimbabwe, Zanu PF in particular
should be asking itself why Manicaland has turned its back on the former
party of liberation. Not until the ghosts of the Chitepos and Mataures have
been appeased will an answer emerge.
For, is it by coincidence or design that Mugabe had surrounded himself with
Manyika individuals who have no liberation credentials whilst conversely
marginalising those, like Mike Nyambuya, who have? And what about the
tokenism associated with Morton Malianga’s return to the Zanu PF central
committee when almost all the founding fathers of modern Zimbabwe have been
relegated to the dustbin of history by Mugabe?
Lastly, the recent Zanu PF congress might therefore mark the foundation of
this unfolding dispensation.
This is because the just-ended congress represents the survival (so far) and
triumph (for the time being) of the securocrats under the symbolic
leadership of Solomon Mujuru in particular. Some would argue that even the
Mugabe era — and especially Mugabe himself — has been buttressed by the
securocrats, with the latter increasingly occupying the centre of power
while the head of state became correspondingly nominal.
As I have argued in my introduction to Edgar Tekere’s A Lifetime Of
Struggle, the civilian leadership of Zanu PF has always been an appendage of
the military wing, from those days of Josiah Tongogara, to these of Solomon
Mandaza is an academic and politician.
By Ibbo Mandaza
Thursday, 17 December 2009 18:56
THERE are times when Zimbabwe's media landscape resembles a scene from Alice
Through the Looking Glass. It is surreal. This week it was announced that
the Chinese news agency Xinhua would strengthen media relations with
Zimbabwe. An agreement was signed to improve cooperation in technology, new
media and personnel training between Xinhua and New Ziana.
Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu thanked China for
building capacity in the local media through personnel training and the
provision of equipment, adding that Zimbabwe had a lot to learn from the
Chinese in media reform and new media.
It would be interesting to know what he had in mind. China has a record of
jamming transmissions that it finds unpalatable and passing on this
technology to its friends.
It also twists the arms of news networks to drop any news service they may
be carrying in return for more general broadcasting access. Rupert Murdoch
surrendered on that score when he dropped the BBC after threats from Beijing
to his Star Network.
Xinhua's coverage of world events is less than scintillating. It picks up
stories from state news agencies and retails them as "news". The claim that
it had "stuck to the principle of objective, truthful, and fair reporting of
events in Zimbabwe" is simply laughable. It reports whatever the government
of Zimbabwe wants it to cover, garnering news from the useless New Ziana.
Personnel training is something we can support. If China supplies the
personnel we will do the training. Then they can be a little less obsequious
in their coverage of their own regime!
Admittedly China Radio International has picked up in recent years and is
even occasionally interesting. But it has a long way to go in providing
anything nearly critical of Beijing.
Meanwhile, we should ask what minister Shamu was doing improving relations
with China's news agency when he should be sorting out problems on his own
ZBC is in desperate need of professional help. It is partisan and
unprofessional - and worse still uninteresting and uninformative.
Government newspapers, while rising to the challenge of a wider media scene
by producing new titles and boosting existing ones, have yet to open their
columns to two thirds of the Government of National Unity. Civil society is
also shut out so the state press has become the exclusive instrument of the
losing party in last year's election.
This is an extraordinary distortion of the media's role in society.
At the same time, the state has sat on applications for licences - print and
electronic - thereby denying investment to the country and preventing voters
from making an informed choice at the polls.
Some of Zimbabwe's most talented journalists languish in exile because the
minister is not prepared to give them assurances as to their safety if they
The GPA called for the safe and unimpeded return of external broadcasters
working for what Zanu PF fatuously calls "pirate" radio stations.
Foreign correspondents evicted after 2000 in the state's paranoid crackdown
on the media are unable to report on events here because they are banned
from the country, some on spurious security grounds.
Meanwhile we await the announcement of members of the Zimbabwe Media
Commission now agreement has been reached on its chairmanship. President
Mugabe reportedly blocked the proposed chair, a candidate of outstanding
ability who all parties could support, and secured his replacement by
somebody seen as more malleable.
Shamu was photographed meeting the vice-president of the visiting Xinhua
delegation wearing his party regalia, hardly an auspicious indication of
A meeting described as encompassing editors from the public and private
sectors had been due to take place last week but was postponed at the last
minute due to the Zanu PF Congress.
No invitations had in fact been issued to this newspaper or other
independent titles ahead of the meeting.
Once the ZMC is constituted, there needs to be a thorough clearing out of
the Augean stables at the state press.
It is essential that the public has access to reliable and informative media
so the issues confronting the country can be interrogated and resolved by
way of agreement.
The current level of "debate" in the opinion columns of the government press
is nothing short of disgraceful. It is a rogue's gallery of reactionaries
attempting to block reform.
That goes for interference by politicians and officials whose footprints are
everywhere visible in newspapers that should be guided solely by their own
Let's hope these matters are attended to before we enter the New Year.
Zimbabwe has gone for too long as a country with a democratic deficit.
Media reform is needed urgently.
It's time there was more than one voice heard across the land.
Thursday, 17 December 2009 18:54
ZANU PF's ineffectual congress ended on Saturday with party president and
first secretary Robert Mugabe rallying members to brace for early national
elections. In a dissembling act, the octogenarian leader made a lot of
claims, among them that the life of the inclusive government should end in
24 months from its inception in February and that the current economic
turnaround was spearheaded solely by Zanu PF.
Mugabe and his party also had the cheek to exhibit to the whole world their
intransigence on the resolution of outstanding issues, with Mugabe vowing
there would never be reforms of the security services.
The global political agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the inclusive
government did not prescribe the lifespan of the government, but outlined
the path towards free and fair elections.
The roadmap is the constitution-making process which has now been thrown off
the rails by several months because of intra-party fighting on the proper
course to take and lack of funding from the treasury.
In terms of the GPA the constitution-making process should be completed
within 18 months from the formation of the unity government. This does not
necessarily mean elections would have to follow soon.
Zanu PF's five-day talk shop resolved: "Congress has noted that the
inclusive government brings the party into partnership with ideologically
incompatible MDC formations from which it must extricate itself in order to
retain its mantle as the only dominant and ascendant political party that is
truly representative and determined to safeguard the aspirations of the
people of Zimbabwe."
And this can be achieved through early polls, Mugabe opined at the congress.
The three principals to the GPA -- Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and his deputy Arthur Mutambara -- would have to sit around the negotiating
table and agree on the way forward.
Given the political and economic situation in the country, there is no way
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara would consent to early polls because it is
not to any of the trio's advantage. There is no doubt that Mugabe was
politicking at the congress!
There is no way, in my view, that Mugabe and Mutambara would want early
polls because they will obviously be thrashed by Tsvangirai and his MDC-T.
Zanu PF needs to buy time to revive its party structures and woo supporters;
at the same time hoping MDC-T blunders in government by failing to run the
social ministries it was allocated.
Mutambara and his party will not support early elections. They will be
comfortable to enjoy the trappings of office and power until 2013 when
elections are legally due.
In fact Mutambara has since made it public that he wants the unity
government to remain in force for an unspecified period.
In Tsvangirai's case, the former firebrand trade unionist is, in my view,
guaranteed electoral victory even if the polls were to be held tomorrow,
2013 or 2015, but he is not sure if power would be handed over to him if
security reforms are not undertaken before the elections.
It has not been disputed that securocrats last year blocked Mugabe from
quitting government after losing the first round of the presidential
election to Tsvangirai and plotted the bloody campaign to retain the
Those in the know in the MDC say Tsvangirai is afraid of a repeat and that
is why he is pushing for security reforms which would, among other things,
result in the easing out of army generals, police commanders and top spies
who have publicly announced their political preferences.
Why is Mugabe in a rush to dissociate himself and his party from Tsvangirai
who gave him legitimacy by agreeing to enter the inclusive government?
It is also not prudent to hold the elections 30 months after emerging from a
bloody presidential run-off poll where perpetrators of heinous crimes are
still roaming the streets and villages of the country.
The electorate is wary of early polls and would need time to heal from what
they went through and witnessed last year when alleged security agents, Zanu
PF militia and war veterans unleashed an orgy of violence throughout the
The MDC claims that at least 200 of its supporters were murdered and
thousands injured and displaced during the jambanja to secure the presidency
On the economic front, the country cannot afford to finance the
constitution-making referendum and elections within 24 months of the
formation of the inclusive government given that it is just emerging from a
The constitution-making process will determine whether we will retain a
bicameral parliament or not, the number of constituencies in the country,
and the authority to register and run elections.
The draft constitution would be subject to a plebiscite and if adopted voter
registration will take place followed by a delimitation of constituencies.
All these processes would need huge sums of money the country does not have.
International donors can only chip in if indeed a people-driven constitution
has been crafted, but given squabbles on the process for the greater part of
the year, it is highly unlikely that the country will end up with a
democratic supreme law.
Mugabe's pronouncement that the current economic stability was a result of
his party's "pre-inclusive budget which ushered in multiple currency" cannot
While it is not in dispute that then acting Finance minister Patrick
Chinamasa officially announced multi-currencies, what is questionable was
the efficacy of the policy.
It is common cause that Mugabe's regime, through the "supreme" leader's
hanger-on Gideon Gono, introduced Foreign Exchange Licensed Warehouses and
Shops that transacted in multi-currencies but the supply of services and
goods remained depressed.
Even after Chinamasa's announcement in January, shops remained empty and the
bankrupt government wanted to pay civil servants in foreign-denominated
It was only after the inclusive government was formed that confidence in the
economy started building, hard currency to pay civil servants became
available and prices of goods and services became affordable.
The 85-year-old Mugabe should know that he cannot just wish away Tsvangirai,
his MDC-T and the inclusive government. If he has the guts, he should call
for polls tomorrow -- and start writing his political epitaph!
Thursday, 17 December 2009 18:25
ZIMBABWE has never seen a violence-free election since universal suffrage
was introduced in 1980. In that year there were three armies and several
party militias which had been fighting each other for the better part of a
decade, so tempers were always bound to be taut.
But it was also that election that nurtured the culture of violence which we
see entrenched in Zimbabwe today.
The main reason this phenomenon has entrenched itself in our body politic is
the impunity that came with it; perpetrators were rarely punished for their
Between March and June last year violence was at its ugliest: 200 people
were reported to have been killed by people who have developed a knack for
The wanton murders horrified not only ordinary Zimbabweans but the world at
large. But what did not get the attention they deserved were the other forms
of political violence which went unreported.
One of the most gruesome was the use of systematic rape as a political
weapon for intimidation and recruitment.
What is apparent is that among the supporters of some parties are people who
are easily manipulated to perform these atrocities with assurances of
impunity; they are assured that they would get away with their crimes.
Aids Free World, a non-governmental organisation led by a former UN special
envoy Stephen Lewis, said in a report published in Johannesburg this month
entitled Electing to Rape: Sexual Terror in Mugabe's Zimbabwe, supporters of
Zanu-PF engaged in the systematic violent rape of women who supported the
opposition in the widely discredited second-round presidential poll in 2008.
Commenting on the report Human-rights activist Elinor Sisulu said it was
essential that concrete steps be taken to prevent similar abuses before
another election is held in Zimbabwe.
"This should be prevented, there should not be another election in Zimbabwe
unless these issues are addressed, and unless there is some level of
addressing the impunity and some level of accountability on the part of the
perpetrators," she said.
It seems perpetrators of political violence in Zimbabwe are not aware of
international justice. They think that because the parties on whose behalf
they commit violence are in power then they are forever protected from the
Not so! International justice has become a reality and whatever crimes are
committed will be dealt with sooner or later. There will be no impunity.
Most likely these political thugs have not heard of the International
Criminal Court (ICC) which should not be confused with the International
Court of Justice, although both are based in The Hague, The Netherlands.
The ICC was established by the Rome Statute and it is uncompromising when it
comes to crimes against humanity including rape. One analyst said: "The Rome
Statute is groundbreaking in its provisions on and definition of sexual
crimes. History is full of examples of women being targeted as victims of
sexual assault in times of armed conflict. But these acts of sexual violence
have often been accepted as a natural consequence of war. The Rome Statute
is the first international treaty to recognise a range of sexual and gender
violence as among the most serious crimes under international law. The
criminalisation of violent sexual and gender-directed acts in the Statute as
crimes against humanity and as war crimes represents a significant step
forward in the international community's recognition of these crimes."
The ICC is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide,
crimes against humanity, war crimes and later it may prosecute the crime of
Zimbabwe signed the treaty in 1998 but did not ratify the Rome Statute which
established the court on July 1 2002. Because Zimbabwe did not ratify the
Rome Statute there is a false sense of security among parties that thrive on
violence which believe that they are out of the reach of the ICC.
The ICC can generally exercise jurisdiction only in cases where the accused
is a national of a state that has ratified the statute but the United
Nations Security Council can also refer cases to the ICC, even if the
country in which the crimes have been committed are not signatories to the
Rome Statute. This is an important point which may be missed by those who
instigate crimes against humanity.
Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan gave this warning when congratulating
the states that were the first to ratify the statute in 2002: "The time has
at last come when humanity no longer has to bear impotent witness to the
worst atrocities, because those tempted to commit such crimes will know that
justice awaits them."
Perpetrators of crimes against humanity will be prosecuted individually, so
hiding behind a group or party will not protect them from the law. The
statute expressly states that any person who commits a crime shall be
individually responsible and liable for punishment.
Further, any individual shall be criminally responsible and liable for
punishment for a crime if the individual commits such a crime, whether as an
individual, jointly with another or through another person, regardless of
whether that other person is criminally responsible.
If a person orders, solicits or induces the commission of such a crime which
in fact occurs or is attempted, he is also liable for prosecution.
Perpetrators of violence should be aware of the fact that they are being
watched wherever they are and to use the old cliche the long arm of the law
will catch up with them.