By Tichaona Sibanda
30 November 2009
A high powered South African delegation has arrived in the country to speed
up the slow-paced Global Political Agreement talks between ZANU PF and the
two MDC formations.
The South African team, led by ANC stalwart Charles Nqakula jetted into
Harare on Sunday night. The other two members of the new facilitation team
are veteran ANC cadre Mac Maharaj and Lindiwe Zulu, an international
The team is set to join negotiators from ZANU PF and the two MDC's in
renewed efforts to broker a lasting solution to the country's political
crisis. South African President Jacob Zuma appointed the new team last week
in the hope that they will push Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara to fully implement the GPA.
Negotiators from the three parties spent most of last week locked in
marathon meetings, but the talks are running behind schedule as SADC gave
the parties 30 days within which to negotiate, conclude and report back to
the SADC Troika. On Monday the South African facilitation team met with
negotiators in Harare to set the agenda for their programme.
Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us the facilitation team wanted
to meet first with the negotiators before 'talking much about their
"The team is here and they said they're eager to help the parties overcome
their differences. They have a deadline to meet so I'm sure after the
introductions they will get straight to business," Muchemwa said.
There is renewed optimism that the shaky inclusive government will deal with
the outstanding issues after a SADC summit early this month asked Zuma to
step in as the new facilitator. Zuma replaced his predecessor former
President Thabo Mbeki who helped broker the power sharing agreement in
But Tsvangirai has been critical of Mbeki for being 'soft on Mugabe,' and
publicly declared that he no longer had confidence in his mediation. On
Sunday Tsvangirai reiterated his party's commitment to the inclusive
Government saying that the arrangement was the only viable option the
He told thousands of party supporters at a rally in Harare that it was
pertinent the inclusive government overcomes challenges that it is facing in
implementing the GPA.
"While we are currently involved in another round of negotiations to
overcome obstacles on the implementation of the GPA signed by the three
political parties in September 2008, we remain committed to the framework of
the inclusive Government," Tsvangirai said.
He added; "The vast majority of Zimbabweans see the GPA as the only viable
alternative in moving our country forward. Therefore, it is essential that
we overcome these current challenges as the legitimacy of this new
government is based solely on its ability to deliver prosperity and freedoms
to the people of Zimbabwe."
Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of not fully implementing the unity deal. He
contends that the outstanding issues being contested by his party are the
appointments of senior civil servants who include the central bank governor,
the attorney general and provincial governors.
by Own Correspondent Monday 30 November 2009
HARARE - A team of South African officials facilitating Zimbabwe's
power-sharing talks on Monday met with President Robert Mugabe to discuss
problems rocking the nine-month-old coalition government, it was announced.
The team that was appointed by South African President Jacob Zuma last week
to push for a quick resolution of a power-sharing dispute threatening to
derail the Harare administration also met with negotiators from the three
political parties in the unity government.
"We have met President Mugabe, and it was a very good meeting," said the
team's spokeswoman Lindiwe Zulu, who could not be drawn into revealing
details of the meeting.
"It was a very good meeting in the sense that we have met everyone we wanted
to meet. The meetings are still on-going . . . "
It was not immediately clear when the team would meet with Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara.
Zuma, who is the Southern African Development Community (SADC)'s new
mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, sent the team to Harare on Sunday.
The South African leader, who appears to have adopted a tougher stance on
Mugabe compared to his predecessor Thabo Mbeki who was seen as too close to
the Zimbabwean leader, is expected to visit Harare in the near future to
push for resolution of a dispute that saw Tsvangirai boycotting Cabinet last
In addition to Zulu, who is Zuma's International Affairs adviser, other
members are team leader and Zuma's political adviser Charles Nqakula and
anti-apartheid struggle veteran Mac Maharaj.
Sources said the delegation was hoping to review all the outstanding issues
that analysts say if left unresolved could cripple Zimbabwe's unity
A summit of SADC's special organ on defence and politics earlier this month
asked Zimbabwe's political leaders to engage in dialogue to resolve all
outstanding issues in the implementation of last year's power-sharing
agreement or global political agreement (GPA).
Some of the outstanding issues that have threatened to destabilise the
coalition government include Mugabe's refusal to rescind his unilateral
appointment of two of his top allies to head Zimbabwe's central bank and the
attorney general's office.
Mugabe has also refused to swear in Tsvangirai ally Roy Bennett as deputy
agriculture minister while the Prime Minister's MDC-T party is also unhappy
by what it says is selective application of the law to target its activists
On the other hand ZANU PF, which insists that it has met all its obligations
under the GPA, accuses the MDC-T of not living up to a promise to lead a
campaign for lifting of Western sanctions against Mugabe and members of his
inner circle. - ZimOnline
by Tendai Maronga Monday 30 November 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday saluted
African leaders for what he said was their support for his MDC party's push
for full implementation of a power-sharing agreement signed with President
Robert Mugabe last year.
If fully and strictly implemented the global political agreement (GPA) that
gave birth to the Harare unity government could significantly whittle down
Mugabe's power and eventually trigger his exist from office.
But the 85-year old Mugabe backed by hardliners in his ZANU PF party and the
military has so far resisted pressure to fully implement the GPA and
continues to wield much of his old powers despite Tsvangirai's ascendancy to
Addressing party supporters at a rally at the Zimbabwe Grounds in the Harare
suburb of Highfield, Tsvangirai thanked the South African government for
committing itself to the resolution of Zimbabwe's political crisis, saying
the protracted crisis was also an issue of major concern to Pretoria.
"I want to thank South Africa. As I am talking, President (Jacob) Zuma is
preparing to visit Zimbabwe, Tsvangirai said.
"I want to thank him. You continue being concerned about the plight of
Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe's instability is not a foreign policy issue to South
Africa. It is a domestic issue because if there is instability in this
country, we all go the shortest way, migrating to South Africa," he told
thousands of rain-socked supporters during a rally to mark his party's 10th
Tsvangirai, who last month boycotted Cabinet for almost three weeks in
protest against Mugabe's reluctance to fully implement the GPA, said he was
happy that all the regional leaders he has approached since the boycott have
indicated they want to see the agreement fully implemented.
The Prime Minister later agreed to end his Cabinet boycott after a summit of
Southern African Development Community (SADC)'s special defence and politics
organ ordered Zimbabwe's political leaders to engage in dialogue to resolve
all outstanding issues from the GPA.
Commenting on his recent visit to Libya where he met President Muammar
Gaddafi, Tsvangirai said the African Union (AU) chairman confided in him
that he was well aware of the source of Zimbabwe's problems saying he should
be patient with Mugabe and should be sensitive to his old age.
"I also said to him that it does not help to confine solutions to SADC," he
said. "I appealed to the AU to work together with SADC to help Zimbabwe come
off its problems."
The MDC leader also used the Sunday rally to defend his party's decision to
enter into the inclusive government with ZANU PF saying it was the only
remaining option after an inconclusive election for political leaders to
peacefully resolve the impasse and restore economic prosperity to the
beleaguered country. - ZimOnline
1 hr 16 mins ago
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai complained Sunday
that his unity government deal with President Robert Mugabe was not being
implemented and appealed for South African help.
"The real problem is not about the conflict. The real problem is about
implementing the Global Political Agreement... then we move our country
forward," Tsvangirai told a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) rally.
He said South Africa, which mediated the agreement, needed to stay involved.
"Zimbabwe's instability is not a domestic issue, its not a foreign policy to
South Africa. It is a domestic issue (for South Africa)," Tsvangirai said.
Tsvangirai and his MDC boycotted the unity government in October,
complaining about the non-implementation of the unity deal. But they
re-joined the government after the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), the guarantors of the agreement, promised to mediate.
Negotiators from Tsvangirai's MDC, Mugabe's Zanu PF and smaller faction of
the MDC are still in talks on how to resolve their disputes, in line with
The outstanding issues being contested are the appointments of senior civil
servants who include the central bank governor, the attorney general and
provincial governors as well as the removal of sanctions.
Officials connive with drunken mobs to drive farmers out
Nov 30, 2009 12:03 AM | By Moses Mudzwiti
"Thomas [is] being chased by people wielding sjamboks," read part of the
terrifying SMS message I received on Friday.
Instinctively, I knew another farmer was in trouble.
"Tyres are being burnt around the house."
The epic battle of Thomas Beattie, a Zimbabwean grain farmer, to keep his
Umvovo farm made international news.
For months, Beattie and his wife, Sue, have resisted pressure from invaders,
the local land authorities and the police to give up their farm.
On Friday, my contact said police folded their arms and watched as a group
of about 15 drunken youths tormented the Beatties. They gave them five days
to "pack and leave".
My contact - who was there in Chegutu, only 100km southwest of Zimbabwe's
capital, Harare - kept me abreast of the unfolding terror.
"Charmaine Beattie barricaded in her house with 10-year-old daughter by mob
on Rainbows End farm," read another SMS. Charmaine is Thomas Beattie's
In Zimbabwe, few people can afford to talk on their cellphones: calls cost
anything up to R10 a minute. So SMSs are used.
Throughout the day the messages continued to come through.
"Bill and Nova Nicholson also been barricaded in by youths dropped off by
the lands officer."
The couple own Umfuli Banks farm, in the same troubled Chegutu area. They
are among the farmers that a tribunal of the Southern African Development
Community ruled were entitled to keep their properties.
In Harare, Zimbabwe's unity government trumpeted its new-found
investment-protection success, code named ''Bippa". The much-publicised
investment protection and promotion agreement was signed by South African
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Elton Mangoma, Zimbabwe's
minister of economic planning, on Friday.
Last month, South African citizen Dirk Visagie and his wife Heidi had to
fight off land invaders. The irony was that they bought their 42ha Wanted
farm from the Zimbabwean government several years ago - but their farm was
nevertheless targeted for what the government calls "redistribution".
Though the Visagies are still on their farm, most of their crops have been
Since the start of Zimbabwe's "land reform", a decade ago, more than 4000 of
the 5000 viable commercial farms owned by whites have been grabbed.
Yesterday morning, I received a desperate SMS from Charmaine Beattie: "12 of
them stormed our gate. Drunk and aggressive. "I tried to hold gate closed
but they forced it."
Terrified, she ran, chased by the mob. Luckily, she made it to the house.
Her husband was out.
"They went around banging on all windows and shouting threats and abuse. My
husband arrived about 10 minutes later," said Charmaine.
I didn't know what to say. All I could muster was "This is not right. Keep
At mid-morning yesterday, her message read: " . we are attempting to pack
up, but they continue to threaten . have now locked us in."
Please see our Action Alert posted yesterday (click here). Please take
action to support the Chegutu farming community.
In Chegutu the dire situation continues at Sue and Thomas and Beattie’s
Umvovo Farm. Burning tires are constantly being lit around the house in the
past few days to try to intimidate or choke the Beattie’s out. The tires
were being burnt again as I spoke to Sue yesterday over the phone, her house
was full of smoke and she was choking on the acrid smoke as we spoke. Her
daughter, Sarah-Jane Keevil, was trying to get to her mother in the house,
but the thugs refused to let her through the gate. They threatened to touch
her `inappropriately’ if she dared come there again. Sarah-Jane was thrown
out of her own house on Dodhill Farm by Lands Officer Clever Kunonga’s
brother-in-law in May this year. As we spoke the tires were burning so close
to the Beattie’s house, a thatched one, that the fear in Sues voice was
palpable. I vividly relived my own situation a few short months ago as the
same thing had happened to us – and eventually our house was burnt down
taking everything we owned.
Last night at the Beattie’s from midnight, the drums were beating constantly
outside the house. The invaders lit a fire on the porch under the thatch,
flames rearing dangerously close to the tinder dry grass. Sleep was out of
the question as they banged on the windows, chanted and sang. The SMS from
Sue at 5.30 this morning read “drums and raucous singing outside bedroom
windows from midnight. Large fires-one on porch nearly lit the thatchthis is
Just after 5.30 am this morning, Thomas tried to leave the house to attend
to the work that had to be done but found he was barricaded into his own
house. His eldest son Douglas contacted him on the phone and heard his
father’s voice – “They are breaking in.”, then banging noises and his father
voice asking the invaders, “what’s the plan now?” The phone abruptly went
dead. The invaders had broken the lock and entered the verandah area of the
house. At the police station we went through the torturous process of filing
an official report [Report Received Book number 0699176] but we know that
there will be no arrests. There never are. This kind of harassment is
allowed to continue until the owners are either burnt out or the leaders of
the thugs run out of money to pay them – or of course the owners cave in and
leave their home and livelihood as so many thousands have done before with
no repercussions to their tormentors.
There is only so much, mentally and physically, a person can take. In the
last few months Thomas and Sue and their workers have been through a
seemingly endless nightmare. In amongst the political upheaval Thomas and
Sue tragically lost their second son Hamish. They have never had time to
mourn or grieve his loss as parents should. The day they left the farm to
arrange and attend their son’s cremation the mob took the opportunity to
invade the yard and tried to break into the house. The police were notified
but no decisive action taken and certainly no arrests made. With this
personal tragedy they have had to bear being assaulted, robbed, chased with
sjamboks and sticks, locked in their house, locked out of their house,
threatened, stopped from farming, deprived of sleep. It is a litany of
torture- nothing that most farmers and farm workers haven’t been through;
but that doesn’t make it any easier.
One does wonder what is in it for the Chegutu police except an indictment to
an International court at the end of the day. Of course, in the short term
they are being paid by the invaders. When invaders are allowed to steal
whole crops and other possessions at will, there is more than enough with
which to pay police to turn a blind eye and allow it all to continue. It is
clear however that the instructions are also coming from above. This renders
the law immaterial in the face of opposing instructions. I asked one
policeman recently whether he took his direction from the law or from his
superiors, he immediately replied, without batting an eyelid, that his
orders were from his superiors. I told him about the 1.4 million railway
workers in NAZI Germany that had been involved in transporting 6 million
Jews to the extermination camps because they were simply `following orders’.
I asked him whether he cared about the future of his children. A country
without the rule of law will self destruct leaving all its children
education-less and lost.
Where are these orders coming from? The Chegutu lands officer, Clever
Kunonga, is a pivotal figure in the organization of illegal invasions in
Chegutu. He was prominent again this week organizing invaders when the new
invasion started on the Beattie’s and at Umfuli Banks farm over the last few
days. He spent almost the entire day at Selous police station yesterday –
one wonders why? Persuading or intimidating Selous police to make the law
take a back seat there as well? He hasn’t let himself go unrewarded; he has
allocated himself a farm and recently, flouting a High Court order against
him, has chased Kevin du Boil and his workers out of their houses to take
over the home for himself. But who Clever Kunonga is acting for is not
immediately apparent. The Senator for the Chegutu district, Edna Madzongwe,
led the violent takeover of Stockdale farm earlier this year just before the
6000 ton orange crop was due to be reaped. It is evident from information
that has been given to us that she has put an end to the prosecution of
Gilbert Moyo and his gang. This gang is up for various serious charges
including our own abduction and kidnapping; the violent beatings Moyo
administered to other farmers leaving permanent physical and mental damage;
looting of numerous homesteads; shooting at my brother-in-law and peppering
his vehicle with 14 bullet holes when he was trying to follow us when we
were being kidnapped – the list could go on. He obviously has some powerful
political backing: his name is not even up on the wanted list in the Chegutu
The Chegutu police would not be able to act with such impunity over so many
months if it weren’t for someone powerful like Edna Madzongwe [and her
backing authority]. It is clear though that there are key people at the
station. They are from the infamous PISI – the plain clothes men to which
the uniformed branch are obliged to defer – Assistant Inspector Bepura being
their leader. No one messes with them and they are never investigated. The
rest of the police have to follow their orders. The higher ranks always have
to have them in the office when it is a “political issue” – the break in to
a farmer’s home or the stealing of his crops. The lower ranks are even
afraid to talk to us now. They know that if they are seen talking to white
people they might get disciplined, or they might simply disappear like
Constable Tomano did some months ago after privately collecting statements
of rape and beatings and severe violence, including killings, from the rural
areas that the Chegutu police had allowed to take place last year.
The day before yesterday I phoned the joint Minister of Home Affairs who is
supposed to be in charge of the police, Giles Matsekwa, and informed him of
the invasions in Chegutu and what was going on. He said to me “I am in a
crucial meeting.” I remonstrated with him calmly and tried to explain that
what was happening was crucial to the lives of thousands of people not just
the affected farmers. He eventually put the phone down on me. He knew he
could do nothing. In the meantime thousands of people are losing their homes
and livelihoods in our Chegutu district. Just like the railway workers in
NAZI Germany who kept the death trains running, the lawless destruction of
peoples’ lives is being allowed to continue unhindered month in and month
out in Zimbabwe. Through this process, power is being consolidated and with
the impotency of the democratic side of government, it unfortunately seems
likely to simply continue to its logical and tragic end unless something is
done very soon.
Ben Freeth. – Chegutu
This entry was posted by Sokwanele on Monday, November 30th, 2009 at 12:20
By Alex Bell
30 November 2009
Notorious media ‘hangman’ Tafataona Mahoso has been implicated in the forced
seizure of yet another farm in Mutare, as the countrywide wave of farm
invasions continues to escalate.
Mahoso has reportedly ordered farmer Charles Bezuidenhout to leave his
Welverdien Farm, which was sub-divided years ago as part of the so-called
land ‘reform’ programme. Bezuidenhout had originally accepted the government’s
offer to split up the land, giving part to land beneficiaries, on the
condition that he is allowed to continue farming on his smaller piece of
land. But that guarantee has gone up in smoke, with Mahoso last month
storming the property and announcing he was taking over.
According to media reports, Bezuidenhout had resisted Mahoso’s attempts to
evict him, arguing there was no offer letter to support the claims to the
land. But Mohoso has now reportedly returned with an offer letter, ordering
Bezuidenhout to leave immediately.
“It’s the law of the jungle really. Mahoso produced an offer letter and just
took the farm just like that,” Bezuidenhout reportedly said.
Meanwhile, tensions continue to rise in Chegutu where land invaders have
been on the rampage since last week, targeting at least four farms for
seizure. Groups of thugs, often numbering more than 15 at a time, have been
barricading different farming families in their homes, shouting abuse at
them and threatening to burn down their homes. Sue and Thomas Beattie, who
last week were given five days to leave their Umvovo farm, battled the whole
weekend with hordes of land invaders, who barricaded them in the house and
set tires on fire around the home.
Ben Freeth, whose homestead was burnt to the ground earlier this year,
explained on Monday that the situation has remained ‘dire’. He explained
that burning tires are constantly being lit around the house to try to
intimidate or smoke the Beatties out of their home.
“The tires were being burnt again when I spoke to Sue over the phone on
Saturday,” Freeth said. “Her house was full of smoke and she was choking on
the acrid smoke as we spoke.”
SMS messages being relayed by the Beattie’s family have also detailed the
ordeal. On Friday one message read that Thomas was “being chased by people
wielding sjamboks.” Another SMS on Saturday read that “tires are being burnt
around the house,” and “drums and raucous singing outside bedroom windows
from midnight. Large fires-one on porch nearly lit the thatch, this is too
The Beattie’s son and daughter-in-law, Charmaine have also been targeted on
their Rainbow Ends farm, where this weekend Charmaine and the couple’s ten
year old daughter were both threatened. An urgent SMS from her read that “12
of them stormed our gate. Drunk and aggressive. I tried to hold gate closed
but they forced it.” Charmaine managed to lock herself in her house,
reporting via SMS that the land invaders “went around banging on all windows
and shouting threats and abuse. My husband arrived about 10 minutes later.”
Freeth on Monday also speculated about the root of the attacks in Chegutu,
arguing there are clearly top officials involved. Already the Speaker of the
Senate, Edna Madzongwe, who this year led the violent takeover of Stockdale
Citrus Farm, is said to be behind the increasing attacks in the area. The
attacks themselves have been ignored by the police, who refuse to act
despite the piles of official reports of abuse, harassment and violence in
the area. Freeth explained how the local police have turned a blind eye to
the lawlessness in Chegutu, saying they are obviously receiving orders from
“The Chegutu police would not be able to act with such impunity over so many
months if it weren’t for someone powerful like Edna Madzongwe,” Freeth said.
by Nokuthula Sibanda Monday 30 November 2009
HARARE -- South African President Jacob Zuma appealed for the readmission of
Zimbabwe back into the Commonwealth during a summit of the grouping of
former British colonies held in Trinidad and Tobago, his spokesman Vincent
In a statement Magwenya said Zuma told the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting that ended Sunday that accepting Zimbabwe back would show the
international community's support of efforts by the Harare coalition
government to deliver economic and political change.
"Zimbabwe's re-admission into the Commonwealth, will serve as a recognition
to the progress that has been achieved thus far. Equally, along with the
lifting of sanctions, it will represent the international community's
support and encouragement to parties to continue the dialogue that will
deliver a lasting solution to the challenges facing the country," Magwenya
quoted Zuma as having told the summit.
President Robert Mugabe withdrew Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth after the
organisation condemned his controversial rule and had voted to maintain
Harare's suspension from the club.
The announcement by Zuma follows an almost similar plea for Harare's
re-admission made by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Thursday last
However Brown said more reforms including holding of free and fair elections
were critical to ensuring Zimbabwe's re-engagement with the Commonwealth and
the rest of the international community. -- ZimOnline.
Prime minister says meetings between his party and President Mugabe's party
are taking place
Ish Mafundikwa | Harare 29 November 2009
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says talks to resolve the issues
facing the country's national unity government will wrap up before a
deadline set by the South African Development Community.
Prime minister Tsvangirai made the pronouncement at a rally in the capital
attended by thousands to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Movement for
Democratic Change party. Speaking in English and Shona, he said meetings
between his party and President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and a
breakaway faction of the MDC are taking place. "Not to negotiate, but to
define the framework of and the timelines within the time limit set by the
SADC troika," he said.
Last month, Mr. Tsvangirai partially withdrew from the national unity
government. He cited non-fulfillment of the deal that brought about the
unity government by President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) a guarantor of the
so-called Global Political Agreement that led to formation of the unity
government, convened a summit in Maputo on November 5th. The summit directed
the parties to the unity government to fully implement the agreement within
15 days, failing which South Africa's President Jacob Zuma would come to
Harare to engage the parties and have a solution in place in another 15
days. Mr. Tsvangirai and his party suspended their boycott following the
But the parties only met after the 15 day deadline had expired. President
Zuma did not come to Harare, but appointed a three-person mediation team
expected to hold talks in Harare this week. Prime Minister Tsvangirai did
not shed light on the progress the parties have made toward resolving the
Mr. Tsvangirai paid tribute to SADC and the African Union, also a guarantor
of the agreement. Earlier this month, he met with Libyan President Muammar
Gadaffi the current chairman of the African Union.
Monday, November 30, 2009
By Golden Sibanda
ZESA Holdings is saddled with a US$428 million debt which it is battling to
settle owing to its perennial financial crunch.
The power utility's cash woes are compounded by "unrealistic" tariffs over
the years in comparison to the viable rates levied by other utilities in the
Cash woes at Zesa Holdings also mean the country faces uncertain over future
supply of power considering Zesa faces a daunting task to raise US$385
million for emergency power needs.
This is according to a World Bank report compiled at the request of the
Ministry of Finance for technical assistance towards the formulation of the
2010 National Budget to be presented tomorrow.
Zesa Holdings' external debt stands at US$317 million while its internal
debt is perched at US$111 million. Its debt settlement capacity is worsened
by the fact that it requires US$385 million for emergency projects.
The World Bank said there has been a decline in Zesa's operational,
commercial and financial performance since 1997 when the power supplier
collected 97 percent for accounts due.
Zesa currently collects an estimated US$20 million a month from its
customers, representing a 49 percent rate in account settlement by
customers, but this is hardly enough to cover its payroll.
Apart from low collections and sub-economic tariffs the general downturn in
the economic conditions and lack of access to financing has contributed to
the power utility's huge financial distress.
"Zesa's trade creditor arrears from power imports are about US$98 million,
of which US$69 million are over due by more than 128 days. Zesa's external
debt arrears stand at about US$317 million (domestic arrears at about US$111
million)," said the World Bank.
Against this background Zesa needs about US$385 million to optimise current
production capacity, prevent further deterioration of infrastructure and to
improve operational efficiencies.
"The emergency investment programme to be considered in the 2010 capital
budget has been developed with a view to utilising least cost options to
achieve maximum returns on investment," said the World Bank.
In light of challenges the economy is facing, the World Bank said the
rehabilitation of existing infrastructure offers significant benefit over
expansion of the country's already strained generation capacity.
Zesa therefore requires US$78 million for the first phase of priority
rehabilitation programme and US$115 million for the second phase. First
priority investments would ensure the Kariba Hydro-power plant continues to
operate at full capacity producing 750 megawatts while the Hwange Thermal
Station could ramp up output to 700MW. Hwange is presently producing an
average of 420MW.
Second priority investments would enable Zesa to stabilise and improve
generation output in the medium term.
The multi-million dollar emergency power investments are required to address
concerns on power generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure.
Zimbabwe has generating capacity of about 1 960MW of which about 1 000MW of
non-firm power generation is available for production. Zimbabwe imports an
average of 300MW from the region.
November 30, 2009
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - A massive looting scam of agricultural inputs meant to benefit
the poor by senior Zanu-PF officials has been unearthed here following the
discovery of over 180 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate fertiliser stashed in a
private warehouse believed to belong to Masvingo governor and resident
minister Titus Maluleke.
Police in Masvingo have indicated that they are investigating several senior
Zanu- PF officials including the governor. The fertiliser was allegedly
looted from the Grain Marketing Board where it was supposed to be
distributed mainly to communal farmers.
Police sources say the fertiliser was found in a private warehouse in the
suburb of Rhodene and preliminary investigations have shown that the
consignment belonged to the Maluleke.
"We recovered about 180 tonnes of AN fertiliser from a private warehouse in
town and our investigations have pointed out that the governor had a hand in
a deal", said a police source.
"We have since impounded the consignment but no one has been arrested yet.
We are casting our net wide since we have information that senior Zanu-PF
officials are allegedly looting inputs from the GMB."
Maluleke yesterday confirmed that the consignment belonged to him and that
he had receipts to prove that he bought it from the GMB.
"The fertiliser is mine and I bought it", he said. I have receipts and I
know those who have impounded the product will soon give me back my things."
Senior government officials mainly those belonging to Zanu-PF are allegedly
using their political muscle to grab the commodity ahead of the intended
Fertiliser is currently in very short supply in the country and where it is
available the prices are very high, placing it beyond the reach of many.
In an effort to support the agricultural sector the inclusive government has
provided farming inputs to be distributed by the GMB to farmers at very low
It also emerged yesterday that only people with Zanu-PF links were accessing
the inputs while those believed to belong to other political parties were
"We have been going to the GMB for several weeks and have been getting
nothing", complained one farmer who refused to be named for fear of
victimisation. "What is surprising is that known Zanu-PF activist are having
no problems in accessing the inputs".
Maluleke becomes the second Masvingo resident minister to be implicated in a
Former governor Willard Chiwewe was implicated in a similar scandal in 2006.
He was however not prosecuted because senior police officers blocked his
prosecution and ordered him to pay an admission of guilty fine.
Last year several legislators were allocated agricultural inputs. They were
prosecuted for abusing the facility.
Gutu East MP Rensome Makamure, Edmore Marima (Bikita East), and Heya Shoko
(Bikita West), all of them members of the Morgan Tsvangirai MDC as well as
Irvin Dzingirayi (Chivi South) of Zanu-PF, among others, well acquitted on
charges of fraud involving farming inputs.
Ernest Mudavanhu (Zaka North), who represents the MDC-T was found guilty of
abusing the facility and is currently out on bail pending appeal.
Tachiona Mharadze (Masvingo West) and Evelyn Masaiti, the Deputy Minister of
Women's Affairs are currently on trial for allegedly abusing the government
sourced farming inputs facility.
Both were elected to Parliament of the ticket of the same MDC.
British Airways have denied claims by a Zimbabwean government official that
they will resume direct flights from London to Harare next spring.
David Chaota, chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe,
said BA has agreed to restart flights to Harare in March or April 2010.
BA suspended flights to the Zimbabwean capital in October 2007 due to a
sharp fall in demand triggered by the escalating political crisis in the
country. Despite the southern African nation becoming more stable since the
formation of a new power-sharing government earlier this year, a BA
spokesman has said the airline does not have any current plans to resume the
ZIMBABWE soldiers will undergo voluntary male circumcision as part of a
regional effort to curb the spread of HIV, officials said.
Defence Minister Emerson Mnangagwa has backed the programme which will
target males between the ages of 18-29.
Zimbabwe will give the scheme a trial run as part of resolutions of the
15-nation Southern Africa Development Community's Defence Forces and Health
Ministers' conference held in 2008.
The Ministry of Health has drawn up plans to roll-out the programme starting
in January next year, with plans to extend it to civilians and new-born
Kaka Mudambo, the SADC Military Health Services Regional Programme
coordinator told a conference in Harare over the weekend: "The Zimbabwe
uniformed forces male circumcision programme has its origins in the national
drive to push male circumcision in all sectors.
"It is aimed at harmonising and standardising practices and interventions
within SADC military formations."
Research conducted in South Africa, Uganda and Kenya recently found
heterosexual men who were circumcised were up to 60 percent less likely to
become infected with HIV over the course of the trials than those who were
HIV is prevalent in the 36,000-strong Zimbabwe army and air force which
health officials blame on the amount of time spent by soldiers away from
A recent survey for UNAIDS on 550 male soldiers revealed that 48.6% had been
away from home for more than a month in the preceding 12 months, and 29.5%
reported risky sexual intercourse in the last 12 months.
In a 1999 study UNAIDS claimed 55 percent of the army is HIV-positive.
"In the military, young and socially inexperienced people are recruited and
trained to be fearless and aggressive. While this is good for war
situations, research shows that the youthful soldiers carry this approach
into civilian life and into their private sexual interactions," the report
A 2003 Zimbabwe Human Development Report claimed that HIV prevalence in the
armed forces far exceeded the general population infection rate of 24.6
percent, and three-quarters of soldiers died of AIDS within a year of
leaving the army.
By Alex Bell
30 November 2009
A new report released Monday has revealed how the rest of the Southern
African region is still battling to cope with the large number of
Zimbabweans that have fled the country.
The Forced Migration Studies Programme at the University of the
Witwatersrand in Johannesburg summarised the findings of its report in a
statement released Monday. The report revealed that the core of the troubles
in dealing with the exiles in four Southern African countries is the blurred
line between the classifications of 'refugees,' and 'economic migrants.'
The group's study looked into the official responses to Zimbabwean migration
in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique and found that these coutnries
failed to take this distinction into account.
"They [Zimbabwean migrants] can be termed 'forced humanitarian migrants' who
move for the purpose of their and their dependants' basic survival.
Currently only recognised refugees and asylum seekers qualify for
humanitarian assistance and legal protection from a host state," the report
To get protection from the host state, most countries in the region, except
South Africa, required asylum seekers to live in isolated camps preventing
them from travelling back and forth from their home country.
"This makes it impossible for Zimbabweans to fulfil their main need: to send
money and goods to their families," the report detailed.
As a result most Zimbabweans failed to apply for asylum and moved between
countries as labourers, shoppers, visitors and traders. The needs of
undocumented Zimbabweans, therefore, remained unmet. Their safety 'remain
precarious' as they lived in host countries earning low incomes which barely
covered their expenses.
The study also lashed out at the countries' deportation policies, saying
that deporting the Zimbabweans showed a lack of protection from the crisis
they sought to escape.
"In Malawi, Zambia and Botswana, the asylum system is open to Zimbabweans
but very few have made use of it. Mozambique, however, has refused refugee
status to Zimbabweans who applied for it," the report said.
"Although all four countries criminalise unlawful entry, unlawful work and
overstaying of permits by foreigners and enforce this through deportation
and other means, Botswana regularly deports particularly large numbers of
Zimbabweans. Mozambique and Zambia also target suspected Zimbabwean female
sex workers for deportation," the report said.
By Lance Guma
30 November 2009
An exiled Zimbabwean businessman who says his bank was illegally seized from
him by the government in 2004 has managed to use an internet campaign to
block a major financial institution from buying the disputed asset. Gilbert
Muponda fled the country after a controversial crackdown in the financial
sector saw his ENG Capital Limited taken over by the government. At the time
he says ENG owned 52 percent of CFX Bank (formerly Century Bank).
But this year one of the world's biggest banks Credit Suisse, through the
Finance Bank of Zambia sought to buy the struggling CFX Bank. Using an
aggressive internet campaign dubbed 'Return Muponda's Bank' the young
businessman made enough noise to scare Credit Suisse from the deal. Internet
banners picked up by Google, letters and articles circulated online were
enough to discourage the deal from going through.
"I was put in jail, denied food, criminalised and tortured just so they
could take my company and now you have a reputable international bank trying
to buy it," he fumed. On Monday Muponda told Newsreel he has made it clear
to anyone who wants to buy the bank that, 'you cannot invest in a disputed
asset and hope people will forget.'
Currently Interfin, a company Muponda says is owned by ZANU PF politicians
aligned to the Mujuru faction is trying to buy the disputed bank. Muponda's
lawyers Gutu and Chikowero Attorney's have already written to Interfin
advising them of Muponda's claim to CFX Bank.
Muponda meanwhile has called for a Commission of Inquiry into the seizure of
several banks done almost 6 years ago under a crackdown led by Reserve bank
governor Gideon Gono. While over 3 banks, including Trust Bank, Royal Bank
and Barbican have been returned to their previous owners, Muponda says he
has had no such luck.
"Charges against me have not been proven in court but my bank was still
taken," he told us.
Op-Ed by Kathy Dhanani
Charge'd Affaires, U.S. Embassy Harare
November, 30, 2009
By Katherine S. Dhanani
Working together for the past 25 years, the global community has achieved many successes in the fight against HIV/AIDS that deserve recognition on this World AIDS Day.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 4 million individuals in low- and middle- income nations currently have access to antiretroviral treatment. And thanks to our many partners, the American people through the U.S President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) support more than half of those men, women and children on treatment.
Zimbabwe is fighting one of the most severe HIV and AIDS epidemics in the world. As part of its humanitarian program, and recognizing the regional impact of HIV/AIDS, the United States Government (USG) in Zimbabwe supports a comprehensive HIV prevention, care, and treatment program with over US $46 million planned for 2010. USG has invested over $200 million in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe since 2000.
The USG is implementing a PEPFAR strategy for 2006-2010 which compliments Zimbabwe's own National Plan. It aims to strengthen the will and capacity of all Zimbabweans to demonstrate leadership and take effective action to address HIV.
It encourages Zimbabweans at all levels of society to take ownership of both the epidemic and the response. Specific USG program activities address: Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, Laboratory Strengthening, HIV Surveillance, Behavior Change Promotion, Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART) Services, Commodity Logistics and Drug Procurement, Testing and Counseling, Palliative Care, and Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children.
The United States is proud of its successes in 2009. The government of the United States supported drugs for 40,000 patients in Zimbabwe and supports the delivery systems that supply 100% of those on ART.
With American assistance, 116,693 pregnant women received HIV counseling and testing for prevention of mother to child transmission (and received their test results) in 2009. In addition, nearly 17,000 (16,731) HIV-infected pregnant women received antiretroviral prophylaxis for prevention of mother to child transmission.
Across the entire country, in 2009, the United States helped to ensure that 321,843 Zimbabweans received HIV counseling and testing and their test results, representing about 50% of all persons tested in the country. This remarkable feat was accomplished through an NGO-based network of counseling and testing services.
The United States also supported orphans and vulnerable children, providing critical services to almost 58,000 in 2009 and funded distribution of about 2/3 of all condoms distributed in Zimbabwe through any channel or source.
The United States is committed to continuing our support of achievements like these and the many others that have curbed the spread of HIV in Zimbabwe. However, we know that there are a number of obstacles that threaten the success of our future HIV prevention, treatment and care efforts. We cannot succeed in this fight against HIV/AIDS alone, and America is committed to working with our global partners to support Zimbabwe's leadership in this effort.
Over the next five years, the United States will place a renewed emphasis on partnering with Zimbabwe to build Zimbabwe's national HIV/AIDS response. We will continue to work together with all sectors of Zimbabwe as they craft strategies and programs to stop HIV/AIDS. And America will support the Government of Zimbabwe as it engages international partners, civil society and non-governmental organizations.
PEPFAR will also support Zimbabwe's leadership as it works to make universal access a reality here. In addition, as part of the United States' Global Health Initiative announced by U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, PEPFAR will support Zimbabwe as it works to further integrate and expand access to other health care services, such as those that address tuberculosis, malaria, maternal and child health, and family planning with HIV/AIDS programs. As we do this, we must also ensure that the work we do together addresses the human rights challenges that drive the spread of HIV.
PEPFAR is the largest commitment in history by any nation to combat a single disease, and the United States is unwavering in our commitment to our partner nations. On World AIDS Day 2009, we recommit ourselves to furthering our achievements and look forward to continuing the fight with Zimbabwe.
Timothy E. Gerhardson, PAO
Public Affairs Section
U.S. Embassy, Harare
Tel. +263 4 758800-1
Fax: +263 4 758802
In ordinary times, the people of Zimbabwe would celebrate when the heavens opened up with rain that would soak their fields and ensure their harvest. But there have been no ordinary times in Zimbabwe for years under the authoritarian rule of Robert Mugabe. For residents of Chitungwiza, a bedroom suburb 30 miles southeast of the capital Harare, the rains have renewed fears of cholera. This is where last year's outbreak of the disease started. Eventually, it would claim close to 5,000 lives in the country of 12 million. Borne on infested, waste-filled water, the intestinal ailment may ride the rains to a new onslaught on the country.
According to the United Nations, there have already been five cholera-related deaths and 116 people have been afflicted with the disease since September. The government does not recognize any imminent crisis. "We are in control of the situation and hope that there are no further deaths and cases to be recorded," declared Henry Madzorera, Zimbabwe's Minister of Health. "Those who died could have died because they failed to get to hospital on time." (See a story about last year's cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe.)
But it is the shortage of clean water, as it was last year, that is now at the heart of a potential cholera outbreak. A visit to Chitungwiza reveals that public water shortages are still common, forcing residents to resort to unprotected sources such as wells and creeks. Meanwhile, the bankrupt local government has left garbage uncollected and has allowed maintenance to falter, so that sewer pipes frequently burst, further tainting the available water. (See pictures of the reign of Robert Mugabe.)
"We can go for days without water; we have not had it for the past three days. Every time that happens I fear that cholera will come again as what happened last year," says Eremencia Kachoto, an elderly resident of nearby Saint Mary's. She adds: "Now that the rains have come we have resorted to harvesting water. Otherwise we would be relying on water from wells. We then treat it with tablets we get from clinics to prevent cholera." She complains that the government should not have let its citizens descend to such a plight.
Just down the road from Kachoto's residence, in Zengeza, are piles of uncollected garbage. Sewage flows as children play in the muddy streets. There, another resident, Desire Kachepa, says town authorities are "letting them down" by not collecting refuse. Garbage has been uncollected for weeks. "Hence you are seeing us throwing it near the road," says Kachepa. "Water shortages have remained part of our lives here. With the rainy season now with us cholera is likely to come again because sewage is flowing into wells from which people get water for drinking when there is no tap water."
Another Chitungwiza resident, Farai Tayengwa, says that since the elected Chitungwiza Town Council came into office last year there have been some improvements. "Unlike in the past, if we report a sewer pipe burst [the council will] come and attend to it immediately. But they must improve on refuse collection. I am not sure when they last collected it here." Tayengwa lives just across a road almost closed off by dumped refuse. "This is worrying, especially when we have heard of outbreaks of cholera in some parts of the country. I hope we will not have a repeat of last year."
It has been nine months since Mugabe formed a coalition government with his chief rival Morgan Tsvangirai, but Harare is not yet able to provide adequate health facilities for its citizens. Most residents in the capital and its environs depend mainly on the U.N. and other international agencies. Tsitsi Singizi, a UNICEF official, says her organization is not anticipating huge deaths as was the case last year. "After it was realized that cholera was inevitable this year, there has been a lot of planning and preparing ahead of the rainy season. You cannot say with certainty but [cholera] is not likely to be as ravaging as late year." Nevertheless, she adds that her organization is supplying hygiene kits to 5,000 schools to prevent cholera. Until public sanitation improves, the ghost of cholera will continue to haunt Zimbabwe.
In February 2009 Zimbabwe was the only country in the world without debt. Nobody owed anyone anything. Following the abandonment of the Zimbabwe Dollar as the local currency all local debt was wiped out and the country started with a clean slate.
It is now a country without a functioning Central Bank and without a local currency that can be produced at will at the behest of politicians. Since February 2009 there has been no lender of last resort in Zimbabwe, causing banks to be ultra cautious in their lending policies. The US Dollar is the de facto currency in use although the Euro, GB Pound and South African Rand are accepted in local transactions.
Price controls and foreign exchange regulations have been abandoned. Zimbabwe literally joined the real world at the stroke of a pen. Money now flows in and out of the country without restriction. Super market shelves, bare in January, are now bursting with products.
I recently visited Zimbabwe in the company of a leading Australian fund manager. As a student of monetary history, I was interested to see what had happened to a country that had suffered hyperinflation. How did the people cope? How is the country progressing now? The current Zimbabwean situation is complicated by the fact that President Robert Mugabe is determined to stay in power whatever the cost.
The first part of this article deals with economics, the hyperinflation and current situation, which is a picture of recovery and potential vigorous growth. The second part deals with politics, both the historical aspects as well as current developments, which are extremely fluid.
We were fortunate to have private interviews with the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, and a wide range of business leaders. This provided a quick picture of Zimbabwe past and present.
There are common denominators in all hyperinflations. Generally government finances reach a point where large budget deficits cannot be financed by taxes or borrowings. The choices come down to austerity (with the government cutting back its spending) or by funding the deficit by creating local currency through the printing press, leading to the inflation tax. This is always a political decision, but the line of least resistance is the printing press. Cutting government expenditures and laying off bureaucratic staff is anathema to most politicians.
In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe has made it his mission to remain President for life. This has caused him to infiltrate his supporters into the army and police force. He also used Government finances as a way of funding patronage. His use of the printing press was liberal and nobody was prepared to stand up against him. This eventually led to inflation gathering momentum to the point where the armed forces were getting rebellious - they wanted more money. When Mugabe caved in to these demands, the Zimbabwe Dollar plunged.
Shortly after Mugabe was elected President in 1980, the Zimbabwe Dollar was worth more than the US Dollar. The ongoing abuse of the financial system eventually produced a runaway inflation. The largest bank note issued in Zimbabwe was for One Hundred Trillion Dollars and is pictured below. These notes are now collector's items and I had to part with US$2 to a street vendor to acquire the note depicted below.
The worst trauma for ordinary people during the hyperinflation was lack of food. This was due mainly to the imposition of price controls. If the cost of production of an item was $10 and the price controllers instructed that the item could only be sold for $5, the business would soon go bankrupt if they sold at the controlled price. The result was that production and imports just dried up, hence the empty shelves in the supermarkets.
People survived by shopping in neighboring countries and relied on assistance from South Africa and the aid agencies. Companies survived the hyperinflation with great difficulty and often by ignoring laws. Although companies were left without debt post February 2009, they were also left deficient in working capital and had dilapidated plant and equipment. Regular repairs and maintenance could not be afforded. Most companies now require urgent recapitalization.
There has been a major exodus of Zimbabweans over the years, estimated at about 3 million prior to 2008. Many of these were qualified people who were subjected to Mugabe's campaign of terror. During the latter stages of the hyperinflation there was a further exodus because people were starving. Most of these people went south into South Africa. The current population of Zimbabwe is estimated to be between 10 and 12 million people, so the numbers that have fled the country are significant relative to the total population.
Current economic activity is strongly supported by remittances from Zimbabwean migrants to their families in Zimbabwe. Once the political situation settles down, it is likely that many of these migrants will wish to return to Zimbabwe. Some have already done so. Many activities that perished in the hyperinflation, such as insurance, are now starting to resuscitate.
Credit financing activities are starting to revive. Visa credit cards are once again operating successfully in Zimbabwe, others will surely follow. Banks have had both sides of their balance sheets devastated by hyperinflation and now have no lender of last resort to call on. They are understandably cautious in lending the deposits that are slowly filtering back into the system. Banks also lost much of their equity capital. Barclays Bank survived because it had 40 branches where the bank owned the real estate and had a strong parent. These properties plus some foreign currency holdings represent the equity capital on which the bank currently operates.
In a country with no debt, only assets, people and companies are under geared. With the ultra cautious lending policies of the banks, there is a huge opportunity for foreign investors in the credit purveying industry.
There has been a sharp rise in economic activity since February. Real wages have risen substantially compared to a year ago. Whatever workers were paid in Zimbabwe Dollars during the hyperinflation bought virtually nothing. Now even the minimum wage of around $100 per month allows for basic purchases. A 10kg bag of maize meal, a staple in the local diet, costs $3.50 and lasts for two weeks. Demand for products and services is increasing rapidly. Corporate profits are rising, leading to greater tax revenues for the Government, augmented by rising VAT taxes. Greater Government revenue allows for greater Government spending.
This self-reinforcing loop will continue. The improvement in the economy will become dramatic once Mugabe leaves the scene. At that time aid agencies, NGO's, Charities and foreign governments will start injecting large volumes of funds and assistance into the country. They refuse to commit any meaningful funds while Mugabe is still the President.
With Mugabe out of the way and the economy recovering strongly, one could reasonably anticipate that a large proportion of the Zimbabweans living overseas will return to the country bringing welcome skills and capital. Indeed foreigners will also be attracted to investing in the country in those circumstances.
It is fascinating to see how rapidly the economy is recovering. It is a great testament to what can be achieved in a free enterprise environment by the elimination of controls combined with the institution of new money that people trust. It needs to be money that their Government cannot create via the printing (or electronic) press.
The economic future of Zimbabwe is likely to be in mining, agriculture, tourism and service industries, especially those providing infrastructure and maintenance facilities. There remain many problems, not the least being chronic unemployment, but the future looks bright beyond the Mugabe horizon. The population is amongst the best educated in Africa and most people can speak English. With the Zimbabwe's natural assets, there is scope for realistic optimism about the economic future, especially once the current political difficulties are overcome. The population has been brutally traumatized by the hyperinflation and the political situation. They really deserve a decent change of fortune.
THE POLITICAL SITUATION
To understand what has happened and is happening in Zimbabwe, it is necessary to look at some history. Modern Zimbabwean history began in 1890 with the arrival of the Pioneer Column of white settlers under Leander Starr Jameson at the behest of Cecil Rhodes. Initially they were searching for gold but when nothing of importance was found, they turned to pegging land for farms. The initial settlers were fortune hunters, grabbing land at every opportunity.
Prior to the arrival of the white settlers, the Shona tribe occupied the northern part of the country called Mashonaland, and the Ndebele tribe were ensconced in the south, called Matabeleland. In 1896 these tribes rebelled against white rule in one of the most violent episodes of resistance in the colonial era. In Matabeleland a somewhat dubious settlement was negotiated but in Mashonaland the Shona chiefs were hunted down until all resistance ceased. No Peace Treaty was ever signed with the Shona tribe.
The Shona, in particular, have never forgotten this. Mugabe, who is from the Shona tribe, has made it his life's work to recover for his people the land that was "stolen" by the whites. He has repeated this statement on many occasions.
A book by Martin Meredith titled "MUGABE: Power, Plunder and the Struggle for Zimbabwe" published by Jonathan Ball, gives a very readable account of the recent history of Zimbabwe up to 2006, prior to the worst of the hyperinflation. It is required reading for anyone wishing to gain a balanced understanding of what has happened in that country with an emphasis on the period since Independence was granted in 1980.
Returning to the white settlers, there was always an unfair division of land between whites and blacks. This was accentuated after the Second World War when Rhodesia benefited from an influx of white immigrants. Farming boomed as a result of better equipment, better farming methods and better seeds. The number of white farmers increased from 4,700 in 1945 to 8,600 in 1960, increasing the demand for white occupied land. The black population was also expanding and African grievances over land eventually swelled to voluble protest. This is the background to the land invasions on white farms over the last decade. Mugabe was making good his promise to return the land to his people.
In 1962 Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front party swept to power on their policy of maintaining the status quo for the white farmers. During the 1960's Britain was in the process of granting independence to its various colonies. Smith attempted to negotiate independence for Rhodesia but Britain would only accede to this if it was on the basis of democratic (one person, one vote) elections. Smith was intent on entrenching white minority rule "forever", so Britain refused.
On 11 November 1965 the Smith government made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence which they claimed had precedent in the USA Declaration of Independence in 1776. This triggered a range of reactions. Sanctions were imposed by Britain and the United Nations. The black population was outraged, leading to the formation of black resistance movements aimed at changing the government.
Smith introduced the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act which allowed the government to literally do anything without recourse to the Courts or rule of law. One of his first acts was to imprison four black nationalist leaders without trial or publicity. Mugabe was one of these 4 and he spent the following 11 years in prison. He was released in 1974 during a brief cease fire between the Rhodesian forces and the liberation movements. Mugabe took the opportunity to escape across the border into Mozambique where he became leader of the resistance movement and was instrumental in organizing many terrorist raids on farms in Rhodesia.
The terror war became increasingly vicious on both sides. Rhodesian forces regularly crossed into neighboring territories, dealing brutally with the local population suspected of harboring terrorists. The neighboring countries eventually insisted that a peace deal be consummated. They would no longer tolerate liberation movements on their soil. Mugabe reluctantly agreed. The guerrilla war had spread to all corners of Rhodesia, forcing Smith to also come to the negotiating table.
In early 1980 the country became independent and changed its name to Zimbabwe. Mugabe stunned everyone by gaining 63% of the popular vote at the first elections. Despite claims of vote rigging and intimidation of voters, the numbers were so overwhelming that it was conceded that Mugabe had won and he was elected President of Zimbabwe. People just wanted peace.
Mugabe, despite initial claims of moderation, set about entrenching himself as president, a position he wanted to claim for life. Surprisingly Mugabe did not repeal the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act that the white regime had used to cover its many evil acts. Mugabe relied on its terms to justify the terrible things that he perpetrated over the ensuing 3 decades.
These atrocities are recorded in Martin Meredith's book "Mugabe" and there is no point detailing them now. Suffice to say that he was bent on eliminating his opponents and intent on punishing anyone who criticized him. His Zanu-PF people infiltrated the army and the police force and were at his beck and call to act as thugs when required. Faithful people were rewarded with a range of patronage that he dispensed.
He found a compliant partner in the Governor of the Reserve bank, which became Mugabe's source of funds to pay his people and to dispense his patrimony. Needless to say, much of the money came from printing new Zimbabwean dollars, which caused inflation to gradually increase. Finally the army and police forces to got cranky, publicly demanding much higher pay.
The following is extracted from Wikipedia.org:
On 16 February 2006, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, announced that the government had printed ZW$20.5 trillion in order to buy foreign currency to pay off IMF arrears. In early May 2006, Zimbabwe's government announced that they would produce another ZW$60 trillion. The additional currency was required to finance the recent 300% salary increase for soldiers and policemen and 200% increase for other civil servants. The money was not budgeted for the current fiscal year, and the government did not say where it would come from. On 29 May, Reserve Bank officials told IRIN that plans to print about ZW$60 trillion (about US$592.9 million at official rates) were briefly delayed after the government failed to secure foreign currency to buy ink and special paper for printing money.
On 27 June 2007, it was announced that central bank governor Gideon Gono had been ordered by President Robert Mugabe to print an additional ZWD$1 trillion to cater for civil servants' and soldiers' salaries that were hiked by 600% and 900% respectively.[53
Official, black market, and OMIR exchange rates Jan 1, 2001 to Feb 2, 2009. Note the logarithmic scale
Clearly Mugabe was responsible for the hyperinflation. The causes were those always present in these events. A weak economy, large government budget deficits, inability to borrow funds combined with the political decision not to cut Government spending. Governments are reluctant to lay off government employees, especially those related to the armed forces. The latter might invite a military coup. The only source of funding left is the creation of new money.
A very important factor in assessing the current situation is that Mugabe no longer has his own private source of funds to continue with his system of patronage. The army, police force and civil servants are paid by the Unity Government. Mugabe's power base must be disintegrating rapidly. He has also become very unpopular. It seems unlikely that he could win an election again, even if he managed to get his thugs to resort to intimidation. People identify Tsvangirai and the MDC with the new monetary disposition and the improved economy, while Mugabe is correctly blamed for the trauma of hyperinflation.
There is also the question of sanctions. In recent speeches Mugabe has said that it was time for sanctions against Zimbabwe to be removed. This is nonsense. It is Mugabe and 200 of his associates who are under sanction by the US and other countries under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. This prevents them and their families from travelling overseas and freezes their external bank accounts.
This combination of circumstances, combined with the fact that he is 86 years old, suggests that Mugabe must be under pressure to resign. It is a logical deduction that behind the scenes Mugabe must be attempting to negotiate a form of amnesty against prosecution. The next month is important as the SADC, which guaranteed the terms of the recent Unity Government, has given Mugabe until 6 December 2009 to comply with all outstanding issues. Details of developments and current Zimbabwe news can be found at http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/
COMMENTS and CONCLUSIONS.
Having seen the impact of hyperinflation at close quarters, my view is that this is the least desirable method for eliminating excessive debt. The population has been traumatized physically (starvation), mentally and financially. Most people did not have foreign assets or local tangible assets, so lost virtually everything. The companies survived using unusual skills, ignoring laws and protecting working capital by holding foreign currency or purchasing equities.
The alternative option for eliminating excessive debt is to take the tough political decision of allowing 'too big to fail" companies to fail and accept the unpleasant economic consequences. Excessive Government spending should be curbed. A sound currency, elimination of all rules and controls in a completely free market will produce a much better result in the long term. If this option were adopted, the short term would likely be extremely unpleasant, possibly including an economic depression. It is doubtful whether any Government today has the courage to take this route. Sadly this implies that the world is headed down the path of currency destruction that will eventually result in a Zimbabwean situation for the elimination of debt. Zimbabwe may yet prove to be a role model, demonstrating how rapidly a country can recover from the devastation of hyperinflation and the elimination of debt.
In Zimbabwe the serious problem of the land issue remains to be resolved. Morgan Tsvangirai indicated that security of land tenure was vital. One option is the Zambian model where all land was nationalized followed by the issue of 99 year leases to property holders. The MDC will also look at some form of compensation for farmers who have been dispossessed. They are anxious to see a land audit set up, but Mugabe is stalling on this for obvious reasons.
On mining, the MDC are examining a bill that will require concessions to be developed in a shorter period, perhaps 2-3 years, compared to 100 years currently. They will aim at a combination of royalties and taxes to provide the State's share of mining profits rather than insisting on a percentage of local ownership.
My family was concerned about me going to Zimbabwe. "Don't you know that it is a dangerous place?" I admit that I was nervous too. International news on Zimbabwe seems to be preoccupied with violence, particularly the brutal land invasions and physical intimidation in the political sphere. The fact that foreign media have not been allowed into the country until the past few months has resulted in a false image being projected. Mugabe's thugs have closed down newspapers that were critical of his regime, so news has tended to be pro-Mugabe.
We arrived late on a Saturday evening and due to the massive time change, I woke very early on Sunday morning. I decided to take a walk around central Harare and found my way to the Harare Catholic Cathedral. There were Masses in the local language at 7am, 8am, and 9am, followed by an English Mass at 10.00am. All four Masses were standing room only, as can be seen in the photograph below.
Standing room only at four consecutive Masses at the Harare Catholic Cathedral.
The people were well dressed and looked well nourished. They were all friendly and affable. My view that Zimbabwe was a dangerous place did a dramatic about turn. These were peaceable people who wanted nothing but a quiet life. Walking around the streets, I never felt harassed physically. The curio sellers at Victoria Falls were a pain, but so are street vendors everywhere. They were certainly all friendly and intelligent. They could get involved in a serious conversation and all had strong views about economics and politics. Obviously it is Mugabe's thugs that people fear, but that is becoming less of a problem.
All my preconceived ideas about Zimbabwe were smashed. I now believe it has a bright future, especially once Mugabe leaves the scene. I was sufficiently encouraged by the prospects for the economy and sufficiently impressed by the high quality of the senior executives of major companies to make some small initial personal investments on the Harare Stock Exchange.
Anyone looking for a safe, interesting, place to visit should consider Zimbabwe. I think that you will be pleasantly surprised and have an enjoyable trip.
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by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 30 November 2009
OPINION: In his inaugural speech President Barack Obama, the first person of
colour to be elected as President of the United States extended a hand of
friendship to adversaries willing to "unclench their fists".
In making the gesture he was acutely aware of the historical significance of
his election after 232 years of American democracy.
He knew as we all know that had he chosen to assume the citizenship of his
natural father in Kenya, he may never have been given a chance to offer his
name for election as a President.
Even in the post-colonial era, the road to statehouse is full of landmines
and stop signs.
Those who make it to the Promised Land often clench their fists to prevent
other people from even dreaming of serving their countries.
As we look back at Africa's civil rights movement journey, we are often
reminded of the impenetrable political toll roads that have been created to
ensure that a "few wise men" are the only one allowed to cross these
artificial and expensive barriers.
Any society that invests in barriers that limit the mobility of people
horizontally and vertically has no one to blame than itself.
Africa's political and economic landscape is infested with barriers,
distortions, parasites, chameleons, and more importantly dangerous people.
Any society that invests in freedom is destined to capture human imagination
and inspire confidence.
Political discourses invariably create hierarchies characterized by dominant
and repressed objects.
Those with state power often become dominant displaying monopolistic and
Africa's post-colonial experiences are not unique. Human civilisation has
produced numerous non-African tyrannical political and economic characters.
We have often blamed leaders for the lack of progress in Africa forgetting
that no leader, however evil, has any capacity to do more harm than any
other human being.
Leaders are human after all and the more you trust any individual to do what
you can do for yourself the more you set yourself for failure.
The use of clenched fists is inevitable in any society that fails to invest
in the necessary building blocks required for an open and progressive
Many of us grew up in closed societies where the opportunity ladder was
restricted to certain targeted groups and yet when "uhuru" came we thought
that it would be easier to build a better and brighter future.
We naturally expected a lot more from our leaders than they could deliver.
Is the use of clenched fists accidental?
Although free, many Africans are afraid of their governments. The longer one
stays in power the more one believes in indispensability.
Is it not ironic that anyone who stays in power for too long ceases to be
useful to the very people that they purport to serve?
Leaders come from families and can never be located outside the circle of
friends and family that we all have and generate in life.
Access to leaders can come from friendship, family and political
The clenched fist is normally used for people that fall outside the normal
circle of influence.
The longer one stays in power the less accessible one becomes to the extent
that the circle of influence reduces to the family and close confidantes.
We can create a better Africa if we understood how to relate to one another
and more importantly how to manage those we trust with the power to
administer our affairs in the state.
It is dangerous for any society to have leaders who stay too long in office.
In open and free societies there is nothing that is inevitable.
We have seen Africa lose its brain trust to other nations without pausing to
understand why this phenomenon occurs.
No amount of nationalist and patriotic rhetoric can make people choose to
live in societies where their skills and contribution are not appreciated.
Human assets are complex and it is difficult to know what lies between two
ears of human beings.
It is difficult to know what makes people behave in a certain manner but
what is critical for us in Africa is to appreciate that societies that are
progressive have understood what is necessary to capture human imagination
Zimbabwe, a critical player in the African story, for example, is at the
crossroads. President Mugabe at 85 years old is still standing after 29
years in office.
He has been accused of all that has gone wrong in Zimbabwe.
Given the number of times his name is connected with what is wrong in the
country one can safely conclude that he must be a superhuman being.
However, he is just another human being who has to deal with the daily
challenges of life.
He has two eyes and two ears and, therefore, faces the same challenges that
we all face that we can only absorb so much information and can only see
where our eyes take us.
Why then would the world come to believe that his fists are the most toxic
of all fists?
To what extent is the crisis in Zimbabwe exacerbated by our limited
understanding of what it takes to build a prosperous and progressive nation?
Mugabe like many of his colleagues in Africa, for example, has taken a
centre stage because often we are not willing to take responsibility for our
own future believing that another human being in the form of a President
will see what we see and know what we know, for example.
In resolving the Zimbabwean problem, it has been agreed that sanctions must
be lifted. It is the position of ZANU PF that sanctions are real and
There has been no better advocate of this school of thought than Governor of
the Central Bank, Gideon Gono.
A case has been made that one of the outstanding condition militating
against the smooth implementation of the Global Political Agreement is the
resolution of the disputed re-appointment of the Governor after the signing
of the GPA whose effect according to the MDC formations was to limit the
power of the President in terms of making strategic appointments of state
Gono makes the argument that his critics fail to acknowledge that he was
forced by the sanctions regime to administer a parallel government in which
state resources were allocated without parliamentary oversight.
He makes the case that in such situations the end justifies the means.
There have been many financial casualties and their wounds are open yet no
attempt has been made to include them in the discourse that has arrested and
continues to occupy the minds of SADC leaders.
Should sanctions be lifted when fists remain clenched? This is the
question. While many would argue that MDC was responsible for the
imposition of targeted sanctions, the evidence on the ground may suggest
Even after the formation of the inclusive government, Zimbabweans in the
thousands continue to vote with their feet and interestingly no significant
movement of Zimbabwe's prodigal sons and daughters has taken place in the
If the values, principles and beliefs that inform the inclusive government
offend the nations that have imposed sanctions, what message would this
The people whose accounts were raided by the Reserve Bank remain exposed
with no cash in their banks.
The laws that threaten and inhibit investment remain on the statute books.
The treatment of Roy Bennett exposes a new danger in Zimbabwe and has set a
new precedent whose constitutional implications are devastating that one
needs to prove his innocence before being entitled to a state job. Does
this mean that the presumption of innocence is no longer applicable?
Even if sanctions were lifted today, it is debatable if farmers who were
dislocated will have the confidence to come back to Zimbabwe. What is even
more debatable is whether the will to change is there.
To what extent were sanctions imposed at the behest of MDC will remain a
question for historians. What is critical is that a critical examination is
made to identify the real impediments to progress and whether such obstacles
are externally or internally generated.
As long as the clenched fist remains intact, it will be futile to ask others
what Zimbabwe can do for itself with no external help.
As we build our own knowledge bank on what works and what doesn't, we have
no choice but to study how other nations have progressed without
compromising their values and principles and more significantly without
expecting their purported adversaries to be benevolent. - ZimOnline
BILL WATCH 41/2009
[30th November 2009]
Both Houses will resume on Tuesday 1st December
The 2010 Budget
This will be
presented on Wednesday 2nd November at 3.45 pm by Finance Minister
Prime Minister to Address House of Assembly Tuesday 1st December
The Prime Minister will address the House of Assembly tomorrow, Tuesday, shortly after the House convenes at 2.15 pm. As Leader of Government Business in Parliament, he is expected to cover the inclusive government’s legislative agenda for the rest of the current session, focusing particularly on planned reforms of media and electoral legislation. He has also told the House that he would give an assessment of the general political situation.
Update on Inclusive Government
Inter-party Dialogue Continues: The three negotiating teams met on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week and then adjourned until the weekend because members had other commitments on Thursday and Friday. Talks resumed on Saturday and continued until lunchtime Sunday. They are due to resume at 5 pm today. Secrecy has been maintained over the talks venue, and there has been no reliable indication on whether or not progress is being made. The disputed appointments of the Attorney-General and the Governor of the Reserve Bank are being left to the end of the 19 item agenda in an effort to make progress on other issues.
South African Mediation Team: President Zuma of
South Africa/Zimbabwe BIPPA Signed
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement [BIPPA] between
Last Week in Parliament
did not sit last week. Most of the staff were facilitating the SADC
Parliamentary Forum meetings at
This Week’s Parliamentary Agenda
House of Assembly
Bills: Tuesday 1st December – the second reading debates are due to continue on the Public Finance Management Bill and the Audit Office Bill.
Budget: Wednesday – this entails not only the Minister’s statement on the economy’s performance and prospects, but also the tabling of the Estimates of Expenditure for 2010 and related taxation proposals, which will be incorporated in the Appropriation (2010) Bill and the Finance (No. 3) Bill, respectively.
Motions: Time permitting, debate will continue on motions carried over from last week or the week before, including a motion calling for an audit of the voters roll; and the debate on the President’s Opening of Parliament speech.
Question Time [Wednesday]: 26 Questions with Notice, some of them carried over from previous Question Times, are on the Order Paper for reply by the relevant Ministers or Deputy Ministers [see Bill Watch 40]. Question Time will be half an hour shorter than usual, to allow for the Budget presentation.
Bills: The Senate will consider the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill and the Financial Adjustments Bill, passed by the House of Assembly and transmitted to the Senate last week. ZANU-PF Senators have said they will seek to have the Bill amended to cover concerns that emerged too late to be raised when the Bill was before the House of Assembly. Amendments made by the Senate will have to be approved by the Parliamentary Legal Committee and then go back to the House of Assembly for its endorsement.
Motions: Any time not taken up with Bills will be devoted to the continuation of the debate on the President’s Opening of Parliament speech.
SADC Parliamentary Forum Meeting in
Mugabe opening speech at the SADC Parliamentary Forum supported proposals to
transform the Forum into a regional Parliament with real legislative powers.
This was endorsed by the Prime Minister, addressing the Forum later in the week.
[This support may be regarded with
reservations by other SADC member states, given
Important Court Cases
SADC Tribunal decision: Application to High Court for Enforcement:
November High Court judge Bharat Patel heard an application for the registration
of the judgment of the SADC Tribunal holding the Government’s acquisition of
farms under the Land Reform Programme illegal. Registration would permit the
enforcement of the Tribunal’s judgment on the same basis as a judgment of a
Zimbabwean court. The legal arguments presented to the court focused on whether
or not the SADC Tribunal has been legally constituted, with the Government
contending that the SADC Protocol constituting the Tribunal has not been
Bennett Trial: Senator Bennett’s trial continued in the High Court with several State witnesses giving evidence, but without the expected appearance of the State’s key witness, Peter Hitschmann, Mr Bennett’s alleged co-conspirator. The investigating officer admitted under cross-examination by defence counsel that his investigations were not yet complete. On Friday, the last day of the court term, the judge adjourned the trial until 12th January. The court dismissed a defence application for relaxation of Mr Bennett’s stringent bail conditions. Widespread international concern about whether the prosecution has been brought in good faith or is politically motivated has prompted the International Commission of Jurists [ICJ] to appoint an observer to cover the remainder of the trial to assist the ICJ assessment of the fairness of the process.
Chiadzwa Claims Holder in High Court Setback: African Consolidated Resources [ACR], seeking to enforce the rights to the Chiadzwa diamond claims awarded to it by Justice Hungwe on 29th September, failed in its bid to get the High Court Registrar to issue a writ for the eviction of the Government and its surrogates from the claims. Asked to review the Registrar’s refusal, Justice Hungwe confirmed it, explaining that his earlier judgment had not specifically ordered the eviction of the Government or others from the claims. The judge also refused to expand his earlier order to include eviction, pointing out that ACR had not asked for eviction in the earlier proceedings.
Bills in Parliament: Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill [HB 7, 2009], Public Finance Management Bill [HB 9, 2009], Audit Office Bill [HB 10, 2009] and Financial Adjustments Bill [HB 8, 2009] [Electronic versions available on request.] Likely to be passed by both Houses in December. [See Parliamentary Update above.]
Bill Awaiting Introduction: Public Order and Security Amendment Bill [private member’s Bill – see above]. Parliament have not yet sent the Bill to the Government Printer to be printed. It is unlikely to be introduced this year.
Statutory Instruments: For the second week running, no statutory instruments were gazetted last week.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.