November 30, 2012 in Politics
SINCE the death of former army commander and Zanu PF kingpin retired General
Solomon Mujuru, President Robert Mugabe has been having an easy ride in the
party as politburo members have no guts to openly confront him over the
Report Dingilizwe Ntuli
The situation has been made even worse by the departure of former politburo
guru Dumiso Dabengwa who together with Mujuru could stand up to Mugabe,
demanding to know when he would relinquish power and usher in leadership
Mujuru and Dabengwa forced Mugabe to call for an extraordinary congress in
2007 where they plotted to replace him with former politburo member and
ex-finance minister Simba Makoni.
The late Vice-President Joseph Msika also used to intervene at critical
moments like when he blocked suggestions by Zanu PF officials in 2007 that
Mugabe be declared life president.
Ironically, it was Mujuru who was instrumental in helping install Mugabe as
Zanu PF leader in Mozambique in 1976 when guerrilla fighters were resisting
Before his death in a mysterious fire in 2011, Mujuru had become a thorn in
Mugabe has been at the helm of Zanu PF since 1977 after seizing its
leadership from founding leader Ndabaningi Sithole in a prison coup in 1974
and has ruled Zimbabwe uninterrupted since 1980.
With the departure of Mujuru and Dabengwa, Mugabe has been having it easy.
At the party’s Goromonzi conference in 2006, Mujuru and his allies blocked
Mugabe’s attempts to extend his presidential term by two years outside an
election from 2008 to 2010. He had been controversially re-elected in 2002.
Mugabe’s six-year term was due to end in 2008 while parliament’s five-year
term was to run until 2010 following parliamentary polls in 2005. So in a
bid to ensure the presidential and parliamentary terms ran concurrently,
Mugabe and his loyalists tried to extend his tenure by two years but Mujuru
and others rejected that.
After blocking Mugabe, Mujuru’s faction, which had triumphed during the 2004
congress, gained momentum in the run-up to the 2008 elections and forced an
extraordinary congress in December 2007 as the internal power struggle
reached its zenith.
Their plan was for Makoni to challenge Mugabe for the presidency with
Dabengwa as his deputy, but this was blocked by presidential loyalists,
including Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
After this, Mujuru and his allies tried to fight Mugabe from outside. Makoni
sensationally quit Zanu PF with a plan to register himself as the party’s
candidate on nomination day just before the 2008 elections supported by
Dabengwa. Mujuru and the rest would then leave to urge Zanu PF supporters to
back Makoni in a bid to stage a palace coup against Mugabe.
Dabengwa confirmed this in a recent interview with the state-owned Sunday
Mail, although the Zimbabwe Independent extensively reported on this at the
However, Makoni lost the plot and the entire plan was thrown into disarray.
After the departure of Dabengwa and Makoni, and the subsequent death of
Mujuru, Mugabe virtually has no challenger in Zanu PF.
No one has the courage to confront him anymore and that is why before party
conferences in Mutare, Bulawayo and now Gweru he easily retained his
Before Mujuru and Dabengwa emerged as firebrands, Mugabe used to have
problems from the late Edison Zvobgo, Edgar Tekere and Enos Nkala, among
After Tekere was expelled from Zanu PF and Nkala fell by the wayside
following the Willowgate scandal, Zvobgo became the main voice of dissent
within the party. Zvobgo gave Mugabe problems until his death in 2004, just
before the explosive congress that year.
Current actions by the party’s factional leaders Joice Mujuru, widow of the
late General Mujuru, and Mnangagwa show Mugabe is no longer under any
All Zanu PF structures have endorsed Mugabe to continue leading the party
and stand for re-election next year when he would be 89 years old ahead of
the Gweru conference next week.
When Mujuru was still alive and Dabengwa in Zanu PF, Mugabe was always
forced to sweat to retain the party leadership and remain as the uncontested
candidate in presidential elections.
Although senior party leaders believe Mugabe is no longer a viable but risky
candidate given his advanced age and health problems, they are unable to
mobilise to force him out because of the party’s strict disciplinary codes,
hierarchical arrangements, patronage and internal rivalry which allows his
divide-and-rule tactics to thrive.
Mugabe survived spirited attempts during the recent constitution-making
process to bar him from standing in the next elections on term limits and
Senior Zanu PF and MDC party officials, working in cahoots, recently tried
to insert in the draft constitution clauses to render Mugabe ineligible for
re-election but the veteran ruler viciously fought back to defeat the plot.
Joice Mujuru and Mnangagwa have been locked in a protracted battle to
succeed Mugabe despite their recent official denials for fear of a backlash.
Denials they are interested in succession even when their supporters confirm
it show how much fear Mugabe has instilled in them and why he is once again
the undisputed Zanu PF leader even though he lacks popular support and
November 30, 2012 in Politics
ZANU PF’s chaotic infighting in Bulawayo has intensified after elections in
the province for a substantive chairperson scheduled for last Saturday were
postponed indefinitely following bitter clashes among party bigwigs seeking
to influence the poll outcome.
Report by Brian Chitemba
The failure further proves the party is facing extinction in the city as its
fortunes continue to plummet in the province.
During the 2008 elections Zanu PF failed to garner a single seat in
Bulawayo, making it the only province where it was whitewashed.
President Robert Mugabe got zero votes in some polling stations in Bulawayo
during the 2008 elections.
Zanu PF’s abject performance in Bulawayo has been a recurring theme dating
back to when the city was a PF Zapu stronghold. The town was also reprised
during the MDC’s pre-split heyday and even after the party was torn into two
formations — MDC-T and MDC-N.
The party has repeatedly failed to hold elections as intense factionalism
continues to divide its dwindling support.
Bulawayo has over the years been the epicenter of discontent against Zanu PF
rule with its populace complaining about marginalisation. This has been
exacerbated by the perennial water problems, the Gukurahundi massacres in
which about 20 000 people were killed in Matabeleland and Midlands
provinces, and deindustrialisation, among others.
The province has been pushing for devolution of power during the current
constitution-making exercise along with the rest of Matabeleland, a move
being resisted mainly by Zanu PF as a step towards secession.
While the latest poll was shelved due to serious infighting, the party
deflected attention by announcing the postponement was caused by the death
of party provincial secretary for legal affairs Josiah Thwala in an accident
two days earlier.
However, provincial sources said the fight between politburo members
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and Angeline Masuku was to blame as accreditation for Zanu
PF’s annual conference went ahead last Sunday.
Politburo members Webster Shamu, Francis Nhema, David Chapfika, Jabulani
Mangena, Cephas Msipa, Tendai Savanhu and Edward Chataita descended on
Bulawayo on Friday to oversee the elections on Saturday, but failed to solve
the long-running feud in the province.
Shamu has made several attempts to end infighting in Bulawayo but in vain.
Sources said the elections were first thrown into doubt last Thursday night
following a clash between Bulawayo politburo and central committee members,
including Ndlovu, Masuku, Fidelia Maphosa and Raphael Baleni during a
meeting to prepare for the poll.
The stalemate resulted in the decision to indefinitely shelve elections.
Masuku and her allies were said to be pushing for the election of Simon
Khabo for the provincial chairmanship while Ndlovu and associates preferred
former chairperson Isaac Dakamela who was suspended earlier this year for
allegedly bringing the party into disrepute.
Acting provincial chairperson Killian Sibanda does not enjoy the support of
party heavyweights but the grassroots members are reportedly rallying behind
In Matabeleland North, election results were delayed by four days but Mines
minister Obert Mpofu’s ally Richard Moyo from Umguza district beat party
chairman Simon Khaya Moyo’s ally, Patrick Utete.
November 30, 2012 in News
DEPUTY Chief Justice Luke Malaba tore into High Court judge Justice Ben
Hlatshwayo’s 2008 judgment giving excommunicated Anglican Archbishop of
Harare Nolbert Kunonga control of all the Church of the Province of Central
Africa (CPCA) immovable and movable assets after he seceded from the fold.
Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu
Kunonga left the (CPCA) in 2007 to form his own Anglican Church of the
Province of Zimbabwe over the issue of homosexuality saying he could not
accept the CPCA Harare Diocese’s refusal to “exclude from our fold such
people or elements that have embraced out of their own free will, support or
sympathy for homosexuals”.
Malaba ruled that Hlatshwayo had not carefully applied his mind to the
matter when he handed Kunonga and his followers control of the CPCA assets.
Malaba said Hlatshwayo had “shut his mind to the other evidence which had a
direct bearing on the matter”.
“It was his duty to decide the question of withdrawal of membership upon
consideration of all the relevant evidence placed before him,” he said.
“Had the learned judge carried out his duty, he would have appreciated that
the anti-homosexuality stance adopted by Dr Kunonga and his followers was no
longer consistent with their remaining members of the church”.
Malaba said the belief of a Christian church must be founded, in general,
upon the Holy Scriptures.
He said Kunonga and his followers reached a stage where they regarded it a
matter of faith that homosexuals and members of the church who supported or
sympathised with them should not be associated with.
“To them, these people (if they regarded them as such) had no right to
worship God in the church. It did not matter whether there was practice of
homosexuality or not. Their faith in Jesus Christ did not entitle them to
membership of the church,” said Malaba in his judgment.
Malaba said it is important to bear in mind when carrying out the analysis
of the evidence that it is not what the court might think of the importance
of the difference between Dr Kunonga and his followers on the one hand, and
the others on the other, on the question of homosexuality, which matters.
“The court is interested on what the parties thought about the matter.
Equally it is not for the court to say whether the principles adhered to by
either party on the question of homosexuality are good or bad,” said Malaba.
Malaba said respect for human dignity is a founding principle of faith. He
said it must have been clear for Kunonga and his followers the position they
had taken contradicted the accepted expression of the doctrine of the church
which requires every person to be treated with respect and dignity.
Malaba said Kunonga and his followers occupied the CPCA property without
Kunonga’s group had grabbed parish buildings, schools, orphanages and
clinics across the country.
Most of the buildings and institutions such as boarding schools St
Augustines in Penhalonga, Daramombe in Chivhu and St David’s Girls High
(Bonda Mission) in Chimanimani, are tottering on the brink of collapse.
CPCA congregants under Bishop Chad Gandiya have been holding services in the
open or rented buildings.
Veritas, a local lawyers grouping welcomed Malaba’s judgment, although it
complained about the time it took before the appeal was heard.
“It is regrettable that it has taken so long for the matter to be resolved.
Although the Supreme Court was commendably prompt in arriving at the
decision less than a month after hearing the appeal on 22 October (2012),”
November 30, 2012 in News
ZANU PF’s controversial US$6,5 million conference facility –– dubbed the
“Hall of Shame” ––being built in Gweru ahead of the party’s annual
conference next week is reportedly being constructed on stolen farmland with
the evicted owner set to take legal action.
Report by Elias Mambo
Impeccable sources close to the developments said an indigenous farmer
bought Bertram Winery farm after its previous white owner, who was the sole
producer of Green Valley wine, moved to South Africa in 2000 at the height
of the country’s violent land seizures.
The sources say the current owner, who works at a financial services firm in
Harare, entered into a viable partnership with another dispossessed white
farmer so they could continue cultivating grapes.
They said the partners invested US$50 000 to refurbish the property and
acquire farming implements in preparation for the agricultural season.
However, on March 13 this year the indigenous farmer’s partner and his
family were given 24 hours to vacate the farm after Zanu PF identified it as
a site for the construction of its 5 000-seater conference centre.
Investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent revealed Zanu PF sent its youth
militia to order the white family to vacate the land immediately or face the
consequences. Zanu PF acting treasurer Didymus Mutasa could neither confirm
nor deny the land grab, saying the party is not directly involved in the
project, and referred questions to Midlands province.
The conference hall has been at the centre of controversy within Zanu PF
with politburo hardliners opposing Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s
role in spearheading it because he allegedly harbours ambitions of
succeeding President Robert Mugabe.
November 30, 2012 in News
SECUROCRATS are setting up a team of senior officers drawn from the
military, police and intelligence services to monitor the indigenisation
programme ahead of elections next year.
Report by Staff Writer
The empowerment programme is the ace in Zanu PF’s campaign strategy ahead of
polls President Robert Mugabe wants held by March 2013, hence the keen
interest from his security sector loyal to him.
A source said: “A number of senior officers from the police, intelligence
and military have been approached with an offer to be part of the team and,
in return, been promised new vehicles and generous packages. The recruitment
is being handled at a very senior level as in the police, for example,
Deputy Commissioner-General Innocent Matibiri is the point man.”
November 30, 2012 in Politics
THE late 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, witnessed
the development of a national consciousness among African people, and a
concomitant rise of nationalist political parties fighting colonial rule.
Report by Herbert Moyo
However, as these parties grew in support, strength and capacity they were
riddled with political divisions and infighting as well brutal colonial
Despite these impediments, by the end of the 1960s nationalist movement,
mainly comprising Zanu and Zapu, had launched the guerrilla warfare that
would ultimately bring majority rule to Zimbabwe in 1980. However, divisions
and infighting within and between them never ended.
Nationalist politics started in earnest with trade union protests and
activities in the late 1940s before successive political parties emerged in
the ‘50s and ‘60s. Political activism in Southern Rhodesia remained moderate
until the late 1950s although anti-colonial groups remained committed to
reforming the system.
The first challenge to the colonial order appeared shortly after World War
II when African workers staged a series of strikes to protest urban
segregation and low wages.
The settler regime ultimately broke the strikes and imposed further
restrictions on Africans. This early political activity established a
pattern of African protests and severe government backlash that would
characterise colonial politics until independence 1980.
There were several parties before the formation of the National Democratic
Party (NDP) in 1959. When the Southern Rhodesian government banned the NDP
in 1961, its leadership formed Zapu.
However, the government banned Zapu shortly after its formation, and this
time the leadership decided to go underground.
After Zapu’s banning the party suffered a split that had devastating
consequences for the future. In 1963 Ndabaningi Sithole and his followers,
including the future leader of independent Zimbabwe, President Robert
Mugabe, broke away from Zapu to form Zanu, while Joshua Nkomo remained the
leader of the Zapu.
The two parties were divided by differences in approach, personality clashes
But their objectives essentially the same. After the split, fierce clashes
broke out between Zanu and Zapu supporters.
The conflict, which lasted for years, had a disastrous effect on the
nationalist movement. Among other things, the fight sowed the seeds of
conflict among blacks and introduced a culture which still endures up to
this day: political violence.
Zimbabwe has hardly known peace after independence when it began to lurch
from one crisis to another, starting with the Gukurahundi killings following
a fall-out between former liberation allies, Zanu and Zapu.
Prior to that, there were clashes between Zanu and parties like Abel
Muzorewa’s UANC and Sithole’s Zanu (Ndonga). Intra-party and inter-party
clashes were pervasive and that entrenched a culture of violence in local
After the 1980s massacres, an inquiry was set up but the findings have never
been made public. Zanu PF also reacted violently to the formation of the
Zimbabwe Unity Movement by its ex-secretary general, the late Edgar Tekere.
The advent of the MDC in 1999 raised expectations of a new political
culture, free from violence, given that this was a different generation
coming during a different era and under different circumstances.
However, the MDC’s promises of a new democratic culture were shown to be
mere rhetoric in 2005 when the party faced a split over violent internal
power struggles, with the dispute over senatorial elections as the catalyst.
Today, there exist two formations of the MDC, one led by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and the other by his former secretary-general Welshman
Ncube. The two foes joined a coalition government in 2009, but violent
tendencies seem to have taken root among them, mainly in the formation led
by Tsvangirai, indicating the cult of violence remains embedded in local
In the run-up to its congress in Bulawayo last year, the MDC-T was rocked by
intra-party violence which swept across its Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Midlands
North, Masvingo and Mashonaland West structures.
Tsvangirai moved to tackle the problem after last year’s ugly events.
However, a growing lack of consensus over the issue is delaying its
conclusion and punishment of the culprits, Political analyst Blessing Vava
said the MDC-T’s failure to confront internal political violence was
“The MDC-T has many heads like an octopus and there is no discipline at
all,” said Vava. “In the morning, one official says the colour of blood is
red and in the afternoon another says it is blue, and in the evening another
one says it is pink,” he said.
Bulawayo-based commentator and director of Habbakuk Trust, Dumisani Nkomo,
said the conflicting statements were symptomatic of “major policy confusion”
within the MDC-T which needs to be addressed before elections.
“It may also be an indication that the party is in a quandary as to how to
deal with big-wigs implicated without destabilising the party ahead of
elections,” said Nkomo.
While many are willing to give the MDC-T the benefit of the doubt, the party’s
leaders are under immense pressure to root out internal violence to avoid
going the Zanu PF route
November 30, 2012 in News
A MESSY dispute over Indarama Mine, an operation with vast gold deposits
linked to the late retired army chief General Solomon Mujuru, has erupted
between a local tycoon and a multinational conglomerate, sucking in cabinet
ministers and the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) in the process.
Report by Owen Gagare/Brian Chitemba
Local entrepreneur Nhamo Chitimbe, through his company Shumba
Instrumentation, is battling to secure a 51% stake in the mine in which he
had links since 2005 when he embarked on a joint venture for the production
of antimony metalloid used in the making of bullets and bullet tracers,
cosmetics, even paint and glass art crafts.
The parties agreed to a joint project before signing a Memorandum of
Agreement, giving Shumba Inst first right of refusal to purchase the Kwekwe
mine should it be put up for sale.
Indarama Mine –– whose owners also have interests in exploiting untapped
rare blue diamonds around the Sansukwe (also written Sanzukwe) area
southwest of Bulawayo on the Zimbabwe-Botswana border –– is owned by Pan
Reef Company (Pvt) Ltd, which in turn is owned by Bayham Mining Ltd, whose
parent company is the British Virgin Islands-registered Great Lakes Minerals
Ltd listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange.
Sansukwe in Mangwe district in Matabeleland South province has diamond
deposits which different companies are exploring.
The diamondiferous deposits around the area have seen exploration works that
have proven the existence of kimberlites and indicator minerals.
Shumba Inst entered into an agreement with Bayham Mining in 2005, but in
2008 Great Lakes gave a management contract to Arcadia Energy and Mining Ltd
(Arcem) to run Indarama and its subsidiaries, resulting in Shumba Inst being
elbowed out, thus igniting a fierce battle for control.
Correspondence seen by the Zimbabwe Independent reveals the new Indarama
Mine management claims it only got to know of agreements signed by the
previous executives after Shumba Inst registered its complaints.
With the indigenisation programme campaign intensifying, and under pressure
from the Indigenisation and Empowerment ministry to comply with regulations
as well as Shumba’s demands, Indarama roped in Mujuru as a partner for
A letter dated May 9, 2011 to Indigenisation and Empowerment minister
Saviour Kasukuwere by Pan Reef Mining MD Richard Farrel reads: “With
reference to our letter submitted to the ministry on 8 April 2011, we can
now confirm that our shareholders have agreed the sale of shares to our
indigenous partner, General S Mujuru (Rtd).”
“The selection of our partner was driven by the imminent requirement to
participate in the mine plan submitted to the ministry of mines and mining
development showing a future investment requirement of US$165 million. In
order to continue with the mine development it is essential for the
shareholders to fulfill their financial obligations.”
But Pan Reef Mining chairman retired Colonel Godfrey Matemachani, who is
said to have been a close Mujuru associate, wrote to Kasukuwere a day later
withdrawing Mujuru’s name, in what was reportedly an attempt to hide his
identity since he was involved in many other indigenisation deals.
Mujuru was involved in River Ranch diamond mine in Beitbridge and tried to
muscle into Zimplats, among other companies. He had built a multimillion
dollar empire through the use of political influence and grabbing of assets.
“This is a formal notification for the withdrawal of the document dated 10th
May 2011 that we submitted to your offices. We seek the minister’s extension
of 30 days, until 10th June 2011, to finalise our consultations on our
indigenisation plan,” wrote Matemachani to Kasukuwere.
Matemachani was appointed a director in Pan Reef Mining in 2010, and was
believed to be representing Mujuru’s interest.
Letters have been flying between Chitimbe, Kasukuwere, Mines minister Obert
Mpofu, AAG and Pan Reef, with Chitimbe demanding a 51% of Indarama Mine
arguing he invested over US$750 000 in the mine and that he had the first
right of refusal should the entity be disposed of.
Shumba Inst invested capital in the building of a processing antimony plant,
milling circuit, holding tanks and pumps including an electrowinning
Chitimbe has been complaining about interference from bigwigs and wrote to
the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEB) board,
copying his letter to Kasukuwere and Mpofu in June this year, taking
exception over how the matter has been handled.
“We are privy to a lot of information that suggests that the other party has
never been forthright with us and it now appears that there is a tendency in
the direction taken by the powers that be – that of the use of influential
people to block ordinary citizens from benefiting from a very important and
life changing policy (which) is not only difficult to defend but morally
questionable,” he wrote. “As of now, our view is that decisions that reflect
a predisposition towards the rich and famous will defeat the whole purpose
Davison Gomo, the AAG CEO, has also been fighting in Chitimbe’s corner, and
instructed Farrell to comply with the indigenisation policy by ceding shares
to the local businessman.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Chitimbe said Kasukuwere has been slow in
resolving the matter. “It has been promises after promises. The
Indigenisation ministry and NIEB are acting too slowly for us,” he said.
Kasukuwere said he was unaware of the involvement of Mujuru but said he
would check what was happening at the mine before hanging up.
November 30, 2012 in Politics
THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) yesterday
launched its economic blueprint, acronymed Juice, which it says is aimed at
correcting Zimbabwe’s structurally weak economy characterised by “enclavity”,
huge levels of poverty, social underdevelopment, decayed infrastructure and
a crippling debt overhang.
Juice stands for Jobs, Upliftment, Investment Capital and the Environment,
and is apparently a counter proposal to Zanu PF’s Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment Programme.
“Juice is our framework to create jobs and build a strong, growing economy
that is financially and environmentally sustainable, where growth is evenly
shared across the country and not by a privileged few,” reads part of the
The MDC-T says with more than eight in every 10 people in Zimbabwe
unemployed, the pressing need is for creating new jobs, which is more
empowering than indeterminate share ownership.
The blueprint’s thrust is to reverse the economy’s inability to grow and
create jobs. The MDC-T document says 32 years of a Zanu PF government had
compounded the country’s structural problems as self-induced policy
distortions were effected by a government with no vision, craft or
competence of moving the country forward.
According to Juice, jobs are not just the engine of poverty reduction or a
derivative of growth – “they are transformative in and of themselves, and
can help drive the pathways to development”.
The policy document lays out the MDC— T’s job plan and sets out what it says
are “the foundations of a multi-sectoral approach to job creation, wealth
creation and poverty alleviation. The policy document also lays out key
benchmarks which it sets out to achieve over a five-year period.
“As a direct result of Juice we expect to achieve the creation of one
million new jobs between 2013 and 2018, with a projected average GDP growth
rate of 8% per annum,” the document says.
Macroeconomic stability anchored in single-digit inflation, deepening and
strengthening the role of SMEs, widening domestic savings mobilisation and
the normalisation of Zimbabwe’s international relations, are among Juice’s
The MDC-T says it would implement a Natural Resources Charter, promote a
green economy, and increase power generation capacity to 6 000 Megawatts by
2018. The MDC-T hopes to drive reconstruction of the country’s
infrastructure and attract FDI of at least 30% of GDP.
The aim is to lay the foundation for a US$100 billion first world economy by
November 30, 2012 in News
AS tales emerge that British American Tobacco Zimbabwe Holdings (BATZ) Ltd
is employing industrial espionage against its competitors — Kingdom, Savanna
Tobacco, Breco (Fodya), Cutrag, Trednet and Chelsea — more information has
surfaced suggesting this is the group’s modus operandi in other markets in
Report by Chris Muronzi
Information gathered by the Zimbabwe Independent this week shows the first
country to blow the whistle on BAT’s grimy business practices on the
continent, South Africa, discovered startling evidence while investigating
the leading tobacco company.
According to a report by Premium Times of Nigeria, in April 2002 a legal
team from the South African city of Port Elizabeth secretly obtained urgent
court orders in three South African High Courts authorising them to raid the
offices of BAT, South African Revenue Services (Sars) and a firm of private
detectives called Forensic Security Services — the same firm believed to be
covertly running the company’s local operation with the help of a Zimbabwean
security company, Ticoz Protection Services.
The investigation eventually opened a can of worms and gave the public a
glimpse of how BAT ran its businesses.
The investigations came in the wake of phone-tapping and industrial
espionage allegations levelled by Pretoria-based cigarette manufacturing
company Apollo Tobacco, against BAT, Sars and Forensic Security Services.
On April 9, three High Court judges ordered searches at BAT offices in
Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria as well as the offices of the Sars and
Forensic Security Services, a private investigating firm allegedly hired by
In a 95-page court application, Apollo Tobacco accused BAT of plotting with
tax authorities and private detectives in “industrial espionage”.
Apollo alleged BAT conspired with the Sars officials using hired detectives
and bugging devices to obtain confidential information about Apollo’s
The raids on BAT offices yielded incriminating documents from seized
computers.After a week of silence, BAT denied it had done “anything that was
aimed at undermining Apollo Tobacco’s legitimate business”, admitting
however they had sent allegations to the proper authorities — in this case
Sars.BATZ has also denied involvement in espionage activities.
According to the Premium Times extensive report, the secret surveillance of
Apollo began when BAT, which had a business presence in 180 countries and
was the market leader in 50 countries, formed BAT South Africa in 1999 as a
result of the global merger of Rothmans International and British American
Detectives claimed in some cases the phone tapping was a prerequisite for
payments from BAT. Apollo’s phones were bugged for as long as two months –
at a time – and the tapping took place on at least three occasions.
November 30, 2012 in News
THREE former liberation movements in southern Africa are holding important
political gatherings this year to map the way forward in this ever-changing
political and socio-economic landscape.
Zimbabwe Independent Editorial
Swapo of Namibia is holding its congress this weekend with the land question
topping the agenda as the party seeks effective ways of equitably allocating
and sustainably managing the resource for the benefit of all Namibians.
The African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa holds its elective
conference in Mangaung next month where leadership changes are set to be
effected as the ruling party seeks to rejuvenate itself to counter the
increasing electoral gains of the main opposition Democratic Alliance.
Back home, Zanu PF will gather for its annual conference at a brand new 5
000-seater conference centre built on disputed land to erect the massive
structure outside Gweru on the Mvuma Road.
The only thing these three parties have in common is that they are former
liberation movements. Their policies, objectives and operations are clearly
different. While the leadership contestation seems to have caused chaos in
the ANC, the leadership collective elected in Mangaung will quickly close
ranks and work towards unity.
Disgruntled members have a platform to raise issues internally.
Although President Jacob Zuma’s allies have been accused of intimidating
those believed to be opposed to his re-election, at least the party has an
open process where branches actually nominate their preferred candidates.
ANC nominations come from each of the party’s over 4 000 branches.
Each branch makes nominations for the party’s top six officials, including
the president and deputy, and the national executive committee as well as
delegates to the conference.
Branch nominations are put in a sealed envelope and kept by the Independent
Electoral Commission (IEC) to be opened at the provincial conferences.
While intimidation may cow branches and influence nominations, they at least
have the chance to rectify this at the national conference where voting is
through secret ballot conducted by the IEC.
Several branches and NEC members have openly nominated Zuma’s deputy Kgalema
Motlanthe to contest against his boss, and although he has not indicated
whether or not he will stand, they continue to meet at cabinet meetings.
Not so with Zanu PF. The party has an authoritarian approach leaving no room
for democracy as shown by events leading to next week’s Gweru conference. In
Zanu PF, delegates are chosen by the leadership and politburo members are
appointed by the presidium.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa have
vehemently denied leading factions or harbouring presidential ambitions.
Mnangagwa is even suing the media to prove he has no presidential ambitions.
Only the late former army commander General Solomon Mujuru, former politburo
heavyweight Dumiso Dabengwa, Enos Nkala, the late Edison Zvobgo and Edgar
Tekere stood up to Mugabe. Since their death or departure, there has been no
attempt to challenge his autocracy. Zanu PF needs to democratise its
internal processes to survive, or die.
November 30, 2012 in News
ZANU PF continues to struggle to woo members amid revelations that the party
only has 18 860 members in Matabeleland North — a figure less than an
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe
This was disclosed by party national commissar Webster Shamu in Lupane on
Tuesday after the provincial chairmanship elections won by Richard Moyo.
Shamu said only 7 415 members in 139 out of 181 party districts voted in the
provincial elections, showing serious apathy. “We expected a total of 18 666
people to vote but 47% voted,” said Shamu. According to a Zanu PF central
committee report tabled at the national conference in Bulawayo last year,
Matabeleland North had 11 153 card carrying members in 2011. The latest
figure means it has attracted about 7 700 members.
The report said Zanu PF Mashonaland Central had 18 730 members, Bulawayo 13
725, Matabeleland South 17 046, Masvingo 22 868, Manicaland 50 511,
Mashonaland West 46 718, Harare 131 331, Mashonaland East 101 198 and
Midlands 166 032, bringing the total to 579 312.The collapse of grassroots
structures has prompted the party to deploy politburo members and other
senior party officials on a nationwide drive to revive structures ahead of
polls expected next year.Zanu PF plans to introduce new cards as it
intensifies its mass mobilisation campaign.
War veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda is said to have told President Robert
Mugabe about the party’s waning support and claimed that imposition of
candidates and factionalism were destroying the party’s support base.
Zanu PF disbanded its district co-ordinating committee structures
responsible for mobilising supporters at grassroots level for allegedly
fomenting divisions and factionalism. However, some believe this has
crippled the mobilisation of supporters.
November 30, 2012 in News
ROGUE bank executives and shareholders who abuse depositors’ funds must be
jailed, as such criminal activities cannot go unpunished, President Robert
Mugabe has said.
Report by Taurai Mangudhla
Addressing delegates at the Indigenisation conference held in Harare on
Wednesday this week, Mugabe said taking depositors’ funds entrusted to a
financial institution was tantamount to theft and should not go unpunished.
“If you do that then you deserve to go to jail. They are not your funds so
don’t cheat or steal,” Mugabe said, adding abuse of depositors’ funds was
common among fly-by-night bankers.
“Some of our people think they can get rich in a week or two and if they can’t
then it doesn’t matter what other means they use to get money,” Mugabe said.
“You start a bank, people deposit their funds, after two years you see you
are not what you thought you would be and yet you see lots of money. Others
gamble with the money and they lose.”
He said bankers and all indigenous businesses should adopt good ethics and
protect the interest of their clients and investors.
Mugabe’s remarks dovetail with Finance minister Tendai Biti’s statement that
bogus local businessmen are opening banks to take advantage of unsuspecting
depositors for personal enrichment.
Last week, international audit firm KPMG recommended the curator of Interfin
Banking Corporation (Interfin) to consider civil action and criminal charges
against the directors and shareholders of the bank.
November 30, 2012 in Politics
AS Zimbabwe gears for a referendum on the draft constitution prior to
elections expected next year, politically-motivated violence against women
is one of the country’s biggest challenges, but efforts to tackle the
scourge have so far fallen dismally short of expectations.
Report by Wongai Zhangazha
Rape, murder, emotional, verbal, psychological and economic abuse,
intimidation and harassment have largely become synonymous with Zimbabwean
elections which have repeatedly been disputed over various charges,
including gerrymandering, vote-buying, and ballot-rigging.
As Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating 16 days of activism
against gender-based violence which started on November 24, there are
indications very little progress has been made in tackling this problem,
especially given the violent nature of the June 2008 presidential run-off
which left thousands traumatised and scarred.
This year’s activism commemorations are being held under the theme “From
Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End
Violence against Women!”
It is thus critical for the nation to deeply reflect on political violence
in general and gender-based violence in particular to avoid a repeat of the
2008 violence against women as the make-or-break elections fast approach.
The theme’s exhortation to “challenge militarism” is relevant considering
that a brutal and bloody campaign by the security sector in the run-up to
the June 2008 presidential poll run-off is credited for President Robert
Mugabe’s retention of power. The military has repeatedly publicly declared
its support for Mugabe, stating it would not allow anyone without liberation
war credentials to rule.
According to the Research and Advocacy Unit’s July 2011 report titled Women
and Political Violence: An Update, Zimbabwean women often make up the bulk
of participants at any rally or political event despite being marginalised
in various spheres of life. The majority of women in the country live in the
rural areas where Zanu PF maintains a stronghold and where women are coerced
into voting for the party using food handouts, force and other means, the
“Rural women are denied a voice and their counterparts like (Zanu PF
secretary for women’s affairs Oppah) Muchinguri speak for them,” the report
reads. “Choosing a women’s league meeting to announce decisions to hold
elections is tantamount to instilling fear and influencing the way such
women will vote. It is at another level an emotional violation of women’s
right to peace and choice during elections.”
To compound matters, the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and
Integration, established to promote political tolerance, has not made
significant impact on the antagonistic relations among different political
parties and members of the same communities. Zimbabweans remain deeply
suspicious of each other and the political terrain is tense.
Political analyst, Gladys Hlatshwayo, said given the history of Zimbabwe’s
electoral processes where much violence has occurred, women have been the
“Women ended up being raped and assaulted while their husbands fled the 2008
violence,” said Hlatshwayo.
She cited the abduction and murder of current Harare deputy mayor Emmanuel
Chiroto’s wife, who was taken in place of her husband.
“It’s quite important for women and the nation at large to reflect on this
kind of violence given there are no substantive reforms, especially security
sector reforms, knowing that some of the perpetrators are from that sector.
If nothing is done, there will be a repeat of the 2008 violence,” she
Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development deputy minister Jessie
Majome said Zimbabwe’s violent history was not a post-Independence
phenomenon, but dated back to pre-liberation war days and warranted
domestication of international and regional protocols and resolutions on the
rights of women.
“Whenever violence is discussed, it is merely the statistics or the body
count, but never the rape and other associated sexual crimes perpetrated
against women,” she said.
“There is a stigmatisation of the victim especially in the case of rape,
which renders the whole experience her deep, dark secret which is never
Majome, who is Copac spokesperson, said she had met rape victims from the
2008 election in Mt Darwin in the course of conducting civic education on
the constitution-making process, citing the case of a 70-year-old woman
raped along with many other women. The women did not receive medical
attention and no investigation was conducted.
Politically-motivated violence should be treated in similar manner to
domestic violence and perpetrators should be brought to book, says political
analyst Blessing Vava.
“There has been much focus on domestic violence, but the issue here is that
violence against women should be condemned whether domestic or
politically-motivated. The message should be that it’s a heinous practice
and this is a challenge to all Zimbabweans to raise their voices against any
form of violence targeting our mothers, wives and sisters,” said Vava.
As elections draw nearer, those commemorating the 16 days of activism
against gender-based violence are likely to spare a thought for women who
bear the scars of the last violent election, knowing fully well many could
suffer similar ordeals.
November 30, 2012 in Business
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti recently presented his long-awaited 2013
Opinion by Peter Gambara
Even prior to the presentation, analysts said he faced an enormous task in
trying to work with a revenue estimate of US$3,8 billion. His major
challenge, as he put it himself, was to try and ‘broaden and deepen the
However, Biti tried to address all the issues that came from the budget
He had to address the issue of civil servants’ salary increments; he had to
deal with issues to do with investment in energy generation and
infrastructure development; he had to set aside something for struggling
industry as well as agriculture; he had to put in place measures to try and
protect the manufacturing sector from massive imports from the south and he
also had to set aside funds for a referendum and elections due next year.
About 68,7% of total budget expenditure, or US$2,645 billion, had to be set
aside for civil service salaries after increasing them by an inflation
adjustment of 5,5%. It is surprising that the civil service associations
still want a doubling of their salaries. Such a scenario would see the whole
budget go towards civil servants’ salaries.
The associations risk becoming irrelevant here by demanding that the least
paid workers who earn about US$290 should get at least US$600 (the poverty
datum) per month.
Question: Is the least paid civil servant, the office orderly or groundsman,
underpaid if he/she is getting US$290 per month before housing and transport
allowances? Salary surveys are available on the market for everyone to
If the truth be told, that person is actually getting more than what a
similar person would be paid in the private sector.
The real issue should be that professionals in the civil service like
teachers, nurses and those with degrees in the civil service are being
underpaid. Civil service associations should sharpen their arguments to
While in the private sector management and employees sit down at Works
Council meetings to assess and agree on how well the company is doing, and
agree on levels of salary increments, the same is not happening in
Labour minister Lucia Matibenga is not doing us any favours by refusing to
meet the civil service associations. She should meet them and let them lay
down their demands, but also important, let them say where they expect the
resources to double their salaries come from.
The most interesting issue to come out of the budget was the 15 point plan.
Hats off to our cabinet for having come up with such a brilliant plan,
although it remains to be seen whether it will be implemented.
The plan is a good basis for moving ahead. It touches on many issues,
including deepening and expanding the revenue base, controlling expenditure,
efforts to improve our exports, addressing agriculture and food security
issues, attending to social service issues of health and education and
finalising the reform agenda as it relates to parastatals, labour market,
pensions, issues of security of tenure and the state procurement board.
Biti mobilised US$10 million for the livestock sector, which continues to
suffer from effects of drought in the southern parts of the country, with
US$7 million coming from the private sector.
He also set aside funds to top up the irrigation development funds, as well
as a land information management system, which will facilitate keeping of
records on who owns what.
Government will also avail US$5 million in addition to some US$19,3 million
provided by private partners, that will go towards assisting vulnerable
farmers with inputs. We hope the inputs will be moved with speed so that
they reach the intended beneficiaries on time.
Biti acknowledges that the country needs US$4 billion to support
infrastructural rehabilitation and development as well as to boost the
However, the challenge remains how to mobilise such funding in the absence
of support from traditional funders like World Bank and African Development
The minister has announced that he had concluded arrangements with
Afreximbank for a US$70 million facility, in addition to the US$565 million
that he had set aside for the capital budget for 2013.
This will go towards the rehabilitation of the Hwange thermal power station,
upgrading of the roads network, housing development, ICTs and rural
While government played a great part in providing housing to the low and
middle income families after Independence, it seems to have slept on the job
of late. A lot of families are eager to build their own houses, but they
cannot find serviced stands at reasonable prices. Private developers are
just fleecing potential homeseekers by selling them literal bush areas
without any roads or other services as water and electricity.
The presentation of the 2013 budget came a week after the presentation of
the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) survey that actually shows
capacity utilisation in industry has gone down from an average 57,2% to
44,5% over the past year.
Over the years Biti seems to have ignored pleas from industry for some kind
of protection against massive imports from the south that were crippling
local industry, but it is good he now appears to accept that there is need
for some kind of intervention.
He imposed a 25% surtax on soap, meat products, beverages, dairy products
and cooking oil, in addition to imposing a US$1,50 per kg or 40% customs
duty on imported chicken. What a relief to local industry!
At long last the minister seems to have done something on the interest rate
issues in the banking sector! He has now realised that moral suasion is not
working with the kind of banks we have here.
His suggestion to create an ombudsman to oversee the operations of the banks
is most welcome. Curiously, what happened to the government ombudsman who
used to handle complaints against government? Biti also proposed measures to
recapitalise the Deposit Protection Fund.
It is clear the minister listened to concerns and requests for resource
allocations from a wide spectrum of people and groups.
November 30, 2012 in Business
INDIGENOUS Zimbabweans are fronting for foreign airlines that want to take
advantage of the various opportunities in the country’s domestic aviation
market, in violation of indigenisation laws, a government official said.
Report by Staff Writer
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport Munesu Munodawafa told
businessdigest regional airlines were approaching local Zimbabweans to
establish false partnerships so that the companies could claim to be
indigenous owned and meet licensing requirements.
The players are seeking to fill the gap created by the absence of a viable
national carrier after Air Zimbabwe failed to effectively resume flights.
“Some of these people that come to register are not Zimbabwean operators,
they appear to be indigenous but they are foreign institutions wearing a
Zimbabwean face,” said Munodawafa in an interview.
“Some are coming from South Africa because of the issues to do with our
Bilateral Air Service Agreements which stipulate the maximum frequencies
they can have. South Africa have almost used up theirs.”
The licensed indigenous operators have failed to take off, citing government’s
bad route allocation system, saying it was proscriptive and skewed in favour
of Air Zimbabwe.
They argue it is not economically viable to develop new routes without
getting the major domestic routes as the Harare-Bulawayo-Victoria
Falls-Harare route, currently reserved for Air Zimbabwe.
Developing new routes takes at least two years, according to aviation
experts. Following a September tourism all stakeholders’ meeting in which
industry players identified the need for viable domestic airlines, a team
led by Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke met
Munodawafa to negotiate for liberalisation of the skies.
“The meeting resolved that the permanent secretary will have to look into
this issue and talk to his minister; which I know he is already doing. If
need be then the minister will talk to cabinet, but at the moment I don’t
think there is any problem in that area,” said the ZTA chief.
For more than a year, indigenous aviation company Sol Aviation Private
Limited (Sol Air) has been seeking approval to ply the Harare-Bulawayo,
Harare- Victoria Falls routes which it says are profitable.
Sol Air was granted the Harare –Kariba-Victoria Falls-Kariba-Harare and the
Victoria Falls –Buffallo Range-Victoria Falls routes as well as the
Harare-Beira, Harare-Maputo and Harare –Tete regional routes.
The airline’s financers and advisors say the company faces collapse unless
it secures lucrative domestic and regional routes.
Sol Air MD Nkosilathi Sibanda recently said his company needs profitable
routes like the Harare-Bulawayo and Harare Victoria Falls routes and the
Harare – Johannesburg routes to operate sustainably, while developing
unproven routes over a period of at least two years.
“I can’t make a loss for two years,” said Sibanda during the tourism all
stakeholders meeting in September.
In the letter, the Sol Air managing director cites Solenta as one of two
airlines that have failed to service domestic routes without the major
“They eventually gave up after accruing massive losses. The ministry must
therefore be realistic regarding this issue,” reads part of the letter.
A Zimbabwean registered low cost airline, Fresh Air, is today expected to
launch its first flight from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls.
Fresh Air is a joint venture with South African budget airline 1 time.
November 30, 2012 in Opinion
At the Zenith of the hyperinflation era in Zimbabwe, there were many
“businesspeople” whose core activity was getting freebies from government
and on-selling them.
Candid Comment with Itai Masuku
Needless to say, we all know that his model failed. Economic hardships that
ensued after this Utopian way of doing business have hopefully taught us all
that only sheer hard work and ingenuity can lead to prosperity. Anything
else is based on false premises, as the thousands of the overnight successes
of that era can testify.
To borrow from a popular phrase of the time, these “entrepreneurs” went from
zero to hero and back to zero. Some of those who were treading on such thin
business ice are those whose empires are still crumbling up to now.
We trust the penny has dropped. If we have truly learnt from our mistakes,
we should thus pick up the pieces and move on. The opportunities for genuine
business abound, what more with the entire world viewing our Africa as the
new destination for investment and economic growth.
Only two days ago, the world’s largest economy, the United States, launched
its “Doing Business in Africa” campaign. US Acting Secretary of Commerce
Rebecca Blank, launched the initiative in Johannesburg, South Africa, which
she said was her country’s traditional gateway to Africa in terms of
investment and trade.
According to various websites Blank was visiting South Africa to advance
elements of US President Barack Obama’s “Strategy Toward sub-Saharan Africa”,
launched in June.
She was also expected to visit Kenya, while many in her entourage would
cover other countries ranging from Zambia to Burundi. Zimbabwe did not seem
to be included although the official word is the initiative will not exclude
“Overall, the campaign is about finding new ways to form stronger
partnerships for prosperity,” Blank is quoted as having said. The campaign
is expected to leverage the federal government’s trade promotion, financing
and strategic communications capabilities to help US businesses identify and
seize opportunities in Africa, and to help them overcome any challenges they
face in establishing business relationships with Africa.
Those good at reading the tea leaves would have at least anticipated this
development following new US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton’s
statement to journalists a couple of weeks ago. He was tongue-in-cheek about
what signified a potential shift from Washington, following frosty relations
with Harare that saw imposition of economic sanctions on the country as well
as on particular individuals.
Wharton, who can be safely termed a friend of Zimbabwe, having served here
in a junior capacity before being posted to South America, said during his
tenure in the next three years, he would work to improve the bilateral
relations between the two countries through marketing Zimbabwe as a ripe
We should quickly prepare ourselves and take advantage of this new leaning,
which one understands may be echoed by the EU.
November 30, 2012 in Opinion
LAST Sunday editors from the country’s mainstream media houses converged at
picturesque Troutbeck resort in Nyanga to reflect on patterns of coverage,
with particular emphasis on “conflict-sensitive reporting”, mingling with a
wide variety of presenters.
Comment by Stewart Chabwinja
The workshop, organised by the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation
and Integration (ONHRI) and stakeholders, tackled issues such as how media
can play a positive role in fostering social cohesion and transformation,
the role of the media in peace-building for sustainable development,
professional ethics and media culpability in the Rwandan genocide.
Dr Leonard Kapungu of the Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa expressed
concern that in Zimbabwe we tend to act only just before elections when the
seeds of conflict had been sown and are germinating.
The workshop was timely as it came prior to the constitutional referendum
and high-stakes elections next year.
Election season brings anxiety and fear for most Zimbabweans. Since
Independence in 1980, national elections have been synonymous with political
violence, human rights abuses and bloodshed.
Disputed outcomes have left a trail of bitterness and retribution.
Given all this, naturally the role of the media in mitigating conflict or
stoking the fires of conflict should come under scrutiny, as the media is a
It has the power to influence society and set the agenda and partly
determine people’s behavioural patterns for better or worse.
Over the years, media polarisation has become increasingly pronounced mainly
during elections, with some embedded journalists throwing ethics out the
window and becoming hired guns. The decade preceding 2009 saw Zimbabwean
media deeply divided along party political lines and other partisan divides.
Against this backdrop, the need to restore professional and responsible
journalism assumes ever greater significance, particularly ahead of
Unsurprisingly, workshop participants were unanimous that journalists must
go back to the basics, which means upholding cardinal ethics, including
fairness, accuracy, balance, objectivity and the public interest in
reporting. Facts and truth must be respected.
There were also calls for journalists to eschew hate language.
As in war situations, truth is usually the first casualty when it comes to
elections in Zimbabwe as journalists abandon ethics and become shamelessly
partisan and act like activists or political commissars.
Of course, the state-run public media, which has always acted as propaganda
mouthpieces of Zanu PF and government, simply dumped ethics previously and
became publicity platforms for President Robert Mugabe and his loyalists.
That bearing and approach has not changed up to now although there has been
a toning down of their Soviet-style propaganda. However, with elections
looming they will revert to their script of hearing, seeing and speaking no
evil about Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Soon some state media reporters will be acting as Zanu PF bootlickers again.
The private media has also been part of the problem. Some journalists
unashamedly acted as MDC publicity agents. This unprincipled breed of
reporters, still holed up in some media houses, have jettisoned ethics and
descended into gutter journalism and irresponsible distortions.
So we need as journalists to go back to the basics.
It must be pointed out though responsible reportage must never be mistaken
with kowtowing reporting or sunshine journalism. Censorship is no longer an
As Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba rightly observed at the workshop,
the best secret in this information age is that which is out on your own
terms because at least you can manage it!
We must continue to expose abuse of power, corruption and malpractices like
vote-buying and ballot-rigging, as well as political violence and
intimidation, through solid professional and ethical journalism, not
sensational and grossly unscrupulous reportage we continue to witness in our
November 30, 2012 in Opinion
There has been much controversy of late over the source of funds President
Robert Mugabe uses when distributing farm inputs worth US$20 million.
Opinion by MuckRacker
Mugabe recently launched the Presidential Well-Wishers Special Agricultural
Inputs Scheme with maize and fertilisers being distributed through Zanu PF
structures, according to newspaper reports.
The campaign, however, is becoming a tad scruffy with Mugabe’s spokesman
George Charamba telling state media Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai finds
enough money to “atone for his carnal excesses”. He claimed Mugabe raised
the money he needed for distributing farm inputs by carrying a food hamper
to save money from his travel and subsistence allowance.
The MDC-T hit back, NewsDay, reported, saying Charamba’s remarks were a
clear indication Mugabe had failed.
“For Mugabe who is repeatedly and monotonously referred to as head of state
and government by state institutions to concede that the same government he
is head of failed to support its farmers is not only astonishing but
While this is clearly a serious matter, Muckraker couldn’t help but chuckle
at Charamba’s claim the president carried a food hamper around with him to
cut costs from his travel and subsistence allowance. Does this include Air
Zimbabwe meals we wonder?
The real little man
How the mighty have fallen! On Tuesday excommunicated Anglican Bishop
Nolbert Kunonga and his surrogates were told they had up to 4pm to vacate
all Anglican Church properties.
The Daily News reports the Church of the Province of Central Africa obtained
a “Warrant of Ejection” from the High Court for which Kunonga was liable. He
was reportedly in contempt of court for failing to abide by the court ruling
and thus liable to arrest.
This is a far cry from the Kunonga of years past who bristled with
confidence following High Court judge Justice Ben Hlatshwayo’s ruling
granting him ownership of all Anglican Church property in Zimbabwe.
In September the boisterous Kunonga told the Sunday Mail’s Munyaradzi Huni:
I don’t have anything against (Bishop Chad) Gandiya. He is a little man. I
have never considered him to be significant. I don’t know where he came from
and there is nothing personal between us . . .”
“It’s an insult that people say I am fighting Gandiya. Even Bakare, he is no
equal to me. I am fighting Rowan Williams. That’s where these people are
making a mistake. I am not fighting any black man. I am fighting Britain and
America. I am not petty. This is where they misunderstand me,” bellowed
Who is the little man now Cde Kunonga?
Chickens home to roost
Here’s another quotable quote from Kunonga: “One of the reasons why I
succeed is that I don’t operate outside the law.”
Except this time around the law did not work out in his favour and Kunonga
is crying foul.
Following his loss, Kunonga said his concern was now with the “level of
moral decadence” affecting Zimbabwe.
Oh, puh-leeze! Kunonga cannot claim any moral high ground considering
allegations several churches he had seized had been desecrated with some
being turned into bedrooms and brothels.
He had once crowed “I am not controversial. I am the controversy”. It seems
the controversy has finally come back to bite him.
Tomana loses the plot
Attorney-General Johannes Tomana says he will crack down on what he calls
saboteurs of state interests.
Replying to a question from what sounded like an interested party in the
diamond sector, Tomana said things would be done differently from now on.
“If we truly want this country to experience the hope that we are a secure
country, an orderly country, we need to upgrade our law enforcement side …
“Things are now going to be done differently. That level of tolerance is now
suspended. I wish to advise accordingly.”
A delegate had asked at the Victoria Falls indaba if the country did not
have sufficient laws to punish those that had campaigned against Zimbabwe’s
Marange diamonds which resulted in the international community questioning
the cleanliness of the gems.
“For the record, I am sure you remember those from civic society, they have
gone on record to actually say that those laws that protect us are bad laws
and because they are bad laws they can be ignored, and that is the reason
you would see people violating those laws in the name of democracy…”
Tomana appears not to understand the basics of democratic rule. The public
are entitled to describe bad laws as such if they impinge upon people’s
rights. Billions of dollars in diamonds have reportedly been syphoned from
the Marange diggings. Should that claim be ignored? Newspapers and civil
society surely have an obligation to fulfil a watchdog role in this regard?
Instead of threatening civil society, Tomana should be thinking of ways to
enhance democratic safeguards for the nation’s minerals output. Zimbabwe has
a bad record of sweeping inconvenient problems under the political carpet.
And what of the human rights violations in 2008 which have not seen the
light of day? Jestina Mukoko may have a view on the state’s level of
Selous Scout by force
Jonathan Moyo, it seems, refuses to accept that David Coltart was never a
He has an explanation for his error.
“Any Rhodie who served any organ of Rhodesian forces was a Selous Scout in
letter or spirit or both and so the difference was in detail and not in
orientation or purpose,” he declared.
So there you have it. We can count on Moyo not allowing inconvenient facts
to get in the way of his agenda.
Back to ‘Dark City’
Of late Zesa Holdings had given its tortured customers a reprieve from its
incessant load shedding which had earned Harare the infamous “Dark City”
Zesa had finally turned a corner, or so we thought, before Zesa spokesperson
Fullard Gwasira –– without warning –– announced the useless utility would
once again embark on massive load-shedding until the beginning of next year
effective this Monday.
Gwasira said load-shedding had been caused by “extensive maintenance
programme at Hwange and Kariba power stations”.
“The original plan was to implement the maintenance works between April and
May, but we realised that it is the winter peak period so we decided to
postpone to December where demand is low considering companies would have
closed down for the festive period,” Gwasira said.
Why consumers were not warned of this impending blackout only Zesa knows.
And we are unimpressed by the way it suddenly “realises” something like when
As if to rub salt in the wound Gwasira claimed Zesa would “put in place
measures to reduce the load-shedding”.
“Our aim is to ensure that the consumer is not affected adversely by our
attempt to improve power supply so we have put in place measures which are
within our jurisdiction to alleviate the situation,” Gwasira bleated
offering cold comfort to households and businesses already plunged in
For Zesa the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” is
Bank loan mogul
Mines deputy minister Gift Chimanikire recently took time to exonerate his
boss Obert Mpofu from accusations his vast wealth has been amassed through
misappropriating proceeds from diamonds.
Mpofu had made his fortune through his sweat, Chimanikire declared at the
Victoria Falls diamond conference.
This realisation had been made after working with Mpofu at the Mines
ministry, we were told.
“When I joined the Mines ministry, Mpofu had been there for a year. He
already had that kind of wealth,” Chimanikire said as if Mpofu had not been
in government before.
This is despite Mpofu being among Zanu PF officials fingered as multiple
farm-owners still clinging onto the farms they grabbed ignoring the
one-man-one-farm policy as well as restrictions on farm sizes.
In September we carried a story which revealed Mpofu was still holding on to
Mpofu once claimed to have acquired much of the property he now owns through
a bank loan.
If anyone believes that they will believe anything!
Too close for comfort
Though they were from different political parties, Chimanikire said, he had
worked very well with his boss whom he went on to describe as “King of
The Daily News reports MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the party is
demanding an explanation from Chimanikire as he “does not have the capacity
to determine the wealth that is in the hands of Mpofu”.
Mwonzora said Chimanikire is trying to “provide flattery to Mpofu” but does
not have the “ability nor means” to determine sources of Mpofu’s wealth.
A report released in London by Partnership Africa Canada detailing
corruption in the Marange diamond fields makes interesting reading.
“His (Mpofu) unexplained wealth is emblematic of wider problems of revenue
transparency associated with this promising national resource,” the report
November 30, 2012 in Opinion
By its own admission, the Zimbabwean government is to all intents and
Column By Eric Bloch
It is substantially devoid of the resources needed to fund the essential
needs of the country’s educational sector and national health.
It also does not have funds to promote the economic recovery and development
of national infrastructure (including electricity generation and
distribution, water resources, and much else) which is key to the country’s
When entities and individuals in the private sector have inadequate funding
for their needs, they generally seek opportunities of cutting-back and
reducing their expenditures, and prioritise spending in accord with their
most essential needs. But not so with government!
All too often, the expenditures incurred are those which the politicians
desire for self-enrichment and this is notwithstanding their recurrent
public declarations of intents to contain and curtail expenditures.
Over and over again, the alleged intentions of expenditure probity and
containment bear no resemblance to the actual expenditures incurred, and
result in an ever-intensifying national indebtedness. Moreover, all too
frequently the State spendings are of minimal benefit, if any, to the
The latest of these expenditure intents became known very shortly after the
tabling of the 2013 national budget before parliament.
In presenting that budget, Finance minister Tendai Biti very correctly and
unreservedly bewailed the magnitude of Zimbabwe’s debts in 2012, and
emphatically urged curtailment of expenditures, save and except for those of
an absolutely essential need.
However, his advice clearly fell upon deaf ears, for only a few days later
hardcore elements in the Zanu PF upper echelons announced plans for the
construction of an entire new city, to be situated at Mt Hampden, styled to
resemble South Africa’s Sandton City in Johannesburg.
The Mt Hampden city is to house parliament and the senate, in place of the
building presently opposite Africa Unity Square in Harare. It is to host a
considerable number of ministries and other governmental departments.
Numerous mansions, including a presidential residence and a state house will
be within that city, as well as houses for ministers and civil servants. To
service the needs of the intending residents, Mt Hampden city will have a
state-of-the-art shopping mall, parks, other leisure areas, and much, more.
Indisputably, all this will necessitate expenditure of billions of dollars,
which Zimbabwe does not have, and can only access by incurring yet further
The alleged motivation for creating the proposed new city is in order to
eliminate congestion that afflicts traffic in Harare, and it cannot be
denied the combination of the growth of Harare’s population, and the greater
numbers of vehicles traversing that city, has occasioned very considerable
The city’s ills have also been compounded by numerous infrastructural
deficiencies occasioned both by increased population and scarcity of
financial resources and technically as well as administratively-skilled
municipal personnel. Certainly these ills and woes require substantive
attention, but surely not constructing a complete new city! Widening of
streets, construction of ring roads and fly-overs, effective and
consistently operating traffic control lights and like actions would
considerably alleviate much of the congestion that presently afflicts
Harare, and at considerably lesser cost. Likewise, at far lesser cost,
Harare service delivery of water and other utilities and services can be
addressed, as against having to initiate such facilities in a new city.
In any event, governments must strive to identify priorities realistically,
and to pursue them to an extent as is practical within the bounds of
available resources. How can any right-thinking representatives of the
populace credibly contemplate colossal expenditures on the creation of a new
city when, on the one hand, the country clearly has a national debt in
excess of US$11 billion? A total of three years’ budgets would be required
to settle Zimbabwe’s current national debt.
Moreover, it is incomprehensible as to how anyone can contemplate the
massive expenditure entailed in the development of a large, modern city,
when funding is critically required for almost all the state’s parastatals,
and for the rehabilitation and enhancement of infrastructure.
Zesa is tantamount to being insolvent. Air Zimbabwe is, to all intents and
purposes, bankrupt; able to provide only very minimal services, to the
prejudice and endangerment of tourism and the business sectors.
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is in a like parlous state. The Zimbabwe
National Water Authority is burdened by a considerable lack of resources
needed for full delivery and provision of essential water supplies to many
urban centres, and to rural communities. TelOne has frequent constraints on
the operation of intercity, regional and international telephone services,
and recurrent interruptions of internet operations.
Hospitals and clinics are ill-equipped, as also is the case with
governmental educational facilities, be they schools, universities,
polytechnics or others. Many of Zimbabwe’s roads and bridges are in grievous
disrepair. And those are but a few of the state-driven operations and
services that are in urgent need of state funding.
However, the political hierarchy instead wish to build a brand-new, very
up-market city. Is the reason for so wishing genuinely out of exaggerated
concern at the congestion that afflicts the present capital city, or are
there self-edification aspirations or other ulterior motives driving this
grossly ill-conceived declared intent? Or has that political hierarchy gone
November 30, 2012 in Opinion
AS Zanu PF approaches its usually choreographed annual conference next week,
familiar signs of President Robert Mugabe’s undemocratic leadership are
being further exhibited, with the party’s 10 provinces stampeding to endorse
him through an opaque and sham internal process to stand for re-election
Opinion By Pedzisai Ruhanya
Never mind that Mugabe, battling old age complications, will be turning 89
on February 21 2013, a month before the date when he wants general elections
to be held.
According to Mugabe bootlickers, his advanced age and health problems do not
He can still stand for re-election and rule until he is 94 by the end of his
next term, that is if he wins!
Mugabe is said to have been endorsed by all the 10 provinces of the party in
an internal process, which amounts to an election of sorts although without
As usual, Mugabe was the sole nominee even though his party had a choice to
call for an extraordinary congress to elect a new leader from a pool of
contenders and endorse him/her as candidate for elections.
Congress elects a leader and conferences robotically endorse him/her before
the subsequent elections.
During the 2007 extraordinary congress to elect and endorse a new party
leader ahead of the 2008 elections, Mugabe and his loyalists made sure he
was the only candidate.
The same applied during the 2009 congress and since then every annual
conference has just been endorsing him without question.
This is what is happening now — Mugabe has been unthinkingly endorsed to be
candidate in the elections next year even if he is going to be 89 and
Mugabe has always resisted an open process to elect a new party leader and
candidate for elections since he took over the party in 1977 following a
prison coup against founding leader Ndabaningi Sithole.
Mugabe’s loyalists, using internal nomination shenanigans, claim he is
popular, but how can that popularity be measured in the party without an
open leadership contest arrangement and transparent electoral process where
other candidates come forward to contest the presidency? How can his
popularity be measured? Through stage-managed nominations?
It is important to interrogate the meanings and possible implications of the
Zanu PF nomination process to the broader national democratic process.
The question to ask is: how can a political party that is allergic to
internal democratic processes abide by transparent procedural or minimalist
democratic demands at the national level?
This is a critical question because Zimbabwe seeks a democratic transition
after a failed attempt to break away from Mugabe’s authoritarian rule in
2008, leading to the formation of the inclusive government after the signing
of the Global Political Agreement in September 2008.
Under Mugabe and his Zanu PF regime and their record of authoritarian
practices stretching over 30 years, Zimbabwe can best be described as a
A pseudo-democracy is a nation with opposition political parties and which
meets some basic tenets of electoral democracy such as regular holding of
elections, but fails to provide “a sufficiently fair arena for contestation
to allow the ruling party to be turned out of power”.
Zimbabweans have shown a consistent belief that a democratic transition can
take place through elections.
This is the main reason why civic society organisations and the democratic
opposition, including regional bodies such as the African Union and the
Southern African Development Conference (Sadc), continue to insist on free,
fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe in which the people’s free will is
expressed and respected.
The Zanu PF internal processes are a repugnant aberration of democratic
electoral processes, hence intensifying demands to open up the closed and
fixed system to promote in-house democracy.
Zanu PF’s opaque internal processes for choosing its leaders has been
undemocratic and in most cases accompanied by the deployment of brutal
authoritarian methods such as the coercive use of party vigilante militia
groups, the security apparatus, especially the military, the secret agents
and partisan police.
This has had chilling effects on democratic practice and reform in Zimbabwe.
Studies have shown that many of the transitions to democracy in recent years
have been protracted, evolving over several elections.
In particular, this applies mainly to what has become known as “electoral
authoritarianism” in which elections have emerged as an important mode of
Zimbabwe is going through this route and in that direction albeit with
superficial democratic processes underway, some of them, like Mugabe’s
endorsements, bordering on fraud. The unfortunate part is that the
malpractices in Zanu PF replicate themselves at the national electoral
Zanu PF’s mutilation of democracy must not however deter people from using
the electoral route to democratic transition.
What is encouraging though when one examines worldwide trends is that far
from the refusal by the Zanu PF regime to embrace democratic electoral
processes even within its structures and institutions, quite a number of
elections in Africa, especially in Sadc, are increasingly becoming free and
New evidence on electoral studies suggests the repetition of electoral
processes, even if flawed or manipulated as has been the norm in Zimbabwe
under Mugabe’s leadership, can result in democratisation.
There is some evidence and hope in this postulation if one were to examine
empirical evidence on Zimbabwe’s electoral history since 1980.
The February 2000 constitutional referendum defeat of Zanu PF; its close
shave in the June 2008 general election where Zanu PF won narrowly through
the margin of terror and the defeat of Mugabe by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai in the first round of the March 2008 presidential election; and
the regime’s loss of parliamentary control and defeat in local government
elections since 2000 prove that even in circumstances of malpractices
continued elections can result in erosion or loss of power by an incumbent
However, elections in manipulated circumstances do not always promote
democratic reform and change.
Under certain conditions such as witnessed for years in Zimbabwe, most
specifically the sham presidential poll run-off in June 2008, elections can
become an instrument by which an authoritarian regime perpetuates itself.
Yet democratisation by elections has occurred often enough that systematic
analysis and interrogation by researchers is necessary.
Zimbabwe can achieve democracy through elections. The Zanu PF regime is
vulnerable because its followers are disenchanted by lack of internal
Opposition and civic groups need to unite to confront this regime as it
cannot withstand purposeful and co-ordinated democratic actors.
Ruhanya is a PhD candidate and director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute.
November 30, 2012 in Opinion
THAT our country is in a persistent political stalemate and locked in a
stalling transition is not contestable.
Opinion By Gideon Chitanga
Realising the political patch-work in form of the inclusive government is
failing to unlock the impasse and move the reform process forward, concerned
citizens are asking whether the pro-democracy movement does not need a grand
coalition to supplant the Zanu PF regime.
While these concerns are legitimate and warrant serious as well as urgent
attention from national leaders in the pro-democracy camp, for now it is
clear we are unlikely to see any coalition emerging unless the same question
is approached differently.
The pleas to unite the pro-democracy factions against the authoritarian Zanu
PF regime trying to re-invent and entrench itself are as old as multi-party
politics in the country.
Retrospectively, political analysts have pointed to the advantages of a
united front in every election.
The disputed outcomes of the 2008 elections could have been avoided through
a coalition of the two MDC parties, while a parliamentary coalition post the
same elections could have more likely benefitted the political reform
The failure by any of the parties to win an outright majority set the stage
for both a parliamentary crisis and an executive that was always going to be
hamstrung by polarisation, partisan and self-interest at the expense of
A grand coalition in the form of some sort of a parliamentary coalition has
failed given the evident failure of pro-democracy parties to collaborate
even informally in pushing for key electoral reforms.
So why have pro-reform groups failed to form such a grand coalition or an
informal relationship to work together?
What kind of grand coalition are we talking about here? Who are its drivers
and what chances are there that such a coalition can deliver change?
It is obvious that outside the framework of the inclusive government any of
the political parties in the country would face a serious legitimacy crisis
if they were to govern without the other.
The results of the parliamentary and presidential elections of 2008 show
that the victory margins between the main political parties were slight.
Of course, going by a simple majority, first-past-the-post or
winner-takes-all formula, a victory is a victory.
Yet our political leaders remain blind to the reality of their limited
expressed political support and legitimacy in the context of 2008 elections
even though the coalition arrangement is an admission of that fact.
Maybe before dealing with the attitude of the political leadership in the
country, I must also say the pro-reform political parties and civil society
actors seem to be oblivious to the changing demographics, trends in
political socialisation, demonstrable political values and an emerging
culture rooted in individual freedoms mediated by new technologies,
particularly social media platforms.
The most important fact of this change is a demonstrable quest for inclusive
participation and bottom-up approach anchored on grassroots politics.
Thus any imagination of a grand coalition for change should focus at
mobilisation and organisation outside traditional limits defined and limited
to partisan functionality and constrained by misplaced personal ambition and
To go back to the first question, the pro-reform factions have not made a
deliberate effort to embrace inclusivity and diversity to push a broad-based
If anything, they are failing to move away from the typical African politics
of divisive political organisation and mobilisation based on ethnicity,
regionalism, patronage and personality cults — the cancer gnawing Zanu PF.
A close analysis of the situation shows existing political parties in
Zimbabwe seem to imagine the state in the same way Zanu PF does, of course,
subject to colonial institutional legacies.
Thus the main political parties are organised on the basis of ethnic
negativity buttressed by a retrogressive Shona-Ndebele dichotomy and
hierarchical hegemony which excludes other ethnicities, while relegating
Ndebeles to second-class citizens, with the rest seen as other lower
The Welshmen Ncube-led faction of the MDC has embraced this negative feature
of politics as a strategy in building a regional political constituency,
thereby succeeding Zapu in its later years after the emergence of Zanu in
1963. The MDC-T also has a clear ethnic structure generally masked by its
relatively national base, while Zanu PF is built around ethnic and regional
Zanu Ndonga and the Zimbabwe Unity Movement had similar structures and faced
the same problems associated with this sort of politics.
Besides, the MDC-T seems to have quietly shifted from its social democracy
philosophy in relation to its former key constituencies in worker and
Although the party retains elites formerly in the labour and student
movements, it cannot claim the majority of workers and students who were its
main social base and key drivers still belong to it in a coherently
organised way and in the context of proper political mobilisation by a
Our political elites believe in a form of representation that begins and
ends with elections. Once they are elected, they act like they know
everything, and in the culture and traditions of Zanu PF, leaders know
everything and the masses should just listen, obey and follow.
Typically, some elite actors within the MDC factions, for some impolitic
reasons, find any form of a united front objectionable.
It is therefore evident efforts to inspire a grand coalition by way of
coalescing pro-reform actors led by the same political parties will fail
just like in the previous attempts.
The pro-reform factions should engage with their social base in its
diversity and create spaces that structures of political parties do not
There are so many people who can run an effective campaign for change
outside the partisan political machinery. There is a whole “e-generation” of
“Facebookers” and “Tweeterites” who can be key drivers of such a grand
Such grassroots campaigns on the social media would create platforms of
regular daily interactions between communities of voters and publics which
rallies cannot provide because of their sporadic nature.
While political parties have been rushing to engage with the clergy and
religious communities, such opportunistic interventions are dangerous.
Outside a clear agenda to advance progressive societal democratic values,
such political overtures should be treated as suspiciously manipulative.
A grand coalition for democratic reform and change is therefore possible so
long it is constructed on a strong foundation of politics of inclusivity,
diversity and broad-based participation.
Chitanga is a PhD candidate, Rhodes University and a fellow of the Centre
for the Study of Democracy, Rhodes University and the University of