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Israeli official arrested accused of trying to smuggle Zimbabwean diamonds

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The controversy surrounding diamonds from Zimbabwe’s
Marange mine took a new twist on Sunday amid revelations that a senior
member of the Israel Diamond Exchange (IDE) was arrested trying to smuggle
into Israel more than US$160,000 worth of rough gems from the southern
African country.

IDE president Avi Paz announced on Sunday that a courier representing the
unidentified member was caught by customs officials as he was about to exit
Ben Gurion Airport last Wednesday.

After his arrest, the man disclosed the origins of the goods and the
identity of the person he brought the diamonds for. The IDE member was
immediately arrested.

Paz said the IDE member would face expulsion from the exchange “if found
that he is involved.”

The diamonds were not accompanied by Kimberley Process (KP) certificates as
required by law and international treaties.

Diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange region are banned for exports as part of
measures to force the southern African country to adhere to KP mining

The Zimbabwean army is accused of alleged human rights abuses at the Marange
fields, including engaging in forced labour and smuggling.

Observers here said the arrest of the Israeli official shows the double
standards of the international community which publicly condemn operations
at the Zimbabwean mine while privately dealing with illegal traders from the


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Zimbabwean capital to resume power generation as blackouts bite

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The Harare City Council said Sunday it plans to regain
control of the capital’s thermal power station in a move meant to ease
electricity shortages that have crippled business in the city.

Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC) that the local authority was awaiting a response from the government
after seeking permission to regain control of the Harare Thermal Power
Station from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).

Control of the power plant moved from the city council to ZESA in 1986 and a
combination of mismanagement and obsolete equipment has seen the station
constantly breaking down and failing to ease shortages of electricity in the

Most of the equipment at the power station has outlived its lifespan,
resulting in disruptive breakdowns that have caused serious power outages
across the city.

Masunda said the take-over of the power station would increase electricity
supplies for the city at an affordable rate and as a means to boost revenue
collection for the local authority.

The plant has an installed capacity of 100 megawatts.

Harare has been hardest hit by rolling power blackouts that have affected
the country since 2006.

The daily power cuts have affected domestic consumers as well as the
business community, with some factories forced to retrench workers due to
low production.


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The situation is at its most dangerous point

Written by Eddie Cross
Sunday, 26 December 2010 12:20

The debate in the House last week on the budget for 2011 was very
interesting. All 19-portfolio committee chairpersons presented their views
on the budget to a quiet and attentive House. It’s not normally like that –
it fact it can get pretty rowdy and rough at times as the contesting parties
take sides on issues. There was a different atmosphere – almost bi-partisan
as these committees delivered their views on the new budget.

What was interesting is that the views expressed represented both sides and
the leaders of both major parties were not happy with the outcome. I
listened carefully as several Chairpersons from Zanu PF presented their
reports and was pleasantly surprised at the moderation and sensible nature
of their points of view. Several MDC Chairpersons delivered reports that
were decidedly not MDC views, and that also was a surprise. The atmosphere
was serious business and represented a radical change from the politics of
conflict that have prevailed hitherto.

Not for long, the budget is a very tough document that seeks to balance
limited tax revenues against massive reconstruction and rehabilitation needs
and the demands of 250 000 civil servants who get less than the accepted
Poverty Datum Line in salaries and other benefits. Members of the House did
not make things any easier, demanding that they be recognised as senior
members of our society and remunerated accordingly for what they did. That
did not go down well with the general population who saw it as a group of
powerful people seeking to raise their own incomes above the rest of the

The Minister had no choice but to refuse to try and accommodate the views of
the committees. A pity really, because it was an opportunity lost. Even if
there was no money to accommodate their demands, their views should have
been respected and heard. Instead we quickly moved back into conflict mode
with Zanu PF threatening to block the passage of the budget and MDC gearing
up to test its strength. Later, once the budget had passed, the majority of
the Zanu PF members left the House and the MDC majority then passed its
controversial revision of the Public Order and Security Act; the first major
change to repressive legislation since the days of Ian Smith and its
predecessor “the Law and Order Maintenance Act.”.

A very seasoned and experienced political commentator in South Africa once
advised me that the “most dangerous time for an autocratic regime is the day
it starts to institute reforms”. We are well beyond that day in Zimbabwe and
the bipartisan discussion in the House followed by the radical changes to
POSA signalled that despite all the efforts of the autocrats to claw back
some space, the pace of change in Zimbabwe is accelerating and is rapidly
becoming irreversible.

The decision this week by Cabinet to nationalise and seize control of the
alluvial diamond deposits at Marange, signals that even in the hallowed
halls of power, the influence of the need for real change is being felt.

In the wider realm, the recent visit to Zimbabwe by the President of South
Africa had great significance. I hear continuous criticism of regional and
South African leadership from all quarters, but we must recognise what they
have achieved so far and what they have done recently. The Zimbabwe crisis
is more than a century old. The past 30 years is a continuum to what went on
once the small band of my forefathers arrived armed with the Gatling gun in
1893. We are still trying to sort out how to live and work together to build
a better life for our people. In fact we could say that many of our problems
stemmed from the day Mzilikazi decided to make Gubulawayo his home in the
early 1820’s.

What is new about our present situation is that for the first time, it is
African leadership that is making the decisions and guiding the solutions.
For all its shortcomings, the GPA is an African construct and is being led
by Africans. In recent weeks we have seen the SADC leadership toughen its
stance on the implementation of the GPA, refusal to allow the GPA road map
being violated and an insistence that the road map to an election must
follow the reform process that is established by the GPA. I have said on
several occasions that we must not underestimate the political commitment to
the GPA process in the region and in Africa.

If we cast our eyes further up the continent we can see that the abuse of
the electoral system in the Ivory Coast is not going to be accepted. Their
membership of the regional body (ECOWAS) and the AU has been suspended. That
would not have happened 10 years ago and is a clear sign that Africa is
growing up.

What President Zuma did when he flew into Harare was to speak first to each
member of the troika that manages our affairs, and then he met them jointly
and made it very clear that he was speaking on behalf of the region and not
just South Africa. He demanded that the troika fulfil their obligations
under the GPA and agree to a road map to take the country through to an
election as soon as possible – but following the reform process that is
already contained in the GPA. He made it clear he wanted to see action
immediately to get the road map adopted and progress in the stalled reform
process resume.

The major problem for Zanu PF with this situation is that they realised,
immediately after the GPA signing ceremony that their leadership had agreed
to a reform process that would almost certainly result in their complete
annihilation in any future poll. They started out by working with the MDC on
the reform process and then, in a repeat of what they had done after the
fateful Kariba agreement had been signed on a Houseboat on the lake in
September 2007, that they had gone too far and they tried to back track. In
1997 this had worked because the President of South Africa was still willing
to allow every opportunity to give Zanu PF a chance to reform and retain
power. In 2010, that is no longer acceptable and Zanu PF, for the first
time, is being required to face up to its obligations under an agreement
that they have signed. Their response to these demands by the region has
been silence. Zanu PF is always dangerous when they are silent and we will
probably have to wait until after their annual conference to see how they
will handle this new situation.

I do not believe that they can say no to SADC and South Africa. We are a
land locked country and therefore vulnerable to the actions of our
neighbours. In the past decade the MDC has always taken the high road in
seeking change, not the easiest or the quickest, but best in the long term.
During that decade we have not broken a window or raised a fist in political
violence. Instead we have worked to achieve a peaceful, legal, democratic
change of government. But for this process to be successful we had to have
the support of the region. Not support for the MDC, but support for the
process, leaving the Parties in Zimbabwe to then contest for power through
the ballot.

For the neo-fascist, autocratic kleptocracy that Zanu PF has become, the
real threat is this reform process. They know the people no longer support
them and fear a real democratic election. The GPA offers them no alternative
and it is their signature on that document that gives them nightmares today.

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Initial Thoughts on the Matabeleland Constitutional Outreach Experience

People in rural Matabeleland pray before a COPAC meeting

People in rural Matabeleland pray before a COPAC meeting

By Shari Eppel – Solidarity Peace Trust

I have on my desk, a silver, two-shilling, 1947, Southern Rhodesia King George VI coin, and two big copper pennies with holes in the middle, one from 1949 (Southern Rhodesia) and one from 1956 (Rhodesia and Nyasaland). These are prized souvenirs of my time in a COPAC outreach team, physical memorabilia for one of many fascinating memories that my trips into the farthest corners of rural Matabeleland have left me enriched by.

I came by these coins in a remote rural village (that shall be kept nameless to protect its inhabitants) where we had a very outspoken and ebullient meeting with around 150 people, unbelievably squashed into one school classroom. [1] It was one of those windy days that one gets in late winter, ahead of the rains – gusting dust across a dry and barren landscape. People in this area harvested very little last year, there is no grazing left now, and every living creature is hungry and waiting for the rains – desperately waiting for them. As was our usual experience, scores of people were patiently sitting in the sparse shade of the thorn trees, looking out for our convoy of four 4x4s to arrive from Bulawayo to give them their turn to speak out, to tell us what they wanted a new Zimbabwean constitution to say. We also, predictably, had the usual clutch of plain-clothes police and secret police, who had arrived in a vehicle ahead of us.

This was a typical COPAC gathering for Matabeleland – out of well over one hundred participants, only sixteen people were visibly aged under twenty five, with the majority aged over fifty, and a good smattering of octogenarians. There is simply a missing generation out there – nearly all the young adults have gone to Johannesburg or elsewhere in search of work. Many people were skeletally thin. Most were dressed in their best, in recognition of the importance of the occasion – old suits held together with careful, obvious stitches on the corners of pockets and along the frayed ends of jacket sleeves; beautiful but often thread-bare dresses, along with coats and scarves. Some had shoes that were so cracked and torn that it was hard to believe that they still remained on a pair of feet. A scattering of mostly very well behaved babies sat on their mothers’ laps, breastfeeding and dozing, and occasionally coughing with that hacking cough of winter. As the meeting progressed the numbers swelled, as people who had walked many kilometers to be there finally arrived, and as word spread that the COPAC team really had arrived for the advertised meeting.[2] And towards the end of the meeting, as evening approached, women began to filter out, to go and begin cooking what could well have been the only meal for that day, before the light disappeared entirely, leaving them in the electricity-less dark of their huts.

This particular grouping was anxious to speak out immediately – they were unstoppable in their opinions on everything. From the minute the national anthem was over, they began to express their views on how they were being governed. They were angry, but in a polite and orderly fashion. One after another, they stood up and blamed the government for their poverty, for their lack of development, for the fact that their children had all had to leave the area in order to survive, and had had precious little schooling in the last few years. There were no skills training opportunities locally, there were no jobs, there was no food, there had been no government sponsored development projects of any kind since 1968…

Yes, but in view of all this, what therefore do you want to see in the constitution, they were constantly reminded. What should the constitution say about your rights? about youth? about empowerment? about the media?

We want a constitution that does not let one person stay in power for thirty years!

We want a constitution that gives us compensation for Gukurahundi – we were murdered in this region more than twenty years ago, and there are widows and orphans from those years that have remained poor all their lives because of these murders!

Yes, yes! – this angry man had very obvious support, he was being egged on by many of those present.

An old man stood up with the aid of his walking stick and announced – I am more than seventy years old, and have no birth certificate. I lost it many, many years back and went to (main town in district) and was told that I must go to Harare to get a long birth certificate. To Harare! He waves his stick in disgust. How am I supposed to get money to go to Harare? I now accept that I shall die without a birth certificate – at my age! As if I had never been born. He sat down.

A woman put her hand up and then related that when her old mother went to the local government offices to apply for a passport, she was shouted at by a Shona-speaking youngster who ordered her to speak Shona. She could not, and so left the office in confusion.

This is Matabeleland, the woman politely pointed out to us, government officials must speak to us in our language, in SiNdebele! We want a constitution that says this. We want our children taught in their first language up to grade seven – and we want local radio stations in our language. Some people here speak Kalanga and others elsewhere in Matabeleland speak Tonga, and Venda and Sotho. They must all have radio stations, and schools, in their languages.

One of the few young men present, made a point about empowerment – we want local jobs for local people, and we want local control of our resources. Why do people come from Harare and show a paper that they say is permission from the government to chop down our trees, in this district so far from Harare? They do not even employ locally, they bring outsiders to chop our trees! And wild animals like elephants have more rights than we do – they trample our crops, even our children, but we cannot kill them, by law.

An old woman stood with difficulty, and smoothed down her skirt. We think we should be able to send someone from our village to Harare to see how the national budget is drawn up, and to make sure those who draw up the budget understand our needs. How is it that every year there is a government budget for roads, and schools and clinics, yet we have never seen any of these things built in our area, for how many years? Maybe they don’t know that we need these things.

And so on, and so on. Our rapporteurs consulted and translated these issues into ‘constitution-speak’: language rights, minority rights, cultural rights, local rights, media rights, freedom from torture and murder, the right to compensation after government abuse – and the big one – devolution of power. People across the Matabeleland region expressed their frustration and indignation at the lack of accessibility to official services locally, the centralisation of power and processes in Harare, the opaque nature of decision making, far away, around issues that intimately affected their daily lives. The overwhelming request was for greater powers for local authorities, and local control of expenditure in the provinces across the board.

Will the COPAC findings result in a constitution written by “the people”?

Youth Band playing at a COPAC meeting - rural Matabeleland

Youth Band playing at a COPAC meeting - Matabeleland

To be honest, it has never been my conviction that “the people” and the monumental 30,000 pages of rapporteurs’ reports, were really going to contribute more than marginally to a new constitution. Ultimately, lawyers and politicians are going to sit around many tables, and argue for possibly many months, about what should be in our new constitution. [3] This will be a continuation of a discussion that has been going on for over a decade that has involved civics and all political parties since the National Constitutional Assembly first made a new constitution a national issue in the 1990s.

It is in fact almost nonsensical to talk of ordinary people writing a constitution. At a meeting where the COPAC team had just asked what “the people’s opinion” was, in relation to the offices of the ombudsman and the comptroller general, an old man pointed out – it is as if you have just described to me a new food that I have never heard of, or seen, and then asked me how I like the taste!

Most people at our meetings had no idea of what the difference was between an ‘Independent’ and an ‘Executive’ Commission, which commissions currently existed, or how their members should be appointed. They had no clue as to how judges are currently appointed and therefore could only guess on the spur of the moment how they should be appointed in the future. Is it on the basis of such guesses and wondrous exclamations that our constitution should be written?

On the other hand, certain broad trends that are relevant to our future constitution were clear after listening to what “the people” had to say. For example, while a full range of opinions were expressed over time, the emphatic trends in our meetings were the desire for devolution of power to provincial governments, and a dominating idea that all government positions at national and provincial level should be filled either through elections, or by appointment of parliament – and not the president. And as already illustrated in the earlier description in this article, people have ideas of what should be in a Bill of Rights.

Yet it is equally clear that these broad trends have varied considerably depending on which province in Zimbabwe was expressing the opinions, and depending also on how free people felt to speak out. The COPAC experience has been far from uniform – and much of the independent media reporting has exposed the atmosphere of fear and intimidation in which many outreach meetings were held, in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland – and which we in Matabeleland were luckily spared. In Harare, some meetings over the weekend of 30 October once again degenerated into a ZANU controlled farce. [4]

How then, is it going to be possible to reconcile the often very opposed and oppressed opinions that have come to the fore nationally? These opinions will simply become the fodder for the teams of lawyers, who will use their very general prevalence to lobby for their particular viewpoints during those months of round table negotiations.

But as a constitutional lawyer recently pointed out to me, constitutions are not written to protect the rights of majorities, but to protect minorities and the powerless. Writing a constitution is not a process where the numerically dominant view automatically has to prevail; the principles that best protect the rights and needs of all people are what should be included, not the possibly repressive, power hungry position of a controlling majority.

Choosing principles for a constitution should not be about “vote counting” but about weighing up which systems are most democratic, and would allow all people including minorities, a strong say in their own governance. But, in our intensely polarised Zimbabwe, each political party will try to push whichever version of a constitution favours its own power base, and principles of inclusivity and fairness are in danger of being pushed to one side for short-term political gain.

This obsession with short-term gains rather than the two-hundred-year perspective was very clear during the outreach exercise. People seemed unable to think beyond the next election, and which system would most benefit their party in that election. When ZANU PF supporters argued for the continuation of a supreme president with sweeping powers, I couldn’t help wondering if it ever crossed the corners of their minds that the next, all powerful president just might not be from ZANU PF, and whether, in that event, they might regret him having enormous powers? Similarly, when MDC supporters argued for a 24 hour hand-over/take-over after elections – and ZANU PF argued for a six month hand-over/take-over, I again wondered if anyone was really thinking beyond the next election and to all the elections thereafter.

While MDC supporters may shout – out, out, the president must just go, same day as the election result – I wonder if they will be still saying that in a hypothetical six or ten or twelve years, when it may be their president who must “just go”. And would ZANU PF in that latter situation be arguing for him to stay another six months to ensure a smooth transition…? It is to be hoped that cool, calm constitutional experts with a longer perspective will play a role in our constitution-making….

What did the COPAC outreach achieve, if anything?

Our constitution will of course be the product of political compromise, as bearing in mind the balance of political powers in the current unity government, all three principles will have to agree to it, however grudgingly, before it is put to public referendum. No single party can carry the 66% majority vote needed in parliament to adopt a new constitution, and therefore by the time a draft appears in the public eye, the political horse-trading will have already been done. If it is horse-trading that will indubitably decide our constitutional future, what then has been the benefit, if any, of COPAC outreach? Here, I can speak only from personal observation, resulting from three months of almost daily outreach meetings.

In spite of the presence of police and CIO, each of our Matabeleland meetings ended with a tangible burst of excitement and relief, as people filed out with a sense, at the very least, of having spoken out without being told that this, or that, was something that they could not say. People in our region experienced the power of cartharsis, as they stood up and recited tales of frustration and despair while others listened, and these small moments of ‘truth telling” certainly left outreach teams with a clear message and hopefully gave those who spoke out a sense of being heard, which can be beneficial in and of itself.

These remote communities had never before had an official delegation, including members of parliament, sit and listen to them without judgement for hours on end, simply asking questions and writing down what they said. MPs and other ‘important’ people might on rare occasions have appeared previously, but this would have mostly been in the context of political rallies, where people would have been lectured at, and given the usual false promises. COPAC allowed ordinary folk to turn the tables, to lecture and pronounce back at officials for once in their lives, and to criticise those who make false promises and abuse them.

Furthermore, people who showed up at our COPAC meetings and sat through twenty-six “talking points” left with a more developed sense of what is included in a constitution, and of how a nation is governed. It was not the role of COPAC to offer detailed civic education. This should have been done prior to COPAC by civics, but by and large was not, partly owing to lack of political space in large parts of the country, and owing also to civic misgiving over the process, which meant that many organisations held back. [5] Nonetheless, every COPAC meeting was a crash course in the constitution, exposing many people for the first time to the idea of separation of powers, and to the existence of various structures and checks and balances that are supposed to make states accountable. “New foods” were briefly described to audiences hungry to hear about them.

Every COPAC meeting was video recorded and tape-recorded. This means that an incredibly rich archive now exists, which – in our region at least – has captured on a wide scale the preoccupations of ordinary people in 2010: their daily vexations, their assumptions and preconceptions about government, about the police, about citizenship, land, war veterans and traditional leaders. And many of these opinions were surprising. A gold mine of reference material now exists, much of which is more relevant to social historians and humanitarian agencies than to those who write constitutions, and it is to be hoped that in due course, once the constitutional exercise is well over, this material will be made available to scholars and policy makers across a broad spectrum.

In parts of the country beyond Matabeleland, where many outreach meetings were reportedly highly repressed, resulting even in violence on occasions [6], one lesson at least is clear from COPAC – the political space to hold an election simply does not exist, if a simple meeting to gather views around the constitution is not possible without thuggery and intimidation.

Further observations

The overwhelming impression carried away from one remote Matabeleland village after another was the profound alienation of ordinary people from the body-politic, and their very clear and unambiguous perception that their grinding poverty should be laid at the doors of those who have (badly) governed them for all the decades of their lives – both pre and post independence.

It is not my conviction that anything is going to change in the lives of Zimbabwe’s poorest rural dwellers any time soon. Certainly a new constitution will change little on the ground, however wonderful or otherwise the final draft may be. A constitution is a piece of paper, and while it can lay an important foundation for governance, it will require many significant shifts in socio-economic conditions before life advances for most Zimbabweans. Democratisation consists of so much more than a constitution, it needs a state that cares enough to enforce the Bill of Rights, to provide quality health care and education and food to all citizens, to ensure a country in which economic expansion can provide work for generations of youngsters to come – and many other things.

The people who gathered to speak to us were poor, mostly extremely so, and many appeared to have a deep-seated awareness that they currently had no control over whatever-out-there might change that for their children.

The desire to make it very clear to COPAC how national policy has driven the already poor into worse poverty was demonstrated graphically at that late winter gathering in Matabeleland, where we began this account. An old man rose up very deliberately in the middle of the meeting and came up to the front tables. As he walked towards us, he fished deep into his pockets, and by the time he reached us, his hands were full of coins and notes of all descriptions. These he thrust down in front of us, stood back and pointed at them – a pile of worthless Zimbabwe coins and notes of every denomination – the old ‘bearer cheques’ and the ones that came before and after these – hundreds, thousands, millions and billions in obsolete currency.

How is it possible, he asked, for a man to have so much money in his pocket and to be starving? How is it possible for a man to be so rich and yet to have no money to buy food? This is what Zimbabwe has done to us.

Behind him people laughed and cheered in appreciation and identification, as we did too. This was not the first time our COPAC team had been reminded that people have huts full of worthless notes, but the first time it had been so graphically illustrated. This was clearly a long planned and deeply felt statement. The old man must have thought about it for days when he heard COPAC was coming. He must have gathered up his junk money and deliberately brought it to the meeting and then sat there, waiting for his moment to throw it down and express his indignation.

I was staring fascinated at all these coins, when I spied the three – the silver two-shilling piece and the two pennies. I commented, and asked to meet the old man after the meeting. I explained that some people collected such old coins and I would take his name and address and look up the value on the internet for him, and get in touch in the future. This I did, and established the worth of the silver two-shillings and the pennies. In due course, I arranged to swop ‘real’ money for these collector’s items.

Now I have these three coins on my desk, to remind me every day of how people who deserve better have been abused by their governments over the decades, of how honest, hard working men and women have seen their frugal savings turned to dust. These coins also remind me of the dreams, aspirations and frustrations of the thousands of Zimbabweans we met, and who hope, although not always with conviction, that a new constitution might change the future for them – or that COPAC might, at the very least, convey their heartfelt disempowerment up the ladder of control.

The views and impressions expressed in this article are those of the author alone and in no way claim to represent the official views of COPAC itself.

[1] The meeting described here could be any one of dozens that we attended – issues raised were very similar from one venue to another, across all the districts of Matabeleland. Original contributions were in SiNdebele and are paraphrased here, and at times several similar comments made over the course of the meeting that forms the backbone of this article, were condensed into one. However, everything that this article claims to have been said, was actually said at one of our meetings.

[2]Owing to logistical chaos, official announcements did not always mean the arrival of a team, which affected attendances. Often the outriders supposed to advertise the event only reached the village concerned a day before the team, or even on the same day, which also severely undermined participation at times, or resulted in COPAC aborting meetings because nobody had showed up. However, in such instances the meetings were, in our area, always re-advertised and took place at a later date.

[3] This is a personal view, not COPAC’s. There have been well over 4,000 COPAC meetings, attended by around 800,000 people countrywide: if one estimates 8 pages of transcripts per meeting, this is over 30,000 pages of reporting! It would take months to collate this systematically.

[4] Other COPAC meetings, such as those in Chitungwiza and Glen View, Belvedere, Kuwadzana, Kambuzuma, Highfields, all in Harare, were reported as having proceeded peacefully and without interference this same weekend: The Standard, “Heavy police presence at COPAC meetings”, 30 October 2010.

[5] Precisely because the exercise was seen as potentially a farce that would be hijacked by politicians, many NGOs made a point of boycotting involvement, but in the opinion of this author, by so doing they missed an opportunity to undertake civic education that would have benefited people above and beyond the COPAC exercise. The Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda did reach around 10,000 people in constitutional civic education meetings during 2009/10, but this was a fraction of the number of 70,000+ that finally attended meetings across this region.

[6] See ZZZICOMP reports, June to October, which recorded thousands of violations during the outreach. Also, for example, Veritas Zimbabwe, Peace Watch 10/2010, 10 October 2010.


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The captivity of Robert Mugabe

26/12/2010 00:00:00
    by Dinizulu Mbikokayise Macaphulana

AT 86, and approaching 87 years of age, Robert Mugabe, the president of
Zimbabwe is the world’s oldest ruler.

Depending on where one stands, the political life and historical legacy of
Mugabe is either a tragedy of cataclysmic proportions or a cruel comedy of
farcical extents.
Mugabe has successfully sold an image of himself as a tough man of political
substance and historical consequence who is in charge of his affairs and
those of his troubled country.

However, a closer critical scrutiny of recent events and circumstances
surrounding the man exposes shocking intimations that he may as well be a
haunted and stressed octogenarian tyrant who is impatiently awaiting an
escape to the safety and comfort of the grave.

In a sense, this might well be a preferable prospect than the idea of facing
the dire consequences of his political actions that have created for him
more enemies than anyone can handle.

Political hostage

Mugabe’s personal chaplain and spiritual advisor Fidelis Mukonori recently
told investigative journalist Peter Godwin that “the old man is tired, he
wants to go, but there are others around him who will not let him step
 down,”; words which are an indicator to the painful captivity and political
hostage-status of Robert Mugabe.

This article, which is a deliberate human interest piece, takes a close look
at Robert Mugabe’s unenviable political captivity and hopes to shed some
fresh insights on African leadership challenges and show how those who began
as freedom fighters and role models have -- due to greed and power-hunger -- 
turned out to be tyrants and wrong models for African youths.

Evidence has emerged that Mugabe, like many other African autocrats,
including Idi Amin and emperor Bokassa, is enslaved and captive to some
unsustainable and primitive beliefs in the supernatural.

In killing his opponents and crushing his challengers, he believes that he
is an instrument of “the ancestors” and therefore right. Very strange indeed
for a man equipped with the fine education that Mugabe has.

An enterprising Sangoma who doubles as a con-artist once took advantage of
Mugabe’s strange beliefs to enrich herself. At the height of fuel shortages
in Zimbabwe, Rotina Mavhunga claimed that “the ancestors” of Zimbabwe were
sending Mugabe processed diesel from under a mountain in Chimanimani.


Mugabe did not only believe her and showered her with farms, cars and money
but went on national television to announce that Zimbabwe’s fuels problems
had come to an end. For a sophisticated man with seven university degrees to
be so duped by a sangoma who did not finish primary school is a pointer to
Mugabe’s painful captivity to superstition.

The sangoma had only buried a drum full of diesel on a mountain and
connected a hose pipe, claiming that the rocks were spitting diesel from the
ancestors. She is currently doing time in one of Mugabe’s jails.

In one of his many dialogues, ancient Athenian philosopher Socrates
interviews Cephalas, an old man who boasts that old age has given him
“freedom from the enslaving desires and demands of sex”.

Mugabe, at almost 87 years of age, cannot enjoy such freedom as Cephalas; he
is subjected to the expectations of a 45 year old woman. Another strange
decision for a man of his age to put himself in such a challenging
situation, or is it the unfortunate attempt to argue with nature?

It should be taxing physically and emotionally vexing at such an advanced
age to minister to the fires and appetites of a young wife.

Not only that, but a few weeks ago British investigative journalist Jon
Swain disclosed that Gideon Gono, Mugabe’s personal banker and reserve bank
governor was secretly bedding Mugabe’s wife in foreign hotels and
farm-houses; news which should be trying to the world’s oldest president.


Not only because of her physical needs is Mugabe’s wife taxing him but in
terms of her appetites and tastes for the finer and costly things in

Mugabe was forced to fire his ambassador to Britain, Godfrey Chanetsa, after
he complained that the entire embassy had been turned into a warehouse and
storeroom for Grace Mugabe’s expensive goods shopped in Britain.

Mugabe’s young and shopaholic wife is not the only one pressuring him to
retain the reigns of power at all cost to sustain her expensive tastes.

His securocrats, the service chiefs that Mugabe sent to conduct Gukurahundi,
one of Africa’s most Golgothic massacres are fiercely opposed to his exit
from political office.

They were sent to massacre more than 20000 Matabale civilians who supported
the late Joshua Nkomo, in the process displacing thousands into exile in
South Africa and beyond.

These are the men who have become Mugabe’s “brothers in crimes against
humanity” who fear that once he is gone they will be prosecuted. They
include Mugabe’s air force chief Perence Shiri, army chief, Constantine
Chiwenga and ministers Emerson Munangagwa and Sydney Sekeramayi.

While Mugabe might escape prosecution on grounds of his very advanced age,
his security men, mainly in their sixties and fifties are good candidates
for competent prosecution.

Making matters even worse for Mugabe and his securocrats are the many
groupings of angry Gukurahundi survivors and victims in South Africa and
overseas who are lobbying the international courts to take action, while,
recently, Genocide Watch International announced its intentions to have
perpetrators of Gukurahundi prosecuted.


Besides the securocrats who fear being prosecuted and hanged for crimes
against humanity, Mugabe himself understands that, like Saddam Hussein who
used to be the darling of America but was later on they hanged for human
rights abuses, he can suffer the same fate. Mugabe was such a valued client
of Britain and America that the queen of England knighted him in 1994.

After killing and displacing many white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe and
spewing insults and venom on the West, Mugabe knows that the Saddam Hussein
scenario is not very remote.

International gay rights groupings are also adding salt to Mugabe’s injuries
by lobbying and using whatever influence they have to have Mugabe made an
example of, after he described homosexuals and lesbians as “worse than dogs
and pigs”.

Mugabe is also captive to the political entrepreneurs and tycoons that
surround him.

In the year 2000 he committed Zimbabwe’s national army to a war in the
Democratic Republic of Congo that cost Zimbabwe billions of foreign currency
and many lives in terms of the thousands of soldiers who died in combat. In
exchange for the brave favour, Mugabe and his cronies were rewarded with
lucrative diamond mines and other business opportunities in the Congo.

These politi-preneurs know that they stand to lose their rich pickings
should Mugabe be allowed to step down from his post.

Recently, a Zimbabwean business tycoon Philip Chiyangwa pledged his two
hundred million United States dollar-fortune to support Mugabe and Zanu PF
in their electoral campaign bid.

Mugabe, who used to travel from pillar to post throughout the world amidst
pomp and circumstance resulting in him being nicknamed Vosco da Mugabe, is
now a confined tyrant.

The smart and targeted sanctions imposed on him by the western countries
mean that he can no longer, except for United Nations business, travel to
European Union countries but Africa, China and Dubai; a big blow for a man
who enjoyed travelling to Western capitals.

Captive tyrant

Far from the strongman that Mugabe wants the world to believe he is an
examination of his circumstances shows otherwise.

He is, in fact, a captive tyrant, enslaved by unsustainable beliefs in the
extra natural forces, a demanding young wife, paranoid securocrats,
terrified tycoons around him and angry victims of his manslaughters who are
working over time to ensure he is prosecuted.

As San Tsu says in The art of war, total victory is not victory at all; as
the vanquished is aggrieved he prepares to defeat you in future. The many
enemies that Mugabe created for himself in his days of strength are out to
get him in these days of old age and weakness; and he knows it

This has reduced the world’s oldest president to a terrified and confined
tyrant who is full of fear. The moral that we can squeeze out of Mugabe’s
political life and historical legacy is that no one -- no matter how
strong -- can escape the judgment of history. No matter how big one’s hand
is it can never cover the sky.

Dinizulu Macaphulana is a Zimbabwean poet and journalist who is studying in

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US$1,7 million tollgate scam: A tip of the iceberg — insiders

Friday, 24 December 2010 19:45


THE arrest of two Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) employees over missing
tollgate tickets could just be the tip of the iceberg, with insiders
claiming that the duo could have been used as sacrificial lambs.

Victor Nyathi and Martin Memory were last month arrested on allegations that
they had stolen tollgate tickets worth more than US$1,7 million, which some
employees claim was too good to be true.

An insider claimed that it would have been impossible for the employees to
steal the books as they would have needed at least two Nissan T35 trucks to
transport the tollgate tickets all over the country.

“At least someone would have seen Nyathi steal the books as moving them is
not as easy as we are being made to believe,” he said.
It is reported that Nyathi, who has been fingered as the main culprit stole
the ticket books between July 6 and August 6, another point disputed by the
insiders who questioned how and where the accused could have sold the

“It takes at least three to six months for us (Zimra) to make such tollgate
revenue and to think someone would be able to steal those books and think
they can be sold in such a short time is impossible,” the insider revealed.

Zimra workers said they could not discount that Nyathi was being used as a
sacrificial lamb as evidence suggested that at least a senior manager could
have been benefitting from the scandal and when he saw that the net was
closing in decided to implicate the accused, who is an administrative
clerical assistant at the tax collector.

Investigations by The Standard have revealed that Nyathi, who joined Zimra
last December, had complained there had not been a proper hand-over of
assets when he joined the tax collector.

He had also written a number of memos to his supervisor informing him of a
number of discrepancies and missing books.

The memos, which detailed the exact missing books and their value were
addressed to an L Karonga and also copied to L Zvokuomba, C Pando, and L

“Something is suspicious in this case because the supervisors already knew
beforehand that there were missing books but still let Nyathi be
 prosecuted,” the insider continued.

One of the memos tells that despite the absence of the ticket books, records
showed that these were still in the storeroom when a physical count showed
that these books were missing.

In one case figures for returned tickets actually outstrips the tickets that
had been distributed earlier during the day, with Nyathi asking that they be
accounted for.

Sources at the courts have also revealed that there was something suspicious
about the whole conduct of the case, fearing that there could be someone
pulling the strings.

“The case was brought three times for prosecution and each time the
prosecutors declined prosecuting arguing that the State’s case was weak,” a
source said.

They also questioned the way Nyathi was denied bail, questioning on how he
could be described a flight risk.

“When the case was being investigated he was out of custody for two months
and then all of a sudden he is described as a flight risk,” the court
official said.

“If he had wanted to flee he would have done so long before he went to the

Chris Mutangadura, the chief law officer at the Attorney General’s Office
confirmed that the courts had initially refused to prosecute.
“Facts change when police investigate further,” he said. “That is why the
magistrate and ultimately declined to grant bail.”

Mutangadura said despite not opposing bail at the High Court, judges were
not bound by the opinion of the AG’s office and had their own opinions
regarding the case.

Nyathi, through his lawyer, Emmanuel Nyambuya then applied for bail at the
High Court, this time armed with consent from the Attorney General’s Office
which accented that he was not a flight risk and be granted bail.

However, the courts turned down the appeal.

In his court papers Nyambuya alleged that there was massive corruption at
Zimra and senior managers were behind the scandal while his client was being
used as a scapegoat.

Efforts to get comment from Zimra over the last fortnight have been futile.
Officials at the revenue authority asked for questions to be e-mailed but
did not respond. Another set of questions was sent this week and again there
was no response.

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Bloody Christmas as 43 perish in road accidents nationwide

Friday, 24 December 2010 19:48


FIVE people died, two of them on the spot, when two minibuses collided along
the Mutare-Masvingo road yesterday morning bringing the death toll on the
country’s roads this festive season to a staggering 43 inside 10 days.

Police spokesperson Andrew Phiri yesterday said one of the minibuses burst a
tyre and encroached onto oncoming traffic, causing the accident. Three other
people died on admission to hospital.

Phiri said the accident, which happened around 9:45am, is one among many
which happened in all provinces yesterday but they were yet to get the exact
number which was expected to be very high. Another 42 were injured.

Phiri said as at 9am, 595 accidents had been recorded since the monitoring
of festive season accidents started on December 15.
Of these, 28 resulted in the 38 deaths, Phiri said.

A total of 595 people were injured in the accidents, most of which were
caused by human error and negligent driving.

The police arrested 159 people for drunken driving and impounded 2 336
unroadworthy vehicles.

A total of 31 711 traffic tickets had been issued out.

Harare had the bulk of the accidents, totalling 288, followed by Bulawayo
with 79.

Midlands accounted for 63 while Masvingo and Matabeleland South had 37 each.

Mashonaland West had 26 while Matabeleland North had 20. In Mashonaland
Central there were 16 in Mashonaland Central while 15 were recorded in

“We would like to continue urging members of the public, especially
motorists that they should drive with care because the roads are busy and
the fact that it is raining does not help the situation,” Phiri said.

“We would also like to urge them to comply with the commands of the police
officers who are heavily deployed on the roads.”
On Tuesday nine people died, including three children in Harare’s Central
Business District died when a 32 seater commuter omnibuses crashed into a
Nissan UD truck along Simon Mazorodze Road.

Holidays in Zimbabwe have become associated with the high number of fatal
accidents, which have been blamed on the poor state of roads and poorly
serviced cars.

Government has in the past been accused of failing to respond properly to
the crisis.

Early this year it tried to ban the importation of second hand vehicles and
left hand drives, which it blamed for the carnage but the move has since
been put on ice.

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The return of the injiva

Friday, 24 December 2010 20:45


WITH the holiday season just beginning, thousands of Zimbabweans based in
South Africa have begun their annual pilgrimage back home. Injiva, as
Zimbabweans in that country are known, always make the trip to Zimbabwe over
holidays and what an impression they leave.

In the past Injiva had this aura of invincibility and always left those who
remained in Zimbabwe, in perpetual shock and awe.

Being an injiva meant you had to cross the crocodile infested Limpopo, evade
arrest and deportation from South Africa.

The indomitability of injiva was further cemented by the horror tales they
would narrate about their stay in South Africa

But with the easing of visa restrictions, dream excursions to Egoli, (the
whole of South Africa and not just Johannesburg is referred to as Egoli)
have all been but put on ice by many and the injiva’s invincibility is all
but lost.

Spotting an injiva is easy: when speaking they intermittently and
obnoxiously use the term ‘mara ne’.

They are a loud lot, who after spending time across the Limpopo seem to
forget their mother tongues and constantly use Zulu, Xhosa and Afrikaans,
never mind that half their audience would not have a clue of what they would
be saying.

A story is told of an injiva who, two years ago, was deported after only two
weeks in South Africa but reven up to today he speaks with a skewed South
Africa accent.

Those with relatives Egoli were always seen as better than those who did

For instance injiva would bring lots of foodstuffs and property for their
folks in Zimbabwe and with food shortages being the order of the day, having
an injiva relative was a status symbol.

With injiva around, parties are endless and beer flows relentlessly and
there is constant reference to chappies and checkers (in reference to a
brand of chewing gum and plastic carrier bags from a South African retail
shop respectively).

Injiva are also trendy and wear the latest fashion and have their way of
doing things, which keeps the locals in awe and perpetual admiration.
Injiva women are very light and some have unsightly spots on their faces.

This, according to other women, is because they use skin lightening creams
so they can be distinguished from the locals when they return home.
Evidence of use of these creams is easy to see, usually the facial
complexion is diametrically opposite to that of the rest of the body.
Surprisingly even locals soon adapt and start speaking the South African
street lingo.

For about two weeks in December and during other public holidays you will
swear the whole of Bulawayo just returned from Egoli. For that fortnight or
so Bulawayo turns into a mini South Africa of some sorts, with every other
car bearing GP (Gauteng Province) number plates. It is rumoured that most of
these cars would have been hired so that injiva can make an impression back

For the time they are here, injiva are literally treated as gods, they are
given preferential treatment at home, at shops they are served first and
even if one were to accidentally step on your toes, you are expected to
apologise. But again injivas are a strange lot especially towards the last
days of their holidays, when they have to go back to their bases in South

More often than not, they would have spent more than they could afford and
would have been reduced to near paupers. Firstly they begin by begging for
money from locals for such small things as cigarettes and then they start
pawning off small grocery items in an effort to raise bus fare back to South
Africa, after they would have squandered it in the unending parties and
reckless spending.

This is a good time for locals as injiva start selling clothes, cellphones
and electricals they would have brought for their families at giveaway
prices in an effort to raise funds for their return.

Some even sell furniture that would still be Egoli, claiming a bus broke
down and had to leave its trailer behind. This is when injivas are unmasked
for who they really are.
They hardly have enough money for themselves but they should have
justification for having left for South Africa in the first place. So they
save money for months on end just to blow it in a couple of days. Most of
them crossed into South Africa illegally and are forced into menial jobs.

Ironically most of these people who have left for greener pastures are
professionals in different fields like teaching and nursing but when they
get to the other side they become maids, gardeners and farm hands.

They incur huge debts just to come to Zimbabwe for that week or two, so as
to make an impression when they get back home. Others just bring enough food
to last them their stay and go back months on end without remitting anything
to their families. But for all its worth, injivas leave behind lasting
memories to last another year, when again they will be make that trip up

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WikiLeaks could quicken demise of GNU

Friday, 24 December 2010 20:02


THE recent WikiLeaks cable releases could have afforded President Robert
Mugabe ammunition to call for elections next year, with his main argument
that his coalition partner, Morgan Tsvangirai was in bed with the West.

For years now, Mugabe has claimed that Tsvangirai was a pliant tool for
Britain and America and revelations that the Prime Minister called for the
West to maintain sanctions against Zimbabwe will only strengthen the veteran
leader’s resolve to hold elections.

The removal of sanctions is listed as one of the priority issues in the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) and hawks in Mugabe’s Zanu PF party are
already screaming treason and are using the cables as an excuse to call for
the end of the inclusive government.

Political analysts last week told The Standard that the leaked cables were
fitting well into Zanu PF’s agenda and they would use them to confront the

Trevor Maisiri said Zanu PF would now use the cables as an excuse to call
for the end of the inclusive government charging that they were getting rid
of imperialist influences in the government.

“Zanu PF will obviously see these leaks as a bonus to their already
rubber-stamped position of early elections,” he said.

“What Zanu PF may then do is craft their message upon the urgency of having
election so as to retire the MDC-T out of government and thereby ensure that
there is a blockade of the USA influence in Zimbabwean affairs.”

Maisiri said on that basis Mugabe and his party were likely to heighten
calls for elections based on the notion that MDC-T was an insincere party.
He said it was likely that Zanu PF would soon start approaching former
liberation movements with the message that the MDC-T was a Western puppet
and it had to be gotten rid of so as to stave off imperialism within the

Tsvangirai has often gone against leaders in the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) describing them as toothless bulldogs.

University lecturer and political analyst, Lawton Hikwa said what had come
out of the cables was a matter of concern that ought to be handled with

“If not handled properly it can create a wedge between the major parties
particularly the MDC-T and Zanu PF,” he said.

Hikwa said it was no secret that the government had not worked nor achieved
what it was originally meant to and this could justify its termination.
Despite the matter of sanctions being topical, Hikwa said he doubted if it
could accelerate the death of the inclusive government.

However, he and Mhlanga were not in agreement on the tenure of the inclusive
government, with Hikwa saying he thought all the parties wanted it to end.

Mhlanga on the other hand said despite the posturing, politicians across the
divide wanted the inclusive government to be maintained.

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Zim students stranded in Malawi

Friday, 24 December 2010 20:01


A group of Zimbabwean medical students are reportedly stranded in Malawi,
where they had gone to complete their studies after being frustrated by the
Zimbabwe Medical Council that would not recognise their qualifications.

The students had been enrolled at the National University of Science and
Technology (Nust), where they were studying towards attaining medical

Since its inception in 2004, the medical school has only had two intakes due
to constant wrangles between Nust and the ZMC.

“The medical council asked us to fulfill some requirements, which we did,
but each time we did this they would come back with new demands,” Nust
spokesman, Felix Moyo said, adding that he would not speculate on why ZMC
was doing so.

A former lecturer at the medical school, Dumiso Matshazi said some of the
students realised the predicament and decided to apply to a university in

“They were accepted into the programme with a requirement to do one more
year and then graduate,” he said.

“This offer was far much better than what the medical school in Harare
required of the students in order to recognise their degrees. “They were to
write more than 30 exams in a time space of less than a month.”

Following the precedent another group of 10 students applied to Malawi,
where they were all granted places at the Medical School of Blantyre.
The students were able to raise tuition fees, but, however, they are failing
to raise residence fees at the college.

Matshazi claims that the students all need about US$52 000 each for them to
complete their studies.

The students have not been admitted to halls of residence at the medical
school and that can only be done once they paid the full tuition fees.
It is reported that the 10 will be studying over the festive season, though
their fate at present could not be immediately ascertained.

Asked on whether Nust was in a position to assist the students, Moyo said
the university could only do so if the 10 were still enrolled there, but
this was no longer the case.

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Air Zim grounded

Friday, 24 December 2010 19:59


HUNDREDS of Air Zimbabwe passengers were left stranded after the troubled
airliner’s pilots and cabin crew temporarily walked out of work following a
dispute over unpaid salaries.

Insiders said the most affected were the domestic as well as the
Harare-Johannesburg morning flights.

Passengers on the Bulawayo-Harare morning flight spent the whole of
yesterday waiting anxiously as Air Zimbabwe management and workers’
representatives remained locked in marathon meetings.

They were scheduled to fly at 7pm.

Jonathan Kadzura, the Air Zimbabwe board chairman said the pilots were
protesting over salary shortfalls

“The issue was over a shortfall in payments which the airline is accruing,”
Kadzura said.

“It was a technical glitch which has amicably been resolved.”

The airline’s CEO, Peter Chikumba said the flights would have to be

It was not immediately clear how much the airline owes the pilots and cabin
crew who also went on strike in September demanding unpaid allowances.
Distraught passengers said they had been kept guessing about their journeys
as Air Zimbabwe kept giving them conflicting information.

Thobekile Ncube, a United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean who was returning home
for the first time in a decade arrived in Harare at 6am and spent the whole
day at the airport waiting for a connecting flight to Bulawayo.

She said the delay had ruined her holiday as her flight from London was
cancelled last Saturday because of the snow that disrupted air traffic in
“This has been a nightmare,” she said. “Now my holiday has been disrupted as
I am now left with only a few days.”
Others said their plans for Christmas had been put into disarray.

The cash-strapped Air Zimbabwe has faced unending labour disputes this year
and was forced to retrench hundreds owing to viability problems.

Its problems have been blamed on poor management and the below-market prices
it was forced to charge for its services before the introduction of multiple
currencies last year.

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Rampant sexual abuse at school

Friday, 24 December 2010 19:56


ALLEGATIONS of rampant child sexual abuse have hit Chimhau Government
Secondary School in Murehwa, amid reports that one student has gone into
hiding after being impregnated by a teacher.

Two pregnancies have been reported in recent months, with sexual abuse at
the school being described as deep-rooted and widespread to the extent that
it was affecting pupils’ progress.

According to a correspondence in our possession, the case has been taken up
by the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture with the minister,
David Coltart instructing the permanent secretary, Stephen Mahere to
investigate the matter.

“Could you therefore, as a matter of urgency, ask the provincial education
director responsible for Murehwa to investigate the matter and report back
to you and please, let me have a report regarding the matter,” reads part of
the letter from Coltart to Mahere.

The Education minister raised concern that the matter was affecting the
pupils but nothing seemed to be done to address the issue.

Mahere also received a letter from Transparency International-Zimbabwe
(TIZ), detailing the allegations and how the pupils had attempted to report
the matter to both the police and school authorities, but on each occasion
faced no joy.

TIZ programmes manager, Titus Gwemende said allegations of abuse were
commonplace at the school with one of the teachers having been caught
abusing a girl in his kitchen.

“One of the girls was being abused in a kitchen and members of the community
had to come to her rescue,” he said. “This shows that even the community is
aware of what is going on at the school.”

Gwemende said they had been provided names of two teachers who were abusing
pupils but initial indications were that the scandal could be bigger than
what they have.

He said in cases where the girls fell pregnant they were forced out of the
education system so the crimes of the perpetrators would not come to light.
“One of the girls, a Lower Sixth pupil, has since gone into hiding and no
one knows where she is,” Gwemende said. “The case was reported to the police
but nothing was done.”

It is reported that teachers take advantage of pupils by calling them to
their houses and asking them to do household chores and from there the abuse
is initiated.

“As part of rape prevention strategies we have lobbied the Ministry of
Education to ban the practice by teachers in rural areas of allocating their
household chores to children,” Rita Mbatha, from Women’s Comfort Corner
Trust, said.

“Each year many children are sexually abused and most cases are never
Coltart said he was on leave and could not comment on the progress made in
the investigations while Mahere was not reachable on his mobile.

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SundayOpinion: Issue of bonuses vexatious

Friday, 24 December 2010 19:58

By Mgcini Nyoni

Growing up, we knew that the end of November going into December was a rowdy
period. This was because of the 13th cheque people got from their employers.

The drunkards would blow their monies in a matter of days and the wives
would hit them on the head with a kango pot full of sadza or in some cases
cooking oil. One neighbour of ours who was a soldier would smash up windows
of his house around this time. But that is not the point of this article.
The point of this article is the vexatious issue of bonuses.

I do not understand this concept of bonuses. From my understanding a bonus
is a reward for a job well done and it is strange that every employee gets a
bonus at the end of every year. For decades now, this has been going on and
no minister has ever questioned why this is so. Why is the hardworking
worker and the slacking, mediocre worker put in the same pot?

It is no secret that there is a lot of mediocrity amongst the civil servant
ranks and this is because there are no set deliverables: It is a matter of
get to work at 8am, break for lunch at 1pm and knock off at 4pm. I once had
a serious quarrel with a government employee who refused to serve me during
lunch time despite the fact that she was seated at her desk in front of her
computer: For crying out loud, she was not going to lose anything by serving
me. Honestly, isn’t there some sense of satisfaction in going that extra
mile, going out of your way to achieve whatever goals your employer hired
you for?

There has been a silly argument that civil servants do not do their work
properly because they are poorly paid: What a load of rubbish! A principled
someone, someone who knows their job well, will do the job to the best of
their ability once they have agreed to do it, no matter how low the pay is.
If the pay is not enough leave the job rather than compromise the quality of
your work.

I was a teacher for a number of years and some of my colleagues; most of
them actually if they are still in the profession do not deserve US$20 a
month. It is unfortunate that this calibre of teacher who makes up the
majority of the teaching staff, after failing to do his/her job properly
during normal working hours will organise ‘extra’

lessons and parents are expected to pay extra for these fraudulent schemes
that the authorities allow to go on. The duty of a teacher is to make pupils
understand whatever is prescribed by the curricula. If the teacher feels the
pupils need to learn some more during the April school holidays, it is the
teacher’s duty to teach those pupils at no extra cost to the parents. Aren’t
teachers paid for the months of April, August and December whilst they sit
and do nothing but abuse school girls under the guise of ‘extra’ lessons.

It is simple really: Teacher X, when you took over this class, the pass rate
was 40%, now it 20%, so no bonus for you and try harder next year. We can
even go further and set pay grades according to result based performance.

At the moment, civil servants do their own performance appraisals.
This should change. In the case of teachers, the headmaster can quietly
observe his/her staff over the course of the year. This is so easy because
there are a number of teachers who do not attend lessons and if they do,
they just go to the classroom to sit and nurse their hangovers or to nurse a
broken heart or to deliver fake Chinese goods to fellow teachers: “you will
pay at month end my friend”

So armed with the time table, the headmaster can do the rounds and check on
slackers, he/she can interview the school pupils and they will tell him/her
who is slacking; believe me, the pupils know a good teacher from a bad
teacher. A quick round of the store rooms will reveal a teacher or two
having sex with a school girl.

A lot of people might ask me why I am attacking the ordinary working man
like this when there is rampant corruption in government, when we are
governed by people we did not elect to power, when there are issues like
2008, Gukurahundi to talk about.

Well, the answer is simple; you should be accountable before you demand
accountability. You should first remove the log in your eye...

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