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Tsvangirai speaks on Gukurahundi

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:05

Plumtree — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called on all stakeholders
to address the contentious Gukurahundi issue saying doing so would
facilitate the national healing process.

Speaking at a rally held at Dingumuzi Stadium in Plumtree yesterday,
Tsvangirai told party supporters that silence over the issue would not help
“I know that the most important issue in Matabeleland is the issue of
Gukurahundi,” said Tsvangirai. “Silence is not the solution to this issue
and we must confront it head on.”

According to a report produced by the Catholic Commission on Justice and
Peace (CCJP) an estimated 20 000 people, including children and pregnant
women were butchered by North Korean trained 5th Brigade who were ostensibly
hunting down dissidents.

Tsvangirai said that if the Gukurahundi matter was not addressed it would
ultimately become a burden to the nation. “The process of national healing
will therefore be fruitless,” said Tsvangirai.

According to a report produced by the Catholic Commission for  Justice and
Peace (CCJP), thousands of people, including children and pregnant women
were butchered by the North Korean-trained 5 Brigade who were ostensibly
hunting down dissidents.

Tsvangirai said if the Gukurahundi matter was not addressed, it would
ultimately become a burden to the nation. “The process of national healing
will therefore, be fruitless,” said Tsvangirai.

The organ on national healing and reconciliation was set up by the inclusive
government to deal with the issues of political violence, but has been
criticised as being ineffective in carrying out its mandate. Tsvangirai said
MDC-T was the only serious party in the country capable of tackling issues
affecting the people of Zimbabwe.

Zanu PF has said the Gukurahundi issue, which President Robert Mugabe once
referred to as a moment of madness was a “closed chapter” and those calling
for its revival wanted to “open old wounds”.

However, Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa has said the Gukurahundi issue
cannot be swept under the carpet. Tsvangirai also made reference to the
topic pertaining to his alleged marriage to local business woman Locadia
Karimatsenga Tembo, which dominated media headlines over the past two weeks.

“I know that the media has said a lot of things about this issue,” said
Tsvangirai. “However, I would like to assure you that despite whatever is
said about me in the media, I will not give up my commitment to the struggle
of liberating the people of Zimbabwe.”

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Daggers out for Theresa Makone

Sunday, 04 December 2011 10:41


Daggers are out for Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone and her husband
Ian, with some senior members of the MDC-T party pushing for a vote of no
confidence against the two over their alleged involvement in Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai’s marriage debacle.

Sources in the party said senior MDC-T officials are urging the party’s
provincial structures to pass a vote of no confidence against the two at the
party’s national council meeting to be held in two week’s time.

Party insiders want Theresa, the MDC-T Women’s Assembly chairperson and Ian,
Tsvangirai’s personal advisor, chucked out of the party for allegedly
facilitating the Prime Minister’s “marriage” with Locadia Karimatsenga

“We are mobilising all provinces that come 18 December, they must go,” said
one senior MDC-T official. “The whole family must go because they have
destroyed the MDC-T brand (in the form of Morgan Tsvangirai) that we have
been building for the past 11 years.”

The sources said all the MDC-T provinces, except Mashonaland East, had
provisionally agreed to push for a vote no confidence against the Makone
family, which for the past few years controlled both the party’s political
strings and Tsvangirai’s personal life.

Sources in the labour-based party said the Youth Assembly and Women’s
Assembly members had planned a protest against the Makones yesterday at
Dingumuzi Stadium in Plumtree, where Tsvangirai addressed a rally.

“It was stopped because that (protest) would have given the party’s
detractors an opportunity to attack the party,” said another source. “This
issue has to be handled very carefully because it has the potential of
destroying the party because the Makones have vital information about the
MDC-T, from all business sympathisers to financiers.”

Asked why Ian was also a target, the MDC-T sources accused him of failing to
properly advise Tsvangirai, whose personal and political life largely
depended on his counsel.

“There is a case of improper association here against Ian,” said another
MDC-T official. “He also failed to advise the Prime Minister on a proper
woman to associate with.”

MDC-T deputy spokesperson Thabita Khumalo said she was not aware of the
exact date of the national executive meeting and was also not privy to the
agenda of the meeting.

“Our agenda will come from the standing committee, which sits before the
national executive,” said Khumalo, who could not be drawn into revealing if
the Makone issue would be discussed.

“The executive committee of the MDC-T makes recommendations pertaining to
any issue tabled at executive meetings. Most of the issues are not specific
but come from the party’s structures, such as districts, provinces, youth
and women’s assembly.”

But sources said the national executive will discuss the constitution-making
process, the state of the party, its readiness for elections slated for next
year or in 2013, among other issues.

In a statement last week, Tsvangirai conceded he had had a relationship with
Locadia, but said the relationship was no longer feasible because “there is
a greater and thicker plot around this issue, which has undermined my
confidence in this relationship . . . As has been evidently demonstrated by
these past well-orchestrated events, it would be inconceivable that a normal
marriage relationship can be consummated.”

But the Tembo family has insisted their daughter remains customarily married
to the Prime Minister. By the time of going to the press yesterday, Locadia
was said to be still at Tsvangirai’s rural home performing traditional
marriage rites.

The Makones, who at one time bankrolled the MDC-T when the party was facing
financial problems, were also accused of leading the so-called Kitchen
Cabinet, a loose coalition of members who controlled every aspect of the

The Home Affairs co-minister last year angered party colleagues when she
tried to assist Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa to have
his son Martin released from police custody when several MDC-T cadres were
wallowing in jails on allegedly trumped-up charges.

She also courted the ire of party members when she elbowed out former Women’s
Assembly chairperson Lucia Matibenga from her post in what some MDC-T
activists said was not done according to procedure.

Efforts to get a comment from the Makones were fruitless as their numbers
were not reachable.

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‘New constitution nowhere near’

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:32

The leader of the smaller faction of the MDC, Professor Welshman Ncube has
cast doubt on the prospects of the early completion of the
constitution-making process to pave way for elections, saying political
parties were still quarrelling over several issues.

This is compounded by the fact that a national report compiled by the 17
thematic committees has been rejected for lack of depth and clarity, he
But Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) co-chairperson, Douglas Mwonzora
dismissed Ncube’s assertion accusing him of attempting to discredit the
current process in order to “sneak in” the controversial and much
discredited Kariba draft constitution.

Speaking at a Southern Africa Political Economy Series (SAPES) Trust Policy
dialogue in Harare last week, Ncube said the constitution-making process has
been thrown into a shambles after Copac rejected the national report which
drafters were supposed to use for crafting the new supreme law of the

He said political parties had to recall their representatives to rewrite the
national report as the current one was badly written and lacked
“The process of writing a new constitution is far from over, but we do not
want to admit this openly,” said Ncube.

“Zimbabweans have been given a false impression that the country is ready to
draft a new constitution. You can bring in the drafting people, but what can
they do if there is nothing to draft?” he asked.

“There is so much that has not been done. I always say this; the likelihood
of holding a constitutional referendum and election in the same year is
highly improbable — that it can be safely dismissed,” said Ncube.

“Up to now, not even a single line or paragraph of the constitution has been
written. It is unlikely that the text would be ready by August next year. We
will be lucky to hold a referendum by October next year.”

Ncube said even when the referendum is held and a constitution agreed upon,
up to three additional months would be required to negotiate and amend the
electoral act to make provision for issues such as proportional
representation, which were likely to be included in the new supreme law.

Mwonzora however said the work produced by the select committee was of high
standard, contrary to Ncube’s claims. He said talks of a national report
were premature, as such a document would only be ready when everything else
has been put in place, up to the production of the draft constitution.
“It appears Professor Ncube badly misses being part of Copac,” said

“We get a little bit worried when some people who wrote the Kariba draft
start criticising the process. They are trying to rubbish the current
process as a way of trying to sneak in the Kariba draft as a substitute
draft constitution.”

He said Copac concluded compiling the constitution principles at a meeting
attended by David Coltart and Edward Mkhosi from Professor Ncube’s MDC.
Zanu PF secretary for information and publicity Rugare Gumbo also insisted
that the constitution-making process was going on well, with the three
parties to the GPA agreeable on 95% of the issues.

“Our (Zanu PF) position and that of President Mugabe is clear that elections
will be held early next year, meaning that the constitution has to be
completed now,” said Gumbo.

“The likes of Professor Ncube want to delay the process in order to remain
in power. He is coming up with excuses in order to make hay while the sun
still shines.”

Gumbo said it was not necessary to do a land audit before the next
elections, as any party which comes into power could do that at a later
Problems have been dogging Zimbabwe’s constitution-making process, which was
supposed to have been completed within 18 months after the formation of the
coalition government.

This was however delayed due to disruptions and disagreements by the
coalition partners.

Constitution-making process done secretly: Ncube

Ncube said the constitution-making process was fraught with secrecy and as a
result people were not aware of what came out during the public outreaches.

He said the Constitutional Commission which drafted the rejected
constitutional draft in 2000 was more open in its work as it managed to
publicise provincial reports, unlike the current process which is shrouded
in secrecy.

The MDC leader said political parties were still quarrelling over what to
include on the pre-amble of the new constitution, while fundamental
differences still existed on several issues such as devolution of power and
dual citizenship.

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Soldiers, police beat up bar patrons in Karoi, Magunje

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:24

MAGUNJE — Soldiers and police went on a rampage here last week beating up
patrons in bars and bottlestores in and around the towns of Karoi and
Magunje, leaving several people nursing injuries.

Armed with sjamboks, the soldiers and police officers who recently got their
annual bonuses set their vicious dogs on the panic-stricken revellers. The
revellers were shocked by the callous manner in which the soldiers
indiscriminately beat up people in the area.

“Quite a number of people were injured in the beatings,” said one of the
residents. One of the victims, Tendayi Madhibha of Karoi, said he was
drinking beer with his friends at a bar in Karoi when soldiers and police
set dogs on them.

The dogs savaged his shoulder, left leg and foot. The wounds were so serious
that he was referred to Chinhoyi where he was treated by a private doctor.
He was discharged after two days.

Soldiers from Magunje barracks are forcing bars and bottle stores to play
Zanu PF jingles, a situation reminiscent with the 2008 violent elections.
Mashonaland West Police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Mabweazara refused
to comment on the matter.

Efforts to get comment from Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) spokesperson Major
Alphios Makotore were fruitless.

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‘No fireworks at Zanu PF conference’

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:22

AS has become tradition, Zimbabweans will be watching the unfolding Zanu PF
conference in Bulawayo beginning this week, but the question is whether
anything new can come from the party that has ruled the country for more
than three decades.

Much hype had been created in the months leading to the conference on what
was likely to take place, with the party’s leader, President Robert Mugabe
describing it as a mini-congress.

Zanu PF congresses are elective and so Mugabe’s statements fuelled
speculation that indeed, there would be fireworks at the Bulawayo meeting.
Leaked US embassy cables showing that Zanu PF members were secretly
confiding in American envoys that they wanted Mugabe gone, also added to the
conjecture that indeed there would be blood on the floor at this year’s

However, in the months leading to the event a clear trend has developed that
the conference will be nothing more than the usual  regurgitation of
populist mantras as past meetings.

Zanu PF has already said they would not be drawn into discussing the leaked
cables, meaning the congress would simply rubber stamp Mugabe as leader and
presidential condidate in elections next year or 2013.

“The conference will express confidence in the continued leadership of
Mugabe,” Gabriel Chaibva, a political analyst aligned to Zanu PF, said. As
expected, the party will also reaffirm its desire to hold elections, while
anti-western rhetoric will dominate deliberations, something which Chaibva
seemed to reinforce.

While the political analyst said there would be something new at the party’s
meeting this week, the themes such as elections, sovereignty and
indigenisation have been a constant motif throughout the year and were the
cornerstone of the party’s last congress in Mutare last year.

“They (MDC formations) no longer have a game plan to delay elections,”
Chaibva charged. “Zanu PF is gunning for total and absolute victory at the

Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo was noncommittal when asked if any major
developments were expected. “There is nothing new except what we have always
told you,” he said.

Gumbo said they were in the process of panelbeating the agenda ahead of the
conference, whose official opening has been moved from Friday to Thursday.

Another missed opportunity

Charles Mangongera, a political analyst, described the forthcoming
conference as a missed opportunity for the party to put its house in order.
“They have squandered another chance,” he said.

“They could have used it to deal with the succession issue and as a platform
for leadership renewal.” Mangongera said since it was unlikely that the
succession issue would be dealt with, he did not expect any changes in Zanu
PF attitudes.

“I don’t see them changing attitude, instead there will be the hardening of
positions,” he said. “They will insist on holding elections and an end to
negotiations. It will be a vintage Zanu PF.”

However, while on the sidelines it is expected that wrangles between rival
factions to succeed Mugabe will be at play, Zimbabweans will certainly not
be any wiser as to who would succeed the country’s erstwhile leader.

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‘Political instability worsens domestic violence’

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:21

MUTARE — Mounting cases of domestic violence are closely linked to
increasing political violence that has bedevilled the country for the past
decade, gender activists said last week.

Speaking at the commemoration of 16 days of activism against gender-based
violence in Mutare last week, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
Mutare legal projects director Memory Mandingwa said violent behaviour,
which usually starts at a tender age, must be curtailed at home.

She said children learn “what they live”. “We are conscious of the fact that
gender-based violence is an issue on our national calendar. Lives of young
people have been lost and others have been confined to the jails. It all
begins in the home, then into the nation,” said Mandingwa, adding that the
16 days of activism were driven by the passion to curb gender-based violence
in the society.

The commemorations were held under the theme, “From peace in the home to
peace in the world. Let’s end domestic violence against women.”
Mandingwa said violence is destructive in nature and urged human rights
activist groups to let the commemorations usher in a new dispensation where
society reflect on what happens to children as this has a bearing on what
they will do in future.

President Robert Mugabe (pictured), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara recently convened a
political violence indaba in an effort to curb violence in the country.

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GNU energy-sapping, say ministers

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:19

BULAWAYO — Two Ministers from the two MDC formations last week said tension
in the inclusive government was “energy-sapping” but vowed to ride the storm
and stick to the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) brokered
coalition agreement.

Water and Water Resources Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo and Minister of
Regional Integration and International Cooperation Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga admitted difficulties in the government of national
unity (GNU) but insisted that the Sadc deal was the best way for the

Sipepa-Nkomo said there was “thick tension” in the cabinet, with ministers
taking partisan lines when discussing national issues. “When issues are
tabled in Cabinet, one can see clearly that the discussions will take a
partisan line,” said Sipepa-Nkomo while addressing a public meeting in
Bulawayo last week.

“If it is an issue brought up by a Zanu PF minister, you will see Zanu PF
ministers rallying behind it, even if it is ridiculous. If it is an issue
raised by an MDC minister, you will see MDC ministers rallying behind it,
even if it is ridiculous. Even in government, we still take partisan lines.”

Misihairabwi-Mushonga, said the issue of the 1983-1987 genocide in
Matabeleland had been the most contentious issue facing the inclusive
“The Gukurahundi has been then most difficult debate we have had in Cabinet.
This is because it speaks to all these issues (of the underdevelopment of
Matabeleland). It speaks to the issue of ethnicity that we have managed to
put squarely on the table as a result of the GNU.

“It (Gukurahundi debate) was very difficult and very depressing, such that
some people literally went back to the 1800s and spoke of how the Ndebele
stole our cattle and women. It was just difficult,” she said.

Tsvangirai recently complained to President Robert Mugabe that his ministers
were undermining his powers as mandated by the GPA, by boycotting the
council of ministers’ meetings he chairs.

The MDC-T says the intransigent ministers, who allegedly report directly to
Mugabe’s inner circle, have created a parallel government structure and
another “Ministry of Finance” to weaken the GNU, which brought about the
current relative economic and political stability.

It is thought the “ministry” gets its funds from the diamonds mined in
Marange. MDC-T blamed Zanu PF hardliners, senior police and army officials,
whom it accused of ordering ministers and civil servants to boycott
Tsvangirai’s meetings in their bid to wreck the coalition government.
Several senior army and police officers have openly declared their
allegiance to Zanu PF.

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Get local treatment — Sikhala tells Mugabe

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:16

MDC-99 leader Job Sikhala has said government must stop splashing millions
of dollars on President Robert Mugabe’s foreign medical bills insisting that
the octogenarian leader must seek treatment at local health institutions.

He said as the architect of the demise of the health sector, Mugabe who has
been frequenting Asian countries for treatment in recent months, would
experience first-hand the state of the health system if he is treated

He said it was unfair for Mugabe to claim millions of tax payer’s money
seeking treatment abroad while the majority of Zimbabweans got treatment
from local hospitals offering poor services.

“He should be treated at Parirenyatwa Hospital,” said Sikhala. “Why does he
go to Singapore to consume millions of dollars for his treatment? He is the
one who has destroyed our medical facilities since 1980 and his destruction
of medical facilities must not lead Zimbabwe to splash millions on his

Senior Zanu PF officials told US diplomats that Mugabe had prostate cancer,
according to whistleblower website, WikiLeaks. Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai recently said it was government’s responsibility to pay for
Mugabe’s medical expenses.

“The responsibility of the State is to look after its leaders. If the
president is sick, he should be attended to,” said Tsvangirai. The Prime
Minister was responding to journalists who were eager to know why his and
Mugabe’s travel expenses had reached US$29 million dollars in eight months,
according to government figures published quarterly.

But Sikhala said every man is entitled to bear the consequences of his
actions and as such Mugabe should experience the effects of his ill-advised
policies which led to the decay in the country’s health delivery system.

Sikhala also took a swipe at his former colleagues in the MDC-T whom he said
were now pre-occupied with wealth accumulation at the expense of the will of
the people.

“The majority of the people who joined Robert Mugabe are now only
concentrating on wealth accumulation and they seem to have forgotten their
mission. Some of them even confide in us they have 23 bedroomed mansions,”
said Sikhala.  “They pretend not to be friends outside but deep down, they
are very close.”

Sikhala opposed to elections

Sikhala added that his party was opposed to elections being held in Zimbabwe
before the setting up of a level playing ground. He said the current
situation prevailing in the country pointed to a bloody election.

“A call to elections in this country is a call to bloodbath,” said Sikhala.
“Mugabe has always been using violence as a tool to win any election. When
he calls for an election, he calls for the manslaughter of innocent citizens
of this country.”

MDC-T has said at least 200 of its supporters were murdered during the
violent 2008 elections.

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Council employees cry foul

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:15

SOME errant Harare council employees who are facing disciplinary hearings
after breaching their employment contracts are trying to play the political
card by alleging that they are being victimised because they supported Zanu
PF, the Harare City Council has said.

The Muchadeyi Masunda-led council said it had discussed the issue of
employees who absconded from duty in 2007/8 at several full council meetings
and come up with a resolution that the workers must account for their

“It is just unfortunate that some of the employees had become too
comfortable thinking they had gotten away with their misconduct and are now
seeking shelter in politicians when they know too well that they have not
accounted for the work time they stole back then,” said one senior council

The workers recently wrote to Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus
Mutasa claiming that they were being victimised because of their links with
the former ruling party.

They alleged that council was targeting 120 municipal cops trained under the
national youth service as part of the witch-hunt. Efforts to get a comment
from Mutasa were fruitless last week.

Masunda confirmed that council was conducting an enquiry into the conduct of
workers who went away without official leave (awol) when the country was
experiencing economic difficulties.  He said there was nothing irregular
about the hearings.

“Several employees went awol during the hyperinflationary period with some
going to work in Botswana and South Africa,” Masunda said. “Most of these
employees came back when dollarisation was introduced and they demanded and
got US dollar salaries, much to the chagrin of loyal employees who stuck
with the municipality through thick and thin”.

Masunda said those found on the wrong side of the law would face
disciplinary action regardless of their political affiliation. “There is no
orchestrated campaign against anyone and we will deal with issues based on
their merit,” he said.

The city council last year embarked on a controversy-embroiled human
resources audit, which revealed that there were hundreds of ghost workers
listed on the council’s payroll.

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Copac discussions on vice presidents put on hold

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:14

BULAWAYO — THE Constitution Select Committee (Copac) has put on hold
discussions on a proposal to have two vice-presidents in the new
constitution with a requirement that one of them must come from Matabeleland

According to a list of proposed constitutional issues contained in a report
dated November 14-22, Copac grappled with proposals on whether the country
should have a President with two deputies as per the Unity Accord of 1987
which was signed between Zanu PF and PF Zapu.

“The discussion proceeded with others feeling that one of the
vice-presidents should come from Matabeleland. Others proposed that there be
a President and Prime Minister,” reads the report.

Copac explored examples of power arrangements in other countries. “The
French example was mentioned in the discussion as having both the president
and prime minister with executive powers. It was indicated that it does not
work because there cannot be two centres of power unless they all come from
the same political party,” said the report.

“On that point, the issues were parked for further discussions by the select
committee.” Civic bodies and parties in Matabeleland have complained about
the marginalisation of the region, both in terms of development and national

At one point, the MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube vowed to break with
what has become a tradition of “perpetual Ndebele deputies” in the presidium
by sponsoring a presidential candidate who was Ndebele by origin.

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Furore over radio licences rages on

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:09

By Our staff
STAKEHOLDERS in the media industry have poured water over Supa Mandiwanzira’s
recent victory in a broadcasting licences’ race saying even if he was not
favoured as a Zanu PF apologist, other things could have worked to his

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) recently announced that the
journalist-cum entrepreneur’s AB Communications and Zimpapers were the
recipients of the two free-to-air national commercial radio broadcasting

In an interview with The Standard recently, Mandiwanzira appealed to
journalists to celebrate with him as he was one of their own. Mandiwanzira’s
Zi Radio and Zimpapers’ Talk Radio were granted licences ahead of Hot Media’s
Kiss FM and VOX Media’s VOX FM after scoring the highest points in the
selection process. But media organisations last week pointed out that one of
his employees is a BAZ board member.

Susan Makore, a BAZ board member, is the managing director at Mandiwanzira’s
Mighty Movies Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited. Media analysts said the web of
relations between BAZ board members and licence winners stretched beyond the
refuted political ties.

Some gave the example of a BAZ official who is said to be married to member
of the Zimpapers’ board. Makore and Mandiwanzira declined to comment on the

BAZ board chairperson Tafataona Mahoso said all issues were clarified at the
public hearing. “Did you attend the public hearing,” he said. “The purpose
of the hearing was for people to ask questions, what are you trying to do?”

Other BAZ board members are Primrose Kurasha (deputy chair), Edward Dube,
Retired Colonel Reuben Mqwayi, Charity Moyo, Erica Mususa, Reverend J D
Mutuvira, Chief Gambiza, Vimbai Chivaura and Geoffrey Chada.

The MDC party has criticised the granting of the licences on the basis that
the reconstitution of BAZ was among other outstanding Global Political
Agreement issues.

The MDC and other critics have said the current board consists of Zanu PF

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Lobola: Token of appreciation or money-making venture?

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:27

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the last fortnight waded into a storm
over his personal life after it was claimed that he had paid a US$36 000
bride price.

His aides were quick to dismiss both the figure or that he had paid lobola
and instead argued that he paid US$10 000 as “damage” to the family of
Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo.

Both quoted figures are enough to make anyone cringe that a bride price
could be so high. It was also announced recently that Commander of the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Constantine Chiwenga, may have paid a
whooping US$45 000 as lobola for his new bride, Mary Mubayiwa.

This figure has also been disputed, with people close to the family claiming
that the amount paid was only a third of what her family was claiming.
The Oxford English dictionary for southern Africa defines lobola as “the
bride price paid by the family of the bridegroom. Payment, often in cattle,
is made by a groom's family to his bride's family before their wedding in
some parts of southern and eastern Africa.”

Questions have been raised as to why the bride price could be this high and
whether it was “cultural” for  both these suitors, who have a high standing
in society, to  pay this much.

Some have said there was no way any woman could be worth so much and the
two, Tsvangirai and Chiwenga, may have been charged over the top amounts
because of their status.

However, cultural icons have come to the defence of the figures, claiming
that there was nothing sinister about the way they were charged.
Prominent historian, Phathisa Nyathi gave an example of a man named Dlodlo
who married the first Ndebele King (Mzilikazi's) daughter, who paid a 100
head of cattle for her hand in marriage.

“This does not mean that Ndebeles were paying this much in lobola,” he said.
“When lobola is charged, there is no uniform figure. It depends on the
status of either the woman or the man.”

Nyathi said since Tsvangirai was the prime minister, Tembo’s family knew
that he had the means to pay and hence they charged that much. He said
families looked at the background of the suitor and this  had an influence
on how much they charged for lobola.

In defence of Tsvangirai, Chiwenga

Nyathi said the problem was that the Tsvangirai and Chiwenga cases were
being muddled by people who were ignorant of their culture. “Each case has
its own merits, if they had charged that to a poorer man, he would not have
paid,” he explained.

Leader of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha),
concurred saying the lobola figure depended on the families involved. “It
cannot be too little nor can it be too much,” he said. “It depends on the
people involved.”

A gender activist and journalist, Sibusisiwe Ndlovu described the quoted
figures as rather too exorbitant and described it as a bastardisation of our

“Lobola is a token of appreciation and it is meant to build relationships
and is not about what one can afford,” she said. Such high figures could
kill the symbolism of the ancient practice and in the  end, women are viewed
as commodities, she suggested.

Ndlovu said some people were now profiteering from lobola and this negated
the cultural aspect of marriage.


The two cases, however, will add further fuel to the debate on whether
lobola is still relevant in modern society. Critics of the traditional
practice claim it was meant to be a token of appreciation to the bride’s
family for having raised the woman, but now it is prone to abuse by people
who seek to profit.

Lobola is seen by some as an extravagance that has little relevance in a
society where young Africans are trying to lift themselves out of inherited

Its proponents on the other hand, say lobola is a way of showing commitment
between families.

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Govt’s fresh demands to mining firms

Saturday, 03 December 2011 16:58


GOVERNMENT wants foreign-owned mining houses to have primary listings in
Zimbabwe and bank their money locally to improve the liquidity situation as
part of a cocktail of measures to leverage on the country’s natural
resources. Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara told a mining stakeholders’
forum last week that it was unacceptable for mining houses to have primary
listings and bank money elsewhere other than Zimbabwe.

“All mining companies must have a primary listing in Zimbabwe then secondary
listing on JSE or London,” Mutambara said.
The mines that would be affected by the new requirement include Zimplats
which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

It would also force other mining houses such as Unki and Mimosa, among
others, to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

The mining sector, alongside agriculture, has been identified as the drivers
for economic growth with the sectors expected to grow by 15,9% and 11,6%
respectively next year.

Mutambara said the mining houses should also bank their money locally to
help improve the liquidity situation in the country.
“We don’t want companies that are banking in Europe,” said Mutambara.
“Bank with local banks so that the money you bank allows us to function as a
country. Zimplats, I hope you are listening and you must bank it in

Although banking deposits are on the increase, most of them are in either
demand or short-term and this means that financial institutions cannot lend
money to companies on a long-term basis.

Due to a decade of recession, companies require long-term financing to
retool and replace ageing equipment.

Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu told the forum his
ministry would come up with punitive measures to stop holders of special
grants from using them for speculative purposes. It takes between six to
eight months to finalise on special grants, but Mpofu said his ministry
would thoroughly vet prospective applicants to weed out speculators.

“We have realised that special grants given have been a source of serious
speculation. Of the 16 that were issued only three are functional,” Mpofu
He said new application fees would now be in place to ensure that only
serious people venture into mining.

For diamond mining, one has to fork out an application fee of US$1 million.
Mpofu said the response was overwhelming notwithstanding what appeared a
steep fee.

A registration fee of not less than US$5 million and mining fees would also
be in place, according to Mpofu.
He said that the principals in the inclusive government have already
sanctioned the new measures designed to raise more money from the mining

In the 2012 budget, government projected to get US$600 million from
diamonds, a figure Mpofu said is conservative as “we will make far much more
than that”.

He said consultations are currently underway for input into amendments to
the Mines and Minerals Act and the Diamond Policy Act.
Mining is capital intensive with a long gestation period. Estimates from the
Chamber of Mines show that the industry requires between US$5 billion to
US$7 billion to operate at full or increased capacity.

The funding is not available locally, as banks have only short-term

Statistics show that between January and September, mining companies
received loans, predominantly short-term, amounting to US$157 million out of
US$2,6 million total banking sector loans.

This means that the industry has to look for offshore financing, but
analysts say the perceived high-country risk rating has made it difficult
for local companies to access long-term loans on international markets.

The mining sector is increasingly  evolving into a dominant sector in the
economy and accounted for two-thirds of exports recorded last year. It is
estimated that it would contribute over 50% of exports this year.

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Climate finance falls short

Saturday, 03 December 2011 16:55


CLIMATE finance is falling short of the promised US$30 billion “fast-start
finance”, the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) report has said.
According to an ACPC report released at COP 17 last week, the experience
with the “fast-start” pledges and discussions of the US$100 billion promise
suggests the adequacy and predictability of climate finance may remain low
if the future climate finance architecture reflects current practice.

ACPC Senior Energy and Climate Specialist Yacob Mulugetta said: “African
countries, as well as many other developing countries, are vulnerable to
climate change and are among those least likely to have the resources
required to withstand its adverse impacts, yet there has not been any
indication that the magnitude of climate finance will meet the scale of what
is needed.”

Spokesperson of the African Group, Seyni Nafo, added: “Long-term climate
finance needs to be accountable and transparent.

In Africa, we need to know how much is new, where it is coming from, and
whether it will be directed to the adaptation projects that are desperately

The report which was launched on Friday showed that of the US$29,2 billion
pledged since 2009, only between US$2,8 billion and US$7 billion is “new”.

The report found there are many lessons to be learnt from the current “fast
start finance” system, which was supposed to deliver US$30 billion in “new
and additional” funding to developing countries, and was agreed to at the
Copenhagen climate conference in 2009.

“While 97% of the promised US$30 billion has been pledged, only 45% has been
committed, 33% has been allocated and only about seven percent has been
“disbursed”, the report said.

“The current finance available for Africa and other developing countries
under the fast-start finance is not commensurate with the scale required to
implement the activities agreed to in the UN climate convention. There are
few agreed benchmarks for climate finance so there is limited transparency
and accountability as to how the money is provided,” said the report.

ACPC is the technical arm of the Climate for Development in Africa
programme, based at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, while the African
Group includes the 54 African countries represented in the UN climate change

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Like farm seizures, indigenisation will destroy economy

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:45

Eleven years ago, the then Zanu PF-led government instigated chaotic
seizures of white commercial farms, an idea that the party allegedly stole
from MDC’s election manifesto, which the latter could have smoothly
implemented without causing any harm to the country’s agro-based economy.

The intention was to give land to majority blacks and the excuse was that
Britain, the country’s colonial master had reportedly refused to compensate
the Zimbabwean government for huge tracts of land lost to minority whites
during the colonial era.

All hell broke lose when the so-called war veterans seized the productive
farms, stalling production. There is really no problem when our fellow black
brothers get land, but the problems come when farms are not utilised to
benefit the nation.

Right now, it is no secret that the land reform programme is a flop, with
millions of hectares of seized land lying idle throughout the country. It
boggles the mind that Zanu PF still insists on displacing more white
commercial farmers when failure is evident in its disorganised policy of
farm seizures.

Since the takeover of commercial farms the country has been relegated to
perpetual begging, yet the country used to be the bread basket of southern

Then came the partisan manner in which Zanu PF is implementing the
indigenisation policy, which is politicised in favour of its supporters;
one needs to belong to the party in order to benefit from the indigenisation

But there are also shocking levels of looting in the name of black economic
empowerment. Some party stooges are out in full force using the black
economic empowerment policy to plunder the national economy.

They do not care what will happen tomorrow as long as they can fatten their
pockets and through their militant siege of firms and farms, they are
leaving trails of economic destruction in the country.

What Zanu PF is doing through the black economic empowerment policy has got
nothing to do with benefitting the country, but it may be the party’s
desperate attempt to prepare its own retirement packages as it faces a
certain demise the moment free and fair elections are held.

After all, what evidence is there to suggest that Zanu PF has been
successful in its so-called black economic empowerment manouvres? Truly,
everything upon which Zanu PF has laid its demonic touch is collapsing,
fainting or yelling for resuscitation. Where is the gigantic Jaggers
Wholesale today — gone  because of the Zanu PF regime?

Of course, the former ruling party would always hide behind sanctions; they
will tell you it was due to sanctions that Jaggers shut down.
And again where is the Cold Storage Commission? Sanctions, isn’t it?

What is happening at the Grain Marketing Board, all because of Zanu PF.
Some party loyalists have been planted in all government sectors, former
army generals, lieutenants and brigadiers are all over the show, from the
National Railways of Zimbabwe to government clinics and hospitals, and have
caused untold destruction of state parastatals, with no productive activity
to talk of.

And now the hand of destruction is about to be stretched upon foreign-owned
banks and mines, all in the name of black economic empowerment.
To me, continued calls to implement the black economic empowerment policy is
hogwash, emanating from the wicked lips of desperate and greed political
goons in Zanu PF, bent at unleashing some kind of a scotched-earth policy as
they behold their final departure approaching.
Indigenisation is only helping to scare away much needed foreign investors
and it is a flop.


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Leadership deficit has kept Mugabe in power

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:43

Zimbabwe has a leadership crisis; a real big leadership crisis. When history
is written and people really look back at Robert Mugabe’s reign, are they
going to dismiss him simplistically as a power-hungry dictator who wished to
die in office? Is it possible that there really was no one in his party,
Zanu PF, whom to pass the baton to?

There seems to be a consensus in Zanu PF that the party would crumble like a
cookie after Mugabe. The people surrounding him are so corrupt that they
cannot be national leaders. Those who aspire to the highest office have very
ugly histories trailing them.

They were involved at various stages of our short history in all dark acts
that have divided the country. These include Gukurahundi, Murumbatsvina and
the looting of War Victims Compensation Fund and  the country’s natural
resources such as minerals and wildlife.

Some have allegedly been openly criminal in their behaviour involving
themselves in poaching and smuggling of diamonds. This can be seen by the
amount of wealth they have inexplicably accumulated in the past few years.

Many of them are multiple farm owners when government policy should be
one-man-one-farm. This has shown that their involvement in the land reform
programme was not for the national good but for self-aggrandisement. They
have all the land while the common people for whom the land reform programme
was ostensibly instituted, have nothing. They are simply not acceptable as
national leaders.

Most of these leaders are avowed tribalists who instead of uniting people
would tear the country apart. Indeed the factionalism in Zanu PF is based on

Former Media, Information and Publicity minister Jonathan Moyo recently
dismissed Mugabe’s potential successors in in the party, saying they had not
shown vision or policy to take the country forward.

“We know who they are, but we do not know what they stand for, their policy
or ideology,” he told a meeting. Moyo was right but for the wrong reasons.

He was right because indeed no one knows what the faction leaders stand for.
His reason for stating this is he wants to repair his relationship with
Mugabe after the WikiLeaks fall-out which happened too soon after he had
been re-admitted into the party and into its highest decision-making body
outside congress, the politburo.

His other reason for stating this is pure bootlicking: “Mugabe remains the
only person who talks to the people and who talks the indigenous talk, we
are better off with him than the others.”

Mugabe doesn’t talk to the people any more hence they rejected him in March
2008. His talk of indigenisation though high-sounding, is populist
politicking. There is an election coming and the only straw that his party
can hold on to is indigenisation.

But like the land reform programme launched in 2000, the reasons are based
on self-preservation rather a genuine will to empower the people. We are all
aware of the negative impact of the indigenisation policy so far; the
country has lost billions of dollars in new investment as a result.

Mugabe has remained in power for so long by default; there is a leadership
deficit in the party and that is unlikely to be filled any time soon hence
there is real fear that his demise will also be Zanu PF’s demise.

But Zanu PF is hardly the only party in Zimbabwe facing a leadership crisis.
The MDC-T and its fragments the MDC-N and MDC-M are in equally debilitating
crises of leadership.

When the nation pinned its hopes of change in Zimbabwe on Morgan Tsvangirai,
they thought they had found a leader to match Mugabe. Tsvangirai had gone
through a crucible in the past decade and his supporters had heaved a sigh
of relief that they had finally got a tried and tested leader.

Many people died fighting his cause but events of the past few weaks show
that their faith may have been misplaced. Many watchers say Tsvangirai will
definitely survive the current crisis.

They say so because the majority of his supporters wouldn’t care less what
he does in his private life. They argue that those repulsed by Tsvangirai’s
behavior are the few people in the middle class and their vote is miniscule.
This may well be so. Whatever the case might be his reputation is mortally

But what is important to this discourse is that no one in the MDC-T has the
guts to challenge him to step down for the sake of the party. In mature
democracies the right thing for Tsvangirai to do would be to step down but
his supporters point to the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky case where Clinton
bedded a white House intern and escaped impeachment and went on to complete
his term of office.

But at the heart of the matter for Tsvangirai is not one woman; not two
women but several who have claimed he not only bedded them but also left
them with child. This now becomes indefensible considering the circumstances
we live in.

In his marriage debacle, he will survive but there will be casualties,
weaker people who will be used as scapegoats. Who are Tsvangirai’s possible
successors and what do they stand for? We don’t know them because the party
has become a one-man show surviving probably solely on Tsvangirai’s charisma
and the stature — now under threat — he has built for himself in the past 20

When one looks at the fragment of the MDC headed by Professor Welshman
Ncube, one does not know whether to laugh or cry. This year he has gone on a
spirited campaign to denounce Tsvangirai; once sinking to an-all-time low of
describing his former leader as uneducated. But what is unfolding in his own
formation must surely show him that education without common sense counts
for nothing.

He has been deserted by the core of his party, the few individuals who were
where they were because people voted for them. All his aspirations to build
his fragment into a party with a true national outlook has come to naught
simply because, when we come to think of it, Ncube is not a politician; he
should go back to Law School and contribute better to national building by
But why is Zimbabwe so cursed? Where are Zimbabwe’s leaders?


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Give education sector due priority

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:41

Education has been at the core of national discourse since colonial days.
Seen as the only way of getting out grinding poverty and joining the
national economy black Zimbabweans craved it.

During colonial days missionaries came and built mission schools all over
the country to accommodate boys and girls who would otherwise have been
excluded from the education system by the racially-segregative colonial
education system. As the saying goes, everyone who is anybody in Zimbabwe
was educated by missionaries.

But even missionary education did not come entirely free; though heavily
subsidised by donations from parent churches in Europe and America, parents
still had to chip in with something. At Independence in 1980 the new black
government, driven by its revolutionary zeal, introduced free primary

Lauded for this the world-over — Zimbabwe at one stage achieved 98%
literacy — no one ever raised the question of sustainability.

The country has now reached a stage where it is now patently clear that free
education cannot be sustained. After decades of bad governance and skewed
policies driven by populism the country’s coffers are empty. In the past
decade less and less money has been channelled towards the social services
sector particularly education and health.

The Minister of Education, David Coltart, was last week quoted saying a
school-fees hike next year was inevitable; this has sent thousands of
parents panicking.

There is every reason to panic; most of these parents are already struggling
to keep their children in school. Most affected would naturally be children
living in marginalised areas such as farms and communal areas where people
depend only on subsistence agriculture.

The urban poor will also be affected. Thousands of children will drop out of
school to join the vicious cycle of unemployment, prostitution and forced

It is now time to look holistically at the education sector and come up with
interventions that will stop its regression back to the colonial days.
Underlining this process should be the clear message that parents will be
called upon to play a more and more critical role in the education of their

Quote of the week

"We have been tagged partisan, yet far from it, we are a people’s police
force,” Police Commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri said last week, while
addressing a conference of senior  officers at Darwendale.

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Zim not ready for free, fair poll

Sunday, 04 December 2011 11:34

The prevailing political environment in Zimbabwe is not conducive for the
holding of free and fair elections, and the institution in charge of
administering elections is discredited and lacks the institutional capacity
and financial resources to conduct elections. 2012 cannot be a year for
elections but a year for hard work on democratic electoral reforms.

Holding elections in 2012 before electoral reforms and a change in our
political culture will be a mere political ritual and facade to mask an
unpopular dictatorial and authoritarian regime.

The signing of the Global Political Agreement and the consummation of the
unity government was a transitional mechanism to put an end to political
violence, work towards peace, restore economic stability, author a new
constitution and prepare for the holding of free and fair elections under a
level playing field.

The continued squabbling and utter disregard by Zanu PF of this arrangement
show that the unity government has outlived its usefulness and is now
teetering on the verge of collapse hence the need for an election that will
usher a new political dispensation.

The eminent need for an election has broad consensus, the great question of
the day remains when and what sort  the environment the next election will
be conducted. An election for the sake of holding an election will neither
improve the quality of life for ordinary citizens nor help Zimbabwe rejoin
the family of nations from which it has been booted out because its
democracy and governance deficits.

Globally, because of its universality, democracy is now a subject of broad
consensus, high on the priority list of the international community. The
following are the major issues concerning the environment and the
administration of elections which if unresolved, Zanu PF is guaranteed of
another disputed “victory” and the region should either prepare for the
facilitation of yet another unity government or prepare to protect their
citizens from a war spill-over into their countries when Zimbabweans get fed
up and confront the regime head on.

The major stumbling block to the people’s free expression of who they want
to represent them in Zimbabwe at the moment is violence, intimidation and
general closure of democratic space.

The bloody clashes witnessed in Chitungwiza recently are reminiscent of the
2008 sham elections and cause physical and psychological torment to the
victims and witnesses of such inhuman acts of political terrorism. Equally
some perpetrators of such callous acts are not spared from trauma since most
of them are doing it either for money or to please the Godfathers of

Violent tendencies by a political party are worrying, but the possession of
a well-oiled infrastructure and associated paraphernalia for violence by a
political party which purports to represent people’s interests is

In one of Zanu PF’s post 2008 songs, the kongonya dancing women loudly and
unashamedly sing: “zvikaramba toita zva June”— (If we fail we will resort to
the June (2008) strategy).

If the levels of unrepentence and celebration of impunity in Zanu PF are not
curbed, violence will become a fast spreading political tumour impeding
national healing with the possibility of the country sliding back into a
violent epoch characterised by loss of limb and life.

It is now time that the people of Zimbabwe come together within their
communities and device non-violent strategies of ensuring that “zvaJune”
will never be repeated again.

Until and unless the people of Zimbabwe are guaranteed that “zvaJune” will
not happen again, the holding of an election will just serve the purpose of
legitimising a discredited regime which is now surviving on violence and
thuggery to usurp state power from the leaders Zimbabweans will have chosen
to represent them through the ballot.

The use of the state security apparatus as a military junta either
perpetrating violence directly or commanding the violent lumben elements in
Zanu PF is well documented in a report by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
entitled: The military factor in Zimbabwe’s political and electoral affairs.

It is an undeniable fact that Zanu PF has over the years relied on
militarising socio-economic and politico-electoral affairs of the state to
block civilian participation in key national processes. If the involvement
of the military in swaying the vote is not addressed, there is no point of
going into an election whose outcome is predictable.

The police have played a midfielder role for Zanu PF through deliberate
misinterpretation of POSA to ban meetings of the opposition and, through
selective application of the law, penalise opposition supporters and allow
perpetrators of violence from Zanu PF to commit crimes with impunity.

The police need to be non-partisan and be at the centre of ensuring that
campaigning is conducted in a free and fair manner in the next election.


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