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Succession high drama rocks Zanu PF meeting

December 7, 2012 in Politics

AN unexpected Zanu PF succession drama, precipitated by controversial
remarks by a daring woman party official, rocked a central committee meeting
chaired by President Robert Mugabe at the party’s headquarters in Harare
yesterday, forcing a postponement of debate on the issue as tempers flared
and emotions ran high.

Report by Faith Zaba

Although the explosive succession issue and factionalism were not on the
agenda cleared by the decision-making politburo on Wednesday and approved by
the central committee, the hot potato was dropped onto the table by a
controversial Manicaland provincial official, Mandy Chimene.

Chimene, an ex-combatant and a well-known forthright speaker, shocked Mugabe
and central committee members, including senior party leaders, when she told
Mugabe that he was supping with the devil as top party leaders sitting at
the high table were always plotting to oust him.

Senior party leaders who attended the tense meeting told the Zimbabwe
Independent last night Mugabe was stunned and did not know how to handle the
issue. Instead of allowing debate to flow after senior party leaders,
including Vice-President Joice Mujuru had joined the fray, Mugabe postponed
the debate, saying there was no time as party members had to travel to Gweru
for today’s official opening of Zanu PF’s annual conference.At the time when
Mugabe prematurely closed the debate, tempers were beginning to flare while
emotions were starting to rise.

A number of party officials had their hands up, prepared to contribute to
the debate, showing most Zanu PF members actually want to talk about the
issue considered as taboo.

Initially, deathly silence descended upon the meeting when straight-talking
Chimene, no stranger to controversy, sensationally claimed Mugabe was eating
with the devil on the high table. She said he is in the company of enemies
who shamelessly posed as loyalists when they were actually power-hungry
backstabbers who held clandestine meetings to plot toppling him.

As a result of the surprise disruption caused by the succession issue, a
report on the constitution-making process and the agricultural season were
not discussed.The agenda of the meeting included Mugabe’s opening address,
chairman’s report on the conference preparations and adoption of the
conference agenda.

Chimene was commenting on the national commissariat’s report presented by
national commissar Webster Shamu which touched on the state of the party,
provincial elections in the troubled Matabeleland provinces and the party’s
mobilisation strategies.

Shamu presented the report after party national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo
spoke about conference preparations, Mugabe’s opening address and the
adoption of the conference agenda presented by legal affairs secretary
Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Sources said Chimene confronted those widely seen as faction leaders vying
to take over from Mugabe. Mujuru and Mnangagwa are widely seen as rival
faction leaders, although of late they had been denying it as they ran
scared of Mugabe’s wrath over the issue.

Sources said Chimene even went as far as telling faction leaders to have the
courage of their convictions and stand up to openly challenge Mugabe at the
meeting so that party members could vote for their preferred presidential
candidate to lay the matter to rest.

Predictably, no one stood up to challenge Mugabe. Instead, Mujuru made some
interventions, pleading she is not a faction leader and is not challenging

“Chimene raised the issue of succession and factionalism, saying Mugabe was
supping with the devil as those sitting with him at the high table were
always plotting against him,” a senior Zanu PF official told the

“She told the president that he was surrounded by hypocrites who pretended
to like him in his presence when in actual fact they were busy holding
secret meetings plotting to unseat him.”

Stung by Chimene’s remarks, Mujuru said she had never conspired against
Mugabe. Mujuru made similar remarks recently. Realising she had exposed
herself, Mujuru further said Mnangagwa had also not plotted against Mugabe.

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Zanu PF goes for broke in elections

December 7, 2012 in Politics

ZANU PF is going for broke in the next high-stakes elections and will throw
everything at its disposal — including deployment of troops particularly in
Manicaland and intimidation — to win the polls, party officials attending
the annual conference in Gweru said yesterday.

Report by Owen Gagare

The campaign will focus on the party’s rural strongholds, although the swing
Manicaland and Masvingo provinces would be a priority.

Zanu PF is confident of retaining the three Mashonaland provinces and
Midlands to seal victory, although Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his
MDC-T party, which won the last parliamentary elections, stand in their way.

A senior party official said yesterday the spectre of conflict in Mozambique
after Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama’s threats of another war has presented
Zanu PF with a pretext to deploy more security forces in Manicaland.

Troops have already been deployed ostensibly to defend the country’s eastern
border and protect villagers as well as infrastructure, although they would
also campaign for Zanu PF. The officials say some troops would play a more
political role in the run-up to the elections.

“The justification of deployment of troops will be the explosive security
situation in Mozambique,” said the official. “Also bear in mind that
Zimbabwe intervened in the last civil war because of the historical ties
between the countries; so deployment is totally justifiable.”

Apart from military manoeuvres, Zanu PF, which recently sent its provincial
leaders to China for training, is working on new strategies of mobilising
voters, including a mass voters’ registration exercise. Sources say the
party is working hand in glove with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to
register voters in areas it holds sway. Its women’s league boss Oppah
Muchinguri this week said they had registered a million voters, raising
fears the party, now engaged in open vote-buying, was laying the ground for

President Robert Mugabe’s controversial US$20 million inputs scheme, would
be key in rural areas. Party insiders say only small quantities of seeds and
fertiliser would be distributed through the Grain Marketing Board, largely
because of inadequate funding from Treasury, to create space and justify the
president’s inputs intervention.

The indigenisation policy would be the key campaign theme. Zanu PF has also
bought new vehicles for US$14 million and other materials for campaigns. The
party’s mobilisation committee is preparing for vigorous campaigns.

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Mugabe blasts Copac

December 7, 2012 in Politics

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has for the first time openly blasted the Copac
constitution-making process, saying it had to be closely monitored because
the drafters constantly drifted away from their core duties.

Report by Elias Mambo

Addressing the Zanu PF central committee in Harare yesterday ahead of the
official opening of the party’s annual conference in Gweru today, Mugabe
said he had to take control of the draft constitution because those
entrusted with the process had been overcome by “ill-winds”.

“It became our duty; our calling; a national service to monitor the
constitution exercise for it became clear that those entrusted as drafters
had regrettably been overcome by ill-winds and become drifters in the
process,” said Mugabe.

“Who can forget the trickery and chicanery we had to look out for,
eventually fight, as dirty Western hands tried to cheat their way into the
constitution- making process. While our people’s views were simple and
straightforward, sincere and reflective of the history of their existence,
the Western crooks, apparently here to help us, soon proved to be conduits
through which to smuggle foreign, clearly anathema views into our
constitution,” Mugabe said.

The initial Copc draft tried to bar Mugabe from re-election through term and
age limits.

At the all-stakeholders meeting in Harare in October, Mugabe set himself on
a collision course with the two MDC formations, parliament and civil society
by declaring that the principals would have the final say on the draft

Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara have since appointed a ministerial committee to renegotiate the
final Copac draft presented to the all-stakeholders conference.

Mugabe assured the central committee that Zanu PF would provide solid
leadership and solutions, hence the takeover of the process from Copac.

Zanu PF was accused of stalling the constitution-making process on several
occasions after the party made wholesale revisions to the draft
constitution, mostly to retain Mugabe’s imperial powers which have been
curtailed by the draft.

Zanu PF said the Copac draft, which the party’s mandated representatives
approved, did not capture the views and aspirations of the people or
protect gains of the liberation struggle.

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Scramble to finish ‘Hall of Shame’

December 7, 2012 in News

ZANU PF yesterday enlisted the services of its youths to assist in a
desperate attempt to put final touches to the Gweru Convention Centre ahead
of the official opening of its annual conference to be addressed by party
leader, President Robert Mugabe today.

Report by Nduduzo Tshuma

An inspection in loco by the Independent yesterday afternoon saw former
labour minister July Moyo sweating to make sure the venue is ready by the
time Mugabe and his entourage arrive as the party has promised.

The youths were divided into groups under the supervision of senior party
leaders. However, their desperate efforts were disturbed by the heavy rains
which fell in the city yesterday.

The conference centre, dubbed the “Hall of Shame”, which the party started
building two months ago failed to meet its targeted 5 000 seats by 500, with
some offices still incomplete.

Speaking at the venue, Zanu PF Midlands provincial vice-chairman Larry
Mavima said: “We are working 24 hours. Everyone is working round the clock
to get the venue ready. The construction work has been done and now we are
laying carpets in the conference room and we expect to finish at 9pm.”

Mavima said contrary to the conference centre being labelled a “Hall of
Shame” by some sections of the media, the facility was actually a “Hall of
Fame” because “we did this in two and a half months”.

He dismissed reports the location of the conference centre was a farm
grabbed from a white farmer, saying “this farm was acquired by government
through legal channels seven years ago. The farm had been derelict for six

Meanwhile, Mavhima said plans were underway to construct a 300-room
five-star hotel at the same location and turn the development into a tourist

He said the project was a culmination of efforts by the Midlands Development
Association Board of Trustees that comprises business people, civic
organisations and Zanu PF leaders.

“There have been reports that the structure will be a white elephant after
the conference but they said the same about the Harare International
Conference Centre and the National Sports Stadium.”

He also dismissed claims by some business people from the Midlands that they
did not benefit from the construction of the conference centre as

Meanwhile, reports continue to swirl that the conference centre was a
project by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to boost his image as he
positions himself to succeed Mugabe.

But Mavhima said: “This structure is for the people of the Midlands and
Zimbabwe, not individuals. It is for the party and has nothing to do with
the political leadership.”

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Zanu PF youths engage in turf war

December 7, 2012 in News

ZANU PF’s efforts to resuscitate its moribund Bulawayo and Matabeleland
provincial structures ahead of elections next year have hit a brick wall
amid reports of renewed infighting which has cascaded down to the party’s
youth wing.

Report by Staff Writer

Five months after Butholezwe Gatsi was sacked as Zanu PF youth chairperson
in Bulawayo, the structure has failed to a elect substantive leadership and
is being represented by an interim committee at the on-going annual people’s
conference in Gweru.

Factionalism in the party’s Bulawayo youth wing turned violent three weeks
ago when party members aligned to Gatsi fought pitched battles with the rest
of the membership as they sought to prevent the national youth executive
from entering the party’s provincial headquarters at Davies Hall in Makokoba
to conduct elections.

The province sent a 13-member interim committee led by Mabutho Moyo to the
conference. Gatsi appeared resigned to his fate saying he would attend the
party’s national conference as an ordinary member.

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Inter-parastatal debt balloons to US$1bn

December 7, 2012 in News

ZIMBABWE’S inter-parastatal debt ballooned to a staggering US$1 billion at
the beginning of this month, up from US$600 million in April, in a
development further demonstrating the coalition government’s failure to deal
with the country’s socio-economic ills.

Report by Herbert Moyo

This was disclosed by State Enterprises minister Gorden Moyo in a memorandum
on the progress of state enterprises and parastatals (SEPs) dated December 3
2012, which cited government departments and local authorities as being
among the culprits.

While the memorandum sought to paint an optimistic picture by detailing
improvements in the operations and cash-flow of some of the SEPs like the
Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution and Transmission Company, there is no
hiding the fact that the inclusive government has woefully failed to arrest
parastatal rot.

“Inter-parastatal debt has been a major challenge for most SEPs and this has
led to cash-flow problems, inability to attract investors and access to
lines of credit due to unattractive balance sheets,” reads part of Moyo’s

Disclosure that government would pay US$124 466 249 to SEPs to meet their
statutory obligations to Zimra is a tacit admission that government has
failed to restore profitability and good corporate governance to the
troubled SEPs.

Moyo also revealed parastatals neglected even the most basic tenets of good
corporate governance.

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Govt approves UNWTO structure

December 7, 2012 in News

GOVERNMENT has approved construction of a semi-permanent conference centre
at African Sun Limited’s Elephant Hills resort in Victoria Falls, a move
likely to boost the listed hotelier’s operations ahead of the United Nations
World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly next August.

Report by Staff Writer

The aluminum glass fabrication structure with a lifespan of 30 years and
capacity of more than 1 000 delegates is set to be the main conference
centre for the assembly which Zimbabwe will co-host with Zambia.

Sources close to the development said government is working with private
players to finalise the project, including proper evaluation. Government had
been pushing for construction of a permanent 4 000-seater conference centre
in Victoria Falls to become the country’s legacy for generations after the
assembly, but sources said it had ditched the plan.

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Integrated railway system planned

December 7, 2012 in News

SOUTH Africa’s Transnet Freight Rail (TRF) is reportedly engaged in
negotiations with the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and Beitbridge
Bulawayo Railways (BBR) to create a consortium of four African railway
organisations to form a unified railway system on the north–south corridor
linking South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo that will be based
in Bulawayo.

Report by Staff Writer

Media reports from South Africa say apart from the two Zimbabwean railway
companies, TRF will work with Zambian Railways and the DRC’s Societe
Nationale des Chemins Fer du Congo to create a joint operating centre based
in Bulawayo. The project aims to ensure integrated resource planning would
take place to achieve operational efficiency in the region.

NRZ public relations officer Fanuel Masikati declined to comment when
contacted for confirmation, referring the Zimbabwe Independent to the
Southern African Railway Association (Sara).

Sara said they were not aware of the development.

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Mall of Zim receives the green light

December 7, 2012 in News

CONSTRUCTION of West Properties’ US$100 million Mall of Zimbabwe in the
plush Borrowdale suburb of Harare has received the green light from the
Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the property firm has confirmed.

Report by Taurai Mangudhla

West Properties chief executive, Mike van Blerk, said in an interview this
week that EMA had approved his company’s application to develop the entire
open space between Borrowdale West and Dandaro Village after 11 months of

West Properties will construct a 68 000sqm mall, office parks, cluster
homes, a school and medical facilities.

“The approval is for developing roads and sewer and the like,” van Blerk

“The plan was approved on condition that we maintain a central wetland core
of some sort so we want to create a weir or dam so that there will be
surface water.”

There used to be a river about 75 years ago so we want to create a canal,”
van Blerk said.A weir is a low dam built across a stream to divert its water
or to control its flow.The 50 hectare weir would be built at the centre of
the land development to allow water from the area to be drained into it.

Construction is expected to start in February 2013 with completion earmarked
for October 2014.

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Mugabe’s déjà vu moment

December 7, 2012 in Politics

THE on-going Zanu PF annual conference which officially opens today in Gweru
will have a palpable air of déjà vu about it, while being some sort of a
homecoming for President Robert Mugabe who will be retracing his political
footpath to the city where he started his long career in the party in 1964.

Report by Herbert Moyo

Almost 50 years ago, Zanu PF, after breaking away from the late
vice-president Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu, held its first congress in Gweru from
May 21-23, 1964, with Mugabe being among the founding leaders.

Zanu PF had been formed the year before.

Interestingly, Mugabe will today be the only surviving founding Zanu PF
leader who was at the Gweru congress in 1964.

This partly explains why the on-going Zanu PF conference is unable to
discuss the explosive succession issue.

As the last man standing from the initial generation of leaders attending
the conference, Mugabe is now virtually unassailable as those working with
him are relative newcomers.

Zanu PF officials told the Zimbabwe Independent this week there is now an
emerging consensus in the party that while Mugabe is now old and has
overstayed his welcome, no one was able to challenge.

Senior party officials say Zanu PF is in a Catch-22 about what to do with
Mugabe. Those vying to replace him, Vice-President Joice Mujuru and
politburo bigwig Emmerson Mnangagwa, are not his political peers and are
running scared.

Mujuru was just nine years old at the time of the 1964 congress, while
Mnangagwa was a young cadre receiving military training in Egypt.

“There is a whole range of factors why he remains the undisputed party
leader even if some people are complaining that he is now too old and has
overstayed,” a senior Zanu PF leader said.

“There is the issue of history. He is the only founding Zanu PF leader who
attended the first congress who is still part of the leadership. He has been
in Zanu PF for about 50 years now. In other words, most, if not all, of
those around him are newcomers.

Besides, he has been party leader since 1977 and in power since 1980.

“Add to this his non-nonsense leadership style and fearsome reputation, you
then understand why no-one can openly challenge him or question his
suitability as our presidential election candidate next year.”

Although Mugabe (88) is reeling from old age and associated health
complications, he was endorsed in the run-up to the conference to be the
candidate without question.

All the party’s 10 provinces stampeded to endorse him and this has been
happening since the death of the late army commander General Solomon Mujuru
and the departure from the party of his fellow politburo heavyweight Dumiso

“The succession issue won’t be raised in any way at the conference. However,
people are concerned about the future of the party and are asking whether he
(Mugabe) will seek re-election at next year’s congress or pass on the reins
of power to a younger leader, especially if he wins the election. It’s a
worrying situation, but no one can speak out about it,” a Zanu PF official

Zanu PF founder and former treasurer-general Enos Nkala recalled in an
interview with the Independent this week that the 1964 congress had many
luminaries including the likes of Ndabaningi Sithole, Leopold Takawira,
Herbert Chitepo, Henry Hamadziripi, Trynos Makombe, Simon Muzenda, Eddison
Zvobgo and vibrant youths like Edgar Tekere (all late), among others.

“Many of the founding leaders have died. Muzenda is dead, Makombe is dead,
as well as Zvobgo, Tekere and (Noel) Mukono, among others, leaving Mugabe as
the sole survivor with Zanu PF now tucked firmly in his pocket,” Nkala said.

During last year’s Zanu PF conference in Bulawayo Mugabe made an oblique
reference to the fact that most of his contemporaries had died and he was
the only remaining one.

At the 1964 Zanu PF Gweru congress, Sithole was elected president, Takawira
vice-president, Mugabe secretary-general, Chitepo chairman and Tekere deputy
secretary for youth.

As a teacher who had returned from Ghana a few years earlier before joining
the National Democratic Party and Zapu, it is said Mugabe was a reluctant
leader perhaps fulfilling the Shakespearean axiom of having greatness thrust
upon him.

He showed his reluctance by hesitating to join the liberation struggle,
leaving Zapu to join Zanu, refusing to engage Sithole at the Gweru congress
to fight for the party leadership, and later resisting efforts in jail to
oust Sithole through a prison coup.

In his autobiography, A lifetime of Struggle, Tekere writes: “Contrary to
common perceptions, Mugabe tended to defer to his leaders right to the end.
This was to happen again in the case of the sacking of Ndabaningi Sithole as
leader of Zanu in mid-1974.”

Although Tekere later fell out with Sithole, he observed the founding Zanu
PF leader –– and not Mugabe –– was the leading light in the party at the
time as he was forthright and not reluctant to lead from the front.

Given how Mugabe is now running Zanu PF and Zimbabwe, his late colleagues
must be turning in their graves. As Mugabe’s political contemporary, Nkala
remains the only critical voice against his leadership and policy failures.

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MDC-T primaries row intensifies

December 7, 2012 in Politics

THE recently formed MDC-T Supporters’ Forum has rejected as “undemocratic”
the party’s controversial proposal to hold confirmation exercises for
sitting MPs, saying all aspiring party candidates must be subjected to open
primary elections ahead of crunch polls next year.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

The forum comprises the party’s supporters from the high-density suburbs of
Kambuzuma, Mufakose, Rugare, Dzivaresekwa, Warren Park and Kuwadzana.

It is a loose union of MDC-T district executives disgruntled over their
party’s selection process for candidates for the forthcoming polls.

The forum says it is totally opposed to the imposition of candidates, urging
the party to stick to its founding democratic principles which must not be
compromised to protect party heavyweights.

In a bid to protect their current seats from internal rivals, senior MDC-T
leaders came up with a divisive confirmation method to circumvent open
primaries ahead of general elections.

Under the confirmation process, the party’s constituency structures would be
asked to affirm the incumbent to be the party nominee by a majority vote,
while primary elections would pit all aspiring candidates against each

The frustrated supporters have also started mobilising independent
candidates they would defiantly campaign for in the event the party ignores
their demands.

“There are scenarios which the supporters’ forum has observed which are
threatening the unity of the party,” said the forum in a statement.

“First, current MPs, senators and councillors fear that primary elections
would cost them their jobs.

There are also those who did not make it in 2008; these are a group of
political opportunists who take parliament and council as a commercial
enterprise where they can earn salaries and make a living instead of
ensuring public service delivery.

Zimbabweans expect nothing short of real change.”
The forum said supporters voted for change in 2000, 2002 and 2008, but now
they would use their vote wisely and not allow the party to impose

“The party says it does not want to impose candidates for the 2013 elections
when it is actually imposing them through the party constitution which
pampers the national council with unfettered powers to decide the process to
choose prospective candidates,” the statement read.

“This is dictatorship at its highest level.”

The forum added: “The party has had the same MPs in most constituencies
since 2000 because of this undemocratic method. They (MPs) have been
misinforming the national elections directorate of the party that they
obtained the two-thirds majority of the wards and branches to avoid primary
elections in their constituencies. This process of confirmation is open to

The forum wants the MDC-T to call for a meeting of the party’s general
membership in the constituencies where aspiring candidates would be
nominated by 10 voters for them to contest primaries.

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Harare residents drink ‘filtered urine’

December 7, 2012 in News

ENVIRONMENTALIST and University of Zimbabwe researcher Professor Chris
Magadza has partly attributed the contamination of Harare’s water to the
destruction of wetlands and government’s failure to take protective action,
while warning residents of the capital are drinking filtered urine.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

Magadza made the remarks during a field trip to several Harare wetlands
under threat, which include Cleveland Dam, wetlands in Msasa Industrial
area, Gunhill, Borrowdale and Monavale.

Government has ignorantly dismissed preservation of wetlands as irrelevant
saying the nation cannot be put to a standstill saving a “few frogs and a
few trees”.

Authorities controversially approved the building of a hotel and shopping
mall by a Chinese company on a wetland in Monavale opposite the National
Sports Stadium in Harare.

Construction is almost complete and it is already advertising shops to lease
at the complex.

Magadza said without wetlands Harare’s water supply was doomed, as almost
all open green spaces in the city are vleis of wetlands that form the
“fragile headquarters of the Manyame, Marimba, Gwebi catchment basin upon
which the city is built”.

He said Manyame River now supplied 50 % of clean water while the remainder
was “our returned urine”.

“Lake Chivero receives so much sewage and there is algae called Microcystis
which can cause liver cancer,” said Magadza. “For example, in South Africa
this algae has killed a lot of cattle.

Water in Cleveland Dam is among the cleanest water in the country because of
wetlands around the dam which clean any pollution,” Magadza said.

Magadza claimed that fertilizer maker, Zimphos, produced the most pollution
that finds its way into Cleveland Dam.

“The amount of substance found in the water in the 1960s to 1980s was around
25 microzymas, but today there is about 60-80 microzymas due to increased
pollution. The acid waste from Zimphos ends up in Lake Chivero. The wetlands
are an asset to water purification as they filter off fertilisers,” Magadza

According to statistics by environmental experts, the average water table in
Harare has declined from 15m to 30m in the past decade because of wetland
loss and illegal sinking of boreholes.

Environmental expert Dr Willie Nduku said Harare was badly located in terms
of water supply as the city was on a catchment basin yet government was
allowing companies and individuals to build in areas that paused threats to
the city’s water sources.

Harare Residents Trust chairperson Precious Shumba said the local authority
was not committed to improving water purification and supply although
pre-budget consultations indicated that 58% of the US$64 million collected
by the Harare City Council up to the end of July this year was from water

“From our analysis of the revenues being collected by the city, the bulk of
the money is coming from the water services, confirming that water is the
council’s cash-cow, which has reportedly financed most council operations,
including payment of salaries and administration costs,” said Shumba.

“But there has not been any meaningful investment of the revenues
collected from water services into infrastructure development and

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MPs obsessed with money and luxury

December 7, 2012 in News

THE writing off by government of US$9 million car loan scheme debts for
legislators has provoked uproar amid criticism that MPs are lazy and greedy,
seeking self-aggrandisement like fortune hunters instead of dealing with
development issues in their constituencies and ensuring public services

Report by Herbert Moyo

The decision by Finance minister Tendai Biti to write off the debts has
caused outrage as critics say the current crop of legislators has benefitted
substantially despite a struggling economy which they have done little to

Besides their failure to deliver, a recent United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) report titled Baseline Survey on Sector Specific Capacity
Building Requirements for Committees of Parliament, says 65% of Zimbabwe’s
current MPs require intensive training in legislation and budget analysis as
they are not skilled and competent to perform their tasks.

At least 300 legislators, including Lower House MPs and senators, got US$30
000 each under the car loan scheme which is a revolving fund. In addition to
the cancellation of debts, it also emerged last week that in December last
year Treasury deposited a flat US$15 000 into all MPs’ accounts.

This was despite the fact that MPS were not entitled to the allowances.

Biti let the cat out of the bag when he told the House of Assembly last
Tuesday: “We wrote off the US$30 000 loans for the vehicles even though the
law says you must repay. Last year, we gave you that bonus, which I shall
not mention, otherwise it will be written in the papers. We have done a lot
of things for you because we really understand your plight.”

In May legislators demanded residential stands at subsidised prices in
“respectable suburbs”, arguing this would save Treasury the burden of paying
exorbitant hotel bills for their accommodation. The term “respectable
suburbs” is an indirect reference to residential areas which are not high
density neighbourhoods, meaning MPs want to distance themselves from poor

In July, they demanded laptops and desktop computers from Information
Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa.

And in September, the MPs said they wanted US$8 million from Copac for the
90 days they claimed they were underpaid during the constitution-making
outreach programme. They said the US$25 they received was way below the
approved allowance of US$75 per day for any parliamentary business, but
their demands were dismissed.

MPs also arm-twisted the executive into making blanket payments of US$15 000
each as sitting allowances despite records showing some of them only
attended parliamentary sessions sporadically.

Currently legislators are supposed to be paid a US$1 400 base salary per
month, along with US$75 in sitting allowances and stipends for leadership
positions or committee posts.

However, they claim that they were being paid US$250 per month from 2008 to

While the legislature made one demand after the other, their performance has
been heavily criticised.

In June NewsDay reported about 52 House of Assembly legislators and 23
senators had not uttered a word in debates, let alone delivered maiden

The image of MPs has been further dented by truant ministers some of whom,
according to the NewsDay article, had missed sitting more than 20 times by

The main pieces of legislation that the current parliament has passed since
2008 include the Public Finance Management Act, the Audit Office Act, the
national Security Council Act, the Reserve Bank Amendment Act, the
Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 19, the Deposit Protection Corporation
Act and the Small Enterprises Corporation Amendment Act.

Executive director of the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust John
Makamure has pointed out that: “The GPA (Global Political Agreement)
mandated parties to come up with a legislative agenda that conforms to the
spirit of the agreement of promoting democratic values, human freedom and
security of the person. One can safely say that there has been limited
progress in that regard.”

He said MPs had limited time before the next elections to make a difference
in terms of enacting good laws, noting “failure to do so means this
parliament will only be remembered for clamouring for improved conditions of
services which cannot be justified in the absence of tangible outcomes on
the law-making front”.

Makamure urged MPs to make a difference through introducing private bills.

In 2010, Treasury introduced the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) through
which MPs were given US$50 000 to fund development initiatives in their

However, some of that cash was abused by unscrupulous MPs who have been
arrested or are facing arrest over the issue. An audit into how the funds
were used was indefinitely put on hold amid fears culprits would be allowed
to get away with it.

Former MDC MP Job Sikhala, who represented St Marys from 2000 to 2005, said
although legislators were advanced vehicle loans during his time, the money
was deducted every month from their salaries.

“We chose cheaper cars we could afford because you had to pay back
everything or risk the car being sold to defray expenses,” said Sikhala. “We
didn’t have any of this madness in which MPs get cars for free.”

However, Bulawayo East MP Tabitha Khumalo (MDC-T) defended MPs, arguing they
were only trying to ensure their remuneration reflected their social status
as elected representatives.

“It is only fair that we also engage the executive on issues pertaining to
our welfare because we haven’t been paid our sitting allowances,” she said.

Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe public policy and
governance manager Jabusile Shumba said, of the 19 bills presented in the
course of the fourth session of parliament that ended on October 29 2012,
only the the Finance and Appropriation Bills giving effect to the 2012
Budget and Older Persons Bill were passed, showing MPs have been sleeping on
the job.

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What will swing the elections?

December 7, 2012 in Politics

ALTHOUGH the run-up to Zimbabwe’s general elections have always been
characterised by violence and intimidation since 1980, the intensity scaled
new levels in 2000 when the emerging MDC threatened Zanu PF’s two-decade
grip on power.

Report by Elias Mambo

After losing the referendum on a government-backed Constitutional Commission
draft constitution in 2000, Zanu PF embarked on a violent seizure of
white-owned commercial farms as its main elections campaign drive.

Exploiting a legitimate historical grievance, the party used the land reform
issue as an instrument to mobilise votes, while unleashing terror across the

This became Zanu PF’s trump card for the 2000, 2002 presidential polls and
2005 general elections as it, underpinned by violence, somehow worked to the
party’s advantage.

Although the issue appealed to masses of dispossessed peasants, it also
offered the party an opportunity to use its dependable weapons to win
elections: brutality and fear.

The MDC was formed in 1999 against a backdrop of growing demands by civil
society and political activists for political and economic reform as the
country started deteriorating due to extended periods of misgovernment and

While Zanu PF used the land issue as its campaign theme, the MDC campaigned
on the platform of change.

But towards the 2008 elections, Zanu PF started changing its campaign theme,
shifting focus from land reform and toning down on the attendant rhetoric to
concentrate on its new strategy based on indigenisation.

The indigenisation campaign approach is now reinforced by Zimbabwe
Broad-Based Economic Empowerment Policy (2013-42) developed by the Ministry
of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party last week launched
a new economic blueprint, Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and the
Environment (Juice) to succeed the Reconstruction Stabilisation Recovery and
Transformation (Restart): Our Path to Social Justice plan which was part of
its last election’s manifesto and campaign strategy.

The MDC-T blueprints, including the initial Bridge, Restart and Juice, were
designed to buttress the party’s manifestos and electoral messages based on
its change rallying call.

With elections fast approaching, the two main political parties are once
again crafting new manifestos and sharpening campaign strategies. Although
the effectiveness of the land reform programme and indigenisation are
questionable, a recent Freedom House survey claimed they have helped Zanu PF
to recover lost ground.

The survey, which addressed political power, elections, fear and violence,
the constitution, and socio-economic conditions, said the MDC-T’s support is
plunging, while Zanu PF has been recovering, although almost half of
potential voters remained undecided, at by July.

“It is only a few of the most popular reasons for party choice in Zimbabwe
that show up clear differences between the two pain parties’ supporters.
Land, indigenisation, foreign interference in Zimbabwe and especially
liberation from colonialism do differentiate. The survey results clearly
show that Zanu PF has crafted itself a number of effective election and
party choice platforms,” the survey says.

“The MDC-T largely relies on its emphasis on change, and to some extent on
civil liberties, to achieve such platforms.

“The item on defending Zimbabwe against ‘foreign interference’ shows that
this Zanu PF ‘battle cry’ finds resonance across the party and undeclared
boundaries. The same applied to the themes of indigenisation and land
reform. On the theme of ‘liberation from the British’ Zanu PF is more
isolated, with the MDC-T and undeclareds not supporting this platform in
great numbers,” the survey said.

The survey also says there is a high level of consensus between the
supporters of the two political parties that the way they govern is an
important reason for them to be supported.

It follows both from the survey and from common logic that perspectives on
the parties’ respective performance in government – and in particular in
inclusive government – would help shape voters’ minds and voting trends.

Although violence has been simmering at a low level for the past couple of
years, it is still there in sufficientmeasure to remind people that it can
be stepped up in an instant.

The Zanu PF military-political complex has honed low intensity violence to a
fine art: when announcements of pending elections are made, violence
usually erupts.

So the biggest question now is: what will swing the next elections likely to
be a close affair, Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy or the MDC-T’s change
agenda? Or will the “margin of terror” make the real difference as it has
done in the past?

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MDC-T, Zanu PF economic blueprints:Big on style, weak on form and substance

December 7, 2012 in News

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party last week launched its new
economic blueprint, Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and the
Environment (Juice) to succeed the Reconstruction Stabilisation Recovery and
Transformation (Restart): Our Path to Social Justice plan which was part of
its manifesto and campaign strategy in the last elections.

Report by Clive Mphambela

Restart was concerned with the country’s immediate stabilisation and
reconstruction, as well the party’s industrialisation strategy, through
which jobs and economic growth would be sustained in the long-term.

The main objectives of Restart were to reconstruct the social fabric and
economic infrastructure, to stabilise the macro-economic fundamentals,
recover levels of savings, investment and growth, and to transform the
economy and society to achieve equitable, inclusive national development.

It was set to increase real incomes and employment, empowering previously
disadvantaged groups by providing them with access to resources and
opportunities to increase their incomes in a meaningful way.

The programme also sought to ensure Zimbabweans had equitable access to
high-quality, affordable health, education and social services, which are
essential for economic development.

Prior to Juice and Restart, the MDC-T launched Bold, Revitalising &
Innovative approach to the economy based on Development, Growth & Employment
strategies (Bridge).

Its key elements were job creation, driven initially by increased public
spending on health, education and housing, exchange rate stability, cutting
inflation, alleviating poverty, privatisation and, crucially important,
agrarian reform.

While nothing much about Bridge and Restart has been achieved during the
MDC-T’s foray in the inclusive government, except macro-economic
stabilisation after the introduction of the multicurrency regime in 2009,
the party has now come up with Juice, promising a million jobs under it.

In what appeared to have been a response to the Ministry of Youth
Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment’s framework,
underpinned by the current economic empowerment thrust, Zimbabwe
Broad-Based Economic Empowerment Policy 2013-42 (ZBBEEP), the MDC-T launched
a new plan for economic recovery and job creation.
Whilst these policy documents are not quite two sides of the same coin, they
have one thing in common: they make big promises but don’t elucidate on the
how part of it.

The MDC-T’s Juice is an initiative for the next five years but has a
long-term outlook of 30 years.

It aims to initially deliver one million new jobs by 2018 and a US$100
billion GDP by 2040. However, it does not address the key issue: how will
all this be achieved?

The ZBBEEP, driven by the Indigenisation ministry and guided by the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act (Chapter 14:33) of March 2008
and the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment (General) Regulations issued
in February 2010, also suffers from the same problem: it does not address
how company seizures will translate into economic growth, job creation and
employment, and empowerment of the people.

The essence of the widely-criticised empowerment laws is “to endeavour to
secure that at least 51% of the shares of every public company and any other
business shall be owned by indigenous Zimbabweans”.

The regulations provide that all businesses in Zimbabwe with a net asset
value equal to or above US$500 000 should formulate plans that will lead to
5% of its shares being transferred to “indigenous” Zimbabwean shareholders
within five years from the date of operation of the regulations.

While the MDC-T and Zanu PF policy documents agree unemployment is a huge
problem in the country, they both fail to detail credible job creation
initiatives beyond wishful thinking.

Juice says it will deliver one million jobs by 2018, whilst ZBBEEP claims it
will create five million jobs by 2042. But they propose no viable job
creation strategies and implementation mechanisms, leaving them open to
criticism that they are just unrealistic and empty election manifestos.

According to Juice, the wheels came off Zimbabwe’s economy in 1997 when the
controversial land redistribution exercise began, resulting in the fallout
with the international community and a toxic local business climate.

These issues combined to drive the loss of jobs and livelihood for a large
number of people across various sectors of the economy as new investment
dwindled and companies’ output shrank.

In an apparent reference to Zanu PF’s economic empowerment programme, Juice
argues the creation of new jobs is more empowering than opaque
share-ownership schemes via obscure community share-trusts, which may
ultimately not benefit the intended marginalised people.

“As a direct result of Juice we expect to achieve the creation of one
million new jobs between 2013-2018 within the framework of a projected
average GDP growth rate of 8% per annum during that period, macro-economic
stability anchored by single digit inflation, the deepening and
strengthening of the role of SMEs, widening domestic savings mobilisation
and the normalisation of Zimbabwe’s international relations,” the MDC-T

The MDC-T blueprint, just like the Zanu PF one, is good in describing the
problems not offering a solution. The party says it will implement a
Natural Resources Charter and promote a green economy, increase power
generation capacity to 6 000 megawatts by 2018.

It hopes in that timeframe to drive reconstruction of the country’s
infrastructure and attract FDI that is at least 30% of GDP. The aim is to
lay the foundation for a US$100 billion economy by 2040.

Juice also promises creating decent employment opportunities for all
Zimbabweans, whilst providing opportunities to every citizen to pursue
happiness, achieving social justice and nurturing their natural environment
in a democratic society without state bureaucratic hindrance.

Its other key elements include creating an investor friendly environment to
attract domestic and Foreign Direct Investment.

This would help increase the productive sector’s capacity utilisation to
ensure job creation through capital investment.

The blueprint also proposes policies that promote capital formation through
efficient financial markets and greater integration with regional and global
markets to facilitate sustainable growth.
Juice also aims at a comprehensive programme that provides for the delivery
of good-quality social services such as education and healthcare in a way
that is affordable to all.

In addition to managing the country’s foreign debt, Juice also promises
restructuring the ownership and control of the economy through a broad-based
economic empowerment programme.

ZBBEEP says it is underpinned by the desire to expand the economic base
through promoting, encouraging, forming and growing existing and new
industries of all sizes, across all sectors of the economy, particularly the
creation of a vibrant micro, small and medium enterprise sector dominated by
previously disadvantaged Zimbabwean entrepreneurs.

However, judging by experience, these programmes are likely to suffer the
same fate as the plethora of other plans such as the Transitional National
Development Plan in 1980, Five-year Development Plans in the 1980s, Economic
Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) and Zimbabwe Programme for Economic
and Social Transformation (Zimprest) in the 1990s, Vision 2020, Economic
Revival Plan, Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (Sterp) and now the
Medium Term Plan after 2000, among others.

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Low-cost bank accounts to be launched

December 7, 2012 in Business

Zimbabwean banks have proposed a new low-cost bank account to be rolled out
to low income earners in a bid to drive financial inclusion and lower the
cost of banking.

Report by Staff Writer

Details of the mooted account are contained in a memorandum of understanding
entered into among participating banks through the Bankers Association of
Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

The new account, to be called “Zimtransact”, will be an entry level account
requiring a small minimum opening deposit and minimum balance of US$5,00.
The Zimtransact account will have a free ATM card and ATM withdrawals will
be free, while point of sale transactions at retail outlets will attract a
small US$0,10 fee.

However, fees for RTGS and mobile banking transactions will be determined by
banks individually,while withdrawals from the branches would attract normal
bank charges.

A monthly account maintenance fee of US$3,00 would be applicable to the

“Banks incur costs of building and maintaining the infrastructure within the
branch, even the tellers have to be paid, so it is reasonable to expect
customers to pay for the services accessed through the branch,” a senior
banker said to businessdigest.

Deposits made into the Zimtransact account would be capped at US$300 per
month to curb potential abuse by high income earners. A 1% levy would be
applied to all deposits above US$300 per month, the MOU says.

The one-year agreement is motivated by the need for a concerted and
consultative approach in addressing the issue of bank charges and interest
rates in the economy and seeks to promote financial inclusion and the
promotion of electronic banking.

The savings account would attract interest at the rate of 2% per annum
provided such funds are in line with each individual bank’s minimum balance

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Espionage allegations open Pandora’s box

December 7, 2012 in Business

Industrial espionage allegations against British American Tobacco Zimbabwe
(BATZ) have opened a Pandora’s box, amid revelations this has attracted the
attention of the Competition and Tariffs Commission, which this week
disclosed to businessdigest that there would be a formal enquiry on the
goings-on at the country’s largest cigarette manufacturer.

Report by Clive Mphambela

Senior officials from the CTC, who spoke to businessdigest on condition of
anonymity, said the allegations against BATZ warranted a closer look as it
was possible the law could have been broken.

“As you are aware, we have taken a keen interest in the reports carried in
your paper as well as others. We are now gathering evidence so that we can
establish if there were material breaches of the law by BAT in the conduct
of their business,” a senior CTC official said.

CTC had taken an interest in the case since the allegations against BATZ
might amount to “anti-competitive behaviour” which is outlawed under the
competition laws of this country.

The CTC is a statutory body which was established by the merger of the
former Industry and Trade Competition Commission and the Tariff Commission.
The enabling statute is the Competition Act (Chapter 14:28).

According to the CTC, its mandate is to promote and maintain competition
and fair trade in the economy of Zimbabwe through the prohibition of
restrictive and unfair business and trade practices; the investigation of
unfair trade practices hindering the growth of the domestic industry; and
the promotion of the growth of efficient export-oriented and
internationally-competitive industries within the framework of the economic
policy of the country.

The CTC investigation comes hot on the heels of similar enquiries being held
by other law enforcement agencies, the Criminal Investigation Department and
the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

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AirZim claws back in market

December 7, 2012 in Business

Embattled national carrier Air Zimbabwe believes it will claw back its
market share on the lucrative US$30 million-a- month Harare-Johannesburg
route since re-introducing flights on this circuit two months ago.
Report by Staff Writer

The airline is currently pursuing a re-penetration pricing strategy through
a promotional fare of US$317 return for economy class, which runs until
December 31, 2012.

SAA and Comair charge an average of US$600 and US$450 respectively.

The absence of Air Zimbabwe on the route for the most part of the
multi-currency era has meant South African Airways and British Airways
Comair have been raking in all the revenue therefrom, which is about US$7
million a week.

Air Zimbabwe resumed flights to Johannesburg at the end of October on a four
times-a-week frequency, flying the 767-200ER, which has a seating capacity
of 203.

Airline spokesperson Shingai Taruvinga said plans were in place to gradually
increase the frequency of the flights.

At present, the airline services the Harare-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls route
using the smaller Boeing 737, with the domestic load factor at +80%. The
London route will be re-introduced early next year.

During an Air Zimbabwe promotional trip last week, one passenger Advocate
Neeta Nagar said she was happy the local airline was flying again, noting
that other airlines were beginning to display monopolistic tendencies by
manipulating the price.

The re-entry of Air Zimbabwe is set to realign the market.

ZTA chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said Air Zim had lost out on its brand
presence and the re-penetration pricing were the best strategy it could
pursue at the moment as it needed to regain the market share it had been
gradually losing for over a decade.

At the moment Air Zim’s load factor for the Harare-Johannesburg flight was
at a growing 50%. However, Kaseke said the airline could not expect to
regain its market in three months.

“It will take them a minimum of a year, provided government is willing to
support them financially. Without that it will take longer.” Kaseke said.

Tourism in Zimbabwe could never reach full potential if it was a destination
which relied on foreign carriers, Kaseke stressed. A strong airline pulls
other airlines into the destination and in turn pushes tourism, he added.
The ZTA chief noted that because SAA was strong, the OR Tambo airport was
one of the busiest in the world.

South Africa is the leading tourist destination in Africa and its national
carrier, SAA, was a member of the largest air transport alliance in the
world, Star Alliance.

Kaseke was against insistence that Air Zim should always be profitable,
arguing that, the world over, governments supported their national carriers
because of the role that air transport played in the development of an

Profitability in airlines was therefore a myth, Kaseke asserted. He held
that the viability or profitability of an airline lay in what it
contributed towards economic growth.

Air Zimbabwe’s reach at the moment is still limited although plans are in
place to reintroduce the Bulawayo-Johannesburg flight and some international
routes. Taruvinga said the introduction will be in phases.

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Consumer basket up

December 6, 2012 in Business

The cost of living, as measured by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe’s low
income urban earner monthly basket for a family of six, went up 0,08% in
November, pushed mainly by the rise in meat prices.

Report by Gamma Mudarikiri

The cost of living in the period marginally increased to US$572,63, up
from US$572,18 in October.

The food basket rose to US$160, 22 in November, from US$160,01 in October
representing a 0,13% increase.

“Of all the commodities in the basket, meat has shown a consistent upward
increase in price as from July 2012,” CCZ said.

The price of beef has been rising steadily this year. Between July and
August,the price of economy beef increased marginally to US$3,95 per kg
from US$3,92 per kg. In September the price went up 13,8% to US$4,50 per kg.
For October and November, the economy beef price recorded further increases
of 13,33% and 13,73% to US$5,10 per kg and US$5,80 per kg respectively.

The prices of the other basic commodities, among them bread, salt, onions,
cabbage, bath and laundry soaps remained unchanged from the October figures.

The CCZ survey is conducted twice; during the first and the last weeks of
each month. The total cost of the food basket and the price of each
commodity are arrived at by averaging prices gathered from several retail
outlets throughout the country.

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Zanu PF’s nameless, faceless ‘people’

December 7, 2012 in Opinion

Zanu PF apparatchik Christopher Mutsvangwa recently laid bare what we
already know about the workings of his party, describing any challenge to
President Robert Mugabe as “perilous”.

Column by MuckRaker

No one would dare openly challenge Mugabe without his approval, Mutsvangwa
told The Zimbabwean.

“Anyone who challenges Mugabe for the top job does so at his own peril. Any
party official who wants to succeed him will only do so with his (Mugabe’s)
blessings,” Mutsvangwa averred.

Clearly Mutsvangwa was not reading from the official party script.

Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo would have us believe Mugabe’s candidature is a
result of the collective will of the “people”.
“Even if, as a senior member of the party I might want Mugabe to go, who am
I to go against the will of the people? Let the people decide,” Gumbo said.

Mutsvangwa has called it as it is, Cde Gumbo, there is no need to pretend
any longer!

Faceless ‘people’

The state media has been awash with claims that Zanu PF provinces
“unanimously” endorsed Mugabe’s candidature to represent Zanu PF in the
forthcoming elections.

Mugabe prefers to take a posture of humility on the issue, resorting to his
oft stated “as long as the people want me to stay”, a refrain underpinning
his vice-like grip on the party.

Mugabe is on record stating he will not groom a successor assigning the
responsibility to the “people” who “when the time comes shall decide”.

“For as long as the people want me to stay but not for eternity, of course,”
Mugabe said in 2004.

The identity of these “people” becomes even vaguer considering Gumbo’s
opinion of party members pushing for leadership renewal and opposing Mugabe’s
candidacy in the next elections.

Opposition to Mugabe’s candidacy was being spread by Zanu PF’s enemies,
Gumbo declared last month.

“It is not for individuals to decide, but for the people,” he said. “I think
it’s mere rumour or propaganda from the MDC to destabilise the party.”

We are very keen to know what Gumbo and Mugabe mean by the “people”.

Big Man syndrome

Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan was scathing in his
description of the “Big Man” system which he said is creating dictators in
the mould of Mugabe.

Annan told New African magazine many dictatorships in Africa were a result
of politics encouraging the cult of the personality.
“The support for the Big Man system –– Robert Mugabe an example –– created a
political culture that simply encourages autocrats and dictatorships,” Annan

“The struggle that led to independence in many African nations, sometimes
led to the creation of national movements, and not necessarily political

“When independence was achieved in these countries, they often found
themselves in one big group. This led to the party-regime where the leaders
did not tolerate differences, and stay on.”

“The sort of qualities that make dynamic and revolutionary fighters, are not
necessarily the same qualities you need to run a nation,” he said.

He couldn’t have put it better!

Ideology of looting

A war of words has erupted between the sponsors of the MDC-T’s Juice and
Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy.

The Juice proponents say their programme stands for Jobs, Upliftment,
Investment, Capital and Environment. It is designed to address the chronic
unemployment stalking the land, we are told.

But Zanu PF has retaliated with accusations it is a “stale plan” with ideas
borrowed from other parties. Saviour Kasukuwere rubbished the MDC-T document
saying it did not have a shred of pro-poor content.

“If you don’t have an ideology and clear plans, no amount of putting
lipstick on a pig will change it,” he said.

That, by the way, is a cliché. Anyway what has it got to do with ideology?
Kasukuwere must know political parties are dumping ideologies around the
world precisely because they are stale and unattractive.

What happened to the Soviet Communist party? And the SED in East Germany?
Tony Blair was a success as Labour leader because he moved his party to the
political centre ground and dropped all reference to nationalisation after
80 years of socialist posturing by his predecessors.

South Africa has yet to heed the lesson. Nobody seriously talks of ideology
now. It is the kiss of death. In any case, does anybody in Zanu PF have a
clue what ideology is about? Indigenisation is about a post-liberation
aristocracy clinging to power, not uplifting the poor. We can all understand

As for the MDC-T, their success will derive from good governance, not some
coterie around a fading power structure. By the way what happened to
economic blueprints, Restart and Bridge, now that there is Juice?

MDC-T’s own goal

Since the formation of the inclusive government, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and MDC-T officials in government have been throwing plaudits to
President Mugabe and Zanu PF, however, without reciprocation.

Tendai Biti described Mugabe as a fountain of knowledge and stability while
Nelson Chamisa, applauded Mugabe’s “visionary” leadership, claiming “the
president has provided leadership from the cockpit and we are prepared to be
the passengers”.

Chamisa went on to say Mugabe’s “wisdom” makes sure the plane does not

Following in this disingenuous path is Tsvangirai who last week said his
party would have caused chaos if it had gone into government without the
“apprenticeship course”, under Mugabe’s mentorship.
“It would have been chaos and fighting each other if we had gone straight
into power, but God had a plan,” the Herald quotes him saying.

“God has a purpose for everything. He did not allow us to go straight into
power, but allowed us to go through an apprenticeship course where we have
been taught how to rule and know where the keys to govern the country are

Taught by who, we wonder? We hope it is not Zanu PF. Such daft comments are
unlikely to inspire confidence in voters ahead of elections.

The ‘chosen’ one

We are amused by the brickbats being exchanged between erstwhile chums
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku and the

Madhuku had lambasted Tsvangirai who he said exhibited “childishness” over
the constitution-making impasse in contrast with Mugabe who he said
approached the issue with the “highest level of sophistication and

The MDC-T responded with a stinging statement dismissing Madhuku as “simply

“It is one thing for Madhuku to constructively criticise our president
(Tsvangirai) and another thing to hurl empty insults at him as if someone is
on the Zanu PF payroll,” the statement read.

The NCA hit back, dismissing the MDC-T statement “with the utmost contempt”.
In April Madhuku, who said he would soon relinquish his post at the NCA and
venture into active party politics, claimed to have been approached to help
topple Tsvangirai and replace him with an academic.

“There is a mentality throughout Western embassies that MDC-T must be led by
an academic.

“They have confided in and consulted me on the best candidate to lead the
party instead of Prime Minister Tsvangirai,” he said.
Judging by Madhuku’s approach could he be the chosen one?


Finally a reader has texted us to say that now Not-so-Bright Matonga is no
longer in the news, his place seems to have been taken by No-Brains Kunonga!
Quite interesting.

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Barriers to investment on the increase

December 7, 2012 in Opinion

For too many years Zimbabwe has raised one barrier to foreign direct
investment (FDI) after another.

Column by Eric Bloch

There is an abysmal and contemptuous disregard for the irrefutable fact that
the country desperately needs such investment in order to attain substantive
growth of its economy. That growth is critical if a comprehensive reduction
of the overwhelming unemployment that has plagued Zimbabwe for too long is
to materialise.

A virile economy is essential to alleviate the immense poverty and suffering
that has not only afflicted an overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans, but has
also significantly contributed to the decline in the key infrastructure
required by the populace and the economy.

Facilities that have deteriorated include most parastatals, national health
and education, and many other utilities.

Our economy needs a solvent, stable and effective fiscus.

Zimbabwe has sizeable resources which are a magnetic attraction to FDI,
including a vast array of minerals much sought after internationally,
ranging from gold and platinum, to tantalite, lithium, chrome, diamonds,
methane gas, and much else. Its soils and climate enable it to produce
various agricultural commodities in national and international demand.

Zimbabwe has diverse tourism attractions. Its geographic location puts it at
an advantage to be a supplier of primary and secondary industrial products
to an extensive portion of southern and central Africa, which has a
potential customer base of more than 420 million people.

This is over and above an ability to export to further afield.

Complementing these, and many other potential economic resources, Zimbabwe
has a population which, with a few exceptions, is very able and
work-motivated (notwithstanding the considerable extent of Zimbabwe’s “brain
drain” to the diaspora in recent years).

With all these and many other economic assets, Zimbabwe could have been one
of the foremost economies in Africa, had it been a recipient of the
considerable FDI essential for the development and exploitation of the
economic opportunities.

It would also have accessed internationally-developed, state-of-the-art

However, with ever-increasing determination, Zimbabwe has not only refrained
from accommodating the reasonable expectations of foreign investors, but
has increasingly created one barrier after another, or deterrents to

Any investor, be they foreign or domestic, save for a few exceptionally
high-risk takers, requires that investment be into an environment that has,
at the very least, a stable economy, and preferably one which is attaining
real growth.

In addition, he or she expects assured investment security, political
stability, absolute respect for property rights, and an environment which
has an assured, high level of law and order.

Over and above these essential characteristics, investors inevitably have an
expectation that the operations of the enterprise into which investment is
made would not be endangered, or their returns unduly minimised by
peremptory, overly-authoritarian bureaucracy and state interference, or by
unduly excessive taxation or other imposts.

Tragically, not only does Zimbabwe consistently disregard these investor
needs, and has steadfastly failed to ensure fulfilment of essential
requirements for a conducive investment environment, but it recurrently
pursues new and additional policies which worsen that environment, resulting
in an endlessly ongoing decline in new investments very desperately required
to restore well-being of the Zimbabwean populace.

As if the unilateral expropriation of lands, (effected without
compensation), the recurrent incidents of violence in order to displace
farmers from accessing their lands (without any State interventions to
contain that violence), did not suffice to alienate investor interest,
government has continuously enabled or condoned many other occurrences which
negate investor interest in Zimbabwe.

This includes the contemptuous disregard for the many Bilateral Investment
Promotion and Protection Agreements, and the introduction of oppressive,
ill-considered, counter-productive laws for the indigenisation of business.

The country has failed to administer its resources constructively, in
consequence of which it has allowed the majority of its parastatals to
decline to such a great extent that virtually none of the utilities and
services essential for a vibrant economy are available.

These include a grievous inadequacy of electricity supplies, a near-derelict
national airline, grossly insufficient rail services, as well as innumerable
other economically-essential needs.

It blatantly and has brazenly allowed and enabled endless, fiscally and
economically disabling corruption to prevail in both the public and private
sectors. It belittles and threatens the banking sector in general and
foreign-owned banks in particular, thereby continuously diminishing public
confidence in the banking sector, with inevitably consequential adverse
effects upon the economy.

It also unceasingly alienates international goodwill and strives to deflect
recognition of its economic misconduct by attributing all negatives to
allegedly “illegal international sanctions” which, in reality, are only
restrictions and constraints upon the government and its underlying
entities, and upon many of those who constitute the government.

As if all these and many other acts of commission and omission do not
suffice to be very major deterrents to the extensive investment needed to
resuscitate and develop the economy, endless pursuits that discourage
investments are pursued.

Most recent is the declared intent that the Zimbabwean security forces are
to become actively involved in monitoring and enforcing government’s
oppressive, non-constructive, indigenisation programme, to ensuren that
indigenous Zimbabweans have the mandatory 51% equity in companies.

Recent reports record that an entity of senior military, police and
intelligence service officers is to be mandated to monitor private sector
compliance with the indigenisation policies, legislation and regulations.

The functions of the security forces are to ensure the defence of Zimbabwe
and its people against any enemy actions; and to assure nationwide
compliance with the human rights-centred constitution and the like, but not
to engage in, or interfere with, economic and business policies.

Zimbabwe cannot benefit from security forces interfering in the day-to-day
conduct of commerce and industry, and doing so yet further dissuades
investors from pursuing investment opportunities in the country.

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Book sparks heated debate on land reform programme

December 7, 2012 in Opinion

WHILE stories on Zimbabwe’s controversial land reform programme have
virtually disappeared from the mainstream media, save for tangential
references, a heated debate is raging among scholars on the issue,
especially following the publication of the contentious book, Zimbabwe’s
Land Reform: Myths and Realities, by Professor Ian Scoones, an agricultural
ecologist in the UK, and his local co-authors.

Opinion by Dale Dore

The exercise emerged as a highly contested reform process both nationally
and internationally.

Scoones and colleagues claim to have come up with new, in-depth and
much-needed empirical research showing the process provides the greatest
scope for improving Zimbabwe’s agriculture and development.

However, some researchers such as Zimbabwe’s Dr Dale Doré, former Oxford
scholar and agricultural economist, vehemently disagree.

Ian Scoones and his co-authors caused a splash with the publication last
year of their controversial book Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and

Accompanying the book were a series of eight videos, Voices from the Field,
as well as downloadable summaries, YouTube debates, blogs and interviews
with BBC World TV.

Articles were serialised in The Zimbabwean newspaper and a website was set
up, replete with congratulatory sound-bites from distinguished professorial

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This review therefore
assesses the evidence behind this mass of publicity for the study’s

It begins with a synopsis of the book as told by its lead author. It then
examines some of the book’s main themes.

The first is the authors’ insistence that their study is based on solid
empirical evidence that is used to analyse the complexities of resettlement.

Second, it reviews the study’s research methods, especially the analysis
used to dismiss the so-called “investment myth”. Third, it looks into the
book’s assumptions, objectives and narrative to explain the gaps in their
story of resettlement.

Finally, the conclusion discusses whether there is any substance to the
hype, and it compares two visions of land policy in Zimbabwe.

The Scoones story
Scoones has told his story to many different audiences, but always in the
same well-practiced and carefully scripted way. In essence, he claims that
the realities on the ground reveal a far more positive picture of
resettlement than the negative images or “myths” portrayed by the media.

He begins his story by noting that the issues surrounding resettlement are
complex and nuanced. He then disarms his audience with certain caveats by
admitting, with hand on heart, that the story of resettlement is mixed.

Yes, he says, the process was deeply problematic. Violence, abuse and
patronage certainly did occur, and Masvingo province’s experiences (research
region) were of course different to other parts of the country.

But these contentious issues are quickly shelved as he deftly steers the
debate towards the study’s main objective, which is to find out how the
livelihoods of those who were resettled had been transformed. “To be
honest,” says Scoones in all sincerity, “we were surprised. We had a whole
set of unexpected results.”

Contrary to the myths that there was no investment in resettlement areas and
that a rural economy had collapsed, their research revealed an important and
as yet untold story of land reform. They found that new patterns of mixed
small-scale farming based on crops and livestock had transformed the dual
agrarian economy. He tells how resettlement has benefitted a broad set of
people: the land-hungry from nearby communal areas, townspeople making a go
for farming and civil servants investing their skills.

One of his main claims was that two-thirds of the settlers were just
ordinary people. Only a few were cronies. In sum: they found hardworking and
entrepreneurial new farmers who made significant investments to create a
vibrant and dynamic rural economy.

But he goes further. Just as commercial farmers were assisted in the 1950s,
and smallholders supported in the 1980s, newly-settled farmers deserve
external support and investment to build on their entrepreneurial dynamism.
Given this opportunity, he claims, new farmers will rise to the occasion by
contributing to local livelihoods, national food security and broader
economic development.

Empirical evidence and complexity
There are two key facets of their study that the authors emphasise.

The first is the strong empirical foundations of their work. Their research,
they say, was based on detailed, solid evidence bought to light by real,
on-the-ground facts involving 400 households across 16 survey sites over a
10-year period.

Moreover, they aver that their study was both objective and balanced because
they were “agnostic to the diversity of theoretical positions”.

The second facet they emphasise is the complexity of resettlement issues.
One of their stated aims was to challenge simplistic generalisation (or
myths) with solid data on complex realities.

For Scoones, it was therefore indefensible for the BBC to treat his
“mountains of research evidence (reality)” as if they were equivalent to an
“unsubstantiated commentary” by the Commercial Farmers Union (myths).

But is Scoones claiming too much for this study? Is it plausible for a study
to be both detailed, empirical and objective as well as also being capable
of analysing complex systems?

Noam Chomsky recently said: “As you deal with more and more complex systems,
it becomes harder and harder to find deep and interesting properties.” He
believes that research needs to confine itself to simple questions to find
credible and convincing answers.

Not surprisingly, Scoones struggles hard to sustain the contradiction
between analytical rigour and complexity. Good examples of this difficulty
are the book’s chapters on labour markets (Chapter 6) and “real” markets
(Chapter 7).

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Scoones defends controversial findings

December 7, 2012 in Opinion

RECENTLY, in the latest of the Sokwanele “land debate” contributions, Dale
Doré used his slot to critique our work in Masvingo.

Opinion by Ian Scoones

Since the publication of the book, Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and
Realities, exactly two years ago we have had plenty of reviews, and a number
of critiques.

Most common is the refrain, that Masvingo is different to other areas (of
course, it is: see the blog on Masvingo Exceptionalism). Others have focused
on the credentials and backgrounds of the research team, while others have
questioned our sampling and methodology.

Still others have called us names familiar to the discourse from the
liberation struggle (sell-outs, collaborators, sympathisers, liberals,
apologists and so on). Others have been plain bonkers or simply abusive, and
I won’t share these, in case there is a family readership.

All this shows the heated nature of the debate, and frustrations felt. Doré’s
piece focuses on methodology, while offering no new data to counter our

He questions our approach to the study of complexity in particular which
aimed at discovering emergent patterns from diverse data, arguing instead
for a model-driven reductionism.

In this regard, he has problems with our chapters on labour and markets,
suggesting that they are neither novel nor revealing. Well, others disagree,
and so do I.

This data offers, I would argue, fundamentally new insights into labour
regimes and market processes, which have not been discussed before, and
certainly both chapters analyse the processes and outcomes in great detail.

The frustrations Doré feels may be due to disciplinary preferences (he is an
economist), but exploring patterns and processes on the ground in great
detail, I believe has important merits, and reductionist approaches may do
violence to the complexity observed.

Also, as part of his methodological assault, he disputes our use of
baselines against which change is measured. But if you read the book you can
see we were careful on this — using data on nearby communal areas, the past
work of Bill Kinsey and colleagues on old resettlements and the limited
available data on the production and economics of commercial farms.

And in relation to the baseline costs on investments, I am afraid he missed
the detail in the footnotes which contains all the assumptions: the analysis
cannot thus so easily be dismissed as “sheer nonsense”. Doré goes on to
accuse us of simply creating “straw men” myths to ease the flow of our

This is an argument I have heard before.

Surely, people have argued, no-one ever believed these myths! Well, just
take a look at any media commentary, donor document and many academic pieces
and you will see these myths (and many more) are alive and well.

A particularly pure form appeared in the press recently penned by University
of Zimbabwe Professor Tony Hawkins if you need convincing further.

Later, in the piece, Doré also accuses us of lack of triangulation, an
approach to probing the robustness of data.

Triangulation may be of methods (and we used every method, qualitative and
quantitative we found appropriate) or of cases (and again the site
comparisons, within and between clusters, was central in the book), although
we do admit that we did find it difficult to gain perspectives from former
farm owners and workers, despite many attempts.

Finally, Doré accuses us of making “egregious false claims” about the
process of land reform.

Again, I beg to differ. Our book offered the stories of what happened on 16
farms — all were different (as is clear from studies from elsewhere). The
simplistic picture Doré paints, backed up not by empirical information, but
by broad proclamations, is not enough to understand the diversity of
settings, processes and outcomes of Zimbabwe’s land reform.

Two years on (and why did it take this long for his review to emerge?), we
actually have many more cases to compare with, improving possibilities of
triangulation. In several talks recently in Harare, I presented a map,
showing all the studies I know about which have looked at what has happened
in the new resettlements since 2000.

It (a series of researches) is an impressive array, with pretty good
geographical coverage, although clearly still some gaps. This is definitely
an incomplete picture, so please let me know if you are doing something that
is not captured here, as it is an important base for comparative analysis
and reflection, both on commonalities and differences.

While there are important variations across sites, there is an emerging,
common story that Doré and others still find difficult to accept. These are
indeed inconvenient truths.

The accumulating and converging evidence points to the following:
A1 farms are doing relatively well (although could do better), with a solid
“middle farmer” group within them who are re-investing profits from
agriculture in their farms.

By contrast, A2 farms have struggled, although things have improved since
the end of hyperinflation and in the multicurrency environment since 2009.
They have been greatly assisted by contract farming arrangements that have
provided much-needed capital and inputs.

Private and community investment in the resettlement areas is significant,
especially in the A1 sites. But more needs to be done, with clear needs for
public investment in infrastructure.

Capture of farms by high-level, politically-connected elites has taken
place, and this varies between different parts of the country, especially in
relation to proximity to Harare. However, even in these areas, the dominant
story remains small and medium-scale A1 and A2 farmers.

A1 farmers, particularly on land that was invaded and occupied, are largely
from nearby communal areas and small towns, while A2 farmers are
predominantly former or serving civil servants, teachers and businesspeople,
with urban connections.

The potential for production across the resettlements is far from being
realised due to inefficiencies in input markets, a lack of credit and rural
finance and the high costs of transition in infrastructure, and up and
downstream industries.

However, production has not collapsed, and is booming in some commodities
and areas. Markets may be informal, but they generate employment and
spin-off benefits from economic linkages in an area.
There are nuances and variations — yes complexity — but the picture is
increasingly clear, as are the policy challenges.

The now infamous five myths we set out to examine in Masvingo are rejected
countrywide, although with important qualifications — as indeed we offered
in the 288 pages of small type in our book for Masvingo.

As Zimbabwe moves into a new phase, and a new election settlement sometime
next year, the more consensus building and solid debate around facts and
evidence that occurs the better.
Scoones is a co-author of the controversial Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths
and Realities.

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Polls: Gladiators’ Waterloo moment

December 7, 2012 in Opinion

NEXT year’s high-stakes general elections in Zimbabwe will mark a political
watershed for this troubled country and careers of gladiators, especiallly
leading presidential poll candidates President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, as well as their political parties.

Opinion by Dumisani Muleya

The elections would come at time when Zimbabweans remain uncertain about the
political future of their country which has been locked in a political
stalemate triggered by disputed election outcomes for over a decade now.

Zimbabwe’s modern history has been characterised by periods of tranquility
punctuated by intervals of turmoil.

Although the country enjoyed structure-induced stability after Independence
in 1980, with ruthless suppression of dissent, it has since 2000 been going
through another rollercoaster period.

The situation remains volatile and as a result people are showing evidence
of having been torn in all directions, especially during the current
transitional period. If one follows public debates, be it through direct
engagement or via social media platforms, there is clear evidence
Zimbabweans are polarised and deeply divided.

The nuanced and sometimes openly hostile political and socio-economic
relations among Zimbabweans need to be situated in their proper political

People have been idealistic and hoping for a better future for a long time
but they have been frequently clashing with disillusionment and compromise.

In the midst of the heated national debate about the future direction of the
country, a consensus is emerging that the only way out for Zimbabwe is
through free, fair and credible elections. Even Mugabe and his Zanu PF
diehards now agree, at least in public, that violence is not the solution.

Yet despite lingering optimism that the next elections could bring some form
of relief and change, many Zimbabweans continue to fear a recurrence of
political violence and instability.

That is why the next elections could be a turning point for Zimbabwe in many

The polls would also be a breaking point for political movers and shakers.

For Mugabe, the elections are simply a do-or-die affair: either he wins and
saves himself potential trouble or is condemned to hell through defeat.

If Mugabe loses, that will certainly mark the end of his long and
controversial political career.

If he wins, depending on whether legitimately or through fraud, he might
have a chance to redeem himself. But then again his victory might still be
divisive, beyond guaranteeing himself as president for life and immunity
from accountability for his excesses in power.

However, he also has another problem in view of the party’s congress next
year. While Mugabe had an easy ride leading to the ongoing Gweru conference,
the situation might be different at congress, depending on the elections

Having said this, the next elections might give Zanu PF a new lease of life
or bury the party. The trouble with Zanu PF is that its fate is largely tied
to Mugabe’s.

For Tsvangirai the elections could also be a make-or-break affair.
If he wins, he would be guaranteed longevity in politics, but if he loses he
might find himself under pressure to quit.

Going by his remarks that he might go if he loses (although he later claimed
to have been “joking”), he seems to understand this. Like Zanu PF and
Mugabe, the MDC-T’s future without Tsvangirai, leader and face of the party,
is bleak.

Of course, the next elections would also be a moment of truth for MDC leader
Welshman Ncube and his party.

If they have a decent showing, their future could be bright, but if they
lose outright they would be gone. So careers will be made and broken in the
next elections.

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Water crisis emblematic of Zanu PF misrule

December 7, 2012 in Opinion

CLEAN and plentiful water provides the foundation for the prosperity of any
community for it to survive. Water supply issues should not be a problem for
Zimbabwe since we share the Zambezi, Pungwe, Save and Limpopo water basins
with neighbouring countries Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.

Candid Comment by Dingilizwe Ntuli

However, mere access to water is not sufficient as the lack of potable water
poses huge challenges for Zimbabwe.

Polluted water is now the country’s biggest health risk as most of our water
resources lack basic protection rendering them vulnerable to pollution from
industrial plants and raw sewage.

The current water crisis, among other things, is emblematic of Zanu PF’s
failure to govern. Three decades of Zanu PF rule have been characterised by
neglect for the country’s basic infrastructure.

Never mind the comatose economy, rampant electricity shortages, potholed
roads and uncollected garbage, clean water is the most basic of needs and
government has failed to provide that to its citizens, and there are no
indications it will do so anytime soon.

Disposal of sewage and waste water poses a major threat.

The treatment capabilities for sewage and waste water remain below
expectations in Zimbabwe, especially in Harare. Large amounts of
sewage-polluted untreated water are discharged into the city’s water sources
every day.

Harare is built on a watershed but ironically the city’s residents have gone
for years struggling with water shortages.

Some Mabvuku residents went for more than six years without a drop of water
from their taps while parts of Borrowdale close to Hatcliffe have been dry
for about 10 years now.

Those lucky enough to get running water are not safe either as the water is
so contaminated that it is not uncommon for residents to turn on their taps
only to collect a brownish, greenish or yellowish liquid.

Environmentalist and University of Zimbabwe researcher Professor Chris
Magadza this week warned polluted drinking water is commonplace in Harare as
the city’s water supplies consisted of “50% returned urine”.

It is estimated roughly 80% of raw sewage is discharged into Harare’s water
sources. No wonder the city’s residents continue to endure primitive
waterborne diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid.

If residents in the capital, the seat of government where most of our rulers
reside, literally drink purified urine, what are those in smaller towns

The Ministry of Water Resources says the condition of national water
infrastructure has deteriorated rapidly and operating capacity is currently
under 40%. But how did we get to this tragic stage?

There has been no long-term planning for provision of clean water, or other
basic services for that matter; it is hard to recall the last time
government invested in water supply and other essentials.

Plans to draw water from the Zambezi River to supply Bulawayo and intentions
to build Kunzwi Dam to provide Harare remain a pie in the sky.

Industries have shut down in Bulawayo as a result of water shortages.
Businesses and homes in Harare continue to suffer without water. How does
government intend to attract investment when it cannot even guarantee
adequate water supplies?

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Mugabe must get off stage

December 7, 2012 in Opinion

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, increasingly sounding like a broken record due to
his droning rhetoric, will today strut the podium of the controversial
US$6,5 million Zanu PF convention centre in Gweru like a colossus when
opening his party’s annual conference.

Zimbabwe Independent Editorial

Predictably, Mugabe, buoyed by his endorsement as the party’s presidential
election candidate in the run-up to the conference, would be strutting his
stuff: stale rhetoric on the history of the liberation struggle and his
supposed heroics during the time; railing against internal and external
enemies, real and imagined; attacking imperialists and sanctions; going on
about land reform and indigenisation and also elections, among other things.

Given that this conference comes ahead of crucial general elections next
year, Mugabe might also try to scratch around for evidence of achievement
during his barren 32-year rule in a bid to mask his egregious failures. The
most familiar claims of success he usually makes revolve around social
services, particularly education.

Now the indigenisation campaign — a coded reference to company seizures — is
his new trump card after the disastrous land grabs.

Zanu PF is going for broke in the next elections coming up with all sorts of
campaign strategies and tactics, including community share trusts, input
schemes, residential stands distribution, community projects and deployment
of security forces. Although Zanu PF is officially broke, according to its
previous conferences’ central committee reports and botched fund-raising
bids before the current conference, it has been splashing money on dubious
initiatives whose source is not known.

It is widely thought Marange diamond fields, a hotbed of looting and
corruption, are the source of the funds. It has already bought new cars and
campaign materials, showing how desperate it is to win the next polls.

However, whatever Mugabe says today in Gweru and his party does leading to
the elections, it will not change facts on the ground: that they have failed
and are now unelectable. Even if they win by hook or by crook, their record
will not change. It will remain long after they are gone that they destroyed
this country through appalling economic mismanagement, corruption and brutal

Evidence of Mugabe misrule is everywhere around us: a struggling economy,
ruined agriculture sector which was the mainstay of the economy, food
insecurity and hunger, and poor social service delivery, particularly the
shortages of water, electricity, crumbling education and health facilities,
and collapsed infrastructure, including roads, dams and bridges.

As we carry in a story somewhere in this edition of our paper, experts say
Harare residents are now drinking “filtered urine” as water. If this is not
evidence of failure, then what is?

Besides, whole cities, Bulawayo being the main example, are dying under his
watch. Leaving alone the breakdown of state enterprises as but one example
of national failure, the collapse of Zanu PF’s own companies shows beyond
reasonable doubt that Mugabe and his cronies can’t run anything.

Given all this, Mugabe must get off stage for his own sake and that of the

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