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Tsvangirai drops Bhebhe, Cross as Mugabe names inflated Cabinet

Posted to the web 12/02/2009 21:40:28
THE formation of a Cabinet for Zimbabwe's power sharing government verged on
the farcical on Thursday night when new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was
forced to drop an MP from a rival party from his list of nominees, and
President Robert Mugabe named 22 ministers - six more than his party is

On Tuesday, Tsvangirai had named Nkayi North MP Abednico Bhebhe in his list
of 14 nominees for Cabinet posts, provisionally assigning him to take charge
of the Water Resources Ministry.

The move drew fire from the Arthur Mutambara, who leads a rival faction to
Tsvangirai's MDC. Tsvangirai also faced pressure from his party in
Matabeleland after a stunning snub of his loyal supporters in the region
with only Samuel Sipepa Nkomo making it as Deputy Minister.

A final list of ministers released by the President's Office and read out on
state television on Thursday night saw Tsvangirai drop Bhebhe and replace
him with Binga MP Joel Gabbuza. Also out is Eddie Cross, while Gorden Moyo
of the pressure group Bulawayo Agenda was appointed Minister of State in the
Prime Minister's Office. Nkomo becomes a full minister.

But in a dramatic development, Mugabe nominated 22 ministers. The powwer
sharing agreement signed with Mutambara and Tsvangirai restricts his party
to 15 ministers, plus one Minister of State who does not sit in Cabinet but
is available for special assignments.

There was no explanation from Zanu PF officials for Mugabe's shock move last
night, but one senior official in Mutambara's MDC described it as a

"Deputy ministers are not sworn in until next week, so this clearly suggests
Mugabe's list is of ministers. What his plan is, no-one is clear at this
stage but it does look like a crisis," said the official.

One indication of indecision was perhaps the move to leave out the
portfolios of the ministers from the state television announcement.

Mutambara's MDC named it's vice president Gibson Sibanda, secretary general
Welshman Ncube, Priscilla Misihairabwi and David Coltart as ministerial
nominees. One of the four will be a Minister of State in the Deputy Prime
Minister's Office. The party will also pick one deputy minister, expected to
be Moses Mzila Ndlovu, the MP for Bulilima West.

Regional leaders will attend a ceremony to swear in the Cabinet on Friday,
the last act in a series of synchronised events towards the formation of an
inclusive government.


ZANU PF (22)

John Nkomo, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Obert Mpofu, Sithembiso Nyoni, Patrick
Chinamasa, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Walter Mzembi, David Parirenyatwa, Kembo
Mohadi, Sydney Sekeramayi, Flora Buka, Didymus Mutasa, Sylvester Nguni,
Joseph Made, Nicholas Goche, Savior Kasukuwere

(Zanu PF can name up to 8 deputy ministers)


Tendai Biti, Giles Mutsekwa, Nelson Chamisa, Professor Henry Dzinotyiwei,
Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, Elias Mudzuri, Advocate Eric Matinenga,
Paurina Mpariwa, Joel Gabbuza, Dr. Henry Madzorera, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo,
Elton Mangoma, Theresa Makone, Fidelis Mhashu, Gorden Moyo

(MDC-T can name up to 6 deputy ministers)


Welshman Ncube, Priscilla Misihairabwi, David Coltart, Gibson Sibanda

(MDC-M can name one deputy minister)

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Soldiers, police lead invasion of Mazoe estates

by Nokuthula Sibanda Friday 13 February 2009

HARARE - A group of people led by uniformed Zimbabwe army soldiers and
police have invaded one of the country's biggest commercial farms outside
Harare, highlighting the many difficulties in the way of the country's unity

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Interfresh, who own Mazoe Estates, said the
group of invaders moved on to the farm last week and declared themselves
owners of various plots on the estate.

"Shareholders are advised that on February 7 2009, a group of individuals
accompanied by ZRP policeman and a uniformed ZNA military policeman claimed
ownership of plots comprising Yarrowdale Farm, the crops section of Mazoe
Citrus Estates," Interfresh said in a circular to shareholders Thursday.

According to the agro-company, the farm invaders ordered its employees to
vacate the estate by today; ironically the day the process to form the unity
government will be completed.

The latest series of invasions comes in the wake of a spate of occupations
which last week saw a number of white farmers being targeted and attacked by
a number invaders calling themselves war veterans.

There was no immediate comment by both police and army spokesmen.

Analysts say the unity government headed by President Robert Mugabe with MDC
party leader Morgan Tsvangirai serving as Prime Minister offers Zimbabwe its
best chance in a decade to end its crisis and begin afresh on the road to
sustainable economic and social recovery.

But many say major differences between Mugabe and Tsvangirai over
fundamental issues such as the highly contentious issue of land reform could
yet derail the unity government.

Both men agree on the need for land reform but differ on the way this should
be carried out.

Mugabe's chaotic land reforms that he says were necessary to correct a
colonial land ownership system that reserved the best land for whites and
banished blacks to poor soils, are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into food
shortages after Harare failed to support black villagers resettled on former
white farms with inputs to maintain production.

Tsvangirai has called for an audit to establish who owns which land in
Zimbabwe before an orderly land reform programme can be implemented but
Mugabe has in the past accused the MDC leader of wishing to return land to
former white owners.

Critics say Mugabe's cronies - and not ordinary peasants - benefited the
most from farm seizures with some of them ending up with as many as six
farms each against the government's stated one-man-one-farm policy.

Poor performance in the mainstay agricultural sector has also had far
reaching consequences as hundreds of thousands of workers have lost jobs
while the manufacturing sector, starved of inputs from the sector, is
operating below 20 percent of capacity.

Interfresh said in its statement to shareholders: "The financial impact on
the company, loss of employment and loss of food production in the event of
total loss of this farm would be very significant." - ZimOnline

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Incoming Zimbabwe Health Minister Vows To Bring Hospital Staff Back

By Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye
12 February 2009

Interview With Henry Madzorera  - Download (MP3)
Interview With Henry Madzorera - Listen (MP3)

Zimbabwe's incoming minister of health, Dr. Henry Madzorera, said Thursday
that his top priority in office will be to get state health care workers
back into hospitals and clinics to get a grip on the persistent cholera
Dr. Madzorera was named to head the ministry this week by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Formation for which
the physician was shadow health minister. He will take over from Dr. David
Parirenyatwa of the long-ruling ZANU-PF party headed by President Robert

Zimbabwe's national health system essentially collapsed late last year as
doctors, nurses and hospital support staff walked off the job over pay and
dismal working conditions. Some are returning to work under programs
sponsored by international donors allowing them to be at least partially
compensated in hard currency, but the system remains crippled.

Mr. Tsvangirai promised in his inaugural address on Wednesday that all state
workers would be paid in hard currency beginning next month - but he
disclosed on Thursday that he had not lined up funding to cover that cost,
saying this would be his government's task.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said deaths from cholera totaled
3,513 through Wednesday from more than 73,000 cases over the past seven
months. International health experts have said that the stubborn epidemic
could continue for months, and the International Red Cross said its funding
could run out in four weeks.

Dr. Madzorera told reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that his ministry will concentrate on the eradication of cholera as
soon as he takes office - but he needs qualified health personnel back in
hospitals and clinics to do so.

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Morgan Tsvangirai tests his authority on visit to prisoners

February 13, 2009

Jan Raath and Martin Fletcher in Harare
Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe were locked in the first big power
struggle of their unlikely one-day-old cohabitation last night over the fate
of 16 political activists abducted, tortured and detained without charge for
the past few months.

On his first day in office the Prime Minister used his new powers to enter
the Chikurubi maximum security prison in Harare to see the detainees, and
will report their "appalling" conditions to southern African leaders at
today's swearing-in ceremony for the unity government's cabinet.

It was a highly symbolic and provocative move meant to assert his authority
and rebut the perception that he is subordinate to President Mugabe. Mr
Tsvangirai has faced criticism for backing down on his demand that the
detainees be released before his inauguration.

Western governments are watching the outcome of this showdown intently to
determine whether there has been a real shift in power in Zimbabwe, or
whether Mr Mugabe still holds the reins. "Tsvangirai knows he's going to be
judged on this one," one western diplomat said yesterday. "It's very much
the ugly party showing who's boss," another said of Mugabe camp's refusal to
free the detainees. "The whole condominium is in jeopardy." The stakes are
great. Mr Tsvangirai told western envoys yesterday that the new unity
government needed $100 million a month to stabilise the country and fulfill
his promise to reopen schools, hospital and government offices. But Gordon
Brown, Britain's Prime Minister, told MPs that the detainees' release was
one of several conditions that Zimbabwe must meet before it can receive
international reconstruction finance.

The 16 detainees, including Jestina Mukoko , a leading human rights
activist, were abducted in a series of raids beginning last October and held
incommunicado in secret locations for weeks. They were not charged, but they
were beaten on the feet, subjected to simulated drownings, locked in
freezers and hung by their wrists to extract false confessions that they had
trained as terrorists to overthrow Mr Mugabe.
On December 31 they were finally brought to court. Since then they have been
held in solitary confinement and denied medical treatment while the
authorities ignored repeated court orders that they be released immediately.
At least three - including 72-year-old Fidelis Chiramba - are dangerously
ill, and were finally taken to a Harare prviate hospital yesterday shackled
around the ankles and guarded by ten men armed with automatic rifles. Hours
later they were back in prison, their treatment curtailed.

After meeting the 16 yesterday Mr Tsvangirai said they were being held in
appalling conditions, and will raise their plight today with South Africa's
President Kgalema Motlanthe, chairman of the 15-nation Southern African
Development Community which brokered the power-sharing deal.

MDC officials had expected the 16 to be released earlier this week,
especially after the all-party committee charged with enforcing the deal
agreed last Friday that they should be released. Those officials are now
saying that Zanu-PF hardliners including Paradzayi Zimondi, the head of
prisons, may be defying Mr Mugabe because they refuse to share power with
the MDC.

One day after Mr Tsvangirai's inauguration, observers were alert yesterday
to any sign of shifting authority. When he arrived at Chikurubi, prison
officers - delighted by his promise to pay them in foreign currency -
pointedly saluted him and addressed him as Prime Minister. However nothing
changed at the state-controlled Herald newspaper. It ignored Mr Tsvangirai's
promise to public sector workers and devoted most of its front page to Mr
Mugabe's speech at Thursday's inauguration ceremony.

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Prime Minister Tsvangirai's first day in office

by Wayne Mafaro Friday 13 February 2009

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had a hectic first day at the
office ranging from visiting political detainees in prison and vital
meetings with donor officials whose help he needs to save more than half of
Zimbabwe's population from starving.

"My diary today was quite wide ranging," Tsvangirai told ZimOnline during a
brief visit to his office at Munhumutapa building.

Tsvangirai, who was preparing to meet some officials from donor groups later
in the day, said he would officially start work on Monday after a Cabinet is
constituted today. He said he had spent most of the day on Thursday
familiarising himself with his new office as well as holding series of
consultative meetings.

He said: "I've been dealing with a number of consultative meetings. I have
met the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), I went to see the
prisoners in Chikurubi and I went to see the mother of our vice president
(Thokozani Khupe) who was involved in an accident and is recovering.

"This afternoon I had a brief with the Chief Secretary (to the President and
Cabinet Misheck Sibanda) on some of the work with the public service and
security," said Tsvangirai.

He was due to meet President Robert Mugabe later on in the day to finalise
on the Cabinet.

"I'm going to hand over our list to the President, our list for Cabinet for
tomorrow (Friday). So, it has been quite a hectic day," he said.

Asked about fate human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko and scores of
activists from his MDC party detained at Chikurubi, Tsvangirai - who on his
inauguration called for the activists' immediate release from prison - said
they would be freed but the legal process had to take its course.

"But those who are not in good health have been allowed to go to Avenues
Clinic for medical attention. Others are in good shape but others you know
what happens in confinement. But their spirits are very high and I'm happy
that we managed to give them some morale support," he said.

Tsvangirai said he was working hard to ensure civil servants are paid in
hard cash by the end of this month as he promised on Wednesday.

He said: "I can't certainly tell you where I'm going to get the funds from
but I have made a commitment and we have to find the money to pay them. But
how much, it still hasn't been decided.

"But we must find something to alleviate the plight of our people who have
been receiving worthless currency. They are being given worthless vouchers.
What we want is that if you are going to have a productive workforce then
you must boost the morale of the workers."

Zimbabweans hope the unity government will act urgently to end an economic
and humanitarians crisis gripping the country for the past decade and seen
in hyperinflation, record unemployment and acute shortages of food and basic
commodities. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Government To Be Constituted On Friday

By Blessing Zulu
12 February 2009

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in his second day on the job
after a decade in opposition, told journalists that he has not yet lined up
funding to back up his inaugural pledge to pay the country's civil servants
in hard currency.

Tsvangirai spokesman Joseph Mungwari told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that securing that foreign exchange will be the task
of the unity government that is to be formed on Friday when President Robert
Mugabe swears in the cabinet.

Political sources said President Mugabe met Thursday with Mr. Tsvangirai and
Arthur Mutambara, a deputy prime minister and head of a rival formation of
the Movement for Democratic Change which Tsvangirai founded in 1999. All
three a signatories to the power-sharing agreement concluded on Sept. 15,
President Mugabe's office later Thursday released a statement giving the
names of ministers and deputy ministers of his ZANU-PF party to be sworn in
on Friday, but without stating what portfolios they would be assigned. The
list included a number of familiar names, including Herbert Murerwa, who was
dropped as finance minister in 2007.

The Finance Ministry has already been assigned to Tendai Biti, a member of
parliament and secretary general of Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change formation.

Other names released included Patrick Chinamasa, justice minister in the
outgoing caretaker government, Didymus Mutasa, formerly security minister,
Nicholas Goche, outgoing labor minister, David Parirenyatwa, formerly health
minister (to be supplanted by the MDC's Dr. Henry Madzorera), and Emmerson
Mnangagwa, outgoing rural affairs minister.
Mnangagwa is considered a potential successor to Mr. Mugabe at the head of

The week's cabinet appointments have not been without controversy. Mr.
Tsvangirai's appointment of Abednico Bhebhe of the MDC formation led by
Mutambara as the minister in charge of water, was challenged by the
Mutambara formation. Tsvangirai was forced to drop Bhebhe and replace him
with Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, more senior in the MDC wing.

Mr. Tsvangirai also came under pressure to reverse his selection of Eddie
Cross as minister of state enterprises and replace him with Joel Gabuza
after complaints from representatives of the Matabeleland region that it was
not sufficiently represented in the cabinet.

Mutambara MDC formation sources said the party will name David Coltart as to
be education minister, while its secretary general, Welshman Ncube will head
industry and trade.

Elsewhere, Mr. Tsvangirai met with the leadership of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions which expressed support for his government and called his
attention to the expectations of organized labor, as Harare correspondent
Irwin Chifera reported.
The international community for the most part welcomed the new political
order in Harare, but remained skeptical of President Mugabe's willingness to
embrace reform.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said London cannot treat Zimbabwe as an
ordinary country until it undertakes serious reforms.

The U.S. government congratulated Mr. Tsvangirai on his elevation to prime
minister on Wednesday, but said it will keep sanctions in place until
President Mugabe shows he is committed to sharing power.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the new government must
immediately address economic and humanitarian issues including the
relentless cholera epidemic.

Political analyst Glen Mpani told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7
for Zimbabwe that Mr. Tsvangirai's swearing-in opened an important phase in
Zimbabwe's political life.

Amnesty International urged the incoming government to put human rights at
the top of its agenda and offered a five-point plan to this end, as the
organization's Zimbabwe researcher, Simeon Mawanza, explained to Brenda
For a broader perspective, reporter Patience Rusere turned to political
analyst and University of Zimbabwe Professor John Makumbe, and independent
analyst Rejoice Ngwenya.

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UK, US set benchmarks for Zim unity government

by Own Correspondent Friday 13 February 2009

JOHANNESBURG - Britain and the United States (US) on Thursday said Zimbabwe's
unity government must free political prisoners and repeal repressive laws,
among tough benchmarks it should meet before the Western powers can provide
vital aid.

London - Zimbabwe's former colonial master - said the performance of the
southern African country's new unity government needed to be appraised
against set targets before it can access international assistance to rebuild
its shattered economy or before sanctions against President Robert Mugabe
and his inner circle can be lifted.

Those benchmarks include "the immediate release of political prisoners; an
end to political violence and intimidation; the repeal of repressive
legislation; crucially, the appointment of a credible financial team and the
production of a credible economic plan; and a clear road map to the national
elections, with guarantees that they will be conducted freely and fairly, in
full view of the international community."

"Those are the tests that we will apply, and urge others to apply, to the
new power-sharing arrangements," said Ivan Lewis, Britain's parliamentary
under-secretary of state for international development.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, who leads a smaller opposition
party agreed to form a unity government under a power sharing deal brokered
last year by former South African President Thabo Mbeki on behalf of the
regional Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday and the process to
form a new unity government will be completed with the swearing in of
ministers today.

Answering questions from MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Lewis
said Britain "respected Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to assume the position
of Prime Minister" in a government with Mugabe, adding: "Equally, however,
we will judge that agreement and the government on their behaviour and
conduct in the period ahead."

The African Union and SADC have called on Western countries, to remove
sanctions in recognition of Mugabe's decision to share power with his
opposition rivals.

The US on Wednesday insisted that it will wait to see evidence of true power
sharing before making any commitments.

"We need to see evidence of good governance and particularly real, true
power sharing on the part of Robert Mugabe before we are going to make any
kind of commitment," said acting state department spokesman Robert Wood.

"That's going to be key," he said. "And then we'll see what . . . we can

Zimbabwe is in the grip of an unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis
marked by the world's highest inflation of 231 million percent as of last
July, acute shortages of food and deepening poverty amid a cholera epidemic
that has infected more than 69 000 people and killed more than 3 000 others.

But the US, Britain and other Western countries - whose financial support is
vital to any programme to resuscitate Zimbabwe's collapsed economy - remain
unconvinced that a unity government led by Mugabe will implement wide
ranging economic and political reforms required to revive the southern
African country.

Wood said the US is reserving judgment on the new government and "will not
consider providing additional development assistance or even easing
sanctions until we see effective governance in the country".

Without substantial international support, there are only slim changes
Zimbabwe's unity government could be able to turn around the fortunes of the
country. - ZimOnline

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Catholic commission to rally support for rebuilding Zimbabwe

By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) --The Catholic Commission for Justice and
Peace in Zimbabwe will use its nationwide network to rally support for
rebuilding Zimbabwe after the formation of a unity government.

"The new administration will need to work hard to end the human suffering"
in Zimbabwe, which faces rampant inflation, a cholera epidemic and 90
percent unemployment, Alouis Chaumba, head of the commission, told Catholic
News Service.

Morgan Tsvangirai, 56, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, was sworn in as prime minister by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Feb. 11.

Mugabe, 84, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, has said
he will cooperate in the unity government. Other ministers were to be sworn
in Feb. 13.

"We are very hopeful," Chaumba said in a Feb. 12 telephone interview from
Zimbabwe's capital, Harare. He said Zimbabweans "have been isolated from the
international community for many years, and now we have the chance to hold
our heads high."

Justice and peace groups in Zimbabwe's parishes and small Christian
communities will get their members "to give whatever support they can to
rebuild the country," including "technical expertise, moral support and
prayers," he said.

"Zimbabweans need to be united for this common cause," Chaumba said.

Public-sector workers, especially teachers, doctors and nurses, "need a
cushion of support to enable them to go back to work," Chaumba said, noting
that their salaries do not even cover the cost of their transportation to

Zimbabwean schools have not opened for the 2009 school year and a
mid-January report from Physicians for Human Rights said the country's
health care system, once a model for southern Africa, has collapsed because
of Mugabe's egregious, systematic human rights violations.

After a meeting with bishops from neighboring Zimbabwe, South Africa's
Catholic bishops said in a January statement that "Zimbabwe has moved from a
crisis to a disaster to passive genocide."

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Zimbabweans roam on foreign networks to escape costly local service

by Nokuthula Sibanda Friday 13 February 2009

HARARE - Businesswoman Judith Maingire gasps in shock as she stares at her
phone bill - a whopping US$587 she incurred in just over two weeks.

"This is outrageous," she says. "Last month I paid a bill just over
one-billion Zimdollars and now I am being asked to part with nearly US$600,
this is just too much."

"With this bill I could have bought two return tickets to South Africa."

A frequent traveller to neighbouring countries who makes regular calls to
clients dotted across the region, the woman says the huge phone bills could
just put her out of business.

"Who can survive paying this kind of money for simple phone calls," she
said, in her surprised anger, speaking to no one in particular. "I mean,
with US$600 I can easily pay for two return tickets to South Africa."

Such exorbitant phone bills as Maingire's are what most Zimbabweans have to
face each month end.

But others who are quick thinking like Timothy Mhere, a senior manager at a
Harare hotel, have found a smarter way to avoid paying the huge phone bills
while at the same time enjoying all the benefits that come with subscribing
to a bigger foreign mobile phone network.

"The last time I received a cellphone bill for US$80 over a 10-day period I
knew that I had to end the nonsense before the local phone networks drove me
into debt. I am now roaming on a South African Vodacom line," Mhere said, a
note of contentment unmistakable in his voice.

Mhere said on top of the tariffs charged by Vodacom being cheaper than those
levied by Zimbabwean networks, the giant South African network is hardly
ever congested.

"It is good value for money," he said. As if to prove his point he added:
"many of my friends have since abandoned local networks and are roaming on
South Africa's Vodacom and MTN or on Botswana's Mascom network."

Frustrated by local networks whose tariffs are heavy while service is shoddy
because they are unable to increase capacity due to an acute shortage of
foreign currency to import spares and equipment, an increasing number of
Zimbabweans are opting to subscribe to networks in Botswana or South Africa.

"Locals who subscribe to foreign networks pay much lower bills than those
using our own networks," said a marketing executive with one of the private
local networks.

"This is clearly because of the distorted market environment in Zimbabwe,
where for example the US dollar buys about 30 percent less than it does
everywhere else in the world," added the executive, who said he uses Vodacom
to make most of his calls.

Local mobile phone networks are charging an average of US$0.29 cents a
minute, which they admit may be higher when compared to most countries in
the region.

But the operators argue that their charges are justified if one factors in
the huge taxes they pay to the government and they also say they have to
charge higher tariffs to cushion themselves against losses they are forced
to incur during the long hours networks are down due to frequent power
outages that affect the country.

As mobile phone operators insist on maintaining high tariffs, consumers also
have to worry about moves by the country's sole fixed network operator,
TelOne, to peg bills in foreign currency.

"You are hereby formally notified that with effect from February 1, 2009,
all services offered by TelOne will be billed in foreign currency," TelOne
said in a recent statement to clients.

"Customers are therefore advised to carefully monitor usage of their lines
in order to avoid telephone abuse which can prove to be very costly," it

A senior banker who refused to be named also said he would be resorting to
roaming. "I am Zellco client, but with effect from February I am making
arrangements that I would be roaming either on a South African or Botswana
line," he said.

"My child is in Australia for his studies and I have to talk to him
regularly by email, but I also need to hear his voice from time to time. So,
I have to move from these Zimbabwean networks," he added.

Maingire said she would first clear her bills with her local network before
switching over to possibly Vodacom since most of her visits outside the
country are to South Africa.

But the businesswoman was quick to point out that in the long run it was
neither sustainable nor desirable for Zimbabweans in general to transfer to
mobile networks in neighbouring countries.

Echoing the hopes of many Zimbabweans, she said: "The way to go is for this
unity government to get to work immediately to revamp national
infrastructure such as the national telecoms network and roads because these
are vital if we are to rebuild the country."

The jury is still out on whether a unity government between President Robert
Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsavangirai and Arthur Mutambara will
be able to live up to the expectations of Maingire and her fellow
Zimbabweans. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe Keeps 'worst cabinet'

Thursday, 12 February 2009 22:54
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last night prepared to re-appoint the same
cabinet he recently described as the worst he has ever had. The line-up
includes ministers who have proved manifest failures in office but who
demonstrate a close attachment to the president - some over a 30-year

Mugabe is preparing to swear-in today Emmerson Mnangagwa, Didymus
Mutasa, Sydney Sekeramayi, John Nkomo, Stan Mudenge, Ignatius Chombo, Kembo
Mohadi, Nicholas Goche, Sithembiso Nyoni, Joseph Made, Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi, Paul Mangwana, David Parirenyatwa, Francis Nhema and Patrick

Others are Herbert Murerwa, Obert Mpofu, Webster Shamu, Flora Buka,
Sylvester Nguni and Walter Mzembi.

The list of incoming ministers was announced last night by Chief
Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda.

Also to be sworn-in today at State House in the presence of South
African President and Sadc chair Kgalema Motlanthe are nominees from the MDC

Main MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced his list on Tuesday which
was confirmed with only one change. Eddie Cross who was allocated the
Ministry of State Enterprises and Parastatals appears to have been removed.
Joel Gabuzza has replaced him following internal MDC wrangles.

Tsvangirai was forced to revise his list after complaints that he had
excluded MPs from Matabeleland where his party won a quarter of its seats.

Tsvangirai was also compelled to remove from his list Abednico Bhebhe
whom he had appointed as Water Resources minister from the rival MDC faction
led by Arthur Mutambara. Bhebhe's nomination was seen as a reward for
swaying the post of Speaker of parliament to Tsvangirai's faction after he
mobilised Mutambara's MPs to vote against their own candidate, Paul Themba
Nyathi, who was supported by Zanu PF.

Mutambara formation secretary-general Welshman Ncube last night
confirmed that his party had written to Zanu PF and MDC-T on the Bhebhe

"In terms of the agreement you cannot nominate a minister from another
party. The nomination of our MP by MDC-T is therefore invalid," Ncube said.
"If they want to appoint him minister, he will have to first resign from our
party and vacate the seat, otherwise it is not possible to appoint him."

The formation of the unity government should be finalised today with
the swearing- in of the cabinet by Mugabe at State House.

Mugabe's  list of 15 cabinet ministers will contain a small forest of
deadwood. The only youthful faces are those of Nguni, Mzembi and Buka.

Buka presided over the first land audit which predictably glossed over
multiple farm ownership while Mzembi is responsible for the Zinwa fiasco
which has seen an incompetent parastatal transform vast swathes of the
country into a waterless desert.

The appointment of ministers who were in the last cabinet dissolved
last February would be a serious indictment of Mugabe who described the same
team as the worst he has ever had.

"This cabinet that I had was the worst in history," he said in August
last year. "They look at themselves. They are unreliable."

Mugabe shuttled ministers like Mnangagwa, Mutasa, Sekeramayi, Mudenge,
Nkomo, Murerwa and Chombo from one ministry to another and also into
positions as governors and Speaker of parliament.

Mnangagwa and Sekeramayi have been closely associated with the country's
sinister state security network while Nkomo has been Mugabe's pointman in
holding the 1987 Unity Accord together.

Mnangagwa has the distinction of losing a series of elections, both
party and national, including one to a candidate in hiding. Chombo will see
his reappointment as a reward for crushing democratic outcomes in the nation's
cities. Slavishly loyal, Mutasa once described Mugabe as Zimbabwe's king.

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara met yesterday to finalise the list of
cabinet ministers. Sources said Mugabe complained that Tsvangirai breached
protocol by making public his choice of ministers before consulting his
coalition partners.

Mutambara also raised the issue of Bhebhe, eventually forcing
Tsvangirai to retreat.

Sibanda did not say which portfolios Zanu PF ministers will take. The
allocation of ministries to specific Zanu PF ministers is expected to be
announced at the swearing-in ceremony.

Sibanda also announced Mutambara's team which includes Gibson Sibanda,
Welshman Ncube, Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga and David Coltart.
Mutambara will appoint one deputy minister. Mugabe has appointed six deputy
ministers and remains with two vacant slots. Tsvangirai appointed four and
remains with two empty positions of deputy ministers.

By dropping Cross from his list of 13 full cabinet ministers in a
desperate bid to address complaints of exclusion and marginalisation from
Matabeleland Tsvangirai has created another problem by removing the only
white representative in his cabinet. The move also left Bulawayo, where
Tsvangirai's party swept all parliamentary seats, without any minister.

Apart from dropping Cross for Gabuzza, Tsvangirai has also nominated
Gorden Moyo as minister of state, although he would not sit in cabinet. It
is understood that he would also appoint two deputy ministers from

Mugabe could still appoint two deputy ministers and two ministers of
state. However, there was still a long list of those expecting to be

Among them are Olivia Muchena, Ambrose Mutunhiri, Saviour Kasukuwere,
Patrick Zhuwawo, Bright Matonga, Joel Matiza, Andrew Langa, Tracy Mutinhiri
and Hubert Nyanhongo, Zanu PF's only MP in Harare.

Mugabe also still has a senate position which is vacant which was
linked to Oppah Muchinguri. Mugabe had already dropped 12 ministers who lost
their seats.

Contrary to popular speculation, Mugabe did not appoint Jonathan Moyo
into his team despite his last-minute campaign to defend Zanu PF and its
failed policies in public remarks in the state media and online

Moyo made a dramatic volte-face after March elections last year by
dumping the MDC which he supported publicly to back Zanu PF where he had
exited unceremoniously after the Tsholotsho saga in 2004.


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Biti sues Charamba, Zimpapers

Thursday, 12 February 2009 22:32
TENDAI Biti, MDC-T secretary-general, is suing President Robert Mugabe's
spokesman George Charamba, Zimpapers, and two journalists working for the
Herald for defamation after they allegedly published false and defamatory
articles intended to characterise him as "a power-hungry politician".

Biti is demanding US$500 000 in damages.

In his High Court lawsuit, Biti cited Zimpapers, Charamba, whom he
also referred to as Nathaniel Manheru, Herald political editor Mabasa Sasa,
and senior political reporter Sydney Kuwaza as defendants in the case.

Biti claimed in court papers that on different occasions, the Herald
published articles that were "intended and were understood by readers of the
newspaper to mean that he was "a power-hungry politician" and "is plotting
to oust the president of his party Morgan Tsvangirai".

He said the articles implied that he was placing "self-interest above
those of the Zimbabwean nation".

The Herald was also accused of publishing articles that readers
understood to mean that Biti scuttled the formation of the all-inclusive
government for selfish and personal interests to the detriment of the
Zimbabwean nation and was generally unethical.

He said the allegations by the newspapers were contained in articles
headlined "MDC: Who really stands in the way of the inclusive government?"
published on January 3 in a column, "The other side with Nathaniel Manheru";
and "Anti Tsvangirai plot thickens", published on January 6, and "MDC-T in
crisis talks" published on January 8.

Other articles were "MDC-T divided over inclusive government" which
ran on January 13 and "Return Home or else, party tells Tsvangirai"
published on January 15.

The articles allegedly blamed Biti for stalling talks in the formation
of a new government due "to his enormous ambition for a meaningful role both
within the MDC and in the proposed inclusive government."

According to the application the articles were defamatory and implied
that Biti was not patriotic and was anti-Zimbabwean, deceitful and serving
interests other than Zimbabwe's.

"As a consequence of the aforesaid defamation, plaintiff has been
damaged in his reputation and has suffered damages in the sum of US$500 000"
read the application.

The defendants were by this week yet to respond to the lawsuit.


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Return Property or Else, Makoni Warned

Thursday, 12 February 2009 22:28
A FACTION of the Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) movement which ousted
founding leader Simba Makoni, yesterday said they wanted the former Finance
minister to surrender the organisation's property or risk court action.

Makoni was suspended by a group calling itself the MKD national
coordinating committee (NCC) led by retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi and
journalist Kindness Paradza for failing to transform the movement into a
fully-fledged party, and for alleged impropriety.

The ex-Zanu PF politburo member has since dismissed his suspension and
threatened to sue for defamation some members of the NCC for allegedly
maligning his reputation.

In a letter to Makoni signed by Mbudzi and Paradza dated February 6,
the NCC said the former Sadc executive secretary should surrender the
movement's property.

"In order to facilitate a proper investigation, you (Makoni) are
required immediately to make a full declaration, in writing, of any and all
assets and finances of the movement," the letter read.

Makoni, the letter added, should release all "financial and other
records" to the MKD NCC.

A committee consisting of Mbudzi, Paradza, Esther Mujeyi, Michael
Gonye and Memory Mbondiah, according to the letter, has since assumed the
secretariat role of the movement.

The MKD last week suspended Makoni after accusing him of failing to
account "fully and transparently" for funds and assets owned by the

The NCC also blamed Makoni for disregarding its decisions.

"Generally, you have conducted yourself in a manner which is not in
the interests of, and which is inconsistent with objectives and vision of
the movement," read the letter.

Meanwhile, the MKD Harare province yesterday distanced itself from
last week's suspension of the embattled former movement leader.

"Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn Harare province condemn in the strongest terms
the action taken by the individuals that issued the press statement as
retrogressive action which is meant to sabotage the movement," read the

Makoni, the statement claimed, has the ability to "take the politics
of this country to another level" of economic and social recovery.

The province also applauded Makoni and its steering committee for the
"good work" they have done in planning for the yet to be established "fully
fledged homegrown political party".

Makoni came a distant third in last March's presidential election.


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New Foreign Policy Approach the key - Analysts

Thursday, 12 February 2009 20:25
ZIMBABWE'S inclusive government should come up with a robust foreign
policy to attract external support if the current crisis is to be resolved,
political analysts have said.

The analysts said the unity government to be sworn in today by
President Robert Mugabe would urgently need the assistance of development
partners if the comatose economy is to be revived.

The United States, Britain and the European Union said they would wait
and see how the new government performs before lifting sanctions and
offering financial support.

But analysts warned that without external support the prospect of
resolving the current crisis would be remote.

Mugabe and the leaders of the two MDC formations - Morgan Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara - signed a unity government deal last September through
a Sadc mediation process, but the pact could not be immediately consummated
because of haggling over posts between Zanu PF and the MDC-T.

It took an extraordinary summit of Sadc last month to persuade
Tsvangirai to join the unity government.
On Wednesday he finally took the oath of office as prime minister
alongside his deputies, Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe (MDC-T).

However, fears abound that the government would not be able to move
the country forward after the international community said it would adopt a
wait-and-see attitude on how the new administration will function before
doling out aid.

Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean lawyer based in the UK, said the new
administration would need to open up to the world and desist from creating
unnecessary enemies.

"For one thing, it must be acknowledged that the Look East and
Anti-West foreign policy of the recent past has not been helpful to the
people of Zimbabwe," Magaisa said. "But the fact that the MDC-T has cordial
relations with the West does not mean that it should race straight into its
arms and in the process snub the East."

He said careful diplomacy must be the predominant approach of the
unity government.

"The new administration must mend broken fences and re-build damaged
bridges whilst at the same time strengthening those that are already there.
A belligerent approach will get us nowhere," said Magaisa.

Zimbabwe-born South African businessman Mutumwa Mawere agreed with
Magaisa and added that there was need for a major shift in the country's
foreign policy if the current crisis was to be resolved.

He said the country needed to reengage the international community
sooner rather than later.

"Zanu PF has been calling for the lifting of sanctions which
highlights the fact that the status quo ante was, and is, alive to the need
to restore relations with the West notwithstanding the rhetoric," Mawere

"However, the timing could not have been worse as the same (Western)
countries are going through their own crises which compels them to look
inwards first before volunteering to solve the world's problems."

He said with a limited supply of international credit, it behooves the
inclusive government to come up with a unified strategy and a coherent plan
of action.

"Discord among the new partners in the unity government will provide
an excuse for the West to wait and see. It is clear who has to give and who
needs to take a back seat if the country is to move forward," Mawere
explained. "The politics of yesterday will just not work. A new framework of
engagement will be required. The West has its own take on the Zimbabwean
situation and it would be simplistic to argue that MDC-T is responsible for

He suggested that until and unless the concerns that have been
registered by the West were addressed, it was unlikely that the urgently
needed capital and development assistance would pour in.
Magaisa said it was beyond doubt that Zimbabwe needed international
financial support to kick-start the stuttering economy.

"The very fact that the current government complains about sanctions
and wants them lifted is indicative of the general awareness that Zimbabwe
cannot continue to exist as some kind desert island," he observed. "Zimbabwe
has gone for years without balance of payments support; without accessing
international lines of credit, partly because of the punitive measures
employed by some countries but also because the country has not passed the
normal standards of credit-worthiness."

Beyond international financial support, Magaisa insisted, Zimbabwe
needed to enhance its productive capacity through efficient and effective
exploitation and management of resources.

The analysts said there would be conditions attached to any form of
financial support and key fundamentals such as creating a conducive
investment climate and supporting the constitutional and legal order should
be put in place.

In addition, the analysts said, the new government should state
categorically that they will respect property and human rights and the
restoration of the rule of law.

The analysts said land ownership and its utilisation will also be key
to the future.

"Zimbabwe's foreign policy has to be supportive of the domestic
agenda. Zimbabwe has been vocal on global financial architectural issues and
the need for reform," observed political scientist Michael Mhike. "The voice
will continue but tempered by the reality of the situation at home. There
are no easy answers and the crisis at home will and should shape foreign

He said new faces in government should come on the scene to articulate
the country's position on the defining issues of the time.

"Zimbabwe has many friends in the developing world who lack the
resources required to lift the country up and this realisation will force
the new actors to change approach, language and style," Mhike observed.
He said Tsvangirai would have to be the face the West can deal with if
the unity government's foreign policy is to work.

"With respect to the former socialist countries, Mugabe still has some
currency and will continue to be the face of Zimbabwe. However, it is
unlikely that such countries will provide any meaningful development
assistance other than trying to access on a preferential basis Zimbabwe's
largely untapped resources," Mhike said. "Mugabe's views on domestic and
global issues are known. The approach that has informed government policies
over the last 29 years has not produced the required results and it would,
therefore, be expected that Mugabe will allow Tsvangirai more room to
manoeuvre in the interests of the nation."

Even Tsvangirai - who is charged with reviving the economy - is aware
of the Herculean task he will face without external financial support and
has pledged to make the government accountable "to ensure the international
community has confidence in it."

To build the confidence, political analysts said, the inclusive
government in the short term needed to deal with urgent humanitarian issues,
arresting the economic depression and ensuring that ordinary people have
access to food, health care and education.

They said another short-term imperative was image rebuilding.

"One of the reasons we get such a bad world press is that our image as
a country has gone to the dogs, mainly because of our own doing," Magaisa
said. "We need not only to stop the reckless behaviour, but to show the
world that we have stopped it. This can be done by freeing political
prisoners, repealing or reforming contentious legislation, freeing up the
media to allow a diversity of views - also creating employment in the

In the long term, the analysts said there would be need for structural
reforms to the way the country is governed and should be the main aim of the
constitution-making process elaborated in the power-sharing deal.

"They (structural reforms) also involve proper and well-considered
economic policies where the country's best talents are used to achieve the
best results for individuals and society," Mawere added.

Many Zimbabweans hope that after so much pain and suffering in the
past decade, the unity government would bring a fresh start and they want
their politicians to be honest, fair and efficient. Only time will tell!


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Daunting Mission Awaits Unity Govt

Thursday, 12 February 2009 20:25
ZIMBABWE'S inclusive government has a Herculean task to resolve a
decade-long crisis which is characterised by deep mistrust between its
leaders, a worsening humanitarian situation, international isolation and a
flagging economy.

The country's political rivals, President Robert and the leaders of
the two MDC formations, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, signed a
power-sharing deal last September which will be consummated today when a new
cabinet will be sworn in.

The cabinet will be charged with a mandate to formulate policies to
extricate the nation from the current crisis that has forced over five
million people to flee to other countries in search of a better life.
Political analysts said the biggest challenge to the unity government
is to get Mugabe and Tsvangirai to work together for the common good.

The analysts said the level of mistrust between Mugabe and Tsvangirai
during the talks for the unity government showed that it would not be easy
for the two protagonists to work in common purpose given their different

After signing the power-sharing deal on September 15, Mugabe and
Tsvangirai haggled over the allocation of ministerial portfolios, provincial
governors' posts, appointment of ambassadors and permanent secretaries,
among others, between their parties, which resulted in a seven-month delay
in implementing the pact.

It took several Sadc meetings to convince the two leaders to form the

"Working together is the biggest challenge that the politicians in the
new administration will have to overcome and it won't be an easy task,"
observed Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean lawyer and newspaper columnist based in
the UK. "Not only will they have to remove the political structures and
rules that impede free politics, they will also have the challenge of
revamping the retrogressive political culture that is now part of the
national psyche."

He added that party interests should be subordinated to national

Still on the political front, the analysts said, the inclusive
government faces a challenge on how to achieve national healing after last
year's bloody campaign for the June 27 presidential election run-off.

According to the MDC-T, close to 200 of its supporters were killed,
plus 10 000 injured and thousands more displaced by state security agents,
Zanu PF militia and war veterans who violently campaigned for Mugabe. On the
other end, Zanu PF also accused the MDC-T of having perpetrated political

Fears abound that there would be a bitter fight in government over
national healing with the MDC-T insisting on prosecution of perpetrators of
violence while Mugabe and Zanu PF would seek immunity.

Government would also seek to embark on institutional reforms of
parastatals and the civil service that have been systematically militarised
by Mugabe since 2000.

For a genuine transition to take place, the analysts said, government
will also have to ease out security generals who have publicly announced
their allegiance to political parties.

During the run-off campaign, Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander
Constantine Chiwenga, army Chief of Staff Martin Chedondo, police
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Prisons Commissioner General
Paradzayi Zimondi publicly declared their support for Mugabe and swore that
they would never salute Tsvangirai.

The other immediate challenge confronting the new administration, the
analysts said, was the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Government should immediately source regional and international
assistance to feed over five million people who are near starvation and to
stop cholera, which has killed over 3 400 people and affected more than 70
000 people since its outbreak in August 2003.

So serious is food insecurity throughout the country, that the Mugabe
government has predicted that over 8,2 million would soon need aid.

Despite concerted local, regional and international efforts to contain
cholera, the disease is spreading throughout the country because of lack of
access to clean water and sanitation.

The political analysts said the new government needed to urgently come
up with a programme of action to be internationally financed to end this
humanitarian catastrophe.

Government also faces the challenge of reviving the health delivery
system that saw health workers leaving the country in droves, lack of drugs
and equipment at public hospitals.

The education delivery system has also gone down. Teachers have been
on strike since the beginning of last year pressing to be paid in foreign
currency, while some of them left for neighbouring countries where the
majority work as labourers.

According to Unicef, 94% of rural schools in the country failed to
open for the first term.

Once the humanitarian situation is in check, the analysts said
government would have to shift focus to economic revival by re-engaging the
international community for balance of payments, lines of credit and other
rescue packages.

Government would also have to persuade the international community to
lift declared and undeclared sanctions and at the same time work flat-out to
boost domestic production to increase foreign currency inflows.

The economic policies, the analysts suggested, must take into
consideration the plight of the poor who have been on the receiving end of
Mugabe's poor governance over the past decade.

"From an economic point of view, government has to formulate and
implement positive economic policies that will benefit the ordinary people,"
Magaisa said. "It is up to the government to confront economic challenges
but it will need external assistance. This means that a major challenge is
rebuilding relations with the international community. Our new
administration must demonstrate the necessary will and capability to do this
and the hope is that their efforts will be guided by the public interest."

The country's economy has been in free fall since the late 1990s and
is characterised by high inflation now estimated above one trillion percent,
over 90% unemployment and high interest rates, among other wrongs.

Sanctions against Zimbabwe, the analysts said, would have to be lifted
but were quick to point out that it was up to the new administration to
demonstrate its commitment to democracy, rule of law and the upholding of
human rights before the West can come in to assist.


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Tsvangirai's Cabinet Appointments Raise Eyebrows

Thursday, 12 February 2009 20:09
FACTIONALISM and cronyism characterised MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
selection of his cabinet appointees that critics say lacked equity and
national outlook.

Tsvangirai nominated his ministers on Tuesday to join an inclusive
cabinet tomorrow amid murmurs of disgruntlement from various quarters in his

The former trade unionist on Wednesday took the oath of office as
prime minister alongside his deputies -- Thokozani Khupe and Arthur
Mutambara -- the leader of the smaller formation of the MDC.

Out of the 14 ministers Tsvangirai nominated, eight hail from Masvingo
and Manicaland provinces. The three Matabeleland provinces have two cabinet
ministers, Midlands one and the Mashonaland provinces have three.

Five of the ministers, Tendai Biti (Finance), Elton Mangoma (Economic
development), Elias Mudzuri (Energy), Nelson Chamisa (Information and
Communication Technology) and Theresa Makone (Public Works) came from the
12-member MDC-T national standing committee, which is responsible for the
day-to-day administration of the party.

Deputy secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada, deputy organising secretary
Morgan Komichi, and national youth secretary Thamsanga Mahlangu were the
only members of the standing committee who failed to make it to the cabinet.

The other members of the committee are Tsvangirai, Khupe and House of
Assembly Speaker Lovemore Moyo.

The exclusion of Mashakada, the fifth high-ranking MDC-T leader, party
insiders said, came as a surprise to most party functionaries because the
economist was one of its founding members and had worked with Tsvangirai for
years in trade unionism.

The sources said Mashakada could have fallen out with Tsvangirai after
he opposed the controversial removal of Lucia Matibenga as the leader of the
MDC-T women's assembly and replaced by Makone in 2007.

The ouster of Matibenga nearly led to the second split of the MDC-T,
with the majority of the party's national executive members accusing
Tsvangirai of violating the constitution and imposing Makone - a family

Mashakada, the sources added, was also part of hardliners led by Biti
who were against the participation of the MDC-T in the inclusive government
before outstanding issues of last September's power-sharing pact were

Biti, Mashakada and the other hardliners who did not buy the unity
government idea, the sources added, were bulldozed by Tsvangirai and his
kitchen cabinet during the MDC-T's national council meeting a fortnight ago
to endorse it.

Biti, the sources said, agreed to be part of the cabinet after
Tsvangirai said he wanted him to take charge of the powerful Finance

The MDC-T secretary-general had confided to journalists that he would
not join the cabinet and wanted to retain his position in the party to
strengthen its structures. Realising that his party would be weakened in
cabinet without Biti, the sources said, Tsvangirai at the weekend dispatched
a three-member team to the secretary- general to change his mind.

"Tsvangirai dangled the Finance ministry carrot, which Biti accepted,"
one of the sources said.

Questions were also raised over the cabinet nomination of Professor
Heneri Dzinotyiweyi (Science and Technology Development) and Professor Elfas
Mukonoweshuro (Public Service) ahead of some of the party's founding

Dzinotyiweyi, the former president of the Zimbabwe Integrated
Programme, contested against Biti for Harare East in 2000 and lost dismally
and later joined the MDC-T after its split in October 2005, while
Mukonoweshuro was at one stage a member of Tsvangirai's kitchen cabinet
before his election to the post of secretary of international relations.

"Tsvangirai selected some of his ministers based on his closeness to
them," a senior party member said. "People like (Fidelis) Mhashu (National
Housing), Mukonoweshuro, Makone, Dzinotyiwei and Mudzuri were very close to
him. He is paying them back for their loyalty to him."

Makone's husband, Ian, the sources said, was tipped to be the chief
secretary to the prime minister. The Makones, the sources said, financially
supported the party in times of trouble and Tsvangirai wanted to reward them
for that.

Tsvangirai received his sharpest criticism within his party on his
cabinet nominations for allegedly sidelining the Matabeleland region.

The prime minister selected only two ministers from the region --
Eddie Cross (State Enterprises and Parastatals) and Abedinico Bhebhe (Water
Resources). Bhebhe is from the Mutambara-led MDC and his appointment has
caused fissures within his party and the MDC-T.

Sources in the MDC-T said Tsvangirai had to convene an impromptu
meeting on Tuesday after making public his ministers when party leaders from
Matabeleland complained over his omission.

The meeting, the sources said, then agreed to appoint Samuel Sipepa
Nkomo as deputy Foreign Affairs minister and Thabitha Khumalo to the post of
deputy Women, Gender and Community Development -- both legislators from
Bulawayo -- to pacify the region.

Reports yesterday were that Tsvangirai was considering appointing
Bulawayo Agenda director Gordon Moyo as a Minister of State in his office.

Bulawayo-based political analyst Max Mnkandla said Tsvangirai's
appointments were a betrayal of the people of Matabeleland as more
legislators from the region should have been appointed into cabinet.

"The fact that Tsvangirai only appointed Cross and Bhebhe from the
region is worrying as it backed the MDC unreservedly since 2000," Mnkandla

He said Tsvangirai needed to review his strategy and the way he
engages Matabeleland. However, sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that
Nkomo was initially earmarked for the Home Affairs ministry, but was later
dropped after consultations among the MDC-T leaders.

"Nkomo was on the list as Home Affairs minister, but there were
consultations and it was felt that since he had unresolved business with the
Mining Pension Fund matter it was not proper for him to accept the
appointment and he accepted the decision," said the sources.

Speculation was rife that the sidelining of Matabeleland would give
impetus to the revival of PF Zapu.

Justifying the cabinet appointments, Tsvangirai said he had selected
technocrats to deal urgently with the country's crisis. He said he nominated
Bhebhe in the spirit of inclusiveness.

"Minister Bhebhe has been appointed in the inclusive government,"
Tsvangirai said. "We are trying to promote inclusiveness. I do not know
about (perceived) crossing the floor but all I know is that he is part of
the inclusive government."

However, sources said, Bhebhe was rewarded by Tsvangirai for
persuading his fellow MPs from the Mutambara formation to vote for Lovemore
Moyo to be House of Assembly Speaker last August. But Edwin Mushoriwa,
spokesperson for the Mutambara formation, said Bhebhe risked having his seat
declared vacant and a by-election called to replace him.

"We were taken aback when we heard that Honourable Bhebhe had been
nominated among Tsvangirai's list of nominees for cabinet," Mushoriwa said.
"We do not know the motive behind all this. It defies the spirit of the
whole Global Political Agreement signed among the parties."


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The day Tsvangirai Became Prime Minister

Thursday, 12 February 2009 20:02
WELL before 7.00am, parishioners at the Mabelreign Methodist Church in
Harare's medium-density suburb gathered outside the church building hoping
to meet one of their own members who would later in the day take an oath of
office as Prime Minister of a crisis-ridden nation.

For the church members, Wednesday marked the last day when Morgan
Richard Tsvangirai would chat in fellowship with them as an ordinary member
of the parish.

This irregular midweek church service named the "Dedication Service"
would anoint the MDC-T leader before he left the Western suburb to append
his signature, pledging full commitment to make that "long walk to freedom"
that Nelson Mandela spoke of in Cape Town 19 years ago to the day.

Following the service, his procession headed east where a heavy
presence of police manning checkpoints blocked vehicles and pedestrians from
passing along the usually busy Borrowdale Road.

All this was meant to beef up security at one of the country's most
protected properties, State House, for the historic swearing in ceremony.

Arriving at the fortified State House, journalists endured another
round of security checks before rushing to designated press zones.

The day marked a new chapter in Zimbabwe's politics. Tsvangirai took
an oath of office signalling his new partnership in power with his erstwhile
rival, President Robert Mugabe.

Diplomats and other invited dignitaries streamed into State House
shortly after 10am.

In the midst of the arrivals, Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller
formation of the MDC, defied all odds when he arrived at the venue in style.

Driving his American Navigator sports utility vehicle, probably for
the last time without aides, the former University of Zimbabwe students
union leader arrived at State House being filmed by a freelance

Following Mutambara was his co-deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe
from the MDC-T, who was chauffeur-driven in an elegant Mercedes Benz ML

Momentarily, the sound of wailing sirens of approaching vehicles could
be heard.

With video cameras ready to roll and still cameras standing by to
shoot, everyone anticipated the arrival of a man whom some critics thought
would never see this day, man-of-the-moment Morgan Tsvangirai.

But first, others had to be seated. Among those who attracted media
attention were Swaziland's King Mswati III, former South African President
Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's director of the presidency Frank Chikane and
Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

In the midst of some confusion, Tsvangirai finally arrived in a
low-key silver Mercedes Benz saloon. Clad in a grey suit, Tsvangirai was
ushered to the high table next to Mutambara.

Just before noon, the presidential entourage arrived in Zim 1. The
presence of the chief of protocol, Munyaradzi Kajese, drew attention to the
high table as dignitaries anticipated Mugabe's arrival in the VIP tent. The
octogenarian leader and his wife Grace walked down the red carpet before the
national anthem was played.

Masters of ceremonies, Washington Mbizvo broke the ice by citing
nuggets from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and from Galileo.

"The real leader is not happy to lead but to point the way."

Whether the new inclusive government would heed this advice is yet to
be known given the myriad of problems that awaits it. Similarly only history
would judge whether this new dispensation was a marriage of convenience or

Controversial Archbishop Norbert Kunonga opened the event by reading
the Biblical story of dry bones before closing in prayer.

The country's battered economy and the humanitarian crisis across the
country, Kunonga said, was allegorical to the state of affairs in ancient
Iraq referred to in the Bible, trusting in divine intervention for the
immediate turnaround of fortunes following the formation of the inclusive

Mugabe and Tsvangirai then took to the stage for the swearing in

Standing face-to-face but avoiding eye contact, Tsvangirai gave his
oaths to his seemingly relaxed new boss who administered it.

"Save, Save (Tsvangirai's totem) mochitonga (now you are in power),"
shouted opposition legislators when Tsvangirai received a round of applause
from dignitaries seated opposite to the VIP tent.

A clearly irritated Mugabe almost lost his cool when the opposition
legislators interjected during the swearing in, forcing Kajese to intervene.

On a lighter note, Mutambara brought smiles to leaders seated in the
VIP tent when he eloquently recited his oaths - in all three instances
pausing towards the end of the oath to blurt out the word "God" with

Tensions between the country's political parties also surfaced when
opposition legislators heckled a Cape Town university student who recited
her "Arise and shine" poem dedicated to the unity pact.

"Gushungo (Mugabe's totem), we thank you for making this day
 possible," she said before being jeered.
She received a round of applause when she said: "Save, Mutambara and
Khupe "I salute you."

In half an hour, the new leaders had appended their signatures to
serve in the potentially irreconcilable government.

Following congratulatory messages from regional and continental
leaders, the new executive delivered their speeches in a restricted tent
adjacent to the VIP tent leaving some guests unaware of the proceedings.

Speeches delivered by the leaders carried one theme - an urgent need
for economic reform and the removal of sanctions.

First to speak was Mutambara who as has become the norm demanded the
lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

"This is a new era in Zimbabwe. We must work together as a team, we
must speak the language of working together, the language of unity," he

"For those who have imposed whatever measures against Zimbabwe or
targeted sanctions, call them what you want, those sanctions must be removed

He however added that "delivery (of duty) and recovery" from the
socio-economic crisis would be the measure of success for the new

Tsvangirai followed with his impromptu speech when he promised to
restore education, health and food security.

Unity government facilitator Thabo Mbeki followed Tsvangirai where he
again pledged support for the new government and an appeal on the lifting of
sanctions which the three parties agreed were stifling economic growth.

African Union Commission chair Jean Ping and chairman of the Sadc
organ for defence and security King Mswati also expressed optimism in the
inclusive government.

Last to speak was Mugabe who extended an olive branch to his
co-leaders despite a seven-month "long, tedious and frustrating" delay in
forming the inclusive government. These delays, Mugabe claimed were
instigated by unmentioned detractors, through "overt and covert means".

"As president of Zimbabwe, I offer them my hand of friendship,
cooperation and solidarity in the service of our great country," Mugabe

"If yesterday we were adversaries and divided by party politics and
other divisive influences, today we stand united by the imperative need to
address the myriad of challenges that face our country."

Well after time scheduled for his maiden rally as  prime minister,
Tsvangirai and his new security aides left for the Glamis Stadium at the
exhibition centre where over 10 000 people patiently waited to hear and see
a man they regard as a symbol of hope in the midst of Zimbabwe's decade-long

Tsvangirai promised immediate change to some problems facing the
country despite acknowledging the magnitude of the challenges that lie

"Zvetsvimbo mugotsi must end today (impunity must end today.),"
Tsvangirai told multitudes that endured the sweltering heat at Glamis.

He appealed to teachers, health workers, the army, the policy and rest
of the civil servants to report for work, promising that the new government
would remunerate them in hard currency starting this month.

"By month end all professionals in the civil service will receive
salary in foreign currency," he added.

Seemingly referring to his party activists and civil activists
currently held in detention, Tsvangirai promised that these people would
cease to be held in the "dungeons any day or week longer."

Tsvangirai becomes the second prime minister after Independence.

The first prime minister was Mugabe and the position was abolished in
1987 to make room for an executive president and unicameral parliament.


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Banks Introduce Exorbitant FCA Charges

Thursday, 12 February 2009 19:57
INDIVIDUALS and corporates will have to part with between US$30-50 a
month in bank charges when they make transactions with their foreign
currency accounts (FCAs).

Foreign currency denominated accounts can be activated within 24 hours
with zero balance and can be operated in five major currencies -- the US
dollar, euro, British pound, South African rand and Botswana pula.

FCAs' individual and corporate charges are however said to be
"ridiculously high"' as Zimbabweans are failing to make ends meet due to
high consumer goods and services prices, school and tertiary fees and

Figures obtained by businessdigest from commercial banks this week
show that for an individual to withdraw money, they are charged between
US$0,50 and US$3 for every transaction while corporates are charged up to
US$10 per transaction.

To be issued with a draft/RMO, individuals and corporates are parting
with between US$8 and US$12.

Telegraphic transfers cost between US$18-25 for both corporates and
individuals. The same amount is being charged for deposits received by
telegraphic transfers.

Banks are also charging as much as US$20 for deposit of bank notes for
each transaction.

Individuals are either not being charged to maintain their accounts or
are parting with anything below US$3 depending on the bank. Corporates are
being charged between US$8 and US$12 per month for monthly account

FCA inter account transfers cost between US$1 and US$4 depending on
the bank for both individuals and corporates.

Service charges for salary processing tariffs cost between US$1 and
US$3 per entry for manual salary payments.

Companies will be charged between US$7 and US$10 per payroll for late
salary submissions.

Most banks have not set a charge for intermediated money transfer tax.
Unclaimed salaries for other employees cost between US$4 and US$7.

Facility negotiation fees for corporates cost 5% of the value of the
overdraft or loans.

Between US$4 and US$8 is being charged for stop orders. Accounts
closed within six months are attracting a fee of between US$18 and US$25,
while reactivation of a dormant account costs between US$20 and US$25.

Services for bonds guarantees, securities and indemnities and bills
range from 5% and 10% of the amount at hand.

Charges for letters of guarantee, and guarantees are between 4% and 6%
of the amount involved.
Letters of credit -- foreign inward -- cost US$75 per credit. Foreign
outward for commercial banks cost 10% of the amount being transacted.

Barclays Bank is advising its customers on how they can control their
banking costs.

"Make use of alternative methods of transacting such as making use of
the cash machine (ATM) to withdraw cash, rather than cashing cheques in the
banking hall. Draw cheques to cut down your transaction costs," said

"Frequent small cash machine (ATM) withdrawals will cost you more than
making larger, less frequent withdrawals. Ensure sufficient funds in your
account before issuing a cheque to avoid penalty fees. The bank will not pay
against uncleared effect," Barclays said.

The move by the Reserve Bank to encourage everyone to have an FCA is
viewed as the final humiliation for Zimbabwe's defenceless dollar.


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Govt, RBZ Officials in new Farm Invasion

Thursday, 12 February 2009 19:33
LAWYERS representing Inter-fresh Ltd - a listed agro-process-ing
counter of the ZSE - have written a letter of demand to six senior
government and Reserve Bank officials who threatened to occupy Yarrowdale
Farm in Mazoe.

The officials are identified as Matthews Kunaka CEO of Fiscorp, a
subsidiary of the Reserve Bank, Messrs Veremu and Jijita from the Central
Intelligence Organisation, a Mr Tembo from the Zimbabwe National Army and
Margaret Zinyemba Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Mazoe South.
They claimed that they had offer letters issued by the Ministry of
Lands empowering them to take over the farm.

The incident has caused ructions in the nascent unity government which
has committed itself to
have a proper land audit and to halt disturbances on the farms. There
were frantic efforts this week from the government and the Reserve Bank to
halt the invasion.

The Independent learnt yesterday that Kunaka has since been summoned
by RBZ governor Gideon Gono to a meeting at which he was ordered to stop
laying claim to the farm. The meeting was followed up by a strong letter
from Gono chastising Kunaka.

"We are on record as condemning illegal farm occupations and
advocating for good order," Gono said in the letter. "You cannot nine years
after the first invasions be seen to be associated with activities that
negate the new spirit of advancing dialogue and productivity throughout the

Interfresh has since issued a cautionary statement to its shareholders
advising of the disturbances on the farm situated 41km north of Harare.

Documents to hand show that on February 7, a group of individuals
accompanied by ZRP policemen and a uniformed ZNA military policeman are said
to have claimed ownership of plots on Yarrowdale Farm, the crop section of
Mazoe Citrus Estate.

They allegedly ordered Interfresh employees to vacate all the houses
on the farm by today (February 13) so that they could move in en masse.

According to the company's lawyers Kantor & Immerman, Interfresh was
the holder of the farm's title deeds and was entitled to peaceful and
undisturbed possession of the estate until such rights were varied by an
order of a competent of court.

"The land is fully cultivated and fully utilised. It does not fall
into compulsory acquisition under the current legislation. In fact there are
a number of legal matters pending in regard thereto, which militate against
the allocation of this land to third parties," said Kantor & Immerman.

"If you allege that you have a legal right to act as you did, please
let us have full details of the alleged basis upon which you purport to act.
Further and assuming that you are in possession of letters of allocation
please let us have a copy in respect of each person who attended at
Yarrowdale Farm and threatened our clients' employees," Kantor & Immerman
wrote to the alleged invaders.

 Kantor & Immerman said it had advised its clients to advise their
shareholders of the developments and to approach the relevant court for
urgent redress.

"Should you attempt to evict our client unlawfully on February 13 2009
as threatened we will take the matter with the courts and the relevant
minister(s)," said the lawyers.

The letters were also copied to the Minister of Lands and State
Security Didymus Mutasa and the officer in charge as Mazoe police station. -
Staff Writer.

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When it Opens, will it Still be the Same?

Thursday, 12 February 2009 18:14
IT is hardly a week before the stock market marks its third month of

Few people could have anticipated the market impasse to remain
unresolved up to this day. While discussions are being made for resumption
of trading, the processes seem to be dragging at a snail's pace.
The recent dollarisation, or is it multi-currencying   of the economy
added to the problems holding back activity on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange

Both the monetary and fiscal policy statements, announced recently,
allowed the use of multiple currencies on the ZSE. For many, the idea of
earning US dollars on their equity investment is a welcome development.

All they want to know is when the market is going to open so that they
could realise their gains.

What is deplorable, though, is the introduction of new charges on
share transactions. In its wisdom, the central bank announced a 1,5%
financial sector levy on equity trades. Concurrently the MPS declared that
3,5% of the sale proceeds shall be liquidated to central bank at the
interbank rate.

This was well in line with the economic policy thrust of collecting as
much foreign currency as possible for the Treasury from every source
imaginable. It would appear that little attention was paid to the adverse
impact these directives would have on the market.

The proposed new charges on share transactions make the ZSE one of the
most expensive exchanges in the region and possibly globally.

Added to the current charges which include stamp duty, brokers'
commissions, VAT and capital gains the total transaction costs amount to
about 17%. In comparisons the regional average is around 2%. The exorbitant
costs will put off potential investors who would rather invest in less risky

The increased charges would not have been an issue if trading was to
remain in Zim dollars under hyperinflation conditions.

This is because prices were rising by on average 100% per day which
would more than compensate for the high charges. Not so with US dollars.
Share prices do not easily and quickly rise up by 17% in US dollars even in
stable economies, let alone in Zimbabwe.

In 2006, for instance, only the Dow Jones grew by about 17% while
other indices such as the FTSE100, Nasdaq and the Nikkei 225 rose by between
6%-11%. The following year, the best performing amongst the big four indices
was the Nasdaq at 9,81% while in 2008 the quartet suffered losses of more
than 30%.

To then expect the ZSE to rise up by 17% before an investor could sell
for a profit would be folly. The economic fundamentals remain negative and
the political risk remains high even as an inclusive government is being
formulated. Besides the country has stringent exchange controls which
distract potential foreign investors who are easily accommodated in more
investor-friendly countries in the region.

Another thing that seemed lost on the policy makers even as they
dollarised the economy is that there are not many US dollars in the economy.
Maybe, they misconstrue the long queues at selected Spar supermarkets as a
sign that the economy is awash with forex. Nothing could be far further from
the truth.

For starters, the average basket at those shops is hardly US$20.
Besides the regular customers seen pushing trolley-full of groceries, many
people just come to buy basics such as mealie-meal, cooking oil and sugar

These supermarkets are better stocked than their main competitors
thereby prompting people to travel from across town to access desired
commodities. Traffic is low in most shops that are not as stocked as the

With many struggling to raise the little foreign exchange to pay for
basic necessities, it is inconceivable to expect them to save let alone
invest on risk assets such as equities. Previously, they would invest on the
ZSE because it was the only sector which was still accepting Zim dollars.

At the same time, corporates saw the market as a means through which
they could manage their working capital. The use of foreign currency in the
economy takes away the need for hedging and the little forex earned is
usually used for re-stocking, paying staff or recapitalizing their

When trading resumes many people and individuals are likely to be
selling shares to raise hard currency for basic requirements. For people who
not long ago would sell and wait for three days before receiving Zim
dollars, which they would then use to buy forex, the prospect of directly
receiving US dollars will be too good to resist.

The selling pressure will inevitably force share prices down unless
foreign investors come in as buyers. Presently, there has not been
substantial evidence of foreign investors standing by to buy shares on the
ZSE although those rumours have been circulating for some time.

 The probable lack of buyers on the market will limit activity on the
stock market. Until forex inflows improve, few trades will take place in US
dollars. It appears like the current illusion of US dollar inflows possibly
will turn into a nightmare for many investors unless the trading conditions
and regulations are improved.


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Zimdollar Suffers Pariah Status

Thursday, 12 February 2009 18:14
IN ZIMBABWE, many streets are littered with discarded Zimbabwean
dollar bills, and nobody bothers to pick them up.

With economists estimating inflation at above five billion percent and
the recent dollarisation, the local currency has become a big joke to
retailers and services providers who are refusing to accept it as legal

For ordinary Zimbabweans, life has become more difficult as they do
not have access to the foreign currency now being demanded by shopkeepers
for payment.

This is despite government and Reserve Bank pleas that the new
currency should run parallel to the multiple currencies that are on the
market, as part of measures to liberalise the economy.

The de facto "dollarisation" which was formally announced this year
has been thriving for nearly two years.

Economist Brains Muchemwa said most people in business no longer
wanted to be associated with the local currency.

"Retailers and service providers are pricing their items at an
anticipated replacement cost so accepting the local currency could be
suicidal," said Muchemwa.

Muchemwa however said most people do not have access to foreign
currency and are being disadvantaged by the dollarisation.

In Zimbabwe it is cheaper to buy goods and services in US dollars than
in local currency because the Zimbabwe dollar prices are inflated to account
for inflationary pressure and the price of obtaining the US dollar.

Economist Tony Hawkins said: "In a hyperinflationary environment, the
difficulty for retailers lies in trying to maintain the value of stock."

For example, an item which cost US$2 is sold at US$2,50. But when it
comes to replacing it, it costs US$3.
"In such an environment, a currency that does not lose value is
preferred. The local currency has become worthless," said Hawkins.

Hawkins said foreign exchange earnings would fall sharply this year as
platinum, ferrochrome and nickel earnings feel the heat of the global

"Diaspora remittances, variously estimated at anything from US$500
million to US$1 billion per year are also falling as conditions get tougher
in source markets like England and South Africa and cash transactions
through the parallel market lose their appeal. The net result will be
increased use of goods rather than cash for remittance," said Hawkins.

The Reserve Bank and government bowed to financial reality by
legalising the use of foreign currency in a bid to preserve real value of
the recently introduced local currency.

The move was the final humiliation for Zimbabwe's defenceless dollar,
which was worth more than the United States dollar when the country attained
Independence in 1980.

Even after three revaluations in two years through the lopping off of
25 zeros, the dollar has not stopped its unprecedented depreciation against
major trading currencies, although the parallel market is losing relevance
at an alarmingly rapid rate.

Economist John Robertson said another time bomb was that government
did not have enough foreign currency to pay civil servants and was likely to
continue borrowing when there was no production.

"It (local currency) is the rate at which is was losing value against
major currencies that is making retailers and shop owners refuse to accept
it," said Robertson.

Robertson however said the new government should ensure major sectors
of the economy start performing and that there was enough foreign currency
on the market.

National Incomes and Pricing Commission chairman, Goodwill
Masimirembwa said the local currency remained legal tender despite
government allowing the use of multiple currencies.

"It is not fair for them (retailers and services providers) to refuse
the local currency as it remains our legal tender," said Masimirembwa.

He however said retailers that have been allowed to charge in foreign
currency were still obliged to accept local currency.

"What we are encouraging is that prices of goods and services be in
line with those in the region," said Masimirembwa.

Presenting the 2009 First Quarter Monetary Policy Statement a
fortnight ago, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono gave licensed traders the
green light to pay employees in foreign currency without seeking central
bank approval.

Last month, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said all wage
negotiations should be in United States dollar terms.

The worker representative body said most employees were failing to
access basic requirements because most traders wanted payment in multiple
currencies such as the US dollar or South African rand.

A statement released by the labour body read: "At its special general
council meeting held on January 17, 2009, to deliberate on the parameters
for wage and salary negotiations: The ZCTU general council noted that the
Zimbabwean market has been dollarised and that most social services such as
education, health, rentals and transport, among other things, have been
dollarised," ZCTU said.

"The general council has therefore resolved that starting from January
1, all ZCTU affiliates and the generality of the workforce should negotiate
wages in terms of the United States dollar, failure of which the sector will
withdraw its labour," said ZCTU.

Events in the economy show that Zimbabweans have lost faith in the
local currency despite statutory requirements, which continue to deem the
currency as a legal tender.

The problem with the de-facto dollarisation however is that it had
increased distortions in the economy as other sections of the economy which
are not dollarised are striving to dollarise illegally, fuelling the
parallel market.

The Reserve Bank's reported participation on the parallel foreign
currency markets bears evidence on how close the country was to

This strategy by the Reserve Bank was a case of "actions speak louder
than words". Economists have since said the continued deterioration of the
economy was largely a product of policy inconsistencies and incoherencies
within government decision-making structures.

Economic analysts said the new government's desired course of action
would be to officially dollarise the whole economy, boost production and
exports while automatically eliminating the management of interest rates,
exchange rates, and money supply. Government's failure to manage these
factors has been the primary precipitator of the economic recession.


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Freedom, the Invisible Hand to Build Economy

Thursday, 12 February 2009 18:02
THE budget presented on January 29 by the Acting Minister of Finance
Chinamasa was refreshing in its attempt to restore the fundamental freedoms
of the people in Zimbabwe to do business.

Granted, there still remains a long way to go towards getting our
economy back on its feet again. The complementary monetary statement by the
Reserve Bank governor added more energy to this attempt to get markets

In a now famous statement Adam smith (1723-1790) said that the
combination of self interest, private property, and competition among
sellers in the markets lead producers "as by an invisible hand" to an end
that they did not intend, namely, the well-being of society.

In his legendary book published in 1776, The Wealth of Nations, Smith
had a strong conviction that a market economy was a superior form of
organisation for both economic progress and advancement of human liberty.

Yes markets are imperfect and there is need to regulate these markets,
but the heart of Smith's submission stands tall and largely true in 2009,
over 200 later.

For economic progress, it is important that the government enhances
and safeguards business and individuals to pursue their interests and
capabilities in a competitive environment.

The government should aim mainly at creating equal opportunities, and
protecting freedoms. Equal opportunities and freedom to pursue one's
interests are infinitely powerful motivating forces that have powered the
wealth of nations for years.

The recent budget statement and the allied monetary statement, stood
tall over the previous 10 or so statements in their attempt to restore the
liberties of business to pursue their chosen fields.

Before going into any further details, it is key that we grasp the
boldness of the budget to move in the right direction on the big issues. My
A-level Jesuit priest back in 1988 always said: "It is better to be roughly
right (on the big issues) that to be accurately wrong". In other words let's
get the big issues right and not overly concern ourselves with minor ones.

This was the plausible and refreshing ingredient in this budget that
should be nurtured till it bears us fruit in the form of economic growth.

Market distortions & economic demise

Over the last 10 years, we have witnessed a systematic transfer of
liberties away from individuals, companies and markets to institutions that
had never produced anything to support this economy.

We also bore witness to the government introducing amazing levers into
the market system whose overall impact was to take initiatives out of the
citizens and chipped away at the ability of Zimbabwean business to
profitably engage in activities openly.

These actions by the authorities relied less on the undeniable force
of markets and more on physical policing of citizens to enforce laws that
ran counter to the pursuit of individual goals.

What the policy framework did was basically 'brake' Adam Smith's
individual freedoms. The key achievement of NIPC was to ensure that
businesses were not allowed to sell products at prices that would allow them
to make profits and hence sustain themselves.

In addition, farmers were not allowed to sell their produce to the
highest bidder but to institutions such as GMB which then allocated the
commodities to manufacturers for virtually nothing.

In other words attempts to replace the market pricing power with more
human involvement ushered regrettable levels of inefficiencies and created
huge price distortions whose biggest beneficiaries remained the corrupt
among us.

In these well-intended attempts to cushion the poor, all we actually
managed to create was a highly flawed system which went on to corrupt the
best of our people and created instant millionaires who supped on the work
of the majority without creating new wealth. The result was serious
de-industrialisation and impoverishment of the economy.

The genius of this budget therefore was its attempt to rid the markets
of NIPC, price distortions and put the country back on to a course where
pricing power was handed back to businesses. This dynamism as Adam Smith
pointed out motivates us to deliver lower prices through higher efficiencies
born out of innovation.

There is thus far no better way of allocating resources and moving
communities forward! As the monetary policy pointed out, when this power and
freedom were unleashed onto the markets a sample of goods which cost
US$43,45 went down a whooping 44% down to US$24,20 in the 90 days between
October 28 and 26 January! The markets achieved in 90 days what NIPC has
been trying to do in years!

Here is the trick: The more we free markets and people to compete and
add value to goods, the more the society benefits. For as long as we
appreciate this basic truth, the efforts of government and regulators
becomes easy.

The prime objective of the authorities becomes the pursuit of creating
an environment where businesses can compete; given the tools and freedoms to
pursue their passions.

The government rightly must intervene to kill monopolistic tendencies
by encouraging competition. It must come in to provide infrastructure; the
roads, the power grid, and the broadband superhighway.

It is my hope that the inclusive government builds on the seeds of
freedoms that the Budget of 2009 has sown to bring the economy back on the

Mafukidze is the chairman and chief financial Architect of KM
Financial Solutions.


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Unity Govt Offers new Opportunities

Thursday, 12 February 2009 20:15
ON Wednesday, Zimbabwe turned a new leaf just like it did on November
11, 1965, a day that remains etched in the country's story as the beginning
of the end of white minority rule.

Will they or will they not? Will it or will it not work? How secure is
Zimbabwe's future in the hands of three men? Whose government is it anyway?
What is the Zimbabwean promise? Will they or will they not deliver on the
Zimbabwean promise? How will it work?

Conversations on Zimbabwe continue to be shaped by the past and our
collective inability to locate the Zimbabwe story where it should be
correctly located, ie in the hands of the people who have the ultimate
responsibility to make it work.

The inclusive government provides yet another opportunity for citizens
to begin serious discussions about democracy, government and the challenges
of nation building, with special attention on Zimbabwe's contemporary

Regrettably, in 1980 euphoria took precedence and citizens squandered
the opportunity offered by Independence to engage in conversations about
what kind of Zimbabwe they wanted to create and whose responsibility it was
going to be to make it happen.

Many expected much from state actors who in the pursuit of power
promised too much and never took time to think about what the Zimbabwean
promise was all about. Free education was offered and taken advantage of,
and yet the resources to sustain such a promise dwindled by the day.

The last 29 years have shown that the state has been an unreliable
partner or instrument of the people. Instead of serving the people
efficiently and effectively, the state has become a monster with a track
record of dismal performance.

The focus has rightly been on the head of the fish in the firm belief
that removing the head will terminate the life of the presumed toxic asset.
Zimbabweans and the rest of the world have come to accept that Robert Mugabe
is the toxic asset and any solution that leaves him in the melting pot will
not advance the Zimbabwean promise.

What should have been the touchstone of Zimbabwe's post-colonial
society? To the extent that post-colonial Zimbabwe was born out of an unjust
political, social and economic system, it was the expectation that the new
society would be informed by an acknowledgment that freedom, responsibility
and citizen participation were fundamental and non-negotiable foundational

However, as Zimbabwe travels the last mile of Mugabe's exclusive rule,
it must be accepted that citizens abdicated in their responsibilities to
ensure that their freedom was never to be the business of someone else.

Many trusted state actors to guarantee their freedom, refusing to be
the change they wanted to see. The mere fact that the focus is on Mugabe
confirms what is wrong with the country. People have been crowded out of the
solution market and the state actors with no better solutions have taken the
mantle with no defined end game.

A danger exists now as it did in 1980 that citizens yet again will
choose to surrender their sovereignty to elected (or dubiously elected)
individuals who will represent them in the inclusive transitional
government. The last 29 years have exposed the fact that citizens failed to
create their own institutional arrangements to hold their representatives in
the state accountable and responsible.

Zimbabwe faces challenges and there remains no consensus on what is
required to address such challenges.

Sadc/AU, President Mugabe and Zanu PF are at one in holding the view
that sanctions ought to be removed as a starting point and this alone will
facilitate the turnaround. How accurate is the assessment that Zimbabwe is
solely a victim of the targeted sanctions regime?

If the priority is to remove sanctions that have been imposed by
sovereign governments who are entitled to their own opinion about what kind
of Zimbabwe they want and should like to support, it is unlikely that
Zimbabwe will move forward in the short-term without addressing the concerns
of the sanctions imposers.

The Zimbabwean promise can only be guaranteed and delivered by
Zimbabweans working together. How feasible is it that Zimbabweans will be
inspired by the transitional administration to take responsibility for the
country's future?

Over the last 29 years, citizens have rightly lost confidence in their
representatives in the state who saw their primary function as that of
thinking for the people and providing for the people. It must now be obvious
that the future of Zimbabwe lies in the hands of the doers and dreamers who
do not necessary have to be state actors.

To what extent was the Zimbabwean crisis caused by bad decisions and
the inaction of citizens?

Zimbabwe has been joined by even the developed states that are also
engulfed by an unprecedented economic crisis, a response to which has had
the effect of placing state actors as the drivers of change and development.

Only time will tell if state actors can substitute for private actors
in driving the economic engine, but history does not have good examples of
countries that have delivered on their promise without citizens enjoying
freedom, justice and liberty.

What is clear in the case of Zimbabwe is that the state has now thrown
the towel and has accepted that the power of the market in allocating
resources cannot be underestimated. For President Mugabe to accept the
dollarisation regime now in place knowing his views on the West and
neo-liberal economic theories exposes the fact that there is after all no
alternative plan in place.

Zimbabweans have no choice but to make hard choices and deliberate
urgently on issues that bring cohesion and invest in the information
required to make decisions that advance the promise. This responsibility
should lie less in the hands of state actors but citizens whose future
should never again be the business of a few minds in the state.

There are many ideas that people have in their minds about what
Zimbabwe needs to move forward but such ideas must and should not be
retailed but wholesaled through organisation. Zimbabweans, whether in or out
of the country, must be organised so that they can have an effective
mechanism to talk to their government.

This must be done urgently and such organisations must represent real
interests that determine the success or failure of the country.

Zimbabwe is a creature of citizens and is an artificial person without
the benefit of a human voice. Citizens are the only people who can give this
artificial person a voice. If Zimbabwe were to speak, would it be satisfied
with the actions of citizens in advancing its interests?

Zimbabwe is at the crossroads and it can only move forward by finding
opportunity, common ground and leverage in its hitherto divided society. It
would be wrong for citizens to choose to be spectators of history at this
defining moment. It is important that citizens reclaim their future by
demanding from their representatives a new dispensation of transparency and

Already, it is obvious that all is not well in the state. Gideon Gono
continues to make the case that he was as much a victim of sanctions as he
was a victim of the actions of a confused administration.

An understanding of the role of the RBZ and the state in undermining
the rule of law, property rights and human rights through a commission of
inquiry set up by the inclusive government has to be a good starting point
to allow citizens to know how far their government had been imprisoned a by
few "wise" men and women.

Mawere is a Zimbabwe-born South African businessman.


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Eric Bloch: Economy Shackled

Thursday, 12 February 2009 16:24
THE recent 2009 national Budget Statement, closely followed by the
Monetary Policy Statement for the first half-year of 2009, contained much
that was highly commendable, targeted at stimulating and facilitating the
very long-awaited and very overdue, greatly needed, economic turnaround.

Tragically, however, that turnaround will be markedly less than is so
desperately needed to restore wellbeing for the grievously distressed,
grossly impoverished, majority of Zimbabweans, for both statements were
cataclysmically imbalanced in that, notwithstanding many positive contents,
there were equally many facets of the intended new policies which are not
only inconducive to economic recovery, but will also retard the extent of
that recovery.

Of the numerous economic issues which have to be urgently and
constructively addressed, the first and foremost is the horrendous
hyperinflation which has raised the cost of living to atmospheric heights,
beyond the means of almost all. (No authoritative  inflation data exists, in
the absence of any releases  from Central Statistical Office (CSO) for more
than six months,  but it is indisputable that  the annualised rate of
inflation is many trillions per cent, or even more.)

 The need for dynamic inflation-reduction actions was unequivocally
acknowledged by the Acting Minster of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa, in his
Budget Statement, but inconsistently with that recognition of the necessary,
he then tabled several proposals which will markably increase inflation,
instead of reducing it.

Amongst the inflationary measures is the imposition of the previously
foreshadowed fuel levy of 22 US cents per litre.

There is not a single element of the Zimbabwean economy that is not
heavily fuel dependent, be it for public transport to and from employment,
the carriage of goods to and from industry, the operations of the
agricultural, mining and tourism sectors, or any other socio-economic

Whilst the fuel levy will generate considerable, very much needed
revenues for government, it will be an immense direct and indirect burden
upon the economy as a whole and upon the consumer population in particular.

Not only will the consequential hardships of the populace be immense,
but the inflation occasioned by the fuel levy will severely impact upon the
economy, and therefore have very negative effects upon other governmental
revenue flows.

In like manner, the long-intended levying of toll fees on national
roads, now to be introduced by March 1 2009, will exacerbate inflation, for
they will apply to the very considerable heavy-duty haulage vehicles which
ply the intercity roads, carrying manufacturing inputs to industry, finished
goods for distribution to consumers, agricultural produce to markets, and
much else, as well as also become a substantive costs to all other road

As if these measures do not suffice to increase inflation to a
gargantuan extent, customs duties on many imports have also been very
increased. Although it is very meritorious that the Acting Minister of
Finance desires to protect local manufacturers against undue import
competition, the new range and level of duties do not only pursue this
objective but, in innumerable instances, markedly increase the landed costs
of very many essential imports.

It is incomprehensible  that government  should increase  the costs to
consumers of absolutely essential  products, and particularly so  when most
consumers are already so impoverished  that more than half of Zimbabwe's
population is desperately struggling to survive  on incomes  far below  the
food datum line, whilst over three-quarters of the population  barely
subsist at levels  below the poverty datum line! Such actions by the
government verges upon the criminally irresponsible.

But these appallingly ill-considered budgetary actions were not the
only ones which will catastrophically worsen inflation, causing ever-greater
suffering for most Zimbabweans, and potentially accelerating economic

Government has approved massive tariff increases for various
parastatals, and especially so for the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority
(Zesa). Admittedly, previously prevailing tariffs were unrealistically low,
and were relatively minuscule by comparison with those prevailing elsewhere
in the region.

But government has now moved from one extreme to the other, raising
the tariffs to as great as five times  those applicable in neighbouring

The impacts of those increases will not only be upon the general
population of Zimbabweans, as consumers, but will have volcanic operational
cost effects upon all economic sectors, and therefore upon the prices of all
goods and services (whilst concurrently further eroding export market
competitiveness, with consequentially great reductions in production
volumes, which will in turn very considerably increase all domestic market

Similar, overly-great tariff increases have been approved for diverse
other parastatals, with similar adverse repercussions.

Compounding these and many other governmentally-created triggers of
yet greater inflation is the authorisation of Zesa, various other
parastatals and local authorities to require payment of service charges in
foreign currency by all, other than in certain respects by residents of
high-density areas.

Not all enterprises in commerce and industry, and not all residents of
medium and low-density areas are recipients of foreign currency and,
therefore, in order to fund access to essential services, many will have no
alternative but (unlawfully) to source foreign currency needs in the
"alternative" black and parallel markets.

Moreover, not all businesses will be able to obtain foreign exchange
licences from the Reserve Bank, in view of the prohibitively high  license
fee of US$12 000 per annum. Such fee is far beyond the means of low turnover
enterprises of a nature which does not qualify them to be registered SMEs
(for whom lesser fees apply), but whose revenues cannot sustain a fee of
such magnitude.

Such enterprises will be confronted with only two  options, being
either to discontinue operations or, in the alternative,  notwithstanding
the constraints of law, to source required  foreign currency  illegally, at
high cost, impacting upon their pricing  policies and therefore, upon

Yet another highly inflationary determination of government contained
in the Budget Statement is the obligation, imposed upon all businesses as
are registered VAT operators, to effect payment of VAT to the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority (Zimra) by the third day of each month.

Any businesses that extend credit to customers will, to a very
substantial extent, not have received payment for sales by that date, and
therefore will have to fund the VAT payments from own resources.

With most having suffered severe capital erosion due to
hyperinflation, they will have to fund the VAT payments from bank overdrafts
or other borrowings, at interest rates   exceeding 40 000 per cent per
annum. To do so, they will have to cost the burden of interest into selling
prices, representing yet further inflation.

How does the Zimbabwean government expect to achieve the long overdue,
critically necessary economic recovery, when it is the catalyst for yet
further, untenably great, inflation? Despite the various positive measures
in the Budget, nevertheless government has cruelly, once again, shackled the
economy, and it must urgently rethink those foolhardy intents.

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Candid Comment: Time for more results, less rhetoric

Thursday, 12 February 2009 17:03
FIRST things first: it's not a bad thing to join millions of fellow
citizens in passing on good wishes to the new Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai on his ascent to the post of premier.

This is necessary because his success or failure and that of
government have a bearing on the welfare of us all.

Yet at the same time it would be pertinent to remind Tsvangirai and
his colleagues in government right from the start that time for long
speeches and rhetoric is up. The next step demands leadership and delivery.

The rather easier part has been done. Negotiating, bargaining, and
signing agreements in five-star hotels while wining and dining extravagantly
was the relatively easy part.

The real task for Tsvangirai and his colleagues in government lies
ahead. Problems confronting them and the nation are many and varied. They
are multifaceted and mountainous. The climb will be steep and hard.

Zimbabwe desperately needs a New Deal to end a decade of misery and
suffering authored by President Robert Mugabe's hopelessly corrupt and
incompetent regime. The damage inflicted on the fabric of the nation and its
social fibre by this coterie of lazy, greedy and failed leaders is severe.

Tsvangirai and the government need to appreciate that we are engulfed
in a sea of troubles. The waters around us are choppy and that requires
ministers to stop behaving as if they are on a summer picnic as soon they
take office today.

The behaviour of ministers hanging around in offices like tourists on
holiday must stop.

The attitude of public officials who think that getting into office is
a means to primitive accumulation of wealth via stealing and bribes must no
longer be entertained.

It's refreshing Tsvangirai promised "honest and open" leadership. But
it doesn't end there. He must not just give his word, but walk the talk.

From day one, ministers must show they mean business. They must also
remember they are public officials paid through taxpayers' money. They are
not "chefs" but public servants. They were elected or appointed to serve the
people, not to boss them around and steal from them.

With the entry of Tsvangirai into government, navigating the stormy
seas surrounding Zimbabwe's economy could be somewhat easier if those in
charge work together in thrust and purpose.

The first 100 days will be critical. They will show whether or not the
government has picked the right or wrong direction.

As Tsvangirai rightly said, the top priorities of the government would
have to include, first and foremost, dealing with the humanitarian crisis
which is characterised by hunger and disease. People are starving, mostly in
rural areas. They need emergency food relief. That must be mobilised and
distributed immediately without prejudice.

Mugabe's regime has a long history of using food as a political
weapon, feeding its supporters alone while starving rival followers. It also
has a record of banning food distribution among the population considered to
be politically hostile.

Government must first move to stamp out cholera, an easily treatable
disease that was allowed by the ancien regime to spread like a veld fire,
killing over 3 000 people - which is a massacre worse than the civilian
killings during the recent Gaza war. Nearly 100 000 others were affected.
Mugabe's government dismally failed to act. Foreigners actually rescued the

Apart from dealing with hunger and disease, government must deal with
social services. They must move quickly to ensure schools, universities and
colleges, hospitals and clinics and other public utilities are reopened.
Public transport must be revived. Water and electricity supply must be
restored. Sewage systems must be repaired. Garbage must be collected.

Roads must be repaired or resurfaced.

These are the basic benchmarks we shall judge them by before we even
come to the tougher task of economic recovery. The state of the economy is
shocking. This must be noted. Mugabe and his cronies succeeded in destroying
a once-prosperous economy, turning it into the Zimbabwe Ruins.

The damage is huge and appalling. It would need a massive aid package
to reverse. Zimbabwe needs urgent aid and balance-of-payments support to
stabilise the economy before instituting fundamental reforms.

This means a comprehensive economic stabilisation plan is essential.
It has to deal with basic and structural economic problems. The revival of
agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, and industry is key. Domestic and
foreign direct investment are needed. Loans, grants and aid inflows will be

In that connection, political reforms must come soon. The rule of law
and property rights must be restored. This means the judiciary and other key
arms of government must be freed from executive chains.

Political repression and impunity must stop. Civil and political
liberties must be restored. The media has to be unchained now. We need a new
constitution. We also need to stamp out the endemic culture of political
violence, arbitrary arrests and torture. The country needs to be freed from
Mugabe's legacy of fear, hunger and poverty.


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Comment: GNU: Let's have the Change People Desire

Thursday, 12 February 2009 17:03
ARE we witnessing the beginning of a new era or simply seeing the old
guard purchasing a new lease on life?

It has to be said, while newspapers may be duty-bound to exercise some
scepticism over an arrangement that allows President Mugabe's dead-wood
cronies to hang on to office when their dismal record is only too evident,
at the same time there is room for cautious optimism as a new generation
takes charge at various levels within the country.

The MDC now governs most of the nation's urban centres, including its
four largest cities. It has a majority of parliamentary seats, 14 cabinet
posts, and the posts of prime minister and deputy prime minister. Several
governorships are on their way, we gather.

Whatever the obstacles to change laid in the path of the party's
agenda, it cannot claim an absence of capacity. What it lacks is experience.
But that is a problem common to new incumbents around the world.

Tony Blair and nearly all his cabinet were new to office in 1997. So
was Nelson Mandela in 1994. What the MDC needs to do is seize the goodwill
going for it at home and abroad and make capital out of it.

There are a number of litmus tests which the new government will face.
In his Glamis Stadium address, Tsvangirai referred to restoration of the
rule of law as a priority.

That will mean the release of the remaining political prisoners, an
end to abductions and torture, and a complete overhaul of the
law-enforcement regime aimed at instilling professional behaviour. Giles
Mutsekwa as co-Home Affairs minister has a mountain to climb in getting this

Tsvangirai said he wanted to see a country in which people are not
afraid to express their opinions. That for the media means allowing a
diversity of views to contend. In particular we want to see a public media
where people of differing viewpoints have access.

For too long the country has been "served" by a partisan and
unprofessional media which denounces the ruling party's perceived enemies.
Their inept coverage of Tsvangirai's swearing in tells us all we need to
know about their usefulness.

As was pointed out at a Jomic meeting last week, once ZBC opens up to
a proliferation of views, there will be no need for exiled broadcasters. We
must allow our own nationals to return home and extend a welcome to foreign

We have for too long heard about the evil of sanctions without being
told of the evils that gave birth to them. Even as the swearing in ceremony
was taking place, the state's apologists were dutifully claiming that the
nation's crisis stemmed from sanctions.

Sadc, the AU and shamefully even Arthur Mutambara were adding their
voices to this mendacity without calling for a restoration of the rule of
law and the release of political prisoners.

It is important to remind ourselves that the circumstances that led to
the imposition of sanctions  - political violence, illegal land seizures,
misgovernance - persist. That is why we need a professional police force and
an independent judiciary that is not afraid to uphold individual rights,
particularly the right to liberty.

Tsvangirai has his work cut out for him. He reminded his audience at
Glamis Stadium on Wednesday that it was exactly 19 years to the day since
Nelson Mandela walked as a free man from imprisonment in Cape Town.
Wednesday's events were just the beginning of a similar journey, he
emphasised. It would be a "long road to freedom" for his party with so much
on their agenda.

One of his priorities will be the collapse of the health system. The
cholera scourge stalking the land is the direct product of political
delinquency. If funds allocated to fleets of vehicles for ministers,
generals and judges had instead been spent on proper sanitation systems, we
could have saved thousands of lives.

Some of Tsvangirai's ministers will think they have been given a
ticket to jump aboard the state's gravy train. He needs to disabuse them of
this view and light a fire under those sleeping on the job.
The people voted for change. They want to see change. They want a
unity government only in so far as it delivers results.

Now let's see it do that.

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Muckraker: Mbizvo Shows Education has Gone to the dogs

Thursday, 12 February 2009 16:14
THE Zimbabwe Independent and Standard were represented at last Friday's
meeting of Jomic where media houses were called upon to promote national

In terms of the September 15 accord the press is expected to provide
"balanced and fair coverage" to all parties and to refrain from using
language that may incite hostility.

Prof Welshman Ncube chaired the meeting. The monitoring body is
co-chaired by Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC on a rotational basis with Nicholas
Goche and Elton Mangoma as the other co-chairpersons.

Representatives of Zimpapers and ZBH were also present.

The government press rose to the occasion by reporting only what the
politicians present said. They censored not only what the private media had
to say but also what their own colleagues said.

So here is an approximate summary of the points made.

ZBC kicked off by complaining bitterly about sanctions and asking what
measures were being taken against "pirate" radio stations.

Members of the committee replied that there should be no need for
"external" stations to continue their operations if ZBC performed its
mandate as a public service. The Herald in its version translated this as
"illegal operations".

The independent journalists pointed out that the first sanctions that
needed to be lifted were those imposed upon the press. Aippa in particular
needed to go.

Zanu PF and the MDC had arbitrarily decided upon amendments to the Act
at the beginning of last year. This absence of consultation should not
happen again, it was said.

The public media remained abusive and partisan, it was argued, despite
the September 15 agreement. This should stop. In particular, the public
media should act more professionally. As a public media, it needed to
reflect the diversity of Zimbabwean society. Journalists expelled from the
country should be welcomed back, it was said.

Zimpapers claimed that the public media should be loyal to the
government of the day. Zimind responded that the public media should be
beholden to the public, not the government.

This was "semantics", a ZBH official said.

Jomic would be subject to public scrutiny of their performance, the
independent press made it clear.

Independent journalists would certainly not be "called" to take their
marching orders from the committee.

That was not the committee's intention, the chairman replied. The
committee sought the cooperation of all players, both private and public.

He also said the committee was not concerned with past grievances. The
country needed to move forwards.

It is not clear where that leaves Aippa. But generally speaking,
Zimind welcomes Jomic's approach to the media and expects to see "balanced
and fair" reporting - conspicuous by its absence in the state media's
coverage of the Jomic meeting - given greater attention.

On Friday evening, the same day as the Jomic meeting, Goodson Nguni
was telling ZTV viewers that Britain, America and white people were the
country's "enemies".

Let's place this on record so we know who the country's real enemies

A sheriff in Scotland has accused a mixed-race mother fighting a
child-access dispute of behaving like the Zimbabwean president, Robert
Mugabe, and "inciting anarchy".

Sheriff Richard Davidson's comments, directed at Tina Monem, have come
under fire from race campaigners, who are demanding an investigation.

The sheriff, who has found himself at the centre of controversy over
previous comments, told Monem (26), whose father is from Bangladesh, that if
she did not accept his ruling, she could "go to Zimbabwe".

She had repeatedly refused to comply with a court decision allowing
her former partner to have access to his child with an adult relative
present. In court papers Sheriff Davidson stressed the importance of
upholding "the rule of law".

"If you want an illustration of what happens when the rule of law is
undermined by government, you need look no further than what is currently
going on in Zimbabwe, where the president, who is scarcely still entitled to
be so described, has by brute force and threats of violence completely
undermined the democratic process," he wrote. "You may find the analogy with
Robert Mugabe to be distressing and uncomfortable, but if I let you get away
with continuing to defy the order of the court, then someone else will defy
the order of the court citing you as a precedent and, before long, we will
have anarchy."

He went on: "If you want to live subject to an anarchic dictatorship,
then you can go to Zimbabwe. I will not allow anarchy to rule here."

Monem, from Carnoustie, Angus, told The Scotsman she was "deeply
humiliated" by the Dundee-based sheriff's remarks. "I feel horribly upset at
being prejudiced against and about being compared to Robert Mugabe.

I'm not going out killing people, yet the sheriff thought it perfectly
all right to have both our names in the same sentence.  Monem, a deputy
scheme manager at Bield Housing Association in Dundee, added: "I've studied
and gone to college and I've got a job, but comments like that bring back
all the bad memories."

Sheriff Davidson's remarks have ignited a debate over the extent to
which members of Scotland's judiciary should be held to account for their
comments. The principle of independence within the judiciary means sheriffs
and judges are protected from political influence and remain generally free
from censure by ministers.

Muckraker was shocked by a report in the Guardian recently that
Britain is to give India US$1,2 billion over the next three years to lift
hundreds of millions of people out of  poverty.

India, let us remind ourselves, is a nuclear-armed power that sent a
spacecraft to the moon last year. If its government chooses to spend
national resources on nuclear armament, that is its own sorry business. But
what does the UK government think it is doing spending public resources in
the middle of an unprecedented financial crisis on what Indians themselves
should be doing - alleviating poverty?

Which brings us to the next point. India recently celebrated its 59th
birthday as a republic.  It is the world's largest democracy, we are
constantly reminded. Extensive column inches were devoted in the press to
what it has achieved in that time. Zimbabwe has benefited from technology
training, we are told.

But what steps has India taken to cultivate democracy in the
developing world? Has it ever said a single thing about human rights
violations in countries such as Zimbabwe and Burma? Or is it too preoccupied
with maintaining its influence through the Non-Aligned Movement? Which
requires it to say nothing!

'The press in Zimbabwe has let the people down." MIC chair Tafataona
Mahoso declared in his tortuous Sunday Mail contribution last weekend. That's
because we had failed to expose that nothing has changed in the opposition's
regime-change agenda.

Needless to say, nothing has changed in Mahoso's anti-democratic
agenda either!

The parties and media involved in the "illegal regime-change onslaught
on Zimbabwe", he complained, have adopted the rhetoric of power sharing
while continuing to pursue their original objectives.

So, at last he's got it! The MDC and civic society will continue to
press for democratic reform in the teeth of resistance from political
recidivists like Mahoso.

In particular, we have to be polite about President Mugabe.

"Any attempt to deny or destroy his role is not consistent with the
meaning of power-sharing and inclusive governance," Mahoso pontificates.

In other words, despite the fact that Mugabe is head of state, head of
government and first secretary of the ruling party, we should not question
his ability to run the country.

How convenient!

"The people elected President Mugabe on June 27 2008. Sadc has no
quarrel with President Mugabe," Mahoso declares. "The AU has no quarrel with

Fortunately our paper last week carried the text of the Rev Frank
Chikane's remarks at the conclusion of the Pretoria meeting on January 28.

Referring to last year's election, he said the first round of voting
in March was held under conditions that were acceptable.

"Now the second round was done and both Sadc and the AU and everybody
agreed that the conditions for the second round were not acceptable in terms
of free and fair elections and there has not been any doubt or controversy
about that matter."

So, the director-general in the South African presidency is quite sure
that there is agreement by all concerned that the June election was held
under conditions that were unacceptable in terms of free and fair elections.
He spoke for Sadc.

Mahoso nearly got away with it. But you see what difference a free
press makes.

No wonder he denounces us. We get in the way of his deceit. Nobody
except Mahoso believes the June election was free and fair. We all knew
that. Now we have it on the record, both South African and Sadc.

Gideon Gono appears to be fighting a rearguard action against Patrick
Chinamasa's budget.

There have been misconceptions, he suggested. Under dollarisation the
foreign currency formally replaces the currency of another, he explained to
the Sunday Mail's Munyaradzi Huni. "This is quite distinct from what we have
done here which is simply that for ease of transactional purposes in the
light of sanctions against our cash supply chain, we have allowed the
co-circulation of the Zimbabwe dollar along with foreign currencies. The
foreign currencies are therefore complementing the local currency, rather
than replacing it."

Yes, but doesn't the local unit have to have some value before it can
be "complemented"?

Muckraker was intrigued by Master of Ceremonies, Washington Mbizvo's
remarks at Wednesday's swearing in ceremony. The word "fulsome" came to mind
as he heaped praise on President Mugabe and compared events to Galileo
"navigating his way around the world".

As far as we recall Galileo never left the European shore!

That was not the only falsehood uttered by the good doctor during this
historic occasion. He also attributed  to Galileo the statement: "The real
leader has no need to lead - he is content to point the way".

A basic Google search reveals that the statement was coined by modern
times American novelist and painter Henry Miller who died in 1980.

As Higher Education permanent secretary, is it not evident which way
the good doctor has been leading our colleges and universities.

But never mind, this turned out to be Tsvangirai's day. He was warmly
greeted by Sadc leaders after the ceremony, and even John Nkomo and Didymus
("Mugabe is our king") Mutasa found time to chat. Grace came over and
extended her congratulations. But the service chiefs were conspicuous by
their absence. It's just as well. They may have spoilt the party with some
maladroit remarks.

Somebody who wasn't going to let anybody rain on his parade was Arthur
Mutambara. He looked like the cat who had got the cream. But we don't fully
understand the pause between "So help me" and "God".
"God" was invoked with some enthusiasm.

Is there method in Arthur's madness? Who knows.

Finally, we were delighted to have a call from Aleksandr Lebedev, the
Russian media magnate who recently bought a stake in the London Evening
Standard. He was the subject of our Memo last week.

The editor, who took the call, said Lebedev was very keen to meet our

We shall have to make it clear that if he is interested he will have
to pay more for our papers than he did for the Evening Standard  - £1!

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Editor's Memo: Mammoth task in Public Service reform

Thursday, 12 February 2009 16:04
A PERSISTANT dilemma in modern democratic systems has been the tension
surrounding the boundaries of the roles of elected politicians and
professional administrators in the civil service.

Pundits of public administration are usually divided on how to deal
with this problem which has more often than not blurred the profile of the
civil service in many developing countries.
On the one side, there are those advocating the absolute control of
government bureaucratic institutions by a neutral and professional civil
service and on the other those who contend that "to the victor go the
 spoils". The latter ideal calls for huge shifts in the senior civil service
after a transition of power.

We do not expect this huge shift in power after the formation of the
new inclusive government this week because no victor emerged strong enough
to run with all the spoils after the elections last year.

The political impasse of the last 10 months has accentuated the
degeneracy of the civil service to the extent that the new government is
faced with not only dealing with the scourge of partisanship but apparent
bureaucratic delinquency wrought by misrule.

A civil service working under a corrupt and inefficient system
superintended by Zanu PF for close to three decades can only perform to
those warped standards.

We have in this country today a civil service that has been shaped by
the evolutionary decay of Zanu PF as a political entity. We have a civil
service that has demonstrated unmitigated failure in carrying out the simple
administrative tasks of issuing a birth certificate, an ID card or a

That same crop of civil servants -- as long as it retains the same
traits of Zanu PF politics -- cannot be trusted to implement a new political
ethos that should eclipse the current state of decay around us.

Before advocating wholesale changes to the system, it is key to
examine the phases that the civil service has been forced to go through in
response to the changing political landscape in the country since 2000.

After President Mugabe's humiliating defeat in the 2000 referendum,
and the close poll results that year and in 2002, Zanu PF exhibited traits
of administrative and structural weakness which prompted major changes in
the running of the party.

The civil service was enlisted to prop up the flailing administrative
pillars of Zanu PF. There was devolution of power from the cadres of the war
of liberation to fresh-faced but wickedly ambitious technocrats who set out
on the task of remodelling the civil service into a caricature of Zanu PF.
Political scientist Jonathan Moyo became the public face of this project.

The public media became the mouthpiece of the party. The Information
ministry spoke for the party and acted for the party. More outlets of
patronage were added to the civil service to feed the party's insatiable
appetite for power.

Ministers and other senior government officials were potty-trained to
read from the same hymn sheet in defence of Zanu PF. Senior administrative
positions in government were staffed with Zanu PF cardholders whose
perception of service was attuned to serve the party first.

The post 2000 era saw the morphing of the army, the police and even
the judiciary into political centres of power with deference to Zanu PF.
This project breathed a bit of life into Zanu PF's waning soul but
unfortunately the civil service faltered in tandem with the failing economy.
It again started to fail in its duty to prop up the party by providing
crucial logistical support and playing the commissariat role.

To get fresh impetus, the party turned to the security establishments
for support, hence the overt militarisation of civic duties. Serving
soldiers and ex-servicemen were appointed to crucial positions in
parastatals and governments departments.

They were recruited to head government taskforces and boards. Through
the JOC, the military was invited into the governance system to formulate
virtually all government policies and supervise their implementation. It is
not surprising therefore that Mugabe should  turn to the military to run his
campaign in the run-off last June.

This is the big task ahead for new Public Service minister Prof Elphas
Mukonoweshuro in reforming the public service. The process to sharpen the
profile of the civil service should take two key dimensions: exorcising the
ghost of Zanu PF from sections of the civil service and chaperoning the
military back to the barracks.

Perhaps this was what President Mugabe meant on Wednesday when he
repeated his famous statement of yesteryear that we should "beat swords into

The civil service has been abused -- and has become abusive -- and it
is important for the new administration to put in place measures to protect
it from political partisanship and interference.

There must be a realisation that higher level civil servants do not
only implement public policy but can also promote broad public interest and
prevent any future abuse of powers by politicians.


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