Clemence Manyukwe and Charles Rukuni Staff Reporte
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last week tested the loyalty of senior ZANU-PF
officials said to back Simba Makoni by approaching each one of them to sign
his nomination papers that were submitted to the Nomination Court last
Friday, The Financial Gazette can reveal.
The law requires a presidential candidate’s nomination to be signed by at
least 10 people in each of the country’s 10 provinces.
Anxious about reports that some of his most senior lieutenants,
disillusioned with his decision to stand for another term, secretly
supported Makoni, President Mugabe had each of the key figures said to be
plotting his downfall specifically approached to put down their signatures
to endorse his candidacy.
Vice President Joice Mujuru, Mashonaland East governor Ray Kaukonde and
ZANU-PF national chairman John Nkomo are among those who signed the
Sources said politburo members Dumiso Dabengwa and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the
Information Minister, were also approached. However, they declined to affix
their signatures to the nomination papers, in the latest show of defiance.
ZANU-PF stalwarts in Matabeleland, angered by the President’s alliance with
war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda, have opted not to run in the polls.
Nkomo, Dabengwa, Bulawayo governor and resident minister Cain Mathema,
former cabinet minister Angeline Masuku, and Vice President Joseph Msika,
are not seeking election, despite new legislation curtailing President
Mugabe’s authority to appoint non-constituent legislators to the House of
The President no longer appoints non-elected members to the lower house,
although he can still make six non-constituency Senate appointments.
It is widely expected that Msika will take one these six seats.
“To establish where people stand, it was directed that politburo and central
committee members in each province should sign. They were effectively being
asked to state in writing that they were dumping Makoni and sticking with
(President) Mugabe. What better way to do that than by signing your name on
the President’s nomination form,” a source said.
“Between now and election day, none of these will come out and back Makoni.
We are likely to see more and more of them rallying behind (President)
This week, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declined to release the list of
people who had nominated presidential candidates, saying the documents were
In a related development, President Mugabe’s backers have employed a media
campaign to smoke out his rivals, approaching each of Makoni’s reported
backers to compel them to publicly declare their allegiances.
This week, Kaukonde was quoted in The Herald as distancing himself from
Last week, Manicaland governor Tinaye Chigudu was forced into making similar
remarks, although a Herald columnist at the weekend doubted his sincerity.
Last week, Makoni submitted his papers to the Nomination Court as an
independent candidate to challenge his former boss, in a poll also contested
by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Reports have consistently suggested that Makoni has the backing of a ZANU-PF
faction led by Solomon Mujuru.
At the weekend, state media sought to counter revelations made by Makoni, in
an interview with The Financial Gazette last week, that he had told
President Mugabe during their meeting on January 21 that there was growing
pressure within ZANU-PF for fresh leadership.
Analysts said the failure by ZANU-PF heavyweights in Matabeleland to stand
in primary elections would pose headaches for President Mugabe.
ZANU-PF officials in Bulawayo confirmed that Vice-President Msika, Nkomo and
Dabengwa were not contesting but could not explain why.
There has been widespread speculation that all three had been expecting that
a new party, the United Front, would be formed to challenge President
Mugabe. The formation of the front, however, collapsed because both factions
of the MDC were not prepared to accept someone without a party structure to
Supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai had vowed that they would not vote if he was
not the leader of any new political formation while those from the Mutambara
faction wanted a united front after the elections with everyone bringing
what he or she had to the bargaining table.
While Makoni was widely expected to lead the united front, some people in
Bulawayo were lobbying for Dabengwa to lead it because of his liberation
Makoni was forced to go it alone as an independent candidate. He was
expelled from the ruling party a week after announcing that he would contest
the presidential elections but still insists he is a member of ZANU-PF.
This has sparked speculation that some ZANU-PF candidates contesting
parliamentary elections, especially in constituencies where there are two
party candidates, are backing Makoni.
MDC die-hards, however, insist Makoni is a ZANU-PF decoy brought in to give
the elections some credibility after the opposition had threatened to
boycott the polls.
Makoni says he is not aligned to anyone.
The presidential elections are a four-way race pitting Makoni, Tsvangirai,
President Mugabe and little known Langton Towungana.
Sources within ZANU-PF said there were a number of reasons why Msika, Nkomo
and Dabengwa had opted not to contest the elections. One of the main reasons
was that each one knew he could not win.
Another was that it was better for them to sit on the fence, as they would
benefit from either a Mugabe or a Makoni win because they had not abandoned
President Mugabe but were, at the same time, sympathetic to Makoni.
Either of the two could accommodate them, if they won, because the president
still had the right to appoint six candidates as senators.
“Msika did not have to contest as he did not want the humiliation of being
defeated by a junior,” a party insider said. “Apart from fearing defeat,
Nkomo did not have to contest because he is national chairman. He might lose
the post of Speaker, but he will remain national chairman. More importantly
he will remain in the Presidium and would therefore be dictating what
happens in Parliament until at least the 2009 party congress. Dabengwa too
is happy just being in the politburo. What they don’t want is to face
humiliation by their juniors.”
Some of the senior ZANU-PF officials from Bulawayo have entered the race
despite having been beaten in the last two elections. Information Minister
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu is pitted against long time rival Milton Gwetu, who has
already beaten him twice in Mpopoma.
Obert Mpofu, the Industry and International Trade Minister, who won in 2005
has stayed put in Umguza while Sithembiso Nyoni, a perennial loser, has
shifted to a rural constituency in Nkayi.
The toughest and most interesting battle in Bulawayo, however, will be
between Thokozani Khupe and Welshman Ncube who will fight it out in
Khupe is the vice-President of the Tsvangirai faction while Ncube, who most
people believe is the de facto leader of the Mutambara faction, is the
Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
ZANU-PF is in a serious quandary over how to deal with party renegades that
submitted nomination papers to stand against candidates endorsed by the
ruling party’s leadership.
The ruling party is anxious to punish those who did not toe the party line
but fears any heavy-handed response might exacerbate the chaos, dividing it
further and hand support to unexpected rival Simba Makoni.
Up to six constituencies in Masvingo have double nominations for ZANU-PF,
while there is more bickering in Manicaland, as tensions in the fractious
party remain high.
The scale of open defiance has taken President Robert Mugabe, who together
with other members of the ZANU-PF presidency personally vetted aspiring
candidates to represent the party in the March 29 polls, aback.
While such defiance under normal circumstances would be punishable by
instant expulsion, President Mugabe is being forced to bend his party’s own
rules to save it from further turmoil. Elliot Manyika, the party’s national
commissar and national elections director, this week held several highly
charged meetings at his offices at the ZANU-PF headquarters in Harare to
consider the fate of the alleged rebels, amid calls from hardline war
veterans to expel them the same way Makoni was kicked out last week.
However, no solution had been found to the crisis as of yesterday, save for
Manyika’s suggestion that the party hold re-runs or “ask the unofficial
candidates” in affected constituencies to step aside.
It is understood hardliners in ZANU-PF, specifically secretary for legal
affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa and information and publicity chief, Nathan
Shamuyarira, the two ruling party stalwarts who announced Makoni’s
expulsion, want the rebels fired as per the rules and regulations of the
central committee, the policy-making arm of ZANU-PF.
According to the regulations, proclaimed by Shamuyarira as he announced
Makoni’s expulsion to the media, any party member who elects to stand
against an “official” candidate automatically “expels him or herself” from
But the party has not found it that easy to apply that rule.
The rebels had obviously done their homework, registering themselves as
ZANU-PF candidates, and not independents, which has only complicated matters
for the ruling party.
Party secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, is said to agree with
Manyika that outright dismissal of the renegades would hurt the party,
facing the toughest threat to its unity in years.
“In areas where the party feels there is minimum threat of mass defections
that could have a bearing on the votes cast, people have been told to stand
down for candidates officially endorsed by the presidium,” said a ZANU PF
insider who spoke on condition of not being named.
Mutasa said in an interview with The Financial Gazette yesterday: “We have
already mentioned that some had genuine grievances. We are dealing with that
and I am sure we will find an amicable solution. There is no need for people
to panic because there is no cause for that. We know what we are doing.”
In Masvingo Central House of Assembly constituency, Edison Zvobgo Jnr.
registered to contest against the official ZANU-PF candidate, Edward Mhere.
Dzikamai Mavhaire and Maina Mandava both registered to contest on a ZANU-PF
ticket for the Masvingo senate seat, while Finance Minister Samuel
Mumbengegwi registered as a ruling party candidate to challenge Josaya
Hungwe in Chivi-Mwenenzi.
Tranos Huruva and Clifford Mumbengegwi were registered as the two ZANU-PF
contestants for the Chivi North House of Assembly seat.
In Mutare, Eunice Mangwende-King openly defied ZANU-PF when she stood to
challenge official candidate Oppah Muchinguri, the Minister of Gender and
In Makoni West, former diplomat Nation Madongorere, has been asked to stand
down for Joseph Made despite thumping the Agriculture and Mechanisation
Minister in party primaries.
Madongorere has registered himself as a ZANU-PF candidate, as did Bongayi
Nemayire and Sheila Mahere in Makoni North.
The decision of Vice President Joseph Msika, politburo member Dumiso
Dabengwa, and ZANU-PF national chairman John Nkomo not to offer themselves
as ZANU-PF candidates in the elections has not helped matters for a party
desperate to present a united front.
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Obert Mpofu, Sithembiso Nyoni, Kembo Mohadi and Tshinga
Dube, the chief executive of the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, are the only
notable ZANU-PF politicians from Matabeleland contesting the elections.
Rangarirai Mberi News Editor
INFLATION has broken the 100 000 percent level, official data showed
yesterday, marking a grim new low in Zimbabwe’s deepening economic crisis.
The Central Statistical Office reported inflation rising 100 580.2 percent
in January, up from 66 212 percent in December.
Month-on-month inflation in January slowed 119.3 percentage points to 120.8
percent from December’s 240.1 percent, but this was not enough to hold the
economy back from plummeting to new depths of hyperinflation.
The new data reveals the depth of the economic crisis, which is a major
issue in the campaign for next month’s elections .
The new annual figure is a massive 34 638 percentage point higher than its
level in December, but still lags private estimates, many of which gauge
inflation at over 300 000 percent.
Official data on inflation is largely based on the prices of goods and
services under price controls. Even though official prices themselves have
surged over the past month, many believe official numbers remain largely
In his monetary policy statement in January, central bank governor Gideon
Gono pledged to curtail a range of subsidised lending to industry and farms
critics say has fueled inflation.
He also lifted rates 225 percentage points to 1200 percent, but conceded
that wider economic reform was needed to stem the tide.
Gono said the economy needed to “deploy a combination of demand management
policies, supported by structural reforms as well as deliberate strategies
to invigorate the supply side of the economy”.
Late last month, the Reserve Bank issued a new range of notes, the largest
of which is the $10 million note, hoping to end a four-month cash crisis.
At the time, Gono put daily cash demand at between $7.5 trillion and $10
trillion, and said $170 trillion was in circulation, “which by Zimbabwe’s
economic standards is way too high”.
However, Gono’s most telling revelation was that the printing press at
Fidelity Printers was running at close to capacity, and yet still struggling
to sate demand for cash.
There was no immediate official comment from government yesterday, but a
senior government official conceded to The Financial Gazette that he
believed “it will be very hard to slow inflation down any time soon, given
the momentum it has picked up” over the last quarter.
But with difficult elections on the horizon, economic affairs are likely to
be placed on the back burner.
The inflation data come as the National Incomes and Pricing Commission
(NIPC) is cracking down on manufacturers and retailers it accuses of
diverting commodities to the thriving black market despite getting “viable”
price reviews from the state-run pricing body.
Industrialists yesterday said some NIPC crack teams were asking
manufacturers of cooking oil, cement, sugar and maize meal to furnish them
with a list of retailers they supplied with products and then make a follow
up on how they would have traded the commodities.
NIPC chairman Godwills Masimirembwa yesterday confirmed the blitz saying the
pricing body had dispatched its team of inspectors to crackdown on four
industries namely cement manufacturers, grain millers, oil expressors and
sugar producers it accuses of flouting the country’s trading laws.
Masimirembwa charged that traditional hardware shops were not receiving
cement supplies and accused cement manufacturers of diverting cement to
traders who were charging prices above the government controlled retail
price of $108 million per bag.
“There are some dubious cement retail companies whose credentials you are
not able to identify. Those are getting larger allocations. There is
something wrong with that,” said Masimirembwa.
Meanwhile, the money market, which burst into an unprecedented surplus last
week, remained awash with cash, pushing stocks higher and punishing the
frail domestic currency on a thriving parallel foreign currency market.
Money market dealers said there were huge cash injections, coming mainly
from government expenditure related to the March 29 harmonised elections, on
the money market.
As a result, investors were scrambling for stock and foreign cash to hedge
themselves against the defenceless local currency, under increasing pressure
from escalating inflation.
Although the Zimbabwe dollar remained stuck at an exchange rate of $30 000
to the greenback, it lost significant ground on the parallel market, where
it plummeted to an all-time low of $10.1 million to a United States dollar,
against $7,5 million to the greenback last week.
Other international currencies had moved in line with the benchmark US
dollar rate on the parallel market, where reports suggested some state-owned
enterprises were scrounging for foreign currency to meet national
The parallel market remains outlawed in Zimbabwe, despite the fact that
government agencies frequently resort to the market for foreign cash.
In fact, the pricing of services in a number of state enterprises is based
on the parallel market rate.
Stocks rallied during the week, with the industrial index gaining by over 18
percent on Monday and adding a further 3.46 percent on Tuesday to reach 2
790 473 067.35 points.
The mining index lost gains registered on Monday, shedding 2.51 percent on
Tuesday to 2 517 729 908.85 points.
However, it rebounded yesterday, registering a 2.41 percent to touch 2 578
481 367.94 points
The industrial index yesterday gained 0.16 percent to reach 2 794 964 291.65
Stanley Kwenda Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE civil society organisations are exploring possible ways of
detecting vote rigging in next month’s presidential, parliamentary and
The organisations, many of which prefer not to be named at this stage, say
they might participate in a programme to come up with a parallel vote
monitoring exercise in a bid to forestall electoral fraud. The organisations
are weighing views on how Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) can best be
implemented for the first time in Zimbabwe.
PVT is an election–monitoring method for projecting voting results. It is
best known in the United States as a “quick count”.
Under the system, all information or election data comes from direct
observation of the election process. Observers watch the voting and counting
processes at specifically selected polling stations.
They then record key information on standardised forms and report their
findings, including vote count at polling stations, to a central data
This process can make independent monitoring of election results possible as
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announces them.
Shupikai Mashereni, the ZEC director of public relations this week said the
commission would not forbid any election monitoring done within the confines
of the law.
Said Mashereni: “If the exercise they are launching is about observing
elections, it is allowed, but they have to come to us for accreditation. The
law doesn’t allow them to monitor the election process without being
accredited and if they insist we just refer to the law and the law, as it is
now, does not allow for that.”
Well–placed sources within the civic society this week told The Financial
Gazette that discussions on the possibility of implementing the system are
still at a preliminary stage.
“There are discussions going on, though at this stage it’s something still
at its formative stages,” said the source.
Since the deeply flawed Nigerian election last year, the way elections are
conducted in African countries has dominated the news, and the post election
violence in Kenya where more than 1000 people have so far been killed will
draw more global attention to other elections to be conducted on the
continent this year.
Critics say the electoral field in Zimbabwe remains heavily skewed despite
efforts by the Southern African Development Community to get ZANU–PF and MDC
to agree on constitutional reforms.
According to sources, the election–monitoring pressure group, the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network (ZESN), has been touted to lead the process, which
will also involve a number of other civic organisations and church groups.
ZESN co–ordinates election related activities through member organisations.
But ZESN director, Rindai Chipfunde, said the organisation has a different
mandate and will not commit itself to this cause.
“It will be good to have such a programme, but as ZESN we are not involved
because we have a different mandate. It is also a very expensive exercise,
which needs a lot of manpower, such as election monitors, observers and
enumerators to tabulate results,” she said.
“We only use Sample Based Monitoring and communications. Once we have
decided to use PVT, we will announce it publicly.”
African countries such as Kenya have used PVT as an election–monitoring tool
with support from organisations such as the Institute for Education in
Democracy, National Council of Churches of Kenya, Catholic Justice and Peace
Commission. In Malawi the programme has been spearheaded by the Church and
A PVT is basically conducted to thwart electoral fraud, which is detected by
identifying inconsistencies between official results and observer reports.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coordinator, Xolani Zitha, says it would be a good idea
to have in place such a mechanism before elections.
“It’s important to put in place such electoral fraud minimisation systems,
we would welcome any such initiative,” said Zitha.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), which has embarked on a
programme to ensure that all voters and would- be voters are accorded their
right to vote says the media should crusade for such programmes to be put in
place to minimise post election disputes.
“It’s the duty of the media to help put in place such important electoral
frameworks by highlighting their use in ensuring the dispensation of
democracy,” said Irene Petras, acting ZLHR director.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
“WHEN we come back to this house, we will come back with a package, which
includes resolutions of all the issues, which have divided us over the last
eight or so years. That is our hope, Mr. Speaker, and it is in that context
that we stand before this august house today, taking that step into the
The speaker was Welshman Ncube, a member of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC)’s negotiating team in talks with ZANU-PF, making a contribution
in Parliament in support of Constitutional Amendment Number 18 on September
20 last year.
He added: “We believe that we cannot continue to conduct politics for the
sake of politics. We believe that we must begin to conduct our politics in
the service of the people, otherwise it is meaningless.”
The amendment came about as one result of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC)-brokered talks between ZANU-PF and the MDC, mediated by
South African President Thabo Mbeki.
With Parliament being dissolved on March 28, a day before the elections, the
“package” Ncube envisaged that fateful day in September last year has proved
This week, Ncube said in addition to the breakdown of the talks over the
government’s unilateral announcement of an election date, ZANU-PF had
disregarded a string of pledges it made under agreements that facilitated a
range of new legislation designed to ensure free and fair polls.
Changes were made to the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA).
“Whatever is in the AIPPA amendment has not been implemented. Whatever is in
the BSA has not been implemented,” Ncube said.
South African foreign affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma this week said
free elections were possible if the reforms were “implemented now”.
But today The Financial Gazette traces some of the key agreements and
highlights how flagrantly they continue to be violated by ZANU-PF and state
The Electoral Process
The Electoral Laws Amendment Act section 15A says of the provision of voter
education by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC): “Not later than ninety
days before polling day in any election, the Commission shall begin a
programme of voter education directed at the electorate in the election.”
Last week, ZEC barred independent groups from conducting voter education,
even though its own education campaign is barely discernible on the ground.
On Monday, the Christian Alliance said it was “concerned that ZEC appears
not to be adequately prepared to handle the harmonised elections. The time
allocated to the inspection of the voters’ roll has been inadequate.
Information has not been properly disseminated and most of the electorate
has no access to the media”.
Section 21 of the same Electoral Act says of the Inspection of voters’
rolls: “Every voters’ roll shall be a public document and open to inspection
by the public, free of charge, during ordinary office hours at the office of
the Commission or the constituency registrar where it is kept.”
However, last week, an aspiring MDC councillor for Mt Pleasant, Brighton
Chiwola, was obliged to file an urgent court application to have his rights
restored after being hindered from inspecting the roll.
Registrar General (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede was forced to admit that what had
happened to Chiwola was unlawful and explained that those who wanted to
inspect the voters’ roll could do so at the constituency registrar, or at
the RG’s office, even though the law does not allow Mudede to be involved in
On demonstrations and protests, the amended POSA says “if a regulating
authority receives credible information on oath that there is a threat that
a proposed procession, public demonstration or public meeting will result in
serious disruption of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, injury to
participants in the procession, public demonstration or public meeting or
other persons, or extensive damage to property or other public disorder, he
or she shall forthwith advise the convener of the perceived threat and
invite the convener to a consultative meeting at a time and venue specified
by the regulating authority in order to explore options to prevent the
threat, and shall afford an opportunity to the convener to make
representations thereon to the regulating authority.”
This week, police in Masvingo unilaterally banned rallies in the province.
On January 23, police cracked down on opposition activists as they walked to
the venue of a court-authorised rally in Harare. Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai was seized from his home at 4am. Earlier, police had banned a
planned march by the MDC.
Last week, Tsvangirai told journalists in South Africa that Mbeki’s
mediation had failed as police in Zimbabwe still used trumped up charges to
ban opposition rallies.
“Nothing has changed,” Tsvangirai, said.
“Just this past weekend, an MDC rally, legal in any democracy and now legal
in Zimbabwe, was broken up by armed riot police in Kadoma. Changes in the
law, negotiated by President Mbeki, have not changed the behavior of the
The process of the demarcation of boundaries and the setting of the
nomination date have been chaotic and have shown that government was not
prepared for the elections, as revealed in a suit jointly filed by
independents Jonathan Moyo and Margaret Dongo.
Equal Access to Public Media
According to the Electoral Laws Amendment Act, there should be impartial
reporting by the public broadcaster.
The Act says in section 16C (1) that public broadcasters shall ensure “fair
and balanced allocation of time between each political party and independent
candidate”, and that “each political party and independent candidate is
allowed a reasonable opportunity to present a case through the broadcasting
But far from this happening, over the past week, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC) has gone full throttle into campaigning for ZANU-PF.
In its latest report, the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ)
observed that the state media’s news coverage remains slanted.
“As in previous weeks, ZANU-PF electoral preparations continued to receive
more attention in the government media than all its opponents combined. For
example, of the 48 stories ZBC carried on the subject, 43 were on ruling
party activities and only five on the opposition.”
Part one of the BSA stipulates requirements for public broadcasters. It
says: “The broadcasting service operated by a public broadcaster shall
provide news and public affairs programming, which meets the highest
standards of journalism, and which is fair and unbiased and independent from
government, commercial or other interests.”
According to the MMPZ, “the government media carried little information on
voter education. Their 26 reports on the topic (ZBC 11 and press 15) were
piecemeal and failed to critically assess Zimbabwe’s capacity to hold free
and fair elections on March 29.”
On the composition of a broadcasting board, the BSA Amendment Act, section 4
says the BSA’s operations shall be led by a board comprising 12 members “of
whom the following nine members shall be appointed by the President after
consultation with the Minister and the Committee on Standing Rules and
Orders: three members shall be appointed by the President from a list of six
nominees submitted by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.”
However, the Parliamentary committee has not been consulted. Several major
agreements were reached on AIPPA, including the establishment and
composition of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), to replace the Media and
The ZMC, according to AIPPA, provisions, “shall consist of a chairperson and
eight other members appointed by the President from a list of not fewer than
12 nominees submitted by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.”
Once again, the committee has not been consulted.
Reforms to broadcasting laws also sought to ease the entry of new players
into the industry. But no new applications for licenses have been invited
and the ZBC’s monopoly remains intact.
Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
WITH three strong candidates locking horns in the Presidential election next
month, debate on the possibility of President Robert Mugabe being forced
into a second round of voting has gained currency.
However, that eventuality depends on how the veteran nationalist responds
between now and March 29 to the threat posed by his two opponents, Morgan
Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni.
According to amendments to the Electoral Act made in 2002, a candidate needs
a clear majority, or at least 51 percent of the total vote, to be declared
Should no candidate garner this required majority, a run-off would be held
within 21 days. In the event of a stalemate remaining after this,
Parliament, sitting as an electoral college, will vote to elect a President.
Before the 2002 amendments, a candidate only needed a simple majority to be
declared the winner.
Analysts who spoke to The Financial Gazette, noting the support all three
candidates are likely to enjoy, see President Mugabe needing to work
overtime to avert the possibility of a run-off.
“In terms of the Electoral Act, a run-off is provided for, but in terms of
the politics and the political culture around this election, I do not see
the incumbent allowing the situation to go as far as a run-off,” said
political analyst Takura Zhangazha. “I think the incumbent is clearly aware
of the threat of a run-off, but he might use other processes, such as
rigging or intimidation, to eliminate it. I certainly do not see the
incumbent allowing himself to be embarrassed by a run-off.”
There is fear in ZANU-PF that Makoni could chew off a large chunk of the
ruling party’s support, mainly consisting of those disgruntled with
President Mugabe’s continuing hold on power, leaving the incumbent to face a
However, the question is, which of his two opponents is most likely to push
President Mugabe to the wire.
An insider aligned to the Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) said his faction’s permutations point to a run-off pitting
President Mugabe and their candidate.
The official said: “Our permutations show that President Mugabe will come
out the winner in the first round, but without a clear majority, followed by
Tsvangirai. Makoni will come a distant third.
The official said the basis of his forecast was that Makoni would “eat into
(President) Mugabe’s rural vote”.
In terms of the urban areas, the opposition analyst predicted that Makoni
would only erode the ZANU-PF vote and a “trickle” of the Arthur Mutambara
faction’s support. The faction threw its weight behind Makoni last week.
“Makoni will not take much of the Tsvangirai vote. So the final presidential
run-off will result in Tsvangirai winning, in that those voters who voted
for Makoni will switch their votes to Tsvangirai, as (President) Mugabe is
the common enemy. The President will also lose some of the votes he would
have gained in the first round.”
But Zhangazha said such projections were too simplistic. “The incumbent is
working overtime to ensure that scenario does not happen. He has all the
state machinery in his favour to do that.”
Gorden Moyo, executive director of Bulawayo Agenda, a pressure group, said
the probability of pushing the President into a second round depends on how
much rural support Makoni can lure.
“The run-off will only take place if Makoni goes to the rural areas and
mounts a successful campaign to convince ZANU-PF supporters to vote for his
independent candidacy,” said Moyo.
“As long as Makoni is fishing from the same pond, that is, targeting
Tsvangirai’s votes in the urban areas, it is really unlikely there will be a
But Moyo said a divided MDC gave President Mugabe a major advantage in the
race, and that only “total rebellion against him in rural areas” would block
him from gaining a clear majority.
“So, for a run-off depends on Makoni moving away from fishing in the pond,
but in the ocean in rural areas, where the incumbent has his stronghold,”
Moyo said. “Makoni should deliver the rural vote, especially in Mashonaland,
which since Independence has kept (President) Mugabe in power despite the
majority of the people there wallowing in poverty.”
ZANU-PF insiders however, fear that Makoni could feature in the run-off,
from whichever way one looks at.
They said voters in the rural areas, the bedrock of ZANU-PF’s support, might
warmly welcome Makoni as “part of a reformed ruling party” and ditch
President Mugabe in the process. The former finance minister still maintains
that he is part of ZANU-PF despite the party’s pronouncements that Makoni
expelled himself when he offered his candidacy for the top office.
Makoni, ZANU-PF insiders say, might also attract a sizeable number of
voters, particularly among the intellectuals, youths, business and those who
think the MDC has failed to bring about political change.
“His colleagues, who remain within ZANU-PF’s ranks would also hype the
momentum for Makoni by weakening the party from inside and throwing votes in
Makoni’s way,” said a ZANU-PF insider.\
Rangarirai Mberi News Editor
THESE are really strange times, especially if you are Morgan Tsvangirai.
One day you are coasting along just fine, nose in the air lest the unwashed
masses offend the royal nostrils.
You are bathed in the glow of the lucrative “Zimbabwe opposition leader”
prefix, showing everybody the scars of March 2007, which you wear like a
Then, suddenly, some fresh-faced upstart arrives, out of ZANU-PF, of all
places, to suddenly grab the spotlight.
Even the state media are reserving their choicest abuse for this new guy,
only mentioning you when you throw your own barbs at the new kid on the
Now, your already tenuous relevance looks decidedly wobbly. What do you do?
“I am the leader of the MDC,” Tsvangirai told reporters last Sunday, just to
make sure they knew exactly who he was.
“(Simba) Makoni is nothing more than old wine in a new bottle,” he said.
On the roll, Tsvangirai continued: “Dr Makoni has been part of the
establishment for the last 30 years and has witnessed our country
deteriorate to this unprecedented level. He is equally accountable as
(President) Robert Mugabe for the omissions of ZANU-PF.”
Tsvangirai is well within his rights to take digs at his opponents; it’s all
part of the game. And indeed, Makoni still has many questions hanging over
his candidacy and strategy. He may yet even do poorly at the polls.
But Tsvangirai fails to do one important thing for himself — a bit of
Evidently, Tsvangirai is so deep up to his eyeballs in self adoration he
hasn’t found the time to come back up to the real world, look in the mirror,
and ask himself some hard, honest questions.
Tsvangirai needs to ask why there has been so much public excitement —
justified or not — over this “old wine”.
Why are people looking right past his MDC, and gobbling up every scrap of
news they find on Makoni?
Have people suddenly become mindless ingrates who forget the personal
sacrifices Tsvangirai has made?
For the answer, Tsvangirai need not look further than the utter bankruptcy
of his own leadership.
In 2000 and 2002, on a wave of anger against President Mugabe’s dismal
administration, Tsvangirai had ZANU-PF on the ropes, getting nearly half of
the seats at the general election and 43 percent of the vote in 2002.
Then came 2005, and this motley band of interests came apart.
When a vote of Tsvangirai’s top executive on the senate election went
against him, that whole model democrat façade fell.
Next thing we knew, ZANU-type thugs were being sent out to whack those who
dared oppose “the president”.
ZANU-style bigotry took root; just as ZANU-PF saw a grubby old British hand
behind every critic, so did the MDC see shifty CIO agents behind every door.
Tsvangirai was reading from the ZANU-PF rule-book; the thugs, the refusal to
accept criticism, the bands of sycophants, each rewarded only in proportion
to how low they were prepared to stoop for their leader.
Now, see how even all that “Gushungo” tribal baloney has been carried to the
MDC rallies, where Tsvangirai comically sways to fawning odes to his clan
As Welshman Ncube candidly conceded last year, “in the course of fighting
the monster, there was the danger of becoming the monster”.
Many had looked past the many indiscretions of the MDC, arguing that the
bigger job at hand was to get rid of President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF. These
were times when voters simply put their “X” on the MDC and ignored the
quality of the candidate.
And so the MDC began to talk of “safe” constituencies, signs of complacency.
The MDC began to put on an air of entitlement.
Roy Bennett, a Tsvangirai ally, wrote in a letter to a South African
newspaper at the weekend that Zimbabweans knew that the genuine opposition
was only that whose leaders had “suffered with the people”.
In other words, Tsvangirai alone is entitled to challenge ZANU-PF. Not
because he has any competence, but because he has scars.
Rather like President Mugabe’s belief that his own sacrifice in the
liberation struggle entitles him to do as he pleases. As for the rest of us,
well, we should all be grateful for their sacrifices, keep quiet, and let
these two owners of our struggles be.
So how are we to tell the MDC from ZANU-PF?
Many — outside the diehard fringe of the MDC of course — had been patient,
defending the MDC, hoping sense would one day prevail. But the final straw
was the MDC’s failure to unite, especially because the reason for that
failure was not some grand ideological dispute, but because there were petty
chieftainships to be protected.
Tellingly, listening to MDC activists speak over the past two weeks, it is
Makoni they now want to beat. Tsvangirai just has to keep his “Zimbabwe
opposition leader” mantle. Beating President Mugabe is a secondary priority.
None of Tsvangirai’s people have stopped to ask why their man, with nine
years in the trenches, is having to fight for attention with a man who, up
to only three weeks ago, sat in the ZANU-PF politburo.
Tsvangirai’s groveling “kitchen cabinet” will not tell him this, but this
excitement over Makoni — some of it, admittedly, over the top — is because
voters have scanned the existing field and found that, increasingly, the two
options previously available differed only in the depth of their depravity.
The quality of a parliamentarian must never be measured by the size of his
Parliamentary elections are around the corner and much excitement can be
felt in the atmosphere. On March 29 2008, Zimbabweans across the political,
tribal, racial and social divides will march towards polling stations to
exercise their right to elect leaders of their choice.
My advice to eligible voters is that this time around, they must vote with
their minds rather than their emotions as has been the case in the past.
This I say because I have learnt over the years that there appears to be
appalling ignorance among the electorate on why they elect leaders.
A regrettable and unfortunate tendency by contestants to win people's favour
through dishing out horrible, false promises of developmental projects in
exchange for votes has persisted.
The victims of these well designed and timed falsehoods have always been
both urban and rural voters who have been fed mouthfuls of tacit lies,
exaggerations, fiction, impossibilities and myth.
Around this time, exaggerated generosity, only common at election time by
contestants, especially those from the ruling party, multiplies to the point
of overt bribery.
Despite relatively high numbers of voters coming forward to exercise their
right to universal franchise, it appears the majority of the electorate
misunderstands the role their Members of Parliament play.
Others have in the past voted merely because of impulse, or because they saw
others voting, or because they just wanted to see their adored politician in
parliament, or mostly because they were promised dams, roads, bridges,
schools, clinics, electricity, and any other false grandiose projects the
gullible and comical politicians thought of promising.
Therefore, it appears the culture of misrepresenting is now entrenched, and
parliamentary contestants fully exploit it to ensure access into parliament,
at election periods.
In terms of our constitutional set–up, it is not parliament that plays the
role of building schools, dams, or bridges.
The construction of infrastructure and capital projects is a role that is
thrust into the hands of the executive and not the legislature.
Further still, it is not the role of an individual parliamentarian to
finance projects in his constituency, unless out of natural benevolence and
out of his own resources he does so. Treasury does not, and will never
allocate funds directly to parliament to ensure that parliamentarians get
funding for their so called projects in various constituencies, such an
institutional structure or process is non existent in our law.
However, it is not at all surprising that parliamentarians fighting for
votes deliberately twist facts to take advantage of people's lack of
sophistication and knowledge to mislead them for the sole purpose of going
Contesting parties and their members must ensure that people are elected, on
the basis of their maturity, wisdom, integrity and ability to articulate the
concerns of their electorate rather than the ability to make the highest
number of grandiose promises.
The quality of a parliamentarian must never be measured by the size of his
wealth, but rather, by his commitment to transparency, fairness and
community development, among other things.
In terms of clearly laid down provisions of our constitution, parliament has
two main roles to play. These are the legislative one as well as that of
scrutinizing the performance of the executive.
A parliamentarian therefore plays a significant role in overseeing the
passage of development oriented, just and democratic laws through
parliament. Through the committee system members of the parliament monitor
the conduct of the various arms of government to ensure that abuse of public
funds or the any other manifestations of corruption are curbed. This
scrutiny process involves the investigation by parliamentarians of certain
government departments, publishing of reports on performance of those
departments, making recommendations as well as making cabinet ministers
account for their decisions.
The way to go for parliamentarians is perhaps to make promises based on the
overall performance of one's political party. It would not be wrong for a
contestant to campaign through pointing to some tangible developments
brought by his party in national or local development. Serious questions
will have to be raised about the bona fide of a contestant if he or she
claims personal credit for government projects or goes a step further to lie
that he shall build bridges, or set up clinics and schools, when the truth
points to the fact that he lacks capacity and ability.
The body or bodies with constitutional mandate to do administrative work and
undertake infrastructural development is government through cabinet,
governors, provincial councils, district councils and local councils in
urban areas. Implementation of development projects is therefore done by
these organs and not parliamentarians. However, it must be noted that the
role of some governors, and cabinet ministers overlap into legislature. Thus
they play a dual role of being both lawmakers and implementers of projects.
Only cabinet members who are constituency parliamentarians may to some
extend justifiably promise that they will cause certain infrastructure to be
set up for their electorate.
The public needs to be educated thoroughly about the true role of
parliamentarians to ensure that their vote is exercised wisely. There is no
justification whatsoever for allowing a larger portion of the electorate to
participate in an election they hardly know of its significance. It appears
such a development favors the government because an ignorant or
unsophisticated voter, especially the rural voter may easily be manipulated
to further the interests of the incumbent political organization as has
happened in the past elections.
An electoral process that has an electorate with little or no knowledge of
the meaning of a vote is dangerously flawed. It is both undemocratic and
fallacious. People need to benefit from voter education to enable them make
informed choices about individuals they want to represent them in
By Vote Muza
Legal practitioner with Muza & Nyapadi
James D. McGee
THE citizens of Zimbabwe will go to the polls on March 29 to choose their
representatives for public office. Despite concerns about whether conditions
in Zimbabwe are propitious for free and fair elections, I urge all
Zimbabweans to exercise their rights and vote.
Effective democracy places demands on citizens as well as on governmental
The SADC Principles and Guidelines outline what governments of member states
must do to hold democratic elections, and include such critical factors as
assuring freedom of association, equal access to state media, equal
opportunity to vote, and independence and impartiality of electoral
On the other side of the equation, though, democracy requires that citizens
Democracy cannot flourish unless at election time the people educate
themselves about their choices and express their preferences by voting.
Democracies rest upon the principle that government exists to serve the
people; the people do not exist to serve the government.
The people are citizens of the democratic state, not its subjects. As such,
they enjoy liberties, but they also bear responsibilities.
In an immediate sense, voting is the means by which citizens hold government
accountable and make their views heard on matters of policy. In a broader
sense, though, the act of voting is an important element in the defence of
In the American Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson set forth a
fundamental principle upon which democratic government is founded when he
noted that “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of
“That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving
their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Governments in a democracy do not grant the fundamental freedoms enumerated
by Jefferson; governments are created to protect those freedoms that every
individual possesses by virtue of his or her existence.
But unless citizens vote, government can assume the consent of the governed
and abrogate unto themselves powers above and beyond those necessary to
secure the rights of the citizenry.
It is understandable that voters in Zimbabwe may find obscure this linkage
between liberty and the act of voting. Past experience may engender
Moreover, a growing chorus of voices is expressing doubt about the coming
My government shares the concerns expressed in recent weeks by a wide
variety of organisations about the pre-election environment, including
reports of voter confusion and inadequate preparation, evidence of
irregularities associated with registration and inspection of the voters
rolls, and concerns that the violence of the past year will inevitably
affect the campaign and election.
Despite all these ominous signs, however, we urge all Zimbabweans to vote.
While the Zimbabwean people do not have the power alone to ensure that
democracy prevails, it will surely not prevail unless they play their part.
James D. McGee is the Ambassador of the United States of America in
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
What hope is there for Zimbabweans as prices keep skyrocketing?
RAVAGING inflation, which accelerated to 66 212.3 percent year-on-year in
December from 26 470.8 percent in November, is forcing Zimbabweans to forgo
even the most basic necessities.
Prices of basic commodities, such as toothpaste, toilet paper and bath soap,
are now beyond the reach of many.
A packet of cheap quality toilet tissue, which cost about $3 million three
weeks ago, is now priced at $15 million, while bath soap now costs $15
million, up from around $5 million at the start of February.
“We are faced with an unpleasant choice. Imagine having to forgo such
basics? I can forgo lunch or breakfast but not brushing my teeth or
bathing,” said Tamuka Shoko, a nurse at Harare Hospital.
Yet many, faced with the ever-declining value of the domestic currency, now
consider some of these basic items luxuries.
That is how bad the situation has become, as citizens battle for survival.
At times they even scramble for poor quality food as their incomes are
insufficient to purchase ISO-certified products.
Harare resident Farai Ncube says his family now buys beef from backyard
butcheries and he has taken to drinking cheap alcohol to drown sorrows.
Prior to this dramatic turn of events, Ncube used to drink lager beer, whose
price now makes it a luxury for him.
“We have resorted to eating odd relish and buying from backyard butcheries.
Some of the food we are eating is taboo in our culture,” says Ncube, a
father of four.
The most enterprising workers have increasingly turned to not-so-pleasant
deals to supplement meagre incomes. At times their superiors turn a blind
eye on them especially if they are going to benefit as well.
Workers selling commodities to colleagues to supplement incomes have often
turned workplaces into markets.
It is not uncommon to find workers going to work clutching baskets or
carrier bags containing cakes, buns, sweets, imported cooking oil, sugar and
clothes for sale to colleagues.
Takura Zhangazha, a political commentator, said most people are now
increasingly turning into small entrepreneurs as the battle for survival
“Zimbabweans are coping. They are not depending on the (formal market) for
basic goods and services but on the parallel market,” said Zhangazha.
Some women interviewed by The Financial Gazette said they have had to make
do without sanitary ware, which is now expensive.
Some workers said they were converting their local earnings into foreign
currency on the black market immediately after getting paid as a safeguard
against runaway inflation.
“This has been helping me to hedge my earnings against inflation since last
year,” said Tafadzwa Kwidini, a sales executive with a car dealer.
The inflation scourge has even caught up with newspapers.
Publishers have reviewed subscription terms, which used to run for six
months, to just one month.
They say longer terms are hurting them because quotations for raw materials
are surging almost on a daily basis.
Suppliers of raw materials are giving publishers quotations valid for less
than a week hence the shorter subscription terms.
Still there are Zimbabweans who attribute their endurance to divine
“It is by the grace of God. Otherwise how do you explain how we are
surviving? The Lord is providing for us,” commented Tatenda Maadza, a
widowed mother of two.
Tony Hawkins, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe’s Graduate School of
Management, warned that inflation, which central bank governor Gideon Gono
has labelled an economic HIV/AIDS virus, will maintain an upward trajectory
because of government ineptitude.
“Things are out of control. The government is doing nothing about it. We are
looking at horrible figures for January and terrible ones for February,
March and April,” said Hawkins.
The government last week awarded increments to a few categories of civil
servants, among them soldiers, teachers, nurses and doctors, acknowledging
that inflation was eroding incomes at a much faster rate than incomes were
But the new salaries, some as high as $1.5 billion, still trail inflation as
net pay falls below the breadline now estimated at around $1 billion for a
family of five.
Zhangazha noted that the government’s failure to put the brakes on inflation
and the weekly and daily changes in commodity prices are indicative of a
This, he said, should worry President Mugabe as he enters next month’s
election against the fiercest opposition from ruling party rebel, Simba
Makoni, and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
“The existing economic reality shown in high poverty levels, lack of jobs
and lack of access to health care will work against (President) Mugabe.
People will turn against (President) Mugabe at the ballot box,” observes
In other countries, the situation could have raised tensions and triggered
massive street protests.
But economic and political analysts say Zimbabweans are resigned to fate and
are not prepared to risk life and limb through street protests against
President Mugabe’s government, accused of having presided over an economic
recession now in its ninth year.
“You would expect it in normal countries but Zimbabweans just don’t see any
light at the end of the tunnel,” observed Hawkins.
Zhangazha concurs, saying the government has mastered the art of
intimidation and this had cowed people into a tepid reaction to the crisis.
“The government has maintained a strict security regime and Zimbabwe has
largely a rural population that has not been integrated into the national
economy,” Zhangazha said.
But it remains to be seen how long Zimbabweans will survive and keep on
invoking their bag of tricks to keep body and soul together in a country,
which the World Bank describes as the worst performing country outside a war
Only time, and the March 29 elections, will tell.
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has sent the
clearest sign yet that his political formation will not forge an alliance
with anyone formidable enough to brighten up the prospects of deposing
President Robert Mugabe who, at 84, incredibly still wants to extend his
rule by another five years.
Tsvangirai, who has put up a brave fight against ZANU-PF since 1999, when
the MDC was formed, has accumulated, as evidence of his sacrifice and
determination to end ZANU-PF’s rule, court and police records, scars and
emotional bruises the naked eye cannot see.
But today, and rightly so, the MDC leader is under a barrage of criticism
for closing the door on what appeared to be a godsend for the opposition to
eclipse ZANU-PF on March 29.
After giving the nod to the 18th Constitutional Amendments, which have had
the effect of increasing the number of rural constituencies — known to be
ZANU-PF’s strongholds — MDC backers were expecting Tsvangirai to move with
lightning speed to close ranks with the Arthur Mutambara-led faction to
atone for the opposition’s error of judgment, but alas.
The collapse of the MDC talks early in month had all but sealed the
fractured opposition party’s fate until two weeks ago when Simba Makoni
broke ranks with ZANU-PF to add an interesting twist to the Presidential
race, whose outcome had looked certain to go in President Mugabe’s favour.
Mutambara, whose inner cabal, comprising Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube and
Paul Themba-Nyathi, has been in the trenches together with Tsvangirai from
the formative years of the MDC, has thrown his weight behind the former
finance minister, but Tsvangirai looked determined last week to go it alone.
Tsvangirai was quoted saying Makoni was merely “old wine in a new bottle,”
and that “fundamental differences” between them meant that they could not
sing from the same hymn sheet.
In our humble opinion, Tsvangirai has hoisted himself as the epitome of a
change crusader and the country’s only hope. He sees no one else, other than
himself, leading the struggle to bring about change in Zimbabwe.
It would appear that his judgment has been clouded to a point where he is
now failing to draw the line between sectional/personal interests and the
broader objective that should crystallise a coalition.
While we hold no brief for the MDC or Makoni, we believe that the need to
minimise suffering among the people should bring the so-called progressive
forces together rather than for the opposition to be kept poles apart by
issues of style, form and approach to the achievement of the underlying
The MDC might find itself perpetually in opposition if it cannot rise above
self-serving interests and if it cannot put the interests of the people
before everything else.
If Tsvangirai was able to rope in a wider spectrum of interest groups in
1999, what are the “fundamental differences” making an alliance with Makoni
If Tsvangirai can work with Jonathan Moyo, the architect of the draconian
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and a rabid critic of
the MDC during his days in President Mugabe’s Cabinet, why should it be so
difficult for him to embrace Makoni?
Joshua Nkomo, the PF-ZAPU leader, exhibited rare leadership qualities when
he accepted to subordinate himself to President Mugabe in order to end the
Gukurahundi massacres. Up to this day, the late vice-President is a hero in
Zimbabwe and beyond.
While ZANU-PF’s backers are interpreting Mutambara’s gesture to mean he
lacks the leadership qualities to run the country, his decision should be
seen more as a show of political maturity and an accurate reading of what
needed to be done under the circumstances.
No one doubts Tsvangirai’s sincerity in the struggle to bring about change
in Zimbabwe and while it may be premature to pass a verdict on him, history
might judge the opposition leader harshly for capitulating at the last hour
by lacking a strategic mind and becoming a prisoner of his “kitchen cabinet”,
which seems to be driven by selfish interests.
After coming close to pipping President Mugabe at the post in 2000 and 2002,
when the MDC was still a formidable force before being riven by internal
conflicts, which led to the October 2005 split, the writing should be on the
wall for Tsvangirai.
A coalition of all opposition parties makes a lot of sense and it is not too
late for Tsvangirai to change course, neither would it be taken as
confirmation of allegations that he is an “indecisive” leader.
Rallying behind Makoni’s candidature might win the opposition support from
ZANU-PF members disgruntled with the economic tsunami unfolding right under
their noses, the youth, intellectuals and the business community, which has
long castigated the ruling party’s Soviet Union-style running of the country’s
By refusing to embrace other progressive forces, Tsvangirai is no different
from a captain of a losing team who protests at the entry of a
super-substitute for fear that the fresh pair of legs might steal the show.
As it is, the MDC leader is playing straight into ZANU-PF’s hands, unless of
course, his intention is to beat Abdoulaye Wade, the Senegalese President’s
record of being one of the longest serving opposition leaders after he ran
for president four times before he was elected in 2000.
Perhaps Tsvangirai should revisit the comment he made in July last year in
reaction to his nemesis’ accusation that he was a “weak and indecisive
This is what Tsvangirai said: “We need unity of all progressive forces in
this country. The enemy is not Tsvangirai. The enemy is (President) Mugabe.
If you focus on Tsvangirai, urikupedzera matombo pazvidhiidhii.”
It should never be about Tsvangirai.
A call made last week by Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri on
political parties to observe the law and to shun violence during campaigning
for next month’s presidential, parliamentary, senatorial and local
government elections would have been a welcome and timely reminder if it
However, an examination of the modus operandi of the police and the
allegations of brutality and political partisanship regularly levelled
against them would leave no one in any doubt as to who is responsible for
fomenting hostilities. Chihuri was quoted as saying: “I challenge all
political parties to organise rallies and meetings in accordance with the
law of the land. Right now, what our people need is peace and tranquility
and not aimless demonstrations, marches or processions, which waste their
precious time for development.”
Chihuri further urged candidates campaigning for various positions in the
harmonised polls to use their words to promote healing among the people and
focus on solving problems rather than apportioning blame.
“Let me, therefore reiterate that police will never treat perpetrators of
violence with kid gloves.” The Commissioner-General may not be aware of it,
but his very utterances are part of the problem.
Chihuri cannot seriously talk about the police not treating culprits “with
kid gloves” when they cannot explain their failure to arrest and bring to
book individuals accused of killing or assaulting opposition activists and
leaders over the years
Regular reminders by the press that, in all these years, the police have not
tracked down and brought to justice these criminals as well as those who
bombed the printing press of the banned Daily News continue to elicit a
deafening silence from the authorities. Not only have these callous
individuals been treated with kid gloves and allowed to go scot-free, some
have been rewarded handsomely with cushy diplomatic jobs according to media
reports that the police have not refuted.
Does the Commissioner-General remember the brutal attack on opposition and
human rights leaders in March last year that left Lovemore Madhuku of the
National Constitutional Assembly and Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for
Democratic Change with fractured skulls and swollen faces and dozens of
their supporters with various forms of serious injuries? Does he recall
pictures of two defenceless women, Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinjeh, arriving
in South Africa on stretchers after they had been brutally battered by the
very law enforcement agents that Chihuri claims are “geared up …to put in
place measures to combat any violence during and after the polls.” Not long
after this, the same police force had no qualms about setting the riot squad
on the president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa and her
male colleagues in broad daylight.
What has happened to the perpetrators of these heinous crimes and those who
brutalised leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in
October 2006 as a way to scupper a protest march they had organised to
highlight the deteriorating economic conditions and collapse of service
The Commissioner-General cannot convince any reasonable person that the
police force operates professionally and impartially when it openly
interprets and enforces the law selectively and is often guilty of gross,
politically expedient dereliction of duty.
Chihuri talks glibly of the people of Zimbabwe needing “peace and
tranquility and not aimless demonstrations, marches or processions, which
waste their time for development”. But only just over a month ago in
December, the police had no problem dealing with the “million-man”
procession in the capital and solidarity marches that were staged in support
of President Robert Mugabe’s candidature in next month’s elections. Can the
Commissioner-General explain why he was un-perturbed over the national
resources and time devoted to these activities but bristles when other
stakeholders seek to similarly exercise their right to assemble and petition
the government of the day?
When will the Commissioner-General tell the nation truthfully once and for
all why it is that the police force can enthusiastically handle a march by a
million people, but goes berserk when 200 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA) embark on a peaceful Valentine’s Day procession to spread a message
of love and tolerance? The police cannot expect to be taken seriously for
implying that they can successfully escort a procession of a million people
through the Harare central business district but find four or five lawyers
walking towards the offices of the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs to present a petition such a threat to national peace
and security that they have to deploy the riot squad.
Moreover, it is not up to the Police Commissioner-General to say which
peaceful demonstrations or marches organised by citizens are aimless or a
waste of time because it is the marchers who know how deeply felt their
grievances are. The role of the police should simply be limited to crowd
control and maintenance of law and order. In this respect, Zimbabwean police
should learn the techniques used by law enforcers in other countries who
routinely cope with demonstrations involving millions.
In the build-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, whole cities in Europe, the
Americas and Asia were out in full force demonstrating either for or against
the war and the role of law enforcers in these countries was to control the
multitudes and not to crush their processions. In Zimbabwe what
Commissioner-General Chihuri’s police force does is to allow or ban
processions or rallies along partisan political lines. It is no secret and
the Commissioner-General cannot deny that while events organised by
opposition and civic groups are routinely banned, disrupted or crushed
altogether, this never happens with regard to those organised by the ruling
Last week, this newspaper published a disturbing report giving statistics on
pre-election violence collated by the Zimbabwe Peace Project. The research
shows that the majority of violent incidents were perpetrated by members of
the ruling party. While all culprits must be brought to book regardless of
political affiliation, it is an open secret that the police would rather
fabricate charges against innocent members of opposition groups than
prosecute members of the ruling party even if the evidence against them is
as high as the Nyanga and Chimanimani mountains. My question is what action
do the police plan to take in connection with the political violence already
raging in the provinces.
It is not enough to issue ambiguous statements about police preparedness to
ensure peace during the elections without responding to allegations about
the deployment of youth militias to intimidate rural voters.
Independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni has hit the nail on the head
by declaring that he wants next month’s polls to be a “contest of ideas”
during which no stones, knives, fists should feature. “No one is worth dying
for”, he was quoted as saying. “Not President Robert Mugabe, Arthur
Mutambara, Morgan Tsvangirai. Certainly not Simba Makoni. No one is worth
A refreshingly clear, direct and un-ambiguous message that every
presidential candidate should be preaching. It would also make a potent
theme for law enforcement agents if the police force had not been so
seriously compromised and suborned.
Clemence Manyukwe Staff Reporter
A DIAMOND mining company partly owned by top ZANU-PF figures, River Ranch
Limited, has instituted a $12 trillion defamation suit against Terrence
Hussein, a lawyer, over his assertions that their company could have been
involved in smuggling.
ZANU-PF bigwigs Solomon Mujuru and Tirivanhu Mudariki, together with
controlling shareholder Adel Aujan, a Saudi billionaire, own the company.
The company’s lawsuit, filed on February 1, is in response to Hussein’s
complaint to the United Nations (UN) over the conduct of River Ranch
Limited, whose occupation of River Ranch diamond mine in Beitbridge is the
subject of a legal dispute.
River Ranch Limited is fighting a legal battle over the control of the mine
against Bubye Minerals, which is represented by Hussein.
This week, Hussein said River Ranch Limited’s legal suit was “poorly
Hussein’s complaint to the UN resulted in the World Diamond Council
instituting a probe into diamond smuggling in Zimbabwe last year.
The lawsuit filed by River Ranch Limited and its employees, says letters
written to the UN by Hussein as part of his complaint against the company
were defamatory and “tarnished the image” of the country.
“The letters referred to above were defamatory and tarnished the image of
not only the plaintiffs but also of Zimbabwe.
“They resulted in the chairman of the World Diamond Council requesting the
Kimberley Process Committee to visit Zimbabwe and investigate the report,”
part of the lawsuit reads.
The Kimberley Process exonerated River Ranch Limited after the probe.
However, Hussein is contesting the verdict, arguing that investigators had
falsely claimed that he had appeared before the committee and that he had
withdrawn complaints against River Ranch Limited.
In response to the lawsuit, Hussein on Monday wrote to River Ranch Limited’s
lawyers, Costa and Madzonga, accusing the company of intimidation.
“My clients and their minor children have been subjected to unlawful
surveillance…we are fully mindful of the dangers that my clients and myself
face in this matter,” Hussein said.
“However, having said that, I wish to place it on record that we hold you
and your client’s directors Mr Aujan, Mr Solomon Mujuru, Mr Mudariki and Mr
Mulla personally responsible for any harm that may be contemplated against
Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter
SOUTH African mining baron Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Minerals (ARM)
is planning to invest in the country’s resources sector, despite threats of
expropriation and outlawing foreign control of companies operating in the
The Financial Gazette is informed that ARM is planning to invest in the
country’s mining sector with a specific focus on coal and platinum group
ARM has already made overtures to the government and is fine-tuning
proposals for presentation to the Zimbabwe Investment Authority for
Motsepe is one of South Africa’s richest black businessmen who owns several
companies in that country.
The Financial Gazette was told that Motsepe was in the country on a private
visit early this month, apparently laying the groundwork for the planned
investments. He is said to have met President Robert Mugabe and some of his
top lieutenants during the visit.
ARM’s business development executive for Africa, Dan Simelane, confirmed the
plans by ARM to invest in Zimbabwe by declined to give details.
“Our company African Rainbow Minerals is exploring mining investment
opportunities in coal and platinum group metals in Zimbabwe,” Simelane said.
“As you are aware, any mining investment is both capital intensive and long
term in respect to time frame and as such we are not able to give you the
quantum of investment and the time frame.”
Simelane added: “At the appropriate time a decision will be taken by our
company as to which vehicle we will be using and can not determine at this
stage as to how many employment opportunities will be created.”
Motsepe held various influential positions in South Africa including the
deputy chairman of Ubuntu-Botho, and chairman of Harmony Gold.
In 2004, Motsepe led a broad-based black empowerment consortium to buy 10
percent shareholding in Sanlam in what was to become one of the most
far-reaching black empowerment transactions in South Africa.
In the Ubuntu-Botho deal, he managed to bring together various stakeholders
to empower small businesses.
The success of the venture has been remarkable, media reports in South
Africa have indicated.
While the Ubuntu-Botho deal has contributed to the significant increase in
Sanlam’s share price, this far-sighted venture has helped Sanlam fast track
its transformation into a truly representative South African company.
At the annual general meeting of the South African Institute of Mining and
Metallurgy in 2005 Motsepe, who was chairman of ARM, was awarded the
Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award.
The award, which comprises a medallion of platinum, is presented to
individuals who demonstrate achievements in and commitment to the South
African Mining and Metallurgical industry.
The 2005 award recognised Motsepe’s substantial contribution to the South
African minerals industry over the years as well as his leadership role
within South African society.
A SERIOUS shortage of sugar is looming after the country’s producers were
last week forced to halt production due to crippling shortages of sugarcane
Industry sources told The Financial Gazette that Hippo Valley and Zimbabwe
Sugar Refineries (ZSR), the country’s major producers of sugar, had
exhausted their supplies of sugarcane and were now waiting for fresh
supplies from the next harvest, which would be after April.
The shortages of sugarcane are believed to have worsened an already
precarious situation as companies had been battling acute power shortages,
foreign currency and spares supply constraints.
Sources said milling companies had put aside substantial buffer stocks to
use during the time of shortages. But reports said the government, worried
about annoying the electorate ahead of next month’s polls, had ordered the
firms to produce sugar from their buffer stocks, leading to the depletion of
starafricacorporation chief executive officer Patterson Sithole said he was
not aware of the disruptions when contacted for comment.
The former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president was not even
willing to shed light on the extent of the production deficit in the
He said: “We supply only part of the market, I do not have that
ZSR is a subsidiary of starafricacorporation, which listed on the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange in 1947.
Hippo Valley executives were not immediately contactable for comment.
A source said production could resume this week if coal supplies were
restored, although this was not guaranteed.
Despite the unavailability of sugar on the domestic market, some
unscrupulous merchants have however, been managing to secure the commodity
but have been selling it outside the country to earn foreign currency.
Sugar shortages in Zimbabwe could force the country to revert to expensive
imports. This would divert foreign currency, which could have been utilised
in improving productivity by importing spares, into importing basic food
The current sugar production constraints have also been blamed on the
failure by new farmers to produce on land they took up from white commercial
farmers in 2000.
Close to 180 new farmers were said to have settled on the Hippo Valley
Estates and were allocated hacterages of between 20 and 60 per family.
Many of the resettled farmers had initially celebrated bumper harvests from
crops grown by former landowners, but these have since disappeared from the
Besides, the new farmers have struggled to harvest the crop due to lack of
expertise and implements and working capital, among other things.
According to the Zimbabwe Cane Farmers Association, 772 739 metric tonnes of
sugarcane were produced before the seizure of farms in 2002.
The land reform had resulted in a 440 percent decrease in hacterage,
significantly affecting output, which went down to 148 723 metric tonnes in
2004 and 219 100 metric tonnes in 2005.
Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter
BRITISH property tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten, on trial for alleged
violation of foreign exchange regulations as well as possession of
pornographic materials, last week cast doubts on prospects for a fair trial,
with his lawyer George Chikumbirike complaining that the investor’s rights
had been “compromised” by the State’s attitude.
After expressing grave concern over the failure by the police to produce a
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority declaration form he signed to indicate that the
foreign currency confiscated by the police had been legally brought into the
country, van Hoogstraten on Friday alleged violations of his right to a
He accused the State of concealing evidence, producing them only when it
suited the prosecution.
“The rights of the accused person to fair trial has been compromised in
several respects,” Chikumbirike told judge Morgan Nemadire.
“Evidence has been contrived to suit occasions,” he complained, adding that
the State had delayed producing a crucial inventory of properties taken from
the businessman’s home.
And when the inventory was produced, it did not bear van Hoogstraten’s
“Some evidence was not there when the docket was produced, but suddenly they
are made available when it suits the State,” Chikumbirike told the court.
“This inventory, according to the police, was done on the day of the arrest.
“But the suspect must accept the removal of the property (by signing) to
avoid abuse especially where money is involved.
“His part is not signed. Why was he not allowed to sign?
“The inventory was only given to us after several requests from January 24,
but it only came to us yesterday (February 14). Something is not right
When Nemadire asked prosecutor Obi Mabahwana if it was true that van
Hoogstraten had not signed the inventory, the tycoon, who spent the one-hour
session calm and sometimes yawning, shook his head and looked straight at
Van Hoogstraten, an international businessman well known for his love for
properties, but has a controversial history in his home country, has
exhibited a totally different personality during pre-trial proceedings in
In contrast to the notoriety that he is commonly known for, he shared jokes
with strangers at the Harare Magistrate’s courts.
But in his cool and composure, he has made life difficult for prosecutors.
Van Hoogstraten declared on Wednesday had had done nothing wrong by keeping
foreign currency at his Emerald Hill home.
“Not guilty!” was his answer when Mabahwana asked for his plea on the charge
of possessing foreign currency.
And Chikumbirike backed him on Friday. He said the “sniffing business” that
had become the police’s duty across the country, even in the streets, was
“It is not an offence in this country to possess foreign currency unless one
contravenes the Bank Use Promotion and Money Laundering Act,” Chikumbirike
“It is not an offence to receive foreign currency for services or goods in
this country, so the main count (of receiving foreign currency for rentals)
“The possession of foreign currency is not prohibited, it is actually said
that where you have access to foreign currency do all you can to bring it
into the country.
“What must be done is to change the money in the bank at the prescribed
exchange rate,” he said.
Nemadire is expected to make a judgment this week on a plethora of
objections raised by van Hoogstraten before the trial continues.
THE money market finally relinquished a liquidity crunch and went into
surplus last week after huge cash injections into the market from government
With harmonised elections scheduled for March 29, market watchers said
liquidity conditions were likely to persist on increasing government
Analysts and dealers said cheap funding for the productive sector as well as
loans for the agricultural sector had poured into the market, contributing
to excess liquidity.
Funding for gold purchases from miners and related undisclosed fiscal
expenditures had also led to enormous cash injections into the market, a
stock broking analyst said.
As a result of the cash injections, the market opened $18 trillion up on
Monday last week, having closed the previous week with a surplus position of
The market was expected to have opened this week up $162 trillion.
“Investment rates in the market came off from their previous week highs as a
result of the excess liquidity conditions,” said Kingdom Stockbrokers (KSB)
in a commentary to investors.
“Investments for 7-14 day monies were being quoted in the range of 0-50
percent during the closing days of the week, down from the previous week
average of 300 percent.
“The longer-dated 60-90 day monies were being quoted at rates ranging from
200-300 percent while inter-bank overnight placement rates also took a
nosedive to an average rate of 100 percent as the week came to an end,” said
the KSB commentary.
A KSB analysts noted: “We expect the easier liquidity conditions to persist
during the pre-election period propelled by government expenditure.
“This should see investment rates in the money market declining to their
lowest level, making interest bearing assets very unattractive given the
persistent inflationary pressure affecting the financial markets.”
Staff Reporter Shame Makoshori
JAMES Kawara hugged his envelope, which contained a number of important
personal documents, including a diploma in civil engineering, as he trudged
the rugged terrain in Beitbridge, the town at the border with South Africa.
He had been dropped by a truck from Harare, and was weighing his options as
he pondered making the second attempt at illegally crossing the border to
South Africa, the continent’s economic powerhouse.
His bid in January had failed because of the flooded Limpopo River, that
crocodile infested waterway separating the two countries.
But this time, the 31-year-old father of two was determined to take the
ultimate risk, and move on.
“I paid locals 100 rands to take me to the South African side,” Kawara said,
somberly. He was part of a group of other Zimbabweans anxious to cross that
dreaded river, but had depended on old timers in the area who charge to
smuggle people across the border through the Limpopo River.
“But we came across robbers who took all our money,” said Kawara, almost
sobbing. His real lure was the boom in South Africa’s construction industry,
and many former classmates had landed lucrative jobs in the sector after
fleeing Zimbabwe’s domestic crisis.
South African companies have been on a massive recruitment in Zimbabwe, but
Kawara said he had not been lucky to get a job that would enable him to
apply for a work permit while in the country before migrating to South
Africa. He is now back home, and always judges himself unkindly for failing
to take care of his aged parents, his two children and school-going
Kawara’s predicament epitomises that of thousands of dejected Zimbabweans
battling to survive under Zimbabwe’s economic crisis, now in its ninth year.
Most of them have fled to South Africa and other neighbouring countries in
search of better lives.
The passport offices across the country are daily flooded by thousands of
Zimbabweans anxious to migrate into neighbouring countries or overseas to
escape a battered economy punishing its people.
Zimbabwean researcher and labour economist, Godfrey Kanyenze, said in a
recent paper that until the hostile political and economic environment was
over, the flight of Zimbabweans would continue.
Analyst Eric Block told a recent meeting discussing the Zimbabwe staff
crisis that fast declining productivity, ageing technology and collapsing
infrastructure were the driving forces behind massive migration of
“We have a massively hiking inflation (rate) and very few of those who are
migrating will come back,” Bloch said.
“They want to earn real money to support their families, buy cars and get
capital to start their own businesses,” he added.
Mobile phone companies are almost crumbling because of an accelerating staff
A spokesman, Douglas Mboweni, recently said critical staff in the sector
were joining telecommunication networks outside the country.
He said mobile network operators were losing close to 150 technical staff to
regional and international competitors every year.
This adds to technical staff in the mining and engineering sectors, as well
as nurses, doctors and teachers joining the exodus of professionals into the
regions and abroad.
President of the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism Chipo Mtasa said the brain
drain had caused head aches in the hospitality industry.
“It in not only in South Africa (where they are going), they are going
everywhere,” she told this newspaper recently.
The civil service lost more that 1 200 professionals in its ranks by June
Analysts project the tide of labour migration from Zimbabwe could escalate
Zimbabwe’s mining industry has lost 45 000 workers in the past decade,
according to the chamber of mines.
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
The concept targets to help the low–income earners and disadvantaged groups
A SHORTAGE of financial resources could delay the ambitious plan by the
government to construct a network of ‘people’s shops’, which will offer
basic goods at hugely subsidised prices.
Industry and International Trade Minister Obert Mpofu last month revealed
that President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet had approved plans by the Zimbabwe
Development Corporation (ZDC), to open low price shops in an attempt to help
hard hit citizens access basic commodities, which are currently priced
beyond their reach due to rampaging inflation.
Mpofu gave the new board forty days from the end of January to set up the
But Jonathan Kadzura, the chairman of the ZDC board of directors, told The
Financial Gazette that the state–run firm was still waiting for funding to
begin construction of the shops.
“It is going to be a function of resources. We are generally ready. We are
just waiting for funding. We are waiting to get resources so that we can
fly. We have identified places countrywide,” said Kadzura.
The “shops concept” was taken from Angola and is aimed at providing basic
commodities for the low–income earners and disadvantaged groups at cheaper
Mpofu recently said this would help cushion the poor from rampant price
increases, shortages and “monopolistic tendencies in the market”.
Apart from constructing people’s shops, the ZDC will also seize firms
engaging in what government describes as “dirty tactics” aimed at
undermining President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Last year government cracked down on enterprises it accused of frequently
hiking prices of commodities in an attempt to foment anger against President
But business leaders denied the charges, arguing that a slow down in
production and company closures were sparked by myriad problems facing
industrial operations, among them shortage of foreign currency to import raw
materials and machine parts, the power and fuel crises and government price
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic recession blamed on repression
and inapt policies by President Mugabe’s government which have seen
inflation reaching 66 000 percent and a rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest
for a country not at war, and shortages of basic commodities.
President Mugabe, in power since 1980 and contesting next month’s
presidential election under the ruling party ticket, denies ruining the once
prosperous economy and instead blames the country’s troubles on sabotage
fuelled by Western countries.
The election we want and beyond...
EDITOR — The future of Zimbabwe interests me because that is where I am most
likely to spend the rest of my days on earth. For a country that has some
claim to enlightenment, I was one of those disappointed that after 28 years
of independence all we could offer by way of leadership material from a
whole nation of 14 million people was “vaMugabe chete-chete” and Morgan
“zvichanaka chete” Tsvangirai.
This national drought of leadership was spreading despair, alarm and
despondency among the populace until the entry of Simba Makoni.
One of the reasons we have been wandering in the ‘economic and political
desert’ is because we are unable to detach ourselves from our parochial view
and take a long term vision of what is good for Zimbabwe not just MDC or
Applying a Solomonic judgment view, both MDC and ZANU-PF would rather have
Zimbabwe, the baby, sawn in two and each one of them taking a dead piece
just to spite the other, rather than let one of them two nurture the baby.
So to extricate ourselves from this mess we need to stop being emotional and
rationally weigh our options.
While the leaders of both MDC and ZANU-PF behave like the big “chefs” by
failing to avail themselves during the registration process, Makoni showed
better humility, personally filing his own papers.
My MDC compatriots in South Africa went hysterical when I suggested that
what Tsvangirai did to humiliate Mbeki by asking him to show more spine was
strategically a wrong thing to do.
We as a nation need to learn that if we do not do anything about our
situation, we should not expect a Knight in shining armour from SADC, AU and
UN to come to our rescue.
We have about a month to go before the elections and do not have the time to
micro-analyse the context and background to Makoni’s candidacy. Every
politician, including Simba, is an opportunist and potentially a liar and
whatever they say has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Collaboration between ZANU-PF and MDC has already occurred through the 18th
constitutional amendments so what would be wrong with collaborating now in
the Makoni project for the benefit of Zimbabwe? What principles would the
MDC be using to say that they won’t work with Simba but are prepared to
forge electoral pacts with Jonathan Moyo who personifies the ultimate
political prostitution and excesses of what is wrong with our politics.
For example Moyo, who has expressed his disgust with the events of
Gukurahundi, was prepared at Tsholotsho to install as future president,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, a key player in the tragedy. Politicians are not driven
by principles but by opportunities.
I have a dream that on March 29, we will hold an election not accompanied by
violence or the barbaric use of “pasi nanhingi” slogans that have been
rampant across Zimbabwe’s political landscape.
To me an ideal outcome would be a scenario where MDC would win the
parliamentary vote with no more than 45 percent of the vote, ZANU-PF no more
than 38 percent and the fringe parties and independents the balance of 17
If Makoni wins the presidential election, this would really result in the
proper balance of power between the executive and legislature while at the
same time keep everyone humble. Makoni can then “institute a process of
national healing and reconciliation” and restoration of Zimbabwe into the
The winner-takes-all scenario is bad for national healing in a polarised
society as has been shown in Kenya.
>From a ZANU-PF perspective, Makoni has been the first to volunteer to bell
>the cat and for that the people of Zimbabwe should be grateful.
This ‘mugoti unopiwa anyerere’ strategy of vana Mnangagwa was useful during
the liberation struggle but has no place in a modern day democracy.
Zimbabweans should all be free to express their views without fear of being
lynched by Chinotimba and Jabulani Sibanda’s mob. Village bullies thrive on
fear and it is time Zimbabweans say enough is enough.
We need to release our mindset from events of the past and set it to
contemplate what is possible in the future. A national hostage crisis
perpetuated by a few mercenaries masquerading as war veterans that began in
1980 seems set to continue in 2008. Sacrifice was not a preserve for the war
veterans that survived the war.
For example my uncle who is one of many, lost five of his children in
Mozambique during the war of liberation and he received neither
acknowledgement nor compensation.
Teachers, clergymen, peasants and various communities across Zimbabwe
contributed in kind to the struggle for independence.
I lost two years of my schooling life supporting the struggle but that
should not in any way give me a sense of entitlement. That was the essence
When I was in Zimbabwe in January, I passed through an almost 500 hectare
farm and the proud owner had ploughed just five hectares.
Clearly this was a peasant farmer masquerading as a commercial farmer but
the agricultural officials have no guts to get this gentleman off the land
because he is a war veteran. Land is a finite resource and everyone who goes
onto it must be able to produce optimally.
We have systematically decimated the commercial and manufacturing industry
that we inherited intact from the Smith regime.
Masimirembwa should stop presiding over the de-industrialisation of Zimbabwe
and stick to chicken farming while allowing the few manufacturers we still
have to thrive.
Hordes of people have to cross the border everyday to buy soap and cooking
oil thereby exporting even the most menial jobs still available in Zimbabwe.
The only people thriving in this environment are rent seeking parasitic
black market dealers straddling the economy from fuel to foreign currency.
Guarantees we need to extract from Makoni between now and 29 March are that
he will only run for one term during the stabilisation period and no matter
how well he does during that period he must know that no one is
We also need to know that he will not be beholden to a ZANU-PF Mafiaso ring
to the extent that he may not allow the law to take its course.
After all the indigenisation boo-hoos nearly all the gold and platinum mined
in Zimbabwe is still owned by South African companies?
Even uncle Thabo has done much better in SA in the short time he started
setting targets instead of just perpetuating the big talk. We need Simba to
preside over an empowerment process that is fair, transparent and equitable.
As a result these elections represent opportunities for those who desire
By the way I am not just one of those diasporan armchair commentators but I
am a registered voter who has voted in every election. I was eligible to
vote since independence and by God’s grace will vote in the March 29
Let us not polarise the nation any further
EDITOR — It is with great dismay that we have witnessed polarisation of the
populace mainly by/because of those we look up to, to advise our beloved
nation on the way forward, from our government institutions, civic society,
churches, politicians and the so-called commentators.
We hear ‘President Mugabe/Tsvangirai is a dictator’, ‘Makoni is a spoiler’,
‘Mutambara has no constituency besides Welshman Ncube’, and we await Langton
Taungana’s fate soon. Individualism/party-politics take us back way beyond
I feel we no longer have papers and commentators that independently
criticise and present facts without being too lenient towards one leader or
I would like to appeal to my fellow countrymen, let us not polarise the
nation with pronouncements that urge hatred/violence towards one section of
society to the other — in Africa we have recent examples to learn from.
A common factor in the March 29th elections is that we are all suffering
across the board and we need to invest as a nation in leaders who have the
will to move the country in the direction that enriches all.
Manifestos can be a starting point not name-calling.
Ndlovu’s words have no place in a true democracy
EDITOR — The recent announcement by Information and Publicity Minister
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu that foreign journalists who come from what he termed
“hostile western countries” will not be accredited ahead of March 29
elections is absurd. Ndlovu went on to say that only those journalists from
friendly nations will be invited to cover the elections.
This highly obnoxious move by the government exposes its dictatorship and it
is clear that the government does not want the true Zimbabwean story to be
ZANU-PF is desperate to rig the elections and as such they know fully well
that their selected group of journalists will only report in favour of the
ruling party. It will not be difficult for such people to expose the flawed
Media laws have to be changed as soon as yesterday such that all parties are
given enough airplay ahead of the elections.
Of late we have been watching the developments from the ZANU-PF primaries
and the only time you hear of the opposition is when they are being
The SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections stipulate
that all political parties should be given equal opportunity to access the
state media but in Zimbabwe it is the other way round.
The MDC/ZANU-PF talks also agreed that a new body called the Zimbabwe Media
Council is to be set up to deal with the accreditation of journalists but
the commission is still to be set up. The government will make sure that
they have an influence over the commission as is the case with the MIC.
We salute newspapers like The Zimbabwean who are launching a Sunday
publication because people are desperate to know the truth not the
propaganda dosage from The Herald.
The environment is not going to be an easy one during election time as it is
obvious that ZANU-PF will unleash its machinery to terrorise opposition
activists and journalists.
The students of Zimbabwe will forever salute all the media players that are
exposing ZANU-PF and ZINASU urges them to stand for the truth.
Together we will conquer.
Information and Publicity Secretary
Zimbabwe National Students Union
Makoni sounds good but...
EDITOR — The declaration by Dr Simba Makoni that he is going to stand
against President Robert Mugabe came to me as refreshing news because, on
paper, his credentials are impeccable and he is the only man possibly
capable of dislodging President Mugabe from office.
But I have a gut feeling that Makoni is only a decoy for ZANU-PF whose
mandate is to split the urban vote where the ruling party has consistently
lost to the opposition. I sincerely hope I am wrong but knowing how cunning
President Mugabe is I cannot put this past him.
Critical questions regarding Dr Makoni’s candidature remain largely
a) Why has Dr Makoni not publicly dissociated himself from ZANU-PF?
b) Assuming he wins, how is he going to form a government seeing that he
does not have a party? Surely not with the current crop of ZANU-PF
c) He (Dr Makoni) claims to have consulted widely from within and without
ZANU-PF. Where are the so-called heavyweights who are reportedly backing
Until the above questions are satisfactorily answered, much as I may like
him, I would not vote for him.