by Farisai Gonye Friday 29 February 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party has directed its election
candidates to first deliver a message from President Robert Mugabe at every
campaign meeting, a move insiders said was meant to ensure the candidates do
not campaign for former finance minister Simba Makoni.
Makoni, a former member of ZANU PF's powerful politburo committee, is
challenging Mugabe for the top job in what analysts have said is probably
the biggest rebellion against the veteran leader in more than two decades.
Makoni has repeatedly said he is working with people within ZANU PF and
earlier this week ruled out a coalition with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Changed (MDC) party because such an alliance would alienate
ruling party leaders who he says are backing him.
Sources said there were fears some party candidates in the parliamentary and
council elections suspected of being sympathetic to Makoni could use their
campaign rallies to drum up support for the former minister. Alternatively,
they could undermine Mugabe by simply avoiding mentioning his name at
"It was feared we could end up with a situation where Mugabe might lose,
while ZANU PF candidates would go on to win parliamentary and council
seats," said a party official, who spoke on condition he was not named.
"But now it is mandatory that every party candidate begins by campaigning
for Mugabe before they can campaign for themselves," said the source.
ZANU PF political commissar Elliot Manyika confirmed that the party's
candidates were under instruction to prioritise Mugabe's bid for re-election
but he denied this was because of fear some candidates may not back the
veteran leader's bid to continue in office, which a group of top party
officials had tried to block.
The move was merely in order to avoid confusion in a campaign programme
where the party has to drum up support for four candidates for president,
Senate, House of Assembly and ward councillors, according to Manyika who is
also the election director.
He said: "The position is that we have four candidates and the president
tops the list of those four candidates. Every ZANU-PF meeting should
emphasize the President's messages before adding their own messages. This is
to centralise our campaign and avoid confusion."
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron-like grip since independence in 1980,
brooking no challenge within his own party and from without.
He appeared to effectively smother internal resistance to his continued stay
in power when he got ZANU PF to endorse him as candidate for president last
December - until Makoni's open rebellion earlier this month.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of an acute economic recession critics blame on
mismanagement by Mugabe and seen in the world's highest inflation rate of
more than 100 000 percent, 80 percent unemployment and shortages of food,
fuel and foreign currency.
However, analysts say an unfair political playing field guarantees Mugabe
victory against Makoni and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. - ZimOnline
by Christopher Nyoni Friday 29 February 2008
JOHANNESBURG - The South African Communist Party (SACP) on Thursday said
last week's assault of Zimbabwe teachers' union leaders did not bode well
for the holding of free and fair elections in the country next month.
Speaking at a workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum civic
group in Johannesburg yesterday, SACP spokesman Solly Mapaila said the party
was concerned the rising cases of political violence in Zimbabwe.
Mapaila said last week's assault of Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ) leader Ray Majongwe and others raised doubts whether President Robert
Mugabe was committed to the holding of genuine polls next month.
"Majongwe and his fellow comrades from the PTUZ were recently bashed by
supporters of the ruling ZANU PF party. How can you say you want to hold
free and fair elections in that context?
"There is no way the elections in Zimbabwe will be free and fair if the
period leading to the polls is not peaceful," said Mapaila at the workshop
with the theme, Building momentum for freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe.
Mapaila said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which is charged with
overseeing elections in Zimbabwe, appeared to be badly prepared for the
elections with reports suggesting that the voters' roll was in shambles.
Earlier this week, acting Anglican Bishop Sebastian Bakare decried the
prevailing lawlessness and violence in Zimbabwe adding that chaos in the
run-up to the elections was promoting anarchy around the country.
The tough talking bishop laid the blame squarely on Zimbabwe's political
leaders whom he said were bent on fanning division and political violence
around the country.
Mugabe is facing his biggest electoral test on 29 March when he squares off
against his former finance minister Simba Makoni and opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The elections come against a background of a debilitating economic crisis
many critics blame on Mugabe and that is seen in the world's highest
inflation rate of more than 100 000 percent, shortages of food and fuel.
However, analysts say an unfair playing field guarantees Mugabe victory at
the polls despite clear evidence that he has failed to break a vicious
inflation cycle that has left consumers impoverished and the economy in deep
crisis. - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondent Friday 29 February 2008
JOHANNESBURG - The World Food Programme (WFP) says it is seeking
US$500 million for its food relief operations around the world including in
In a statement yesterday, WFP said it needed $3.4 billion to cover its
relief operations this year, a rise from the $2.9 billion it said it needed
last year because of rising cost of food.
The WFP said the rise in the cost of food could hit hard countries
such as Zimbabwe, Chad, Yemen and Cuba that depend on food handouts from the
Zimbabwe has virtually depended on food handouts from international
relief agencies over the past eight years after President Robert Mugabe
seized white farms that produced the bulk of the country's food.
The food shortages, critics blame on Mugabe's controversial land
reforms, have been worsened by a severe economic recession that has
manifested itself in the world's highest inflation rate of over 100 000
percent. - ZimOnline
SW Radio Africa (London)
28 February 2008
Posted to the web 28 February 2008
Two suspected armed robbers who are alleged to have robbed MDC President
Morgan Tsvangirai at gunpoint in South Africa earlier this month, have been
George Sibochiwe, Tsvangirai' spokesman, confirmed the arrests Thursday,
adding that the MDC leader had to fly back to Johannesburg for an
identification parade. However that might have to wait until April because
of Tsvangirai's hectic campaign schedule.
On 12th February Tsvangirai, Sibochiwe and another aide were outside the
party offices in Homestead Avenue in Bryanston at about 6pm when three men
armed with pistols confronted them. It is alleged the robbers had followed
them from the OR Tambo International Airport.
The robbers stole the men's bags, laptops, cellphones and an undisclosed
amount of cash before escaping in a white sedan waiting for them outside the
offices. None of the MDC officials were hurt but they were left badly
Acting National Police Commissioner Tim Williams was ordered by the cabinet
to prioritise the investigation and it is believed the South African police
put together a team of experienced officers to deal with the high profile
To avoid a repeat of a similar incident, police in Johannesburg were also
ordered to provide Tsvangirai with an armed VIP escort whenever he is in
A source told us that acting commissioner Williams was on the scene of the
crime the following day directing operations. The area surrounding the
offices was cordoned off whilst the police carried out detailed forensic
'The first suspect, believed to be the driver of the getaway vehicle, was
picked up in the first week after police sifted through many hours of CCTV
footage from the area. The second suspect was arrested a few days later and
the authorities are still looking for two more people involved in the case,'
our source said.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
28 February 2008
The Zimbabwe Teachers Association said Thursday that its members have joined
their colleagues from the rival Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe in a
strike to enforce their demand that salaries be pegged to the national
The association said its 55,000 members are participating in the strike,
effectively paralyzing the education system. The rival PTUZ went on strike
Association officials would not state their exact salary demand, but PTUZ
leaders have asked for an entry-level salary of $1.7 billion (US$80). The
government just gave a large boost in pay to army officers, drawing
criticism from other public employees.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association Secretary General Richard Gundani told
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that teachers will
only return to work if they are paid enough to get to work and meet their
By Blessing Zulu
28 February 2008
Independent presidential candidate Langton Towungana was virtually unknown
in Zimbabwean political circles when he filed his nomination papers on
February 15, but the Victoria Falls resident says he is on a mission from
God to save Zimbabwe.
Towungana is generally considered to be a distant fourth in a race dominated
by President Robert Mugabe, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba
Makoni, a former top ruling party official who broke away to launch an
Towungana told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 that God has given
him the "assignment" to run for president because "we are in a terrible
Towungana deplored Zimbabwe's isolation from the international community,
"which is very bad because we need to have good relationships" with other
countries." He said he would work with anyone in any party if such partners
He anticipated difficulty in campaigning because "it is not a democratic
Dumisani Ndlela Business Editor
Ex-minister causes Mugabe endless headaches
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's public admission that there are divisions within
the presidium have added currency to reports he is battling to stave off a
public fall-out with his lieutenants, which could further rock the party
ahead of the elections next month.
The scramble by President Mugabe to contain the crisis in his party comes as
it emerged this week that Dumiso Dabengwa, the firebrand former ZIPRA
intelligence boss, was scheduled to throw down the gauntlet publicly by
endorsing Simba Makoni at a rally scheduled for this weekend in Bulawayo.
If this happens, it would be a major boost for Makoni's campaign.
Dabengwa, who has not refuted previous reports linking him to the Makoni
camp, yesterday refused to comment on the issue, saying he wanted to know
the identities of The Financial Gazette's sources first before responding.
"If they have a face, I will respond," he said when this reporter declined
to reveal the paper's sources.
A public endorsement of Makoni would seal Dabengwa's fate as a foe of
President Mugabe, but it could also well mark the beginning of a great
exodus from the party by Makoni's sympathisers.
The Financial Gazette reported in its February 7, 2008 issue that retired
Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, Vitalis Zvinavashe, as well as former
Masvingo provincial chairman, Dzikamai Mavhaire, also backed Makoni.
Mavhaire defiantly registered to stand as a ZANU-PF candidate in the
elections despite opposition from President Mugabe.
President Mugabe is increasingly worried by suggestions about private deals
between Makoni and his two Vice Presidents, Joseph Msika and Joice Mujuru,
as well as party chairman John Nkomo, despite public pledges of loyalty by
Sharp differences between the President and the top party officials are
becoming increasingly noticeable.
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation last week to mark
his 84th birthday, President Mugabe admitted for the first time that there
were divisions in the presidency.
Responding to a question on whether the presidency was still "standing
together", the President made a scathing attack on his colleagues.
"It's the same issue (with Makoni). You have obviously some people who
think, because the party is too rigid on them, they want freedom, to make
money and make money any way, through any means, good or bad. Others feel
that, 'my friends, we should not continue like this. We need Europeans as
our friends. After all the Europeans are assisting us.
'Why should we take their farms, why should we be hostile to Britain?' So,
vanongonyunyuta (they grumble) but they don't say these things in the
politburo. There you can see that they are individuals who are not
courageous enough. Although they may have views, they are not prepared, you
see, to express those views in the politburo."
The politburo is ZANU-PF's supreme-decision making organ, which this month
resolved to expel Makoni for challenging President Mugabe.
Curiously, these comments were edited out of subsequent re-runs of the
President Mugabe's comments could well be targeted at Msika, the only one of
his senior lieutenants to have publicly opposed a continuation of land
ZANU-PF insiders point out that Nkomo was sidelined in the process of
announcing Makoni's expulsion from ZANU-PF, although he chairs all
disciplinary processes in the party.
Suspicious of his closest officials, President Mugabe is said to be now
working with a cabal of close allies to isolate those he sees as Makoni
He referred to this strategy of dealing with dissenters in his birthday
interview, when he said, "The best way to deal with them is to isolate
The President is now said to have formed an inner circle that includes
secretary for legal affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa, Labour Minster Nicholas
Goche, Didymus Mutasa, the party's secretary for administration, as well as
Elliot Manyika, ZANU-PF's national commissar, Patrick Chinamasa, the
Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Joseph Made, the Minister of Farm
Mechanisation, and Oppah Muchinguri, the Women's League head.
The President is said to suspect that a number of candidates standing as
ruling party candidates will eventually announce their allegiance to Makoni.
In a telling comment during an interview with a South African radio station
on Monday, Makoni said he was not in a coalition with any opposition party
because he did not want to alienate his ZANU-PF supporters.
"There is obviously a massive swing against ZANU-PF as much as there is for
us," a source in the Makoni campaign said.
Makoni will roll out his campaign, which appeared to be stuttering, in
Bulawayo at the weekend.
Makoni has struck a working relationship with Arthur Mutambara's faction of
the Movement for Democratic Change, which could fall under his banner during
the election, the source claimed.
A bid to strike a deal with Morgan Tsvangirai's faction crumbled after
Tsvangirai postponed meetings with Makoni's aides twice.
Staff Reporter Stanley Kwenda
IN a development that smacks of flagrant abuse of state institutions, the
ruling ZANU-PF is forcing cash-strapped parastatals and public companies to
fund some of its programmes and projects at a time when the companies can
least afford such unbudgeted expenditures.
The Financial Gazette can reveal that over a dozen parastatals and several
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed companies were or have been requested to
donate in cash or kind towards the recently held 21st February celebrations,
the production of the ZANU-PF manifesto and the launch of the party's
election campaign scheduled for tomorrow.
And this week, ZANU-PF spread its tentacles even further to encompass
hotels, which have been asked to provide free accommodation for party guests
who will be attending tomorrow's function.
The Financial Gazette has established that the Ministry of Environment and
Tourism asked parastatals falling under its jurisdiction to contribute cash
and free services to the 21st February Movement festivities held in
Beitbridge last weekend.
Organisations approached include the Forestry Commission, which was forced
to contribute game such as kudu and buffalo, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority,
the Environment Management Authority, the National Parks and Wildlife
Authority and Allied Timbers, formerly the Forestry Company of Zimbabwe.
The companies were also asked to contribute towards the cost of drafting and
launching of the ZANU-PF manifesto tomorrow.
While other political parties are struggling to put their campaign
literature together because of the prohibitive costs, government
institutions have funded ZANU-PF's printing bill.
Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Andrew Langa, who chaired the
fundraising committee that sourced the $3 trillion chest for the Beitbridge
bash insisted: "It's not true that I forced parastatals to donate to the
21st February Movement and I am not part of the team drafting the party
manifesto. The money that was raised for the 21st February Movement came
from Zimbabweans who wanted to see the cause succeed and if parastatals are
part of Zimbabwe, then they were also free to donate willingly."
But one parastatal head complained: "How can we be asked to contribute to
such programmes when the government already knows that we are struggling to
carry out our mandate because of lack of funds?"
National Parks and Wildlife Authority spokesperson Edward Mbewe said:
"Usually they write to us but writing does not mean that they will get
something. Our parent ministry is the one that hands down judgement on
whether we should contribute."
Hotels operated by Cresta, Zimbabwe Sun Limited and the Rainbow Tourism
Group (RTG) were not spared either.
Industry executives were this week expected to write to Environment Minister
Francis Nhema requesting government to make some concessions in order to
ease the burden on the industry.
"At the moment, all the hotels are selling rooms at less than cost, which
means that we are incurring serious losses. Our last price increase was
three months ago hence we are writing to the Minister to at least give the
industry a viable price review to lessen the bleeding," said an industry
RTG acting chief executive, Pascal Changunda, said it was normal practice
for free accommodation to be offered to certain guests.
"We are not at liberty to give details regarding dealings with our clients.
Should you require further details, we would advise you to approach ZANU-PF
directly for such information. However, as a general practice, we can offer
discounted rates or complimentary services to any of our clients on request
as long as that is within our budgets and purely on business grounds."
Sources said the forced donations were not limited to the tourism industry
alone, but spread across the entire parastatal community.
The taxpayer is having to subsidise loss-making parastatals, weighed down by
the difficult operating environment, which is being compounded by political
interference and red tape.
Meanwhile, there has been an inquiry into whether RTG chairman, Ibbo
Mandaza, a close ally of Simba Makoni, paid for the use of Rainbow Towers
for three media briefings held by the former finance minister.
"I am aware that they are instituting such inquiries, but I pay for
everything that I do at the hotel. I know where all this is coming from,"
Kumbirai Mafunda Senior Business Reporter
AN air disaster was averted on Monday when an Air
Zimbabwe (AirZim) plane aborted a flight to Singapore and made a U-turn a
few hours after take-off from Harare, The Financial Gazette can reveal.
The incident occurred when the aircraft developed a
technical fault four hours after taking off from Harare International
Sources told The Financial Gazette that the plane,
which had taken off at 10:15 pm landed safely back at Harare International
Airport on Tuesday morning after abandoning the long haul flight to
Singapore. Air Zimbabwe spokesperson Pride Khumbula confirmed the incident
yesterday, stressing however, that the national airline remained one of the
safest carriers in the world.
She said: "Any technical snags are attended to as
and when they occur, as stipulated by industry regulations and standards.
Both aircraft are serviceable and in operation as we speak. Air Zimbabwe
remains one of the safest airlines in the world, and will strive to maintain
The 80 passengers on the doomed flight were
accommodated at the Holiday Inn in the capital on Tuesday morning pending
their rescheduled flight that night.
It was not immediately clear if the same plane was
used for the flight to Singapore.
Monday's aborted flight came hardly a week after the
national flag carrier cancelled a scheduled flight to London after one of
its wide-bodied aircraft developed a technical fault.
AirZim was scheduled to fly to London last Friday
evening but cancelled and rescheduled the flight to Sunday.
The grounding of the aircraft also affected AirZim's
Monday morning flight to Johannesburg, which was rescheduled to later that
Besides experiencing technical faults, AirZim, which
was once voted the best airline in Africa by a United Kingdom-based
institute in 1998, has in the recent past experienced intermittent flight
problems, with cancellations now reportedly a common feature.
Some of the problems have been caused by a shortage
of Jet 1 fuel.
The airline has in recent years battled to secure
foreign currency to purchase replacement parts and fuel.
At one time, the airline grounded all its planes
because of fuel shortages and this led to the suspension of its former chief
executive officer Tendai Mahachi.
Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter
Makoni's candidacy in next month's presidential election sparks factional
A BLISTERING row between Bindura mayor Martin Dinha and ZANU-PF national
political commissar Elliot Manyika has exposed the pervasiveness of deep
suspicion among top ruling party officials over Simba Makoni's emergence as
an independent candidate.
In a letter to Manyika last Tuesday, Dinha accused the ZANU-PF political
commissar of leading "a campaign of terror against fellow party members"
said to be aligned to Makoni and his alleged backers. The letter was
allegedly written after a meeting in Bindura on February 9.
Dinha had intended to challenge Manyika in the ZANU-PF primaries, but his
bid was blocked after a "decree" was issued that members of the ruling party's
politburo were not to be challenged.
Sources say Manyika, also frustrated Dinha's plans by claiming the mayor was
part of a faction scheming against President Robert Mugabe by secretly
campaigning for Makoni.
Tensions over Makoni's candidacy in next month's presidential election
degenerated into violent factional clashes in Mashonaland Central last week,
during which police made a number of arrests.
Among those arrested was Jana Ngwerume, a provincial ZANU-PF youth leader.
Dougmore Chimukoko, another party official said to be aligned to Mount
Darwin South member of parliament Saviour Kasukuwere, was also picked up
after he brandished a gun at a Central Intelligence Organisation operative,
whose name was only given as Chagwambara, during a heated exchange about
Another Manyika ally, identified only as Bangeni, also threatened Dinha,
prompting the mayor to write an angry letter to the ZANU-PF political
"Of concern is (sic) the activities of youth members who, as earlier noted
in my reports, claim to act on (sic) the name and authority of Hon. Member
of Parliament Cde E. Manyika and others, who are going around Bindura
intimidating, harassing and unleashing violence against so-called ZANU-PF
members, allegedly aligned to Cdes (Monica) Mavhunga and Cde Dinha. This
follows our bid to contest in the ZANU-PF primary elections as parliamentary
aspirants. The bid, as you are aware, was unsuccessful due to acts of
malice, misinformation, misrepresentation and lies by those in authority
over us," Dinha said,
Despite being thwarted in his bid to contest in primary elections, Dinha
claims to be still loyal to President Mugabe.
He says, "even in the face of attempts and offers from the Makoni faction to
lure us, we remain loyal to President Mugabe, while others among us claim
false loyalty and shout hollow slogans".
"We are therefore very disturbed by your utterances that we belong to the
Makoni alliance or to MDC and that we are working against ZANU-PF interests.
We demand that such utterances be stopped forthwith, as we know that some of
those pointing fingers at innocent souls, such as the writer and Cde
Mavhunga are deeply involved in the Makoni project."
Neither Manyika nor Masawi were available for comment on the matter.
Chen Chimutengwende, ZANU-PF Mashonaland Central chairman, said yesterday:
"If they are talking about primary elections, we did not hold them because
they did not qualify. If you don't qualify, you cannot contest in the
He refused to elaborate on the matter. Events in Mashonaland Central mirror
the deep suspicions pervading ZANU-PF structures across the country.
This week, the loyalty of ruling party leaders in Matabeleland was once
again being questioned in the aftermath of the birthday bash held for
President Mugabe in Beitbridge last weekend. Top officials from the region
were conspicuous by their absence. The logistical problems that hit the
function exacerbated the situation.
A source said President Mugabe had earlier on told the provincial
leadership, led by governor Angeline Masuku, that he did not believe their
claims that the people in the province were behind him.
Synodia Bhasera Staff Reporter
Poll candidates' names source of considerable mirth
IT is March 29, the day of the elections. You enter a polling station to
cast your precious vote and find yourself having to decide between
candidates with odd names like Cowboy and Rufurwekuda News.
Zimbabweans are enduring shortages of a lot of things. But funny names are
not one of them.
Looking through a list of candidates released by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) at the weekend, Zimbabweans' love for odd names comes to
Voting is supposed to be serious business, but electors will be excused for
dissolving into insuppressible mirth when handed ballots on March 29.
There will be names such as Rufurwekuda News in Zaka, and Dokotera
Normington in Bindura.
The ballot papers will reveal that the middle name of Harare North Movement
for Democratic Change legislator, Trudy Stevenson, is "Dicky," and that
voters in Mazowe North will have to decide whether or not to elect a
candidate going by the name Township Chigonero as their representative.
Oppah Muchinguri's middle name is given as Charm.
Then there are the really exceptional names.
For instance, there's a candidate known as Nichodimus Antimalaria in Nyanga
North. The aspiring public servant was perhaps born during an anti-malaria
campaign, which his parents were spearheading and fell in love with the
There is Khisimusi Moyo in Bulawayo's Nketa constituency as well as Mteto
Cowboy and Sai Shady.
One candidate is called Chikwinya Settlement, while another is Hotera
Svondo. Yet another answers to the name Pilot Sacks.
One can only imagine what the parents of Moreprecision Muzadzi were thinking
when they named him, it is also a wonder what could have befallen the
parents of Tagurabadza Tofamangwana when they named their son.
All these names could be in the script of a comedy but they will be on the
But what, after all, is in a name? Why do parents burden their children with
funny names, like, for instance, Synodia?
According to Wikipedia, "naming is the process of assigning a particular
word or phrase to a particular object or property. This can be quite
deliberate or a natural process that occurs in the flow of life as some
phenomenon comes to the attention of the users of a language."
So a name, especially in this part of the world, must carry some meaning.
Some of the names connote the brutality of the times during which they were
adopted, such as Teurai Ropa.
But what is the significance of Facemore, another name on the ZEC list of
candidates? Or Mainroad, Nephat, Bednock, Wilstaff, Ready and Jennuphar,
which are all first names of candidates in next month's polls.
Some names represent secret ambitions and dreams of parents, which would
explain the names Pilot and Nurse Murevanemwe, to which candidates in the
elections answer. There's even a Brainee Mfuka in Mount Darwin.
And if names can give clues about where a child was conceived, questions
must be asked of the parents of Steers Mangoma.
In Zimbabwe, names are also couched to convey subtle messages between
parents. So whoever named Girls Ndlovu of Lupane was perhaps tired of them.
The ages of candidates are not given, but could it be that Settlement was
born around the time of "internal settlement" before independence in 1980?
Though this election comes at a definitive moment in the history of this
country, casting a ballot may have its own humorous dimension.
Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai launched his
party's campaign in Mutare on Saturday, marking the beginning of what is
promising to be an incident-packed election period as the main political
parties go all out to win the hearts and minds of the electorate ahead of
the March 29 plebiscite.
Analysts said while the huge crowd estimated at 25 000, which thronged
Sakubva Stadium on Saturday reaffirmed Tsvangirai's grassroots support, the
MDC leader's most important task now was to transform this support into
votes if he is to lead his party to victory next month.
They said an alliance with former finance minister, Simba Makoni, might also
bolster the opposition's campaign.
Buoyed by the overwhelming turnout, the former trade unionist pledged to
drive President Robert Mugabe out of office in the March 29 polls and revive
the tottering economy.
On Saturday, Tsvangirai unveiled a 33-page manifesto replete with economic,
social and political policies he said he would introduce within 100 days of
"This election, more than any other, is about the total reclamation of our
dignity, our country, our decency, our pride and our trust as a people,"
"To make this possible, the only option is change for a new Zimbabwe and new
Tsvangirai said in its first 100 days in office, an MDC government would
provide jobs, free primary education, free treatment and care for those
suffering from HIV/Aids, embark on an immediate integration and
reconciliation programme embracing all Zimbabweans, and restore "real money".
Turning to the emotive issue of land reform, he said his government would
undertake an audit of all current land occupation patterns, and roll out a
comprehensive land and agrarian reform programme emphasising the importance
of productivity and food security, to ensure that not a single Zimbabwean
goes to bed hungry.
He envisaged trimming the number of ministries to 15, while diplomatic
embassies would be drastically reduced to save foreign currency.
George Charamba, President Mugabe's spokesman, this week dismissed the
manifestos unveiled by the opposition saying they only served to further the
interests of former colonial master Britain and the United States, which
have been critical of Harare's human rights record.
"Read ZIDERA and you will know who the father of Tsvangirai and (Simba)
Makoni is. Their land policies betray their parentage, and are direct
extracts from Section 5 of ZIDERA, word for word in many respects," he was
"Both (Tsvangirai and Makoni) are tantalised by the US$20 million waved by
(US President George W) Bush in 2001." he added.
ZIDERA is the acronym for the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act
2001 introduced by the United States to punish President Mugabe and his
ruling elite for ruining what used to be Africa's most most promising state.
Applauding the MDC's manifesto, political analyst Takura Zhangazha, said
Tsvangirai had every reason to be buoyed by the enthusiastic demonstration
of support he received over the weekend.
Tsvangirai had appeared to be fading from the limelight with the entry of
former finance minister Simba Makoni into the presidential race.
That was until last Saturday, when he reaffirmed his support with more than
25 000 party supporters making their way to Sakubva Stadium for the launch
of his presidential campaign despite the show of force by heavily armed riot
police who patrolled the length and breath of Mutare.
"You should bear in mind that the majority of these people voluntarily
attended the rally. This has buoyed the opposition.
"But Tsvangirai and his party need to translate the huge attendance into
votes on March 29," said Zhangazha.
"The manifesto is excellent in that it covers all the key items civic
society organisations have been clamouring about, especially the need for a
new people-driven constitution."
Tsvangirai said an MDC government would create a legal and political
environment in which Zimbabweans, through a participatory process, would
craft a new constitution.
A new constitution would most likely be introduced within two years of an
MDC government coming into power.
Zhangazha said: "This is in sync with the views of civic society and what
the ordinary people are demanding, which is change."
Gorden Moyo, executive director of Bulawayo Agenda, a pressure group, said
the high attendance indicated that the ordinary people still supported the
MDC and Tsvangirai, despite the damaging backlash caused by the 2005 split.
"The Saturday showing is a formidable statement and a demonstration of
support for the MDC by the ordinary people.
"The middle class had created confusion since Makoni came to the fore, but
this shows that the middle class are arm-chair activists and not supporters
of change in the country," said Moyo. "
What now remains to be seen is how that huge attendance is translated into
"Unfortunately, most people did not register to vote or check their names
because civic society is not allowed to undertake voter education," he said.
Njabulo Ncube Political Editor
ZIMBABWE has been cleared of any illegal activity in the trade of diamonds,
after a probe by the Kimberley Process (KP), the global standard for the
In a summary of a report after a visit by its investigators to Zimbabwe
between May and June last year, KP said it had found no "substantial proof"
The report also exonerates the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
against which charges had been levelled that some of its vehicles were used
to smuggle diamonds from a mine in Beitbridge.
"The team has not found substantiated proof to allegations of illegal
smuggling of diamonds from the River Ranch area with the help of UNDP
vehicles," reads part of the report.
"It is the view of the review team that the overall structure of the
implementation of the KP Certification Scheme (KPCS) appears to be working
in a satisfactory manner in Zimbabwe, and, in general, meets the minimum
requirements of the KPCS."
According to records, the team made its review under the terms of the KPCS
Administrative Decision of October 30, 2003, with the appropriate amendments
adopted by the Gaborone Plenary Meeting in November 2006.
The team comprised representatives from Russia (team leader), Norway, South
Africa, the World Diamond Council, and Partnership Africa-Canada for Civil
During the visit, the team inspected government agencies controlling and
co-ordinating the implementation by Zimbabwe of the KPCS. These included the
Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority,
Minerals and Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe
Republic Police (Minerals Unit).
Harare lawyer Terrence Hussein, who represents Bubye Minerals, a company
claiming ownership of River Ranch mine, has refuted the investigators'
suggestions he was consulted during the visit.
Apart from the controversial River Ranch mine, the KP team visited Murowa
Diamonds, the country's largest producer of diamonds, as well as the Marange
diamond fields, scene of a rush by illegal miners in 2006.
An audit was conducted on Kimberley Process Certificates at the Ministry of
Mines and the MMCZ, which keep statistics and records of all diamond exports
"It should be noted that the KP review visit to Zimbabwe was taking place at
the time of wide spread allegations of massive smuggling of rough diamonds
from the country, both from already established diamond producing areas, and
from newly discovered ones.
"These allegations were exacerbated by the continued legal disputes between
various private entities for the property rights on the diamond deposits in
"Those rivaling entities have made attempts to have the team involved in
whatever manner in resolving those disputes."
The team also noted that the first KP review visit to Zimbabwe conducted in
2004, took place when the national system for the implementation of the KP
Certification Scheme was already in place, as established by the review at
the time, but there was yet no diamond production in the country and,
consequently no exports and imports of rough diamonds to and from Zimbabwe.
"Against this background, the team relied strongly on the prerequisites of
the terms of reference of the KP review visits, and carefully avoided all
the attempts to have it involved in resolving those rivalries.
"The team has made its views absolutely clear both to the representatives of
the Government of Zimbabwe, and to the contesting entities," it said.
The team, however, acknowledged that the situation regarding illegal diamond
production by panners in the Marange area was "extremely difficult" in the
second half of 2006. The government had, however, brought the area under
MAPUTO - Zimbabwe's investments in Mozambique rose by about 40 percent to
US$2,1 million last year, up 40 percent from about US$1,7 million the
Figures released by the Mozambique Investment Promotion Centre (CPI)
indicates that the former Portuguese colony continues to enjoy strong
investment from Zimbabwean businesses, particularly in the area of farming.
"The majority of the investments are concentrated in Mozambiques central
province of Manica because of its proximity to the Zimbabwe border as well
as the strong weather similarities that attract farmers and agro projects,"
CPI said in its report.
Recent data of approved foreign investments into Mozambique for the year
2007 ranked Zimbabwe among the top 12 investors with a total of 13 projects
amounting to about US$2,1 million.
South Africa, ranked number five with 69 investment projects valued at a
total of US$79,7 million and Tanzania ranked eighth with three projects
valued at US$40 million, were the African countries that had bigger
investments than Zimbabwe.
In 2006, Zimbabwe invested US$1,7 million and was ranked ninth.
Zimbabwe's performance in Mozambique's booming economy comes against a
background of persistently acute foreign currency shortages that have
ambushed the country over the past eight years following the adoption of a
land reform programme that destabilised commercial farming.
In the years following the land reform, most commercial farmers were forced
to relocate to neighbouring countries, especially to Manica province in
Mozambique, which shares similar weather conditions and land types with
Zimbabwe's fertile eastern highlands region, leading to the outflow in
The CPI said apart from the strong showing in Mozambiques' agriculture
sector, there was a significant increase in the number of Zimbabwean run
small-scale businesses and enterprises such as shops, restaurants and other
"Apart from agriculture, there is also a significant number of Zimbabwean
teachers, doctors and traders in the borderline provinces especially in
- Own Correspondent
As Mumbengegwi orders reinstatement of suspended executives
FINANCE Minister, Samuel Mumbengegwi, has ordered the reinstatement of two
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) executives suspended last week on
allegations of misconduct, setting the stage for a showdown between him and
Commissioner General Gershem Pasi.
Insiders at the Finance Ministry said Mumbengegwi, who is fighting for
political survival in Mwenezi-Chivi constituency, where ZANU-PF is fielding
two candidates, was last week called on by Yotamu Jacob to intervene in the
Jacob is the Commissioner of Customs and Excise.
Elisha Mudzi, who is in charge of taxes and Jocob were suspended on charges
of misconduct. They were both elevated to their respective positions
following the controversial unbundling of ZIMRA into two units, initially
resisted by Pasi. A few weeks after their promotion, the two are now
fighting to save their jobs, which are on the line.
The restructuring exercise also saw the ZIMRA board instigating the
suspension of four senior executives who are now seeking redress through the
Jacob was this week granted a provisional order barring the
revenue-collecting body from implementing some of the conditions of the
suspension, which included the handing over of his official vehicle and the
refund of all salaries paid following the repudiation of his contract of
Chaos is now reigning supreme at ZIMRA, once a professionally run outfit,
but torn apart by internecine conflict involving the parent ministry, the
board and Pasi.
Sources said Pasi had dug in his heels saying Mumbengegwi had no role in the
day-to-day management of ZIMRA.
"His argument is basically that it is within his powers to suspend
subordinates and let the disciplinary process take its course.
"The minister, is also jumping the gun by taking up ordinary administrative
issues without going through the board, but such is the magnitude of the
chaos at ZIMRA, which President (Robert) Mugabe has been made aware of,"
said a source.
Pasi could not be contacted for comment yesterday as he was said to be out
of the country on business.
Sources however, said the suspension of Jocob and Mudzi did not go down well
with the Finance Minister who has since instructed Pasi to drop the
misconduct charges and reinstate the two.
"Mumbengegwi is alleging that Pasi didn't consult him and the board," the
It had been feared that the in-house squabbles at ZIMRA might affect the
flow of revenue into government's purse.
But Gibson Mandishona, the ZIMRA chairman revealed this week that, the
authority had surpassed its annual target despite the harsh economic
conditions prevailing in the country.
".ZIMRA managed to surpass its annual target of $30 trillion by 197 percent.
To this end, revenue collections as at 31st December 2007 stood at $89
trillion," Mandishona said.
He added, the authority was "confident that with the spirit of team work
that is prevailing, as has always been the case in the other years, the
target of $6 quadrillion for 2008 will easily be surpassed."
Mumbengegwi has been tightening his grip on ZIMRA since his appointment in
February last year. Efforts to get a comment from him were fruitless.
The latest anarchy at ZIMRA is just one of the many squabbles that have
rocked the tax collection agency in recent months.
At one time, the ZIMRA board attempted to rope in a Harare law firm to
declare Pasi's executive appointments unlawful, but abandoned the plan
mid-stream after management produced documentation to prove that everything
had been done with the board's approval.
Late last year, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee probing the
ZIMRA restructuring exercise said allegations of abuse of funds against the
authority had been used as a "red herring" as the Finance Ministry had
failed to provide proof.
Members of Parliament recommended that Mumbengegwi should restore the
retention system at ZIMRA because its withdrawal was adversely impacting on
service delivery. The committee noted that the board had opposed Mumbengegwi's
restructuring on grounds that it would have a negative impact, only to back
down after a meeting with him.
Observers fear that the unbundling of ZIMRA might revive old cultures that
had long beenburied, particularly within the then department of customs.
ON March 29, Zimbabweans are going to the polls to choose a new president,
new parliament and new municipalities. This article is intended to analyse
the many challenges Zimbabwe will be facing in the aftermath of the
Top of the list is the issue regarding the deterioration of the economic
situation. This article will attempt to provide the possible way forward to
solve some of the economic problems the country is facing.
First, it is instructive to note that during the election campaigns, we hear
a lot about the promises, but not much about the process of solving Zimbabwe's
political, economic and social problems.
This is largely because most of the candidates are a bunch of fair-weather,
Johnny-come-lately microwave politicians. People make their names in
football or in gospel music and want to become Members of Parliament or
There are some candidates who want instant gratification and if they do not
get it, they either stand as independents or muddle through the primary
election process hoping for a lucky strike at the polls. The game of
politics is totally different from the game of football or gospel singing.
Politics is about concepts, trends and practices.
The problem is not that Zimbabwe is not politically hungry, it is that the
country has a tremendous lack of sold-out, unselfish politicians, committed
to the salvation and deliverance of its people from poverty and degradation.
Too many of the candidates seeking election have become pre-occupied with
their financial and material well-being. Commitment to purpose is the
substance of things hoped for but the things these candidates have in mind
are material and temporal possessions, rather than the well being of the
The reason why this author feels strongly about the calibre and style of the
incoming politicians is that the outgoing Parliamentarians and local
government councillors were supposed to solve the country's problems first
and foremost during their term of office. Instead, they were willing to go
into the greed-ridden highways of corporate and political society. Thus,
what then will the outcome of the impending elections solve? Nothing!
There is a process one must go through to be effective, regardless of one's
level of faith in a political party. There can be no shortcuts. One has got
to pay the full price - it never goes on sale. Yet the Zimbabwe electorate
is often unaware of how the political parties, the independents, and ZANU-PF
independents are going to solve the economic problems besetting our country.
The questions now are: What are these economic problems bedevilling
Zimbabwe? What are the possible solutions? What is the way forward?
Needless to say, most members of the cabinet are politically dead men and
women walking and not fit for the purpose. They are failing to protect the
economic and financial stability of the country due to their incompetence
The main danger facing the Zimbabwe economy is inflation, which is running
amok like wild fire and yet the current government has proved incapable of
solving this and many other problems. The central bank has tried to raise
interest rates in order to control the level of money supply but to no
avail. Ironically the Reserve Bank has been printing notes willy-nilly
thereby fuelling inflation, which now officially at 100 000 percent.
Against this background, it is now crystal clear that solving the economic,
political and social problems of Zimbabwe requires new thinking, new
orientation, new policies and new strategies. The process of solving these
problems is now beyond the capability of any new incoming government,
parliament, or opposition parties.
This author proposes yet another way forward. Assuming that there will be a
government of national unity after the elections as was advocated by this
author, there is a need to hold a three-day national people's conference.
The main purpose of this conference should be to seek solutions to the
country's problems. The conference should be attended by major stakeholders
namely; members of the new government, opposition members, representatives
of business, trade unions, consumer organisations, civil society and above
all, experts in the socio-economic and political fields.
The rationale behind this proposed project is based on the premise that
there is need to carry out an audit of the country's assets and liabilities
in a more transparent manner. The first ingredient of a nation's economic
system is its natural resources.
Zimbabwe is rich in mineral resources and fertile farm soil and it is
blessed with other numerous endowments as well. The current government has
been secretive about the state of the natural resources, preferring to use
patronage, cronyism, favouritism and nepotism in the conduct of state
The classic example is the way the government is exercising extreme secrecy
over the Marange diamonds. This is a treasure that has boosted the Botswana
economy, leading that nation to enjoy a quality of life, personal happiness
and security. The conference, if held, will want to know what is going on
regarding the Marange diamonds. The conference will also want to know from
the governor of the Reserve Bank about the foreign currency situation. What
about the gold reserves and gold bars kept in the Bank's coffers; after all
Zimbabwe has gold mines and many minerals.
At the same time, the conference should find out from the Ministry of
Agriculture, the state of the farming situation; what land is being utilised
and what is lying idle. From an industry perspective, the conference should
aim to discover how many factories are still functioning at full capacity,
which ones have closed and which are experiencing difficulties.
From the above scenarios it is desirable that certain key stakeholders
should put their heads and minds together. For example, the Ministry of
Mines, the Chamber of Mines and the Minerals Marketing Corporation should
work together and produce a balance sheet regarding the state of affairs in
the mining sector. Similarly, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Commercial
Farmers' Union and the National Farmers' Union should produce an audit
regarding the state of agriculture in the country. The Congress of Zimbabwe
Industries, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Trade
and Industry should also come up with a statement concerning the sate of
affairs in the private sector.These balance sheets and audit statements
could then be presented to this proposed conference.
Open disclosure of the state of affairs should help the conference to
measure and understand the ill-health of the economy. It would also assist
in finding solutions. Let us remember, there is no problem so big that we
can't tackle it. All countries have problems; it's how you deal with them
that separates success from failure.
Let the people of Zimbabwe start a process of economic revival and
democratic renewal. The process may take decades; however, success in any
venture lies in holding on, even when others let go. Promises tend to be so
awesome that they would blow people's minds. Let us again remember that
endurance is the price of achievement.
Austin Chakaodza is a socio-economic political analyst of African affairs.
He is Professor of International Relations at Regents College, London.
Zimbabwe is at the crossroads and after all is said and done, the country's
hopes are now pinned on only four individuals who have qualified as
candidates for the post of President.
Unlike the United States where the President's term is limited to two four
year terms, the current Zimbabwean constitution provides for a life
President as long as the person submits themselves to elections. Like the US
constitution, the Zimbabwean constitution provides for the direct election
of a President.
The last 28 years have convincinly demonstrated why Zimbabweans urgently
need a new constitution to deal with not only the manner in which an
individual can manipulate a whole country and remain in power while
purporting to be a super democrat.
What is certain in the US during this November election is that President
Bush's name will not be on the ballot. It is evident that change is high on
the agenda of all the aspiring candidates in the US.
Although there may be no consensus as to the scope and nature of proposed
change in America, there is consensus that President Bush's style, policies
and programmes must change and the new president has to reconnect the
majority of Americans to their government.
It is generally agreed that President Bush has failed to make people believe
in their government and were it not for the constitution, I am confident
that Americans would still have exercised their minds on what kind of
government they want by removing him.
I have chosen to locate the Zimbabwean democratic challenges in the American
style of democracy fully cognisant of the fact that there exists no
consensus if it is the best form of government to use as a model for any
developing nation. However, it is important to acknowledge the manner in
which political parties have endured in America and how the system has
opened doors to people like Clinton and Obama to even dream of becoming
president without the incumbent calling them names.
We all know that Obama, Clinton, McCain, and Huckabee are not presidents of
their respective parties at the moment and yet the system allows them to
seek the mandate of their parties in an open and transparent process. If
Obama was a Zimbabwean, President Mugabe would have already found a label
for him solely meant to demonstrate that the Zimbabwean promise has no
relevance to him.
I also chose Obama and Clinton for this article because they come from the
same party and are both offering change to the American people. Although
they may have different visions, strategies and tactics, what is remarkable
is that they can both say proudly that they are Democrats. In the case of
ZANU-PF, the Makoni issue has demonstrated that if you are ZANU-PF, then you
must accept that only President Mugabe is the saviour and it is suicidal to
even dream of offering your name to the party and nation as a candidate.
Both Clinton and Obama share one ideology and they do not have to be afraid
of competing with anyone in the party as is the case in ZANU-PF where the
so-called faction leaders i.e. Emmerson Mnangagwa and Joice Mujuru cowered
into submission, leaving Makoni to assume the mantle of change. Even the
Republicans are for change in as much as ZANU-PF members are overtly and
covertly agitating for change.
The last 28 years have shown that it is difficult if not impossible to
unseat President Mugabe from his party. I have no doubt that the same
phenomenon must have occupied the minds of the founding fathers of the two
dominant US political institutions when they decided to put in place a
mechanism in which any member of the party could rise from the ranks and
become a nominee for the party without any super delegate like President
Mugabe intimidating him/her.
The inability of African institutions to allow citizens to realise their
dreams to become the first citizen of their countries has contributed to
many citizens remaining cynical of political processes. The propensity to
use tired arguments to score political points is high in Zimbabwe and
already it is clear that President Mugabe has had to refine his election
message to target and discredit not only Tsvangirai but Makoni as well.
In the case of Zimbabwe, it has become customary that politicians are
reluctant to run on their record but rather they thrive on throwing mud at
their opponents. What Obama in particular has managed to do is to energise
people who ordinarily would surrender their democratic right to choose their
government to believe that they have the power to do the improbable.
Of the four Presidential candidates, only two were not on the political
radar screen of Zimbabwe. Makoni and Towungana were not expected to be
candidates in this election. It was generally expected that President Mugabe
and Tsvangirai would square up for the second round. We all know what
happened in the first round and the thinking that must have occupied the
minds of ZANU-PF members was who, in their party, would defeat Tsvangirai.
President Mugabe has been smart in defining his opponents rather than
running the country. It appears that politics in contemporary Zimbabwe has
been reduced to a game of chess with President Mugabe as the grandmaster
while the country is burning.
Makoni and Tsvangirai are both committed to change. The last eight years
have failed to bring change. Makoni's candidacy has exposed the futility of
seeking to change ZANU-PF from within. Makoni has raised alarm bells to many
in Zimbabwe who genuinely believe that anyone associated with ZANU-PF is
incapable of change.
When he says he still considers himself a member of ZANU-PF and accepts that
he had to be fired not because of any major policy difference but solely
because he was not allowed to run on the party ticket, it confuses many
people who were excited about his candidacy.
What people are looking for is straight talk. What kind of change is being
promised? There has been talk of a national authority forgeting that people
are looking for a leader to offer direction. It is generally accepted that
President Mugabe governed the party supported by the party structures
including the politiburo and the country with the support of his chosen
While it is accepted that collective responsibility is the modus operandi of
any organisation, it is important for any change agent to specifically
highlight the missing dots and what he/she did to demonstrate a departure
point. It is not sufficient to say I am ZANU-PF while accepting that the
party was rightly or wrongly at the centre of undermining citizens' human
and property rights.
When the government targeted me, I did not wait for the right opportunity to
fight back but chose to pursue legal remedies fully knowing the
implications. When the parliament of Zimbabwe ratified the draconian
Presidential decrees that were used to nationalise my assets, I accepted
that both MDC and ZANU-PF parliamentarians were at one in creating a new
constitutional order that allows the state to expropriate private property
My experience has shown me that across the political divide between MDC and
ZANU-PF there is a lack of a common value system where justice is not
blurred by political perceptions. I am now acutely aware that the
infringement of my rights is not as important as removing President Mugabe
from office but my own ordeal is one more reason why Zimbabweans must fix
the problem by ensuring that one of the four wins and we all know who does
not make it. Can you imagine five more years under the great leader?
I do not expect Makoni to know the manner in which a party he believes in
has been reduced to an animal farm. I have not personally spoken to Makoni
over the past five years and I am not sure what he knows or doesn't know but
I should like to believe that if he knew he would come to the inescapable
conclusion that President Mugabe and a well known list of his abusers of
rights must be made accountable. I am for targeted actions rather than blame
the party for actions perpetrated by known individuals.
When I support change it is because I have personal experience of how bad
governments operate and how private individuals benefit from a corrupt and
decaying system. I am also fully aware that there are many well meaning
people who privately support change but are afraid of losing what they have.
I am one of the early examples of how a misguiged party and government can
behave and my experiences serve to discourage many black entreprenuers from
challenging the status quo.
I hope that Makoni will be able to sharpen his message to clearly articulate
precisely why he believes that believable change should only be at President
Mugabe's level. Over the last four years, I have had the opportunity of
interacting with many people involved in the change agenda. What has been
striking is that the position that they have taken is that my fight against
the government of Zimbabwe is solely motivated by a desire to get my assets
back. Using this simplisitic approach, a conclusion has then been reached
that I have no vested interest in justice and change.
Instead of the opposition explioting our unique experiences of being
subjected to injustice by a black and not a white regime, the opposition may
not have a compelling case against President Mugabeand ZANU-PF for change.
Surely, the story of black victims of President Mugabeis important in better
articulating why five more years of oppression is not in the interests of
Many consider President Mugabea hero for the manner in which the land reform
exercise has been prosecuted. There are few black examples that may serve to
demonstrate that beneath the veneer of racism is an underlying antiparthy
against private property rights and rule of law.
What is ironic is that the propaganda that started with Jonathan Moyo
against prominent blacks has resonated with the opposition. What I am not
sure of is whether the same propaganda has blurred Makoni's own vision about
what aspects of change need to be in place if confidence in government has
to be restored among Zimbabweans.
Obama and Clinton's grasp of issues and how such issues are important to the
American people highlights the importance of African politicians not taking
for granted their voters.
It is important for both Makoni and Tsvangirai to present a common approach
to change and within it offer their different visions about how Zimbabwe
would be better off under either of them.
The world and even President Mugabe is already aware that no change is
possible from the status quo.
President Mugabe's message is no different from what people have been
subjected to while the economy has been sinking at a faster rate than
anywhere else in the world.
Mutumwa Mawere is a Zimbabwean businessman based in South Africa
Shame Makoshori Staff Reporter
Ex-US envoy warned about inflation reaching record levels
THE government is in a quandary over escalating inflation ahead of landmark
elections scheduled for March 29.
A price blitz launched in June last year to mitigate the inflationary crisis
has come back to haunt the ruling party, as the country battles acute
shortages and unprecedented price hikes.
Ironically,, the government last year dismissed former United States
ambassador Christopher Dell's remarks that inflation would escalate to
record levels and become the biggest challenge to the ruling ZANU-PF's
continued hold to power.
Dell triggered apprehension in government by suggesting that President
Robert Mugabe's government would not survive the year due to an escalating
economic meltdown caused by runaway inflation, which he predicted would hit
1,5 million by year-end.
No government, Dell indicated, had ever survived under such a highly
However, this was not enough to move President Mugabe's government, which
had long accused the United States and its European allies of working in
cahoots to topple it from power.
Trade Minister Obert Mpofu was hurriedly thrust into the forefront to launch
a price blitz in July that slashed prices by at least 50 percent and sparked
looting across the country, resulting in widespread shortages.
"This is going to go down as one of the fastest ways of reducing inflation,"
Mpofu declared then.
He added: "Detractors will find out that what they were trying to do has
come unstuck. Even Dell will discover that his projections are wayward."
But barely a year since Dell's blunt projections, inflation has indeed
emerged as the biggest threat to President Mugabe, who faces his toughest
challenge at the polls from opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and a rebel from his party, Simba Makoni, whom he
described this week as a "political prostitute".
Figures from the state-controlled Central Statistical Office (CSO) indicate
that inflation breached the 100 000 percent level in January, sealing
Zimbabwe's trajectory down the economic abyss.
The CSO reported last week inflation rose to 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 stop the
economy from plummeting to new depths.
While an inflation rate of over 100 000 percent is still far lower than Dell's
projection, the figure is still too high for a country not at war.
In fact, analysts say the rate might actually be lower than the reality.
Projections from independent sources indicate that Zimbabwe's inflation, the
highest in the world, could reach one million percent.
"Our research shows that inflation will go up, but that will depend on the
political landscape after the elections in March," an economist with a local
financial institution, who declined to be named, told The Financial Gazette.
"We are expecting a rapid increase in prices if there is no change in the
"We will not be surprised if inflation hits one million percent between May
and June before going down.
"After September, we expect a rapid decline in the rate to about 100 000
"But again this will depend on whether a new political dispensation will be
"It will be difficult if the status quo remains, but remember worldwide,
there is no government that has survived a hyperinflationary environment,"
the economist said, echoing Dell's sentiments.
He, however, added that if the political environment improved, year-on-year
inflation could decline to 20 000 percent by December.
This figure could start rising in the first quarter of 2008 to around 500
000 percent as government could be forced to increase maize imports after
excessive rains this season affected maize yields.
Last week President Mugabe conceded that the food situation in the country
And analysts predict that apart from government increasing the import bill,
depleted maize stocks will force the few farmers with good harvests to
increase prices, thereby stocking inflation fires.
Much of the inflationary pressure has come from accelerating money supply
growth, made worse by increasing money printing to meet national obligations
in the absence of balance of payments support.
Multilateral and bilateral financial institutions withdrew support to
government over human rights violations after the controversial seizure of
white-owned farms for the resettlement of blacks, most of who were not
sufficiently trained in farming.
Economists said balance of payments support could be restored if the
political environment improves although this would depend on the government's
willingness to embrace market reforms, which could also increase the
economic pain for the people in the short term.
"The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank might take some time
before pouring critical balance of payments support, but foreign direct
investment inflows alone, which we expect if there is a change of
government, could bring much needed foreign currency to prop up the
economy," the bank economist said.
Kingdom Financial Holdings group economist, Witness Chinyama, projected a
further decline in the economy caused primarily by excessive government
He said government expenditure would skyrocket due to a likely increase in
Chinyama said the increase in government expenditure had already started
saturating the markets, with daily market positions amounting to trillions
"The outlook remains bleak because the factors that have been driving
inflation are still there and in some cases they have worsened.
"Traditionally, government expenditure increases during elections and this
is what we are already seeing," said Chinyama.
ZIMBABWE - neck deep in the throes of a biting economic crisis - has
all but abandoned the fight against inflation, fingered as the country's
number one enemy.
Latest inflation data released by the Central Statistical Office (CSO)
revealed that inflation, which reflects the general trend in prices, gained
a massive 34,638 percentage points to end at an all-time-high 100 580,2
percent in January.
The jump from 66,212 percent in December is big enough to distort
southern Africa's average rate of inflation. In other words, its contagious
effect is inadvertently pulling down the entire region.
Month-on-month inflation slowed however, by 119,3 percentage points
from 240,1 percent to 120 percent in the period under review.
Independent inflation data paints a totally different picture,
estimating inflation at around 150 000 percent in January and projecting it
to rise past 200 000 percent by the end of the third quarter.
The CSO, independent statisticians argue, bases its data on the
National Incomes and Pricing Commission-approved sub-economic prices, which
are at sea with what is happening on the ground.
The inflation figures, scary as they are, came as no surprise to the
ordinary person exposed to extortionist prices of almost everything on the
illegal parallel market.
What might have come as a surprise though is the silence on the part
of the-powers-that-be, presiding over the collapse of the economy from 1980,
when Zimbabwe enjoyed dignified inflation figures of around 7 percent and a
stable currency that traded around US$1,50.
The skidding prices might soon come back to haunt the banking sector,
which a month ago battled a severe cash crisis that only disappeared after
the central bank injected high value notes running into several trillions of
dollars into the system.
The lender of the last resort's telling revelation that its printing
press at Fidelity was running at close to capacity, and yet still struggling
to quench the demand for cash is sobering and should jolt the nation into
As it is, the rapid increase in money supply not backed by production,
is eroding the value of the higher-denominated bearer cheques introduced in
December at an alarming pace. It is just a matter of time before the Reserve
Bank faces another dilemma; either to lop off zeros from the currency or
print higher value notes in order to stem the excessive demand for cash.
It is like the country's economy has run into a logjam.
Nearly all prices of basic commodities have gone haywire and quite a
good number of them are now classified as luxuries because not many people
can afford them. And it can only get worse.
This week, the United States dollar, which two weeks ago fetched $7,5
million at most, shot above $25 million as the troubled Zimbabwe dollar
continued losing ground on the parallel market.
Sadly, the depreciating currency could not spur exports because of the
skewed exchange rate and serious misalignments in industry that render
It is not that the ruling ZANU-PF is blind to these issues. It knows
exactly what needs to be done but is scared stiff to set the wheels in
motion, particularly ahead of a tricky election. And yet the economy has
hurtled through a recession for nearly a decade - sandwiching two disputed
elections in 2000 and 2002.
Zimbabwe's hyperinflation is largely the result of the high budget
deficits (estimated by the International Monetary Fund to increase by 75
percent this year) exclusively funded from expensive domestic borrowings in
the wake of a dearth in balance of payments support and foreign direct
Production in the real sector has also sunk to irretrievable depths on
the back of intermittent power blackouts, foreign currency shortages, high
costs of production, punitive interest rates and government's stop-go
The government's inertia in dealing with the inflation scourge exposes
connivance of the highest order as the "get rich quick" mentality among the
few well-heeled politicians and their cronies is being maintained at the
expense of the majority who are wallowing in poverty.
Government institutions that are key in reining in inflation have
become willing tools of political vultures, who are manipulating them to
Small wonder why government continues to subsidise an array of
commodities such as wheat, maize and fuel when it is crystal clear that
those accessing them are offloading these on the parallel market at a huge
It does not need a rocket scientist to figure out that these arbitrage
opportunities are a deliberate creation of those on the gravy train.
Prospects are that inflation will continue rising on the back of the
surge in money supply growth and the need to fund imports and bridge food
But as the election campaigns swing into top gear, an outsider might
think that the war against inflation is no longer a priority, as the ruling
party perfects its blame game. God help Zimbabwe!
As campaigning for next month's elections has picked up pace so has the
explosion of rhetoric as candidates work over time to win the hearts and
minds of voters.
But some candidates, especially those representing the ruling party, which
has been pitching the same message for 28 years, need to know the limits to
which they can exploit the human attribute of curiosity and zest for
exploration. They should be aware that even the finest symphony, if repeated
often enough, becomes banal and common place. They must be reminded that
after being re-read continually, even the best novel cannot continue to be
One campaigner who is definitely not striking the right chord is the ZANU PF
candidate for Mguza, Obert Mpofu, who is also the Minister of Industry and
International Trade. Mpofu's campaigning got off to a disastrous start when
he likened the Mguza constituency to his bedroom and warned that challenging
him in the polls would be like trespassing into his boudoir. The Minister's
unfortunate bedroom analogy is pregnant with potentially self-damaging
innuendo and I cannot resist asking whether he metaphorically or otherwise
regards his constituents as his "wives," to borrow a characterisation first
broached by Margaret Dongo to describe the bootlicking and sycophancy
surrounding the First Secretary of ZANU-PF, President Robert Mugabe.
After his bedroom gaffe, which reminds voters of the politicians' habit of
personalising national issues and regarding the country as their personal
fiefdom, Mpofu was reported by a Sunday paper to have raised his rhetoric by
several octaves last weekend when he directed his vitriol towards
presidential candidates Simba Makoni, who broke ranks with the ruling party,
and Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Mpofu is
apparently angry with the former politburo member and finance minister for
no reason other than the fact that he has the nerve to exercise his
democratic right to aspire to and seek election to the highest office in the
land. Mpofu attacked Makoni for challenging President Robert Mugabe, saying,"We
had people like Makoni, but he got carried away. It is surprising how he
still calls himself ZANU-PF because he knows how dominant the party is. We
know all independent candidates are backing him."
The minister talks as though vying for the presidency and seeking election
as an independent is a crime. He forgets that there can be no such crime in
a supposed democracy as Zimbabwe was touted to be by the powers-that-be.
However, Mpofu's utterances give a true insight into how such issues are
viewed within the ruling party. The fact that a member of that party can
become such cannon fodder for the public media merely because he sees things
differently and believes he is entitled to have a go at trying to pull this
country from the abyss, makes one appreciate ZANU-PF's intolerance for
divergent views more fully. It is the more reason why things must change.
At the same campaign rally at which he slammed Makoni for challenging
President Mugabe, Mpofu also latched on to a favourite target, the MDC. Two
of the four candidates challenging him for the Mguza seat are from the two
factions of the MDC. Mpofu attacked them for not knowing what it takes to be
leaders, saying this meant knowing the day-to-day needs of the people. This
implies ZANU-PF still knows the meaning of leadership and why it is in
power. Ha, ha.
Mpofu and other ruling party candidates hoping to rest on ZANU-PF's
historical laurels should know that in the untenable situation prevailing in
the country today that will simply not work. The people have suffered and
struggled long enough and want answers, not institutional platitudes.
Long-suffering Zimbabweans want to know specifically how and when the myriad
problems and crises that have robbed them of normalcy and dignity in their
day to day lives are to be tackled and they know this cannot be done by
harking back to the past and casting opposition parties and groups as
This is exactly what happened when another ruling party candidate,
Information and Publicity Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu who is vying for the
Pelandaba-Mpopoma seat, launched his campaign in Bulawayo last weekend. The
guest speaker at the event, Bulawayo Metropolitan province Resident
Minister, Cain Mathema urged the people to vote for the ruling party in next
month's polls because the MDC had failed to deliver and had made false
After enduring the suffering and indignities of the last decade, voters will
know it is fallacious to blame the MDC for the government's failures which
are all-pervading and not just evident in Bulawayo alone. What promises can
an opposition party break when it is not responsible for formulating and
implementing national policies? Mathema cannot fool anyone by suggesting
that the MDC is responsible for the electricity and water shortages and
other problems being experienced in the city when the same problems have not
been addressed even in urban centres where government-imposed commissions
are running the show.
Instead of trying to pass the buck, ruling party candidates should come
clean and tell the people of Bulawayo and Matabeleland in general once and
for all why the government has dragged its feet for the last 28 years with
regard to the implementation of a project to draw water from the Zambezi
river. As if this dereliction of duty was not bad enough, the government has
reneged on pledges to build a pipeline linking Mtshabezi dam to Bulawayo's
water supply system. How can the opposition be blamed for this deliberate
and cruel neglect?
Instead of blaming opposition parties, Mathema should explain why the
"people's government" has not come up with a viable plan to alleviate
Bulawayo's water woes if it cares about the plight of the residents. The
only aspect the government has been actively pursuing is its high-handed and
undemocratic attempt to impose the inept and discredited Zimbabwe National
Water Authority (ZINWA) to take over functions formerly efficiently executed
by the local authority. Mathema must not forget that before ZANU PF
interference and harassment, Bulawayo was the best run municipality in the
Unless they have very short memories, voters in Bulawayo will recall how not
long ago Water Resources and Development Minister, Tinacho Mutezo, suggested
that water from the decommissioned and heavily polluted Khami dam should be
reclaimed for human consumption. Mathema cannot claim that sanctions, which
are now a very tired mantra, are to blame for the government's failure to
take care of the needs and welfare of its people.
In case he has forgotten, Mathema must be reminded that the sanctions, which
are targeted at particular individuals in the ruling party and government,
have not stopped these individuals from enriching themselves beyond their
wildest dreams at the same time as the rest of the populace can neither
afford nor access basic commodities, the health and education sectors have
collapsed, unemployment and poverty are rampant and the cost of living
escalates by the minute.
The people have listened to enough mantras and conspiracy theories with
regard to all these problems. What is now needed is a government that cares
enough to address these issues honestly for the benefit of all Zimbabweans
instead of one bent on maintaining the status quo to give the ruling elites
an unfair and undeserved advantage.
What happened to promised diaspora vote?
EDITOR - SOME time back MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he had agreed to
the amendment of some document to secure an agreement to hold elections with
ZANU-PF in an environment in which those living outside Zimbabwe, were also
going to vote. Is that still the situation? Or is he now just interested in
getting into power?
Nowhere in Africa has there been a free and fair election, and never will
there be one. After making such a mess of the once thriving economy, why
would any right thinking person vote for ZANU-PF? Are people going to vote
to perpetuate their own misery?
It would make no sense if ZANU-PF were to win and it would only show how the
so-called elections are meaningless in Africa. Why ZANU-PF wants to remain
in power is beyond comprehension.
The party is bereft of any fresh ideas other than to harp about some
atavistic struggle for power. We were a trillion miles better off during Ian
Inflation breeds yet more hyperinflation and this regime has no clue what to
do, so why should anyone vote for these people?
As for Simba Makoni - he is just power-hungry, end of story.
These dubious parties formed on the eve of an election by former regime
officials are just plain vanity parties only interested in power for
Makoni has been part of this regime for a long time and has nothing new to
offer. Tsvangirai was right to say Makoni was, 'Old wine in a new bottle'.
In African politics it has invariably been the same faces changing sides to
position themselves into assuming power; it has never been a case of
The Kenyan political situation is a good example; Kibaki was once a
vice-president in the KANU regime.
He was not happy to be vice so he formed his own party, lost the election to
Moi, won at the second attempt and is now in league with former KANU members
like Uhuru Kenyatta and others who are also eyeing State House.
Raila Odinga was once in Kibaki's party but when he realised that he was not
going to get a chance to the presidency he formed his own party. 'Musical
chairs' they call the game; it has nothing to do with better policies but
all to do with power for power's sake.
Comment hit nail on the head
EDITOR - I agree with your commentary that the refusal of (Morgan)
Tsvangirai to work with (Simba) Makoni shows a lot of inconsistencies in the
Tsvangirai knows that he has tried to dislodge President Mugabe twice and he
has failed. Now he is under the illusion that Makoni will split the ZANU-PF
vote and thus he will have a chance to win the March 29 Presidential
I think that is a miscalculation altogether because we need all the
opposition votes to dislodge President Mugabe. I think Tsvangirai sees
himself as the only person eligible to be the next president of Zimbabwe.
What an illusion.
In the West, if you are defeated once or twice, you resign and give others a
chance. Tsvangirai should have done us a favour by uniting with all the
other progressive forces and we should be seeing winds of change on March
29. In fact, he has robbed us of freedom from this dictatorship.
How do you do it?
EDITOR - I'm curious to know how people can conduct business in Zimbabwe
with a currency that is depreciating so fast on a daily basis.
Is it legal to conduct business in a foreign currency such as United States
dollars? I would imagine that this would become illegal at some point (as a
way around legal tender laws - the use of government force to shove
worthless paper down everyone's throats)?
Still, I can't imagine being able to conduct business with a currency that
is losing value so fast. How do businesses and individuals do it? Thank you
for any insight you can give me.
Robert F. Sennholz
Go figure, Morgan
EDITOR - Thank you very much Rangarirai (Mberi), it's time Tsvangirai was
told that the people are not looking for a liberation hero. We don't need a
new breed of war veterans. We just want a politician who can turn this
country around. We don't want to be indebted to him.
We don't want to wake up 10 years from now commemorating Heroes' Day by
praising those who were at the "vigil" in London. It is time Tsvangirai
realised that the "Mugabe Must Go" activists that support him in the press
are not enough for him to get the president's seat and the sooner he drops
the "saviour of Zimbabwe" arrogance that he's got, the sooner he can get his
campaign in order.
And please, don't threaten us with this "Zimbabwe going the Kenya route". If
you know you can't win just step aside. Let real men like Simba (Makoni) do
their job. So confident with himself he has no problem claiming to be
ZANU-PF. He knows his only competition is Bob. And he knows that allegiance
means something in rural Zimbabwe.
Unwarranted attack on the office of the Deputy Sheriff
EDITOR - The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) notes with concern the
recent high-handed attack on the person of the Office of the Deputy Sheriff
of Zimbabwe on February 17, 2008 at the Anglican Cathedral in Harare.
In the context of the ongoing feuds within the Anglican Church, pitting
Bishops Kunonga and Bakare, the services of the Deputy Sheriff have been
enlisted by legal practitioners representing Bishop Bakare and his
In terms of a court order issued at the Harare High Court under the hand of
the Honourable Judge President Rita Makarau, the Kunonga faction of the
Harare Anglican Church was entitled to use the Cathedral for services on the
Sunday until 1100hrs, thereafter have 90 minutes to disperse and give vacant
possession to the Bakare faction, which would be entitled to use the
Cathedral from 12:30hrs onwards.
However, upon arrival and attempting to enter the Cathedral at the appointed
hour of 12:30hrs the Bakare faction found it under lock and key with some of
Bishop Kunonga's priests having laid siege to the Cathedral.
In terms of the court order aforementioned they could and did enlist the
services of the Deputy Sheriff who was empowered to use whatever means to
give them access to the church including also, on his part, enlisting the
services of a locksmith.
The Deputy Sheriff attended at 12:30hrs amid a police presence and sought to
gain entry but was denied and as such had to ask the locksmith to use a bolt
cutter to break the padlock.
While so doing, police at the scene apprehended the Deputy Sheriff, Mr
Zimbiti, together with the locksmith and took them to Harare Central with
representatives from both formations of the Church.
Also taken with the congregants and priests was freelance journalist Fazila
Mahomed who was present at the scene. She had her portable recorder
confiscated by the police details, purportedly to verify its contents.
The congregants were subjected to a lengthy attempt at conciliation while
the Deputy Sheriff and locksmith had statements recorded from them, as was
The Officer Commanding Harare Central Police District abdicated his law
enforcement role and declared that if the Bakare formation wanted the court
order enforced by the police they would simply have to go back to court.
They were all released without charge at around 14:00hrs with the journalist
being requested to report at the office of the Police District Intelligence
Officer, one Inspector Mhondoro. She duly attended the following day and
attempts were made to listen to the contents of her recorder but these were
futile as the police had inadequate resources with the result that she had
to offer to take the police to her residence and give them use of her
They satisfied themselves that the content did not constitute a criminal
offence and she was left without a charge.
Of particular concern to the ZLHR is the treatment of the person of the
Office of the Deputy Sheriff by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officer
especially when he was going about his lawful duty as an officer of the
court, which ironically members of the ZRP also are (i.e. Police Officers
are also officers of the court with a duty to uphold the law and assist
fellow officers of the Court such as judges, magistrates, lawyers,
messengers of court, etc in upholding the law).
The conduct of the ZRP in actually obstructing the Deputy Sheriff in his
duties amounts to defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
What the police did should be frowned upon as it brings the due
administration of justice into utmost disrepute.
It is particularly disheartening when one traverses history and recalls that
the same person of the Office of the Deputy Sheriff, Mr Zimbiti was arrested
while carrying out his lawful duties in April 2005 at Helping Hands in Mbare
and was briefly detained at Mbare Police Station.
As matters stand the beneficiaries of the court order issued by the High
Court under the hand of the Judge President were effectively denied their
constitutionally guaranteed right to the protection of the law. All thanks
to the ZRP!
It is also disheartening to note the continued harassment of journalists in
the practice of their profession notwithstanding many undertakings on the
part of the State to stop such conduct.
It is a disturbing preview of the operating environment of journalists for
the rest of 2008 and particularly during this critical election period when
the general public expects to receive information on critical issues
relevant to their decision making as they exercise the right to political
participation by freely electing their representatives to the presidency,
senate, House of Assembly and local councils come March 29.
ZLHR urges the ZRP to refrain from conduct unbecoming of court officials by
arresting or impeding fellow court officials from freely going about their
Such conduct has terrible consequences on the administration of justice and
brings such administration of justice into disrepute in as much as it has
the undesired effect of eroding public confidence in critical institutions
such as the Office of the Deputy Sheriff established to ensure the
enforcement of orders and judgments of the Court.
If anything the ZRP should be at the forefront of assisting the Office of
the Deputy Sheriff. The ZRP has a legal obligation to do so and are
challenged to profess ignorance of that role.
Fri, 29 Feb 2008 00:01:00 +0000
IN A graphic illustration of the critical state of lecturer staffing levels
at the University of Zimbabwe, the institution has advertised 120 vacant
posts in the state-controlled Sunday paper, The Sunday Mail.
The advert on the numerous posts - printed in a small font - took out an
entire page of the broadsheet.
The worst affected department is that of medicine, where 18 lecturers are
required at under and postgraduate level for disciplines ranging from
cardiology to dermatology and tropical medicine.
The Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care Medicine is not much better,
with 12 posts vacant, neither is the department of physiology with 10 posts
which need filling.
Other departments that require lectures include the Department of Biological
Sciences (9 posts), the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (8), the
Department of Clinical Veterinary Studies (8), the Department of Business
Studies (8) and the Department of History (7).
According to the advert, both permanent and short-term lectureship contracts
are on offer.
Non-Zimbabweans would be appointed on an initial short-term contract of two
years, subject to renewal. The closing date for applications is 29 February.
The UZ is scheduled to open after the March 29 polls but chances of the
posts being filled are very remote. Lecturers, like other Zimbabwean
professionals, have been deserting the country for better career prospects
within the region and overseas. Salaries for lecturers in Zimbabwe remain
Students and some observers have alleged that the decision to open the UZ
after elections was a political move aimed at stopping the students from
engaging in anti-ruling party activities as they are seen as supporting the
Students spoken to at the varsity expressed grave concern at the quality of
education they are receiving as a result of the continued exodus of
"Students life has become hell at the UZ," said one student. "Everything
continues to crumble and, above all, the shortage of lecturers has reached
crisis levels. It is no exaggeration to say the varsity is now producing
half- baked graduates as we miss so many lessons owing to the
non-availability of lecturers."
Last September when the UZ opened, it was estimated that only a quarter of
the then about 11 000 students turned up in the first week for the new
semester as acute accommodation and financial problems kept thousands away.
This was after - in a shock move - the UZ had announced that it would not be
admitting students into halls of residence for the new academic year that
opened on 10 September last year.
This followed recommendations by the City of Harare Department of Health
Services that the accommodation facilities were unsuitable for habitation as
they lacked proper ablution and catering services. The UZ blamed student
hooliganism for the move, saying it was forced to close the hostels after
failing to secure funds to renovate them before the start of the new
The crisis at the UZ has been acknowledged by the Minister of Higher
Education who is on record as saying: "I hear there are some serious
problems there. We will have to work out a plan so that all students return
and complete their programmes."
Efforts to get comment from the UZ were fruitless.
29 February 2008
By Staff Reporters
Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) is organising a rally for Dignity and
Democracy in Zimbabwe on the 8th of March at Trafalgar Square in London, the
The rally has been scheduled to take place from 12pm to 1:30pm and coincides
with International Women's Day commemorations.
The pressure group ACTSA has over the last few years been actively
campaigning to highlight the plight of women in Zimbabwe and has been behind
sourcing donations for sanitary pads and other wares meant for women in
Zimbabwe who cannot afford them.
Notable dignitaries invited to address the rally include MDC National
Executive Member Lucia Matibenga who is also the Vice President of the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Takavafira Zhou (President of the
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe- PTUZ) and Maureen Kademaunga, Gender
and Human Rights Officer with the Zimbabwe National Students' Union- ZINASU.
Organisers say many other high profile speakers from the UK government and
Society groups will be there. The rally will be followed by the usual
Zimbabwe Vigil outside the Zimbabwean Embassy at 2pm
Around 3:30pm the 'Million Women Rise Rally' to end violence against women
will also take place in Trafalgar Square.
Those interested in taking part in all these activities should e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.actsa.org or call Simon Chase
(Campaigns Officer) on 0044-20 3263 2001 to let them know.
The Daily Green
Fish Farms Employ Hundreds, and Feed Thousands
By TDG Community
"Words are not for free", a wise old man said to me a long time ago.
It is with deep concern that I have followed the discussions concerning the
boycott of Tilapia from Zimbabwe. It is downright scary, when people like
Dennis Benton comments on issues, which he, despite his organization's claim
to care for Zimbabwe, obviously knows absolutely nothing about. It is about
as scary as the situation in Zimbabwe. I wonder if any of the people, who
comment in the Daily Mail article, have given any thoughts to the
consequence of their actions? Except for Terence Ranger, who only briefly
touches on some of the more relevant matters, and Dara Grogan, who seems to
know them very well, there are unfortunately people in this world, who
haven't understood that "words are not for free" and 15 minutes of fame in a
British news paper, is what it is.
As an independent expert for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a
published author and lecturer on Corporate Social Responsibility, I have
been working with and auditing Lake Harvest for the past seven years -
during which Zimbabwe has been in a severe crisis and on the brink of
collapse. Plenty intelligent and clued-up people have been writing and
informing the world about the situation in Zimbabwe, where things are so bad
that I am unable to describe it to anyone, who hasn't been here and felt it
Most people, ignorant and informed, know that Zimbabwe is in dire straits.
What they don't know and what no international newspaper writes about are
the success stories of Africa - even in Zimbabwe, there are some - and Lake
Harvest is one of them. Despite the government's attempts to destroy the
private sector with 40% export tax, no power to run production plants, hyper
inflation, lack of physical denominations, no fuel and the list goes on and
on, there are actually companies that entirely because of exceptional
competent management and committed and loyal employees, are still going -
not strong, in fact very weak these days - but due to the support of loyal
overseas clients, such as Waitrose, are still able to go.
Moreover, the rule in Zimbabwe nowadays is that one employed person,
supports 15 people. It used to be around 5. Lake Harvest employees 450
people in an area with little or no other private sector (tourism used to be
big in the area, but tourism died), which means Lake Harvest supports 6,750
people in the area around Kariba. During the past seven years, I have
written and implemented CSR policies for Lake Harvest, primarily on
HIV/AIDS, medical programmes, health and safety, job security schemes and
much, much more. The plant is HACCP certified and of an impeccable standard.
If you boycott Tilapia from Lake Harvest, you ruin that. And you ruin 6750
livelihoods of the already hard hit Zimbabwean people.
The fact that we Europeans are still overfishing the seas and therefore we
need fish farms in the developing world, the fact that the carbon foot print
in Zimbabwe is a fraction of the carbon foot print of a European fishing
fleet, the fact that an export product anywhere in the developing world is
normally not affordable to the local community (think clothes production in
India) - just adds to my argument. So let me remind you - words, and action,
I would like to add, are not for free. At least the Government of Zimbabwe
know it is bad. Badly informed people, who think they are doing good by
calling for a boycott, are almost worse.