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Gono in dramatic U-turn

February 1, 2013 in News

RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono yesterday made a dramatic about-turn on
the country’s drive to indigenise the financial sector, lending his support
to Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere with
whom he had been openly sparring over the issue.

Staff Writer

Announcing his monetary policy statement for 2013 in the capital yesterday,
Gono, who previously had been adamant the banking sector was a sacred cow
that should not have been included in the ongoing radical transfer of
economic power into the hands of the black majority, showed he had yielded
to the political pressure he has been facing from Zanu PF, which has been
having an upper hand in the unity government.

“All banks should observe the laws of the country including the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment laws. In this regard, the Reserve
Bank is working together with the Ministry of Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment to ensure that compliance with appropriate laws is done in an
orderly manner,” Gono said yesterday.

He however stressed that the process to indigenise the banks should take
cognisance of the sensitivities around the operation of the banks to restore
confidence, trust and stability in the sector.

Nonetheless, the governor could be taking his last stand by demanding that
all indigenisation transactions that involved notion vendor finance for the
new black shareholders obtain his approval.

The transactions, which have been dubbed successful by some sections of the
financial markets, could be in danger of being labelled null and void if
Gono disapproves of them in the interests of curtailing further national

The country’s Indigenisation Act compels foreign owned firms to sell 51% of
their stakes to local entities. In the absence of credit lines willing to
fund the sale of the stakes, the companies and the ministry of
Indigenisation have an agreement that the stakes would be sold through
notional vendor financing (NVF).

NVF is credit provided by the supplier, normallly in the form of deferred
payment terms, usually over 10 years or so. This means indigenous entities
contracted commercial debt from the companies which they have now taken

However, Gono said there were laid down procedures in the contraction of
credit lines which strictly requires the approval of the External Loans
Coordination Committee.

The contraction of credit lines and loans in Zimbabwe are undertaken through
the ELCC as it has been empowered by government to use stipulated guidelines
in debt contraction with a view to monitoring the country’s indebtedness to
the rest of the world.

Gono noted there had been incidents where credit lines were contracted on
behalf of government outside the purview of the ELCC or involvement of the

“Against this background all institutions, both in the private and public
sectors, need to send their loan applications through the ELCC for prior

Gono said this applied to various vendor financing schemes that had emerged
over the recent past Zimbabwe Independent is reliably informed that Gono is
currently in the process of granting ECCL approval to the transactions in
the same as he had already approved that of Blanket Mine.

Blanket Mine was the first company to receive an indigenisation compliance

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ZRP ups campaign for Zanu PF

February 1, 2013 in Politics

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police command has embarked on a full-scale campaign
for Zanu PF ahead of high-stakes elections this year in blatant violation of
the constitution and Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Report by Owen Gagare/Wongai Zhangazha

The move confirms the partisan nature of the country’s security forces.

In recent weeks commanders have been touring police stations countrywide
urging officers, their spouses and everyone residing in the camps to
register for elections and vote Zanu PF.

A top police officer in Harare said senior officers were following orders
given by Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri in December.

On Tuesday Chihuri addressed wives of senior police officers in Selous and
urged them to vote for Zanu PF. He told the wives, gathered for a Kuyedza
Women’s Club leadership workshop, that they should be patriotic and
demonstrate their love for their country by returning Zanu PF to power.

Kuyedza Women’s Clubs run income-generating projects for female police
officers and spouses of policemen and are led by female senior officers and
wives of senior officers.

Some of the club’s leaders have been distributing Zanu PF membership cards
to the women they lead.

Taking a cue from Chihuri, who has openly declared his loyalty to Zanu PF,
several senior officers have hit the campaign trail for Zanu PF while others
have become immersed in the party’s factional fights.

Officer commanding Harare Province, Senior Assistant Commissioner Clement
Munoriyarwa, for example, has been urging police officers and their
dependants to “vote wisely”.

Two weeks ago he addressed officers, their spouses and dependants at
Chitungwiza Police Station, advising them to register and vote.

“He was persuasive rather than intimidatory,” said a policewoman who
attended the meeting.

“If there was any intimidation it was subtle unlike in 2008 when we were
told there would be war if Zanu PF lost the elections. He explained that the
next election would be crucial and urged all of us to vote because each vote
is important.

“He also emphasised the need for those with children to ensure that they
register as voters. He said the younger generation should be educated so
that they vote wisely and said it was the responsibility of parents to do

In Mashonaland East Assistant Commissioner Everisto Pfumvuti, believed to be
harbouring political ambitions, has been mentioned in Zanu PF factional
fights and has teamed up with a war veteran, Jephat Chinake, in
decampaigning Mutoko South legislator Olivia Muchena — also Women’s Affairs

Pfumvuti has ordered all police officers based at Mutoko Police Station to
register for elections and show their registration slips to the Officer in
Charge as evidence of registration.

Zanu PF Mashonaland East chairman Ray Kaukonde confirmed Pfumvuti has been
attending party meetings but said he did not believe he was decampaigning
Muchena because “he is a cadre”.

Kaukonde said Pfumvuti has been interested in the Mutoko South seat for a
while but had been told it was reserved for a woman.

ZRP commanders have also been campaigning for Zanu PF in other provinces,
contravening the GPA and constitution which state they should be impartial
and professional.

Article X111 of the GPA says: “State organs and institutions do not belong
to any political party and should be impartial in the discharge of their

The same article also states that “all state organs and institutions should
strictly observe the principles of the rule of law and remain non-partisan
and impartial.”

The police and other security forces have frequently taken an active role in
politics and have often been accused of aiding Zanu PF through disrupting
rallies and political gatherings organised by the MDC formations, as well as
arresting and intimidating political players and members of civil society.

In the June 2008 presidential election runoff police commanders joined their
counterparts from the military in a countrywide campaign where they
addressed rallies and meetings promising war in the event that Mugabe lost
the runoff.

Junior members of the force were also forced to register for polls and voted
under the watchful eye of senior officers.

The stance taken by the police has given rise to fears that the police may
once again curtail free political activity in the run up to the elections
and fail to guarantee free political activity or guarantee freedom of
assembly and association.

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she had no
knowledge of police commanders campaigning for Zanu PF.

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New provisions dilute Land Commission’s effectiveness

February 1, 2013 in Politics

THE proposed constitutional provision for a Land Commission to fall under
the Lands ministry would hinder its independence, raising doubts over its

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

The changes were introduced in the final draft constitution agreed to by the
unity government principals two weeks ago. Critics say the Land Commission
should have remained independent as was provided for in the July 2012 draft

The July draft stipulated that the commission should be independent, but new
provisions were added in the latest draft which state: “The Zimbabwe Land
Commission, with the approval of the minister responsible for land, may make
regulations for any of the purposes set out in the subsection.

“The Zimbabwe Land Commission must exercise its functions in accordance with
any general written policy directives which the minister responsible for
land may give it.”

The commission’s main functions include ensuring accountability, fairness
and transparency in the administration of agricultural land that is vested
in the state; conducting periodical audits of agricultural land; and making
recommendations to government regarding the acquisition of private land for
public purposes.

It will also investigate complaints and disputes regarding the supervision,
administration and allocation of agricultural land and ensure fair
compensation payable under any law for agricultural land and improvements
that have been compulsorily acquired.

Blessing Vava of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) said: “The fact
that it’s under a ministry removes its independence. The minister
responsible will be the one calling the shots.”

However, Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga on Tuesday said the
Land Commission was changed from being independent to being an executive
commission because the land issue was not a universal matter.

Matinenga said: “The July provision had an independent commission, but the
draft now has an executive commission, the reason being that when it comes
to issues like human rights they are general and universally accepted, they
do not change. However, land is a specific matter; something that can change
with policies.

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Sadc representatives expected

February 1, 2013 in News

THE two Sadc representatives who should have been seconded to the Joint
Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) last year are now expected
in the country “any time soon” to monitor the volatile political situation
ahead of crucial elections expected later this year.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

This was disclosed at a meeting between the Sadc facilitation team
comprising spokesperson and President Jacob Zuma’s international relations
adviser Lindiwe Zulu and Zuma’s political adviser Charles Nqakula, and the
negotiating teams from the three political parties.

Zanu PF was represented by Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Transport
minister Nicholas Goche; the MDC-T had Finance minister Tendai Biti and
Energy minister Elton Mangoma while the MDC’s Regional Integration minister
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and National Reconciliation minister Moses
Mzila-Ndlovu also attended the meeting.

The two Sadc representatives, David Katye of Tanzania and Colly Muunyu of
Zambia, should have joined Jomic in November last year, but Zanu PF has been
resisting this move arguing that it was tantamount to interfering with the
country’s sovereignty.

A third official from South Africa was dropped since the neighbouring
country is the regional bloc’s official facilitator.

Disagreements over terms of reference for the team by the political parties
also delayed their deployment.

Zanu PF wanted the terms of reference to be clarified to ensure they would
not interfere with the country’s sovereignty.
Mangoma said: “It was discussed that the Sadc technical team be deployed in
as soon as possible.”

According to sources, it was also agreed at the meeting that negotiators go
back to the election roadmap and ensure it is implemented before elections.

A Sadc diplomat told the Independent this week that Mugabe and Zanu PF were
using the issue of sovereignty to block Katye and Muunyu from coming to the

The sources were, however, quick to point out that during these
deliberations, the two MDCs never expressed their objection to Mugabe’s

“It is interesting that no one was questioning what happened to the two Sadc
representatives whose presence is crucial in terms of monitoring the
political environment in the run-up to elections and also to help Jomic
ensure the agreed reforms are implemented before the elections,” said one

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Succession dogfight rocks provinces

February 1, 2013 in Politics

THE long-drawn out Zanu PF succession dogfight is now being played out at
the party’s provincial levels as the two main factions led by Vice-President
Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa intensify their
struggle to succeed President Robert Mugabe.

Report by Owen Gagare

The factions battling for control of Zanu PF are now thrashing it out in the
provinces as they seek to strategically position themselves in preparation
for an assault on the presidency, ahead of crucial elections this year.

Fights have started in Manicaland, Masvingo, Mashonaland West and the
Matabeleland provinces, with the Mujuru faction currently on the offensive
in an attempt to wrestle power from the Mnangagwa faction, believed to be in
control of at least six provincial executive councils.

Controlling provinces has become crucial given the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) principals’ decision to shelve the running-mates clause for
10 years, and their proposal for the sitting president’s party to choose a

The running-mates clause was seen as favouring Mujuru who is Mugabe’s

By virtue of her position Mujuru was almost assured of being Mugabe’s first
running mate in the election and therefore an automatic successor if the
clause had been adopted.

In contrast, Mnangagwa is the Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs, the
eleventh most powerful position in the party.

According to the Zanu PF constitution, the presidium, comprising the
president, the two vice presidents and national chairperson, shall be
nominated by at least six provincial coordinating committees constituting
the provincial executive council, provincial women’s league and youth league
committees and legislators, central committee and national consultative
assembly members in the province.

With the death of Vice President John Nkomo, campaigning has already started
for the vice-presidency and chairmanship positions, depending on Simon Khaya
Moyo’s elevation to the second top post.

Zanu PF insiders said the opening up of the race would intensify the
factional fights which have been going on in the provinces for years.

In Manicaland, for example, the party is torn on how to deal with fraud
allegations implicating provincial chairman Mike Madiro and four provincial
youths, involving about US$750 000 sourced from diamond mining companies
operating in Chiadzwa.

Party sources say the Madiro saga gives the Mujuru faction an opportunity to
replace the provincial chairperson with one of their own.

Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa, a Mujuru ally who has
been trying to remove Madiro from power is said to have pounced on the issue
to deal with the provincial chairperson, but the Mnangagwa camp came out
fighting in Madiro’s corner and argued that he should go through the proper
disciplinary procedures.

Zanu PF Women’s League boss Oppah Muchinguri, a Mnangagwa ally, fought hard
for the matter to go through disciplinary hearings believing Madiro could
have been set up. Diamond mining companies have denied giving Madiro money
while his supporters allege he was being set up as part of the factional

“Mutasa has wasted no time in moving around with Nyabadza, introducing him
as the next chairperson in the wake of the Madiro saga,” said a Manicaland
provincial member. “He did this a fortnight ago at a party meeting in

Nyabadza described the reports linking him to the chairpersonship as
mischievous, adding that he has no desire to fill the position because he
was “already a very busy man”.

“I have never spoken to anybody or held any meeting over the position
because I am a very busy man with a full plate,” said Nyabadza. “I am the
chairman of Arda (Agricultural Rural Development Authority), I’m also
chairman of the Save Valley Conservancy, so why would I want to campaign for
a position which is not vacant in any case,” asked Nyabadza, adding that he
would only do so if called upon by the Zanu PF presidium.

In Mashonaland West, daggers have also been drawn against provincial
chairman John Mafa. Word is that Mafa should be removed because he is a
Karanga. Key provincial executive council positions in the province have in
the past few years been held by people aligned to the Mnangagwa faction.

In Masvingo there is also an attempt to remove secretary for administration
Edmund Mhere and provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke following clashes
during the party’s provincial congress held at Masvingo Polytechnic College
in November last year.

Riot police set dogs on delegates to deffuse the clashes which occurred
after some delegates were denied entry into the venue.

In the Midlands, the Mnangagwa camp is planning to oust Flora Bhuka from her
Gokwe-Nembudziya constituency after she jumped ship and joined the Mujuru
camp. Sources in Midlands said the camp will sponsor a youthful candidate to
fight off Bhuka in primary elections.

In Matabeleland, Mines minister Obert Mpofu has been on the campaign trail
but his moves are viewed with suspicion by some party bigwigs, among them
national chairman khaya Moyo, who believes Mpofu is not only seeking to
control the region but is seeking to use his influence as leverage to land
the vice-presidency.

Mpofu is said to be working with Mnangagwa.

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Youths demand larger stake in politics

February 1, 2013 in Politics

“I HAD always been committed to the armed struggle, and moreover, as the
leader of the youth, I was the obvious choice. For the youths are, after
all, the lifeblood of the army: it is the young who do the fighting.”

Report by Elias Mambo

These were the words of the late Zanu PF firebrand Edgar Tekere in his book
A Lifetime of Struggle, capturing the role of the youths in national

Tekere spent his youth in detention and was imprisoned for 10 years until
his release in December 1974, together with President Robert Mugabe, Enos
Nkala and the late veterans Ndabaningi Sithole, Maurice Nyagumbo and Morton

The youths have been at the forefront of political change in the country
since the colonial era and have radically changed the face of national
liberation movements in most African countries.

Likewise, Nelson Mandela, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the late John Chilembwe,
Kenneth Kaunda and Mahatma Gandhi assumed leadership positions at relatively
young ages.

In Zimbabwe, the youths have had a chequered if not infamous role in the
political and socio-economic affairs of the country beginning with the
communist-style Zanu PF youth brigades of the 1980s.

The problem however, is that the aging political elite do not see the youths
as future leaders, but rather as an apparatus for staying in power by using
them in their political campaigns which are sometimes violent, mostly for
token benefits and false promises.
With crucial elections looming, youths across the political divide are now
demanding a bigger stake in parliament.

In keeping with the words of 18th century French poet Victor Hugo, “nothing
else in the world, not even a great army, is so powerful as to stop an idea
whose time has come.” Zimbabwean youths believe that their time has now
arrived and no power, least their parties’ policies, would stand in their

As a result, political parties in the country are struggling to contain the
youths’ demands.

MDC-T youths have even gone to the extent of demanding a quota system that
would ensure they are represented at every level of the party.

“We demand a quota system along the lines of gender parity system and our
leadership should be aware this is our right,” said MDC-T Youth Assembly
national secretary for information Clifford Hlatshwayo recently.

“We are not declaring war; this is a youth national council resolution. We
will persuade our leaders and tell them a peaceful and smooth transition in
the future can only be realised if the youths have practical experience

Hlatshwayo said youths are arguably the most visible demographic group in
the run-up to any election, but account for little in terms of
representation and only a quota system could redress this anomaly. In Zanu
PF, moves to inject new blood into the structures are likely to further
widen the party’s factional cracks as youths’ parliamentary aspirants are
currently pushing for wholesale leadership renewal, fuelling divisions with
the old guard which still prefers the seniority and hierarchical approach.

“The party is up for a rude awakening and the politburo has to come up with
a good strategy to vet and consider the new young politicians,” said a Zanu
PF official who spoke anonymously.

Youths, according to Zimbabwe Youth forum national co-coordinator,
Wellington Zindove “refers to those within the 18 to 35 age -group as
stipulated in the African youth charter which Zimbabwe recently ratified.”
However, this age group is not strictly observed with some above 35 claiming
to be youths.

Zindove is upbeat over the youths’ demands to contest in the next elections.

“The next election will be crucial because, for the first time in the
history of this country, we are likely to see a new crop of youthful
politicians,” Zindove said.

“This is a way of protest by the youths who have been used as pawns for a
long time by the politicians without getting much in the way of tangible
results,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe recently lambasted politicians for
manipulating the youths and using them to hold onto power.

“It is a pity that politicians in this country do not see and value the
youth as partners in development, but tools for political violence,” said
Khupe.“The youths should wake up and turn against anyone who wants to use
them as pawns in the dirty game of political violence. These old and tired
leaders do not have an eye for tomorrow,” Khupe said.

The forthcoming elections would be crucial in the sense that they are likely
to usher in a new wave of youthful politicians.

With the likes of youthful Information and Communications Technology
minister Nelson Chamisa having proved to the young generation that they can
be leaders, it remains to be seen how many of them would be bold enough to
battle their parties’ old guard in primaries.

But changing dynamics wrought by the draft constitution may be a stumbling
block for the youths’ political ambitions across the political divide. With
the draft constitution stating that the “senate will comprise 80 members and
six from each province on proportional representation,” the majority of
senior politicians are likely to revert to contesting as members of

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MDCs can forget about reforms: Chinamasa

February 1, 2013 in Politics

FRESH from cobbling together an agreement on the constitution after
incessant bickering for nearly four years, Zimbabwe’s major political
parties appear to be heading on another collision course after Zanu PF
rejected the MDCs’ demands for further reforms before elections can be held.

Zanu PF negotiator and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday said
there would be no more reforms as stipulated by the Global Political
Agreement –– precursor to the Government of National Unity –– and Sadc
roadmap to elections.

“We agreed that the completion of the constitution is the only stumbling
block towards the holding of elections,” said Chinamasa in an interview.
“The renewed calls for reforms by the MDCs are an agenda to try and avoid

Chinamasa said the issue of reforms was never raised at Tuesday’s meeting
with the Sadc facilitation team comprising President Jacob Zuma’s
international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu and political adviser Charles

“We met them (Zuma’s team) and gave them an update with regards to the
constitution and referendum. The team was happy with our efforts and
achievements as the country prepares for elections.”

Chinamasa then rubbished the MDCs’ calls for media reforms.

“What reforms are they talking about now?” asked Chinamasa. “We agreed with
them to complete the constitution and prepare for elections, but they go out
there and say they want reforms. The MDCs have failed and they are likely to
lose the elections.

“They thought we were not going to agree on the constitution and now they
are hiding behind reforms in order to avoid elections,” claimed Chinamasa.

MDC-T secretary-general and Finance minister Tendai Biti told a media
briefing on Tuesday that his party would continue pressing for major reforms
before elections are held to ensure there is no repeat of the violence which
engulfed Zimbabwe in the 2008 elections after Zanu PF was defeated by the

“We can have elections tomorrow but if there are no reforms it will be one
step forward and 20 steps backwards and we will have a similar situation
like we had in 2008,” said Biti, whose party demands reforms to the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission among other measures in its Conditions for a
Sustainable Election in Zimbabwe document launched last year.

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Graft: Zanu PF bigwigs untouchable

February 1, 2013 in Politics

UPON assuming office at Independence in 1980, Prime Minister Robert Mugabe
faced a daunting task of winning over an international community
apprehensive that his socialist rhetoric would be translated into
nationalisation of land and other key economic resources held by minority
white Zimbabweans and other foreign interests.

Report by Herbert Moyo

Mugabe did not let the euphoria of Independence go to his head, but instead
choose the pragmatic route, and soon won over sceptics with a
highly-publicised policy of national reconciliation. He allowed capitalist
enterprises to co-exist with his socialist style five-year economic
development plans.

A leadership code requiring party officials to declare their assets and
desist from engaging in private business to prevent corruption was the
cherry on top.

When growing corruption reared its head in 1988 in the form of the
high-profile Willowvale Scandal in which senior government ministers used
their status to acquire motor vehicles at knock-down prices before
re-selling them for substantial profits, Mugabe did not spare the rod.

The likes of Enos Nkala, Callistus Ndlovu, Frederick Shava, Dzingai
Mutumbuka and Maurice Nyagumbo were forced to resign. Such was the stigma
attached to corruption that the shamed Nyagumbo allegedly committed suicide
after his dismissal.

Mugabe’s profile subsequently rose as he became the darling of the
international community, winning acclaim as attested to by the Africa Prize
for Leadership he won in 1987, the same year he assumed the powerful
executive presidency.

However, things began to unravel in the 1990s as politicians looted a VIP
housing scheme in 1995, claimed massive disability pay-outs from the War
Victims’ Compensation Fund in 1997 before being exposed as multiple-farm
owners after the controversial fast-track land reform that started in 2000,
among other cases.

This was exacerbated by Mugabe and his party Zanu PF’s populist and ruinous
economic policies and an increasingly dictatorial state which has not only
impoverished the country but condemned it to pariah status, ranked 163rd out
of 176 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index
for 2012.

Corruption has become so deeply entrenched in Zanu PF that even provincial
party officials from Manicaland, including chairperson Mike Madiro and four
colleagues, allegedly solicited US$750 000 from diamond mining companies in
Chiadzwa, purportedly for party activities including preparations for the
party’s annual conference in Gweru last December, only to convert the funds
to their own use.

Initially at a loss as to the next course of action, the police, accused of
bias towards Zanu PF, sought advice from the party on how to deal with the
issue since embezzlement involved party officials.
Instead of throwing it back to the police for investigation, Vice-President
Joice Mujuru, acting president, referred the matter to the party’s
disciplinary section.

An irate Mugabe withdrew the issue from the politburo agenda last week
saying it should be investigated by the police as it was a purely criminal
matter, lending credence to the public belief the police are partisan.

Politburo insiders said Mugabe, battling to salvage his damaged legacy and
keen to be seen as taking a tough stance against corruption, argued that the
matter was a clear case of “theft and corruption”. As a party he said “we
should not tolerate corruption”.

Although Mugabe can be commended for putting his foot down while
inadvertently exposing the police, the question many Zimbabweans are asking
is when does corruption become a crime in Zimbabwe? Does it only become
corruption when Mugabe says so?

Despite his rhetoric, Mugabe’s record in dealing with corruption suggests
his handling of the Madiro saga smacks more of double standards and
selective justice being meted out to lower ranking party officials, while
party bigwigs are left scot-free.

Mugabe’s failure or tardiness in dealing with bigwigs implicated in
corruption has also been exposed in his continued inaction following former
South African president Thabo Mbeki’s disclosure of kickback demands by Zanu
PF ministers. Mugabe requested and was given evidence that his ministers
demanded US$10 million in bribes from ANC-linked business people who wanted
to invest in Zimbabwe.

An expectant nation held its collective breath waiting to see corrupt
ministers consumed by the fire and brimstone Mugabe promised at the party’s
conference in December.

So far no-one has been sacked or suspended, let alone openly investigated,
giving credence to assertions party heavyweights literally get away with
anything as long as they are loyal to Mugabe. Mugabe also failed to act
after being informed by Core Mining director Lovemore Kurotwi that Mines
minister Obert Mpofu had allegedly demanded a US$10 million bribe last year
to facilitate a mining venture.

This was despite High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu saying Mpofu’s
name was being “dragged through the mud”.

“The allegations might also be true, said Bhunu, adding, “I am inclined to
call the minister and the minister should come and clear his name.”

Habakkuk Trust chief executive officer Dumisani Nkomo said the latest
attempts to deal with Madiro and his accomplices smack of a whitewash given
Mugabe’s long history of failing to deal with high level corruption.

“There have been a few isolated cases in the past like Willowgate where
ministers were forced to resign but generally the net has always caught the
small fish whilst the big fish swam their way out,” said Nkomo.

Zimbabwe now has some super-rich ministers and party officials who have
never had any other job except their modest-paying government portfolios,
which begs the question: how did they acquire their vast wealth?

Even Tourism minister Walter Mzembi (Zanu PF) called for the re-introduction
of his party’s leadership code of the 1980s requiring party officials to
declare their assets and prohibiting them from engaging in capitalist
accumulation of wealth.

Analysts say even if they do not steal, there is a general lack of
transparency which makes it easy for ministers to influence entities in the
sectors they steward for self-enrichment.

Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo revealed some ministers were double-dipping
by claiming money and other resources from parastatals under their watch
despite being given the same benefits by treasury.

Despite Moyo’s revelations, nothing has been done and political analyst
Godwin Phiri says even if Mugabe is serious he cannot take action against
these bigwigs because the rise of a strong opposition in the form of the
MDCs means his party would be weakened without some of these corrupt
ministers. There is also the issue of high-stakes election anticipated later
this year.

“He cannot deal with modern-day corrupt ministers because he needs them in
his fight for supremacy with the MDCs just like he has been forced to allow
back into the party those who attempted a palace coup against him in
Tsholotsho in 2004 because he realises they have the capacity to win back
seats for Zanu PF,” Phiri said.

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute executive director Pedzisayi Ruhanya says
“Mugabe must do the fishing in the biggest ponds of the political structure
including his cabinet” to rid the country of corruption.

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No windfall for war vets

February 1, 2013 in Politics

VETERANS of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation war had their hopes of a US$2 000
monthly windfall dashed after government failed to pay them the money
despite promises made by Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) chief General
Constantine Chiwenga late last year.

Report by Herbert Moyo

Chiwenga reportedly promised war veterans payments of US$18 000 each to be
paid in monthly instalments of US$2 000 for nine months at a meeting at One
Brigade Headquarters in Bulawayo in November 2012.

Chiwenga said the money would come from diamond mining in Marange and
investment in the Lupane gas project in which the ZDF partnered Russian

The expectant war veterans were disappointed to find no deposits into their
bank accounts on their pay day on Monday.

Instead they got the usual amounts of between US$160 and US$170.

Disgruntled war veterans told this paper it was disheartening that Chiwenga
and Zanu PF were engaging in cheap politicking by making false promises.

“They owe us the money because we were never paid in full when we got Z$50
000 in 1997,” said one irate war veteran. “The most distressing thing is
that nobody bothered to explain anything to us. Members need to re-group to
decide on the appropriate response if nothing materialises in the coming

War veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda confirmed they had not received the
promised money but referred all questions to Chiwenga since he made the

“All l know is that war veterans never received any money,” said Sibanda.

“People have been asking me what happened to the money promised by Chiwenga
but they should be asking Chiwenga. I wasn’t there in Bulawayo because l
wasn’t even invited to the meeting. You should ask Chiwenga because l don’t
know his programme and how he is operating,” Sibanda said in a telephone
interview on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association secretary-general
Shadreck Makombe confirmed last month that the association was having
meetings with the government over compensation for liberating the country
from colonial rule.

“We negotiated for Z$150 000 per individual which was equivalent to US$20
000 and we only received Z$50 000 (US$2 000) in 1997; as such there is need
for our patron (President Robert Mugabe) to release the remaining US$18
000,” Makombe said.

However, Sibanda appeared to contradict Makombe when he said the immediate
priority is to ensure that Zanu PF wins elections and the money issue will
be discussed later.

“We are not in a rush to get the money because right now our priority is to
ensure Mugabe wins the elections. Only then will we start talking about the
money issue. In any case we don’t get our money from Chiwenga because we are
not in the army,” said Sibanda.

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Zanu PF factionalism: Masvingo clashes reveal deepening cracks

February 1, 2013 in Politics

THE chaos that rocked the Zanu PF Masvingo provincial meeting designed to
endorse President Robert Mugabe’s candidature for next year’s elections
exposed underlying divisions in the party ahead of its conference in Gweru
next month.

Report by Elias Mambo

The Masvingo meeting held last week was characterised by acrimonious clashes
between partyspokesperson Rugare Gumbo and former Masvingo governor and
politburo member, Josaya Hungwe, who are said to support the rival camps of
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa,

According to sources who attended the meeting, Gumbo took a swipe at Hungwe
for proclaiming he is the party’s new leader in Masvingo following the death
of Higher Education minister Stan Mudenge. Mudenge died on October 4.

“The atmosphere was very tense as Gumbo attacked Hungwe for allegedly
declaring in the media that he is the new leader of Masvingo after the death
of Mudenge. Gumbo said those being labelled as belonging to the Mujuru
faction are in the right group because Mujuru is in Mugabe’s ‘faction’,” the
source said.

Gumbo advised Masvingo provincial members to revisit the party constitution
to verify who is senior in the province between Hungwe and politburo member
Dzikamai Mavhaire, aligned to the Mujuru faction.

Sources said Hungwe hastily hit back, describing Gumbo as coming from “a
clan of losers” who succumbed to the rival MDC-T in previous elections.

In his closing remarks Hungwe reportedly said: “The Gumbos originally come
from Gutu where they have been defeated by the MDC since 2000. We thought
his visit would bring peace as his name Rugare (peace) suggests, but it
appears he has brought further divisions.”

Gumbo had also poured scorn on Zanu PF T-shirts sourced by Hungwe for
campaigns in Masvingo, saying they were of cheap material. However, Hungwe
told the Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday that most senior party officials
had failed to source T-shirts.

“I gave them T-shirts so that the Masvingo people may not look orphans who
have no one to provide for them,” said Hungwe.
The re-admission of former provincial chairperson Daniel Shumba has also
stirred more controversy as he would contest against Gift Orma for the party’s
Masvingo Urban primary elections.

Shumba belongs to the Mnangagwa faction while Orma is from the Mujuru
grouping. Gumbo warned those supporting Shumba are going against the party
because Shumba formed his own party after being expelled from Zanu PF and
contested against Mugabe.

“It was clear Gumbo is pushing Mujuru’s agenda because he was totally
against everything done by those belonging to the Mnangagwa faction,” said a
close source.

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Confusion grows over Khupe fate

February 1, 2013 in Politics

THERE is growing confusion over MDC-T Vice-President Thokozani Khupe’s fate
after her alleged role in the intra-party violence that rocked the party in
Bulawayo in the run-up to its congress last year as spokesperson Douglas
Mwonzora has absolved her of any blame.

Report by Herbert Moyo

Mwonzora said a disciplinary committee is summoning those fingered by the
Trust Manda Commission report on violence to answer charges.

He, however, said Khupe was not among those facing action as all allegations
levelled against her had been investigated and proved baseless.

The commission investigated intra-party violence that shook the MDC-T in
Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Midlands North, Masvingo and Mashonaland West ahead
of the party’s congress.

Mwonzora’s comments contradict those of party leader, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai who in an exclusive interview with the Zimbabwe Independent
recently confirmed all those fingered in the intra-party violence, including
Khupe, would face disciplinary action.

Mwonzora however dismissed accusations the party is protecting high-ranking
party officials fingered in corruption and fuelling violence, saying the
party is in the process of disciplining all those implicated, including
national executive members.

Mwonzora’s comments follow complaints by Bulawayo officials who this week
accused the party leadership of letting vice-president Thokozani Khupe off
the hook .

Khupe is reportedly angry with Tsvangirai over the issue.

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Draft creates bloated parly

February 1, 2013 in News

ZIMBABWE’S bloated parliament is set to expand further to accommodate an
extra 60 women MPs provided for in the draft constitution recently endorsed
by Zanu PF and the MDCs.

Report by Herbert Moyo

According to Section 124, subsection 1(b) of the draft constitution, the
first two parliaments after its adoption, would have “an additional 60 women
members, six from each of the provinces into which Zimbabwe is divided,
elected through a system of proportional representation based on the votes
cast for candidates representing political parties in a general election for
constituency members in the provinces”.

The new measures come at a time political parties are still to fully
implement Sadc protocols on gender requiring them to adopt measures that
would culminate in gender equality by 2015, including reserving political
positions for women.

Women’s Affairs deputy minister Jessie Majome said the country had not done
enough to promote gender equality due to “male resistance” and took a swipe
at government and political parties for stifling the political advancement
of women, saying at 17% Zimbabwe was well below the global average of 30%
women representation in politics and government.

“Zimbabwe is still way below the global average as (far as) women’s
representation is concerned and I am disappointed that the provisions will
last for the duration of only two parliaments,” said Majome. “I would have
preferred that they remain in place until there are proper guarantees that
Zimbabwe will have 50-50 gender equality in political positions,” Majome

She however defended the new constitutional provisions saying it was more
important to increase women’s representation and worrying about the
financial implications was a luxury that can only be afforded by men who
were already well represented.

“The only way of avoiding a bloated parliament would have been to reserve a
quota for women in the 210 seats already in place, but that has been met
with resistance from men,” said Majome.

National Constitutional Assembly spokesperson Blessing Vava said the
provisions were “expensive, cosmetic and irrelevant in the fight to achieve
gender equality”.

“The government is already struggling to pay salaries of the current
parliamentarians and they further complicate the situation by increasing the
numbers,” said Vava. “The people never asked for these measures in the
outreach programmes, but the parties go on to create more areas of patronage
and accommodation for their members.”

Questions have always been raised about the desirability and sustainability
of a bi-cameral legislature as well as its size given Zimbabwe’s relatively
small population of around 12 million.

Zimbabwe already has 210 members of the House of Assembly and 80 senators, a
result of various constitutional amendments that have been effected during
the 33 years of Zanu PF rule.

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Kasukuwere grilled over Youth Fund

February 1, 2013 in News

BULAWAYO youths bearing the brunt of the city’s company closures have
questioned Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
minister Saviour Kasukuwere why he was only engaging them now that crucial
elections were imminent.

Report by Nqobile Bhebhe

Zanu PF is targeting the youth vote in the elections expected later this

The youths constitute a huge voting bloc of about 60% of Zimbabwe’s 5,4
million registered voters.

Kasukuwere told the youths in Bulawayo on Monday he had been tasked by
President Robert Mugabe with a “generational mandate to inform youths
countrywide that they should have a firm grip on the economy”.

“Mugabe said to me, minister, tell the youth that time for action is now,”
said Kasukuwere. “The hour that many of our young people have been waiting
for is a generational assignment to take control of the economy.”

He had a torrid time responding adequately to queries raised by the city’s

They told him of alleged skewed disbursement of the controversial Youth

Youths from the Matabeleland region have been accused of submitting
un-bankable business plans or simply shunning the Youth Fund scheme.
The youths said they are struggling to access the Youth Fund and felt

Kasukuwere blamed the banks for the youths’ woes saying they (banks) are
refusing to fund youths’ empowerment drive.

He said that attitude would be rectified “in a few days” without

However, that was insufficient to calm the youths who charged that
Kasukuwere was only expressing concern over their plight because elections
are looming.

Zanu PF passed a resolution at its conference in Gweru last December calling
for the “speedy disbursement of youth empowerment funds to districts and
wards by the responsible government ministry to facilitate the much-needed
development capital to the jobless youths”.

Kasukuwere said in Lupane last year he was amazed “most proposals by the
youths from Matabeleland are about chickens” and demanded that they submit
“big proposals to venture into tourism, mining and wildlife”.

“I do not want any more chicken projects from you!” he said.
It also emerged at the meeting that Cabs had not processed most project
proposals with more than 7 000 having already been rejected.

Out of the US$10 million seed money for the fund, only US$2,9 million has
been disbursed to youths in Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and

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Primaries: A litmus test for the MDC-T

February 1, 2013 in Politics

LOOMING primary elections in the MDC-T are set to provide a litmus test for
the party’s democratic ideals.

Report by Elias Mambo

Sources within the party said fissures could further widen given the way the
party’s top brass are protecting each other from possible challengers for
parliamentary seats.

The party has put in place stringent conditions for aspirants, including
requiring that candidates for local government elections own houses in the
area they want to represent.

This is being deemed undemocratic by some party members. An official in the
national executive said the MDC-T leadership is shooting itself in the foot
by closing doors on its foot soldiers who have stuck with the party since
its formation.

“Tsvangirai wants to make sure that he removes all those with the
institutional memory of the party to replace them with people who do not
challenge him,” said the official.

Sources also said some constituencies were not going to have primaries as
they had been reserved for certain individuals.

For example, Buhera West had been reserved for the late John Makumbe.

Outgoing legislator Eric Matinenga said he was working with Makumbe as an
“incoming member of parliament”, which suggests that while the MDC-T has
been talking about a transparent process in selecting candidates to
represent the party, a “royal clique” had been given safe passage, sources

Controversy is also brewing over the candidature of party members based in
the diaspora. A number of these have expressed interest in contesting.

“MDC-T is setting a very bad precedent by giving constituencies on a silver
platter to those who were comfortable abroad at the expense of those who
have endured Zanu PF abuse,” said another source.
Former Zimbabwe Mirror journalist Grace Kwinjeh and ex-ZBC disc jockeys Ezra
Sibanda and Eric Knight have expressed an interest in contesting on the
party’s ticket.

Kwinjeh announced her interest to contest the Makoni Central constituency in
Manicaland while Sibanda and Knight are eying Lower Gweru and Mbare

This has set the party on a collision course with the MDC-T Supporters’
Forum which is against imposition of candidates as well as reservation of
seats for “special people”.

The forum comprises the party’s supporters from the high-density suburbs of
Kambuzuma, Mufakose, Rugare, Dzivaresekwa, Warren Park and Kuwadzana and is
a loose union of MDC-T district executives disgruntled over their party’s
selection process of candidates for the forthcoming polls.

“We are not happy at all and we are arranging countrywide campaigns to stop
imposition of candidates,” said one forum official.

However, MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa said there was nothing
wrong in allowing those who were outside the country to contest because they
were in the party structures.

“Those from the diaspora have always been part of this family. They were in
the structures which I supervise abroad, so constitutionally they are
allowed to contest in any election,” Chamisa said.

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MDC scouts for candidates

February 1, 2013 in Politics

AS elections loom after the principals compromised on the contentious draft
constitution, the MDC led by Welshman Ncube has started scouting for
potential candidates to represent the party.

Report by Brian Chitemba

The party is inviting applications from aspiring councillors, MPs and
senators by February 14.

The MDC, which won 10 House of Assembly seats and six senate seats in the
2008 polls, would only have primary elections in constituencies with more
than one aspiring legislator.

Unlike the MDC-T and Zanu PF, the MDC has minimal cases of jostling for
seats as party members seem to agree on candidates.

Sources said jostling was only expected in Bulawayo East where provincial
vice-chairman and Ward 4 councillor Paul Malaba and 2008 losing candidate,
Jasmine Tofa, who is the provincial treasurer, are set to battle it out.

Bulawayo East constituency is a political hotbed even for the MDC-T where MP
Thabitha Khumalo is fiercely fighting to retain her parliamentary seat amid
reports that the MDC-T leadership wants to replace her with former United
Kingdom-based academic Mandla Nyathi, now a National University of Science
and Technology lecturer.

MDC research and policy director Qhubani Moyo has publicly declared that he
will contest for the Bulawayo Central seat currently held by Dorcas Sibanda
of the MDC-T.

Thabile Ndlovu is vigorously campaigning to unseat Deputy Prime Minister
Thokozani Khupe in Makokoba where over 100 MDC-T supporters allegedly
crossed the floor to join the Ncube-led MDC last year.

The MDC is set to field candidates in all 210 House of Assembly seats
countrywide, quashing claims that the party was a Matabeleland-based

MDC sources said out of 26 constituencies in Masvingo, about 23 aspiring MPs
had already shown interest while aspiring candidates in Mashonaland,
Manicaland and the Midlands are busy submitting their applications.

MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga has written to
provinces instructing them to submit names for prospective presidential
candidates although indications are that Ncube is likely to be unanimously

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Demos against drugging of Zim deportees

February 1, 2013 in News

HANDS cuffed, seat belt strapped and legs tightly bound together, a deported
Zimbabwean is flown back from London to Harare International Airport on an
economy-class ticket, courtesy of the British government.

Report by Tendai Marima

The deportees are accompanied back by private security guards long-accused
of assaulting people during deportation from the UK.

Rights activists based in the UK now claim the security contractors hired by
the UK government sedate or threaten to sedate Zimbabweans during

Diaspora activist group ZimVigil which stages weekly demonstrations in
London against Zimbabwe’s (President Robert) Mugabe-led government said they
had recently received four reports of use and threatened use of sedation by
security. One woman alleges that when she was flown back to Harare at the
end of last year, she was told she would be drugged if she refused to
co-operate with authorities.

Former MDC chairman and president of ZimVigil, Ephraim Tapa, said initial
reports had come from members and the deportee later revealed she was
shipped back to Harare with nothing.

“A relative of a person who was deported told us this. The (deported) girl
was one of our members and she was forced to go (home) with nothing; no
clothing or bags, only what she had on her,” said Tapa in a telephone
interview. “She told us they threatened to sedate her and bundled her away
to deport her.”

Braving Britain’s freezing wintry temperatures a few weeks ago Zimbabwean
human rights activists protested and petitioned the British government to
review the manner in which the immigration department, UK Border Agency
(UKBA), is handling asylum claims.

Scores of Zimbabweans gathered in Leeds, West Yorkshire, to demonstrate
against UKBA because, activists claim, new asylum claims are strangely being
rejected on the basis of evidence given in previous asylum claims, yet this
old evidence is inadmissible in fresh appeals to remain.

Activists also allege UKBA has stepped up its deportation of Zimbabweans and
private security companies contracted to conduct deportations have been
accused of using or threatening to use sedatives on deportees during flights
in order to restrain them.

Zimbabwe Let’s Unite, a Leeds-based diaspora pressure group which organised
the march, claims several hundred people demonstrated in Leeds. After the
two-hour protest, briefly covered by BBC Leeds Radio, the group submitted a
signed petition to the head of UKBA’s Leeds office.

“BBC Leeds Radio interviewed a few individuals regarding inhuman treatment
received by Zimbabweans at the hands of Home Office’s contractors,” said
organiser, Kevin Ngwenya, in an interview.

“Almost 300 people signed the petition later handed to Sharon, Head of UKBA
in Leeds to submit it to the Secretary of State for us. Sharon made a
promise that she would make sure we get a
response from the Secretary of State,” said Ngwenya.

Due to growing concerns about drugging and other controversial deportation
procedures, Tapa said ZimVigil was planning to visit detention centres where
those awaiting removal are held. The group also plans to petition the UK
Home Secretary, Theresa May.

“The UKBA is denying the allegations, but we intend to visit detention
centre to get some insight into what is going on. We have petitioned the
Home Office Secretary of State to express our grave concerns and misgivings
about the deportations,” he

UKBA denies there has been any use of sedatives in restraint of deportees.
Responding to a Freedom of the Information request in July 2012, UKBA said
it did not administer substances to people for deportation purposes.

“UKBA has never used sedation to achieve the compliance of any individual
being returned on either a chartered or scheduled flight,” responded Hussain
Tanvir, a UKBA official.

British charity, Medical Justice, an organisation which advocates for
healthcare provision to immigration detainees, recently told the Independent
that it had not received any reports of Zimbabweans or any other
nationalities being drugged by security. However other EU countries such as
France, Ireland and Switzerland are known to use sedatives, straightjackets
and mouth gags to restrain resistant deportees. On several occassions,
injection has resulted in death.

Emma Ginn, spokesperson for Medical Justice, said in 2008 the organisation
documented more than 300 assault claims during removals from the UK. Reports
of assault during detention and removal are not uncommon. In 2011 Jimmy
Mubenga, an Angolan refugee died under mysterious circumstances on board a
forced flight back to Luanda.

Mubenga died before the plane even left the runway at Heathrow Airport, as a
result of being assaulted by security men from G4S, a private company hired
by UKBA to conduct removals. Last year, Medical Justice revealed how the UK
government breached its own rules, holding victims of torture for longer
than the prescribed period.

Zimbabwean activists vow their protests are only the beginning, as the
possibility of elections in 2013 poses risks for those who fled Zimbabwe in
fear of political persecution during the 2000s.

The groups recommend the UK halt deportations to Zimbabwe until at least six
months after crucial elections expected later this year to end a wobbly
coalition government, when there is certainty over the winner. Although the
UK has offered refuge to many Zimbabweans fleeing political persecution
since 1999, allegations of sedation and threats of drugging resistant people
on long-haul flights raise serious human rights concerns about the UK’s
deportation policy towards Zimbabwe.

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Media proposals rile journos

February 1, 2013 in News

MEDIA organisations have expressed disappointment over a “cocktail” of
provisions that curtail media freedom and access to information in the new
constitutional draft, saying the provisions are steeped in the same attitude
as the current constitution.

While applauding the draft constitution for explicitly guaranteeing media
freedom and freedom of expression, media experts have said it appeared more
of a privilege than a fundamental right.

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe director Nhlanhla Ngwenya
said the draft constitution safeguards freedom of expression and explicitly
guarantees media freedom and access to information, which liberties were
only inferred under Section 20 of the current constitution.

Ngwenya said: “Also notable is the constitutional protection of journalists
against revealing their sources as well as the ushering in of an independent
broadcasting regulatory mechanism.

However, Ngwenya said the entrenchment of a statutory media regulatory
board, the Zimbabwe Media Commission, contradicts the spirit and letter of
media freedom and access to information the draft seeks to promote.

“The commission, for example, retains powers to ‘take disciplinary action’
against journalists deemed to have violated ethical conduct. In a democracy,
the duty of a media regulator is not to ‘discipline’ journalists or media
houses, but to secure an environment that would promote free media

Vice-chairperson of the Voluntary Medias Council of Zimbabwe Cris Chinaka
said, “The media industry has clearly and loudly said it wants
self-regulation. We want it to be explicit in the constitution, especially
coming from a period where we had repression of media practitioners.

We need to continue to campaign for an environment that enables freedom of
expression where journalists’ issues are treated as civil matters.”

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Essar saga: Supreme Court throws out Mumbire’s ore claims

February 1, 2013 in Business

ESSAR Africa Ltd’s takeover of Ziscosteel, which was hanging in limbo
following an appeal by businessman Rodreck Mumbire, who was challenging the
transfer of some of the iron ore claims owned by Buchwa Iron Mining Company
(Bimco) to Essar, will now proceed following a landmark ruling in favour of
the government, businessdigest can reveal.


The Supreme Court, sitting in the capital on Tuesday this week, issued an
order that could effectively pave the way for the closure of the outstanding
Essar Africa-Ziscosteel transaction.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, sitting with Justice Anne-Mary Gowora and
Justice Yunus Omerjee heard the appeal arising out of a judgment by Justice
Samuel Kudya in the High Court last year, which had effectively upheld the
transfer of the BIMCO claims to Mumbire.

The Supreme Court agreed with the submissions made by Addington Chinake of
Kantor & Immerman for the appellant — Bimco — the gazetting of a
cancellation of Mumbire’s claims on October 26 by the Minister of Mines had
effectively determined the rights of the parties for the purposes of the

Consequently, the Supreme Court declined to write an academic Judgment on
the point.

The effect of the judgment is summed up by Deputy Chief Justice Malaba who
said that on October 26 the Minister of Mines had effectively determined the
rights of the parties factually and with the consent of Buchwa’s counsel,
Chinake, and Advocate Lewis Uriri appearing for Mumbire and his company
Bearable Prospects (Private) Limited ordered by consent that: “In light of
the publication of Government Gazette, Vol XC No 60, General Notice 484 of
2012 dated October 26 2012 cancelling the claims in dispute: the appeal is
hereby withdrawn; each party shall pay its own costs, both in this court and
in court a quo.”

The Supreme Court found that the gazetting of cancellation of the claims was
final in the circumstances.

The legal proceedings instituted against the government, which have
allegedly been frustrating efforts by Essar to conclude the take-over of
Ziscosteel operations, were threatening to wreck the Essar deal.

According to reports carried in our sister paper, NewsDay, the transaction
between the government and Essar Africa for the take-over of Ziscosteel
could not be fully consummated because of legal challenges over the iron ore
mining claims that are supposed to be transferred to the mining giant.

The deal, worth an estimated US$750 million, was sealed in March 2011,
resulting in Ziscoteel being unbundled into two companies, NewZim Steel and
NewZim Minerals.

Essar acquired 60% in NewZim Steel and it was also agreed that the Indian
giant would acquire 80% of iron ore mining unit Bimco.

Bimco held the rights to iron ore claims for supply to Ziscosteel.

The reports said several people were claiming ownership of the claims, among
them Mumbire.

The claims in dispute were cited as Leleza 1-15 registration no 12896
BM-12910BM and Berlena 1-15, registration numbers 12896 BM–12895 BM.

Essar has since expressed frustration as it has failed to commence
operations more than a year after the deal was inked and has threatened to
withdraw in protest over the government’s failure to guarantee adequate iron
ore supplies.

Contacted for comment, Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube said
the legal issue surrounding the mining claims had been one of the issues
delaying the Essar deal.

“We are in the process of bringing finality to the issue and are hopeful
that within the next few weeks there will be timelines for when everything
will be completed,” he said.

“Those are some of the things that have been delaying us on this deal but
they fall under the jusridisction of the ministry of mines.”

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January rains wreak havoc on crop yields

February 1, 2013 in Business

Tobacco yields for the 2012-13 marketing season are expected to slump by 40%
owing to serious damage to the crop by heavy rains in January, the Zimbabwe
Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) said this week.

Report by Gamma Mudarikiri

ZCFU president Wonder Chabikwa told businessdigest the heavy rains
received in the country in January resulted in heavy leaching which
would compromise the quality and quantity of the crop this year.

“There was massive leaching, especially in sandy soils, due to the heavy
rains received in January and we are estimating that the tobacco
output will decline by at least 40%,” said Chabikwa.

However, the Tobacco Industries and Marketing Board (TIMB) had projected
this year’s crop yield to be around 170 million kilogrammes from 144
million kilogrammes last year.

Chabikwa projected maize output would also slump to below the initial
forecasts of less than 600 000 tonnes owing to the same heavy January rains.

This meant the country would continue to import food, a development
that would see the country’s trade deficit, currently at US$3,6 billion,

Meanwhile, national cattle herd in 2012 dwindled to 5 million owing to
the drought in the country especially in Matebeland and other regions
of the country.

Matebeland South provincial livestock specialist Simingaliphi Ngwabi told
businessdigest that last year the national herd slumped to 5 million,
from 5,2 million the previous year, adding the decline was due to the
persistent drought in the region.

“The decline in the number of cattle is because of the persistent
drought and is thus a major setback towards rebuilding the national
cattle herd in Zimbabwe,” said Ngwabi.

The decline in the national herd has consequently reduced export operations
in the sector and the country continues to be dependent on beef imports from
countries like Botswana.

Agriculture in the country remains in the doldrums amid accusations the
government has done too little to revive the sector.
This year the economy is expected to grow only by 5% largely due to the poor
performance of the sector.

The 2012 agricultural season was also characterised by lower than expected
maize and tobacco output, resulting in depressed production in the
food-based manufacturing and the retail sector.

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Demand for Zim tobacco balloons

February 1, 2013 in Business

Zimbabwe must increase its tobacco production to meet increasing demand in
the United States and other international markets, Zimbabwe Tobacco
Association president Adrian Swales said.

Fidelity Mhlanga

At a Blackfordby College of Agriculture open day recently, Swales said there
was increasing demand for locally-produced tobacco internationally, adding
this called for an increase in production.

Zimbabwe, which exports its tobacco to the United States, Brazil and China,
is facing high demand following a supply deficit.

Traditionally, because of its high quality owing to unique climatic
conditions, Zimbabwean tobacco is used internationally for blending in the
manufacture of cigarettes to give them their distinct flavours.

“There is shortage of tobacco. I received a call from the United States of
America urging us to increase the size of the crop due to the increasing
demands of our tobacco,” said Swales.

Tobacco Industry Marketing Board chief executive Andrew Matibiri said as of
January 4 at least 65 199 growers had registered, compared to 34 673 in the
same period last year.

Of those registered, A1 farmers comprised 43%, communal farmers 40%, small
scale commercial farmers 10% and A2 farmers 7%. The number of registered new
farmers was 30 526.

“Generally, there is a sharp increase in area planted compared to last year.
Reaping and curing of the irrigated crop is under
way and dryland tobacco’s condition is ranging from fair to good, with barn
construction in progress for new farmers,” said Matibiri
Contract farmers had the potential of producing about 92 030 139 kilogrammes
this year. Among the merchants who contracted farmers, NT had 12 004
hectares, Mashonaland Tobacco Company 8 903ha, Tianze 51 199 ha, Tribac 4
888,75ha, and Chidziva 3 167,5 ha.

A total of 92,4 million kg of the contracted crop were sold at an average
price of US$3,72 per kg last year. This was a significant increase from 74,5
million kg at an average price of US$2,97 per kg recorded in 2011.

Total tobacco sales volumes at all auction floors last year were 52,1
million kg, at an average price of US$3,52/kg. This was down from 57,9
million kg at US$2,52/kg in 2011.

A total 130 million kg was exported last year, with more than 42% of the
tobacco going to China. In total, exports earned US$771 million averaging
US$5,94/kg. The average price is the highest annual average export price
achieved since dollarisation.

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Mugabe’s AU dream loses fizz, goes flat

February 1, 2013 in Opinion

Zanu PF has encouraged people in Bulawayo to “vote wisely” and “completely
wipe out” the MDC formations in the forthcoming elections, the Herald
reported on Monday.

Column by Muckraker

Senior Zanu PF members addressed a rally at Stanley Square on Sunday where
they promised to revive the city’s fortunes.

They took turns to address party supporters telling them the time to
“completely wipe out” the MDC was now. They paid tribute to the late John
Nkomo who would have been surprised to hear his “legacy of peace” hijacked
by vitriolic partisan speakers.

His dream was to see a peaceful 2013 and he wanted Zanu PF to win
resoundingly, the Herald reported Ignatious Chombo as saying. “We know the
MDC is everywhere but we are geared for the elections,” he said.

“During the last elections in 2008 we did not do well because of MDC but
that will not happen again,” Chombo declared with some confidence. “When you
vote choose Zanu PF, the people who have your concerns at heart.”

Strange isn’t it that Zanu PF only has the people’s concerns at heart when
it is election time!

Sudden concern

Suddenly Zanu PF is committed to seeing “the water situation, housing and
your welfare generally improving and that can happen when you vote wisely,”
Chombo declared.

So the people of Bulawayo failed to vote wisely in 2000, 2005, and 2008, it
would seem!

Saviour Kasukuwere was in an equally belligerent mood. “We do not want MDC
in Bulawayo anymore and we want to run it over,” he proclaimed. This was the
start of the city’s revival, he said.

“Factories have closed and MDC is always calling for change. What change
have they brought apart from short-changing Bulawayo?”
“The journey has started,” Kasukuwere declared, “and we will be visiting
Bulawayo regularly.”

“You people of Bulawayo should start that fight today.”
Should they? It evidently hasn’t occurred to the gang of failed bankers and
self-enrichment pioneers who constitute Zanu PF’s apparatchik class that the
people of Bulawayo may not be in any mood for fighting talk. What has Zanu
PF done for Bulawayo since 2000? Blocked a pipeline?

From bad to worse
As if Chombo and Kasukuwere’s utterances were not clownish enough, NewsDay
reports Zanu PF Matabeleland North provincial commissar, Jonathan Nkanyezi,
vowed to continue backing President Mugabe even if he became too old or

“We will rally behind him because of his leadership. At the moment he is the
only leader capable of heading the party,” bleated Nkanyezi. “They may say
he is old, but we will rally behind him, even when he is wheelchair-bound,
we will bring him here to address us.”

Vote wisely indeed!
Embedded scribes

Despite the accord reached between Zanu PF and the two MDCs, the state media
continues to spew out its poisonous propaganda. Instead of serving the
interests of the wider public, Herald reporters have been pursuing a
partisan agenda.

They were for instance thrilled that several civic groups were prevented
from attending last weekend’s AU summit in Addis Ababa.
The civics had tried “to misrepresent the situation and lobby for Zimbabwe’s
inclusion on the summit agenda”.

Their failure to gain admission to the summit left them with “egg on their
faces”, the Herald reported, using one of its favourite expressions.

One of the areas that civil society claims is largely unresolved is that of
press freedom. The public press remains captive to Zanu PF as the episode in
Addis Ababa, as reported, illustrates. So no change there!

Meanwhile the state media must stop claiming there has been a seismic
breakthrough in talks between the three parties when nothing has been done
to address media anomalies.

Zanu PF hasn’t woken up to the reality that the more it boasts of having
triumphed in the talks, the more the public are likely to vote “No”.

A number of civics and newspapers have rather incautiously rushed to say
“Yes” on Morgan Tsvangirai’s instructions where they will sit rather
uncomfortably alongside the Herald and Sunday Mail.

The public press by the way managed to get John Nkomo’s age wrong in just
about every mention of him. “He was 79” we were constantly told. In fact he
was 78. Not terribly difficult to work out when he was born on August 22

Fuming spree

Last week we carried a story in which President Mugabe ordered police to
investigate Zanu PF Manicaland provincial executives facing fraud
allegations involving more than US$750 000 in diamond money.

An “irate” Mugabe had said Zanu PF did not tolerate corruption, as if he had
just realised it.

Mugabe, who we are told was, “visibly angry” removed the matter from the
politburo agenda and threw it back to the police for investigation, arguing
the supreme party organ was not the right forum to discuss a matter “more
criminal than political”.

Not too long ago Mugabe was again “fuming” after former South African
president Thabo Mbeki named senior Zanu PF ministers who had demanded a
US$10 million bribe to facilitate a US$1 billion investment by ANC-linked
investors. The ministers had demanded “commission” and “facilitation fees”
for the removal of obstacles to do with the indigenisation programme to
ensure they did not encounter any problems.

Mugabe had then threatened to fire Cabinet ministers implicated in corrupt
activities at the Zanu PF conference in Gweru. Nothing of the sort has
happened since and Mugabe’s righteous indignation has been meted out to
small fry in the party like provincial executives whose transgressions pale
in comparison to those of the bigwigs.
This puerile attempt to sanitise Zanu PF’s tattered image ahead of elections
will get few takers.

Ill-advised police

Equally shocking is the revelation that when the matter was initially
reported to the police, then acting Commissioner-General Levi Sibanda wrote
to acting President Joice Mujuru seeking “advice” on what action to take
since the issue involved top party officials.
And yet Augustine Chihuri still has the temerity to claim the police are not
partisan. What a load of hogwash!

A Dream Deferred

Meanwhile President Mugabe, on his return from the African Union summit,
expressed satisfaction with the deliberations focusing on a wide range of
“pertinent issues affecting the continent”.

While the leaders were mainly concerned about conflict resolution, there
were a number of side issues like maternal health that were considered
during the summit, we are told.

“There is the cry that women are dying because of us, because we make them
pregnant and when they give birth, we are not there,” Mugabe said.

“Sometimes it’s a birth given after nine months that has not been taken care
of by doctors and there is also the case of young girls getting pregnant.”

Muckraker was disappointed Mugabe did not propose the appointment of a
President of Africa as he had earlier intimated. Mugabe had told outgoing AU
chairman Benin President Boni Yayi two weeks ago the summit should discuss
the appointment of a President of Africa to foster unity among Africans.

“The continent of Africa: this is what we must become. And there, we must
also have an African head. Yes, we need one. We are not yet there,” Mugabe
said. “This is what we must go and discuss, but we must also discuss the
issues that divide us.”

Sadly Mugabe’s bid for an African president was lost in talk of impregnating

Savanhu’s ‘downfall’

Finally the tough talking Tendai Savanhu has met his match in President
Mugabe’s dreary speeches. Savanhu collapsed at the burial of Vice-President
John Nkomo at Heroes Acre.

An unidentified senior police officer was the first to hit the ground, the
Daily News reports, as Mugabe delivered his keynote speech. Savanhu soon
followed suit and was wheeled-off on a stretcher lying prostrate.

Savanhu gained infamy for threatening to “eliminate whites in Marondera
within a week”.

“Please allow me and Chipangano youth a week’s stay here and we will
eliminate (MDC-T legislator Iain) Kay without any problem. Down with
Down he went for sure!

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Saviour Kasukuwere goofs again

February 1, 2013 in Opinion

No satisfaction, joy or pleasure is gleaned from differing with the Minister
of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere,
especially as none can credibly contend that a substantive economic
indigenisation and empowerment programme is irrefutably long overdue and
critically necessary for the well-being of Zimbabwe and its people.

Opinion by Eric Bloch

It is untenable that Zimbabwe’s economy is so relatively miniscule that the
majority of its population enjoys very niggardly incomes, grossly
insufficient to sustain them, their families and other dependants.

It is as greatly untenable that such economic activity as does exist vests
in the hands of very few, whilst most are predominantly economically
inactive, and possessing little.

Nevertheless, sometimes it is necessary to differ with the minister, for his
very pronounced motivation and dedication to pursue considerable indigenous
involvement in the economy and meaningful economic empowerment is all
tragically often done in counterproductive and adverse manners which become
barriers to achieving the declared objectives.

In reality, the majority of Zimbabwe’s indigenisation and empowerment laws
have proved to be deterrents to achievement of the declared objectives.

Instead of fuelling economic growth in the beleaguered economy, the laws
have been very major causes of continuance of Zimbabwe’s ills, and of
intensified unemployment, with concomitant intensified poverty for very

This was emphatically shown when the minister addressed editors who attended
the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum eight days ago. He launched a vitriolic
attack on Zimbabwe’s foreign-owned banks in general and upon Standard
Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank and Stanbic, in particular.

He is reported to have said that the behaviours of foreign-owned banks “are
appalling and, if they want to pack and go, they can do that because they
are not of benefit to us.” He underscored that these banks “are free to
leave if they are not prepared to support the agricultural sector and
emerging businesses in Zimbabwe” and he alleged that “the money they are
holding is ours, as it comes from our pension funds and farming activities.”

These statements are cluttered with misrepresentation, suggesting that the
minister has been markedly misinformed of the facts and realities.

First of all, he is oblivious of the fact that the majority of the funds
held by the banks comprise the capital injections forthcoming from their
shareholders and international lines of credit that they were able to
source, mainly from their shareholders and from non-Zimbabwean financial

Only a small proportion of their funding is from Zimbabwean pension funds,
insurance companies and like entities, and save for such relatively small
extent as those bodies have provided funding to acquire shares in the banks,
most of those funds are naught but loans and advances which are subject to

Admittedly, some bank funding also emanates from private sector depositors,
including (to a limited extent) from the agricultural sector, but almost all
of these funds are usually withdrawn very soon after having been deposited
and, therefore, cannot be excessively used to provide advances, be it to the
agricultural sector, to emerging businesses or other enterprises.

Even to the extent that the foreign-owned banks do have funding available
for advances to the private sector, they cannot extend that availability to
all and sundry, and especially to the Zimbabwean farmers and to emerging

The world over, it is a fundamental precept of banking that loans and
advances need to be secure, in order that the banks do not sustain losses,
and thereby become unable to meet the withdrawals by depositors, and timeous
repayment of loans advanced to the banks.

However, in Zimbabwe, the majority of those now engaged in agriculture do
not have assets which enable them to provide reasonable and realistic
collateral security to banks.

They do not have lawful title to their lands, ever since government
prescribed in the 1990s that all rural lands vest in the State.

At best, the farmers are only possessed of non-transferable, non-negotiable,
99-year leases, and very limited other assets of collateral value. This is
despite the fact that 15 months ago, President Mugabe told Parliament that
these leases would be modified to accord them collateral status.

That has not happened. Therefore, even though the banks may have the
wherewithal to provide some funding to farmers, they are severely
constrained from doing so because of the absence of the collateral. The
provision of collateral is a worldwide prerequisite of good governance in
banking, in order to protect depositors against a loss.

In like manner, most emerging businesses within the Zimbabwean economy are
under-capitalised, under-funded, and devoid of that which is necessary to
provide banks with fair and reasonable security to protect any advances made
by them to such businesses.

Hence, the inadequacy of bank financing in the agricultural sector and for
emerging businesses is not a consequence of any intended discrimination or
refusal to recognise the needs of the would-be borrowers.

Nor is it because of any bank’s policies to undermine the economy in general
or the policies of indigenisation and economic empowerment in particular.
That inadequacy is in part because of the insufficiency of available
funding, despite the under-lying capitals of the banks and by the short term
nature of deposit.

The desultory state of the economy ensures that the deposits are also low.
Furthermore, potential depositors, both local and foreign, still harbour
fears of the local banking system, that some day they might not be able to
access their money when they want to.

Banks are not enemies of Zimbabwe, as implied by the minister, and his
accusations against them are unfounded and devoid of substance. Such
attacks on the foreign-owned banks are a major contributor to hesitancy and
reluctance of their shareholders, and of international financiers, to
enhance the provision of further funding to the banks.

That concern-based hesitancy by key-owners of those foreign-owned banks to
further fund their Zimbabwean banking enterprises is intensified by the
manner in which Zimbabwe is trying to aggressively enforce indigenous
majority ownership of the banks.

It is untenable to the foreign shareholders to be confronted by endless,
antagonistic, demands that they divest themselves of 51% of their equity
holdings, being reduced to minority shareholders with no reasonable and
rational control authority over their businesses.

They are not only prejudiced by this, but are also accorded very little, if
any, ability to identify any co-shareholders, instead having various
national funds (such as the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Youth Development
Fund) and community-related Trusts imposed upon them.

They are not even given assurance that they will be accorded fair value for
the shares of which they are divested, or as to when they will receive
payment for such shares.

As a result, they are not only unprepared to increase their exposure by
providing additional funding to enhance the lending ability of their
Zimbabwean operations, but can well reach a stage of complying with the
minister’s suggestion that they can “pack and go”.

If this happens, there will be withdrawal from the Zimbabwean straitened
money market of all their funding, which would further weaken the economy.

That in turn will be yet another barrier to achieving greatly needed,
effective and constructive, indigenisation and economic empowerment.

The minister needs to ensure that he is given factual, economic and
financial information, to ensure that he does not goof again!

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Constitution: We must be on guard

February 1, 2013 in Opinion

THERE is a buzz around the country about the draft constitution which
principals in the unity government recently endorsed.

Zimbabwe Independent Editorial

Their endorsement of the document paves the way for parliamentary processes
that should lead to a referendum in which Zimbabweans will be encouraged by
their respective political parties to endorse the draft in a plebiscite.

While constitution-making is seen as an important process critical to
citizens’ participation in governance and deepening democracy in the
country, there is no real guarantee the new supreme law of the land is going
to achieve this.

Like many African countries, Zimbabwe has a constitution, but does not
practise constitutionalism. The result is that we have progressive-looking
constitutions and paradoxically huge democratic deficits in governance.

Recent experiences have revealed the extent to which the Zanu PF ruling
establishment is prepared to go towards subverting the constitution. The
post-liberation aristocracy in this country has proved to have little
respect for the current constitution and there are no guarantees the new one
will change that.

In the absence of a deliberate resolve to respect the rule of law and uphold
fundamental freedoms, Zimbabwe will continue to be a poor state, governed by
political apparatchiks who use elections and the constitution to give
themselves a veneer of legitimacy.

It should be noted that the ills which have afflicted this country in recent
memory have not been caused by a deficient constitution, but largely by
failure to adhere to the letter and spirit of the law.
In March 2008 Zimbabwe held largely peaceful elections under the same
constitution that was in force when violence was unleashed.

The problem after the March polls was not necessarily due to flaws in the
founding law but individuals and institutions of the state that have little
respect for constitutionalism.

The current constitution does not condone torture but our security officers
use this as a weapon of choice to extract information and punish political
opponents. The constitution is clear on the need for serving security
personnel to be apolitical, but police Commissioner-General Augustine
Chihuri and a band of senior army officers have lent themselves to roles as
Zanu PF commissars.

Only this week Chihuri was quoted urging wives of police officers to vote
for Zanu PF. The new constitution is not likely to deter him from flaunting
his political credentials and campaigning openly for the party.

There is a dearth of constitutionalism in this country which remains a clear
and present danger to any constitution. Constitutionalism implies
governance within the framework of the rule of law, justice and respect for
fundamental human rights and freedoms.

It is about constitutions in practice and not only in form or in theory.

Failure to establish constitutionalism has been one of the spectacular
downfalls of the unity government.

There is no political will at the moment to disband institutions guilty of
subjugating fundamental rights. Also absent is the professionalism
fundamental to a successful state. These are still kicking about and ready
to strike at the heart of the new constitution’s bill of rights. We must be
on our guard.

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Give an inch they’ll take a mile

February 1, 2013 in Opinion

AFTER the high drama that engulfed the constitution-making exercise, the
soon-to-end journey that is the Government of National Unity finds itself in
the alien realm of cooperation.

Editor’s Memo by Stewart Chabwinja

From the Zanu PF-inspired fracas that rocked the First All-Stakeholders
Conference to the intra and inter-party ructions amid charges of “selling
out”, and the endless amendments and countless “deadlocks”, the road to the
new constitution has been as bumpy as it has been costly and fractious.

The exasperating four-year saga came to a rather anti-climactic end with the
announcement GPA parties had finally “found each other”, leading to the
resolution of all contentious clauses, thus clearing the road to a
referendum on the draft and elections this year.

All of a sudden we have strange bedfellows –– Zanu PF and the MDC formations
that normally would not agree on even the most mundane of issues –– cosying
up to each other, putting on a grand show of unity of purpose as the
campaign for a “Yes” vote from their supporters picks up speed.

Given the parties’ intractably disparate interests and the history of
acrimony that pervades their association, it would be impossible to shake
off the nagging suspicion that someone is being had.

Make-or-break elections are nigh; we’ll find out soon enough!
The current unity of purpose, if you will, is bound to make it that much
more difficult for the MDCs to wring any further concessions from Zanu PF in
any subsequent bargaining, not that they have met much success up to now.

Right from the first flashpoint over ministerial allocations at the outset
of the unity government the MDCs have rarely had it their way with Zanu PF
which has at times rode roughshod over them, leaving no doubt as to where
power lies. Viewed from the MDCs’ standpoint that the July 2012 draft was
final and there would be no more amendments, Zanu PF could be whistling
merrily yet again.

Crucially, the MDC formations have all but given up on the implementation of
the outstanding issues spelt out in the GPA, whose aim is to facilitate free
and fair elections, instead outsourcing the task to Sadc –– guarantors of
the GPA.

Sadc has evidently taken up the mantle, with African Union leaders on Monday
again urging President Robert Mugabe to implement outstanding provisions of
the GPA before elections are held.

That, and the visit by South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation
team on Tuesday, roused the MDC-T from its long slumber to demand reforms at
a press conference the same day.

Apparently going through the motions, MDC-T said it would continue calling
for major reforms before elections are held in order to ensure there is no
repeat of the violence that took place in 2008, leading to a sham election.

Such demands have been too few and far between to have the desired effect,
with the impression the MDC-T is only sporadically paying lip-service to
As reported elsewhere in this issue, Zanu PF’s response to the reform
demands has been swift and unequivocal.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said the parties had agreed elections
would follow soon after the new governance charter is enacted and they had
not discussed reforms among themselves or with Zuma’s team.
“We agreed that the completion of the constitution is the only stumbling
block towards the holding of elections. The renewed calls for reforms by the
MDC-T are an agenda to try and avoid elections,” Chinamasa said.
His colleague Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa added: “The MDCs have failed the
people and any attempts to bring other issues are an excuse to remain in
There you have it. As the saying goes, give them an inch and they’ll take a

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