Friday, 06 February 2009 12:56
EDITOR - The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) remains the vanguard of defending academic freedoms in Zimbabwe and beyond. The 2009 national budget presents a gigantic generational challenge to our nation. The budgetary allocation to education is a naked affront to the dreams of our founding fathers and mothers who wanted education to be for all and not a sacrosanct privilege of the chosen elites.
The untoward pronouncements by the acting Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa to the effect that our parents can afford to pay fees in foreign currency are irresponsible at best and foolish at worst. It is common cause that our parents are out of employment and the few still at work are paid in worthless local currency.
For instance, a qualified university lecturer is getting an equivalent of US$ 5 per month and the minimum fees for universities are pegged at US$ 1 200 per semester. Further, it is hypocritical for Patrick Chinamasa to make those reckless statements when he and his colleagues are beneficiaries of subsidised education.
In addition, the budgetary allocation to education falls short of the recommended 26 percent of the national budget as stipulated by UNESCO. More disheartening, the official albeit ill-advised dollarisation of education in the country will culminate in unprecedented college dropout rates and at the same time put the future of a whole generation at risk. This will create a severe education deficit in the country. And a nation without education has no future. Simple as that.
Be that as it may, ZINASU will continue to stand by the students at all times. More concretely, the students union has since launched a national campaign against dollarisation of education in Zimbabwe. The campaign is aimed at advocating for the immediate reversal of the new fees structure. Our first port of call is the parliament. And if the parliament fails to address our plight then national protests become a hard, cold reality.
Finally, we want to re-affirm our commitment to support a broad-based and democratic education recovery process in Zimbabwe. It's our country too.
For and on behalf of the students of Zimbabwe.
Saturday, 07 February 2009 17:38
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai blundered when he agreed to enter a unity government with Zanu PF as President Robert Mugabe has never honoured pacts with rivals, former lieutenants of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo have warned.
Following the unanimous passing of Constitutional Amendment No.19 by parliament, Tsvangirai will be sworn in as Prime Minister this week and he will be deputised by MDC-T Vice-President Thokozani Khuphe and Arthur Mutambara of the small MDC formation.
A joint Zanu PF and MDC cabinet will be sworn-in a few days later marking the first time the ruling party has governed with an opposition party since its brief flirtation with PF Zapu and the Rhodesian Front soon after Independence.
But some of the men who oversaw PF Zapu’s entry into the uneasy marriage with Zanu PF following the signing of the now crumbling Unity Accord in 1987 are not convinced that Mugabe has been “born again.”
“Tsvangirai has been deceived,” said former PF Zapu secretary-general Welshman Mabhena.
“How can there be a new order brought about by some old people living in bitterness because they have failed?
Mabhena, a former governor for Matabeleland North who was unceremoniously dismissed from government in 2000 for being “too vocal” about the imbalances that remained despite the accord said Tsvangirai should have learnt from history.
“People have been deceived left right and centre, high and low,” he said.
“I have always said there was never unity between PF Zapu and Zanu PF, the relationship was like that of a horse and a rider.
“From the start Mugabe made Nkomo Minister of Home Affairs but he was labelled a leader of dissidents and that led to the Gukurahundi massacres.”
PF Zapu stalwarts, led by its intelligence chief Dumiso Dabengwa in December pulled out of the accord saying Zanu PF had failed to honour its part of the bargain 22 years after the deal was consummated.
Some of the unfulfilled promises included the equal sharing of senior government posts, equal opportunities in the army and the police for war veterans from the two liberation movements and the release of political prisoners.
Former PF Zapu officials also complained that their people were not being given diplomatic posts or senior positions in parastatals dominated by the old Zanu PF.
“None of those promises were fulfilled,” said Carnswell Nziramasanga, who was Nkomo’s chief of protocol in the heady days of Gukurahundi.
“We are still fighting for the return of PF Zapu and Zipra properties seized by government yet the accord said they should have been returned immediately.
“Most of our people who were detained for allegedly supporting the dissidents were never released, some of them died in prison and the lucky ones were released because they were very sick.”
Ironically Tsvangirai, who managed to squeeze more concessions from a disintegrating Zanu PF compared to Nkomo when he signed, is set to enter government at a time when his supporters are still in prison accused of treason.
MDC-T is also hoping that its entry into government will see more than 50 of its officials and supporters in detention being released.
Nziramasanga, who is now the interim chairman of the revived Zapu said only PF Zapu senior officials such as Dabengwa were released after the accord was signed.
He said Mugabe had violated every political agreement he signed since 1963 when he decided to leave Zapu to form Zanu with the likes of Enos Nkala.
In 1980 he abandoned the Patriotic Front hardly months after PF Zapu and Zanu PF had agreed to fight the elections as one entity.
Critics of the accord said it only managed to alienate PF Zapu leaders such as Joseph Msika and John Nkomo from the grassroots while allowing Mugabe to fulfil his vision of a one party state.
BY KHOLWANI NYATHI
Friday, 06 February 2009 13:16
MINING magnet, Billy Rautenbach's Zimbabwean-registered investment vehicle, Clidder Minerals, has struck a US$ 800 million joint venture deal with power utility, ZESA Holdings to extract coal and increase the power-generation capacity at the parastatals' thermal plants, The Financial Gazette established this week.
ZESA is facing acute coal shortages to power its coal-fired thermal plants which has triggered subdued electricity generation at its thermal power production subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).
The poor capacity at ZESA has in turn precipitated crippling blackouts and massive load shedding across the country, grossly affecting industrial output.
Rautenbach and his team are expected to meet ZESA executives tomorrow to fine-tune the salient features of the deal before making a public statement early next week, sources close to the transaction said this week.
The sources revealed that the controversial businessman, who runs probably the biggest haulage fleet in the country, would soon be bringing in earthmoving equipment, which includes caterpillars and front end loaders to ZPC's coal claims to kick start the project.
Under the multimillion dollar deal, The Financial Gazette understands that Clidder Minerals is to bankroll the US$ 200 million needed for commencement of work at ZPC's Western Sinamatela Coal fields near Hwange.
The money will also fund the refurbishment of ZPC's furnaces Number 7 and Number 8 which has been on the cards for some time but had failed to garner enough financial resources to get started.
Expenditure worth US$ 600 million will be used to fund the construction of a coal mouth power station.
ZESA Holdings chief executive officer Ben Rafemoyo confirmed the deal on Monday but said he was not at liberty to disclose full details of the transaction at this stage until tomorrow's meeting.
"One of our major constraints has been the supply of coal," Rafemoyo told The Financial Gazette. "This joint venture will assist us in the supply of coal. We will be able to expand and refurbish the Hwange Power Company and we will definitely get more coal, we will expand Hwange 7 and 8 and increase output by an additional 600 Megawatts," Rafemoyo added.
Last year ZESA sealed a US$ 15 million deal with ferrochrome producer, Zimasco Holdings to refurbish some units at Hwange following a series of similar deals that included the US$ 50 million inter-utility transaction with Namibian Power Company, NamPower.
Rautenbach, who is 20 percent shareholder in Alternative Investment-listed Central African Mining and Exploration Company of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and counts President Robert Mugabe among his associates, has been deported from the DRC under controversial circumstances and has quoted controversy in mineral rich South Africa.
He has been slapped with the United States and European Union backed sanctions for his alleged financial support for President Mugabe's government, including his recent deal with state-run Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL), the country's largest coal producer.
At Hwange, the tycoon is involved in contract mining to rescue the troubled HCCL from a slump in output.
Supporters of the 'unity' deal between Mugabe and Tsvangirai say it's an example of an African-brokered agreement without Western help. Analysts warn the accord is deeply flawed.
By Robyn Dixon
February 8, 2009
Reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa - Is this what they meant when they called it a power-sharing agreement?
When Zimbabwe's new "unity" government is sworn in this month, it will have two police ministers sitting in the same building with the same job and the same powers.
Analysts warn that the deal, reached a tortuous 10 months after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai stunned President Robert Mugabe in elections last year, is so riddled with those kinds of contradictions and nebulous boundaries that it may prove unworkable.
But should it fail, the deal will not only drag Zimbabwe further down. The accord, brokered by regional leaders in the Southern African Development Community, has become a litmus test for "African solutions for African problems," the idea that indigenous solutions work better in Africa than those imposed by the West.
Critics argue that African-brokered power-sharing deals such as those signed after Kenya's violent 2007 elections and Zimbabwe's disputed vote last year have set a precedent that leaders in Africa can cling to power when voted out, just by refusing to leave office.
They say bodies such as SADC and the African Union have done little to protect democracy or stop violence and human rights abuses, tending to side with incumbent leaders such as the long-ruling Mugabe, whose regime has been accused of unleashing violence to stay in power and denying food to opposition villagers.
Tony Reeler, analyst with the independent Research and Advocacy Unit in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, called last month's agreement "another SADC railroading job."
"With SADC, it's unity at all costs," he said. "I think that what's tending to emerge is that African solutions tend to be partisan, one way or another, and that's what we're seeing here.
"I think Zimbabwe is testing African solutions for African problems very harshly."
Mugabe's government blames the West's sanctions on regime officials for the country's problems and has accused the opposition of dragging its feet.
"It has been a long, frustrating, erratic, bumpy and quarrelsome journey characterized by animosities, disagreements, mutual dislikes, name-calling, demonizations, vilification of each other's policies and leaderships," said Patrick Chinamasa, the minister for justice, legal and parliamentary affairs, who was one of Mugabe's representatives in negotiations on the deal. Speaking in parliament, he continued, "But notwithstanding these negatives, what is important and significant is that we have managed to reach this far, and for that, we forever remain eternally grateful to our people for their resilience, understanding and support."
Botswana, a member of SADC, has been the most critical voice inside the group. That nation's foreign minister, Phandu Skelemani, said the group had let Zimbabweans down.
"As we have said before, we at SADC have failed the people of Zimbabwe," he said in an interview with Zimbabwean radio journalist Violet Gonda before last month's SADC meeting on Zimbabwe. "We have simply failed to tell the leadership, the political leadership in Zimbabwe, that what they are doing is wrong, it is undemocratic, and that they ought to respect the people and do everything with the people as the priority."
Skelemani said it was patently ridiculous to have two ministers in charge of police - whose powers Mugabe has abused in the past.
"How can that function?" he said. "Even in theory, I think it's silly."
Critics argue that most of the political leaders behind the "African solutions for African problems" compromises have deeply flawed democratic records.
Independent political analyst John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe said too many leaders in the regional group felt obliged to protect Mugabe because of his history as a liberation fighter.
"That's the kind of problem we have in African countries: Liberation movements in southern Africa are really allergic to handing over power to civilians even after democratic elections. There's not a liberation movement in southern Africa which has actually handed over power to a non-liberation party."
Richard Cornwell, security analyst with the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, said, "If liberation leaders are to start questioning the legitimacy of a revolutionary liberation regime, then they draw their own legitimacy into question."
He said with Mugabe still clearly in charge, the deal would be doomed.
"SADC appears not to have taken into consideration who is going to get Zimbabwe out of the mire. External funds are going to do that, and there's no way the international community will buy in with Mugabe at the helm," he said.
In Africa, there's a tacit expectation that although the solutions may come from within, the finance comes from the international community.
South Africa and the African Union have called for an end to Western sanctions targeting Mugabe and an elite group of cronies. Europe and the United States say they will not support the deal financially without evidence of substantial political and economic reform.
Underscoring the African sensitivity to the fact that Western purse strings can make or break the deal, Arthur Mutambara, head of a small Zimbabwean opposition splinter group that is party to the agreement, said recently that the West should "shut up" and put up aid to rebuild the country.
"It's not for Britain or America to judge our agreement," he said at the World Economic Forum that concluded last weekend in Davos, Switzerland. "Your job as America or Britain is to support what we try to do. All the skeptics must now shut up and support what Zimbabweans want."
February 7, 2009
Prof Welshman Ncube
By Our Correspondent
The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee [JOMIC], a special multi-party taskforce mandated with supervising the implementation of the inclusive government, read the riot act to State media editors Friday.
The committee demanded an immediate stop to biased and inflammatory reporting.
Professor Welshman Ncube, who is currently holding the rotating chairmanship of JOMIC in the month of February, chaired Friday’s “relaxed but firm” meeting.
Ncube is said to have accused the state media of fuelling tension and polarizing the nation at a time when it must be promoting national healing and rallying the people together.
Even Zanu-PF’s Nicholas Goche is said to have chided the State media editors for being “a bit over the top”.
He is reported to have said: “We can argue in a more civilised manner and with respect for each other’s different views.”
State media editors, in an attempt to defend themselves, are said to have attempted to accuse the independent Press of also being biased but there were no takers for this claim.
It was a serious indictment on state media editors, said a source.
The meeting was attended by editors from the Zimbabwe Independent and Standard group, the Financial Gazette, the Herald, and from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
The JOMIC was said to be unequivocal in its condemnation of the State media editors.
The JOMIC was inaugurated January 30, as directed by the recent SADC Extraordinary Summit held at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria two weeks ago.
JOMIC’s role is to is to see that the Global Political Agreement, which prescribes fair and balanced media coverage of all parties to the agreement, is carried out both in letter and spirit, and to serve as a catalyst in creating and promoting an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding between the parties.
Friday’s meeting was JOMIC’s second task after dealing with the issue of political detainees.
JOMIC has four representatives from each party. The committee is jointly chaired by Goche (Zanu-PF), Elton Mangoma (mainstream MDC) and Ncube (breakaway MDC).
The chairmen were said to have met first to set the agenda for Friday’s meeting with State editors, followed by a meeting of the whole committee.
The other members of the JOMIC who attended Friday’s meeting were Patrick Chinamasa, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Oppah Muchinguri (Zanu-PF), Elias Mudzuri, Tabita Khumalo and Innocent Chagonda (main MDC)and Frank Chamunorwa, Edward Mkhosi and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (breakaway MDC).
One of JOMIC’s roles is to “receive reports and complaints in respect of any issue related to the implementation, enforcement and execution” of the GPA.
The Zimbabwe Times understands a media monitoring sub-committee of JOMIC has been constituted. It comprises Muchinguri, Khumalo and Chamunorwa. The committee will also hear relevant complaints by members of the public, and it is hoped that JOMIC will issue frequent communiqués on their observations of media products.
JOMIC had also met to discuss the issue of political detainees, who are slowly being released one by one.
The MDC National Council resolutions of January 30 firmly stated that the abductees have to be released before the inclusive government is formed.
However the MDC did not emphasise the fast-tracking of their release before agreeing to the fast-tracking of the Constitution Amendment No. 19 Bill, unanimously passed in Parliament Thursday.
On Friday, a judge ordered the release of Pascal Gono, of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, but his actual release from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison had not been confirmed at time of publication.
Again on Friday, a judge ended the treason trial of MDC secretary general Tendai Biti, an indication that President Mugabe is slowly caving in to the MDC’s demands and is anxious that the coalition government is constituted.
Magistrate Olivia Mariga said prosecutors appeared unprepared to proceed against Biti, further ruling that the MDC secretary general had been improperly arrested.
JOMIC has ordered that all political prisoners be released before Wednesday when MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is set to take oath of office as Prime Minister.
Fourteen other abductees still in detention at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison will appear at the magistrates’ courts on February 9, along with rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko and her co-worker Broderick Takawira when they will be expected to be released.
The police continue to hold three other abductees in “protective custody” as State witnesses. The State continues to deny knowledge of the whereabouts of the remaining eight abductees.
Saturday, 07 February 2009 22:53
NAMES of MDC-T officials who are being considered for the cabinet positions emerged for the first time on Saturday.
Sources told The Standard that although MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was still to finalise the selection of his ministers, several potential candidates had already been identified.
The candidates would be considered for the 13 ministries allocated to the MDC-T under the power-sharing agreement. Sources said Tsvangirai wanted the composition of his ministers to reflect the diversity in the MDC-T.
Topping the list of the potential ministers was MDC-T secretary General Tendai Biti.
Information obtained by The Standard showed that Tsvangirai was considering naming Biti as the minister of Home Affairs.
He could however assign him to any other position because nothing had been finalised as yet, the sources said.
Earlier reports had suggested that Biti was not interested in serving in the inclusive government.
However our sources did not expect Biti, who has been the party’s chief negotiator in the talks that led to the inclusive government to turn down the offer.
They said the lawyer’s skills were needed in the new government at a time when the party remained sceptical of President Robert Mugabe’s commitment to the agreement.
The other top MDC-T politician being considered for cabinet was Tapiwa Mashakada.
The economist could be named Minister of Economic Planning. It remained unclear last night who would take the crucial Ministry of Finance.
Sources said that Tsvangirai was still searching for the right candidate.
They said he was casting his net wider, even across the borders in search of a person who could guide the ministry.
The sources said Tsvangirai was also considering including Eddie Cross, the MDC policy co-ordinator in his cabinet.
A surprise inclusion in the Tsvangirai line-up could be former MP and party treasurer Roy Bennett who returned to the country recently after some years in self-imposed exile.
Sources said either Advocate Eric Matinenga or Douglas Mwonzora (both MPs) could be considered for the Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs portfolio.
Unless Tsvangirai decided otherwise, veteran educationist Fidelis Mhashu was expected to be named the minister of Sport, Arts and Culture.
Former Harare Mayor Elias Mudzuri is tipped to get the National Housing and Social Amenities portfolio while veteran trade unionist Lucia Matibenga was tipped for the Labour portfolio.
The officials being considered for the other ministries include national executive members: Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Giles Mutsekwa, Jessie Majome, Paurina Mpariwa and Nelson Chamisa, who is the party spokesperson.
It remained unclear if Tsvangirai had made up his mind on what portfolios these officials would take.
BY WALTER MARWIZI
Saturday, 07 February 2009 22:35
FOR residents who had grown accustomed to daily water cuts and the sight of maggots swimming in raw sewage flowing in their yards, government’s decision to decentralise the management of water from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to councils was cause for celebration.
Presenting this year’s budget, Acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa admitted that four years after the government took the unilateral decision to hand over the management of water and sewer infrastructure from all local authorities to Zinwa, the experiment had turned out to be a disaster.
He said government hoped the reversal of the 2005 directive would see local authorities mobilising resources for the rehabilitation of obsolete water and sewer infrastructure.
The residents who have since August last year lived in fear of a cholera epidemic that has so far claimed more than 3 300 lives and left close to 68 000 people infected, were hopeful government’s climbdown heralded a new dawn.
But for the councils, the decision came too late as the damage wrought by the bungling Zinwa will take ages to reverse.
Harare mayor Muchadei Masunda whose council’s water and reticulation systems were run down by Zinwa over the last four years, said local authorities were paying a heavy price for decisions that were taken for political expediency.
“Our problem is that we have polarised and politicised things which are not political or racial,” he said. “It is high time we learnt that civic duties or provision of social services knows no boundaries.”
Masunda said a lot of work would be needed to restore the damaged infrastructure, which was in dire need of servicing after years of neglect.
Harare’s population had also outgrown the infrastructure leading to the intermittent pipe bursts that have seen some parts of the capital city going for as long as one year without water.
The challenges would not be limited to restoring infrastructure but also the reorganisation of the departments of water and engineering.
Masunda said when Zinwa took over, council seconded 1 400 workers to the parastatal and the workforce has since ballooned to above 2 000, a figure the cash-strapped council cannot absorb.
He said council had already arranged meetings with residents to explain to them that their problems would not be solved overnight.
The private sector would also be roped in to ensure the normalisation of the water and sewer reticulation system described as a time bomb by aid agencies fighting the fast spreading cholera epidemic.
“We have to involve all key players from the private sector because we realise that we cannot go it alone,” Masunda said.
“The mistake the government has been making over the years is to think that they can go it alone in these issues.”
To demonstrate the extent of the damage caused by Zinwa in the capital, government allocated Harare a total of US$ 12,9 million for water reticulation compared to Bulawayo’s US$ 135 000 and nothing to Gwanda.
Bulawayo and Gwanda, which resisted the takeovers to the end, are some of the councils in urgent need of funding for new water sources but still have well-maintained reticulation infrastructure by Zimbabwean standards.
The Combined Harare Residents Association, which fought relentlessly for the reversal of the takeover, said it was “sad” that it had taken the authorities so long to do this.
“This is what we have been advocating for all along,”CHRA chief executive officer Barnabas Mangodza said. “It is sad it has taken them this long to realise that Zinwa should not under any circumstances manage water and sewer reticulation because of their lack of expertise.”
Government defied recommendations made by the Portfolio Committee on Local Government and the Auditor-General that the takeovers by Zinwa were unworkable and would cause irreparable damage to infrastructure.
Bulawayo Residents Association chairman Winos Dube whose organisation even threatened to go to court to stop the takeover, said residents had been vindicated by the reversal because the arrangement was always doomed to fail.
“We as Bulawayo have always been against this takeover and we are very happy that government has vindicated us through this decision,” Dube said.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)-led council even got support from Zanu PF’s Bulawayo provincial executive in the successful fight against the takeover.
Former Zanu PF provisional secretary, Effort Nkomo said the government’s decision to backtrack on the takeover should teach ministers a lesson that taking decisions without consultation would always backfire.
Dube said the takeovers by Zinwa had cost taxpayers and would have repercussions on the future of water provision countrywide as demonstrated in the 2009 budget allocations.
“When you look at the budget for Bulawayo, the city’s allocation is too small when looking at our water reticulation needs,” Dube said.
“We also have aged pipes which need to be refurbished and we want more investment in long-term projects to ensure adequate water supply in the city.”
But Deputy Water Resources and Infrastructure Development minister Walter Mzembi said there was no need for councils to moan about the state of affairs but concentrate on reviving the infrastructure.
“Government has directed the setting up of working committees to deal with specifics relating to the transfer, and it is wise to refer any queries to these committees and not to conduct transfer through the media.
Mzembi said water and sewer management was a challenging task, which required more work than mere statements.
“As the esteemed mayor (Masunda) and team will soon learn, the public will not judge their performance on their intentions, grandstanding and sweet statements but when clean water comes out of their taps regularly.”
He said Zinwa workers who would not be absorbed by councils were not going to be retrenched as widely feared.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 07 February 2009 22:23
THE power-sharing deal between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations is “ irreversible” because the economic crisis in the country forces the political rivals to stick together despite their differences, analysts have said.
The analysts said the setting up of the government of national unity (GNU) could immediately see a reduction in cases of political violence across the country.
An estimated 150 people, mostly MDC supporters, have been killed since last year’s harmonised elections in political clashes pitting the rivals who will form the joint government by the end of this week.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Simon Badza said the political protagonists would be forced to work together because of pressing issues despite their evident differences.
He said the deteriorating economic situation characterised by hyperinflation, shortages of food and cash, strikes by health workers and teachers as well as pressure from the international community would force Mugabe and Tsvangirai to stick together in their “marriage of convenience”.
“They will work together because of circumstances and not because they want to.
“There is too much pressure on the two parties (MDC-T and Zanu PF) locally from the starving masses and from the region.
“People want an end to the crisis,” Badza said.
Bulawayo-based political analyst Gorden Moyo said the success of the inclusive government, facilitated by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) will depend largely on the will of Zimbabweans and the international community.
He said although “vultures and hyenas” in Zanu PF want to “deflate and collapse” the agreement they would not succeed.
“People in the country now want change; the region and the international community also want to see a better Zimbabwe so it will be difficult to dismantle this deal,” he said.
Moyo allayed fears raised in some quarters that the MDC would be swallowed up by Zanu PF as what happened to PF Zapu following the 1987 Unity Accord.
PF Zapu led by the late Joshua Nkomo was dragged into the Unity Accord following the massacre of an estimated 20 000 people mainly in the Midlands and Matabeleland by Mugabe’s North-Korean-trained Fifth Brigade on the pretext of thwarting dissident activities.
“It’s impossible to do ‘a Zapu’ on MDC,” he said, adding the 1987 Unity Accord was a merger between the two parties and not a power-sharing agreement.
“Within 18 to 20 months there will be a new Constitution and other structures of democracy in place and once these are established it will be difficult to reverse them.”
Addressing parliament last week MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti also conceded as much saying the political parties did not have much choice but to work together.
“Many of us are not sure whether this is right or wrong,” he said.
“The question is not whether we are doing the right thing or the wrong thing because that is for history to judge.
“In my view, the question is do we have any choice?
In my respectful view, we do not.”
Former Minister of Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo said the new GNU was going to work.
He said: “Whenever the people of Zimbabwe dedicate and commit themselves to working together, success is guaranteed. This is a government of former rivals which means you get the best ideas.”
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 07 February 2009 18:28
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe (pictured) was saved from what could have been an embarrassing tongue-lashing at the just-ended African Union summit after striking a last minute deal with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to form an inclusive government.
Informed sources at the African Union revealed to The Standard a number of AU leaders were prepared to openly condemn Mugabe at the annual gathering after he failed to set conditions needed to establish a power-sharing government.
AU leaders decided on the inclusive government at its Sharm El Sheik summit last year, but, by the time African ambassadors gathered in Addis Ababa in preparation for the 12th Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government, Mugabe was refusing to compromise on the allocation of posts.
And as officials were finalising the agenda of the summit, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe called AU commission chairperson Jean Ping and informed him of the breakthrough.
The call appeared to have been well-timed to stem the growing calls for the AU to take over the mediation of the Zimbabwe crisis from Sadc.
There was growing consensus in Addis Ababa that the AU had to take a greater role after serious concerns over human rights violations and failure by Sadc to facilitate a lasting solution.
Ping confirmed receiving Motlanthe’s call, which however failed to ensure that Zimbabwe’s worsening economic and political crisis was taken off the agenda for the summit.
And contrary to official reports in Harare, from January 26 when the summit opened with ambassadors setting the groundwork for deliberations to February 3 when it closed, the crisis in Zimbabwe took centre stage in peace and security discussions.
Other crisis situations in Sudan, the DRC and Somalia were also tabled for discussion.
Though welcoming last-minute news of a breakthrough by Sadc, delegates remained sceptical that President Mugabe was willing to equitably share power with Tsvangirai, his rival for many years.
They pointed out that Mugabe could not be trusted since he had shown an obsession with power.
Outgoing AU chairperson Jakaya Kikwete said the task of forming and running a union government would be difficult because this process “brought together politicians with different stands and with a history of hostilities”.
In an address to the African leaders, United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon pointed out the GNU was only “the first step towards full democracy”.
“There remains a long way to go,” said Ban.
Mugabe listened attentively as the Secretary-General went on to caution leaders to “remain watchful of the situation to ensure that the human rights and democratic freedoms of all Zimbabweans are protected”.
From the press gallery where I sat, you could see the 84-year-old leader looked unusually subdued.
Earlier when he entered the hall, the confidence that has been his trademark at international gatherings was absent.
The man who has been in power for 29 years looked lost as he took his chair.
Only a few delegates stopped at Mugabe’s table to greet him. However, Ping talked with Mugabe for a long time.
Although their discussion could not be heard in the large conference hall packed with leaders, Mugabe was clearly in a listening mode.
The AU top diplomat then left, leaving Mugabe to talk to his Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.
The attention of many people though, including the press, was on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Gaddafi who was dressed in golden robes sat less than two metres from Mugabe, shunning a seat reserved for the Libyan President.
Behind him were African traditional leaders dressed in colourful regalia.
Earlier Gaddafi caused a stir at the AU headquarters when his aides distributed magazines that showed him crowned as King of the Traditional Kings of Africa by various chiefs.
Some of these chiefs are well-known Zimbabwean traditional leaders who visited Libya last year.
Gaddafi had also conducted a spirited campaign to take over the AU chairmanship from Kikwete, dolling out millions of dollars to fund dams, schools and road construction in various African states, in what was seen by others as a vote buying gimmick.
Mugabe appeared not to notice that Gaddafi, the self-proclaimed leader of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, was getting all the attention.
He remained deeply engaged in his conversation with Mumbengegwi.
Mugabe may have been well aware that his star at such conferences had waned and may have been more concerned about how the 12th Ordinary session of the African leaders would react to the last-minute agreement struck in Pretoria.
Outside the conference hall, the political temperature was too hot for Mugabe.
Pro-democracy groups had been working round the clock lobbying ambassadors, foreign ministers and ultimately the Heads of State and Government themselves to talk tough on Mugabe.
They pointed out Mugabe had merely watched as thousands of people died of cholera.
They said he had clearly refused to share power equitably with Tsvangirai, as a result causing suffering among Zimbabweans.
Violet Magodo, a women’s representative from Zimbabwe made a heartrending presentation revealing how Zimbabwean women were forced to engage in prostitution after being impoverished by the Mugabe regime.
Graca Machel, the wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, attended the meeting.
Representatives of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights also made powerful presentations about the lawlessness taking place in Zimbabwe.
Other groups distributed videos documenting human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Such an environment was not favourable to Mugabe who however left the summit comforted by the fact that African leaders gave the thumbs up to the new inclusive government.
They also called on the international community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe, paving the way for the beginning of Zimbabwe’s economic recovery.
By Walter Marwizi Recently In Addis Ababa
The Standard - 2009 02 08
Saturday, 07 February 2009 17:28
FRUSTRATED by the unending job boycott by teachers, parents have started raising foreign currency for schools around the country which have been badly affected by strikes.
At several meetings held separately at different schools in the past two weeks, concerned parents resolved to pay teachers in foreign currency rather than having children turned into a “generation of illiterates”.
Teachers have been on strike since last year demanding payment of their salaries in foreign currency.
Their efforts were however not well received by teachers’ unions who said their rescue packages were inadequate.
The unions also said the incentives by parents, whose income levels varied, could only result in unequal pay for teachers.
For example, in most high-density suburbs in Harare, parents were paying fees and development levies ranging from US$ 5 to US$ 50 a term.
In contrast those at Queen Elizabeth High School have agreed to pay US$ 160 for day scholars and US$ 500 for boarders as teacher incentives.
In a circular released last week, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) argued incentives worked out by parents did not address teachers’ social security needs like pensions and health schemes.
PTUZ programmes and communication officer Oswald Madziva said it was the duty of the government and not parents to pay teachers.
“If we allow that, it means the government will be abdicating its responsibility of providing education,” he said. “In principle, we are allowing the privatisation of education in the country.”
The PTUZ is also arguing that “it is embarrassing and demeaning for professionals to be paid by already suffering masses” and above all, the incentives being offered by parents are a far cry from teachers’ demands.
The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) described the payment of teachers by parents in foreign currency as an “unfortunate” development.
“Zimta advises that parents with the capacity to assist education should do so under a coordinated frame that meets the standards of teacher remuneration policies and principles,” said Zimta in a statement.
It said the arrangement was reminiscent of the Unified Teaching Service (UTS) regulations, which saw teachers getting employed under varying conditions of service.
The association accused teachers who are being paid in foreign currency by parents, School Development Associations (SDAs) and School Development Committees (SDCs) of back stabbing and undermining the teachers struggle.
“Teachers who are engaging in compromises with parents, SDAs or SDCs are only back stabbing colleagues who are waging a struggle for more sustainable salary policies. We have the names of such schools,” the association said.
The unions want teachers to be paid at least US$ 2 300 before schools can open.
Zimta held a meeting with the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) last week, but still failed to break the impasse with government over salaries.
The next meeting of the NJNC with teachers will be held this week.
Efforts to get a comment from the Minister of Education and Culture Aeneas Chigwedere were fruitless.
While children of ordinary Zimbabweans cannot afford paying US$ 5 for their schooling, there are reports President Robert Mugabe pays over US$ 1 000 for one of his children attending a private school in Harare.
It is estimated that government now spends just US18c a child on education. The country’s education system has collapsed.
Of its 130 000 teachers, roughly 60 000 have left the country, the profession or both because hyperinflation rendered their salaries worthless.
By Caiphas Chimhete and Edgar Gweshe
The Standard - 2009 02 08
Saturday, 07 February 2009 13:44
Touched by the plight of patients admitted at Mpilo Hospital, city residents have set up a multi-sectoral committee that has started mobilising donations for food.
The initiative is aimed at averting imminent starvation at the institution.
The committee is made up of the hospital’s administration, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), the Bulawayo City Council, churches, the National Alliance of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) and the Bulawayo Residents Association (BURA).
“Patients at Mpilo are going for days without food,” said Winos Dube, the BURA chairman.
“They are starving and the lack of food is worsening their conditions.
‘We have appealed to millers and we are also appealing to well wishers.”
Last week, the committee coordinated the burial of 65 unclaimed bodies in an effort to release pressure on the hospital’s overflowing mortuary.
The mortuary with a carrying capacity of 30 had more than 250 bodies before the exercise began.
This comes hard on the heels of another call for donations by two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who said the hospital needed at least US$ 15 000 a month to bring operations back to normal.
The Bulawayo based NGOs, Isijula Trust and Masakhaneni Projects Trust said they were shocked by the state of affairs at the institution after they conducted an assessment recently.
According to a report compiled by the two NGOs, the institution which was built in 1958 only “has two wards still functional while the rest have shut down due to the downward spiral of the Zimbabwean health infrastructure which has led to problems like staff shortage, lack of drugs, water and sanitation and security.”
Apart from the collapsing infrastructure, the multi-sectoral committee said it was worried the health status of patients had been worsened by lack of nutritional food.
Mpilo hospital’s collapse mirrors the state of other referral hospitals in the country, which have been partly closed since last year due to a strike by doctors and nurses.
Analysts blame the government for causing the collapse of the health delivery sector through under funding and neglect.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
The Standard - 2009 02 08
Alex Magaisa: Zanu PF Must Reform for the Sake of Progress
Saturday, 07 February 2009 18:06
IT IS fair to admit that there is a weighty temptation to join the heavy industry of criticism surrounding last week’s decision by the MDC to join the inclusive government.
For a start, the cynicism is not without good reason taking into account the history and character of Zanu PF as a cunning and abrasive political operator.
It is difficult to fault the general trepidation, particularly in light of the state media’s poisonous rhetoric and the nauseating legal bungee-jumps that political detainees like Jestina Mukoko have had to endure in the courts.
One would have thought that a serious Zanu PF, being the partner that most wanted this deal, would do everything in its power to demonstrate sincerity and good faith by taking measures to address these issues that cause so much damage to the country’s image.
Senior members of the judiciary spoke recently of the need for politicians to sort out their political squabbles.
Yet, the manner in which these political detainees are being shoved from pillar to post by the courts drains whatever confidence one might have invested in this arrangement.
Frankly, the matter has become ridiculous and one would laugh if it did not command so much seriousness.
It makes no sense at all.
So here you have a court finding that the detained person has not been formally placed on remand by the state; that the state has not properly read out the formal charges to the detained person - why then, you would have to ask, should this person be kept in detention for such a ridiculous length of time?
It gets bizarre when one considers the illegal manner of the initial arrest and the alleged ill-treatment of the detained persons which has been recorded in graphic detail.
So here we have the liberty of the individual, a right that is supposedly guaranteed by the constitution, playing second-fiddle to legal technicalities the fault of which lies not with the detainee but with the captor.
All this in a country that is trying to present a rehabilitated face to the world!
The matter is absurd and counter-productive especially in light of efforts to create a unified and progressive administration.
The offences that Mukoko and others are alleged to have committed inevitably implicate the MDC, which is supposed to be the new partner in government.
How, therefore, can the Zanu PF administration work with the MDC, the same organisation that it accuses of trying to overthrow it by armed means?
If Zanu PF is serious about the new administration, it really needs to demonstrate its sincerity by releasing these people who are unlawfully detained and have, by all accounts, been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.
Or, at the very least, give them fair treatment.
The judiciary has a role to play here - to check the abuse of power by the executive and at least show that citizens can still get protection of the law.
If the judiciary went out of its way to urge politicians to resolve the political impasse, it must also, surely, play a complimentary role in reconstructing the shoddy image that the country has earned over the last decade.
As it is, the image of political detainees on a high-speed legal roller-coaster as they are moved from one court to the next, without respite, does very little for the judiciary’s image.
It is unfortunate that the courts of law, the supposed bastions of freedom, have proved unwilling hosts to the accused persons who, according to the latest ruling, languish in jail only because the state has failed to process the formalities.
Is it the accused person’s fault that the state has failed to comply with the formal requirements?
Does it, therefore, mean that these persons can languish in jail until such time that the state completes the formalities, which formalities, in any event, are the very subject of the challenge?
The challenge here is the manner of arrest, the abductions and unlawful treatment of the detained persons.
It’s absolutely ridiculous and if I sound annoyed, that’s because I am. And embarrassed, too!
In light of all this, one can surely understand why many citizens and the international community has welcomed the deal with what one can aptly describe as chameleonic caution.
Many have sympathies for Tsvangirai and they have supported him during the struggle so it makes sense to try and help his team when they do get into government.
But few will be rushing through the gates of Zimbabwe with bags of assistance.
The Americans have said they are waiting to see evidence of real power-sharing in the country before they can chip in with development assistance and ease the targeted sanctions.
I have said before in this column that sanctions, whether they are called ‘smart’ or ‘dirty’, could strangle the new creature.
But I perfectly understand why those behind them are cautious. What is the point of lifting them when there is absolutely no sign of rehabilitation?
Admittedly, the agreement is the first step in that route but it is by no means the last.
The new administration has to demonstrate that it is willing and committed to redress the reckless behaviour of the last decade and this case, unfortunately only serves to exacerbate the many concerns and fears that many people have about the prospects of the new administration.
The argument in some circles that Zimbabwe does not have to look for outside help is disingenuous.
It runs counter to Zanu PF’s blame-game by which it accuses Western sanctions for causing economic decline and to the very public pleas for sanctions to be lifted.
The fact is Zimbabwe needs help but it will not arrive under these shoddy circumstances.
To my mind, the case of the political detainees presents a perfect opportunity for the administration to demonstrate a change in approach.
If the state is so sure that they have committed offences, why not follow the due process of law and do things properly?
The MDC itself needs to insist on this issue because it provides ominous signs of what might happen to them when they join government.
Perhaps the newly formed Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) should prioritise this issue and find an amicable end because it has been very damaging to the general cause of the agreement.
Admittedly, even though I have many doubts, I stand among those who understood why Tsvangirai took that momentous decision last week and I have been willing for things to work for the good of the country.
I did so not because I thought the deal was great, but because, quite frankly, no other viable option was on the table and not even the most ardent critics have given persuasive arguments of what else could have been done under the circumstances.
I also understood the context in which the decision was taken - that Tsvangirai had taken the battle for power to the international platform, via Sadc, away from the domestic constituency whose only means of choice was the undemocratic election which had yielded little in the way of power.
Yet at Sadc, Tsvangirai was parked in a cul-de-sac - it was either that or he was on his own. What he has done, however, by accepting Sadc’s recommendation is to show his willingness to compromise and in so doing he has not ostracised himself from Sadc which was getting increasingly irritated.
This has now placed the ball firmly in Zanu PF’s court -it is up to them to play fair or to kick it into the long grass and so far, it seems to be doing a very good job of it.
This is not to say Tsvangirai and Mutambara must be immune from critical assessment. Rather it is that mere criticism without meaningful contribution to how else things can be done better that becomes mere public posturing which helps no-one but massage egos.
Reflections with Alex Magaisa
If all goes according to schedule, the Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC-T) Morgan Tsvangirai will be sworn in as the prime minister of Zimbabwe on Wednesday February 11 2009. The unanimous passing of Constitutional Amendment 19 has paved the way for the formation of the government of national unity (GNU), and regardless of how we have got here that is the new reality.
In order to move on, I iterate that the refusal to allow free and fair elections, respect the results - even rigged as they were - and intervention by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and South Africa to avoid the smooth transition of power into the hands of the MDC-T as the undoubted winners of the ballot represents a blow to democracy in Africa and the continuing failure of this continent to allow the will of the people to be translated into political reality.
Having said that, the time has come to focus on where we are and take that forward in the best interests of Zimbabweans, rather than where we would like to be. As things stand we are looking at a ruined economy, seven million people in need of aid, disease still running rampant and even the schools struggling to reopen.
Invariably we have to factor in Robert Mugabe, who is currently the subject of increasing sanctions by the United States and the European Union, with the latter having increased the same a couple of weeks ago. These sanctions are correctly targeted at Mugabe and his cronies while aid is being sent by the international community. The latest United Nations aid organisation report, however, paints a bleak picture of the short-term future. As a result of those needing aid increasing dramatically and the global financial crisis reducing donations, it will be unable to provide enough to sustain an adult for a day.
This means that drastic measures are going to be required to ensure that we do not have fatalities the likes of which Africa has not experienced before.
As far as sanctions in respect of Mugabe and those members of the Zanu-PF who have been singled out by the EU and US go, they can remain in place until such time as Mugabe has regained the trust of the international community. In order to assist them they might try keeping an eye out on the weather sites - as soon as Hades is minus 200 degrees the sanctions should be lifted immediately.
That, however, leaves the more important question of how to reintroduce investment, loans and reinforce aid while the country is going through this transitional phase. In this regard there needs to be an understanding that should a Clinton-like approach to Rwanda be adopted here the results may make that debacle seem like a stroll in the park.
A GNU has been or will be created this week, which will result in the members of this transitional government continuously being at odds with each other over how the country should be run. Unfortunately the bulk of this will be in respect of key appointments like governors of provinces and the authority of the Council of Ministers, as opposed to the Cabinet. How all of this will pan out is anyone’s guess right now. The fact is that this is the vehicle that the parties have bought to drive Zimbabwe for the short-term future.
Unfortunately and regardless of how short that period might be, there are seven million Zimbabweans who just don’t have the time to find out. Should it collapse in a hail of bullets and transform into a civil war, or Mugabe experience an epiphany and steer it back towards the kind of democracy Zimbabweans have been praying for, is quite frankly not the key issue right now.
Rescuing the population is.
What is required as a matter of urgency are structures that ensure that the aid goes directly to the people who are suffering from starvation and disease; loans that are made available to the Council of Ministers to be audited by the UN and used to rebuild the country; and investment in Zimbabwe subject to urgent legislation being passed that the government cannot interfere with any company or entity receiving overseas investors.
In addition, the government must be required to legislate that the courts of the SADC enjoy the highest authority in Zimbabwe and appeal, which is enforceable, may be made to those courts against any decision of the Zimbabwean Supreme Court.
If the GNU is serious about rebuilding Zimbabwe, and the fact of the matter is that not many trust Mugabe, then the seven million people at risk cannot be made to pay the ultimate price for this problem. The international community in conjunction with the SADC must urgently structure vehicles to overcome suspicion that they are simply paying for Grace’s next shopping trip while urgently ensuring Zimbabwe gets the help it needs.
Financial Gazette - Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday, 06 February 2009 12:46 Staff Reporter
NET*ONE managing director, Reward Kangai, is the new chairman of the Telecommunications Association of Zimbabwe.
He takes over from Econet Wireless chief executive officer, Douglas Mboweni.
The association's membership comprises the country's three mobile phone networks namely Net*One, Telecel, Econet Wireless and fixed network operator, TelOne.
In an interview with The Financial Gazette on Monday, Kangai revealed that the mobile telecommunications industry had started working on network expansion programmes to achieve better coverage across the country after getting the green light from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to charge tariffs in foreign currency.
The industry, he said, is also lobbying government to reduce duty on imported handsets to make the gadgets affordable and improve the penetration rate.
Industry statistics indicate that the continental penetration rate stood at 20 percent last year against a penetration rate of five percent for Zimbabwe.
Experts say even if a southern African survey was carried out it was likely to reveal that Zimbabwe had the lowest penetration rates as a result of the high duty on handsets.
"We want to promote the use of cellphones so that they are within the reach of all Zimbabweans," Kangai said. "There have been so many positive developments that have taken place especially the granting of foreign currency trading licenses. But we want to lobby for the reduction of the duty for imported handsets. They are too high. We are happy with the announcement by the Minister of Finance (Patrick Chinamasa) last week for the reduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT). Handsets must also be affordable," Kangai said.
On Friday Econet Wireless said it was happy with the reduction of VAT on mobile phone airtime from 22,5 percent to 15 percent.
"The industry had also stressed that, at 22,5 percent VAT in Zimbabwe was the highest in the region," corporate communications manager, Rangarirai Mberi, said. "We are therefore pleased by the Minister's recognition and implementation of industry proposals to reduce VAT on airtime. Econet also welcomes remarks by the Acting Finance Minister, Senator Patrick Chinamasa, recognising the difficulties faced by operators in importing equipment crucial for network expansion and upgrade," he said.
Meanwhile Kangai said mobile phone companies had run into serious problems with some lawyers who are threatening to take them to court protesting the charging of their services in foreign currency.
The lawyers, he said, had argued that the local currency had not been demonetised and there was therefore no rationale behind the charging of services by mobile companies in foreign currency.
"Even those people selling mushrooms from the bush are selling in foreign currency," he said. "I have checked out and discovered that the same lawyers are charging for their services in foreign currency. Surprisingly they are the same people who demand the highest quality of service. They think quality network grows on trees," he told The Financial Gazette.
Financial Gazette - Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday, 06 February 2009 12:40 Staff Reporter
EXCESSIVE money supply growth is presenting headaches for the country with broad money supply otherwise known as M3 having increased from 81,143 percent in January last year to 658 billion percent in December.
The increase in money supply growth reflects the prevailing macro-economic imbalances under which the government sector has largely relied on domestic bank finance.
It is also largely underpinned by money creation related to speculative activities on the parallel foreign exchange market and stock market.
Money printing stokes money supply growth that provides an impetus for higher inflation.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has admitted the high money supply levels were worrying.
RBZ governor, Gideon Gono, last year said: "By any standards, these levels are too high for the size of our economy, and it is for this reason that drastic measures are being adopted to contain any further excessive growth."
Money supply is the total supply of money in circulation in a given country's economy at a given time.
It is considered an important instrument for controlling inflation.
Acting Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa last week said a number of public sector programmes and projects such as agriculture, dam construction, education and health, had been funded through quasi-fiscal operations of the RBZ.
The expenditures, incurred between December 1 2003 and December 31 2008 amounted to $ 1,111 quintillion. These expenses have since been settled in full from the central bank's receipts from internal investments.
Chinamasa echoed Gono's earlier position contained in his acceptance speech for a second term at the helm of RBZ that the central bank will now concentrate on its major mandate of assuring the stability of prices and the financial sector.
This week, Gono outlined his vision for the next five years. He said monetary policy would seek to achieve the following;
* - To institute currency reforms which bring transactional convenience to the public;
* - To advocate for the removal of pricing distortions in the economy in a manner that promotes producer viability. This is in line with advice given in the RBZ's monetary policy statement of January 2007 which was dedicated to the same topic but remained unimplemented in previous budget Statements.
* - To streamline and close the RBZ's quasi-fiscal operations within the framework of a more coherent fiscal management system, leaving the central bank with the core responsibilities of managing price stability factors, banking sector licensing and supervision in addition to official foreign exchange reserves management;
* - To liberalise the foreign exchange market in a manner that sees the exchange rate returning to serving its key function as a strategic policy instrument for the achievement of both productive and resource allocative efficiency in the economy;
* - To revolutionise agriculture by adopting market and investor friendly farm policies, supported by the call for active participation of the private sector, as well as regional and international investors in supporting farmers;
* - To deepen financial sector stability by enhancing the prudential supervisory guidelines, particularly in view of the contemporary global financial system;
* - To promote the general availability of goods and services in the economy through the liberalization and the allowance of the circulation of multiple currencies in the economy, following the successful experimentation through FOLIWARS which were introduced in the market in October last year.
* - To support gold producers through innovative ways that enable the sector to retain more foreign exchange, as well as allowing them to leverage on their production to access regional and international gold-backed lines of credit;
* - To revive and defend the country's educational system through Exchange Control Regulations that bring viability to schools while at the same time leaving room for the vulnerable groups to continue to access quality education by using the local currency;
* - To maintain a robust interest rate regime that fights inflation, whilst at the same time ensuring that the productive sectors have access to offshore and other domestic foreign exchange denominated loans;
* - To realign the FCA retention levels in support of generators of foreign exchange; and (l) To proffer necessary policy advice to Government and the rest of the economy on alternative strategies that deal with our present difficult circumstances through technocratic as opposed to predominantly political or social ways.
The Standard - 2009 02 08
Saturday, 07 February 2009 15:46
ALLOW me to pose a question to all elected members of parliament of MDC-T, MDC, Zanu PF and independent candidate Professor Jonathan Moyo.
“MP’s where are you, when the people are made to pay bills, i.e. Telone, Econet, Telcel, council municipality services, education, passports and hospital fees in foreign currency, when it is common knowledge that the public has no means of generating the scarce hard currency, and when it is known that their salaries which are difficult to get from banks are still in Zimbabwe dollars?
Please honourable MPs kindly answer my question. Members of parliament are elected to office to add value to their constituencies, but it seems as if our honourable MPs have abandoned their constituency mandate and expectation.
We expect you to debate policy issues that affect the country but it seems as if you are spending a lot of time quarrelling, walking out of the Parliament and booing each other.
I think it’s high time MPs started adding value to people who elected them because the public is watching.
Imagine an ordinary passport is costing US$ 670, where do you think an ordinary Zimbabwean can get that kind money. Does the government want all of us to become thieves?
After all, who is authorizing these institutions to charge in foreign currency?
If it is Ministry of Finance or the Reserve Bank Governor what’s stopping you from summoning the concerned to Parliament so that they can explain their actions to the nation?
In light of all these unfortunate developments which will impact negatively on the general public, what stops Parliament from creating an ad hoc committee to look into these critical issues.
As the electorate, we expect our elected legislators to show concern for our welfare and not just about what perks are due to them as MPs. We have recently read reports about government spending US$ 2 million on new vehicles for MPs.
While we do not begrudge them for the benefits of their offices, we also expect them to show concern for our welfare. Obviously the escalating prices of everything charged in scarce US dollar, rand, pula and euro, is going to make life very difficult for most workers and the rural folk who have no access to forex.
Silver Bhebhe - email@example.com