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State urges probe into RBZ 'dealings'

Zim Standard


AN economic crimes court has been urged to issue a "a specific order"
directing the Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate
circumstances in which the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), released
trillions to black market dealers.

The call came shortly after the exposure of details of shady dealings
involving the central bank in court on Wednesday.

Senior Prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare told the court it was important for
"the whole picture to come out" in the way RBZ funds were channelled to the
black market without any records of the transactions.

He said this practice could not be allowed to continue as some of
Zimbabwe’s problems emanated from the black market.

RBZ Governor, Gideon Gono, who has led a clean-up crusade of the
financial sector, has denied the central bank was the major player on the
thriving black market.

He has challenged his accusers with information about such dealings to
report to the authorities.

But on Wednesday evidence was presented to the court that the RBZ was
releasing trillions of dollars to the black market at a time when the
country was facing cash shortages blamed by Gono on "cash barons".

Ironically, the beneficiaries of Gono’s trillions immediately became
cash barons who went on the black market to buy foreign currency for the

Some of the barons were not honest: they did not buy the forex,
prejudicing the state of over a trillion dollars, according to the agreed
facts of the case.

Among the people named in the court was the Zanu PF MP for Guruve,
David Butau who has since fled to the UK.

Agreed facts put before Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe, in an economic
crimes court, exposed how trillions of dollars secretly released by the RBZ
ended up at the Roadport in Harare, where the black market barons’ "runners"

Zvekare said the RBZ "was engaging in criminal transactions which were
bleeding the nation," stressing no institution in Zimbabwe should be above
the law.

He said there was something seriously wrong with the way the RBZ
conducted its business, as there was virtually no documentation in a
transaction involving the release of $2.1 trillion from the RBZ to the black

The money was given to the director of Flat Water Investments,
Tazviwana Chivaviro and chief operations officer Nigel Tatenda Marozhe
admitted in court that they had received the money following a verbal

Commenting on how they received the cash, Zvekare said: "We don’t know
where this verbal agreement was made. Whether it was in a night club, at a
football match, Matapi beerhall or RBZ offices. The RBZ released trillions,
just like that. No document, nothing, totally nothing."

He said the money was to be used in a "criminal enterprise" by the
Flat Water directors who he labelled "runners of the RBZ who engaged their
own runners, who in turn engaged their own runners, right up to the street
runner at the Roadport".

Chivaviro (42), and Marozhe (27), were to source US$1 151 851 for the
purchase 102 tractors for the Farm Mechanisation programme from South

The two engaged Phillimon Makuvise, who in turn engaged Joseph Manjoro
to assist in raising cash on the black market. Manjoro has already been
convicted of violating the Exchange Control Act.

The money was transferred into three accounts belonging to Manjoro and
his runners. The accounts are listed as Acondex Investments (Joseph
Manjoro), Squarexe (Pvt) Ltd (Royas Mazorodze), Nyamasoka Farming (David
Butau) and Antony Hobwana.

But Manjoro only managed to source US$357 000 of the US$1 151 851
required. This amount could only buy 39 tractors, the court was told.

"The money given to David Butau . . . and Antony Hobwana by Joseph
Manjoro is not accounted for. The $575 billion that Royas Mazorodze received
from Manjoro is not accounted for. Part of the $708 billion deposited into
Joseph Manjoro’s Acondex Investments account is not accounted for," reads
the charge sheet, which was not disputed.

All in all, the state was prejudiced of $1 310 813 254 000.

Chivaviro and Marozhe pleaded guilty to the charges but their lawyer
Stephen Chibune pleaded with the court to consider what he said were special
circumstances when sentencing them.

He said the RBZ had given his clients a weapon to commit an offence,
and they had done so in the national interest.

"It’s the RBZ that was releasing the money . . . The same RBZ tacitly
or impliedly was telling them to use whatever rate they could to raise
foreign currency," said Chibune who added it was the State, not his clients
who had benefited from the deal.

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Less than 60 days to go, but not a poll sign in sight

Zim Standard

  By Vusumuzi Sifile

IN two months Zimbabweans will go for the landmark harmonised
Presidential, House of Assembly, Senatorial and Local Government elections.

Yet, as of last week, there were still no signs of the cut and-thrust
of a do-or-die election.

This could be the biggest election since independence in terms of the
number of votes and the number of seats being contested.

By this time in previous elections, posters and election paraphernalia
would be all over the country. Political rallies would be in full swing.
Voters would be clear on their constituency and ward boundaries.

That has not happened yet. The ZEC, which runs all elections, is still
to announce the constituencies. In terms of Constitutional Amendment 18, the
number of House of Assembly seats will increase from the current 150 to 210,
all of them to be contested.

Yesterday, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) deputy chief elections
officer, Utloile Silaigwana said "the delimitation is in its final stage".
Once completed, the report would be submitted to President Robert Mugabe
before the boundaries are announced. Mugabe is currently on leave.

"ZEC will announce the electoral boundaries in due course after its
submission to His Excellency, the President in terms of Section 61A of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe," said Silaigwana. "We cannot give the exact date
as we are busy finalising the delimitation report as earlier on mentioned by
the commission."

Although new demarcations are yet to be announced, The Standard
understands Matabeleland North and South will each have 13 seats. Harare
province will have 29 constituencies, one more than Midlands with 28.

Manicaland province has 27, Masvingo 26, Mashonaland East 23,
Mashonaland West 22, Mashonaland Central 18, while Bulawayo, since 2000 an
opposition MDC stronghold, has only 12.

Parties can only hold primaries to select candidates after the
constituency boundaries are known. No primaries have been held yet. The only
known candidate so far is Mugabe who was "endorsed" as the Zanu PF
presidential candidate last year.

Representatives of opposition parties and civil society last week said
this "laid-back" attitude was a direct result of the ZEC’s delay in
announcing new constituency boundaries.

They said considering the time left before the elections, the "only
viable option is to postpone the election, at least to June".

Mugabe has ruled that out.

The president of ZAPU-Federal Party, Paul Siwela, said the
delimitation exercise was "suspect" as there were fewer constituencies in
opposition strongholds than in Zanu PF's traditional turf.

He said: "This whole thing is suspect. It was crafted specifically to
rig the election in favour of Zanu PF. The country has no money. How will we
fund such bureaucratic requirements?" He said the statistics of registered
voters could have been tampered with.

Both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have
indicated they may boycott the election because the voter registration used
as the basis for delimitation was not properly carried out.

In terms of Constitutional Amendment 18, voter registration must be
conducted by the ZEC independently, not under the Registrar General’s

The MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai has gone a step further,
calling for the reconstitution of ZEC. The faction’s spokesperson, Nelson
Chamisa, last week said the delimitation by the ZEC was "illegitimate,
militarised and unilateral".

"The whole process is a scandal," said Chamisa. "The delimitation was
done in an illegitimate, militarised and unilateral manner. For example, one
of the officials in Manicaland is a serving army general. ZEC chairperson
George Chiweshe is also a former military lawyer. We respect our military,
but we cannot have them being abused as chief agents in this gerrymandering
by Zanu PF."

Chamisa said the current set-up was "against the spirit of the
Pretoria dialogue".

"The delimitation was supposed to be based on formal voter
registration, not this haphazard process we had. The ZEC has to be
reconstituted. Voter education also has to take place. Alternatively, people
should be allowed to use identity cards for voting."

But Welshman Ncube, the secretary-general of the Arthur Mutambara
faction, on Thursday said Chamisa’s assertions were "mere propaganda", not
based on true facts. Ncube said the MDC had no reason to call for the
reconstitution of the ZEC, as they were also party to the setting up of the

"In spite of all the propaganda we make," said Ncube, "the truth is
that the current members of the electoral commission were appointed by both
Zanu PF and the MDC, except for the chairperson, who was appointed by
President Mugabe. In fact, nearly half of them were nominated by MDC
officials. We do not want to embarrass them by mentioning who nominated

Instead of reconstituting the ZEC, Ncube said the respective officials
should take their nominees to task.

"If they (ZEC) do not act independently, then we should take them to
task," said Ncube. "We put them in there confidently. So far, we believe
their decisions are based on consensus, as there are MDC and Zanu PF
representatives in the commission. People cannot sit there and say we want
an independent commission when we already have one. Appointing another one
will not solve anything."

Does this mean the faction is happy with the delimitation exercise?

"Our gripe on this is that the voter registration by Tobaiwa Mudede
(Registrar General) is unreliable as he is partisan. Until such a time when
we have a new constitution and fresh voter registration by the electoral
commission, a delimitation cannot be completed," said Ncube.

The director of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), Rindai
Chipfunde-Vava on Friday said "holding the elections in March does not give
adequate time to put in place all logistical requirements".

"Right now people do not know their constituencies," said
Chipfunde-Vava. "There is need for massive voter education as there would be
different ballot papers and different boxes. They should also consider the
time needed for recruitment and training of election officials. Everything
is being rushed; there is no time for consultations."

Even the newly-formed Zimbabwe People’s Progressive Democratic Party
(ZPPDP) has voiced concern over the delimitation.

The party’s secretary-general, Gibbs Paul Gotora said the exercise was
"nothing but madness and a cheating tactic".

But Silaigwana insisted yesterday: "All political parties attended
consultative delimitation meetings at district and provincial levels . . .
ZEC carried its mandate independently without the influence of any political

Earlier, Silaigwana had said he was "surprised" the parties were
complaining about delimitation when they "have been attending meetings and
making their recommendations".

"The voter registration exercise was carried out after meeting all
political parties and we responded to their requests by extending the mobile
registration exercise by three weeks. Voter registration has not closed,
only the mobile registration exercise was closed."

Meanwhile, new political parties have begun to emerge ahead of the
elections. Last week alone, representatives of two "new" parties, the
Zimbabwe Integrated Party (ZIP) and United Democratic People’s Constitution
(UDPC) knocked at the doors of The Standard to announce their arrival on the
political landscape.

They brought their manifestos, saying they were ready to contest the

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MDC plans demos on new constitution

Zim Standard


THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said yesterday it would soon
stage a demonstration to demand a new Constitution before the elections, as
well as to protest against the deteriorating economic situation.

Addressing about 1 200 people in Mbare yesterday, MDC anti-senate
formation secretary-general Tendai Biti, said the opposition would soon
announce the date for the demonstration, dubbed "Freedom March for a New

He said MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai would lead the march.

"Very soon we will be marching for democracy," said Biti. "We will be
marching for a new Constitution, for clean water and a better economy."

He said the MDC would not participate in a flawed election whose
results were predetermined.

President Robert Mugabe has already ruled out a new constitution
before the election, setting the stage for a confrontation with the biggest
opposition party.

Biti said the MDC had started campaign rallies across the country,
including the rural areas but the star rallies would be held next week on
Saturday at Zimbabwe Grounds in Harare.

The MDC secretary-general said they were engaging the Arthur
Mutambara-led formation, civil society, and other opposition parties in a
bid to mount a formidable challenge against Zanu PF, which he said was
disintegrating because of internal divisions.

"We are engaging our colleagues led by Mutambara. We are doing that
because we have to win at all cost. We are also talking to other opposition
parties because all votes count," said Biti.

He said the Sadc-initiated talks had reached "deadlock" because Zanu
PF was reluctant to introduce a level political playing field before the
elections, scheduled for March.

"We have reached a deadlock and we referred the issue to President
Mbeki and if he fails to resolve the issue he will report to Sadc."

South African President Thabo Mbeki was mandated by Sadc leaders to
mediate in the Zimbabwe crisis.

Before the rally, Zanu PF youths assaulted people walking towards the
venue of the meeting, accusing them of being MDC supporters.

They stoned a convoy of MDC officials’ vehicles.

One of the victims, Godfrey Kauzani said: "I didn’t suspect anything
when a group of Zanu PF youths started assaulting me, together with my
colleagues. They ran away when people started forming a group to fight

He claimed that police in Mbare refused to take the assault report,
ordering him to "go and fight back".

Among senior MDC members who attended the rally were MPs Willis
Madzimure of Kambuzuma, Paurina Mpariwa of Mufakose, Pearson Mungofa of
Highfield and Tapiwa Mashakada of Hatfield.

From Mbare the MDC proceeded to Dzivaresekwa high-density suburb where
they held another rally.

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Why Zanu PF wants executive mayors out

Zim Standard

  By Sandra Mandizvidza

THE recent government decision to abolish the executive mayor’s office
is yet another political strategy aimed at undermining the MDC’s influence
in urban areas, the party’s holders of the posts, have said.

The government gazetted the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill last
month, which seeks to abolish the post of executive mayor and empower the
minister responsible for local government to appoint commissioners for urban

Clause 12 of the Bill seeks to abolish the office of executive mayor,
created in 2002. The executive committees of municipal councils will also be
abolished, their powers being reassigned to the council.

Reads the preamble of the Bill: "This executive committee was an
adjunct to the office of the executive mayor. Together the executive
mayorship and executive committee tended to relegate council to the status
of a mere consultative body.

"Both these institutions also imposed additional financial burdens on
the municipal councils."

As a result of this bill, the office of mayor, deputy mayor,
chairperson and deputy chairperson of a municipal or town council will
revert to being elected by local authority councils.

Executive mayors who spoke to The Standard this week described the
bill as yet another attempt by Zanu PF to regain control of the cities and
towns it lost to the MDC in previous elections from 2002.

Zanu PF enjoys little support among the urban electorate which has
consistently voted for the MDC.

The executive mayor of Bulawayo, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube (MDC), accused
the government of trying to frustrate the MDC since most local authorities
were controlled by the opposition party.

"The government has taken a poor backward step in scrapping the
executive mayor’s post. It is now destroying one of the best things it has
ever done for the people," he said.

Ndabeni-Ncube said the government had failed to come up with a good
reason for abolishing the post.

Masvingo executive mayor Alois Chaimiti, also a member of the MDC,
said he only read about the abolition of the posts in the press. He has not
been notified of the change.

"But I don’t think it is a good idea," he said. "If they thought we
were not performing our duties well, why didn’t they tell us? This is just a
way of trying to get at the MDC."

The MDC spokesman for Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development, Sesel Zvidzai said the proposed law showed that Zanu PF had
failed to convince the urban dwellers to support it.

"We are totally against the whole idea," he said. "These people (Zanu
PF) are failures."

Zvidzai is also executive mayor of Gweru.

Former Chegutu executive mayor, Francis Dhlakama, blasted the
government, saying Zanu PF felt threatened in the urban areas since they
knew it was MDC territory.

"What reasons are they giving for abolishing the posts?" he asked.
"They are not giving tangible reasons because they know they are failures,
especially in urban areas."

He also said he was optimistic that this year’s elections were going
to see the end of Zanu PF "reign of terror".

Dhlakama was the first executive mayor of Chegutu.

Fani Phiri, the Zanu PF executive mayor of Kadoma and the president of
Zimbabwe Local Government Association, said although he did not want to lose
his job, he respected the government’s decision.

"All I can say is maybe the government saw it necessary to abolish the
post of executive mayor and return the ceremonial mayors," he said.

The MDC mayors have in the past accused the Minister of Local
Government and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo, of interfering with their

Chombo suspended four MDC executive mayors: Elias Mudzuri of Harare,
Raymond Chisi (Redcliff), Misheck Shoko (Chitungwiza) and Misheck
Kagurabadza of Mutare, for "mismanagement".

Chombo replaced the mayors with commissioners, now being blamed for
running down local authorities.

Most urban areas, especially Harare and Chitungwiza, continue to
deteriorate even after the appointment of the commissioners.

Traffic lights no longer work, roads are in a permanent state of
disrepair and sanitary lanes and every open space is filled up with
uncollected rubbish.

Public amenities such as neighborhood parks, park benches, swimming
pools and libraries have long since collapsed — many of them beyond repair.

Burst sewer pipes discharge raw sewage onto the streets and remain
unattended for months, posing a major threat to the health of residents.

The diarrhoea outbreak in Mabvuku and Tafara in Harare has been partly
blamed on the absence of elected representatives in the council.

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Power cuts fatal blow to ailing health sector

Zim Standard


SHEILA Moyo (not her real name) remembers with fondness the elderly
woman who assisted her during childbirth each time she looks at her bouncing

Moyo (27), gave birth at night near Glenview Polyclinic on 31
December, with the assistance of the stranger who appeared from "nowhere" to
rescue her.

Unfortunately, she did not leave her name and address.

The young woman, who was in labour, had been turned away from the
clinic after nurses decided that without electricity, it would be impossible
to help her deliver.

They said they would have swung into action if she had brought the
three candles required to light up the clinic during a blackout.

"It was traumatic," she said recently. "Imagine, I gave birth just a
stone’s throw away from the clinic. I am grateful that my child is in good
health. A good Samaritan took me to Harare Hospital for further care of the
new baby."

During the power cuts, nurses at the polyclinic dare not attempt to
assist expectant mothers deliver. It would be like trying to thread a needle
in the dark.

To avoid having to work in the dark, they now limit maternity
registration to 10 mothers a day. The result? The women start queuing as
early as 2 am to be among the Chosen Ten.

Kuwadzana 4 suburb has endured darkness for four months. The clinic
there has a big banner advising people "to come with three candles each for
the doctors’ visibility".

Council clinics in most high-density areas in Harare, to which most
power cuts are confined, now use candles and paraffin lamps for lighting up
when attending to patients.

On the black market, where they are invariably more available than on
the open market, the candles cost $3 million each. The price of paraffin
varies from $2 500 000 to $4 000 000 for a 750ml bottle.

The ordinary citizen worries about raising money for candles and
paraffin. But doctors warn that the power cuts are severely affecting the
health delivery system, already reeling from critical shortage of drugs,
equipment and key personnel.

The chairman of the Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights (ZDHR), Douglas
Gwatidzo said the health delivery system cannot operate without electricity.

"You need enough light to treat a patient," he said. "The drugs and
vaccines we use need storage at certain temperatures and all that equipment
needs uninterrupted electricity. Things like needles need sterilization and
all this requires a steady supply of power."

Gwatidzo said some patients were being given sub-standard drugs
because of the power cuts.

There are reports that clinics are now storing drugs outside the
stipulated refrigerated conditions, posing a great threat to patients’

Tapiwanashe Gwakura, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Medical
Association (ZIMA) described the current situation as a "frustrating

"The health sector, for most doctors who operate surgical clinics in
most areas around the country, has become rather traumatic. Appointments are
regularly being cancelled," he said.

Doctors said, sometimes failed to attend to a patient because a
particular machine, sensitive to power cuts, would have been affected.

He also lamented the costs associated with the use of generators.

"The cost of the fuel required for a heavy duty generator is
prohibitive and these costs are borne by the patients."

Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) spokesperson Fullard
Gwasira said health institutions should not be switched off.

He said: "Zesa’s policy towards health institutions is that we do not
load-shed referral hospitals. But due to the current wet spell, we cannot
rule out that technical faults may occur on the network."

"Whenever they occur, we have dedicated personnel to attend to them.
Clinics, unfortunately, are not covered due to logistical constraints. But
plans are on the cards to include them under the same arrangement."

In general terms, Gwasira said only a cost recovery tariff would
greatly assist in rehabilitating and maintaining the electricity network.

He said over 200 transformers had been vandalized in Harare and needed
urgent repair.

"In some areas it is true that Zesa cannot immediately solve the
problems. A transformer requires billions in local currency and we just do
not have the capacity for that, given the uneconomic tariffs we charge," he

In the high-density suburbs, the consensus is the power cuts have made
people’s lives miserable.

A survey in most areas in Harare showed that many people had resorted
to using firewood but the torrential rains have made this straightforward,
mundane chore a nightmare.

Sandra Tevedza of Kuwadzana 4 said: "Cooking has become a nightmare.
Everyone here is spending a fortune on firewood and the elusive paraffin.
Most people now go to friends’ houses at weekends to iron clothes and
refrigerate meat and other perishables."

Elizabeth Murozvi from Glenview Area 8, a mother of three - between
coughing from the choking smoke - said she feared for her health and that of
her family.

"Every day is a horror." she said. "There is smoke everywhere and most
of the people now have the flu. The clinic does not have medicine and the
pharmacy asks for anything up to $4 million. The urban areas have become a

In Highfield, where residents of a number of suburbs have been without
electricity for six months, thieves have been have making rich pickings.

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Maize being used to 'bribe voters', causing shortages

Zim Standard

  By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO — Millers in Matabeleland say they have not received maize
supplies from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) for the past two months,
sparking a severe maize-meal shortage in the drought-prone region.

The disclosure comes amid allegations that Zanu PF politicians are
using the grain to buy votes in their constituencies ahead of the elections
in March.

Several Zanu PF officials, including a councillor in the Kusile rural
district council in Matabeleland North, were arrested towards the end of
last month for allegedly diverting to the black market maize obtained from
the GMB.

According to Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) sources in
the southern region, who insisted on anonymity, most of the grain was last
allocated to them in November.

Last Thursday, only eight wagons of maize were dispatched to the GMB’s
Bulawayo depot, which the millers described as "a drop in the ocean" for the
three provinces.

"I last received an allocation about two months ago and I have not
been milling since then," said one miller. "It seems this maize issue has
become highly politicised.

"We cannot comment on the situation openly because we might be struck
off the register as happened in the past. But you must ask the authorities
why they are starving people in this region."

The Minister of National Security, Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement, Didymus Mutasa was quoted in the State media as claiming that
2 400 tonnes of maize had been delivered to Bulawayo since the beginning of
the year.

But maize-meal shortages that began around November last year
persisted last week and most people said they were surviving on maize sold
on the thriving black market.

Sources in the milling industry alleged a senior government official
last month took five wagons of maize from the GMB depot and distributed it
to his constituents.

"The GMB management was refusing to allocate maize to millers, saying
it was meant for another province," said another miller. "When one of our
colleagues called the minister on his mobile phone he came straight to the
depot and ordered that the maize should be taken to his constituency."

Repeated efforts to get a comment from the GMB spokesman Joseph Katete
were fruitless as he was constantly said to be out of the office and was not
reachable on his mobile phone.

Reuben Dube, a senior Zanu PF official and the councillor for Malungu
ward, was arrested on allegations of diverting to the black market 165 bags
of maize meant for starving villagers.

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Govt plays down diarrhoea outbreak

Zim Standard

  By Our Staff

THE Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has accused the
government of playing down the outbreak of diarrhoea in many city suburbs.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, more than 400
cases have been recorded in Mabvuku and Tafara, hit by an acute water
shortage over the past year.

CHRA disputed this, insisting at least 15 000 may have been affected.

CHRA argues Mabvuku and Tafara, being big suburbs with large
populations, could have more victims of the outbreak.

The association says its research showed the government and the
council were understating the number of victims, having counted the
households affected.

Some areas in Mabvuku have had no water since last March.

CHRA information officer Mfundo Mlilo says the situation in the twin
suburbs was "very disturbing" because both the Zimbabwe National Water
Authority (Zinwa) and the council had shown a lack of commitment to solve
the crisis.

Mlilo said the diarrhoea outbreak was not confined to the two suburbs
but to others as well, where cholera and dysentery had been reported.

These include Hatcliffe and Hatcliffe Extension, Epworth, Marlborough,
Msasa, Mufakose, Budiriro, Glen View, Chitungwiza, Mbare and Hatfield, said
the association.

The outbreak has been attributed to erratic water supplies by Zinwa
and the failure by the council to collect garbage and repair burst sewer
pipes on time.

Mlilo said: "We all knew it was going to come to this, especially in
Mabvuku and Tafara.

"We wrote numerous petitions to Zinwa to bring water bowsers but they
ignored us. Only a UN agency heeded our calls. This is why we have this
crisis on our hands, ZINWA officials are sleeping on the job. Now a very
preventable health crisis is unfolding in our city."

The Standard established during a survey that Hatcliffe has had no tap
water for the past two months and residents say they have been using
unprotected wells. As a result, many people had succumbed to waterborne

The situation was compounded by the use of the nearby bush by some
residents to relieve themselves.

One resident said: "I am very bitter with Zinwa because they don’t
realise the amount of damage and disruption they have caused in our lives.
Why did they take over water management if they cannot deliver it?"

Fears are growing that there could be undocumented fatalities
resulting from the outbreak as one Mufakose mother’s testimony suggests.

Plaxedes Mwedziwendira from Samuriwo, Mufakose, claims she lost her
six-year-old daughter from diarrhoea two weeks ago. Plaxedes says she
received a phone call while at work that her daughter’s condition had

"My daughter was taken to hospital by my sister-in-law while I was at
work and she died on admission. All of us in the family had diarrhoea, but I
didn’t expect my daughter to die," she said.

"She was strong and even going to the toilet on her own but they say
she suddenly felt weak. She died at Harare hospital."

Samuriwo is one of the oldest and most overcrowded areas in Mufakose
and raw sewage can be seen in almost every street.

An Epworth clinic nurse who spoke on condition of anonymity said they
are attending to cases of dysentery and stomach problems "every day".

"People come here every day with either diarrhoea or stomach upsets.
We haven’t come across cholera but a few cases of dysentery. I would say
that we attend to at least 10 to 15 cases of some sort of diarrhoea or
stomach problems."

At Mbare clinic one nurse put the figure at 20 a day with diarrhoea

Mbare has raw sewage flowing in the streets and piles of garbage in
different parts of the suburb, especially near the vast bus terminus.

Zinwa engineer Hosiah Chisango said it was not fair to blame the water
authority alone for the crisis.

"Whenever there are power failures or mechanical problems in areas
situated in the outer suburbs and further off the (water) source like
Mabvuku, Tafara, Hatcliffe, Borrowdale and others are heavily affected," he

He said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) gave ZINWA $83 billion in
December to help in the drilling of boreholes in Mabvuku and Tafara.

Chisango said a diarrhoea outbreak could have been caused by other
factors such as uncollected rubbish in the city. Many suburbs had gone for
months without rubbish being collected.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Management Agency last week summoned
Chitungwiza town council to a hearing for failing to collect refuse in the
town and exposing residents to disease.

The agency is empowered by the Environmental Management Act to
penalise councils which ignore orders to act to prevent damage to the

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Airzim halts flights to Masvingo

Zim Standard


MASVINGO — Air Zimbabwe has suspended profitless flights to Masvingo
and Buffalo Range, barely eight months after reviving the route, The
Standard has learnt.

The route, revived mid-last year has been dogged by problems, among
them a lack of passengers. Officials at Masvingo airport, who declined to be
named, said the route was not attracting enough passengers due to high

"Head office suspended the flight after incurring huge losses compared
to other routes, like Harare-Bulawayo and Victoria Falls," an insider said.

Workers added that besides failing to lure enough passengers, the
route, using the controversial Chinese MA-60 plane, faced many maintenance

Travellers preferred to use the road, which is in a very bad state, to
flying to the capital.

Pride Khumbula, the airline’s corporate communications manager,
confirmed Air Zim had suspended the flight to Masvingo and Buffalo Range at
the beginning of November.

"This was as a result of uneconomical fuel and operational costs," she
said, adding that the airline was negotiating with hoteliers and business to
rebuild the market.

The airline would resume flights once the infrastructure at the
airports met the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational
Safety Audit (IOSA) standards, she said.

An IOSA team was in the country last month to audit the airline.

The flight was reintroduced last year to step up preparations for the
2010 World Cup in South Africa.

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'Dollarisation': killer or cure for economy? goes

Zim Standard


WHEN Eric Khumalo was told by his landlord to leave his lodgings in
three months, he thought it would be another stroll in the park getting
alternative accommodation.

With three weeks before the expiry of his "notice" Khumalo has not
found accommodation as "one landlord from another" is demanding payment in
foreign currency.

"I have tried my luck but landlords and estate agents are demanding
foreign currency," he said.

Just a few months ago this practice was only prevalent in low-density

What started off as a preserve of the low-density areas has become
widespread with the contagion spreading to high-density areas where
landlords are demanding rentals in foreign currency.

Analysts note that the trend obtaining in the economy, where foreign
currency is demanded for rentals, for instance, shows that Zimbabweans have
lost confidence in the Zimdollar which continues to be getting a battering
against a basket of other currencies.

"It (US$) is actually the currency of the nation," said Daniel Ndlela,
an economic consultant with Zimconsult.

Ndlela said the economy has to be dollarised: the country should
officially adopt the US dollar for all financial transactions, except
perhaps the need for coins — to arrest the super-inflation rate of 24 000,
the highest in the world.

"In this environment, it (dollarization) will be a positive thing
because you will arrest high inflation which is driven by foreign currency
shortage and the printing of money," he said.

The government has said that charging in foreign currency for services
such as rentals is illegal. But in a case of the right hand not knowing what
the left hand is doing, central bank chief Gideon Gono announced last year
that farmers would be paid their for produce partly in foreign currency to
boost production.

Gono even proposed that key professionals should be paid in foreign
currency to stem the brain drain.

A parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport and Communications
has allowed the troubled Air Zimbabwe to charge fares for some of its routes
in foreign currency.

A country that embraces dollarization will have to curb its spending
as there would not be deficits financed by printing money in what analysts
say will be a bitter pill to swallow for Zimbabwe.

So far, the country has enjoyed the privilege of commanding the
printing press.

Proponents of dollarization say for the strategy to succeed there is
need for more resources, otherwise there would be a US$ shortage in a
country that has embraced the greenback as the official currency.

"We need more units in the system," said economic consultant John
Robertson, "and less and less argument on what the US$ is worth."

Ndlela says dollarization allows the country to reduce the risk
premium attached to its international borrowing, as dollarized economies
could enjoy a higher level of confidence among international investors.

He said the Zimbabwean economy would enjoy a lower interest rate on
its international borrowing as well as reduced fiscal costs, and more
investment and growth.

Critics say in a dollarized economy, it is a tough hurdle to respond
to economic shocks such as volatile prices of oil on international markets
by "tweaking" on the exchange rate.

But Robertson contends that the shocks are less severe compared to
those experienced on a daily basis when the local unit falters against major

Critics of dollarization have blamed the exercise for taking away the
"sovereignty" of a nation as currency is seen as a national symbol.

But Ndlela disagrees: "We were more sovereign in 1999 and 2000.
Sovereignty is the ability to have policy space, but you can’t have that
space when people are being fed by donors," Ndlela said, adding: "There is
no such thing as sovereignty under starvation and dependence."

Robertson concurs: "There are no grounds to accuse anyone on any form
of disloyalty or attacking sovereignty when the government is the first to
attack sovereignty by refusing the legal tender of a nation by demanding
import duty in foreign currency.

"The government itself shows that it has no respect for the Zimbabwe

Movers of full dollarization say the country has to have a stable
banking sector before embarking on an exercise that is irreversible.

In a dollarized economy, the central bank will no longer have the
power to print money and inject liquidity into the system when things go
wrong in the delicate financial sector.

When it adopted dollarization in 2000, Ecuador saw its inflation rate
plummeting to 3.4 percent in 2006 from a high of 96 percent in 2000.

Ndlela says the first priority must be one of developing an
independent monetary policy and the challenges for this to succeed "will
depend on political will and skilful management by the authorities, as well
as fruitful collaboration with the international community".

Analysts say Zimbabwe has to discard its fudged dollarization, typical
of economically sick countries, as it does not benefit to the people.

"The Zimbabwean style of dollarization will further encourage black
market activities, inflationary pressures and massive asset stripping by
those with connections, as the dollars fetched from the black market will be
harnessed through the "fuel outlets", or the so-called ‘Diplomatic shops’,"
Ndlela said.

Robertson prescribed a stable political environment and market-related
prices to make dollarization feasible

"The government attack has been on market forces.... it is going into
battle with market forces, which is bad," he said.

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ZCTU, WOZA plan anti-Gono demos

Zim Standard


THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA) are planning demonstrations against the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe over the current cash crunch.

WOZA said it planned to stage a series of demonstrations over the
crisis which has spilled into its third month.

WOZA’s president Jenni Williams said she was consulting her
constituency on when to hold the demonstrations.

"We are extremely unhappy with the incompetence of Gideon Gono and we
are mulling some demonstrations," she said.

Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is blamed for
the current cash shortages. He has claimed the cash problems would soon be
over following the launch of Sunrise 11.

Lovemore Matombo, the ZCTU president told The Standard last week the
cash crisis would feature prominently when the labour movement holds a
crucial indaba on Thursday.

The meeting will be attended by the presidents and secretary generals
of each of the 36 ZCTU affiliates.

"We are meeting as leaders of unions on 17 January. Major issues
concerning us, as well as the cash crisis will be discussed," said Matombo.

But sources last week said the ZCTU was likely to stage a
demonstration capitalising on the anger among ordinary people over the acute
disruption of their lives wrought by the cash crisis. Many have spent days
in queues but still failed to get the much-needed cash.

Matombo said the ZCTU wrote to Gono before the Christmas holiday to
tell him that the cash crisis was not only hurting the economy, but was
affecting households as people were spending hours in bank queues.

Matombo said the ZCTU had still not received a response from Gono.

"At the meeting, there shall be a resolution on whether it helps for
us to see him (Gono)," Matombo said.

Despite the introduction of three new bearer cheques — $250 000, $500
000 and $750 000 and the extension of the life of — $200 000 bearer notes,
which would have been demonetized 31 December, banking queues are still

The situation is likely to get worse this week when schools open and
civil servants begin accessing their January advance salaries.

Analysts say Gono will be the casualty of the cash crunch as Zanu PF
scrounges for votes ahead of the synchronized March elections.

Gono enjoys President Robert Mugabe’s backing but with diehard members
of the party baying for his blood, the cash crisis has provided them with a
huge opportunity to oust him, analysts say.

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AirZim, ministry divided over Madombwe's future

Zim Standard


CONFUSION surrounds the fate of Oscar Madombwe, Air Zimbabwe former
acting group chief executive officer, with the board and parent ministry
having opposing views on his future.

Madombwe has been on an indefinite paid leave since September last

Christopher Mushowe, the Minister of Transport and Communication, told
a government-controlled daily the CEO was no longer part of the Air Zim
family as he had lost the post.

Madombwe came second best when the Air Zim board appointed Dr Peter
Chikumba as substantive group CEO in February.

Mushohwe reportedly said Madombwe had not applied for other posts
within the airline when they were advertised.

But Air Zim board chairman Mike Bimha was singing from a different
song sheet.

"He (Madombwe) is still with Air Zimbabwe," he told The Standard on

He added: "What I told you hasn’t changed."

When told that Mushohwe had said Madombwe was no longer part of Air
Zim family, Bimha referred this reporter to the minister who was not
immediately available for comment.

His office said Mushohwe was on leave and would only return "in the
first week of February".

His mobile number was unreachable.

Last year, Bimha told a parliamentary portfolio committee that the
board had reached an "amicable" agreement with Madombwe: he would go on a
sabbatical after which his future would be decided.

Madombwe was supposed to revert to his old post as head of National
Handling Services, a subsidiary of the Air Zim group, but had said he wanted
a more challenging job, Bimha said in October.

Madombwe is now tipped to head Air Zim Passenger Company, a
wholly-owned subsidiary of the group with a human resources expert insisting
that "anyone who was fit to head the group qualifies to lead any subsidiary
of that group".

Leo Mugabe, Transport and Communications portfolio committee chairman
told The Standard Madombwe was still employed by Air Zimbabwe.

"We are a serious committee and if someone lies to us we will take
that person head on," Mugabe said.

He said submissions made to the portfolio committee showed that
Madombwe was an Air Zim employee.

Theories abound that the pilot is being "punished" for compiling an
adverse report to the board that the airline should not buy Russian-made
passenger planes as they were not safe.

A subcommittee chaired by Chitungwiza Senator Forbes Magadu was
appointed in October to "investigate" Madombwe’s forced leave. The
subcommittee includes Harare Central MP Murisi Zwizwai, Mutoko Senator
Edmund Jacob and Chikomba MP Musekiwa Chiurayi.

Observers say differences between the board and the ministry were
unfortunate at a time the airline said it was embarking on a turnaround
exercise to remove the "bad boy" tag it had earned after a series of

In a report presented to Parliament last month, the portfolio
committee recommended that the Ministry of Transport and Communications
scale down its day-to-day running of Air Zim and the Civil Aviation
Authority of Zimbabwe, "restricting itself to providing policy guidelines".

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Kenya crisis: defining moment for Africa

Zim Standard


IF, by this time next week, the political crisis in Kenya has not been
resolved, aided by a group of distinguished, influential Africans, the
continent can start lowering its sights on all fronts.

The economic and political stability that seemed attainable as we
ended 2007, and the prospects of progress forecast by many independent
agencies, including those of the United Nations, will have to be revised

Once again, the continent will have failed to rescue from the jaws of
destruction a country that had made remarkable strides in maintaining
political and economic equilibrium after the advent of democracy.

Under both the founding president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and his
successor, Daniel arap Moi, Kenya was a virtual one-party state. Only under
a politically reformed Mwai Kibaki did it become a full-fledged democracy.

Many will be reminded of the disaster that befell Cote d’Voire a few
years after the death of President Felix Houphouett-Boigny, the founding

That once oasis of peace in a poliftical desert of military coups and
counter coups exploded into death and destruction.

It took years for peace and stability to return, helped by both Africa
and Europe.

The reconstruction will take years and the wounds inflicted on
national unity might take even longer.

What of Kenya? President Mwai Kibaki cannot be unaware that his hold
on power started slipping when corruption seemed to overwhelm his
administration, as it has done to Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.

Kibaki cannot be unaware that to many African political analysts he
was turning out to be the stereotype of the African leader, the "caricature"
once described by Archbishop Desmond Tutu about another African leader
nearer home.

But it is fruitless now to play the blame game: hundreds have been
killed in Kenya, thousands rendered homeless. Every effort must be made to
end the bloodshed and both Kibaki and Raila Odinga must recognise that they
are at the centre of a defining moment in African political history.

Somalia, the DRC, Sudan (Darfur), Eritrea-Ethiopia, Uganda, the
Central African Republic and Chad are among countries in which there is
strife today.

Yet to counter them are Liberia, Sierra Leone, Angola, Mozambique and
Madagascar where once there was bloodshed, but where peace and stability now

Hundreds of thousands died in those countries, almost all of them

Some of the bloody conflicts were ended with African and international
assistance. In all of them, a pragmatic, give-and-take strategy was adopted
by the combatants, leading eventually to compromise.

Kibaki and Odinga must embrace that strategy hastily if they are not
to consign their country to a fate similar to Somalia and the DRC, the
worst-case scenarios.

For Zimbabwe, on the verge of its own elections, caution is the
watchword. Most elections since 1980 have more or less resulted in violence,
some of it leading to death, particularly in 2000 and 2002.

Fortunately, there has never been anything on the scale of the Kenyan
bloodbath, except Gukurahundi. Yet it is unwise to dismiss out of hand the
likelihood of a change of fortune.

This time around the stakes are quite high as younger people are
hoping to replace an aging leader whose tenure of office since independence
has brought this country to a state of political and economic penury
unprecedented in its history.

We too should look to Kenyan and African leaders to make this a
defining moment for Africa – no more bloodshed caused by selfish,
power-hungry leaders.

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How to cheat the ballot camera

Zim Standard

  Sunday Opnion By Bill Saidi

TICHAONA Jokonya will be remembered by many journalists as the
Minister of Information and Publicity whose life was cut short before he
could undo some of the damage inflicted on the media by others before him.

Not many could claim the gift of clairvoyance to have predicted the
exact nature of his revolution on a persecuted, perennially pulvarised and
pole-axed media.

Yet from the little we could glean from his public statements on the
jagged plateau of the media landscape created by that would-be rocket
scientist, Jonathan Moyo, his heart seemed to be in the right place.

Imagine: he spoke openly of how he intended to virtually behead the
Hydra-like monster called the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act.

Jokonya died in June 2006, in his suite in a five-star hotel in
Harare, as he prepared for a top-level meeting with key members of his staff
in his rural home of Chikomba, Mash East.

Most of his admirers latched on to a conspiracy theory. Those
frightened of his plans to "de-Moyo" the media had "done him in", they
alleged, as plainly as his predecessor had tried to snuff the life out of
the free media.

AIPPA had nearly castrated the independent media. It was still alive
and well, but in many ways it had become weak, unable to rise and be counted
among the champions of democracy.

There has never been evidence that Jokonya was the victim of foul
play. If anybody is concealing that incriminating testimony, may their soul
burn in hell.

For all his good intentions, Jokonya had some weird notions on our
political landscape. For instance, he was scathing of urbanites whose view
of the rural folk was of political dumb-bells, simpletons led by the nose by
the slick, fast-talking charlatans exemplified by some Zanu PF activists.

He said it was a slur on their character to portray them as the
typical Zanu PF voter — unquestioning zombies, blinded by a misplaced faith
in the honesty of the former guerillas.

Jokonya did not refer to an incident which would have shaken his
defence of the rural folk. Most must believe the Zanu PF propaganda that
every voting booth has a hidden camera recording the identity of the
candidate they vote for.

So, even if they believed in the opposition platform of ending
state-sponsored corruption and terrorism, they dare not vote for it. Their
headmen or women instruct them to vote for Zanu PF — or else the camera in
the sky would expose their betrayal.

Urban voters know better.

Yet cheating that camera is as easy as . . . eating sadza/isitshwala.

All they need is to create a giant smokescreen in the booth. Is there
a law against smoking in the booth? Someone could puff away as they cast
their ballot.

How about dancing and ululating before casting your ballot? Is there a
law against that? As you whirl around like a demented shaman, you could
contrive to sneak the paper into the box.

What if, on entering the booth, you went into a trance, chanting an
incantation to the spirits of your departed ancestors, throwing up your arms
in the air, in a wild plea to them to guide you in this, your hour of
greatest need?

Is there a law against that?

The camera could capture some of this choreography, but not all of it,
not enough to identify who you voted for.

Seriously, Zimbabweans in general had not taken elections as seriously
as they ought to — until 2000. That election virtually demystified the
voting booth. There was no Frankenstein monster waiting for the voter in
there, watching them with a bleary eye, waiting for them to vote the wrong

The voting booth, the voters discovered, held no mysteries, no
secrets, no Zanu PF women members disguised as wraiths, wailing in eerie
voices for them to vote for the party or face eternal gnashing of teeth in
some dungeon deep in the bowels of Zanu PF headquarters.

Still, we don’t take elections as seriously as the Kenyans do, or as
fanatically as many United States citizens do.

What Zanu PF did after 2000 was to create a phalanx of laws which it
believed could bludgeon the opposition and its perceived media allies into

That didn’t happen, even after Moyo called journalists "terrorists",
an epithet probably designed to terrorise them into committing harakiri out
of guilt.

Now, in a series of elections being staged like a jamboree, Zanu PF
hopes to eliminate the opposition altogether, by either The Mother of All
Election Rigging, or good, old-fashioned bashing.

Unless the rural folk now know how to cheat that camera in the sky.


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Democracy without wealth, the Gordian knot in African politics

Zim Standard

  Reflections with Dr Alex T Magaisa

A key structural weakness of aspiring African democracies is rooted in
an old paradox, which, almost invariably, stifles them at birth. It is that,
on the one hand, democracy confers political power to an impoverished
political majority. On the other hand, the attendant neo-liberal economic
policies tend to restrict wealth in an elitist minority. There is,
therefore, a clash between a majority that is politically powerful but weak
economically and a powerful market majority that is weak in political terms.

Significantly, the political and economic gains of democracy are not
synchronised. Political power to the majority appears first but economic
gains tend to emerge in the long term. This gap between expectations and
reality causes a great amount of consternation among the impecunious
political majority and this inherent imbalance threatens the sustainability
of young democracies.

Whether there is a causal link between democracy and wealth is an old
question. High priests of democracy are in no doubt that there is a positive
causal connection. The economic success of Western democracies is often used
as an example, which stands in contrast to most poor nations. It is a
persuasive argument, though it conveniently ignores the weight of history —
that the economic prosperity is also a product of complex historical
dynamics, of which modern democracy is only a part.

These historical dynamics notwithstanding, the causal link between
democracy and wealth is regarded as palpable. Politicians, a breed that
thrives on hyperbole, tend to promise immediate material benefits based on
that causal link. What this message does, however, is to raise expectations
of the ordinary people, whereas in reality, the improvement of material
conditions is a more complex and long term issue.

The result is that even if a government is making decent progress on
the economic front, the impact on the ordinary people is less likely to be
felt in the immediate term. Electoral democracy, with its term limits,
provides little time for the economic gains to set in. Unsurprisingly, the
political majority will tend to use its power to oust the government. The
trouble is that this political majority is more likely to use this power to
elect a new but similar set of politicians, making similar promises.
Consequently, there is a persistent cycle of promises, frustration and
ouster but little economic development.

The frustrations of the poor political majority in South Africa are
directly related to the belief that they have not yet enjoyed tangible
economic benefits of democracy. This is despite the widely acknowledged
economic success steered by President Thabo Mbeki’s government. Figures from
Statistics South Africa show that economic growth over the last 5 years has
averaged around 4.5%. International financial institutions such as the IMF
acknowledge this economic progress.

This celebrated economic success notwithstanding, Mbeki lost the
election for the ANC presidency in December 2007. Other faults are pointed
out for his political demise, but the chief constituency of his opponents is
the poor section of SA society. In Mbeki’s place, they elected Jacob Zuma
who revels under the title of champion of the poor. They have used their
political power in the hope that Zuma will deliver economic success to their

Similarly, the chief grievance that confronted President Mwai Kibaki
in Kenya emanated from the belief that the new democracy had failed to bring
economic gains to the poor political majority. This large political
constituency used its political power to register its chagrin with his rule
in his first term. It is palpable that economic watchers have been puzzled
by this reaction. Only on 30 May 2007, the IMF Staff Mission issued a press
release, commending Kenya for its strong economic performance. The IMF
agreed with the Kenyan government’s positive projections for the economy in
the year 2007/8. But as recent events have shown, clearly, a large number of
Kenyans do not share the optimism of economic interpreters. These large
numbers on the periphery of the market economy have chosen to place faith in
Raila Odinga, who, like Zuma, trades on the title of champion of the

The democracy/wealth paradox in these two countries reverberates
across young African countries. Electoral democracy gives political power to
an impoverished majority but material gains take longer to materialise. Much
of the disappointment is about wealth disparities, especially when the gains
are restricted to the elites, who often engage in shameless conspicuous

In the growth trajectories, the force of democracy is more visible and
has immediate impact, whereas the force of economic change is slower and
less visible. The difficulty is that the opportunities for effecting change
in politics are much quicker, in that a government’s lifespan is only as
long as the next election. But any new government elected by the
impoverished political majority is likely to face similar expectations and
frustrations because the delivery the economic gains takes time. They may
find that, attempts to effect quick and radical wealth redistribution to
please the political majority are likely to offend the market majority and
upset the traditional macro-economic set up. Consequently, things can get
even worse.

Yet these repeated cycles of governmental change are unlikely to
produce sustained economic growth in the long term. The ordinary people are,
therefore, likely to remain perpetually poor and frustrated. Without wealth
to safeguard and aspirations to pursue, frustration tends to metamorphose
into violent conduct. Developing a culture that is conducive to the growth
of values that sustain a democracy cannot work in conditions of poverty and

A relatively wealthy society provides conditions to sustain a
long-term democracy. It is important to reduce the wealth gap between the
political majorities and the market majorities. Market majorities prefer
order and security and are vulnerable to the threat of poor political
majorities. It is therefore important to create incentives so that political
majorities and market majorities share the similar values and aspirations.
But can wealth redistribution be effected without stifling wealth creation?
Can South Africa bring immediate material benefits of the economic growth to
the poor political majority without upsetting the powerful market majority?

The poor political majority in South African may yet select Zuma for
the presidency in the hope that he will do more than Mbeki to bring home the
benefits of the strong economy. But Zuma himself will have no better example
than Zimbabwe, north of the border, on the perils of sudden, radical and
unplanned wealth redistribution. Whatever good intentions that the
Zimbabwean government had in attempting wealth-redistribution it committed
the cardinal mistake of doing so without having regard to the element of
wealth creation. Zimbabwe provides the lesson that it is suicidal to attempt
wealth redistribution whilst simultaneously stifling wealth creation.

If it is true that democracy creates the best conditions for wealth
creation, it must also be true that sustainable democracy requires certain
levels of wealth across society. It follows, in my view that the key to
creating stable democracies is to fight poverty and improve the economic
conditions of the ordinary people. The key to untying the Gordian knot is to
unlock wealth to the poor political majority, whilst reassuring the rich
market majority. This is a major challenge that confronts African democratic
movements, including Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change as it seeks
to become the next government in the forthcoming elections. A new era of
responsible politics requires that politicians create reasonable and
practical expectations among their supporters. Otherwise, they risk facing
similar backlash when in government, as events in South Africa and Kenya

Dr Magaisa is based at Kent Law School, UK and can be contacted at or

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A glimpse into the lives of Africa's geriatric dictators

Zim Standard

  sunday view by Brilliant Mhlanga

GIVEN the opportunity to traverse and write about Africa and her
dictators, I therefore, am forced to go ballistic. The opportunity to
traverse the troubled continent and possibly with another opportunity to
ponder and compare Africa’s diversity in cultures and people’s values on the
one hand and rich human resource on the other hand one is forced to ask:
where do we get it wrong?

This question and conclusion is reached even before one gets to take
stock of the human resource, talent and mineral wealth in a potentially rich
continent; a continent wallowing in a mixture of both poverty, on one side
of the ordinary masses and extreme wealth on the side of the ruling elite.
The latter have been referred to as state captors in Africa. Some of them
have had histories that spun decades in office, as they refuse to relinquish
power. It is these characters I will focus on in my deliberations on the
future of Africa and her possible travails.

A cross sectional analysis of Africa’s travails, past and present,
tells a deep and often sad story. I often sit around Pan-Africanists and
listen to their fantasies and glean the direction Africa would have taken if
all government practices had been reverted back to mere fantasies. At least
this is the state of affairs for most Pan-Africanists who have found
themselves being led by leaders whose geriatric state has become too
dangerous not only to themselves and the coterie of people around them, but
to their respective nations.

I wish to deliberate on those recently departed and alive. Imagine
leaders like; Togo’s late president General Gnassingbé Eyadéma, formerly
Étienne Eyadéma who managed to remain in power for 38 years and finally went
wild before his death. Those who knew him closely even confess high levels
of mental incapacitation; they say he had become so fuzzy to the extent that
he even tended to forget some of his ministers after a cabinet reshuffle.

But he still managed to cling to power and even died in office. At
least one common feature he shared with Robert Mugabe is the tendency to
talk to himself at old age. Some social psychologists have referred to that
condition as a return to the self; a dangerous state of mental warping
capable only of producing a self-serving individual without a tinge of

This is a child like state of mind. In such a state the nation and the
people are positioned last. That state is bad and is a feature of most
African leaders, surprisingly, when they are still in office.

Another beautiful country, Guinea, is led to this day by General
Lasana Conte. I remember vividly, while in West Africa, an exuberantly happy
Conte telling the masses in Guinea that their voices and wisdom have finally
triumphed by refusing Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir of Sudan an opportunity to
take the African Union chairmanship. Yet in the wisdom of all this
exuberance, General Conte was said to have personally driven to a maximum
prison to free a big thief convicted of corruption. The grapevine has it
that the freed criminal was his personal financier.

Conte has been in power for 23 years. He has enjoyed what the western
media terms "the steady economic growth and gradual return to democracy",
now typified by a drastic decline into a state of anarchy. On ascending to
power he won all the elections with reasonably wide margins, springled with
charges of electoral fraud and enjoyed some modicum of peace. At the
beginning of 2007, the country erupted in strikes and riots once more.
Unions claimed that he was now too old and erratic to govern. He was given
an ultimatum by his people, and in turn declared a state of emergency. Once
again, the army retaliated by killing people in the streets. Again another
sad story, the chapter is still not yet closed!

Not much has been said about Cameroon, a country with clearly
pronounced cleavages based on their colonial heritage; French and English
speakers. President Paul Biya, a christian and French speaker runs this
divided state with a heavy hand; of course, with the tacit approval of
France. Biya was initially tossed into office by Ahmadou Ahidjo in 1982.
Since then he has not relented. Instead he forced Ahidjo into exile in
France, and then in November 1983, he called for an early presidential

The presidential election was then held in January 1984. Surprisingly;
he was the sole candidate and won 99.98%. He has been in power since then
and turned seventy-four in February this year. He presents another
interesting character of a leader in Africa; vigorously ruthless to the
opposition and against any form of free speech. Those who have known him
closely even claim that his entry into office can be allegorised to the
story of the giraffe and the owner of the house in the cold desert.

When he first got into power, he is said to have sweet talked everyone
and showed positive shifts towards democracy, examples include his early
call for a presidential election in which he stood as the sole candidate,
and even called for relaxation of media laws. He challenged the media to
work with him in order to address the challenges facing Cameroon. It was
only at the end that the media woke up to discover they had been taken for a
serious political joy ride, and it was no longer feasible to turn back. Now
that he belongs to the geriatric ambit, he has even become more ruthless.

Then a quick glimpse at Ghana’s previous 50th Birthday celebrations,
when personified would show how Ghana has come of age. She can be likened to
an old doddering African who is getting older with "Mother Nature" not being
kind to her and with nothing to show for all the years spent on earth.
Imagine being in such a country with a few questions jostling in your mind
unanswered. On asking the Ghanaians they all seem to curse and end their
curses by saying, "My Brother Kwame Nkrumah is turning in his grave".

The mention of his grave sends a volley of questions again in my mind.
I am not sure which grave, really, considering that he died in exile and was
buried in Guinea, and later re-buried in Accra. Well, that is how people
tend to romanticise their past. On engaging a Professor from the University
of Ghana, he retorts by saying, "but the people celebrated Kwame Nkrumah’s
removal from office and subsequent demise. They even demonstrated it by
honouring General Kotoka for staging a successful coup. Hence the name
Kotoka Airport being given to their International airport".

However, the truth is that Ghana is in a very serious poor state,
maybe now that they recently discovered oil it will manage to spring up the
economy. Hopefully this new discovery will not see Ghana developing
kidnapping gangs in the fashion of Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

At the beginning of 2007, the media was awash with campaigns
enlightening the masses on the need to revise the currency. At least
Zimbabwe is not the only one although all the zeros have finally caught up
with us. In Zimbabwe our major problem is political intransigence displayed
by our leaders whose vision for the future has become so fuzzy to the extent
that they even do not know where they are heading.

* Continued next week

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Zim Standard Letters

No electricity, no water but we are still soldiering on

IT is after a long and painful wait that I have decided to write this
letter against my conviction that I would not want to embarrass people in
important positions whom I respectfully assume have the same sense of duty
and dedication to this great nation of Zimbabwe and its peace loving and
humble citizens as I have.

After a hard day’s work at a busy accident and emergency department of
one of the very few reliable hospitals left in Zimbabwe, I got home as usual
at 1645 hrs on a Saturday to find that we had been plunged in darkness
again. I assumed, wrongly so, that this was one of the usual power saving
exercises meant to share a scarce resource so the whole country can struggle
along until one day we get it right as a nation. Wasn’t I mistaken?

That was 10 November 2007. As one of the remaining patriotic
Zimbabwean doctors that have stayed on since qualification 20 years ago
today I told myself that I would not abandon my patients for anything,
especially in a country where the public health delivery system is tottering
on the brink of collapse.

I religiously carried on with my work, waking up to face a cold shower
in the morning, encouraging my 10-year-old son to do the same, coming back
in the evening to light a fire to prepare supper in total darkness. This did
not deter me from delivering my expected duties, for mine is that noble
profession whose reward is a pale shadow of nobility itself.

The monotony of darkness was only punctuated by the dry water taps and
a car that fails to start due to battery problems just to give my family
something different to think about. There are no new batteries from the
usual supplier. Where you get them they go for anything in excess of Z$500
million. Otherwise we would have been bored stiff.

Week two saw heaps of wrinkled clothes that needed pressing. Were it
not for the various survival experiences both as an SRB (strong rural
background) boy and as an ex-uniformed person I would have run out of
clothes to wear and look like a doctor.

Week three, darkness persisted. Schools were closing. What a relief.
So there would be no more homework by candle light for my son, who was
getting restless because of lack of entertainment. He had started singing to
himself just to avoid slumping into misery. There was not a word from Zesa
(that Zimbabwe Electricity Sometimes Available outfit). In my case I don’t
know what to call it.

Week four saw everyone else planning for the festive season. Money
issues aside, many were stocking up their refrigerators with that favourite
Christmas goodie, chicken. I had become a regular, daily grocery store guest
to buy perishable foodstuffs for the family.

Then came the Forestry Company ’s blanket ban on firewood. How

Christmas came and went and so did the New Year’s Day. Darkness
prevailed. It’s 53 (fifty three) days today, and still no electricity. By
the way, I am actually at work still attending to patients as usual. The
four major government central hospitals have been paralyzed by industrial
action since 20 December 2007. With the utmost dedication I worked
throughout the festive period. This picture illustrates the life at my place
as of 4 January 2008.

Suffice to say the street affected is about 300 meters from a senior
official in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.

Questions: Are people in my shoes being punished for something we are
not aware of? Is it really true that failure to buy the transformer which
packed up as a result of an oil leak is because of scarce foreign currency?
If it is, how then can we, as a nation afford 220 (two hundred and twenty)
brand new vehicles to help us convince the voting population that we care
when we fail to replace the odd transformer that fails? If one gives each
vehicle a conservative price of US$40 000, the total cost for the fleet
comes to US$8 800 000. Certainly, this should be enough to replace a number
of broken down units plus added security. How then can we convince, in our
flashy cars, that same population that they should vote us into office?
Would it not be cheaper and wiser to ensure quick replacement of faulty
equipment and thereby gain support to remain in office?

My plea is keep me and many other Zimbabweans in the light and you
have our total support. But as it is now, one never knows what goes on in
the dark. Moreover long hours of darkness are associated with depression.
One can never be trusted when their mind is unsettled.

Help me choose wisely. Give me some light!

Douglas M Gwatidzo



 Kunonga must step down

IT’S high time for the most controversial Anglican Bishop Kunonga to
step down and let peace prevail within the Church.

I think Bishop Kunonga is forcing himself there because of his
political affiliation. Bishop, you were fired. Period. So, step down. Do you
think it’s alright for people to pray under police guard?

Bishop Bakare was appointed by the higher office of the church. He
didn’t force himself there.

Bishop Kunonga, you must know that this is not Zanu PF, where a person
can get anything he or she wants by force. Let the rule of law prevail. Your
so-called supporters may in fact be CIO agents.

Lovemore Maseko

Durban, SA

 Reinstate our mayors

THIS letter is on the Zimbabwe No Water Available (ZINWA). As we get
into the middlle of the rainy season, water pipes in most urban areas remain

ZINWA should hand back the water and sewerage system to the local
authorities. We would be better off then. We have suffered enough. Please do
something — whoever is responsible.

What is Ignatius Chombo saying about this? He is good at sacking
allegedly incompetent people. He must try to do something at ZINWA, such as,
for instance, reinstating our sadly missed mayors of Harare, Chitungwiza

Prince Nyoni


 How does the RBZ plan?

I REFER to your article "Why Gono’s Sunrise Turned To Sunset." I agree
that Gono failed dismally to plan. A clear indicator was that he boasted
that the RBZ had printed new notes worth $33 trillion. This was added to the
previous $67 trillion so that the value of notes in circulation would amount
to $100 trillion.

If the old $200 000 bearer notes constituted 98% of notes in
circulation, as Gono asserted, then the RBZ was supposed to print new notes
worth $65.7 trillion, just to replace the old $200 000 bearer notes. But he
chose to print only $33 trillion. I wonder how the RBZ plans!

Tambaudzai Kembo


 Delegitimising Mugabe endorsement the only option left to unseat him

THE endorsement of President Robert Mugabe as the "ruining" party’s
candidate for the 2008 elections confirms the dogma of "Bob infallibility"
within the ruling party. It is now more perceptible that there won’t be any
resolution to the national calamity from within Zanu PF.

These politicians still parade the spaghetti nature of their backbones
amidst the torment of ordinary people. In this setting the onus to unchain
Zimbabwe rests exclusively on democratic forces. The opposition may be
caught in a web of further endorsing Mugabe by participating in the
programmed poll.

With Mugabe’s confirmation as the devil’s advocate, history is bound
to replicate. Reminiscent of 2002 the geriatric leader will steal the
elections in broad daylight. The Southern African Development Community
(SADC) will endorse it but the broader international community will cry foul
and so the brutal cycle will commence. Can this be disputed?

Most citizens have argued for participation of the opposition in
circus elections on the assertion that there is no other alternative?
Definitely there is an untried option of a fully fledged total
delegitimisation process of the ruling establishment.

The partial attempt at total delegitimisation was through the senate
boycott and to date the current Senate has no legitimacy amongst the
generality of Zimbabweans. Elections have been tried since 2000 and the more
they have been tried the worse things have become. It should be explicit
that a total delegitimisation strategy like any struggle against a dictator
is no child’s play.

The first commonsensical step will be for the opposition forces to
re-unite and then move ahead with selection of one candidate (general) per
constituency from the president to the ward councillor. The scheme is to put
in place revolutionary structures that connect with the people as a
confidence-building gesture towards active boycott of elections. Opposition
forces must elect representatives geared up to lead a revolution from local
constituencies rather than to line up for plush vehicles in the august

The central demand will be a very new and democratic constitution that
guarantees a free and fair plebiscite.

The party representatives will act as centres of mobilization for
active boycott of the programmed polls. There should be vigorous battles
against such elections in each and every ward in order to stretch the state

Faced with this dilemma the ruining party will react imprudently and
may defiantly call for a state of emergency or claim victory which should
push activists to fortify the struggle and find the real final push until
Mugabe is forced to submit.

As the geriatric is cornered the opposition leadership should be
prepared to be in one of these: state house, hospital, prison or even in the
grave. It’s a call for sacrifice and in a revolution we can’t all expect to
see a new Zimbabwe.

We owe it to posterity. It’s time to be self-less and as a foot
soldier I will be home to join the total delegitimisation campaign until a
new constitution that guarantees free and fair elections is born much to the
chagrin of Mugabe .

Phillan Zamchiya

South Africa

 Conditions for enlisting youth in current struggle

THE possibility of a new
invigorated dispensation in Zimbabwe is slowly and progressively becoming
real — that is if events and sentiments in the political circles of late are
anything to go by.

As the youth we are very conscious of the dearth in the current
choices and are keenly but cautiously transforming ourselves to be the
drivers of any initiative that seeks to retard the accelerated
disintegration of Zimbabwe.

In this regard we have been faced by many probabilities, possibilities
and propositions that it has become necessary for us to define the terms on
which we can align with any new movement in Zimbabwe.

Anyone who wishes to include the youths and probably gain their
support should first of all define for us a number of points.

Firstly, there is need to clearly define the characters involved in
such an initiative. This way the youths get the chance to assess the
seriousness, commitment and eventually the level of trust they may render to
the cause of such a movement.

These characters should then lay out a proposed frame of interaction
with the youths. This should define the role the youths would play in the
movement. Would they be equal partners able to be given leadership
responsibilities or would they just be mere foot soldiers?

This definition of impending responsibilities allows for forecast of
abuse and misuse.

These characters again should categorically describe their mission in
Zimbabwe. What interests they are pursuing, whose agenda and for whose
benefit? Clearly no movement can prosper if based upon loose values.

Any movement that entertains hopes of solidarity from our generation
should value that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state whose independence shall
never be tempered with; Zimbabwe comes first, Africa second and the World
third; Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans, everyone else is a brother; Zimbabwe is
Zimbabwe by virtue of its boundaries, history and culture; and the voice of
the people of Zimbabwe is the voice of God.

Having satisfied the above, there arises the need to define the terms
of interactions within the movement. Whilst the basis of alliance is guided
by the above principles, it is important that there be a framework of
interaction between classes and races in the movement.

In this regard, what would be the terms of association between the
ordinary workers and the landowners/industrialists? Whose struggle would we
be fighting? Do we want to create employment or do we want give the
industrialists the chance to enable their business prosper at the expense of
the worker?

Any alliance to be built between us and the landowners/industrialists
should be aimed at strengthening the prosperity of the nation. As a
condition the movement should make an undertaking to reduce tax from the
current 45% to as low as 5%; that way the worker benefits from his toil.

Youths are very willing to participate in the struggle with anyone who
genuinely shares the same vision and values.

Freeman Chari


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