by Tafadzwa Mutasa Friday 15 January 2010
HARARE - A planned national strike by Zimbabwean state workers in February
would cripple public services and exert pressure on Harare's fragile
coalition which has a huge task of rebuilding a devastated economy, analysts
The strike is a major test for the power-sharing government of President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, two long-time foes who
came together last year to end a long-running political crisis.
On Wednesday, the country's three main unions representing government
employees, surviving on a monthly salary of $160, said they would down tools
within the next two weeks if their demands for a minimum wage of $630 were
But the government does not have that money and will not be able to meet the
demands, analysts said.
"There is no such kind of money in the country. One understands the
predicament the employees are in but at same time the reality is that their
demands cannot be met," John Robertson, an economic consultant said.
If the strike goes ahead, it would be the first against the coalition
government by the employees, who include teachers and nurses.
Since the formation of the unity government, teachers had returned to work
while state hospitals were admitting patients again as nurses and junior
doctors resumed their duties.
Zimbabwe had in the past few years saw strikes by nurses and state doctors
over low wages while teachers abandoned classes to take up jobs in
neighbouring South Africa and Botswana, undermining what has for the past
thirty years been one of the best education systems in the world.
But the government, grappling to convince international donors to pump $10
billion for the economy to fully recover, finds itself having to cajole the
employees in the next two weeks to stop the damaging strike from going
The government is already under pressure from supporters of the two main
political parties, ZANU PF and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) over the
slow implementation of the September 15 2008 political agreement, which
critics blame for slowing inflows of donor money.
"This (strike action) was always going to happen. There has been a lot of
expectation on the delivery of this government but people now realise that
it will take a long time before the economy fully recovers to sustain such
wage demands," John Makumbe, a political commentator and a critic of
Mugabe's rule said.
"Nonetheless it is bad news for those in government, certainly for the MDC,
who all along have enjoyed goodwill. They risk being painted with the same
brush as ZANU PF," he added.
Zimbabwe's government wage bill gobbles up 60 percent of total collected
revenues but constrained inflows from taxes makes it difficult for any
significant wage hikes.
The government says it can only offer a top salary of $236, which has been
rejected by the state employees, whose unions say they have no choice but to
strike to press for more pay.
"Our members are suffering, we cannot pay our bills, the tariffs are higher
than our wages," Cecilia Alexander, president of the Public Service
Association, an umbrella body for all civil servants said this week.
Teachers in government schools have been attending classes but were not
conducting lessons in protest against the slow pace of wage negotiations
with the government.
The coalition government says it has managed to stabilise the economy,
mainly by dumping a worthless Zimbabwe dollar that was decimated by
inflation, which peaked at 500 billion percent in December 2008.
The economy grew 4.7 percent last year, the first time in a decade and
growth is expected to quicken to 7 percent this year while inflation remains
in single digits.
Investors and Western donors are, however, holding out for signs that the
unity government will last and watching if Mugabe is ready to genuinely
share power with Tsvangirai and institute broad reforms.
"I think they should just resolve this amicably, the workers should also
understand that the government is struggling to raise money so they should
temper their demands," said Mercy Makoni, a mother of three whose two
daughters attend government schools.
"No one once to go back to 2008, that would be very sad for our education
sector," she said. - ZimOnline
by Simplicious Chirinda Friday 15 January 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's constitutional committee wants the country's three main
political leaders to issue joint statement denouncing political violence in
order to reassure citizens they will not be victimised for expressing their
views about the way they want to be governed.
Douglas Mwonzora, one of the three chairmen of the Constitutional
Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) driving the reforms, told ZimOnline on
Thursday that his committee would request that President Robert Mugabe,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara make the
public statement on behalf of their parties.
"The management committee is working on the matter that all political
parties should make a clear statement against violence," said Mwonzora. "Our
humble request is that the political principals publicly and jointly
denounce violence in all its forms and help us minimise it in this process."
Mwonzora, a member of Tsvangirai's MDC party, had earlier on Wednesday told
ZimOnline that a culture of fear permeating Zimbabwe after years of
political violence and intimidation could hamper free debate during the
He said sections of the population were still in shock after unprecedented
electoral violence in 2008 that is said to have left at least 200 MDC
supporters dead and thousands of dead, adding many people could find it
difficult to express their views and ideas they want included in the
proposed new constitution for fear of retribution.
Should Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara agree to issue the joint statement
it would be the first time that the three rivals - who only agreed to form a
coalition government under pressure from southern African leaders - would
have spoken with one voice against political violence that has continued in
parts of the country despite formation of the unity government.
For example reports earlier this week quoting officials of Tsvangirai's MDC
party said militant supporters of Mugabe's ZANU PF party have launched a
fresh campaign of intimidation against villagers in parts of the Midlands
and in Mashonaland East provinces.
ZANU PF has not reacted to the reports although Mugabe's party has in the
past denied that its members are responsible for violence.
The proposed new constitution is part of the requirements of a September
2008 power-sharing deal between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara that gave
birth to the Harare coalition government last February.
The new governance charter will pave way for free elections although there
is no legal requirement for the unity government to call new polls
immediately after a new constitution is in place.
Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will guarantee human rights, strengthen
the role of Parliament and curtail the president's powers, as well as
guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms. - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondents Friday 15 January 2010
HARARE - State security agents threatened and chased away a government chief
law officer after she asked how gun dealer Peter Michael Hitschmann - who
says he was brutally tortured by the agents -- was injured, Zimbabwe's High
Court heard on Thursday.
Hitschmann is the state's chief witness in the treason trial of Roy Bennett,
a top aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who is accused of plotting to
assassinate President Robert Mugabe.
But Hitschmman says he was tortured into signing a statement incriminating
Bennett, while the state claims the gun dealer freely gave the statement and
wants him declared a hostile witness for seeking to disown the document that
is vital to the prosecution's case.
Narrating how he was tortured, Histchmann told the court that he was kept in
leg irons and handcuffs round the clock for 15 days and was denied food,
while being regularly assaulted. He suffered serious injuries during the
torture sessions but was denied treatment by his captors, Hitschmann told
Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, hearing the matter.
Pointing towards chief law officer in the Attorney General's office Florence
Ziyambi, who is part of the prosecuting team, the arms dealer said: "I will
never forget that she at least tried to ask what had happened to me but was
again ultimately threatened and chased away."
Commenting on a video shown to court by Attorney General Johannes Tomana in
which he is featured identifying various weapons and admitting that they
were bought with money supplied by Bennett, Hitschmman said the recording
was made after he had been severely tortured.
"The people who caused this video to be filmed, your honour, are the very
people who tortured me," said Hitschmann, who told the court that the
security agents who tortured him were not members of the police.
"Why is it my face is not showing throughout the video?" asked Hitschmann.
"It is because the video is not genuine . . . "
The case resumes next Monday when Bhunu is expected to rule whether
impeachment proceedings should continue given that Hitschmann has said he is
not hostile to the state.
If Bhunu allows impeachment proceedings to continue and eventually declares
Hitschmann a hostile witness, this would pave way for the prosecution to
cross-examine the arms dealer on the key statement incriminating Bennett
that the gun dealer had sought to render irrelevant by disowning it in
The state accuses Bennett - treasurer in Tsvangirai's MDC-T party - of
plotting to overthrow Mugabe and that he deposited money into the Mozambican
bank account of Hitschmann to buy weapons to be used in the assassination
Bennett faces a possible death sentence if found guilty in a case that has
heightened tensions in Zimbabwe's fragile coalition government. - ZimOnline
January 15, 2010
By Our Correspondent
BULAWAYO - Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leaders Jennie Williams and
Magodonga Mahlangu have filed an application in the High Court against a
provincial magistrate's ruling. The application for refusal of further
remand of Williams and Mahlangu, who face charges of participating in
conduct likely to promote public violence, breach of peace or bigotry, was
dismissed last month by Bulawayo provincial magistrate, Phathekile Msipa
after the state prosecutor Lovemore Chifamba opposed the application.
Allegations against the two are that on October 16, 2008, in the company of
other women, allegedly gathered at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex un
Bulawayo singing and chanting slogans while aware that there was a real risk
or possibility of forcibly disturbing the peace, security and order in a
However on Thursday the pair through their lawyer, Kossam Ncube, of Kossam
Ncube and Partners, filed an application in the High Court arguing "that it
was a curtailment of the duo's liberty to be kept on remand indefinitely
whilst awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court".
The WOZA leaders also cited a letter received from the registrar of the
Supreme Court stating that "the matter in the lower court is automatically
suspended until a determination of proceedings is made by the Supreme Court".
They argued that the matter was heard in the Supreme Court on June 4, 2009
with the written ruling promised by July 7, but nothing had been forthcoming
Friday, January 15, 2010
By Felex Share
Education, Sport, Art and Culture Minister David Coltart yesterday urged all
concerned authorities in Government to put their heads together and urgently
solve the salary dispute before the 14-day notice for industrial action
given by civil servants expires.
This comes after negotiations between civil servants and their employer
ended in a deadlock on Tuesday after Government rejected demands for a
minimum salary of US$600 per month. Government said it was prepared to give
the lowest paid worker US$122, while the highest paid employee gets US$236.
Housing and transport allowances are not included, prompting the civil
servants to give their employer a 14-day ultimatum to meet their demands.
In an interview after meeting teachers' unions yesterday, Minister Coltart
said there was an urgent need for Government to solve civil servants'
grievances if the country's economy was to continue recovering.
He urged all teachers to continue reporting for duty, assuring them he would
be meeting Finance Minister Tendai Biti next Tuesday to deliberate on the
The Minister pledged to take the matter to Cabinet next week and promised to
meet teachers unions on January 26 for feedback, two days before the expiry
of the ultimatum.
"Our economy has been showing great signs of recovery and if we don't act
swiftly, we will go back to zero. I am calling upon all my colleagues in
Cabinet to put heads together for the development of the nation," said
He challenged Government to act on its parastatals, which he said, were
chewing up most of the civil servants' and other workers' salaries by
charging astronomical rates and fees.
"Government must find a way of making these parastatals like Zesa, TelOne,
city councils charge normal bills not what we are seeing at the moment. You
find bills exceeding US$800 and where will that kind of money come from?" he
Minister Coltart reiterated that while he understood the plight of the
teachers and the rest of the civil service, there was need for them to be
patriotic for the benefit of the children, who were victims of the economic
"I urge the teachers to report for duty in the next weeks as we try by all
means to work out a favourable plan for them. We know they have suffered for
long and we will run around to solve this," he said.
On payment of incentives to teachers by parents, Minister Coltart said while
Government devised a method to scrap them, his Ministry would set up an
Interim Policy Advisory Committee involving the teachers' unions.
He said the committee would work with teams from his Ministry and parents to
make sure guidelines were followed and the facility was not abused.
Teachers' unions urged all their members to report for duty and confirmed
they had a productive meeting with Minister Coltart.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Mr Raymond
Majongwe, encouraged his members to take up classes at least for the
stipulated two weeks.
"We are saying to our members we have suffered for too long, but let us just
sacrifice for two weeks and wait and see what they will offer. If they fail
to meet our demands then we would embark on a massive industrial action,"
said Mr Majongwe.
A Zimta official echoed the same sentiments saying not reporting for duty
before the ultimatum elapsed would be equal to predetermining Government's
GLOBAL medical charity organisation, Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) says
Zimbabweans crossing illegally into South Africa after spending the holidays
at home are being raped and robbed by gangs on both sides of the border
between the two countries.
Hundreds of Zimbabweans, who work in South Africa, have been crossing the
border daily over the past week after spending the Christmas and New Year's
holidays with their families back home.
However MSF, which is more widely known as "Doctors Without Borders" said
many are falling prey to criminal gangs adding its teams have treated 10
rape victims in just six days since the beginning of January.
The charity said last year about 15 rapes were reported each month while
injuries suffered during robberies also went up significantly.
Giuseppe Demola, who heads MSF operations at the main crossing at Musina,
attributed the spike in crime to the increased numbers of people crossing
the border due to the holidays.
"There are these gangs that ... are attacking almost systematically," he
said, adding both Zimbabwean and South African criminals were involved.
Demola called on South Africa to allow Zimbabweans to cross the border
freely saying this would help improve safety and reduce crime.
At present South Africa gives Zimbabweans a free 90-day visitor's permit
which also allows them to do casual work during their stay.
But travellers still need passports, which many of those crossing the border
illegally do not have either because they are too expensive or because the
Zimbabwe government takes too long to process them.
by Own Correspondent Friday 15 January 2010
JOHANNESBURG – South African police on Wednesday arrested 39 foreign
nationals, mostly from Malawi and Zimbabwe, for loitering near the
Johannesburg Central Methodist Church.
"The Johannesburg central crime prevention made the arrests during a normal
crime prevention operation," police inspector Gordon Billing told reporters
on Thursday, adding that the people, who included mothers with young
children, were asked to pay a R300 fine or appear in court on Thursday.
The arrests raised the ire of human rights organisations who condemned the
police action, saying it was aimed at "victimising and intimidating
vulnerable people . . . and threatens to drive them away".
"One of our patients was arrested while queuing outside the clinic waiting
to be treated. When we traced him to the Johannesburg Central Police Station
to follow up on his condition, we found two more patients in police
custody,"?? said Andreas Alga of the Doctors Without Borders clinic at the
Last July police arrested over 300 people near the church, causing an outcry
from human rights organisations who described those arrests as "heavy
handed" and said they were conducted as "part of a campaign to drive
homeless people out of the city centre".
The Johannesburg church offers refuge to more than 3 000 immigrants from
across Africa with the bulk of them Zimbabweans who continue to flock to the
sanctuary, fleeing their home country because of hunger and economic
The church reportedly receives up to 200 new arrivals from Zimbabwe per week
with the formation of a unity government between President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last February appearing to have done little
to stem the tide of Zimbabweans crossing the border to seek food and better
opportunities in their more prosperous southern neighbour. – ZimOnline
January 15, 2010
By Lucky Biyase
The Zimbabwean government is unfazed by a high court ruling that granted
AfriForum an order for leave to sue it for the return or compensation of
Zimbabwe's deputy attorney-general, Prince Machaya, yesterday said Harare
would reserve comment until the court papers were served.
"You can't stop someone from suing you. We will wait for the papers and see
what sort of relief they are seeking. We will take it from there," he said.
On Wednesday, Judge Neil Tuchtem granted Louis Fick, a South African and
former farmer in Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwean farmers Richard Etheredge and
William Campbell an urgent court order allowing them to register Southern
African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal rulings of 2008 with the high
court. This would allow the court to enforce the ruling.
Eighty farmers, including the trio, approached the SADC Tribunal in November
2008 seeking a declaratory order on the lawfulness of Zimbabwe's land reform
programme. The Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe alleged that the farm
grabs had often been accompanied by torture, looting and vandalism to
The tribunal found against the Zimbabwean government.
Tribunal Judge President Luis Mondlane ordered the Zimbabwe government to
stop the scheme as it was discriminatory and to compensate the farmers.
However, President Robert Mugabe dismissed that ruling as "nonsense" that
had "no consequence" for his country.
Willie Spies, AfriForum's legal representative providing legal support to
the farmers, said next month they would seek to register the amount that the
farmers were entitled to.
"We will look at the possibility of recovering the amount by attaching
Zimbabwean assets here in South Africa," he said.
He estimated that there were 300 farms involved.
Spies said article 32 of the tribunal protocol provided for its rulings to
be enforced in all SADC territories.
Chamaya said it remained to be seen how executable the ruling was in
Thursday, 14 January 2010 18:01
THE house that central bank governor Gideon Gono built over the past six
years is tottering on the brink of collapse, weighed down by under-funding,
a protracted labour dispute and failure to service debts, among a host of
other problems. The bank confirmed this week that its existence was under
Impeccable sources at the bank told the Zimbabwe Independent that Gono
created a "monster" that was now haunting the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
when he stitched a number of quasi-fiscal facilities since his appointment
in December 2003.
The facilities, among them, the Productive Sector Facility, Basic Commodity
Supply Side Intervention (Bacossi), Local Authorities Reorientation
Programme (LARP), the Farm Mechanisation Programme and the Agricultural
Support Enhancement Facility, were financed by printing money.
The quasi-fiscal activities, Gono argued, were meant to keep the country
limping and to bust economic sanctions.
But with the dollarisation of the economy last January, printing money was
rendered useless and the central bank's life blood dried leaving Gono with
no option but to turn to the treasury for funding.
Finance minister Tendai Biti has not been of much help to the central bank
as he has refused to adequately fund the RBZ arguing that there was need for
reforms at the bank and that there was need to clip the governor's wings.
A war of attrition between Biti and Gono worsened the situation and now the
bank's existence is under threat.
Sources told the Independent that the bank has operating without a board
since 2008 and Biti had not shown any urgency to appoint a new one.
The absence of a board, the sources said, had resulted in the central bank
failing to make crucial decisions to realign itself with the new economic
dispensation in the country.
The bank's last board was made up of Gono as chairperson and members, Grace
Chella, Clever Mumbengegwi, Mike Ndubiwa and Phineas Chihota. Its term of
office ended in December 2008.
Staff morale at the bank, the sources said, had reached rock bottom with the
top bank reportedly still paying its workers' salaries in the demonitised
Zimbabwe dollar piling in their bank accounts. Employees at the bank are
paid a US$150 monthly allowance.
This, the sources said, had resulted in the workers committee clashing on
several occasions with Gono -- who is the chairperson of the bank's works
The sources said the workers and the RBZ went for arbitration last year and
the bank was told to pay salaries in US dollars backdated to last July, but
could not do so because there was no board to ratify the ruling and the bank
The bank has a staff compliment of between 1 500 and 2 000 compared to less
than 500 workers when Leonard Tsumba was governor.
"Gono has told the workers that he cannot retrench them because the bank has
no money to pay packages," a senior manager at the bank said. "The opulent
life we enjoyed before dollarisation is gone and we are struggling to make
Workers at the bank have alleged that management has adopted a strategy of
frustrating them out of employment so that the RBZ would not incur any
expenses through payment of severance packages.
During the height of quasi-fiscal activities, central bank employees were
some of the best paid in the country and used to enjoy executive benefits
when executing their duties such as currency change under the Gono-coded
Sunrise 1 and 2 operations.
"The bank is also facing problems in servicing its debts," one of the
sources said. "The bank is facing litigation from various service
While the sources could not give figures on what the central bank owes its
creditors, the bank is reportedly facing eviction from premises it was
renting throughout the country after failing to pay rentals.
Some of its projects such as building of houses in the capital under its
Homelink facility have reportedly been halted and some of the properties
were now under the hammer.
So serious were the problems facing the central bank that the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) last October said the bank had continued to channel
statutory reserves to finance quasi-fiscal projects, which rendered it
incapable of backing up banks.
The multilateral financial institution said between January and August last
year, US$16,3 million from the bank reserves was used to finance non-core
activities that included financing Air Zimbabwe, paying presidential
scholarships and financing diplomatic missions.
The IMF also revealed that the central bank accrued operating arrears in
salaries, debts to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, pensions, communications
and courier services.
Gono defended the use of the reserves saying the central bank was yet to be
recapitalised by the treasury.
In response to several written questions from the Independent to the RBZ,
the bank's public relations executive Kumbirai Nhongo confirmed the bank was
under-funded, but refused to give further details.
"Whilst we can confirm that treasury is seriously under-funding the central
bank to levels that are now threatening the very existence of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe, itself a constitutionally enshrined institution, it would
be inappropriate for us to go into the operational issues that are under the
consideration of our principals in the global political agreement," Nhongo
said in written response. "We remain confident that objectivity and the
Zimbabwe-first spirit will prevail sooner rather than later."
Efforts to speak to Gono or Biti were in vain yesterday as they were
reportedly on holiday.
Last December, the central bank said it could no longer exercise its
function of the lender of last resort because of the under-funding by
The apex bank said this when banks were unable to dispense cash to clients
during the festive season.
"The central bank is being acutely under-funded by treasury leaving the
institution with no capacity to independently perform the
lender-of-last-resort function let alone afford to import currency for
banks," the RBZ said.
It said in 2009 it received US$1,5 million from treasury to cover all
operations, overheads and any other statutory obligations the bank had to
Biti and Gono have been engaged in a duel for the control of the country's
economic levers since the inclusive government was incepted last February.
Their war of attrition also divided politicians along party lines as
evidenced by the debate on the RBZ Amendment Bill last November.
The Bill was passed by the House of Assembly but faced resistance in the
Zanu PF-dominated Senate.
In the 2010 budget, the RBZ was allocated US$10 million for all its
operations including the "sustenance of the electronic payment system and
subscriptions to SWIFT service providers", a figure the bank said was too
Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:58
THE feuding MDC-T and Zanu PF are headed for a fresh clash over the
diplomatic post that will be left vacant when Zimbabwe's ambassador to South
Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, assumes fulltime the national chairmanship of his
party. According to an agreement reached by the two MDC formations and
Zanu-PF late last year, the allocation of diplomatic posts is to be decided
as and when vacancies arise.
The three parties agreed that the diplomatic vacancies would be shared
between MDC-T and MDC-M using a formula based on the March 2008 harmonised
However, it emerged this week that Zanu-PF has decided that Moyo would not
relinquish his position in Pretoria but will continue as the country's
ambassador while at the same time chairing the party from the neighbouring
Sources within Zanu PF said the party was not comfortable with allowing the
MDC-T to take control of the embassy in Pretoria, as Zanu-PF feared the
party would take advantage of the posting and use its ambassador to create
strong relations with the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
"Zanu PF does not want to let go of powerful diplomatic missions as they
feel that the MDC-T will have influence if it is offered diplomatic postings
in powerful countries," one of the sources said. "Zanu PF is also afraid
that an MDC-T ambassador in Pretoria will work towards creating strong links
between the MDC-T and the ANC, so Zanu PF wants Moyo to chair the party from
The source said Zanu PF was prepared to offer the two MDC formations any
postings in Europe.
Zanu-PF deputy spokesperson Ephraim Masawi however said whether Moyo stayed
or moved from Pretoria would depend on what the party leadership decides.
"The party leadership will decide whether there is more work at party
headquarters that will warrant Moyo leaving his diplomatic posting," Masawi
said this week. "If the workload is deemed too much, he will come back home
but if the party decides that he stays in South Africa he will stay there."
But MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the issue of who filled the
diplomatic posts in South Africa was not under debate.
"Entertaining debate on this matter is a waste of time as the parties agreed
on sharing the diplomatic postings and the vacant positions in Brussels and
in Pretoria should be filled by the MDC-T, this should not be a
grab-and-take all, it should be a give-and-take affair," Chamisa said.
Chamisa said Moyo should vacate the position in Pretoria as he was now in
the top echelons of leadership in Zanu-PF and thus should not hold a
diplomatic posting as the parties agreed that diplomats should be
"When we allow diplomats to be senior officials holding senior positions in
parties we risk having party interests subordinating national interests and
as Moyo is in the Zanu PF presidium he should leave his diplomatic job,"
However, the MDC-M and MDC-T have also appointed other senior party
officials as ambassador designates. Trudy Stevenson, a senior MDC-M member,
has been appointed Zimbabwe's ambassador to Senegal and has already been
deployed to the West African country.
The other four ambassadors nominated by the MDC-T formation to represent the
country abroad are Hebson Makuvise, Hilda Suka-Mafudze, Jacqueline Nomhla
Zwambila and Mabed Khumbulani.
Makuvise has been assigned to Germany, Zwambila to Australia, Mafudze to
Sudan and Khumbulani to Nigeria.
The four held various senior positions in the party before their posting.
Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:55
FACED with a critical shortage of lecturers at learning institutions,
government is set to increase the retirement age of lecturers to 70 in a
desperate bid to retain staff. Currently, the retirement age is pegged at
A new five-year economic blueprint, the Medium Term Plan (MTP), indicates
that the education sector is in distress and needs urgent revival.
Part of the policy measures to save the sector from collapse includes the
scaling up of retirement age for lecturers.
The MTP reads: "Move the retirement age of lecturers to 70 years and involve
retired lecturers on a flexi-time basis whenever they are required."
Education is one of the sectors greatly affected by the brain drain as
qualified personal have migrated to neighbouring countries in pursuit of
According to MTP, as of May last year the University of Zimbabwe had an
establishment of 1 171 but only 385 posts were occupied leaving 786
vacancies while National University Of Science and Technology had a staff
complement of 232 against 493 required.
Bindura, Lupane, Great Zimbabwe, Midlands State University and Harare
Institute of Technology had a combined shortfall of 615 lecturers.
All polytechnics countrywide had a combined workforce of 1 043 workers
against a requirement of 2 630 while teachers colleges had 803 staff but 1
348 where needed.
Apart from workers migrating, the document also attributes staff shortages
to high HIV and Aids prevalence, deteriorating educational infrastructure
and equipment at institutions, prohibitive distances, especially in newly
resettled areas coupled with poor remuneration and working conditions.
Government has also set ambitious targets to be achieved by 2015.
It plans to "reduce teacher-pupil ratio at primary schools from 1:35 to 1:28
by 2015, reduce textbook-pupil ratio at primary school from 1:8 to 1:1 by
2015 and increase literacy rate from 88,4% to 98% by 2015."
Education minister David Coltart last year appealed to the private sector to
partner the inclusive government in its efforts to revive the sector as
there was a shocking shortage of study materials, with some schools only
equipped with one textbook per class in any given subject.
He revealed that at rural schools the ratio of students sharing textbooks is
1:30 while in urban areas it is mostly 1:15. Under the 2010 national budget,
education was allocated $13,8 million for teaching materials, $28,15 million
for cooperating partners (to be administered by Unicef), and $1,32 million
for vehicles for education inspectors.
Parliament's Education, Sports and Culture Portfolio Committee last December
submitted a report expressing concern on the budget allocation saying "the
amount allocated to the Education ministry falls far too short of the
minimum required to enable the ministry to discharge its mandate at the most
Government is also worried with the high rate of females dropping out of
"In 2006 a total of 30 359 primary school pupils dropped out of school while
at secondary school a total of 21 190 dropped out of school of whom 51% were
female" the committee says.
Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:46
BULAWAYO City Council is on a collision course with war veterans following
Monday's eviction of more than 100 families who occupied a municipal farm.
Controversial Zanu PF member Lillian Kandemiri, led the invasion of
Umganwini Council farm in 2008 and parcelled it out to more than 300 people
for a fee.
Since the invasion of the vast farm adjacent to Emganwini high-density
suburb, council has been battling to evict Kandemiri who claimed to have
protection from Zanu PF bigwigs in the province.
The council sought an eviction order at the High Court against the invaders
after police refused to intervene.
In its latest council minutes, the municipality said Donnington Police
Station had been given "the eviction order from the courts. However, they
were still consulting before they gave council a date to remove squatters
from Emganwini Farm".
It is not clear who the police were consulting.
The eviction order was granted late last year.
On Monday municipal officials together with the police burnt down illegal
structures including that of Kandemiri and evicted the occupants.
Kandemiri, a former nurse, was taken away by police and briefly detained at
Donnington Police Station.
The illegal settlers were ferried to various destinations where they were
dumped by council authorities.
War veterans in Bulawayo this week vowed to confront council accusing it of
taking a "political decision in evicting landless people".
George Mlala, a war veterans leader in Bulawayo, said their efforts of
engaging the municipality have been thwarted.
"Several attempts of engaging the mayor (Thaba Moyo) have been in vain. He
is fully booked, we are told. Council has created a humanitarian crisis that
has roped in Matabeleland South province," he said.
The illegal settlers were dumped 10 km away.
Mlala said they would "take appropriate action" if council authorities
refused to meet them.
Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:20
RETIRED army general, Edzai Chimonyo, yesterday approached the High Court in
Harare seeking to quash a ruling by the same court last week ordering him to
vacate Fangundu Farm (Pvt) Ltd, which he occupied over the festive season.
Judgement in Chimonyo's appeal will be handed down today by Justice Joseph
Fangudu Farm, a banana plantation in Burma Valley, south east of Mutare, is
owned by Matanuska (Pvt) Ltd, a farming entity whose shareholders are
Malaysian and Dutch property investors. Their company, Property Route Toute
BV, is registered in The Netherlands and recognised and approved as an
investor through the Zimbabwe Investment Centre Act.
Chimonyo, Zimbabwe ambassador to Tanzania, was last week ordered by Justice
Tedious Karwi to vacate Fangundu Farm after ruling that his occupation of
the banana plantation was illegal.
But the former army general appears to be digging in. His lawyers, Antonio &
Mlotshwa challenged the ruling on the grounds that they were not aware of a
court application lodged against the ambassador by Matanuska.
Gerald Mlotshwa said: "There was a provisional order against my client last
week. My client was not served with any papers so he was not aware of the
case. So we want the order to be set aside on that basis."
David Drury, who is representing Matanuska, confirmed the new development.
The appeal by Chimonyo came as it emerged the Malaysian and Dutch investors
were due in Harare any day to register their displeasure with government
over the occupation of their banana plantation by the retired army general.
The occupied property is protected under a Bilateral Investment Promotion
and Protection Agreement which protects foreign investment.
An official from Matanuska revealed on Wednesday that a four-man delegation
was due to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Harare any day this week to meet with
"A board meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the situation here in
Zimbabwe and it was resolved that a four-man team be dispatched to meet with
officials from the government of Zimbabwe over the issue," said the official
who declined to be named.
The official said individuals believed to be soldiers were still camped at
Fangundu Farm despite the court ruling ordering them to vacate the property
but they had since stopped harvesting bananas from the occupied plantation.
Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:14
WHEN Mbada Diamonds published an advert in a local newspaper in December
showing off the installation of a mechanised plant in Chiadzwa with pictures
of impressed government officials looking on, all seemed to be going well in
the partnership to exploit precious stones. And when the company announced a
diamond sale last week, it was taken for granted that Mbada and its
government partners had agreed on the auction.
The advertisement also unveiled a corporate logo of Mbada, a leopard perched
on a big sparkling diamond. (The word mbada is Shona for leopard.)
But the bling was losing its sparkle. Behind closed doors government
officials and other concerned parties were trying to make heads and tails of
what Mbada had in mind.
According to Mines secretary Thankful Musukutwa last week, government was
not happy with the auction debacle. They had been left out of the loop.
Mbada’s announcement was not without a sweetener –– government was promised
Elsewhere, shareholders would have been smiling all the way to the bank
considering that the project had only operated for a month. But the lure of
the dividend was apparently not that strong for government.
In the advert Mbada said it was committed to lifting Zimbabwe’s economy from
The company cited Botswana where diamonds had spurred economic growth for
decades as a case in point.
On the day before the auction, Mhlanga told state daily, the Herald, that
the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), the Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation (ZMDC) and police were involved in the sale.
Ironically, MMCZ, ZMDC, and the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Minerals Unit all
got a surprise when they learned of the intended sale in a newspaper article
and made inquiries.
But the officials were reportedly told to expect a handsome dividend after
the sale, so the report goes.
Naturally, teams from concerned institutions ––MMCZ, Mbada and ZMDC –– would
need to grade the precious stones and place value on different lots and
The reports get even more scandalous.
Then acting Mines minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is said to have learnt of the
diamond sale like the rest of the public –– in a newspaper.
Mines minister Obert Mpofu has also washed his hands of the event and now
professes ignorance of the announced auction.
So who authorised the sale?
Mbada chairman Robert Mhlanga danced around the questions during a press
conference last week. After the conference, he said: “I cannot comment after
the permanent secretary has spoken.”
Essentially he denied jumping the gun and offered no serious defence for his
Could there have been a secret agreement with the authorities?
Had the auction gone ahead, Mbada’s valuations of the diamonds would have
carried the day.
Experts say this could have seen diamonds going for a song –– or opening
doors to corruption.
More worryingly, the diamond lot, over 300 000 carats, were flown in to
Harare International Airport from Chiadzwa without police supervision,
according to Musukutwa. Analysts say this also created room for corruption
by having some of the load diverted to other destinations before they
The government official disputed that Mbada Diamonds “involved” MMCZ, the
police and ZMDC.
Musukutwa claimed that Mbada’s statement announcing a diamond auction had
caused a lot of “anxieties in various stakeholder communities”.
Musukutwa said: “The due process for selling diamonds produced in Zimbabwe
involves the MMCZ, ZRP Minerals Unit, Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development, and ZMDC where diamonds from Marange are concerned. In the case
of Mbada Diamonds, this process is yet to happen.”
Mhlanga had earlier claimed: “The entire process of mining, transportation
to marketing is being done in compliance with the requirements of the
Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). The sales and marketing
offices are jointly manned and controlled by teams from both government and
But Mbada can be forgiven for thinking that government only needs a dividend
and no presence at the mine.
The company was given explicit marketing rights, according to the
joint-venture agreement. Mpofu on the other hand did not second ZMDC or MMCZ
officials to the Mbada board.
The MMCZ’s job is to certify the sale and ensure that the sale is in
compliance with KPCS standards.
The public was left wondering who was telling the truth.
Could Mhlanga have been spinning a yarn to the media or could it be
Musukutwa? Assuming that government, keen to pocket a promised dividend from
the operation, lied to the public, what ends would this have achieved?
And given that governments around the world are not the greatest purveyors
of the truth, the truth in the diamonds case may never be known.
As our investigations got underway, a lot of contrasting information came to
It emerged government has no presence at the mine. With no representative on
the ground, government has no idea how much Mbada is mining.
The closest representation the government mining group had on the mine was
through former Mbada CEO Alex Mukwekweza, a former ZMDC business development
executive initially seconded to represent the company in the joint venture.
He is said to have resigned from Mbada under yet unclear circumstances. On
paper, Mukwekweza was supposed to be on ZMDC’s side but in practice he
answered to a board constituted by New Reclamation Group.
Apart from that, production reports do not come government’s way. So how
does government know if its partners are honest or not?
Mpofu did not help the situation. Last year MMCZ and ZMDC officials were not
seconded to the board.
Instead, Mhlanga, who is a shareholder in Mbada, was seconded as a
government representative, according to our investigations.
Those in the know say MMCZ and ZMDC officials were told off and promised a
dividend after poking their noses in the sale.
Mbada says its two plants have a processing capacity of 150 tonnes of ore an
hour. According to those in the know, the company should be recovering
around 20-30 carats per tonne.
But again no one knows for certain.
Murowa Diamonds, another diamond producer, announces production reports
quarterly and has not stirred controversy. If anything, according to
observers Murowa is a sparkling example of how to mine diamonds.
But then New Reclamation, unknown in diamond mining until the Chiadzwa deal,
is no stranger to controversy. Last year the scrap metal company was fined
R146 million for its role in a national cartel which allegedly fixed the
price of ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal products.
The administrative penalty, which represents 6% of Reclamation’s annual
turnover in the affected markets, is the largest uncontested fine imposed by
the Competition Commission of South Africa to date.
They have also been linked to shady scrap metal deals at Zimbabwe Iron and
Until Mbada conforms to the KPCS standards, and a transparent process of
mining, transportation and sale of Chiadzwa diamonds the nation will remain
sceptical of its intentions.
Thursday, 14 January 2010 15:38
THE signing of bilateral investment promotion and protection agreements
(Bippas) is a sign that the host country is committed to attracting foreign
direct investment (FDI), but there may still be a number of impediments
which hinder the flow of FDI into a country. Zimbabwe has only six effective
Bippas, five of them ratified 12 years ago, oldest with Germany, coming into
effect in February 1996.
In 1998 Zimbabwe ratified Bippas with China, Denmark, Namibia, Switzerland
and Yugoslavia and more were signed after 2000 but they await ratification
to have legal effect.
There is a three-stage process before a Bippa comes into effect. These steps
include negotiation, signing of the agreement and finally is the
ratification, which gives it legal effect.
Bippas are designed to encourage investor confidence by setting high
standards of investor protection applicable in international law.
Key elements which are usually contained in the agreements include
provisions for equal and non-discriminatory treatment of investors and their
investments, compensation for expropriation, transfer of capital and
returns, and access to independent settlement of disputes.
Last year Zimbabwe signed a Bippa with South Africa which has raised a
number of issues with one side seeing a lot of opportunities which would
come with the signing. On the other hand, there are pessimists who question
the commitment of the Zimbabwean government in protecting investments.
The sceptics have had their argument buttressed by the treatment of Nestlé
Zimbabwe which was under threat from monetary authorities, indigenous
businesspeople and political party activists who wanted the dairy processing
company to accept milk from a company owned by First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Nestlé should have enjoyed all the protections specified under Bippas as it
is owned by a Swiss company which is one of the six countries which has
ratified investment agreements.
Problems at Nestlé came at a time when the ink on the Bippa with South
Africa had hardly dried, which invited further criticism of the readiness of
Zimbabwe to honour such instruments.
South African businesspeople were hopeful that the Bippa would give them the
necessary protection and footing to contribute towards the rebuilding of the
After all, these were companies had enjoyed close to a decade of growth at a
time when local companies were sliding down.
As the Murray & Roberts (South Africa) executive, Caswell Makama, pointed
out, these agreements should give them the comfort that their investment was
“If they say a tender should be granted to the lowest tenderer that should
stand,” said Makama. “Bippas hopefully should provide us with that comfort.
They should give us that protection where we feel there is unfairness.”
Makama added: “If you look at infrastructure in South Africa for instance,
you would probably see that we are building the biggest infrastructure in
the world. When this is completed, what would stop us from coming to
Zimbabwe? We would have to pay through the nose if this is done by any other
country. We have paid that price and we are willing to share our knowledge
These statements show the potential which the country has in terms of
attracting foreign direct investment, but unfortunately, the signing of the
Bippa is not an end in itself as there are other factors which also come
Zimbabwe is replete with cases of how Bippas have either been ignored or
have not been implemented to the letter and spirit.
As the Nestlé case shows, there are times when emotions and political
affinity take precedence over instruments which are binding under
At times, the laws which are promulgated in the country, for example the
proposed indigenisation law, would create problems over the status of the
Bippas and in some cases municipal law would take precedence over
An analyst with a financial institution who asked for anonymity said the
timing and the handling of the Nestlé issue was likely to scare off
“This was the worst public relations exercise by a nation which is still
trying to attract investment,” he said. “It would not make sense to run
around looking for scapegoats because we should look at the overall impact
of what has been happening since September. Do you think a potential
investor would convince shareholders and the board that they should pour
millions of dollars into the country at a time when a company (Nestlé) that
has been operating in Zimbabwe for more than 50 years is threatened?”
John Robertson, another economic analyst, said the country was unlikely to
attract new investment as a result of what has been happening to Nestlé and
also the invasion of a banana plantation in the Burma Valley, just outside
“It shows that these Bippas have not been taken seriously by Zanu PF while
MDC may want to take them seriously,” said Robertson. “Where this would lead
to we may not know but it is really bad that we would not be attracting new
Robertson said the damage to the image of the country was bad and political
interference has to be stopped.
He cited the issue of continued farm invasions as another case which may
scare off investors.
Past president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Luxon Zembe said
Bippas were a critical instrument in ensuring that the country attracted
investment if they were honoured.
“What is important is to honour and respect them and in the past our biggest
challenge was that we have not been honouring them and this is the time to
recover and restore our credibility,” said Zembe. “This is part of the rule
of law, to say we are a people of integrity and when we put pen to paper we
respect it unless negotiated otherwise.”
Zembe said it was time to correct where the country had messed up in terms
of respect of Bippas as failure to do so would become a reference point
which may put off potential investors.
Generally, Zimbabwe has been found wanting on satisfying key elements of
Bippas, especially on the issue of compensation for appropriated farms and
conservancies under the land reform programme. Most of the farmers were not
Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:08
CONFUSION surrounds the Zimbabwe and Namibia power deal following a reported
directive this week by Energy minister Elias Mudzuri that Zesa should stop
exporting electricity to NamPower. Namibia advanced Zesa US$40 million in
2007 to upgrade its Hwange Thermal Power Station in return for 150 megawatts
of electricity for five years.
The state media quoted Mudzuri saying he wanted the deal "renegotiated so
that only power generated at Hwange Thermal Station is exported to Namibia".
In a telephone interview with The Namibian on Tuesday, Mudzuri said he
instructed Zesa to only export power from Hwange, and from nowhere else, to
NamPower on Wednesday evening said it "has so far not received any official
communication from Zesa confirming the media reports that Mudzuri had
ordered Zesa Holdings to stop electricity exports to Namibia until normal
power generation at Hwange Power Station is restored saying it was business
as usual between Zesa and NamPower".
NamPower's marketing and communications manager John Kaimu told The Namibian
in an e-mail response that "the deal to supply 150 megawatts is between Zesa
and NamPower and not between Hwange Power Station and NamPower".
He later issued a press statement, referring to a "firm power purchase
agreement in terms of which NamPower would be supplied 150 megawatts by Zesa
for a period of five years".
The Herald quoted Mudzuri as saying: "That deal was for Hwange only and Zesa
should be able to say to them, 'We cannot supply you with electricity if
Hwange is down'. We have to give them electricity from Hwange".
Confusion over the issue was heightened when the Zimbabwe High Commissioner
to Namibia, Chipo Zindoga, faxed a statement to newspapers, saying there was
no truth in Zimbabwe's media reports.
Mudzuri told The Namibian on Tuesday that Hwange sometimes could not
generate enough electricity to export to Namibia.
In the past, Zimbabwe had imported power from the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric
plant in Mozambique, and exported it to Namibia at a loss.
"We can't have a situation where we import to export. In the past, we have
never stopped supplying them (Namibia) with electricity even when Hwange was
down. This meant we were importing and then re-exporting and I am saying
that is not proper," Mudzuri, said.
NamPower on Wednesday night said it had agreed with Zesa "on the modalities
in which the loan would be advanced and managed, and the eventual export of
power to Namibia once the first unit at Hwange has been refurbished".
"The parties have further agreed to the terms and conditions covering events
of default, should these arise and both parties, that is NamPower and Zesa,
are satisfied. The agreement contains confidential information which cannot
be divulged to the public as we are bound by confidentiality clauses,"
NamPower's chief operations officer, Bertholdt Mbuere ua Mbuere, said the
agreement between the power utility and Zesa was a commercial one, and that
the cancellation of such an agreement would carry penalties.
Up to US$2 billion is required to install new equipment and expand
production at the country's two main power plants in Hwange and Kariba to
meet increased industrial and domestic demand.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing debilitating power-cuts due to the declining
capacity of its ageing power plants, which have been starved of new
investment as the country battles severe foreign currency shortages.
Businessdigest understands that the deal between NamPower and Zesa states
that Zimbabwe will "meet its other part of the bargain" regardless of the
electricity generation in the country.
"If they (Zesa) cannot generate the power to supply us, they still must find
the power elsewhere to fulfil their part (of the agreement)," NamPower
managing director Paulinus Shilamba was quoted saying. -- Staff Writer.
Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:01
ZIMBABWE will this March attend the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species (Cites) meeting in Doha, Qatar, at a time when poaching
is rampant throughout the country. Zimbabwe Independent reporter, Bernard
Mpofu, speaks to the outgoing Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority director-general Morris Mtsambiwa on the country’s conservation
efforts. Below are excerpts from the interview. Mpofu: The past week has
seen newspapers carrying advertisements for the post of Director-General of
the Parks and Wildlife Authority. What legacy have you left during your
tenure in office?
Mtsambiwa: The reason why you have seen those adverts is that my contract
will be coming to an end on 31 March 2010. I have served as Director-General
for seven years. As tradition the board has to appoint someone else but I’m
also free to apply. During this time that I was serving in the authority we
went through a transformation process — from being a government department
to a self-sustaining parastatal which meant that there were some typical
challenges that you find in that process. Firstly we used to get government
subsidies but now we have to finance ourselves. Conservation and
commercialisation are two independent processes that have the potential to
destroy each other. Our core business is conservation but to sustain that
business we need money through commercialisation. So the challenge has been
to strike that balance.
Secondly as a government department our main role was to be a regulatory
body and we continued to be a regulatory body. But through commercialisation
we have become competitors with those we regulate (for example the authority
has hunting concessions). We can however be a professional body through
accountability and transparency. Another challenge was that we were coming
from a civil service culture so there was need to transform the mind and
introduce a performance-based approach to business. It is also imperative to
note that during this same period of transformation, there was an upsurge in
the demand for wildlife products — both legally and illegally. Legally in
the sense that a lot of people wanted to come into business but it has its
own limits, especially for the indigenous people in the fishing industry
among others. Illegally in that the harsh economic environment that
prevailed triggered a surge in poaching. The fact that the authority is
still there means that we have been able to face some of those challenges.
We are still regarded as one of the best conservation agencies in the
region. In 2003 during my first 100 days I was able to convince people who
were preparing the World’s Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa that
Zimbabwe had a story to tell and we presented a paper on parks governance
which was describing our transformation process.
Mpofu: Last November, you suspended all hunting permits citing allegations
of illegal activities among some operators. What anomalies did you find from
the verification exercise that ended last December?
Mtsambiwa: We have concluded the exercise but fortunately or unfortunately
we did not come up with any discrepancies. Because of that exercise, if
there were people with forged documents, they did not bring them forward
which means that we foiled the use of those documents.
Mpofu: How many elephants and rhinos did the country lose to poaching
during the past year?
Mtsambiwa: We lost something to the tune of 145 elephants, about nine white
rhinos and about seven black rhinos. We also lost 42 zebras that were killed
for skins and 91 buffaloes. We are dealing with unscrupulous people that
seem to have a market out there.
Mpofu: Do you see yourself effectively thwarting such criminal activities?
Mtsambiwa: It is our hope that as the economy improves we will have more
resources before us to fully curb poaching. We also rely on other strategic
partnerships we have with other state partners such as the police, army and
the attorney-general’s office for stiffer penalties.
Mpofu: Press reports recently implicated cabinet ministers to poaching
activities. What do you say to this?
Mtsambiwa: We haven’t had any credible evidence on those allegations. They
have remained allegations and nobody has come to us to prove otherwise.
Mpofu: How much ivory does Zimbabwe have in store? How old is the stock
pile and what is its market value?
Mtsambiwa: We have roughly about 20 tonnes in stock accumulated since
January 2007. We are only able to sell the approved stock piles accumulated
before January 2007. Market value is determined by an auction. At the last
auction in November 2008, Zimbabwe’s ivory was worth US$150 per kg.
Mpofu: We understand it costs millions to look after animals in the wild,
where are you getting the money considering the government is broke?
Mtsambiwa: The authority generates revenue from safari, hunting concessions,
selling of animals in excess and from leasing concessions and various
activities within our commercialisation model. We also adopted an innovative
approach of generating revenue.
Mpofu: There are reports of wildlife farmers being evicted from their farms.
They are being forced to leave their animals including lions behind. Some
lions are now roaming freely posing a danger to surrounding communities…what
are you doing about this?
Mtsambiwa: First and foremost, we are not aware of such farmers. But we have
a case when someone abandoned captive breeding of lions and left them in the
custody of the authority and the SPCA. This farmer decided to abandon this
project after he was evicted from another farm elsewhere, not necessarily
the one where he was breeding the carnivores. It is true that one of the
lions escaped but we tracked it down and shot it.
Mpofu: From your understanding, how does Kenya benefit from its reported
proposal to Cites to extend the moratorium on the country’s trade in ivory
to 20 years?
Mtsambiwa: There are two different schools of thought between Zimbabwe and
Kenya when it comes to wildlife utilisation. To put it bluntly, they don’t
believe in hunting for commercial purposes. We believe in hunting. They
believe that if you allow that you’ll trigger poaching for ivory. Their
conservation efforts rely on donor funding and at times some of these big
donors influence their thinking to support this school of thought. So by
proposing that we stop trading, they are actually getting an upper hand in
that school of thought.
Mpofu: So how do they make viable business without this trade?
Mtsambiwa: Through safari and other products such as photography.
Mpofu: Finally what does it take to persuade Cites to permit ivory exports
from Zimbabwe? Or rather what message are you taking to the meeting?
Mtsambiwa: We believe in consumptive (hunting) utilisation which is
supporting our conservation efforts. We believe that hunting in a
sustainable manner is a good source of revenue for conservation. Lastly it
is our hope that the industry will recover from last year’s global
Thursday, 14 January 2010 15:52
REMARKS by deputy Media minister Jameson Timba published in the Standard
last weekend intrigued us. He said that the Zimbabwe Media Commission's
first task would be to "sit down and work out the appointment of a chief
"The only problem is that they do not have a CEO to head the secretariat,"
"It is now up to the commission to come up with criteria for the employment
of a CEO, advertise the post and hold interviews to choose the most suitable
What sort of nonsense is this? Timba is normally a sane voice in the media
dialogue. But he can't be serious about the ZMC employing a CEO. Who said
the commission needed a CEO? Why can't applicants write to the chairman and
then he, in consultation with his colleagues, make a decision?
This should be a formality in the new set-up. The last thing they need is a
CEO who will usurp the intended functions of the commission and become
another Tafataona Mahoso who arrogated to himself all sorts of powers at the
This process will provide Zanu-PF with all sorts of means for heel-dragging
within the apparatus of the commission.
We need to clear these obstacles and get on with the business of democratic
reform. The ZMC doesn't need a CEO so let's not give them one!
Then there's the matter of the secretariat which has been a party
institution with all that it entails in terms of business culture. Visitors
calling at their offices during the lunch hour were told, "We are resting".
We appreciate that the Herald has difficulty finding good contributors for
its opinion pages, but Tichaona Nhamoyebonde on January 7 was scraping the
bottom of the barrel. Nhamoyebonde, we are told, is a political scientist
based in Cape Town. Another patriotic refugee in the tradition of Reason
Wafawarova, we must assume.
He was having a go at Africom which he thinks is the "latest US bid to
The US would use Africom to gain access to the continent's mineral riches,
he told us.
This sort of patriotic paranoia is always sad to behold. But what is
invariably never mentioned in articles of this sort is that most of Africa's
resources have already been looted by "patriotic" politicians and generals.
Where did the riches of the DRC disappear to? Who controls Angola's oil
reserves and Equatorial Guinea's? And where did Nigeria's vast oil wealth go
to over the past 30 years?
It isn't the Americans looting our resources that we need worry about!
Africans wouldn't forgive their leaders if they did nothing, Nhamoyebonde
says. He then cites Shakespeare as the author of the maxim that for evil to
prevail all good men have to do is nothing.
"Political scientist" Nhamoyebonde needs to be told that it was Edmund Burke
who coined that one three hundred years after Shakespeare!
Last Friday the Zimbabwe Independent published a report that Zimbabwe's
ambassador to Tanzania, retired general Edzai Chimonyo, had taken possession
of a banana plantation, Fangundu, in the Eastern Highlands, brandishing an
offer letter from Didymus Mutasa.
The estate contains a large processing and packing plant. It is owned by a
Dutch investment firm with Malaysian partners and is ostensibly protected by
a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa) with the
Its investment was approved by the Zimbabwe Investment Centre.
The owners went to the High Court and obtained an order requiring Chimonyo
to vacate the property. Despite the High Court order, soldiers were
occupying the estate last week and Chimonyo was harvesting the bananas.
An official from the Ministry of Lands in Mutare said the occupation of
Fangundu estate was unlikely to be reversed despite the court ruling.
"That ruling is just a piece of paper," he said. "Almost every new farmer in
that area has been served with court orders so there is nothing that
Chimonyo can be afraid of."
There you have the face of the beast: An approved Bippa shunted aside as a
well-connected predator moves in; government officials hold a court order in
contempt; and the estate's produce is harvested by the invader with soldiers
present on the property.
Then the government can't understand why investors are giving Zimbabwe a
wide berth. This is an emblematic case where bad policies and bad behaviour
combine to tarnish the country's image as well as sabotage its agricultural
The Sunday Mail ran a story on its sports pages last weekend with a
prominent headline: "Togo pulls out, as Zimbabwe stands ready". The paper,
quoting Zimbabwe Football Association chief executive, Henrietta Rushwaya,
told the nation Zimbabwe was "ready" to host the Africa Cup of Nations "at
short notice" should the tournament organisers decide to switch to Harare as
a result of a security threat posed by the separatist rebel group that
attacked a bus carrying the Togo national team last weekend.
"We are able to organise the Africa Cup of Nations should we be requested at
short notice to host it," Rushwaya said. "Remember we are just coming out of
the successful Cosafa Senior Challenge in which we hosted 13 countries."
The first impression that anybody who read the story got was that the
Confederation of African Football had approached Zimbabwe asking the country
to host the tournament because of the security situation in Angola.
Rushwaya was being dishonest by telling the nation that we have the capacity
to host such a major tournament at short notice because we have just come
out of hosting the Cosafa Challenge Cup.
There is a huge difference between hosting a tournament that brings together
Africa's finest football players who ply their trade in European capitals,
and hosting the Cosafa Challenge in which only players from local leagues
Hosting football powerhouses such as Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt,
Tunisia and Mali is different from hosting minnows such as the Comoros,
Seychelles, Mauritius, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland.
The Africa Cup of Nations attracts hundreds of thousands of football fans
and hordes of football journalists and scouts from around the globe. This is
not the same as the Cosafa Challenge.
Besides, which stadiums will Zimbabwe offer at short notice for the AFCON
tournament? What accommodation will the country offer, at short notice, to
the hundreds of thousands of people that will suddenly descend on Zimbabwe
to watch the football showcase? And then there is the chaos at Beitbridge!
There is need for more preparation than what Rushwaya wants us to believe.
Perhaps she made the statement knowing very well that the prospect of asking
Zimbabwe to move in and host the tournament was next to zero.
Rushwaya and the Sunday Mail deliberately misled the nation. Angola has
spent a total of US$1 billion in building and upgrading stadiums, roads,
bridges and rail network systems in preparation for the AFCON tournament.
How Zimbabwe can mobilise such an amount at "short notice" is up to Rushwaya
Finally, we welcome police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena's comment in the
Standard last weekend that the police remained apolitical and only arrested
people who had committed crimes.
"It's not the police who direct people to commit crimes," he said, "and if
people commit crimes it's inevitable that they will be arrested."
In view of this pronouncement, how soon can we expect to see Joseph Mwale
brought to justice?
Thursday, 14 January 2010 15:48
FOR nearly three decades the subject of indigenisation has been on the
Zimbabwean political agenda. In the 1980s it was the key theme of the
Affirmative Action Group (AAG) of which the currently prominent businessman,
Philip Chiyangwa was, for some years, a very active and forthright
For all intents and purposes, "indigenisation" denoted energised vesting of
a predominance of the Zimbabwean economy in those Zimbabweans as were
non-European, or other non-Zimbabwean racial origin. The contention of
indigenisation proponents was that Zimbabwe was for Zimbabweans, provided
that they were black.
To achieve this, the fundamental demand was that a majority holding in each
and every business enterprise in Zimbabwe should be beneficially owned by
At that time, the demand was that those not such Zimbabweans should be
compulsorily obliged to transfer majority ownership of their business, and
their business properties, to qualifying Zimbabweans.
Many, if not most, of the proponents for such policies not only demanded
that the transfer of ownership should be free of any compensatory
consideration or, at the most, should be subject to only a minimal
They sought to justify their demands with arguments that the businesses and
properties had been funded at the expense of the Zimbabwean populace.
They were conveniently oblivious of the extent that the businesses had been
funded and developed by inward remittances to Zimbabwe of capital, by
providing such businesses with technologies, skills, trade marks,
franchises, and the like, possessed externally, and by the endeavours,
skills, labours and the commitments of the business founders.
In the course of the 1980s and 1990s, many indigenous Zimbabweans very
successfully established businesses, and progressively accumulated wealth,
being a just reward for their determined pursuit of their ambitions and
aspirations, and for their motivation and expertise.
After having been barred from accessing necessary education and skills
development for more that two-thirds of a century, and similarly unjustly
barred from property and business ownership other than in designated
high-density areas, there was transformation.
In the last few years preceding Independence, and after that momentous
development, removal of racial barriers to education, entrepreneurship and
enterprise development became an opportunity for almost all, save that most
were faced with immense constraints of non-availability of capital.
To a limited degree, that need was addressed by the then Small Enterprises
Development Corporation (Sedco), a government-funded and managed
Progressively, availability of funding from banks and other financial
institutions also developed, although minimal in extent as against that
required by the masses of aspirants to become economically empowered.
Concurrently, there were many indigenous people who became economically
empowered by intense recourse to corruption opportunities accorded them.
Whilst far from a characteristic of all those politically engaged (or
connected), or in public service positions which provided such
opportunities, many unhesitatingly made self-beneficiating usage of
opportunities of enrichment.
And, having thereby procured some considerable substance, that wealth was
then assiduously applied to the generation of further great riches.
However, the overwhelming majority of the populace had little or no
opportunity of having economically engaged enterprises, save and except in
generally small-scale informal sector operations.
Year after year, government enunciated intents to bring about
economic-empowerment opportunities, but produced nothing but such talk.
Ultimately, partly to enrich themselves, and partially as a sop to the
population craving economic opportunity more substantive than employment or
informal sector vending and allied activities, government resorted to
implementation of a programme of land acquisition, redistribution and
It did so in blatant disregard for the consequential devastation and
near-total destruction of agriculture, which was the solid foundation of the
Its disregard for the resultant loss of employment for over 300 000
agricultural workers, for the impoverishment of almost two million people
and for the fundamental principles and international norms of property
rights was exceeded only by its inability to recognise that, even if
successfully implemented, the land programme would only convey economic
empowerment to 4 500 of Zimbabwe's indigenous population.
Moreover, it was not only implemented, but was the calamitous catalyst of
economic disempowerment for many.
Experience is defined as "making a different mistake next time", but the
Zimbabwean government has demonstrated itself to be most inexperienced, for
it persists in making the same mistakes over and over again.
In 2008 it promulgated the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act,
which is a legislative masterpiece of vagueness for, save for the intended
creation of an economic empowerment fund, it effectively contains nothing
but an obligation for a minimum of 51% of all enterprises being owned by
indigenous Zimbabweans (as defined), and a virtual "blank cheque"
empowerment for the relevant minister to make determinations, by Statutory
Instruments, to achieve the legislation's objectives.
Over and above the then extremely distressed state of the economy, and the
gross prevailing political instability, this legislation became a gargantuan
deterrent to investment.
That investment is a prerequisite for substantive economic recovery, for the
generation of much-needed employment, and for inflows of critically
necessary monies from abroad, over and above required ongoing and increasing
No investor is interested in investing if compulsorily reduced to the role
of junior partner, irrespective of the quantum and proportion of capital and
other inputs provided.
No investor is prepared to be confronted with a possible imposition of a
partner or partners upon him.
If there are to be co-investors, the investor expects an entrenched right of
own selection of such co-investors, and of agreeing the investment terms and
conditions, and the basis of ongoing operations and control of the venture
in which he is investing.
But not only is the legislation silent on these issues, in addition there
are recurrently conflicting policy statements from the president, government
ministers, activists such as AAG, and others.
Prima facie, it appears that there is a determination to emulate the land
"snatch" by a similar "snatch" of business enterprises, undoubtedly with
similarly disastrous consequences.
In the meanwhile, the economy continues to be held back from the
long-desired recovery and growth, and the majority of Zimbabweans continue
Most of all, government and the "indigenisation" proponents and advocates
continue to have a myopic disregard that transfer of enterprise ownership,
in whole or in part, cannot economically empower a significant portion of
the population, but only a favoured few.
The "Robin Hood" act of taking from the rich to give to the poor does not
work with enforced indigenisation as espoused by government, by Chiyangwa in
a recent statement, by the AAG and others.
It can only make some of the rich poor, in order to make a few of the rich
richer! Instead, the emphasis needs to be on facilitation, enablement and
funding for more and more to become economically empowered (provided they
qualify therefore, by being appropriately skilled and motivated).
Zimbabwe needs constructive, not destructive, indigenisation and economic
Thursday, 14 January 2010 15:32
CAN this New Year be that of restoration of political, economic, social,
juridical and psychological sanity in Zimbabwe? Will our leaders put the
people first? Can 2010 be the year of redemption and salvation? These are
pertinent questions as we take stock of the state of the nation after three
decades of uncertainty, violence and hostage to a selfish leadership that
covered crony-party-capitalism under the respectable gloss of patriotic
As we reflect on the state of the nation after three decades under a single
party and a single leader, there is need for all concerned citizens and
intellectuals to be brutally honest about the state of our national affairs
and the responsibility of both the leadership and the citizenry.
No one in his or her right senses can doubt that the turn of the new
millennium witnessed Zimbabwe sliding deeper and deeper into an economic,
political, social, and psychological quagmire of unprecedented proportions.
There is no doubt again that in our search for the reasons for this national
malaise and catastrophe, our leaders and citizenry have not been honest.
Self-criticism has been lacking.
We found it easier to apportion blame to other people, some of whom have not
even set foot on Zimbabwe. Our leadership reduced itself to the status of
complainants and assumed the identity of victimhood. They openly avoided
accountability for anything.
They resuscitated a familiar psychology of inferiority precisely at the time
that the ordinary majority of our people looked up to them for leadership.
They even embarrassingly blamed citizens they were expected to govern,
polarising the nation into war veterans, patriots, puppets, traitors and
sell-outs as they continued to pursue fatalistic crony-party-capitalism
involving primitive style accumulation of houses ahead of the homeless
citizens, and land ahead of the landless peasants.
Even when diamonds were discovered at Chiadzwa, the nationalist-military
junta in Harare and its cronies and clients unleashed merciless primitive
accumulation accompanied by violence.
On top of this, every five years, the hapless citizens of Zimbabwe have been
exposed to the empty rituals of electoralism, which our leaders have since
1980 turned into a time to kill, maim and torture instead of a time to renew
the social contract with the electorate.
Two cases in point are the 1980s open state-sanctioned and shameless
violence that claimed the lives of more than 20 000 civilians in
Matabeleland and Midlands and the post-March 29 2008 open state-sanctioned,
This adversely affected areas of Masvingo, Mashonaland, Midlands and
Manicaland, as the war-veterans, and army officers and militias fought to
destroy all those who exercised their right to vote by choosing the MDC as
their next government and Morgan Tsvangirai as their president.
Against this background, how can we evaluate our state of the nation in the
New Year? Should we not be ashamed of ourselves for active complicity in the
destruction of our institutions, our nation and eroding our human values?
Are those who raped, maimed, killed, tortured and actively participated in
reversing the people’s verdict in an election ashamed of themselves? Should
they not take advantage of the existence of the Organ on National Healing,
Reconciliation and Integration to repent?
How can we forge together a common citizenship in a “New Zimbabwe” in which
tribalism, racism, regionalism and violence become things of the past?
This is a mammoth challenge for the inclusive government for the New Year.
Can the cries of the victims and the fears of the perpetrators be reconciled
without comprehensive social justice based on truth and repentance?
For how long should the political elites exhaust all their energies in
competition for state control instead uniting to take forward economic
reconstruction, democratisation of state institutions, reforming the
security sector and uniting the nation?
This New Year must be the moment of change of mindset in our people and in
our leadership. As I said in my recent book, Do Zimbabweans Exist?
Trajectories of Nationalism, National Identity Formation and Crisis in a
Post-Colonial State (2009), there is need for our people and our leadership
to desist from the simplistic notion of a pre-existing “Zimbabwean”
We must strive to continuously build this identity through pursuing
inclusionary rather than exclusionary politics. The record of our past
indicates a dismal failure in this area as manifested in the readiness with
which we point guns at each other without remorse.
Members of the state secret service are confused to the extent that they
spend time searching for enemies of the state among their sisters, brothers,
mothers and fathers.
The army and the police have reduced themselves to a militia rather than a
respectable national force. For how long will we continue to sniff each
other out like witch-hunters?
All this indicates the pertinence of re-visiting the notion of the existence
of a respectable Zimbabwean identity that can repel and resist the
imperatives of inter-and intra-community violence as well as state violence.
Only once a respectable and durable national identity is constructed can we
bury the scourge of violence in our midst. To do so we need true
nation-builders, not racists and tribalists masquerading as nation-builders.
This year must be the moment of restoration of rule of law and certainty in
Our country needs national healing after three decades of living under an
arrogant leadership that claimed to have died for the people.
That mentality must die. Our national economy needs to be liberated from a
venal clique of military-nationalist capitalists without any patriotism or
Re-branding Zimbabwe must be invigorated in the direction of re-building
Zimbabwe as a progressive, democratic, developmental state.
Zimbabwe must be returned to the ambit of the international community of
states and the politics of un-strategic intransigence and belligerence that
leads to national death must be avoided. Zimbabwe must adopt a new
thought-out strategy of engagement of global powers without necessarily
making itself a pawn of the powerful nations.
Finally, our leadership and our citizens must realise that Zimbabwe is at a
crossroads in which the old are dying and the new are being born. It is
undergoing a generational leap-forward.
The crisis is only that the old are taking time to die and the new are
taking time to be born. In the interval, monsters have come to the centre of
politics, spoiling everything and generating new crises.
But a generation whose time to go has come cannot over-live its welcome in
Zimbabwe and elsewhere. In the same vein a generation whose time has come to
take the reins of the state cannot be stopped by anyone.
This reality must give Zimbabweans new hope in the New Year. Let us push
forward with this hope in mind and we will realise our national dreams.
Dr Sabelo J Ndlovu-Gatsheni is a Zimbabwean academic writing from South
Africa and can be contacted on email@example.com This e-mail address is
By Sabelo J Ndlovu-Gatsheni
Thursday, 14 January 2010 15:30
THE inception of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in February 2009
ushered a new political reality for the mainstream Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC-T). The historical comfort of being an opposition party suddenly
transformed into an expectation of government responsibilities and an
inevitable task of the party's internal conformance to this new dimension of
Given a decade of playing prominence in being in the realms of opposition
politics, the MDC faced and still faces some transitional considerations
from a perspective of trying to balance the act of effective government
involvement and strengthening the resolve of internal party capacity.
The party is now faced with two political fronts that need critical mass,
wisdom, political maturity, strategic thinking and a clear intention in
order to serve government well whilst maintaining internal party functions
This is a new act that has come out of the familiarity of the party's
protracted stand which needs transformation from being a political
alternative into a political operative.
Before the MDC, Zimbabweans saw the perennial mushrooming of
pseudo-opposition political parties that had neither internal capacity nor
the heartbeat of conventional politics. These parties came into the fray as
fast as they disappeared.
This left a lot of Zimbabweans in doubt of whether opposition politics were
supposed to be on the natural menu of Zimbabwe's political table.
However the launch of the MDC had some flair that gave Zimbabweans a new
hope of multi-party democracy in Zimbabwe. Many a Zimbabwean rallied for the
MDC mainly based on the issues of the economic downturn and the need for a
In that regard, the MDC gained sympathy from people who were adamantly
seeking political pluralism.
The majority of these people were united by the issues at hand rather than
the ideological framework, or principles of the party.
Many of Zimbabwe's opposition political parties arose out of the need to
address certain crises that could have taken shape during some historical
Given such a background a lot of opposition parties have had no life of
their own except for the projected issues they desired to address. This has
led to many of them being tormented by the metrical differences of being
either a political party or a political movement.
The main theoretical definition of the difference between a political
movement and party is based on their focus.
Political movements basically bring together people who are focused on
addressing certain issues or agendas.
Political parties however bring along people who are united by the
synchronised, harmonised and common platform of political values and
In political parties ideologies and values are the guideline to addressing
issues. In political movements the common stand against or for an issue is
the main unifying factor.
Many political movements face peripheral transitional challenges once they
have managed to address the common issues.
The MDC faces this challenge; the party will now not be sustained by what
Zanu PF has done wrong, but by the marked life of the MDC as an entity that
has capacity to do right.
This therefore is not determined by just raising issues, but by employing
key values and principles in addressing such issues.
Because a movement brings people that are bound together by common issues
rather than principles and values, it does not necessarily translate to
their congruency after the issues are addressed or attended to.
After the issues are settled, people normally sober up to find the positions
and places where their hearts appeal to most. After the emotions of dealing
with issues, there usually sets in the motion of heart-defined values and
If the movement thereafter sustains, internal squabbling and major
differences will start to alight due to the surfaced position of value
systems, which were however not central during the movement's focus on
So after dealing with issues, political movements can either disband or
structurally transform themselves into political parties by defining a set
of political ideals, values and principles - normally termed as ideology.
Many political parties in Zimbabwe operate without a defined political
ideology. Ideology is a set of values, ideals and principles on how an
entity or persons discharge their political service.
At the heart of ideology is a guided framework of worldview, which must sway
the political party in its direction.
It is one thing to get into a boat and be swayed away into a direction that
the wind and the waves take you to. It is another to get into the same boat
and row towards a desired destination. Ideology provides this "rowing" power
Zimbabwe's political parties of the future will therefore require to be
identified by their political ideology.
In the wave and confusion of the many challenges that Zimbabwe is and has
been faced with, people were primarily focused on issues. Political
movements including the MDCs were formed based on Zimbabwe's issues and
However as Zimbabwe desires to grow and develop its political framework
(which thereafter determines its economic and social prosperity), there is a
need to develop political parties driven from value-basis outlined by
positive and sober ideological fundamentals.
What political parties in Zimbabwe need to do is to go back to basics. They
need to draw up a framework of political ideologies upon which to base their
Ideology also assists in wrestling political power from individuals, who
have become the immortals behind certain political parties.
Ideology will safely deposit the future of political parties in their value
systems rather than in individuals. Every individual in the party will then
be subject to the ideals, values and the principles of the party rather than
No individuals will hold the parties to ransom, as they themselves become
less powerful than the party's enshrined ideological framework and
value-base. The dissolution of the elitist power base of political party
leadership is a critical factor in the democratisation and sustainability of
political parties in Zimbabwe.
As the MDC considers its life in government and the current challenges of
alleged corruption in its leadership, the party must not neglect the need to
fully transform its "movement" status into a fully-fledged political party,
whose values and principles are clearly articulated.
This will enable it to sustain its political life while creating a brand
that cannot be tainted by opportunists who may straddle across values and
principles and still survive within its structures. The party must realise
that the days of "issues" may be coming to an end and what it will face are
the days of values and principles.
In fact it is these values and principles that will determine how issues are
handled and addressed. In that regard, the MDC must infuse sustainability
into its entity.
Trevor Maisiri is the executive director and co-founder of the African
Reform Institute - a political leadership development institute and
political "think tank" operating from Harare.
By Trevor Maisiri
Thursday, 14 January 2010 16:29
SOME beneficiaries of the land reform programme have a lot of common sense.
Realising that they are unable to farm the lands they were given during the
euphoric years of the fast-track land redistribution programme, they are
subletting all or part of their farms to those who can farm them. But this
has irked the revolutionary fanatics in the Zanu PF menagerie.
Zanu PF has tried to market the land reform programme as a project that was
meant to right a historical wrong. At face value that may be so, but the
nation knows that the beneficiaries of the programme were not the landless
The recipients can be put into four distinct groups. The first comprises the
inner core of Zanu PF chefs who wanted the farms for prestige and also as a
way of settling old scores with white commercial farmers whom they saw as a
real threat to their political hegemony when they began to support the
These are also the multiple farms owners. Some of them have the resources to
farm but most grabbed the farms for the purpose of looting and have left
them stripped and derelict as they moved on to new conquests.
The second group comprises real farmers who belonged to such groups as the
Zimbabwe Farmers Union and those who during the colonial period were called
Master Farmers. They had reasonable farming expertise but had been farming
on small tracts of land in semi-arid areas. But these were few and far
Then there is a group that did not have farming expertise but are really
interested in farming. Some of them have the resources to farm but others do
not. They are struggling with the little they have and with financial
support they have the potential to do well. These may be some of those
subletting their farms.
Then there are the thugs who grabbed the land for the hell of it. Besides
looting and cutting down trees, they have done little else. These may also
be subletting their lands.
The majority who really needed the land never got it.
What had sustained the so-called gains of the land reform programme in the
past 10 years were the quasi-fiscal activities of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe. The resettled farmers were given free inputs and fuel; and those
well-connected even got free equipment such as tractors and combine
harvesters. But the free inputs created a parasitic class of pseudo-farmers
who could not stand on their own.
With the quasi-fiscal activities of the central bank now curtailed these
farmers, with tails between their legs, have to approach people with the
resources, such as former white commercial farmers, for help.
It should be pointed out that this subletting is not entirely restricted to
the use of former white commercial farmers. There are also black people who
were denied land who have teamed up with those who got it but do not have
the capacity to utilise it.
For the pragmatic this makes a lot of sense. Instead of letting the farms
lie fallow they are being put to productive use. It's a win-win situation;
the resettled farmer gets something, the leasing farmer gets something and,
most importantly, the nation gets something to eat.
But for the revolutionary romanticists, this is sacrilege of the highest
order. For them, as has been pointed out before, the whole land reform
programme was a racist enterprise. It was never to correct a historical
wrong but to get rid of white farmers as a race. This enterprise is
continuing; see what has happened in farms around Kadoma and what is
happening in Manicaland.
Minister of Lands and Resettlement Herbert Murerwa has said it is "totally
wrong" for farmers to sublet their land. They should instead give it back to
government which would in turn give it to those who can farm it. He does not
say where these would come from. He does not admit that the land
redistribution had been done without enough foresight to anticipate this
Buoyed by the empty Zanu PF Congress resolutions passed last December, the
Mashonaland West provincial Zanu PF executive have also attacked this
practice saying it was a way of reversing the land reform programme. The
province has even carried out a mini-land audit, has named names and
threatened to deal with the alleged culprits.
If in the first place the process had been done properly this embarrassment
would have been avoided. Beneficiaries ought to have been vetted first
before being entrusted with farms.
In other words from the word go the land reform programme should have been
done not as a vendetta against a certain group but as a scientific process
which would not only have corrected a historical wrong but also enhanced
farming as a business.
This is why a national land audit is more necessary now than ever before.
The audit should set out to cleanse the farms of those recipients who are
unable to use them. These should be replaced by those who have demonstrable
ability to use the land productively regardless of their race.
Depending on how you look at it, the subletting of farms is not as evil as
some in Zanu PF would like to make out. It might be a stopgap measure that
ensures the farms are put to productive use while a decent land audit is
being carried with the aim of giving land to those who can farm it.
Thursday, 14 January 2010 16:26
THE constitution-making process will soon go a gear up with the commencement
of the outreach programme to gather views of the people on the supreme law
So, worrying before the programme is the disclosure by the Constitution
Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) that it would come up with talking
points to guide the solicitation of the people's views.
It is a crass violation of the right of the people to freely express their
views and is antithetical to democratic practice when you draw up a boundary
within which the new constitution should be crafted.
Under such a process, constitutionalism is sacrificed in advancement of
A cursory look at how Copac phrased some of the talking points, for example
on the arms of state (principles on the separation of powers), reveals how
the select committee intends to manipulate the views-gathering process.
Instead of asking the people the kind of executive they need, Copac has come
up with questions like who should be the head of state? Do we need an
executive president or prime minister? Should the head of state be the head
of cabinet, judiciary and parliament? And, should there be mechanisms for
recalling the head of state/prime minister?
The problem with questions of that nature is that they do not give the
people the chance to freely express their dreams and aspirations on the new
constitution as they are confined to answer to only defined talking points.
It is the alienable right of the people to write a constitution for
themselves and the process in any constitution-making exercise should be
transparent if a country is to come up with a valuable supreme law.
The rejection of the 2000 government-sponsored draft constitution was a
testimony that the process in crafting the blueprint was flawed. It was
thrown out not because it was a bad draft, but it lacked constitutionalism.
This time around, Copac should ensure a people-driven constitution is
crafted. The maxim in this process should be constitutionalism.
While Copac insists on coming up with talking points, it was refreshing to
hear on Monday Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga saying the
role of the select committee should be to facilitate the crafting of the new
"(We) can only facilitate the process towards the crafting of the
constitution. We cannot dictate," said Matinenga. "We dare not dictate the
outcome. History tells us that any interference with the will of the people
is bound to fail. It happened in 2000. We should never, ever tamper with the
wishes of the people this time around."
The new constitution should be the supreme legal document regulating the
exercise of state power.
It is lamentable that even after we gained Independence in 1980 with a
ceasefire pact, the Lancaster House constitution which had for the first
time a justiciable Bill of Rights, the new rulers in town continued to
trample on people's rights with impunity.
The constitution was panel-beaten 19 times and it became an instrument of
power and an avenue to legitimise arbitrary actions against civil liberties
of individuals, companies and organisations.
Such manipulation caused great harm to the country's political profile and
consequently led to the collapse of our once revered economy and image on
the continent and overseas.
The current constitution-making process has presented this nation with an
opportunity to put a stop to such nonsense and end a Gestapo-like state
where the mighty and the rich turn the country into a prison where citizens
have become perpetual inmates.
But this can only end if we come up with a people-driven constitution which
captures where the country came from and where it is going along with the
people's dreams and aspirations.
In a recent paper titled Zimbabwe: Constitution without Constitutionalism,
political analyst Alex Magaisa argued that a constitution is affected by the
manner in which it is created.
He wrote that a wider and more inclusive process of constitutional change
could pave the way for wider political and economic transformation in the
country, in the same way that the Convention for a Democratic South Africa
(Codesa) talks ushered in change in South Africa in 1994.
"It is generally accepted that in a constitutional democracy the authority
of the majority is limited by legal and institutional arrangements in order
to protect the rights of the minorities and individuals," wrote Magaisa.
"The system is expected to ensure that while the majority has the authority
to form the government and rule, the rights of minorities are also taken
into account. The constitution is the basic document that provides for the
basic legal and institutional structures for the exercise of state power and
its relationship with the citizens."
He further argued that the supreme law enshrines the Bill of Rights to
protect the individual and provides for the separation of powers between the
different arms of the state in order to prevent the concentration of power
in a single individual or structure.
It also enables the provision of checks and balances between the structures
of state power.
"In all this, the basic aim is to ensure that those who govern are
restrained by observing the laid down rules and procedures so as not to
excessively use their powers," Magaisa averred. "It also enables individuals
and minorities to seek recourse whenever the majority threatens their
rights. There are fundamental values underlying the system of constitutional
democracy -- fairness, justice, equality, separation of powers, due process
of law, etc. The antithesis is arbitrary rule where the state exercises its
power without restraint or checks and balances."
With 30 years experience of arbitrary rule, it is time for an end to
majoritarian tyranny and for people to assert their rights.
Thursday, 14 January 2010 15:57
TO say Africa was embarrassed by what happened in Cabinda last week is to
understate the feeling of shame that pervaded the whole continent. Many are
beginning to blame the victims, the Togolese national team, for having
driven into Cabinda instead of flying in but this is to pass the buck.
The Angolan government had declared Cabinda safe and scheduled some of the
matches of the African Nations Cup to be played in the province. The Angolan
government was remiss in its intelligence gathering and the buck stops
But where is Cabinda? Cabinda is an aberration of the partition of Africa.
It's not even in Angola, it is 60 km away, separated from Angola by a strip
of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) land.
It shares its borders with the DRC and Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville)
and to the west it is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.
The word "enclave" is often used to describe this "closedness" of Cabinda.
So, Angola's claim over Cabinda is much like South Africa claiming that
Zimbabwe's Midlands province belongs to it.
When Africa was parcelled out among the Europeans at the Berlin Conference
in 1884 Cabinda became a Portuguese protectorate (or colony), so did Angola.
On August 1 1975 Cabinda proclaimed its independence from Portugal.
In November that year Angola did the same and soon after, with the aid of
Cuba, the ruling MPLA invaded Cabinda, overthrew the provisional government
and incorporated it into Angola.
Cabinda had been fighting for a separate state since the early 1960s. In
1963 the different movements that had been fighting for secession
amalgamated to form the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda
(FLEC) which fought a low-intensity guerrilla war in the 1970s and 1980s,
attacking Angolan government troops and economic targets or creating havoc
by kidnapping foreign employees working in the province's oil and
As recently as 2003 the United Nations Commission for Human Rights revealed
many MPLA atrocities in Cabinda and a year later Human Rights Watch reported
that the MPLA continued to commit crimes against civilians in Cabinda.
But why does Angola claim dominion over Cabinda? It must be about its
"Consisting largely of tropical forest Cabinda produces hardwoods, coffee,
cocoa, crude rubber and palm oil. The product for which it is best known,
however, is its oil.
Conservative estimates are that Cabinda accounts for close to 60% of Angola's
oil production, estimated at approximately 900 000 barrels a day, and it is
estimated that oil exports from the province are worth the equivalent of
US$100 000 per annum for every Cabindan.
Yet it remains one of the poorest provinces in Angola. An agreement in 1996
between the national and provincial governments stipulated that 10% of
Cabinda's taxes on oil revenues should be given back to the province, but
Cabindans often feel that these revenues are not benefiting the population
as a whole, largely because of corruption" say the online encyclopaedia
Every country in the world - and that includes Zimbabwe - has its own
sources of conflict or potential sources of conflict.
In Zimbabwe a potential source of conflict is the increasing perception that
all the country's wealth is benefiting only one region, Harare province,
and, as a corollary, because Zimbabwe is ethnically diverse many may feel
one ethnic group dominates.
Harare has been called Bambazonke (Grab All) since the days of the Central
African Federation (1953-1963).
This was the period when most resources from the three countries making up
the federation - Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia)
and Nyasaland (Malawi) - were channelled towards the development of
Salisbury (Harare) which was the designated capital of both Southern
Rhodesia and the federation. This caused much consternation up north and
ultimately led to the break-up of the grouping.
Commentators are already beginning to write about the "Bambazonke mindset"
referring to the channelling, real or perceived, of all the country's
resources towards Harare. Without being alarmist, the powers-that-be must
begin to take these "whisperings" seriously.
Last week the inaugural sale of Chiadzwa diamonds flopped but people were
already beginning to ask how the money raised from the auction was going to
benefit the people of the region from which the diamonds had been mined.
True, a huge chunk of the proceeds from the diamonds were going into the
fiscus from which hopefully they would be used to develop the country. But
it goes without saying that Harare would benefit most, much to the chagrin
of the people from the eastern region.
As Zimbabwe embarks on the process of writing a new constitution no doubt
this issue will be raised again and again. Some have suggested devolution;
and there are many passionate reasons for and against it.
I would be against devolution because its potential to spawn secessionist
jingoism is huge, but there certainly should be a clause in the new charter
that should spell out how a reasonable chunk of a region's gross earnings
should be channelled back to that region.
During the land redistribution exercise a lot of competent farmers from dry
regions such as Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland and the Midlands were
denied land in the wet Mashonaland provinces.
Although this didn't seem to be central government policy, these farmers
were told openly that they should go back to their own provinces.
The people of Mashonaland felt that they should benefit most from the
natural resource of fertile land. Why shouldn't the people of Manicaland
feel that they too should be entitled to benefit most from the diamonds
being mined in their region?
Why shouldn't the Midlands also feel the same about the Murowa diamonds? Or
Matabeleland South, about the River Ranch diamonds? Same with all other
Although the goings-on in Cabinda may seem an extreme example, there is no
reason why Zimbabweans should not try to eliminate their potential sources
of conflict, and the on-going constitution-making process affords the
country this opportunity.
14th Jan 2010 19:13 GMT
By Selbin Kabote
Harvey Thomas said although it would be great to have a “Peace and Justice
Commission” to help deal with what has been happening in Zimbabwe during the
past few years, he however said the commission should run in parallel with
the issue of encouraging forgiveness and not be the first step of the
healing and reconciliation process.
He said justice can never bring healing and reconciliation on its own, since
Justice means showing that one was right and making sure that the other
person gets punished.
The International Public Relations consultant said part of the interesting
process in South Africa was that one of the early requirements of the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission set up in terms of the promotion of national
unity and reconciliation Act No. 34 of 1995, was that people went and
“confessed and repented,” again this has the single implication that there
will always be only a small proportion of people who are prepared to do
that” Harvey Thomas said.
He said that they is need for individual Zimbabweans and church leaders to
encourage the establishment, development and opening of personal
communication doors or engagement, through emails, texts and other
communication channels, among those of opposite opinions and those of
strong political views.
Harvey Thomas said the process would involve the building of a huge network
of personal contacts, getting personal email addresses and telephone
numbers. Then texts and emails can be sent to begin to establish personal
communication engagements among individuals.
“It is difficult to get corporate healing as we are all single individual
human beings who have different attitudes, different problems, different
understandings, different beliefs and getting a committee to agree on
anything is a big or impossible task ” Harvey Thomas said.
The PR consultant said the only way to achieve corporate healing is for
individuals of good will or Biblical faith to start making friends,
forgiving, agreeing in some cases to differ, and to move ahead in the
interests of national reconciliation.
He said this kind of undertaking will off course need good organization and
planning so as to expand it to a large scale. In a pastoral letter to the
nation on October 27th, 2009, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches-ZCC expressed
its commitment to facilitate peace building, national healing and
reconciliation in the country urging the regional and International
community to also accompany them in the process.
In the letter, the church leaders were candid in their calls to the
principals of the Global Political Agreement-GPA-to fully commit themselves
to addressing all of the outstanding issues of the GPA.
by Mutumwa Mawere Friday 15 January 2010
OPINION: In our daily conversations, many of us believe that Africa would
have been better off if it was left to its own devices to chart a
development course that addressed its human and institutional challenges.
It is easy to blame colonialism, imperialism and globalisation for the
current condition of Africa.
However, Africa may not be necessarily where it is on the development ladder
just because of the complex interactions with other civilisations but also
the inability of our generation to fully appreciate the true nature of the
colonial state and the mindset that informed the choices made by the role
As we try to understand our present, we are compelled to look back and
locate some of the innovations that have contributed significantly to the
continent's social and economic change.
We all take for granted electricity and its impact on the quality of human
life and yet without it the condition of Africa would be a very different
For the privileged Africans, it is hard to imagine life without electricity
and yet millions of Africans live without it.
The genesis of the electronic revolution was in Europe and Africa had little
part to play in the history and development of electricity.
Electricity has been a challenge not only to scientists but lay persons for
hundreds of years. We know it exists but it is difficult to explain what it
It is not visible and it cannot be stored. Although it has no weight, it can
lift and move thousands of tonnes. It has no shape and yet it is everywhere.
It is a form of energy that can be harnessed. Modern Africa could not exist
There are two main types of electricity known i.e. static and current. If it
was not for the work of people like Benjamin Franklin, Luigi Galvani, and
Alessandron Volta, our world today would be different. We, therefore, need
to acknowledge the contribution of non-Africans to our heritage.
Without their knowledge, capital and ability to convert ideas into practical
things, Africa's present condition would be different.
What is the history of electricity in Africa? It is recorded in the
Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa that an electric device was first used in
South Africa in 1809.
In 1860, the first electric telegraph system that operated between Cape Town
and Simon's Town was introduced so was an electric arc light demonstrated
the same year on the African soil.
The local railway station in Cape Town was first illuminated by electricity
in 1881 and the first telephone exchange was opened a year later in Port
Cape Town's Table Bay docks were first illuminated by electric arc lamps in
April 1882 followed by the Cape Colonial Parliament in May 1882.
During the same year, Kimberley, the Diamond City, switched on electric
streetlights making it the first city in Africa to use electricity in this
The first electric power station was established in 1891 preceded by the use
of electric motors, lights in mines, private lighting and an electric tram
between 1884 and 1890.
With the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886, Johannesburg
installed its first electric plant in 1889 that generated power by gas
An electric reticulation system followed in 1891 with municipal supplies
being switched on in 1892 in Rondebosch, followed by Cape Town city centre
in 1895, Durban in 1897, Pietermaritzburg in 1898, East London in 1899,
Bloemfontein and Kimberley in 1900, and Port Elizabeth in 1906.
In 1892, hydropower was first generated in South Africa and this was
followed by the installation and commissioning in 1896 of an overhead
trolley-wire electric tram.
Siemens and Halske became the first independent power producer in Africa in
1889 when it was granted the concession to supply electricity to
Johannesburg and Pretoria beginning operations in 1894 after obtaining a
concession to transmit electricity to the mines of the Witwatersrand.
In 1895, the concession was ceded to the Rand Central Electric Works Limited
which commenced commercial supply operations in Brakpan in 1897.
Pursuant to a Government Gazette of March 6 1923, the Electricity Supply
Commission (Escom) was established with effect from March 1 1923 with
Hendrik Johannes van der Bijl as its first chairman. It is Africa's largest
producer of electricity.
South Africa will this year be the first African country to host the FIFA
Soccer World Cup. It was also the first country to introduce electricity on
Electricity was introduced to meet market needs not for political
Investments in the power sector are lumpy. Before an investment is made one
has to be confident that the target market would be willing and able to pay
for the investment.
What is instructive about the South African experience is that such
investments were domestically conceptualised with little or no input from
the colonial office.
There was no expectation of external bilateral or multilateral financial and
technical support. If there were mistakes, they were made by the actors who
had to live with the consequences of their choices and actions.
At its foundation, the colonial state was meant to serve the needs of the
people to whom it owed its existence.
Without enterprising and daring people, South Africa would not have scored a
first. This is not to say that the political economic system that
underpinned the business model was desirable and equitable.
What it means is that we should not take for granted our corporate heritage
lest we lose the foundation that has made some part of Africa points of
light while other parts remain in darkness.
Investments in electricity were not accidental but were deliberate. There
are men and women who made it possible. It is through the experiences of
these individuals that we can learn about what we need to do to extend the
perimeter of light in Africa.
As we learn about our past we should critically examine what our obligations
are in terms of institution and human capacity building. If the industrial
pioneers of South Africa were small minded the outcome we see today in the
country would show.
What occupied the minds of these pioneers? Their actions could not have been
motivated by a desire to solely promote the interests of the mother country
but a genuine desire to improve the quality of life of the people to whom
they felt electricity meant something.
To a subsistence farmer, for instance, the meaning and value of electricity
is different to a commercial farmer.
Electricity only has value to those with the means to pay for it. If you do
not have the resources, it is a question of time before you plunge into
It is after all an expensive and risky game but ultimately someone has to
To the extent that South Africa has scored many firsts in Africa, we need to
know more about this 15-year-old baby in Africa.
It is pregnant with lessons on how to build nation states. Once we discount
the race-based approach to human civilisation, we may find that the values,
beliefs and principles that informed the choices made on industrial,
agricultural and mining development may resonate need to be holistically
understood. - ZimOnline