By Tererai Karimakwenda
17 January 2013
The principals in the unity government have announced they have reached
agreement on the draft of the constitution presented to them by the cabinet
committee on Thursday, paving the way for some progress towards a
Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara and MDC President Welshman Ncube all addressed journalists
after meeting with the full COPAC management committee.
The cabinet appointed committee had met twice on Wednesday and ironed out
the remaining contentious issues. The resulting solutions were presented to
the principals in Thursday’s meeting and they agreed to adopt the new
“We are glad to say that we have now come to the conclusion of the exercise
and all parties are agreed. Sure there will be some T’s to cross and I’s to
dot but we are generally agreed and the finalization of the draft has now
been made,” Mugabe told reporters.
He added that after the finalisation of the actual draft constitution the
principals would announce the way forward, including a date for the
referendum and a roadmap for elections.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said: “We have reached a defining moment
for the country. I am sure that the people’s patience has been tested
severely, that they have legitimate expectations out of this process. I am
glad to say this concludes a long journey that we have travelled to arrive
at this national process.”
But according to Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga, this draft
agreed to by the principals still has to be presented to the standing
committees of the political parties, ZANU PF’s politburo and to the full
COPAC parliamentary committee, before a final draft goes to a referendum.
Matinenga insists this is just a formality, but there remain concerns that
ZANU PF will once again seize the opportunity and throw a spanners into the
works and demand further changes, as they did last year after agreement had
been reached by the negotiators.
Political commentator Wilbert Mukori said ZANU PF will most likely cause
further delays, in order to minimize the amount of time left for other more
important reforms that were agreed to in the GPA.
Mukori said this agreement by the principals weakens SADC’s position,
because the regional grouping can now be accused of blocking progress by the
unity government if they interfere with this process and demand more GPA
Read the PM's statement on new constitution at
Posted by Violet Gonda on Thursday, January 17, 2013 in Deaths | 2 comments
John Nkomo died Thursday morning
By Violet Gonda
17 January 2013
Vice President John Landa Nkomo died on Thursday morning, after years
Nkomo was 78 years old and is Zimbabwe’s fourth vice president to die in
office, after Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika – who passed away
aged 82, 80 and 85 respectively.
President Robert Mugabe expressed his sorrow at the loss of the Vice
President, during a joint press conference on the new constitution at State
The president said: “On behalf of cabinet, our sincerest condolences to his
family, to his dear old mother, to his relatives and to all his friends. We
are together with them.
“They have lost a real revolutionary, a fighter for freedom, a friend of the
Nkomo was a founding member of nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU,
before its merger with ZANU PF in 1987 following the Gukurahundi massacres.
He held several portfolios as a cabinet minister before being appointed one
of Mugabe’s deputies in 2009, following the death of Msika.
The United States embassy was the first to announce his death in a
“Whether as a teacher, a politician, an advocate for Zimbabwe’s
independence, or as a public servant, Vice President Nkomo was a patriot who
dedicated his life to Zimbabwe’s sovereignty and prosperity.
“As a leader of PF Zapu and Zanu PF, Nkomo played an important role in
shaping the course of Zimbabwean history. May he rest in peace,” the embassy
Initially there were conflicting reports as to where the vice president was
when he died, with some reports saying he died in South Africa after
treatment for cancer. But the president revealed that his situation
deteriorated on Wednesday and he was rushed to St Anne’s Hospital in Harare
where he passed away.
Some observers have pointed out that it is unfortunate that senior
government leaders are still in office when they are old and ill, and die
before they are able to enjoy retirement.
Water Minister and a close family member, Sam Sipepa Nkomo told SW Radio
Africa: “I don’t know if it’s their policy that they can’t rest from public
office. I totally agree that this is what happened before. The four vice
presidents died in office. They were sick and I can only assume that this is
perhaps the policy of their party.”
But he added that the family couldn’t really raise the issue of retirement
with John Nkomo because; “the state in which he was, you couldn’t raise
anything like that because you were afraid that you could hurt his feelings
and whether he retired or not in the end was making no difference. You could
see that the main was in pain.”
Observers say Nkomo’s death is likely to renew the succession debate and the
discussions around 88 year old Mugabe’s health, as the country prepares for
‘make or break’ elections this year.
By Alex Bell
17 January 2013
The government is once again facing an urgent appeal to once and for all
stop the ongoing illegal seizure of productive farm land across the country,
to bring an end to the worsening hunger crisis.
Zimbabwe’s once prosperous agricultural sector is again unable to feed the
country, after years of chaos caused by the land grab campaign. On Tuesday
the United Nations (UN) announced that it needs at least US$131 million in
aid for Zimbabwe this year, mainly to meet food assistance demands. The UN
said that at least 1.7 million people are facing hunger in the coming year.
The government has repeatedly blamed the failed cropping seasons on the
weather, an excuse picked up by the UN on Tuesday.
But Charles Taffs, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), told
SW Radio Africa on Thursday that hunger has been brought about by
“destructive policies” that have destroyed the farming industry. He said “a
line needs to be drawn under the land question,” for normality to be
returned to the farming sector.
“There is zero confidence in the agriculture sector and the bottom line is
there are no property rights and have not been for more than ten years. This
has spilled over into a financial reality and we are paying for it now,”
He explained that without property rights there will be no meaningful
investment in the agricultural sector, and without this investment there can
be no local production of food.
“This is a sad and tragic situation that has not been brought about by
weather, but by policy. We need to finish it and draw a line under it and
bring confidence back to the agricultural sector,” Taffs said.
by Nelson Sibanda
The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union has told journalists at a press
conference in Harare today, that it has a fair and pragmatic proposal which
if adopted by government will pull Zimbabwe out of its current economic
“We at the CFU have over the past two years been working together with our
many partners in forming such a proposal and we now feel that we can offer a
proposal which offers a fair and pragmatic solution, which if engaged will
have the ability to take this country forward for the betterment of all,”
said CFU president, Charles Taffs.
Taffs said it is time Zimbabwe changed direction since the country has over
the past 13 years been left behind in terms of technological infrastructure
development and economic growth.
“CFU invites government and others to engage with us as we offer this
proposal that we believe can be instrumental in bringing a lasting and
national beneficial outcome to the land reform process. Our proposal is
sincere and aimed at promoting an inclusive and sustainable social and
economic development and recovery.
“Our main agenda is to promote a stable and competitive agricultural
business environment and to provide advice and support to farmers. We
believe that this union and its members can play a significant role in
ensuring a bright future for the nation and its people through the
successful completion of the land reform programme,” said Taffs.
He said CFU believes there is a way forward which can result in significant
improvement in national recovery and economic restoration to the funding of
the ongoing agricultural transformation in Zimbabwe.
Taffs blamed what he described as the total nationalization and acquisition
of some 11.8 million hectares of commercial land which was previously held
under free hold title, for the end to secure property rights and of investor
confidence in all sectors of the economy.
“Government’s inability and failure to pay compensation and bring closure to
the acquisition process has crippled the institutional capacity to lend into
this sector. National collateral has effectively been undermined and all
agricultural land in Zimbabwe is now an impaired economic asset.
“Farmers have weak security of tenure and week land rights. Lending to the
agricultural sector has become excessively constrained and is heavily risk
loaded resulting in massive limitations to production. The sector is both
uncompetitive and non-performing as a result,” said the optimistic CFU
Taffs added that land reform beneficiaries remained inadequately empowered
to leverage the potential of the land to which they have been given access.
“Access on its own is not enough. Thirteen years on we are left with an
agriculture sector in turmoil.
“The rural infrastructure is collapsing, thousands of kilometres of fencing
have been removed and conservation land laws are being openly disregarded
with dire environmental consequences. Earthen dam walls are becoming
unstable due to little or lack of maintenance.”
CFU said: “As a farming community in partnership with government, it is our
combined duty and responsibility to supply raw materials for industry and
export as well as to adequately feed the nation. We are quite clearly
The farmers union said its proposal which is the solution to Zimbabwe’s
struggling economy is fair, all inclusive, focussed and must be adopted and
implemented in the short term. “This solution must re-establish the basic
fundamental foundations needed for rapid economic recovery and economic
gain, those being property rights.”
CFU will submit its agriculture sector and economic revival proposal to
government and other stakeholders soon.
Thursday, 17 January 2013 10:49
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party is sharply divided over a
moratorium to seize commercial farms protected under
The decree to stop seizures of foreign-owned farms protected under Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippas) was issued after
government was forced to fork out 16 million Euro by the Washington-based
International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) to 40
evicted Dutch farmers.
No payment has been made by the cash-strapped Zimbabwe government to date,
with more claims against the government pending before the ICSID.
While Lands minister Herbert Murerwa told State TV that government had
resolved to stop evictions on farms protected under Bippa to avert paying
further compensation, his Justice and Legal Affairs counterpart Patrick
Chinamasa said government disregards the treaty aimed at protecting overseas
investments and any farm designated for expropriation would be seized.
He spoke amid a furore over the destruction of 70 hectares of maize crop
grown by 55 small-scale farmers who had invaded Tavydale Farm in Mazowe
protected by a Bippa.
The 55 farmers were arrested and their claims for compensation thrown out in
a dramatic turn of events.
Murerwa said government has resolved to stop all seizure on farms protected
“If it is covered by a Bippa, a bilateral agreement, then government has
taken a decision that it will not take these farms for the time being
because it will simply increase our liability to litigation,” Murerwa said,
signalling a shift in government policy.
But Chinamasa said government will press ahead with plans to transfer
control of land under white-ownership to local blacks.
“The law is very clear, the constitution allows government to acquire any
land irrespective of whether it comes under Bippa or not,” Chinamasa said.
“The only proviso is that when we acquire land under Bippa, we should pay
full compensation, when we acquire outside Bippa we only pay compensation
A policy document tabled by Mugabe’s Zanu PF party at its annual conference
in December notes that out of 153 farms protected under Bippa, 116 have been
seized to resettle 4 179 black families, leaving 37 farms protected under
“The agreements require that the government pay fair compensation in
currency of former owner’s choice for both land and improvements for
acquired Bippa farms,” says the Zanu PF policy document.
“In this regard, the government has an outstanding payment of 16 million
Euro awarded to Dutch farmers by the ICSID.”
The countries with farms under Bippa are given as Denmark, Germany, Italy,
Malaysia, Netherlands and Switzerland.
Germany has threatened to boycott the August UN World Tourism Organisation
(UNWTO) summit scheduled for Victoria Falls over flagrant breach of Bippa by
Zimbabwe government. - Gift Phiri, Political Editor
Staff Reporter 10 hours 48 minutes ago
First Lady Grace Mugabe has taken over part of Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange-listed agro producer Interfresh’s Mazoe Citrus Estate to expand her
orphanage located close to the estate.
The development would further confirm the First Family’s status as multiple
farm owners, contrary to the country’s land redistribution laws.
Investigations by NewsDay this week revealed that Grace recently took over
control of about 1 600 hectares of land which was part of Mazoe Citrus
According to sources, Mashonaland Central governor Martin Dinha was
instrumental in the designation of the land and the parcelling of it to the
Dinha chairs the provincial lands committee.
The Resident minister yesterday declined to comment on the matter, referring
NewsDay to Lands minister Herbert Murerwa, who is on leave.
When schools opened earlier this month, Dinha promised to provide more land
to the First Lady during the official opening of the Amai Mugabe Junior
School in Mazowe, saying the school and the orphanage had given the province
Dinha had earlier made the same promise during a tour of the orphanage in
October last year. He said as the provincial leadership, they were already
working on papers to have the land extended.
“The land is no longer sufficient to sustain the projects the First Lady has
on her sleeves,” Dinha said.
“We are working on the papers to stretch the land so that she can have more
land to do her projects.
“Some people might say: ‘The First Lady is greedy, why does she want more
land?’, but we are saying it is justified for her to have more land.”
Workers and villagers who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity
yesterday confirmed the development. Most of the workers, previously
employed by Interfresh, confirmed they were now working for the First Lady.
“I had worked for Interfresh for a long time . . . and all we hear now is it
has been taken over by the First Family, but we are still staying this
side,” said one worker.
Another worker confirmed the development, but said things were still
uncertain at the farm.
“Nothing is happening here at the moment. The offices which were on this
side (citrus estate) have been moved to the other side (at the orphanage)
and this happened after it was taken over by the First Lady, so we are not
sure of the way forward now.”
A villager from across the farm weighed in: “I am really not sure of what is
happening, but we know that the side called Smith Field has been taken over
by Grace Mugabe.”
The First Lady’s spokesperson, Lawrence Kamwi, referred all questions to
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba.
“Why don’t you call the Presidential spokesperson? He is the best person to
talk to,” he said.
Charamba, however, said he was abroad and could not comment on the issue.
“I am out of the country at the moment, so I will not be of much help from
this far end,” said Charamba.
In a statement on Tuesday, Interfresh confirmed losing land in Mazowe,
saying the Lands ministry had designated the property.
“Shareholders are advised that the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement
has advised the company that a portion measuring 1 599,7 hectares, which was
part of Mazoe Citrus Estate, has been allocated to another party,” said
company secretary Tawanda Namusi.
In their statement, Interfresh said the portion allocated represented 46% of
Mazoe Citrus Estate’s total arable land, 30% of its budgeted revenue for the
financial year 2013 and 52% of the value of immovable and biological assets.
They have since lodged an appeal with the Ministry of Lands and Rural
Resettlement. - NewsDay
Posted by Alex Bell on Thursday, January 17, 2013 in ZANU PF | 0 comments
By Alex Bell
17 January 2013
Tourism Minister and the ZANU PF MP for Masvingo South, Walter Mzembi, has
been accused of politicising a workers’ dispute at a local mine, by
threatening opposition supporters there with dismissal.
According to the MDC-T, Mzembi has ordered all workers at the Renco Mine to
join ZANU PF or risk intimidation, political persecution and dismissal from
The MDC-T provincial spokesperson, Harrison Mudzuri, told SW Radio Africa
that the mine has been in the midst of a dispute between workers and
management, and Mzembi is using this dispute for his own political purposes.
He explained that the ZANU PF minister is “causing mayhem” by ordering the
workers to join his party or risk being fired.
“Mzembi also told the workers that all MDC supporters will be thrown out of
the company since he wielded powers to do so,” Mudzuri said.
He went on to criticise Mzembi for interfering “where there should be no
political interference,” adding that the workers dispute “is not a political
problem, but a labour issue.”
“We believe that everyone, including mine workers, has the right to vote for
a party of his or her own choice. It is quite displeasing to note that a
government minister and legislator could sink so low as to participate in
cheap political activities,” said Mudzuri.
The MDC-T said in a statement that Mzembi’s actions are “characteristic of
the hooliganism that is associated with ZANU PF and should not be condoned.”
“The bullying of hapless mine workers because of their political preferences
is not only primitive but retrogressive in modern politics. Such behaviour
will not distract the people’s march to a democratic dispensation,” the
By Tichaona Sibanda
17 January 2013
Heavy rains for the past three weeks have swelled rivers and cut-off bridges
and traffic to many parts of Manicaland province, the deputy
director-general of the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) said on Thursday.
Weeks of heavy rain have left large parts of the province under water with
the levels of most dams and rivers appearing to have peaked, leaving the
situation critical in many areas, particularly along rivers.
Sibusisiwe Ndlovu told SW Radio Africa that torrential rains have caused
widespread damage to roads and bridges, leaving the province reeling. She
added that most rivers in the province are overflowing, with most of the
fast-rising ones affecting settlements along their banks.
‘The situation we have is that we have overflowing rivers that are washing
away bridges. We are yet to have widespread flooding but we are at risk of
flooding. I must emphasize that we have no areas that are flooded yet,’ she
Ndlovu warned people against making journeys across flooded rivers. A number
of individuals have died in the last month trying to cross some of these
flooded rivers in Manicaland province.
‘It is not advisable to venture into a flooded river, it’s rather you wait
until the water subsides or find another route,’ explained the deputy head
of the CPU.
About 200 pupils from Katsenga secondary school in Makoni South have not
been attending lessons after the bridge they used to walk to school was
swept away last Saturday.
A villager in the area, Lloyd Madziva, said the bridge, along the Mucheke
river at Chinembiri, was completely washed away, cutting off some villages
and closed roads.
‘There hasn’t been any traffic for a week now, we have children that are not
going to school and we have had no mode of transport since the bridge links
the only road to Rusape, the main town in the district,’ Madziva said.
Earlier this week more than 100 mourners, who included Central Vehicle
Registry staff members, had to be rescued after they were marooned by floods
for four days in Tanda village in Headlands.
They were air-lifted by an Airforce of Zimbabwe helicopter from the village
to Mayo Business Centre, across the flooded river. They had been attending
the funeral of their colleague and relative, Wendy Saumba. The stranded
mourners were airlifted in groups of 15 by the Air Force.
Thursday, 17 January 2013 11:20
HARARE - Top human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has accused the State of
abusing the justice delivery system by being political in a case in which
her client ZimRights director Okay Machisa lost a bail bid.
Mtetwa said this yesterday during a bail application for Machisa, whose
organisation is accused of manufacturing fake copies of voter registration
She said this after prosecutor Michael Reza in his submissions opposing bail
told the court that Machisa’s action in the alleged offence would have
resulted in the forthcoming elections being declared a “farce” by the
He said this would have resulted in the United Nations’ intervention and the
country declared a “no-fly zone”.
“These are political submissions, more suitable for a party political rally
not a court,” Mtetwa hit back.
“I mention this before you (court) because the State is in the habit of
abusing the criminal justice system for political reasons and this is done
to misrepresent facts to judicial officers,” said Mtetwa.
Mtetwa told the court Machisa was a suitable candidate for bail and had
presented himself to the police.
She said there was no evidence Machisa was going to interfere with evidence
considering that the police raided his offices twice but failed to find
Machisa, who is facing forgery and conspiracy to commit fraud charges or
publishing false statements prejudicial to the State, yesterday appeared in
court in leg irons.
Mtetwa protested and said this was meant to “dehumanise” her client and
portray him as a dangerous criminal, but Reza justified it as a security
measure after court officials were previously attacked by suspects.
It is alleged that Machisa together with Dorcas Shereni, Leo Chamahwinya,
Farai Bhani and Tatenda Chinaka produced fake copies of voter registration
certificates between May this year and this month in a bid to defraud the
Registrar General’s office.
The other four have since appeared before the court.
Magistrate Tendai Mahwe yesterday ruled that Machisa was not a suitable
candidate for bail before remanding him to January 30. - Tendai Kamhungira
By Chengetayi Zvauya, Parliamentary Editor
Thursday, 17 January 2013 10:29
HARARE - Co-Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone says selective application
of the law is still rampant, four years after the formation of a coalition
government that promised reforms.
Makone said this while addressing MDC supporters at her homestead in
Goromonzi West Constituency during a reception for 29 MDC activists who are
facing charges of killing a police officer in 2011.
She compared the continued stay in prison of some MDC activists to six Zanu
PF supporters accused of murdering an MDC official in Mutoko last May but
were released on bail.
“The Zanu PF supporters who killed Cephas Magura in Mutoko were given bail
without staying more than six months in cells.
“They shall go to trial under a different government. There is a lot of
impunity happening, look at what happened to Matabeleland massacres, no one
has been arrested to date.
“Now we have an increase in cases of our members and civic society members
being harassed and arrested. We want justice in these matters and everyone
to be treated equally,” said Makone.
Makone warned MDC supporters to brace for more police arrests and
persecution as the country prepares for a watershed poll to be held this
“If you are going to court to face murder charges say the truth and justice
“As MDC we are ready for elections anytime and we know that many of our
supporters are going to be arrested but be ready for prison because it’s
part of the democratisation process,” said Makone.
“The road to a new Zimbabwe is by going through Chikurubi prison. All Zanu
PF leaders were at one time in their political lives detained by the Ian
Smith regime and spent a long time in prison. You must do the same,” said
Makone, who is also MDC Women Assembly chairperson.
MDC youth leader Solomon Madzore led the activists in thanking the Makone
family in the support they had received during their 18 months stay in
Some, such as Yvonne Musarurwa, Tungamirai Madzokere, and Last Maengahama
remain in remand prison.
Makone said Zanu PF activists accused of murdering Magura, an MDC official
Mudzi in May last year were hastily released on bail.
The Zanu PF activists Graciano Kazingizi, Biggie Office, Raphael Bobo,
Perkins Karikoga and Phillip Katsande, including a councillor for the area,
David Chimukoko were granted $100 bail on October 19 after five months in
One of them, Eric Chatiza, died while in custody in July.
Thursday, 17 January 2013 11:20
MUTARE - Zanu PF has opened an investigation into possible looting of cash
donated to the party by some firms mining diamonds in Marange.
It is a case that could open a can of worms, but so far, the probe is
centering on the party’s Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro,
although bigger fish are reportedly involved.
Madiro is under investigation for allegedly receiving an undisclosed amount
of money from some diamond mining companies in Marange under the guise of
assisting youths to set up incoming generating projects.
He is alleged to have diverted the money for his own use.
Party secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa confirmed a probe was
“Yes, the party is investigating the allegations that are being levelled
against him. We are expecting the findings before the end of the week,” said
Madiro rubbished the reports.
He told the Daily News in a brief telephone interview that he had nothing to
do with the alleged investigation by his party.
“I have no comment, as my comment will not add any value to the party Zanu
PF which I belong to,” Madiro said.
He added he was unaware that he was under any investigation from anyone on
Sources within Zanu PF say the under fire Manicaland chairperson is being
investigated by officials from within his party for suspected
misappropriation of funds running into thousands of dollars.
Mutasa would not say more on the matter stating that they will wait for the
outcome of the probe, which would be made public.
Madiro is the latest senior Zanu PF official to come under probe following
the sacking of the party’s Manicaland provincial youth chair Tawanda Mukodza
who was accused of failing to account for youths’ projects money.
Kelvin Manyengavana replaced Mukodza.
Mukodza’s ouster in December has since been endorsed by the party in
He was accused of also not accounting for money meant for youth projects.
The matter is still in the hands of the party and no police report has been
made yet, sources say.
The Zanu PF national secretary for youth affairs Absalom Sikhosana last week
upheld Mukodza’s sacking on allegations of corruption, nepotism,
insubordination and fanning divisions within the party.
But Mukodza is adamant he is still the party’s youth leader. Mukodza said
Sikhosana, as an individual, had no power to endorse his ouster from the
“I am party cadre who will not relent to work for the party and act on what
appears in newspapers. As far as I know, I have not received that letter and
I remain the Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chair. Sikhosana is not a member
of the party’s disciplinary committee, which is supposed to deal with such
alleged issues,” said Mukodza. - Sydney Saize
by Staff Reporter
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces, which owns a substantial stake in the diamond
mining industry, is bartering the gems to buy weapons and other equipment to
sustain its operations, says the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining
Development, Gift Chimanikire.
In an exclusive interview recently, Chimanikire shed light on the problems
bedevilling diamond production and sales, which have been blighted by
accusations of widespread abuse by State agencies aligned to Zanu (PF) since
the deposits were discovered about a decade ago.
He revealed that the army was sourcing the weapons from China by
surrendering the diamonds without properly ascertaining their commercial
value, implying that the country could be earning far less than the gems are
“The problem with our diamonds is that they are being subjected to a barter
system and not being auctioned on the open market. They are just not being
valued properly. Anjin (one of the companies mining diamonds in the Marange
fields in Manicaland province) is 90 percent owned by the Chinese and 10
percent by the army. Whatever (the army) gets, they barter for weapons,”
Chimanikire told The Zimbabwean.
Recent reports indicate that ZDF is clandestinely sourcing weapons from
unknown suppliers, offsetting an outcry from critics that there is no need
to buy weapons when Zimbabwe is enjoying relative peace and there are no
prospects of war.
Besides Anjin, Mbada Diamonds and the Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation—representing government - are also involved in mining in Marange
fields. Chimanikire expressed concern that bartering the diamonds made it
difficult to account for sales. “What I know is that by the end of 2010,
Anjin had 5,8 million carats but they were not auctioned on the Zimbabwean
market. They were sold through the barter system and we don’t really know
how much we are getting from the diamonds. How do you audit a barter system?
“When we try and say how much revenue is being realised from the diamonds,
it becomes difficult because some of those carats are never transferred to
hard cash,” he said. Some of the diamonds are reportedly being used to fund
Chinese projects in Zimbabwe, among them the construction of the Zanu (PF)
conference centre in Gweru.
Hastily built last year for the party’s 13th conference, the centre is
believed to have cost several millions of dollars but it is not clear why
diamond money was channelled to a party project.
Chimanikire said the Chinese had benefited from the diamonds by moving from
one project to another. “The Chinese are moving from one project to another.
They have been working on the National Defence College, the hotel in Harare
(built on a wetland close to the National Sports Stadium) and the Zanu (PF)
Conference in Gweru,” he said.
The minister revealed that Zimbabwe did not have its own evaluators who
could check the value of diamonds but relied on external evaluators.
“I have always been critical about this (external evaluation). Let us know
how much we owe the Chinese and let’s engage our own evaluators. The
situation is even worse because we don’t have monthly audits, the Chinese
just use their own evaluators,” he said, adding that the contracts signed
with the Chinese were a major constraint in realising revenue from the
diamonds because they were too open and lacked detail.
“Some of the agreements with the Chinese are difficult to monitor because
they don’t have a specified time frame. As a ministry, we can only pass
recommendations. It is a cabinet decision to revisit the contracts. Maybe if
we had one government it would make the situation easier,” Chimanikire said.
Since 2009, Zimbabwe has been governed by a coalition government comprising
Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations that have failed to pull in one
direction due to ideological and strategic differences.
Chimanikire said it was important to involve Zimbabwe Revenue Authority at a
production level so it could monitor all the transactions. He also
complained that the diamonds were being sorted at the Harare International
“Our diamonds are sorted at the airport, which is senseless for me. I am
sure we are the only country that has the sorting of diamonds done at an
airport for reasons best known to those who made the decision,” he added.
According to the 2013 National Budget, cumulative diamond output for the
first nine months of 2012 stood at 8 million carats, against projected
annual output of 12 million carats.
Economic analyst, John Robertson, said there were no rules to regulate
diamond mining, resulting in abuses. “We are supposed to be getting tax
revenue from the companies involved in the mining of diamond and export
revenue but we are not getting anything. It seems the mining companies are
not obliged to abide by the Zimbabwean laws. No one is checking on the value
of the diamonds that are being extracted, we only depend on what we are told
because we have no evaluators,” he said.
Robertson added that the employees at the diamond mining companies were not
remitting tax to the government and the number of the workforce remained
unknown. Bulawayo-based economist, Eric Bloch, said revenue from the
diamonds could be boosted if measures were put in place to avoid smuggling
and black market operations.
Anjin, which began operations in Marange in 2010 is estimated by a human
rights group Global Witness to have produced three million carats last year
but refused to remit diamond revenue to the treasury because of a
$98-million loan China extended to Zimbabwe for the construction of a
national defence college in Harare.
The international watchdog last year reported that millions of dollars from
the diamonds were being channelled to fund the operations of the Central
by Jeffrey Moyo
THE Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) vowed Thursday to take the
government head-on over its failure to disburse loans and grants to tertiary
students across the country.
ZINASU head Pride Mukono accused Finance Minister Tendai Biti of misleading
the country by claiming that funds for student grants had since been
He told journalists at a press conference in Harare that Cabinet ministers
were not concerned about the conditions at the country’s universities and
colleges because their children were studying abroad.
“Tawanda Biti, the son of Biti, Finance Minister is in Australia, PM
Tsvangirai’s children are in Australia and Ignatius Chombo’s children are
also abroad while we have been relegated to the deteriorating learning
standards in the country and ministers’ children do not know even the taste
of the water we drink here in Zimbabwe,” charged Mukono.
He said warned that students would confront the authorities and refuse to
vacate college and university premises if they are forced to pay any fees.
“Previously, we acted as rats running from our pursers, but this time the
rats shall confront the cats and we won’t bow down to any intimidation,”
said the student leader.
The students also demanded the immediate implementation of the national
budget presented by Biti last year in November.
“We demand that the national budget be immediately implemented rather than
being relegated to the dustbin of history soon after it was announced in
parliament, and we also demand that President Mugabe appoint a new Higher
Education Minister to fill the position left by the late Stan Mudenge,” said
the ZINASU president.
Biti allocated US$11.3 million for student loans and grants, which he said
would be raised through increased excise duty on tobacco and alcohol. But
the student leaders said the amount was too little.
Universities around the country are charging US$720 for tuition fees only
excluding food and accommodation while polytechnics and teachers’ colleges
demand $400 inclusive of accommodation.
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 19:20
Clemence Manyukwe, Political Editor
THE education sector remains in a crisis with the Ministry of Education,
Sports, Arts and Culture having more than 30 000 vacant posts as the new
school term unfolds.
This is at a time when Treasury has imposed a recruitment freeze to manage a
financial squeeze rattling the inclusive government.
The ministry, which has a workforce of 138 950 and 3 959 315 learners in
both primary and secondary schools, has little room to manoeuvre this year
in terms of improving standards.
About 94 percent of its budgetary allocation will go towards salaries,
leaving only 5, 9 percent for other requirements such as quality assurance
and capacity development.
All the five parastatals under the ministry have also fallen victim to the
obtaining state of affairs. The Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council, which
is responsible for public examinations, has been the hardest hit.
A closer look at the ministry’s budget allocation shows that it would have
less than US$1 to educate its 3 959 315 learners per month against the
universally recommended US$7 per month per child.
According to the latest report by the Parliamentary Committee on Education,
Sports, Arts and Culture, Members of Parliament are of the view that the
situation could worsen this year due to underfunding.
Fears are that the ministry might not even get the full allocation and to
worsen matters, Treasury has traditionally released funds late thereby
negatively impacting on programmes due to unavailability of funds when they
Several measures are being recommended by the committee to rescue the
“To reduce costs, the committee recommends that the Ministries of Education,
Sport, Arts and Culture; Higher and Tertiary Education and Science and
Technology be collapsed into one ministry. This will result in reduction of
some overhead costs since these ministries have almost similar
responsibilities,” reads part of the committee report.
“To ensure that all Ministries are adequately funded, it is recommended that
the revenue collection by the E-government must improve and any revenue
collected by any E-government department must go to Treasury for equal
distribution among all ministries.”
Members of the committee are opposed to incentives paid to teachers by
parents as they are divisive.
To escape low salaries, some teachers have resorted to taking a
lackadaisical approach to work during normal working hours so as to ask
students to come for extra lessons to enable them to demand separate
While in the past, extra lessons were for those writing public examinations
such as those in form four, now children as young as in grade two are asked
The MPs said while the civil service needs to be well-paid, infrastructure
development, a key driver of national development, should also be given
adequate attention by government.
It was also recommended that government pay attention to buildings and
improving school infrastructure for proper learning to take place,
particularly given that some schools are using make-shift facilities.
The ministry should also consider sprucing up sporting facilities that were
allocated only 0,64 percent of the ministry’s budget, which is indicative of
the myth that sport is not a source of livelihood and that children should
focus on the academic aspect as the only source of livelihood, even though
the two aspects should complement each other.
by Christopher Mahove
The discharge of pesticides into the country’s water sources by tobacco
farmers is posing a danger to aquatic life and villagers, according to the
Environmental Management Agency. The EMA Environmental Quality Manager,
Silvia Yomisi, said fish deaths had been reported in the Mazowe area and the
EMA organic laboratory was currently testing water to determine the level of
Yomisi was speaking during the EMA Laboratory Accreditation Certificate
handover ceremony in Harare recently. She would not disclose how widespread
the problem was and what measures were being taken to arrest the crisis.
The EMA laboratory, which was established in 2007, received the ISO
International Electro-Technical Standards 1702 five certification, which
will see the results from the laboratory being accepted globally.
EMA Board chairperson, Sheunesu Mpepereki, said Zimbabwe was moving from
speculation to fact regarding substances that were endangering the
“It is about moving from qualitative to quantitative descriptions. We must
measure exactly how much substances are endangering the environment. It has
been a long road but we are happy now that our capacity to measure
environmental pollutants is now matching world standards,” he said.
He said while EMA fully supported the exploitation of mineral wealth in the
country and commercial farming, it expected people to do it in a manner that
would not harm the environment. ‘We are not out to make life difficult but
we are preventing you from making us extinct,” he said.
The laboratory currently has 40, 000 chemicals for analysis for water
sources scattered across the country, including boreholes, rivers and
“This is so that we can trace back pollution to its source, especially in
rural areas where people are unsuspecting. They need to be protected, they
need to have confidence in their water,” said EMA Director General, Mutsa
She said tests made so far had indicated there was a heavy metal
contamination in the country’s underground water.
The EMAL becomes only the second environmental laboratory to be accredited
Thursday, 17 January 2013 19:02
Nelson Chenga, Staff Reporter
SEWERAGE waste and siltation continue to clog Lake Chivero, the main source
of Harare's bulk water supply.
Sixty-one years after the lake was commissioned, the water reservoir has
been shrinking in both size and usefulness due to pollution.
As a result, Harare city fathers are now spending much more on water
purification at a time when the capital's revenue-generating capacity is
constrained due to the economic crisis affecting its residents.
Council is currently using a cocktail of 14 chemicals to purify water from
Lake Chivero before piping it to residential areas.
Health experts have warned that the water purification bill was
unsustainable for a city with an annual population growth rate of five to
Harare is presently home to an estimated four million people.
But the disaster unfolding at Lake Chivero is just a microcosm of the
tragedy unfolding in the rest of the country due to the wanton destruction
of natural resources.
And yet the same natural resources should anchor Zimba-bwe's future growth
A cocktail of challenges have been fueling environmental degradation in
These include a flight of foreign direct investments; non-performing
agriculture and manufacturing sectors; deteriorating infrastructure; poor
water and electricity supply system and a rapidly changing climate.
Despite the stability brought about by the inclusive government and the
adoption of multi-currencies, the coalition has not been singing from the
same hymn sheet on many things, including its response to issues to do with
But while the bickering continues, the environment has been suffering much
It is estimated that between 100 000 and 320 000 hectares of forest cover
were lost per year between 2000 and 2008. With no figures available on the
state of the country's forests since then, it is anyone's guess as to how
much tree cover is left out there.
With the status of the country's wildlife also unknown, increasing poaching
activities are threatening with extinction many of Zimb-abwe's unique
species such as the black rhino, pangolin, ant eater and leopard.
And underlying these environmental challenges is political lethargy that has
resulted in the non implementation of environmental policies that are
supposed to help sustainable development.
A 2010 United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) report on Zimbabwe
says the major challenge facing the country is that of ensuring
environmental sustainability and timely implementation of the Environ-mental
The Environmental Mana-gement Agency (EMA), according to the report, plays a
key role in translating the objectives of the Act into reality, but it lacks
both human and financial resources.
"The low level of environmental awareness among key law enforcement agencies
such as the judiciary and the police further hinders both the success of
domestic self-financing mechanisms through fines and penalties to replenish
the Environ-mental Fund and halt negative practices. The capacity to
implement multilateral environmental agreements, as well as to coordinate
the various actors on the part of the Ministry of Environment and Natural
Resources Management is constrained," says the report.
Although EMA has identified deforestation, drought and desertification, soil
erosion and fires, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, water hyacinth
invasion on lakes and dams, air pollution, poor waste management as well as
land degradation as some of the environmental challenges facing Zim-babwe,
lack of robust political by-in and a clear and decisive government
leadership have effectively rendered the agency ineffective.
Given this scenario, EMA has warned that the country is starring at major
ecological and economic losses if these environmental problems continue
unchecked, a situation that could easily trigger social and cultural shocks
and hardship in affected communities.
"The cost of no action is high, for example the rehabilitation of
decommissioned mines requires at least US$32 million," says an EMA
Zimbabwe's 2010 MDGs report recommends that the country should prioritise
the restoration of existing water and sanitation infrastructure in both
urban and rural areas that would be accompanied by a large-scale sanitation
behavioural change programme targeted at eliminating open defecation.
According to the 2009 Multiple Indicator Monitoring Survey, the proportion
of people in rural areas with access to safe drinking water declined by nine
percent from 70 percent in 1999 to 61 percent in 2009 while 69,5 percent of
all rural households had no access to hygienic sanitation facilities.
The Department of Infrastru-ctural Development has also noted that more than
65 percent of all rural water points are non-functional at any given time
while the country's extensive rural sanitation programme has also
experienced a sharp decline in quality.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's 2010 MDGs report indicates that despite being a low
greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, the country is getting warmer as the monthly
highest daily maximum temperatures for most of the country are increasing by
about two degrees celsius per century, while the percentage of days with low
temperatures is decreasing at a rate of about 15 days per century.
"Assuming that GHG emissions continue along the predicted trajectory, it is
predicted that temperatures will rise by between 0,5°C and two degrees
celsius by 2030, and one degree celsius and 3,5°C by 2070. National average
rainfall declined by about five percent between 1900 and 2000 ... the 1980s
and early 1990s witnessed what were most likely Zimbabwe's driest periods of
the 20th Century.
"There has been a noted shift in agricultural seasons, as evidenced by late
onset and sometimes late cessation of the rainy season. Longer-term rainfall
predictions for Zimbabwe are less certain.
"Various models predict that rainfall patterns are likely to change and that
extreme events such as drought and floods are likely to increase in
frequency. Certain models predict that there will have been a 10-20 percent
decline in rainfall by 2050," says the MDGs report.
As a signatory to the UN-set MDGs, Zimbabwe pledged to achieve environmental
sustainability through integrating the principles of sustainable development
into the country's policies and programmes and reverse the loss of
environmental resources; significantly reducing biodiversity loss by 2010;
halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without access to safe drinking
water and basic sanitation; and considerably improve the lives of its slam
dwellers by 2020.
However, much of the evidence on the ground points to a nation in reverse
mode as no meaningful progress has been achieved to meeting these targets.
Staff Reporter 21 hours 7 minutes ago
HARARE - A high definition outside broadcasting van donated by the Chinese
government to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) is expected in the
country in two weeks time.
The digital satellite news gathering van and a nine camera digital high
definition outside broadcasting van are expected to improve the operations
of the national broadcaster in outside broadcasting, news gathering and
transmission from the country’s 10 provinces.
Speaking after a five member Chinese delegation handed over shipment papers
for the equipment, ZBC Group CEO, Happison Muchechetere hailed relations
between China and Zimbabwe and expressed gratitude to the Chinese for their
assistance in the digitalisation process.
"We are happy to have secured this van, which is a positive development
towards the national broadcaster's digitalisation process. Now we will be
able to get information from all parts of the country and trasmit it
instantly to our television channels using digital satellite. We used to
hire such a van from South Africa and we would fork out over US$20000 and
now we are happy that we will no longer be doing that," said Muchechetere.
The Chinese head of delegation, Mr Zhou Mai said their company is willing to
work with the national broadcaster by providing technical support.
The delegation was then taken for a tour of the TV and radio studios at the
ZBC headquarters at Pockets Hill, Harare.
SADC has set a deadline for its member states to move from analogue to
digital broadcasting by the end of this year while the International
Communications Union (ICU) expects the whole world to be broadcasting on
digital by 2015.
Mr Muchechetere said by the end of this year, the national broadcaster will
be halfway through with the digitalisation process and will definitely meet
the 2015 ICU deadline.
Meanwhile Robert Mugabe has accused Western countries of plotting to
assassinate him to gain access to Zimbabwe’s wealth.
Mugabe told a meeting of Zimbabwean students in Beijing during his annual
vacation that Western countries planned to kill him.
Zimbabwean leaders usually use the term “West” to refer to Britain and the
United States in particular.
In an already tense election campaign, where his opposition senses it has
its best chance to end the socialist leader’s 32-year grip on the South
African nation, Mugabe implied that the plot had come from within the West’s
The report on State TV did not specify the exact source of the plot.
But it is the second time the 88-year-old leader has made the shocking claim
after making similar claims at his Zanu PF party’s annual conference last
Mugabe said the plot involved hostile non-governmental organisations
bankrolled by the West and was aimed at driving him out of power and
imposing a “puppet government”, a phrase he regularly uses to refer to his
foe and coalition partner Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who hopes to
block his bid for re-election this year.
Mugabe gave few details of the alleged plot.
“They send NGOs into our system, they always want puppet regimes and if
there is a strong government, they talk of regime change,” Mugabe told the
“They want to change us, change me for a long time if not get rid of me if
not to kill me altogether. And that is the appetite of the West for wealth.
We also have appetite for wealth, but not for other people’s wealth.”
Earlier last month, Mugabe told his 13th national people’s conference: “You
can’t be afraid that you will be killed. How many have died? This is my
country. I will die for it. A lot of others have died for it.”
US ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton told reporters in Bulawayo last
month that there was no plot whatsoever to bump off the veteran ruler.
“That is not our policy and we would not do that. It is not our policy in
Zimbabwe,” Wharton said.
“Let me be very clear: the United States wants a strong, stable, prosperous,
just Zimbabwe. We are looking for ways to support that through healthy
positive productive means, no other means,” he said.
If anything, the US was ready to work with Zanu PF if it won a free and fair
“If the elections are open and neutral and the people of Zimbabwe and Sadc,
supposedly the monitoring teams, say these are good elections, yes, I think
the United States would support a Mugabe government if it is elected,” he
Thursday, 17 January 2013 11:20
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says his nemesis Welshman Ncube,
leader of the smaller MDC by legislative representation, is not entitled to
attend the Monday Principals’ meeting as it is exclusive to government
In response, Ncube’s camp says Tsvangirai has “graduated” into “Zimbabwe’s
enemy number two” after Mugabe.
On Tuesday Ncube attacked Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe for locking
him out of the Monday meeting as preparations for the constitution-making
process gather momentum.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai recognise Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara as a
But Sadc the guarantors of the tenuous inclusive government recognise Ncube,
who took over as the leader of the MDC formation in 2011 before Mutambara
contested his ouster.
The latest Principals’ standoff is now threatening to suck in Sadc as Ncube
mulls taking the issue to the regional body for arbitration.
“The snub shows lack of sincerity especially on the part of Tsvangirai and
he has become Zimbabwe’s enemy number two after Mugabe,” said Qhubani Moyo,
the party’s policy director.
“He has become too relaxed under Mugabe’s armpit and if this trend
continues, we will approach Sadc.”
William Bango, Tsvangirai’s acting spokesperson, yesterday told the Daily
News that Ncube could not attend the Principals’ meetings on Mondays because
they were exclusive to leaders of government not political party leaders.
“The Prime Minister does not wish to comment on the obvious,” Bango said.
“It should be known that Monday meetings are for government leaders , that
is the President, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and not
leaders of political parties.
“Ncube attends political party leaders’ meetings on Tuesdays after Cabinet
but because Cabinet has not yet resumed, the meeting will be on Thursday
The latest standoff between Tsvangirai and Ncube shows escalating tension
between the former allies.
Ncube accuses Tsvangirai of being out of touch with the reality, labelling
the former trade unionist a privileged elite who now lives in $2 million
mansion while the populace wallow in poverty.
In retaliation, Tsvangirai has described Ncube as a “village politician” who
cannot win national elections. - Staff Writer
17 JAN 2013 16:29 - TELDAH MAWARIRE
The death of John Landa Nkomo, Zimbabwe's vice-president and founding member
of PF-Zapu, has revived discussions surrounding the 1987 Unity Accord.
Nkomo (78) died on Thursday at St Anne's Hospital in Harare where he was
receiving treatment for cancer.
Sources within the party say debate could potentially put to rest the accord
signed between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and Joshua Nkomo’s PF-Zapu.
Nkomo was a member of Zapu before the party merged with Zanu-PF in 1987
under a deal that was meant to end hostilities between the two parties that
resulted in the deaths of as many as 20 000 mainly Ndebele-speaking people.
According to the Unity Accord, Nkomo is supposed to be replaced in
government by a former member of Zapu – in this case party national
chairperson and former ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo.
But party sources said there are manoeuvres by Defence Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa’s faction to scuttle that arrangement and position Mines Minister
Obert Mpofu as Nkomo’s successor.
Mugabe’s 'ever-obedient son'
Mpofu who, in a letter to Mugabe, described himself as President Mugabe’s
“ever-obedient son”, has vowed to change Zanu-PF’s fortunes in the
“There is a view that the Unity Accord is divisive. Moreover, the contention
within Zanu-PF at the moment is that their colleagues from former Zapu have
no value to the current status quo since the death of Joshua Nkomo in 1999,
because they have no constituency,” said a Zanu-PF politburo member aligned
Another politburo member said: “We are now a united people and it might not
be necessary to fill posts on the basis of previous party affiliations. It’s
divisive and I think even the president [Mugabe] acknowledges that.”
Moyo, a former confidante to the late PF-Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo, would be
well-placed to replace John Nkomo – but sources say questions are being
asked about the value of former Zapu candidates to Zanu-PF, given all former
PF-Zapu cadres have failed to win parliamentary seats under Zanu-PF since
the emergence of the Movement for Democratic Change party in 1999.
Mourning 'a comrade'
When contacted for comment, party secretary for administration Didymus
Mutasa said it was not yet time to discuss the issue, saying they was
mourning “a comrade”.
Mutasa is understood to be eyeing the chairmanship post, and would favour
retaining the Unity Accord arrangement so that Moyo would create a vacancy
State media were silent on Nkomo’s passing but the US Embassy was quick to
offer his family its condolences saying: “Whether as a teacher, a
politician, an advocate for Zimbabwe’s independence, or as a public servant,
Vice-President Nkomo was a patriot who dedicated his life to Zimbabwe’s
sovereignty and prosperity.”
Nkomo’s son, Jabulani confirmed his father’s death to the Mail & Guardian.
Nkomo, a veteran of Zimbabwe’s armed struggle, was appointed by President
Robert Mugabe as deputy president in 2009 after serving time as Zanu-PF’s
Prior to that, Nkomo was a member of the ANC between 1958-59 – before he
joined the National Democratic Party in Zimbabwe in 1960.
He later joined Zapu in 1961. At Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, Nkomo was
voted member of parliament in Matabeleland North. He served as a member of
parliament, deputy minister and minister of various departments including
labour, industry and energy, as well as local government, rural development
and home affairs.
According Zanu-PF's policy, a politburo meeting has to declare Nkomo a
national hero – a process it carries out before someone is buried at Harare’s
National Heroes Acre.
By Guthrie Munyuki, Senior Assistant Editor
Thursday, 17 January 2013 11:20
HARARE - Our senior assistant editor Guthrie Munyuki (GM) talks to
self-exiled MDC treasurer-general Roy Bennett (RB) about his struggle for
social justice, democracy and his frustrations.
GM: How much support have you been getting from your party since you went
RB: Like hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans who have been victimised by
Zanu’s murderous regime there has been no support forthcoming from our
party. We all got involved in the people’s project to bring true change and
get rid of Zanu’s murderous mafia.
So, instead, I would look at it from the opposite perspective: how much
support have I given the party since I have been in exile?
True cadres of the MDC joined to give not to take or expect something back;
they joined to serve not to eat. As time goes by the core of the party,
which is the people, will hold us all accountable.
No leader would have a position if it was not for the people; the MDC brand,
the Tsvangirai brand, is the project of the people of Zimbabwe.
They supported the MDC/Tsvangirai brand, died for the MDC/Tsvangirai brand,
had their property looted destroyed for the MDC/Tsvangirai brand, beaten and
raped for the MDC/Tsvangirai brand and so on and so forth. Let us leaders
never forget that. I do not expect any support from my party, rather I give
my support unconditionally. My party is me, my party is the people’s
Together to the end. The last mile.
GM: When Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai accepted President Robert Mugabe’s
refusal to have you sworn as deputy Agriculture minister and instead
appointed the late Seiso Moyo, how did you take this, considering that at
first Tsvangirai had spiritedly held a collective party decision not to
budge on any other candidate other than yourself?
RB: I never joined the MDC for a position. I was disappointed that this
decision was not communicated to me directly and that I had to hear it from
a journalist, but as the MDC is in government with absolutely no power, I
understand that difficult decisions in the interest of progress have to be
taken to move things forward.
I trust this was a collective decision within the party and therefore as a
true and disciplined member of the party I accept that which I may not agree
with and move on.
Having said this, I was relieved not to have to try and do anything
meaningful under the regime which is still fully in control.
Agriculture is the ministry where the most crooked and destructive policies
were implemented and I would more than likely ended up delivering to
(Agriculture minister Joseph) Made the same fate as I dished out to
Chinamasa (Bennett was jailed for one year for assaulting Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa in 2004 during a parliamentary debate).
GM: How much of a contribution are you making to the party while you are
domiciled outside the country?
RB: Being outside (the country) obviously creates its problems, but there
are also considerable advantages. For one, I can operate without being
harassed by Zimbabwe’s mafia, otherwise known as Zanu PF.
It has given me the opportunity to pass on what the people at grass roots
level want the world to know.
I have a very deep personal responsibility to the people of Zimbabwe, many
of whom I communicate with daily, both inside and outside the party.
It has also meant I can raise resources for the party for the elections and
other projects, tasks that would have been more difficult from inside
GM: The MDC has been slammed for failing to curb corruption among its
councillors and senior officials.
What impact does this corrupt party image have on the performance of the
party in forthcoming elections?
RB: There have been problems with corruption in the party. Any intelligent
person can see that.
The councillors in Mutare are one example. I am not surprised because Zanu
PF has a long history of passing the HIV of graft on to those whom they deal
with. Those they don’t kill, they will try to corrupt.
However, its rubbish that MDC are already as corrupt as Zanu PF. And the
most important issue is this: what are we going to do about it? There will
always be rotten apples — it’s human nature and you get crooks in every
country, in all walks of life — but we need to create a culture of
intolerance towards such people and such practices. No politicians can be
above or beyond reproach.
We must also look to create truly independent institutions that will have
the power to root out corruption wherever it is.
So, internally, the party must renew its commitment to create the right
culture and, externally, it must look to create independent bodies free from
political interference that will deal ruthlessly with problems.
At the end of the day, these are criminal matters and I hope that the police
and other anti-corruption bodies will be restored to their rightful place in
Zanu PF has stripped our judiciary and law enforcement agencies of their
integrity but we need to reverse this.
GM: The MDC is accused of not having done enough to expose corruption, and
instead, some key party members are accused of accumulating wealth over a
short period of time. Isn’t it in the best interests of the party, in the
eyes of the electorate, to have a lifestyle audit?
RB: In the longer term, measures such as lifestyle audits conducted by
independent international auditing firms will be absolutely critical.
They should be paired with other measures like anti-corruption hotlines and
so on. Still, there are challenges in the short term that make full
transparency a problem — for example, many party members are wary of
exposing all their assets to Zanu PF because this is an invitation to have
But I think that an aggressive audit should be done immediately should the
MDC take power.
This is not an option but an absolutely essential measure. In the meantime,
a confidential internal audit should be conducted by independent auditors
and anything that cannot be explained should be tabled in the Standing
Committee and then publicly.
GM: It has been said but dismissed, that Tsvangirai is facing a rebellion if
he does not win the next elections yet he remains popular.
Why would some of your colleagues even think of such a plan instead of
galvanising the party for electoral victory?
RB: Regardless of what polls or so-called “experts” say, I don’t think there’s
any chance of MDC losing a free and fair election. Why would the majority of
Zimbabweans vote for a party of drunken geriatrics that has run the country
into the ground? Rather, the question is what will happen if terror and
vote-rigging result in a Zanu “win”?
And what will happen if MDC wins but the Joint Operations Command (Joc)
continue their coup and refuse to step down?
These are the real questions on the lips of Zimbabweans. In that situation,
the MDC will face some very tough problems that go well beyond whether
Morgan or myself or any other MDC leader stays in position.
GM: How much suffering have you had for being a Tsvangirai-led MDC senior
RB: I have suffered, of course — and most of these things are
well-documented (see http://freezimbabwe.com/resources.php). But this is
what happens in a dictatorship and many Zimbabweans have suffered much more
Many have died; others have seen their families slaughtered. The only way we
are going to have a chance of a normal life is to get rid of Zanu PF. While
those people have the fingers of their right hand on the triggers and
fingers of their left in the till we will never see real rusununguko. Let’s
not forget that.
Anyone who says otherwise is sticking their head in the sand.
GM: Will you ever recover?
RB: I am fine. I am strong and I am fighting on. It is normal, everyday (it
is) Zimbabweans who give me strength, who encourage me daily, and I am
pressing on for them. My re-election at congress is a request from the
people that I keep fighting — that I keep fighting for ordinary Zimbabweans,
keep fighting for the principles that drove the formation of the MDC in
1999, and I take those responsibilities very seriously.
I also have a loving family and a loving God, so I am far from being
GM: What’s next for you? Do you intend to participate in next elections, how
RB: Some of those decisions will have to be weighed further down the track.
I will do what is strategic and what is in the best interests of the people.
GM: Lastly, what has your party not done which it should have done, to make
sure that Mugabe is forced to institute sweeping reforms as spelt out and
agreed in the GPA?
RB: There is always more that could have been done. It is unfortunate that
things like Posa are still on the statute books. This is based on repressive
legislation that is more than 40 years old. But the main problem is Zanu PF
It is foolish to think any little pieces of paper will stop them from doing
what they want.
No amount of changes to the constitution or the law will stop Zanu PF from
being Zanu PF.
Root-and-branch surgery is required.
The MDC was formed to bring about democratic change and it is only when a
democratic government takes power that life will change for the better in