London, December 31, 2010 - Cyber activists say they have brought down
Zimbabwean government websites after the president's wife sued a newspaper
for publishing a WikiLeaks cable linking her with illicit diamond trading.
President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace is suing a private newspaper for US$15
million for publishing details from U.S. cables on WikiLeaks saying she
gained "tremendous profits" from illicit diamonds.
The activists, acting under the name Anonymous, said in a statement on their
website: "We are targeting Mugabe and his regime in the Zanu (PF) who have
outlawed the free press and threaten to sue anyone publishing WikiLeaks."
The Zimbabwean government web portal www.gta.gov.zw was unreachable on
Thursday, while the Finance Ministry's website, www.zimtreasury.gov.zw,
displayed a message saying it was under maintenance.
Anonymous previously shut down the sites of Visa and Mastercard after they
restricted payments to WikiLeaks.
The WikiLeaks site has enraged the United States and affected its relations
with some countries by publishing hundreds of leaked confidential cables
from U.S. diplomats. It says it has a total of a quarter of a million
Its next data release early next year is widely expected to centre on Bank
The WikiLeaks founder and editor in chief, Julian Assange, is on bail and
under house arrest in Britain preparing to fight extradition to Sweden,
where authorities want to question him about alleged sexual offences.
Peta Thornycroft | Johannesburg 31 December 2010
On New Year's Eve, Zimbabweans were still lining up outside South African
government offices, attempting to become legal citizens in South Africa
before the deadline on Friday. The South Africans have relaxed many
immigration laws to allow as many Zimbabweans as possible to become legal.
Some of the Zimbabweans applying late Friday had neither birth certificate
nor any other form of identification as they lined up outside home affairs
offices, mainly in the Johannesburg area.
This is the last day of a process that began in September to legalize as
many Zimbabweans as possible who fled to South Africa during the last decade
of political and economic crisis.
There was a last-minute surge by tens of thousands of Zimbabweans as the
deadline drew to a close.
Many had been suspicious of the process, fearing deportation. Others stayed
away because they had no documentation.
Then the word got out that the South Africans had relaxed conditions again,
and would give Zimbabweans time to get their documentation, including
passports, as long as they turned up to home affairs and applied to become
legal before the deadline.
Director General of the Department of Home Affairs MKuseli Apleni said extra
personnel had been deployed on New Years Eve at home affairs offices around
the country to cope with the numbers. "We are really excited as a department
for us to be able to see the Zimbabweans have listened to the call and come
forward. No Zimbabwean will not get attended to by the end of this day."
For some, however, the long, tedious process was nearly at an end. They
received a receipt that their application accompanied by all the correct
documentation was in place, and that at least for the moment they legally
can work in South Africa.
One of those in line Thursday who was hoping for good news was Xolani Nkomo,
a mechanic. "I came here this morning, it was 20 to six when I arrived here.
I found the queue was too long, but I couldn't believe my eyes, when I was
inside. Now I am outside, I am through with everything, all my papers have
been cleared, so now I am very happy. I say thank you very much to the
government of South Africa for what you have done for me, I am very happy."
Another, Fikile Dube, is in the building construction industry in South
Africa. "I am very, very, very happy. It was very fast and they are friendly
and and they are helping people very much. I have got the receipt now. I
know I will stay very nice in South Africa I will be free as a
self-employed person. No one will arrest me, no deportation, God bless
More than 200,000 people had applied ahead of the deadline. More than 35,000
already have been granted work permits since September.
No one has ever been sure how many Zimbabweans fled to South Africa in the
last 10 years. Some analysts said it was as many as 3 million.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA Dec 31 2010 12:19
More than 200 000 Zimbabweans have applied to the Home Affairs department to
be legally registered, officials said on Friday.
Home Affairs communications manager Ricky Naidoo said 200 192 applications
had been received from Zimbabweans by close of business on Thursday.
He said that the department had ruled on 44 649 applications and more than
38 000 had been approved.
At the Home Affairs office on Harrison Street in Johannesburg, there were
short queues of Zimbabweans as hawkers made brisk trade, selling black pens,
passport book holders and refreshments.
Home Affairs offices had been instructed to remain open right until the last
Zimbabwean application has been received on Friday.
Illegal Zimbabweans were given a deadline of midnight on December 31 to
apply for documents to legalise their stay in the country. -- Sapa
Harare, December 31, 2010 – Hundreds of Zimbabweans residents in South
Africa this week besieged the passport office at Makombe Building in Harare
in a rush to beat Friday's deadline to acquire Zimbabwean documents to
regularise their stay in South Africa.
Harare Street, which passes along Makombe Building, was choking with South
African register vehicles on Thursday as Zimbabweans domiciled in South
Africa jostled with locals to acquire birth certificates, identity cards and
passports, among other documents.
Some aspiring document holders told vote they slept over night outside the
passport office amid revelations of rampant corruption in the processing of
They claimed government officials, including police, responsible for manning
the long-winding queues were demanding at last US$50 or R500 to be issued
with a form for the processing a passport.
Only about 200 people are attended to per day. But this has not deterred
more than 1000 people to try their luck at the passport office which since
the start of the festive holidays had been battling to deal with new
The South African government has stated it will not extend the December 31
deadline, hence the stampede at Makombe Building.
In September 2010, the Zimbabwe government reduced the fees for ordinary
passport from US$140 to US$50 allegedly as part of efforts to ensure that
people got travelling documents. But sources at Makombe said only US$253
passports were being processed after the payment of a US$50 inducement to
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede was not immediately available to comment
when Radio VOP called before visited his office at Makombe Building.
South Africa has relaxed requirements for Zimbabweans to get permits to stay in the country as thousands queue at government offices.
They have to get correct paperwork before a new year deadline, otherwise they will face deportation.
Officials now say that passports are no longer required and those still in the queues by closing time will be seen.
Some two million Zimbabweans are estimated to be in South Africa, many of them illegally.
They have been fleeing recent instability and economic crisis in their own country.Slow and bureaucratic
In September, Zimbabweans working illegally in South Africa were told they had an opportunity to be processed and, if successful, given work visas and residency to stay.
After midday on Friday some 230,000 people had taken advantage of the amnesty and applied across South Africa in what correspondents say has been a painfully slow bureaucratic process.
So far 38,000 applications have been approved, while another 6,000 have been rejected, according to the Home Affairs Department.
Applicants have had to present their Zimbabwean passports, their birth certificates and letters from their employers or affidavits from the police to prove self-employment.
But many of the migrants crossed into South Africa from Zimbabwe illegally - without passports.
Mkhuseli Apleni, director general of the Home Affairs Department, said this requirement had been dropped to encourage more people to apply and speed up the registrations.
"At the first day they said they wanted passport, now other ID is acceptable, that's why there are so many of us like this at the last minute," Judith, a Zimbabwean waiting in a queue outside a Home Affairs office in Johannesburg on Friday morning, told the BBC.
Another man who joined the queue at 0530 local time said, "I lost my passport, so I came today when I heard they were taking birth certificates."Fake papers arrest
Mr Apleni also said all those in the queues would be seen even after the offices closed at 1700 local time.
"We will endeavour that those who remain on the queues at the close of business today are indeed served," he said in a statement.
"We reiterate our view that there has not been any discussion in cabinet about extension of the deadline."
The BBC's Nomsa Maseko in Johannesburg says that, given the length of the queues, the process could last well into the night.
Meanwhile, a Zimbabwean man has been arrested for allegedly supplying fraudulent documents to his fellow countrymen who were standing in queues waiting to be processed in Pretoria.
Authorities say the fake papers he was selling include letters of employment.
Filabusi, December 30, 2010 - Zimbabwe police armed with guns and batons on
Wednesday dispersed over 200 National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) members
gathered at a constitutional discussion meeting in Filabusi and arrested its
chairperson Lovemore Madhuku.
"Heavily Armed Anti Riot Police details with guns, dogs and baton sticks
force marched and dispersed close to 250 NCA members who had gathered at
Filabusi Town Centre for an NCA Take Charge campaign meeting," the NCA said
in a statement.
The NCA, a constitutional lobby group has which has been campaigning for a
people driven constitution in the past decade, has vowed to urge Zimbabweans
to vote against the government led constitution making process.
"The NCA National Chairperson Dr Lovemore Madhuku and National Youth
Chairperson Alois Dzvairo were briefly detained at Filabusi for two hours
and accused of holding a meeting without seeking the approval of the
The NCA condemned the actions of the police adding that the action by the
law enforcement agents to disrupt gatherings will not deter them from
fighting for a just and democratic society.
"The NCA condemns the overzealous behaviour and action by the police; such
actions are an affront to freedoms of association and assembly. We reiterate
that no amount of fear nor intimidation will deter our conviction and
commitment in the fight for a just and democratic society," the NCA said.
"We urge our membership and the people of Zimbabwe to remain steadfast and
resolute in the struggle for a genuine people driven and democratic
constitution for our country."
The NCA launched the Take Charge campaign in July together with the Zimbabwe
national Students Union (ZINASU) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) to oppose any outcome of the parliamentary led constitution making
process, which they say is flawed.
The NCA mounted a similar campaign in 2000 under the “No Vote” campaign
which led to the rejection of the draft constitution produced by the
Chidayusiku Commission being rejected by Zimbabweans.
The NCA said it was confident that it will once again be successful in its
efforts to encourage Zimbabweans to reject the current constitution making
process because it is not people driven.
It is taking advantage of the festive holidays to reach out to people in the
rural areas as part of its lobbying strategy.
Meanwhile a committee of parliament leading the constitution making process
said it will start collating data provided by Zimbabweans during the
consultative period in the first week of January.
The co-chairpersons of the committee, Paul Mangwana and Douglas Mwonzora
confirmed that the government has released a further $ 2,1 million for this
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) A Zimbabwean journalist Kindness Paradza has been
elected to a 10-member commission tasked to review the constitution of the
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), APA learns here Friday.
The former Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) president is the only African
journalist appointed to the commission that would examine proposals to amend
the IFJ constitution.
IFJ executive committee member and current ZUJ secretary general Foster
Dongozi said Paradza was selected because of his experience in trade
unionism and media issues as well as his interaction with African
journalists over the years.
Prior to the latest appointment, Paradza was the IFJ focal person in
The commission is expected to prepare a draft constitution that would be
presented at the next IFJ congress in 2013.
by Staff Reporter
A ZIMBABWEAN writer has been named in the Queen of England’s New Year
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey will receive an Officer of the Order of the British
Empire (OBE) from the Queen for services to the publishing industry.
Ellah, the daughter of journalist Pius Wakatama, is currently the deputy
editor of Granta Magazine, one of the foremost literary magazines in the
She has edited some of the best known names in British literature including
Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan and Bettany Hughes.
As well as her main job as an editor, she is on the board of the Writers’
Centre Norwich and has made several contributions to the work of the British
Council in different parts of the world.
Credited with bringing a number of young African writers to a wider
international audience, including Dinai Mengistu, Biyi Bandele, Helon Habila
and Zimbabwe’s Brian Chikwava, author of Harare North, Ellah has helped
organise literary festivals in Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
Individuals who have played a distinguished role in any field in their UK
region or county and whose achievements are recognised nationally can be
considered for an OBE.
Julian Assange's reckless behavior could cost Zimbabwe's leading democrat
Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister of Zimbabwe and the leader of its
democratic opposition, has endured countless indignities at the hands of
President Robert Mugabe. In 1997, thugs tried to throw him from the window
of his 10th floor office. In 2002 and 2008, he had elections stolen from him
and his party, the Movement for Democratic Change. After that most recent
ballot, he had to hide at the Dutch Embassy in Harare for fear of his life.
A year later his wife died in a mysterious car crash that many assume was
the regime's dirty work.
Add to this litany the news that he may be tried for treason. Mr. Mugabe has
already gone after him three times with trumped-up charges, but this time
Mr. Tsvangirai will have someone additional to blame: Julian Assange of
Last week, the crusading "anti-secrecy" website released a diplomatic cable
from the U.S. Embassy in Harare. It describes a 2009 meeting between Mr.
Tsvangirai and diplomats from the U.S. and Europe, both of which have
imposed sanctions on the Zimbabwean regime.
Since 2009, the two leaders have worked together in a fragile governing
coalition. Though the unity government has made some
progress—including replacing the worthless Zimbabwean currency with
the U.S. dollar and South African rand—Mr. Mugabe still controls the
"hard" ministries like the army, police force and security services.
In the conversation with Western ambassadors, Mr. Tsvangirai acknowledged
the important role that sanctions have played in forcing concessions from
Mr. Mugabe. But, as he noted to his American and European counterparts, his
private support for the measures conflicts with his public opposition. He
publicly opposes the sanctions because Mr. Mugabe has successfully
mischaracterized them as an assault on regular citizens, even though they
only target top regime officials with asset freezes and visa bans. (Western
companies are permitted to do business in Zimbabwe and international food
aid, when it isn't blocked by the regime, flows freely).
As a result of the WikiLeaks revelations, Mr. Mugabe's handpicked Attorney
General, Johannes Tomana, this week formed a commission to determine whether
Mr. Tsvangirai committed treason by working with foreign governments to
impose and sustain sanctions. If found guilty, he could face the death
In June 2009, I heard Mr. Tsvangirai speak at the Council on Foreign
Relations in Washington, D.C. At the time, he was visiting Western capitals
to seek increased aid and a lessening of sanctions—the very ones that
he later privately told European and American officials to maintain.
Although he waved off concerns from the audience about Mr. Mugabe as
"misgivings" that "arise out of history," it was clear that his heart
wasn't in the appeal. Mr. Tsvangirai was trapped precariously between
Western governments and the people who had repeatedly tried to murder him
Which leads us back to WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange, who lacks any appreciation
for the subtleties of international statecraft, many of which are not at all
devious. If Mr. Assange were genuinely committed to democracy, as he claims,
he would reveal the minutes of Mr. Mugabe's war cabinet, or the private
musings of the Chinese Politburo that has sustained the Zimbabwean dictator
for over three decades.
Mr. Assange's real mission is revealed by the deceptively edited video he
released in April entitled "Collateral Murder," which purported to show the
deliberate killing of journalists by American helicopter pilots in Iraq.
What the video didn't make clear is that the journalists—whose cameras
were mistaken for weapons—were standing among armed men. Mr. Assange's
priority is to push an anti-American agenda—innocent bystanders like
Mr. Tsvangirai be damned
In an interview last week with ABC News, Mr. Assange denied that his
organization's tactics have hurt any innocent people. "In our four-year
publishing history there has never been a single report of any of our
documents causing physical harm to any single person," he asserted. It was a
cynically crafted denial: No one, to our knowledge, has been physically
harmed—yet. That doesn't mean the numerous individuals whose names
appear in the cables are safe. And it's cold comfort to Morgan Tsvangirai,
who may become just the first casualty of WikiLeaks' collateral damage.
Mr. Kirchick, who has reported from Zimbabwe, is writer at large with Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty and a contributing editor of The New Republic.
By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London 31/12/10
Despite being in denial for a long time and wallowing in hopeless propaganda
throughout 2010, Zanu-pf failed to bury the bad news. It was not all good
news in five areas: democratic reforms, indigenisation, foreign investment,
land reform and targeted sanctions apart from the group dynamics of the
former liberation movement. According to one of the cables on Wikileaks a
Zanu-pf official allegedly “likened Zanu-pf to a troop of baboons
incessantly fighting among themselves but coming together to face external
One of the several admissions made by Zanu-pf’s central committee at the
party’s conference held in Mutare in December 2010 was that it embarked on
a nationwide exercise to coach people on how to contribute in the
constitutional outreach programme by articulating the principles of the
controversial Kariba Draft Constitution. The other incredible admission was
that “Zanu-pf finds itself in a paradoxical situation where it claimed to
have staggering membership, yet facing exponentially declining
subscriptions.” According to the Zimbabwe Independent of 30th December 2010
this ‘tallies’ with reports that people have in the past been intimidated
into buying membership cards while others have bought them to protect
themselves against harassment, violence and intimidation.
Even the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) rank and file allegedly
want Mugabe to go. For example, in April 2008, middle and junior-ranking CIO
officers reportedly said several of their colleagues working for the “2008
elections assignment” emphasised that intelligence reports suggested Mugabe
had lost support even of his key allies in Zanu-pf, except a radical clique
which was urging him to fight another day, mainly because they were eager to
protect their wealth (The Zimbabwean, 23/04/08).
The central committee’s admissions confirm what was already known that the
constitutional outreach process was seriously flawed and unlikely to come up
with a constitution which reflected the people’s views. By deploying
legislators, the army, war veterans, youth militia and CIO operatives to
intimidate supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Zanu-pf ‘interfered’ with the democratic
The violation of human rights and of the freedom of opinion, of association
and of peaceful assembly in Zimbabwe continue to compromise the good
governance e.g. following the reported deployment of soldiers at Morgan
Tsvangirai’s village and the door-to-door election campaign in Gutu,
Masvingo by soldiers threatening villagers to vote for Mugabe and Zanu-pf in
the 2011 elections. Similarly, press freedom is under threat. The
international press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders has
condemned Grace Mugabe’s US$15 million libel suit against the Zimbabwe
Standard saying it is aimed at undermining the paper. Cyber activists
outraged by Mrs Mugabe’s lawsuit have ‘retaliated’ by bringing down
government’s gta and zimtreasury websites. Zimbabwe is one of the top eight
countries with the worst human rights records in the world according to the
Human Rights Risk Atlas 2011 published by British risk analysis and rating
The controversial Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act which came
into force in March and states that foreign –owned companies must give up
more than half of their shares to locals is seen as Zanu-pf’s answer to
western targeted sanctions. However, the law was quickly put on ice early in
December when it dawned that it was more counter productive and
ill-conceived than previously thought.
For example, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) Chief Executive Officer
Emmanuel Munyukwi is quoted as saying 2010 could have been ‘a much better
year’ compared to 2009 had it not been for the indigenisation regulations.
“In April we raked in about US$5 million while months before that we were
raking in more than US$20 million a month. Since the regulations were
gazetted, we have seen a negative impact on trade,” he said (Zimbabwe
Independent, 23/12 10).
Moves to occupy ‘white owned’ businesses started in April 2001 when four
Harare factories were invaded by Mugabe’s mobs. One particular case study
that upsets me is that of Lobels Bread Ltd where as a boy in the late 1960s
I enjoyed going to buy Lobels biscuits, bread, scones, cream buns, candy
cakes and doughnuts at their bakery in Beatrice Road now Simon Mazorodze
Road when we lived at 11 Mwamuka Street, Mbare, Harare before we relocated
According to the Daily Telegraph, 80 men stormed Lobels factory with the
help of the police. Mark Prior, the white managing director, was reportedly
harangued before the workforce, and the gang said all whites would be forced
out of Zimbabwe and they would run the business from “now on” (Zimbabwe
Situation 08/04/01). The company which was founded over 60 years ago and
diversified into confectionary was later sold to a consortium of black
By September 2010, Lobels had stopped bread production due to cash flow and
raw material problems that saw workers striking. An audit led to the
dismissal of three of its top managers on allegations of misappropriating
more than US$10 million thereby crippling the bread manufacturing
operations. However, hopes were raised early December 2010 following news
that Tiger Brands Ltd South Africa’s largest food company was in talks to
acquire a 49% stake worth US$10 million in Lobels bakery in line with the
indigenisation law. Hopefully, all goes well.
Zimbabwe is shooting itself in the foot because of irresponsible statements
by Zanu-pf politicians such as Mugabe’s threat to seize foreign-owned
companies if targeted sanctions were not removed. Although the country is
rich in mineral resources and has the second-largest deposits of platinum,
according to the Times, most miners are avoiding the country or have put
their investments on hold. Rio Tinto, the world’s second largest miner said
“it would not invest further until President Mugabe was gone” (Times,
25/06/08). It is a fact that the unresolved succession issue tends to
The African Development Bank (ADB) notes that the public debt overhang of
about US$6 billion (about 170% of GDP) constraints Zimbabwe’s access to
international capital markets and discourages private investment. Poor
financial results depressed the local stock market with December being
listless in the wake of downbeat financial results for most of the
companies. There are calls for an audit of the public debt.
The ADB says political issues of particular concern cited by donors include:
politically inspired violence and abuse of the judiciary, including
politically motivated arrests; continued farm invasions; delays to the land
audit provided for in the GPA; unilateral imposition of partners to owners
of private wildlife conservation; disrespect of Bilateral Investment
Protection and Promotion Agreements (BIPPAS); and slow progress on a range
of issues agreed by the parties to the GPA aimed at improving freedom of the
media, governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and
exploitation of natural resources in accordance with internationally agreed
standards (ADB, Zimbabwe Country Brief, January 2010, page 9).
The recent announcement by Mines Minister Obert Mpofu that all licences
awarded to the British mining firm African Consolidated Resources (ACR’s)
which used to operate out of Chiadzwa will be cancelled managed to cause
panic among investors. Although, a Zimbabwe-based shareholder has dismissed
the Minister’s statement, saying only the mining commissioner has the legal
standing to cancel licences, one foreign investor reportedly posted a
message on the London Stock Exchange share chat saying:”Will it still be
worth holding this share? What price Monday morning?” (Leonard Makombe,
‘Mpofu can’t cancel ACR licences,’ The Zimbabwe Independent, 23/12/10). The
ACR says it has some 12 key projects in the country covering gold, nickel,
platinum, copper, phosphate and diamonds.
Confirming points raised by the ADB, the Guardian noted that “Zimbabwe, is
of course, more commonly known as a country where human rights are routinely
violated; of extreme poverty and chronic food shortages; of forced slum
clearances and land grabs; and of a dictatorial president Robert Mugabe who
runs roughshod over opponents (23/08/10). The country appears on the
countries of concern list compiled by Experts in Responsible Investment
The other bad news which Zanu-pf cannot be proud of is the fact that some
new farmers have lost faith in land reform and view ‘land redistribution as
a political weapon’ (Zimbabwean 06/10/10). Admittedly, some people have used
the allocated land productively as noted by Magnus Taylor (2010) however,
what is deplorable are ongoing farm seizures despite the formation of the
coalition government and reports of some of the farms having fallen idle
since they were given to ‘cell-phone-farmers’ prompting Agriculture
Minister, Herbert Murerwa to threaten repossession. This followed
revelations that at least 120 evicted white farmers have returned to their
former properties through leasehold deals under which the parties share
profits (NewZimbabwe, 29/12/10).
It is unfair for Zanu-pf to score political points over the land issue by
frustrating the former white farmers in their efforts to obtain redress
through the courts. The dismissal with costs by the Zimbabwe Supreme Court
of an application by white former commercial farmers challenging the
constitutionality of government’s compulsory land acquisition is
regrettable. The Chief Justice stressed that the Supreme Court’s decision
was final and would not be bound or influenced by the SADC Tribunal, thereby
shuttering hopes of a quicker solution. However, it does not make sense that
Zimbabwe is relying on food handouts while experienced Zimbabwean commercial
farmers are being denied access to land resettlement because they are black
like me. It is scandalous, in the wake of revelations that Mugabe’s elite
controls an estimated 5 million hectares of Zimbabwean land, much of it
For the sake of nation-building, civil society should urge government to
amend the relevant Act of Parliament on which the court decision was based
so as to remove any perceived or real racial barriers in land resettlement
as long as the farmers are Zimbabwean citizens and have nowhere else to go.
Justice and fairness should be seen to be done. Nobody denies that Zimbabwe
witnessed terrible racism before independence. However, after pronouncing
reconciliation in 1980, there was no point in going back on that policy 30
years later. Paradoxically, Zimbabwe has in the past submitted itself to
international arbitration over land disputes due to BIPPAS without a fight,
for example, the appointment in December 2010 of an international tribunal
to consider the case of a German family whose three farms which are
protected by a BIPPA were illegally invaded by Zanu-pf members in June. In
an earlier dispute, a group of Dutch nationals in April 2009 won its case
after its BIPPA-protected farms were invaded.
According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),
Zimbabwe’s statistical indicators for health and education were once among
the best in Africa. But the political and economic crises have brought
rising poverty and social decline in its wake (ruralpovertyportal.org
accessed on 31/12/10). To Paul Nyakazeya of the Independent, Zimbabwe’s
agriculture remains fragile despite recovery signs. In his view Zimbabwe’s
agricultural sector is however emerging from the intensive care unit after a
decade which was characterised by political unrest, drought, shortage of
inputs and fuel, declining economy, unreliable electricity for winter
farming and absence of collateral to access loans.
Despite Mugabe justifying 2008 violence for defending the country from
infiltration by non-governmental organisations and the West (ZimOnline,
18/12/10), Zanu-pf members have allegedly hijacked food donated by World
Vision and Christian Care and are giving it only to their party supporters.
The failed concerted international campaign for the lifting of EU and US
targeted sanctions headed by SADC facilitator Jacob Zuma proved that the
sanctions were hurting the right people - Mugabe and his 200 cronies,
otherwise why would Zuma bother?.
The aim of the sanctions which have been extended every year since their
adoption in 2002 is to “encourage those targeted to reject policies that
lead to suppression of human rights, of the freedom of expression and of
good governance” according to the European Union’s Council.
The targeted sanctions take the form of an embargo on the sale, supply or
transfer of arms and technical advice, assistance or training related to
military activities, and an embargo on the sale and supply of equipment that
could be used for internal repression in Zimbabwe. Other measures are a
travel ban on persons who engage in serious violations of human rights and
of the freedom of opinion, of association and of peaceful assembly in
Zimbabwe, and a freezing of their funds, financial assets and economic
resources. About 33 entities mainly farms are also banned, however, the EU
and US have continued to give humanitarian aid but not on a
In September 2010 the State Department said Zimbabwe must show greater
respect for human rights and political freedoms before the US sanctions can
be removed. Recently, the United States slapped visa and financial
sanctions on Zimbabwe’s Attorney General Johannes Tomana as punishment for
undermining democratic institutions and processes.
However, IDASA argues that the foremost weakness of restrictive measures is
the ‘lack of international consensus surrounding their objectives and the
unco-ordinated lists of targeted individuals and entities. British banking
group Standard Chartered Bank has been accused of allegedly giving loans to
Robert Mugabe’s allies through syndicated facilities offered by Non–European
Union (UE) banks as a way of getting around d the targeted measures.
According to Africa Confidential, Stanchart, PTA Bank and a Chinese tobacco
trader were allegedly responsible for more than US$400 million in lines of
credit, which went to 23 Zimbabwean companies in 2010 with the RBZ’s
approval (SWRadioAfrica, 13/12/10).
Short of a miracle, Mugabe and his Zanu-pf will not have changed much by
20th February 2011 when the EU will review its targeted sanctions on the
Zimbabwean leader and his inner circle. Accordingly, though not perfect,
targeted sanctions should be retained for as long as there are human rights
abuses, impunity, disrespect for the rule of law, disruption of the
constitutional reform process and repression in Zimbabwe. Contrary to some
doubting Thomases, targeted sanctions work. Proof is Mugabe’s threat to make
it treasonable to call for sanctions on him for rights abuses as I have just
done in this paragraph. Happy New Year!
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London
BILL WATCH 53/2010
[30th December 2010]
The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday 8th February 2011
The House of Assembly has adjourned until Tuesday 15th February 2011
Finance (No 2) Bill Passed for Second Time by Senate
On Thursday 16th December the Senate, specially recalled from its adjournment to deal with the Finance (No. 2) Bill for the second time, approved the two additional amendments to the Bill made by the House of Assembly [deletion of clauses 21 and 24] and passed the Bill as twice amended by the House of Assembly. The House acted wrongly and unconstitutionally in further amending the Bill by deleting clauses 21 and 24. [Bill Watch 52 of 16th December traces the sorry story of the Bill in detail and explains why its final passage was unconstitutional.] The Bill will now go to the President for assent in this amended form, i.e., without the original clauses 21, 22, 23 and 24, and with a small but politically significant amendment to clause 18 which will restrict ZIMRA Board members to a maximum of three statutory board memberships instead of four [a maximum of four was in the original version of the clause put up by the Minister of Finance]. [Electronic version of Bill as finally passed available – email requests to firstname.lastname@example.org ] When the Bill is gazetted as an Act it will be open to being struck down as invalid by the courts.
Resolutions from ZANU-PF Conference 15th to 18th December
Proceedings of the ZANU-PF Annual Conference started in Harare on 15th December with a meeting of the Politburo. The two-day main event followed in Mutare on 17th and 18th. Matters covered by Conference resolutions included:
· Elections - the next elections should be held in 2011 without fail and should be for the President, Parliament and Local Government and not just for the Presidency.
· Sanctions – the government should take counter-measures against foreign companies, institutions and entities whose home countries maintain sanctions against Zimbabwe.
· Expulsion of foreign envoys – the Government should expel envoys promoting the West’s regime change agenda and interfering in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe
· NGOs – organisations acting as “conduits of regime change” should be deregistered.
· Indigenisation – the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme should be accelerated and expanded.
Moyo for Politburo President Mugabe told the Conference that Jonathan Moyo had been appointed to the Politburo. [Mr Moyo, elected to the House of Assembly as an Independent in 2008, was re-admitted to ZANU-PF late last year.]
Resolutions of MDC-T’s National Council 16th December
On 16th December Mr Tsvangirai held a press conference to announce decisions made at that day’s meeting of the MDC-T National Council [complete text of resolutions available – email requests to email@example.com ]. Highlights included:
· Immediate SADC Troika Meeting Needed – a call for an immediate meeting of the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Democracy and Security Co-operation to discuss outstanding GPA issues [Reserve Bank Governor Gono, Attorney-General Tomana, Roy Bennett, provincial governors and ministerial mandates], the roadmap to elections and other issues described as “toxic” [violence, deployment of security agents in the countryside and “a corrosive media”].
· Implementation matrix – a call for the principals to implement the 24 agreed issues in accordance with the matrix agreed by the principals on 4th August and endorsed by the SADC Summit two weeks later].
· 2011 Elections for Presidency only – the election in 2011 should be for the Presidency only, to put to rest “the question of illegitimacy associated with the farcical Presidential run-off election of June 2008”. Harmonised elections for President, Parliament and local authorities should be in 2013 [which would allow Parliament its normal 5-year term].
· MDC-T National Congress – this should be held before 31st May 2011 – and Mr Tsvangirai would be eligible to continue as party president.
[Comment: While President Mugabe is in office, the Government cannot, under the existing provisions of the present Constitution and Electoral Act, call an election for the sole purpose of electing a President. If a Presidential election alone is agreed to before we have a new Constitution, amendment of both the existing Constitution and Electoral Act would be required to give effect to this MDC-T proposition. If there is a new Constitution, it is likely that negotiated transitional constitutional arrangements will dictate the form the elections will take.
Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara
MDC-M President Arthur Mutambara announced that he would not stand for re-election as party leader at the party’s congress on 8th and 9th January. This raises the question whether he will stand down as Deputy Prime Minister in favour of a new MDC-M President. [Article 20 of the GPA does not name Mr Mutambara as Deputy Prime Minister – only President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai are named – it merely says that there will be two Deputy Prime Ministers, of whom one will be “from MDC-M”.]
Last Parliamentary Sittings of 2010
Senate The only business transacted during the Senate’s 25-minute sitting on 16th December was the passing of the Finance (No. 2) Bill as amended by the House of Assembly [see further at the beginning of this bulletin]. All other items on the Order Paper, including other Bills transmitted from the House of Assembly, were carried forward to be dealt with when the Senate resumes on the 8th February.
House of Assembly The House sat on 14th and 15th December.
Bills passed and transmitted to Senate As well as the Finance (No. 2) Bill [see above], the following Bills were passed and transmitted to the Senate:
Attorney-General’s Office Bill
Energy Regulatory Authority Bill
Criminal Laws Amendment (Protection of Power, Communication and Water Infrastructure) Bill.
Members’ Question Time on 15th December Topics dealt with included:
· Conduct of armed forces and chiefs Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara assured the House that Government policy is that neither the armed forces nor traditional leaders should conduct themselves in a politically partisan fashion; he asked questioners to supply details of offending behaviour by soldiers and chiefs so that the responsible Ministers could respond.
· One Stop Investment Centre The Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Undenge said the aim of the Centre, opened last week, was to reduce to 5 days the time taken to approve an investment application.
· Civil Service Manpower Audit Report received The Minister of the Public Service said the report on the Audit had been handed to him on 10th November and still had to be considered by Cabinet; he assured the House the report would be tabled in Parliament, not “swept under the carpet”.
· Payment of Government Pensions to Outside Pensioners The Minister of the Public Service said the Government would resume paying pensions to its approximately 5, 600 pensioners resident outside the country on completion of the current exercise to ascertain which pensioners were still alive, their whereabouts and where payments should be sent.
Monthly Prime Minister’s Question Time Proposed
Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga proposed the establishment of a Prime Minister’s Question Time once a month, lasting one hour in each House, during which the Prime Minister would respond to written questions submitted by members through the Speaker and the President of the Senate. This would enable the PM to provide information on the formulation and implementation of government policies and programmes. ZANU-PF Chief Whip Joram Gumbo expressed support for the idea but said it was for the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders to put it into practice.
SIs 183 and 184/2010 [gazetted 10th and 17th December] Amendments to VAT (Fiscalised Recording of Taxable Transactions) Regulations
In June Minister of Finance Tendai Biti made regulations [SI 104/2010] requiring all businesses to use “fiscalised” electronic cash registers from 1st July [and only equipment approved by the ZIMRA Commissioner-General would be accepted] – he later announced this would be postponed to 1st January 2011, and SI 183 confirms this postponement.
SIs 183 and 184/2010 also transfer to the Minister, in consultation with the ZIMRA Commissioner-General, the function of approving fiscalised equipment for sale; and establish a technical committee, appointed by the Minister, to supplement ZIMRA’s role in policing the regulations and advising the Minister on which equipment should be approved.
Comment: A Herald story on 18th December, headlined “Biti in bid to usurp ZIMRA powers”, ventilated purported ZIMRA objections to the Minister changing the regulations without first consulting ZIMRA, and raised confidentiality concerns over the technical committee having access to business records. Whatever the policy merits of the objections, the Minister did not “usurp” ZIMRA’s powers when he chose to reassign to himself a function that he had bestowed on the Commissioner-General in the original regulations.]
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:43
ZANU PF has come up with strategies targeting businesspeople, churches, the
youth, women and urban dwellers as it intensifies its campaign to win polls
anticipated for next year, according to the party’s central committee
While its partners in the inclusive government, the two MDC formations,
continue to bicker about the timing of the elections and whether they should
be harmonised or just presidential, Zanu PF is already in election campaign
According to the central committee report tabled at the party’s national
conference in Mutare a fortnight ago, Zanu PF is clear on what strategies it
is going to employ to revamp its dwindling support base. It is even casting
its net at Zimbabweans in the diaspora.
This confirmed reports by the Zimbabwe Independent that Zanu PF has employed
various strategies to revamp its structures that have been ravaged by
rampant factionalism, and that it was on an intensive mobilisation drive.
To attract businesspeople’s participation in the party, Zanu PF is planning
to create a new department of business development and liaison.
The department will ensure that funds are made available for party business
activities and liaise and coordinate with the business community at branch,
district, province and national levels.
Joint ventures would be established and maintained as well as close
relations with businesses within and outside Zimbabwe.
The objectives of the department will include ensuring that opportunities
for the party membership are identified and promoted, all forms of business
are adequately represented at all levels of the party, local members
participate in the indigenisation process and help them to have a stake in
local and international-linked business.
“The scope of the department is to ensure that business cascades to all
levels of the party,” reads the report. “This department will mobilise
membership through hard economics as a tool for poverty reduction. Zanu PF
will become business-embracing,” reads the report.
Targeting the youths, Zanu PF has set up a youth development fund through
the Ministry of Indigenisation to assist youths with viable project
proposals. The fund is managed and disbursed through various commercial
“In view of the fact that the youths constitute the majority of voters,
provincial structures emphasised that Zanu PF should target the youth
through relevant messages and programmes to win them over to support the
party,” the report says.
The Zanu PF department of indigenisation and economic empowerment is working
with the national commissariat through the Ministry of Information to
organise youth and women’s groups to produce music. It features the
“Born-frees” of the urban grooves genre with party messages.
“The music is having extensive airtime on both radio and television. More of
such recordings are planned. Since March 2010 the department produced a
message or line of the month to give the party focus and to direct members’
energies towards a particular goal which was top priority for the party for
the period,” the report says.
Zanu PF, which already has structures in South Africa, is forming structures
in Britain and the commissariat department wants the party to support
membership building in such countries.
The party has embarked on church-initiated programmes to cement relations
between the party and the people. It has targeted Johanne Marange Apostolic
Sect, Zimbabwe Muslim Women’s celebrations, Zaoga and various other
To ensure that it maintains its support base among the farming community,
Zanu PF has suggested that inputs be subsidised to ensure food security.
Various projects have been lined up for women, which include poultry, making
bread and candles, farming and commodity trading. It has also provided low
interest finance and start-up capital.
To catch them young the commissariat has proposed the setting up of a party
school, which would be used to build leadership and consciousness. It also
wants the party’s ideology to be integrated into the formal school syllabi.
The commissariat department headed by Webster Shamu acknowledged that Zanu
PF’s party structures had collapsed and were in a state of chaos, making it
difficult for the party to win the coming polls.
Driving its mobilisation strategy is the commissariat’s new director Air
Vice Marshal Henry Muchena and his deputy former Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) director-internal, Sydney Nyanhongo.
“Zanu PF finds itself in a paradoxical situation where it claimed to have a
staggering membership, yet facing exponentially declining subscriptions,”
the report from the commissariat says. “It claimed a healthy membership yet
faced declining votes.”
In the report, Zanu PF said the fact that people had membership cards did
not necessarily mean that they were genuine party supporters.
This tallies with reports that people have in the past been intimidated into
buying membership cards, while others have bought them to protect themselves
against harassment, violence and intimidation.
The commissariat warned “those guilty of inflating membership figures will
literally pay for such inflations”.
In addition to the misguided view that it had a staggering membership, the
commissariat department said political factions within the party were the
main reason behind Zanu PF’s poor performance in the 2008 elections.
“Bickering amongst members weakened the party structures at all levels,
creating fertile ground for the flouting of rules, imposition of candidates
and non-cooperation with those in authority and general chaos and
indiscipline,” reads the report. “Indeed, reports of induced apathy or
voting for opposition candidates reached the party.”
There are two main factions in Zanu PF, one led by Defence Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa and the other by retired army General Solomon Mujuru who have
denied leading the two factions, describing them as a media creation.
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:29
SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma is drafting a roadmap to Zimbabwe’s
elections to be presented at an extraordinary meeting of the Sadc Organ on
Politics, Defence and Security next month.
The roadmap, according to diplomatic sources, would be modelled along the
lines of the regional bloc’s Mauritius principles and guidelines governing
democratic elections to ensure free and fair polls as and when they are held
and will be the trajectory to end the marriage of convenience between
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s inclusive
The diplomats said the roadmap would also contain mechanisms for the
transfer of power.
Mugabe is pushing for elections mid-next year. Tsvangirai also wants
elections, but insists on democratic reforms before they are held.
The MDC-T alleges that Zanu PF has already deployed state security agents,
the youth militia and war veterans into the countryside to intimidate the
electorate ahead of the anticipated polls next year.
International Affairs advisor to Zuma, Lindiwe Zulu, confirmed to the
Zimbabwe Independent on Wednesday that the Sadc-appointed facilitator to the
Zimbabwe political crisis was now spearheading the process of drafting the
Initially Zuma had tasked the six inter-party negotiators to draft the
roadmap, but because of escalating political bickering among the three
parties in the inclusive government he has taken over the process.
Zulu said: “President Zuma is indeed working on the roadmap as agreed upon
in the last meeting of Sadc. We will work on the roadmap, but we will,
however, do it together with the principals of the GPA and the negotiators.
“We started working on it immediately after the meeting and the roadmap will
be tabled in the next Sadc Troika meeting which will be held soon, but I am
not sure of the dates.”
She also could not say where the meeting would be held.
Zulu said Zuma had already crafted into the roadmap basic Sadc procedures on
the principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.
“There are certain principlesthat Sadc would expect for any country to go
into an election and these are basics of holding elections that create a
conducive environment for people to vote freely and fairly without any
fear,” she added.
According to the 2004 Grand Baie guidelines, there has to be full
participation of citizens in the political process, freedom of association,
political tolerance and equal opportunity for all political parties to
access the state media.
There should also be equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be
voted for, independence of the judiciary, and impartiality of the electoral
institutions and acceptance and respect of the election results by political
parties proclaimed to have been free and fair by the competent national
Last month Zuma said he would not support an election in Zimbabwe that is
flawed with violence, intimidation and a suppressed media environment.
He wanted to see a favourable environment for free and fair elections before
the polls are held.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai have publicly announced their intention to hold polls
next year, while the business community and ordinary Zimbabweans want an
extension of the inclusive government to allow for economic recovery and
Zulu on Wednesday said: “President Zuma is not working alone in this
roadmap. He will be working with the negotiators of the principals’
signatory to the GPA. We are expected to come and discuss with them on the
progress made and also them telling us the progress they would have made and
we combine our ideas.
“The roadmap would be for Zimbabweans so they will be also contributing a
lot into it. We are not sure when we will be in the country for the
discussions, but it will be as soon as it is necessary to come there.”
Zulu said Zuma was not bothered by US State Department cables leaked by
WikiLeaks in which Mugabe allegedly described him as a populist in a meeting
with former United States ambassador James McGee and US Democratic
Congressman Donald Payne at State House on May 30 2009.
The whistleblower website said Mugabe regarded Zuma as a “man of the people
who likes to make promises without necessarily knowing how to fulfill them”.
Zulu said: “The relationship between the principals and President Zuma has
been good and in their discussions the principals have been very frank. We
don’t want to be engaging ourselves with the WikiLeaks because we have our
own foreign policy and agenda as South Africa.
“President Zuma is not bothered by the WikiLeaks because at the end of the
day he is in a good relationship with President Mugabe. WikiLeaks are not
our issue. We don’t want to be diverted by WikiLeaks as we have serious
issues on the table.”
Zulu, who is one of Zuma’s facilitators of the endless talks, said the South
African leader was disappointed at the lack of progress in resolving
outstanding issues by the three principals and hoped that they would resolve
their differences before the elections.
“As far as talks are concerned there is nothing new. The three principals
need to stick to their words and implement the decisions they made.
President Zuma expects them to implement them immediately for the benefit of
moving on and some of the issues are also part of the roadmap,” she said.
After the Sadc summit in Windhoek in August the three principals were
expected to implement 24 issues they agreed on within periods varying from
one month to two months.
These issues include media reforms, external radio stations, a land audit
and ministerial mandates.
Also due for implementation were the National Economic Council,
constitutional commissions, national heroes, rule of law, state security
organs and institutions, cabinet and council of ministers’ rules,
Constitutional Amendment No 19, electoral amendments and sanctions.
However, the principals deadlocked with Zanu PF saying implementation has to
be done simultaneously with the removal of sanctions.
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:27
GOVERNMENT, in agreement with petroleum suppliers, is planning to increase
the price of fuel to a minimum of US$1,40 a litre with effect from tomorrow
after Finance minister Tendai Biti introduced a four-cent fuel levy on
importers using road transport.
The sharp rise is likely to push up prices of commodities and services
across the board.
Minister of Energy and Power Development Elton Mangoma yesterday told the
Zimbabwe Independent that a Fuel Pipe Line Levy on road importers would be
charged from tomorrow.
However, several fuel dealers around the country have already effected a
fuel price hike. In Harare petrol is ranging from US$1,33 a litre to
US$1,38, while in Bulawayo most service stations have in the past two weeks
hiked prices to between US$1,40 to as high as $1,53 per litre. Only a few
filling stations with stock in Bulawayo were charging US$1,30 a litre.
Just at the beginning of the month, petrol was US$1,23 per litre. The diesel
price will go up to US$1,24 per litre from US$1,06.
Mangoma said the January increase was mainly meant to ensure constant
quality fuel, curb smuggling and also generate revenue.
“As of January 1, a Fuel Pipe Line levy of four cents per litre would be
introduced to all fuel importers not using the Beira-Feruka pipeline,” said
Mangoma. “All road importers not using the pipeline would have to obtain a
licence from government”.
However, the minister said there would be a slight effect on the pump price
as they have reached an agreement with fuel suppliers to peg the petrol
price at $1,40 a litre.
Fuel dealers said the recent price increase was as a result of rising crude
oil prices on the international market and “logistical problems at
Mozambique’s Beira port from where Zimbabwe gets most of its supplies”.
They said rising water levels at the Mozambican port are making it difficult
for ships to dock, resulting in delays in fuel delivery.
An official with the National Procurement Committee yesterday said the
increase could be due to a recent rise on the international market.
“Despite the fuel levy, prices on the international market are projected to
rise to as high as $95 per barrel. Naturally this would result in prices
rising locally,” said the official.
Crude oil prices on the international market this week inched closer to
US$90 per barrel but for a greater part of the year it was trading in the
The cost of crude oil and refined petrol and diesel on the world market is
influenced by a number of factors, including global demand, supply, and
political events and manufacturing capability.
Crude oil makes up a significant portion of the cost of fuel and is traded
in US dollars as a commodity on the international market.
Refineries purchase crude oil on the international market to refine it into
petrol and diesel. Refined product is also traded on the international
market and has its own pricing.
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:18
ALTHOUGH 2010 saw some economic and general conditions in Zimbabwe
improving, political tension between the two main principals in the
inclusive government, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, was on a knife edge.
Zimbabweans welcomed the deal under which Mugabe and his Zanu PF party
agreed to share power with rivals, the MDC, whose leader Tsvangirai became
prime minister in February 2009.
However, almost two years down the line Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe deputy
chairman Charles Kuwaza’s phrase best describes Zimbabwe’s political
situation, which in 2010 was an arena of “political kung-fu” as the rift
between Mugabe and Tsvangirai continued to deepen.
Summing up the year, MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti said this week in a
Facebook message: “It’s a year where we have been violated and abused, a
year in which toxicity and insanity dominated. Indeed we made a lot of
mistakes, missed many opportunities and perhaps allowed ourselves to be
drowned by the mundane and the suffocating mediocrity of our tired
But what caused the rift and what happened to the once workable
Although the union has always been shaky, things really fell apart in
October. The relations between Mugabe and Tsvangirai broke down in
bitterness and recrimination after the president made unilateral
appointments which outraged the premier.
Mugabe re-appointed 10 provincial governors on October 1 without consulting
Tsvangirai as he was required to do by Amendment 19 and he only informed his
partners in the inclusive government at their Monday meeting three days
In addition Mugabe had earlier also unilaterally appointed judges and
ambassadors, angering Tsvangirai who said the president’s actions were
unlawful, null and void.
The premier challenged Mugabe’s appointments in 2008 of Attorney-General
Johannes Tomana and Governor of the Reserve Bank Gideon Gono without
In anger Tsvangirai boycotted cabinet meetings and stopped attending the
Monday meetings with the other two principals.
He also wrote several letters notifying Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku on
the illegal appointment of the judges, the president of the senate Edna
Madzongwe urging her not to consider the governors as members of the senate.
He also wrote to several countries and the United Nations (UN) over the
unilateral appointment of ambassadors. He described Mugabe’s actions as
“nonsensical and rank madness”.
The MDC-T leader has since sued Mugabe for making a series of unilateral
appointments. Tsvangirai also briefed civic society and diplomats on his
Zanu PF has been arguing that the three principals –– Mugabe, Tsvangirai and
MDC-M leader Arthur Mutambara –– had agreed that governors would be
appointed simultaneously with the removal of sanctions, a resolution which
was in South African President Jacob Zuma’s report and adopted by the Sadc
troika meeting in Windhoek, Namibia.
Tsvangirai distanced himself from the principals’ report authored by
Mutambara saying the deputy premier misrepresented facts, while MDC-M
maintained that the premier had seen the first and final drafts of the
letter before it was sent to Zuma. MDC-M also argued that if Tsvangirai and
his party were opposed to it they would have objected at the Troika meeting
in Windhoek which adopted Zuma’s report.
Tsvangirai’s actions infuriated Mugabe whose party said there was nothing
unconstitutional about the re-appointments.
Zanu PF then adopted a hardline stance saying they would not move on any of
the 24 agreed issues in the Global Political Agreement until sanctions were
removed. Mugabe told Tsvangirai that he had no intention of swearing in
deputy agriculture minister-designate Roy Bennett.
While the business community and ordinary Zimbabweans have been asking for
an extension of the inclusive government to allow for economic recovery and
national healing, Mugabe and Tsvangirai have publicly announced their
intention to hold polls next year.
Mugabe said the inclusive government could not be extended by more than six
months after the expiry in February 2011, although critics say democratic
reforms should precede polls.
The president wants the constitution-making process to be fast-tracked to
pave way for the elections, saying Tsvangirai was being used by Western
governments to remove him from power.
“Some of the things that Tsvangirai does are stupid and foolish,” said
Mugabe. “He relies on Europeans to get advice. That’s why we need to have
elections to end this inclusive government.”
Tsvangirai agreed that the only way out of this quandary was to go for
elections to resolve the March 2008 election dispute, in which none of the
leaders garnered enough support that is constitutionally required to form a
However, he is insisting that agreed democratic reforms outlined in the GPA,
which include electoral, media and security reforms should be implemented
first before elections are held.
Tsvangirai also wants a guarantee that elections would be violence- and
intimidation-free and regional and international monitors must be in the
country six months before and six months after the elections.
“Council notes and restates the position that an election in Zimbabwe should
be held to deal with the question of illegitimacy associated with the
farcical presidential run-off election of June 2008,” said Tsvangirai.
While MDC-T is insisting on presidential elections followed by harmonised
polls in 2013, Zanu PF said according to Constitutional Amendment No18,
elections should be harmonised.
Although Zanu PF adopted a resolution for early harmonised elections at its
conference in Mutare, the party is still divided with a certain section
opposed to 2011 polls.
The faction led by retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru is said to
be opposed to early elections because it would upset the political situation
and reverse the economic gains achieved under the shaky inclusive
Analysts and MDC-M have said Zimbabwe was not ready for elections next year,
arguing that national healing should precede elections.
But where was Sadc as relations deteriorated?
Tsvangirai has slammed Sadc chief, Tomaz Salomao, over the handling of the
Zimbabwe crisis at the Windhoek summit in August.
He accused the regional body’s executive secretary of not capturing a report
by Zuma, which outlined outstanding issues and a roadmap for free and fair
Tsvangirai protested against the alleged “doctoring” of the communiqué and
accused the secretariat of blocking debate on Zimbabwe at the full summit of
heads of state and government.
After the Sadc summit in Windhoek on August 16-17, Zimbabwe’s political
principals were expected to clear outstanding issues.
Besides that, the leaders were supposed to implement within one month or two
months in some cases issues of media reforms, external radio stations, a
land audit and ministerial mandates. Also due for resolution, were the
National Economic Council, constitutional commissions, national heroes, rule
of law, state security organs and institutions, cabinet and council of
ministers’ rules, Constitutional Amendment No 19, electoral amendments and
However, when the communiqué came out, emphasis was placed on the removal of
sanctions and it mandated the chairperson of Sadc, assisted by the
chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security and the
facilitator of the Zimbabwe dialogue Jacob Zuma to engage the international
community on the issue of sanctions.
The constitution process
The constitution-making process has stalled and it is not clear when the
country is likely to go for a referendum. The process was marred by
intimidation of villagers. Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac)
co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora accused the military and other state security
agents of terrorising villagers during the outreach programme, saying a
climate of fear enveloped outlying districts of the country.
Tsvangirai also complained about activities of the army during the flawed
and violence-ridden constitution-making process.
The release of 10 cables under the WikiLeaks whistle-blowing disclosures was
a game changer in Zimbabwean politics as it fuelled the already rising
tensions between Zanu PF and MDC-T. Zanu PF appeared to have got propaganda
fodder ahead of the anticipated elections as it has started to build its
message around the contents of the cables.
One cable which appears to have excited Zanu PF greatly concerns sanctions
where Tsvangirai is accused of double dipping on the issue –– telling Zanu
PF he was seeking a lifting of the restrictive measures while urging the
Americans to stand firm. Zanu PF at its Mutare conference this month
resolved that any person who calls for sanctions against the country should
be charged with treason.
The Attorney-General, Johannes Tomana, said this week government was going
to set up a commission of enquiry soon to investigate any constitutional
violation arising from WikiLeaks reports.
The European Union and the United States insisted that sanctions would only
be removed if there is full implementation of the GPA and an end to human
rights violations and violence.
They said the restrictive measures only affect one in every 70 000 of
Zimbabwe’s population and 35 companies. However, Presidents Zuma and Khama
have advanced an argument on whether it would be politically prudent to
remove sanctions and test Zanu PF’s commitment to fully implement the
necessary reforms agreed on in the GPA. The next EU meeting is in February
to discuss the renewable sanctions.
It looks certain that 2011 is going to be an interesting year, which might
usher in a new constitution, paving the way for elections, a new leader
which will see MDC-M being referred to as MDC-N after Welshman Ncube takes
over from Mutambara, an MDC-T congress and more squabbles around elections,
the constitution and the never resolved outstanding issues of the GPA.
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:17
JUST for a day residents at Hopley Farm seemed to have forgotten their
worries as they celebrated Christmas.
Shrieks of joy and laughter saturated the air as women talked about how they
were going to spend Christmas day.
While men could be seen connecting radios to their generators along the
dusty main road, women were busy cooking outside their wooden shacks.
In no time Aleck Macheso’s song Tafadzwa from his latest album blasted and
20 people, including children, gathered around and started dancing merrily
to the loud music.
More than 5 000 families were settled at Hopley farm during Operation
Murambatsvina in 2005. It has no health or proper sanitation facilities and
people use one-metre deep pit-latrines. There is only one borehole working,
forcing them to rely on unprotected wells close to the pit-latrines. Just
recently, it was under the spotlight after Amnesty International reported
that Hopley Farm had the highest number of new-born deaths, with 21 reported
in five months.
Most people living there earn less than the estimated Consumer Council of
Zimbabwe breadbasket of US$147.
As Hopley Farm exploded into life on Christmas day, the whole area, which
has no electricity, was abuzz with noise from generators and loud music
could be heard almost a kilometre away, as far as the turn off from Mbudzi
close to Boka tobacco floors.
“You can see for yourself that today I can afford to drink this brown bottle
(a lager). Other days I buy those cheap beers. This is Christmas, why not
spoil myself a bit. After all it only comes once a year,” says Nomore Chimwe
as he danced the museve music genre holding closely his brown bottle.
Morin Toga, who runs one of the shebeens in the area described this year’s
Christmas as one of the best she has had in the past five years.
“Business has tripled during this period of the year. I am very happy.
People are spending their money,” she said.
Shebeens are popular at Hopley and most of them were full with men and
This year Christmas was different compared to two years ago when there was
not much to celebrate as shelves were empty and high inflation was biting
deeply into people’s pockets.
People could not afford to treat themselves to a nice meal during that
period –– even bread with margarine and jam had become a luxury to most poor
Mbuya Trainos in Hopley said she was happy this year because her children
could afford to treat her to a special meal.
“Our lives have always been full of struggling and begging. My children do
not earn much, some get about US$30 at the end of each month for the manual
jobs they do. But this year they managed to make this Christmas special.
Last year it was difficult because things had not properly stabilised for
us,” she said.
Even the children had a special treat, they managed to get new “Christmas
Seven-year-old Tapiwa and five-year-old Knowledge Nzvimbo said they were
excited that they had new clothes and that their mother was preparing “rice
and chicken for lunch”.
However, some decided to spend the day far away from their homes.
Clever Nyabire, who works as a security guard, took Christmas as an
opportunity to take his wife and three children for lunch at a food court at
Construction House in the Central Business District.
“It is very rare for me to come here because anytime during the year I can’t
afford it. I bought my family two pieces of chicken and chips and they are
all very excited. It is a different way of spending Christmas for them as we
usually go to the rural areas,” he said.
Others took their families for a braai at different outdoor entertainment
While for many it was a day to spend with the family, some decided to spend
it with the less privileged at Makumbi mission children’s home in
Hellena Chikerema and five of her friends went with groceries and clothes to
the home that looks after 86 orphans.
“Visiting the less privileged, we thought, was the only way we could
celebrate Christmas and we feel happy about it. We didn’t have much but we
offered what we could afford. There are about 86 children at the home some
as young as three months who were dumped by their mothers. We had lunch
together with the children and played games afterwards,” she said.
Despite the challenges this year, Christmas to many people interviewed by
this newspaper was one of the best in many years as they could afford basic
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:17
BATTLE lines have been drawn between National Oil Company of Zimbabwe
(Noczim) and private petroleum distributors over ownership of six million
litres of buffer-stock fuel locked in the Harare-Feruka-Beira pipeline,
forcing the independent importers to use road transport instead of the
cheaper pipeline, parliament was told recently.
Mines and Energy parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson Edward
Chindori-Chininga said: “The private players are locked in an ownership
wrangle with Noczim on who owns the buffer stock. They are seeking
government’s intervention in determining the owner after alleging Noczim is
diverting private fuel in the line to its own service stations.”
Chindori-Chininga said this when he presented the committee’s response to
Finance minister Tendai Biti’s proposal to introduce a new levy to compel
private players to use the pipeline. In the 2011 national budget, Biti
proposed to levy private players US$0,04c per litre to induce them to use
the pipeline as opposed to road transport.
Chindori-Chininga said his committee feared that such a levy would spur a
new wave of increases in petroleum products as private players would pass on
the burden of the levy to the consumer.
“Whilst this may be a noble idea, the committee believes government should
have first tried to build and give assurance to players in the petroleum
sector that they would not be a fuel diversion. Failure to do that might
lead to price increases of fuel, especially by companies using the road
sector,” Chindori-Chininga said. “Noczim is struggling to pay additional
cost of dead stock and buffer stock on the pipeline - this is a matter that
must be addressed and the petroleum players have indicated to the committee
that they are willing to discuss with Noczim and find ways to meet the
The committee further argued that petroleum was currently levied by other
charges and an increase in the cost of importation would hurt economic
recovery as fuel is a major factor to economic stimulation.
Chindori-Chininga’s committee recommended that government should “work out a
mechanism that ensures costs are shared between all the users of the
Meanwhile, the dispute could be resolved quickly after the House of Assembly
passed the Energy Regulatory Amendment Bill.
The Bill seeks to split Noczim into two entities, one regulatory and the
other solely for oil procurement and distribution.
Noczim used to enjoy the dual role of being a regulator and fuel distributor
and retailer at the same time. This gave it an inordinate advantage over
private players who would also pay it for using the Harare-Feruka-Beira
Goromonzi North MP and businessman Paddy Zhanda said the development was
welcome considering that government’s role has to be clear on business as it
should not compete against private players.
“Governments should only play a facilitation and regulatory role in industry
and commerce. Noczim had no business to retail petroleum products. The
country was never short of service stations but needed more fuel to be
imported,” Zhanda said.
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:16
ZANU PF bigwigs face eviction from conservancies they occupy in Matabeleland
North to pave way for mining of coal deposits discovered on their
Government sources said Bulawayo provincial governor Cain Mathema would have
to move from his Gwayi Ranch while his Matabeleland North counterpart
Sithokozile Mathuthu would be forced off her Dete Valley farm.
Apart from the two whose farms are in the wildlife-rich areas,
businesspeople and other Zanu PF officials were also likely to be evicted
when government starts the coal mining project.
Mathema’s Gwayi Ranch measures 4 600 hectares while Mathuthu’s property is 2
800 hectares, which they received under the controversial land reform
Sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that plans were underway for the
government to evict the governors before the end of next year.
“Mathema, Mathuthu and other businessmen with close Zanu PF links are likely
to lose out from their farms as the government is readying for coal mining,”
said the source.
The farms are close to Hwange, a coal mining town. Other coal deposits were
discovered near the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, whose completion has been delayed
due to lack of funding.
Observers said the coal mining project could avail the much-needed resources
for the construction of the dam expected to bring a permanent solution to
Matabeleland and Bulawayo’s perennial water problems.
Although Mathema declined that he would be moved from Gwayi Ranch, Mathuthu
confirmed that coal deposits were discovered and that she could be forced
off her farm.
Mathuthu said her province desperately needed serious investment through
coal mining and she would be the first to vacate her Dete Valley farm once
“If mining of coal starts, we will be moving; we should understand that
mining takes precedence to all other activities because the province and the
country at large need the money,” she said.
Mathuthu, however, insisted that the proceeds from the coal mining should
benefit local communities.
“We have lost in many areas where resources are plundered. As Matabeleland
leadership we told the government that if the mining of coal starts, the
proceeds should be ploughed back,” she said.
But Mathema down-played the impending evictions saying coal was discovered
in Matabeleland North “a million years ago”.
He said: “I haven’t heard about the evictions, its news to me. But there is
nothing new about the coal deposits, it’s known that coal is everywhere in
the province, so why do you think we will be evicted?”
Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu declined to comment last
week saying he was on annual leave.
“I can’t comment now, I am on leave and I don’t know who is the acting
minister,” he said.
However, President Robert Mugabe a fortnight ago told his Zanu PF central
committee that government had received a lot of applications from whites who
wanted to go into coal mining in Matabeleland North.
He said he met the applicants recently, who explained to him that coal
mining was very lucrative and a good investment
“I wondered why they wanted to go into coal, that dark, dusty mineral, until
they indicated, without hesitation, that for the next 10 years, coal is
where all the money will be,” Mugabe said,
“I asked myself how many of our own people have this knowledge, indeed, how
many of our indigenous entrepreneurs are willing to venture into such
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:06
THE year has come to a close with some of that stuff that would make another
cool Western in the league of legendary director Sergio Leone’s The Good,
the Bad and the Ugly. Marriages of conveniences surviving,
de-specifications, cabinet boycotts, and the divisive WikiLeaks.
January: TN Financial Holdings listed on the ZSE through a reverse takeover
of Tedco Ltd.
February : Econet announces it will spend US$600 million on network
May: MDC-T treasurer and deputy minister designate Roy Bennett acquitted.
Businessmen — James Makamba, John Moxon and Mutumwa Mawere —- are
June: NMB announces rights issue. African Century acquires 28% stake in NMB.
Interfin and CFX merger finalised. Interfin reverse lists CFX.
New dawn, a company controlled by former chamber boss Ian Saunders, acquires
a controlling 89% stake in Central African Gold.
October: Moxon and Chanakira bury the hatchet after businessmen Philip
Chiyangwa and Loackape consortium agreed to sell its 10% stake to the
banker. A settlement is agreed on.
Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd applies to the High Court seeking leave to
reduce total issued share capital. Move seen as paving way for possible
relisting on the ZSE.
Business mogul Mutumwa Mawere flies in after six years outside the country.
November: Government agrees to sell 53% of its stake in Ziscosteel. Essar
confirmed as the winning suitor for the troubled steel maker.
December: PG raises US$11 million in capital raising exercise.
Government launches one-stop-shop in a bid to align with regional standards
and cut through red tape associated with setting up shop. Government hopes
this will help attract foreign investment.
Vice President Joice Mujuru and Finance minister Tendai Biti read the riot
act to lawmakers over their decision to block the 2011 national budget.
The principals — Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara — tell the nation
that all is well in GNU (really?).
February: Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere gazettes indigenisation
regulations compelling foreign business valued at US$500 000 to sell to
May: Mugabe appoints judges unilaterally.
President Mugabe says Zimbabwe could do without Kimberley Process
Roy Bennett is arrested again on other charges after the state acquits him
of treason charges.
June: Lone NMB shareholder refuses to follow his rights in a capital
September: Tsvangirai accused Sadc boss Tomaz Salomao of lying over the
handling of the Zimbabwe crisis at the Windhoek summit in August: MDC-T
chief accused the regional body’s executive secretary of not capturing a
report by the Sadc mediator on Zimbabwe, South African President Jacob Zuma.
October: President Robert Mugabe unilaterally appoints governors.
November: MDC-T senators walk out of senate in protest against Zanu PF
governors, whom they described as invaders
Ambassador to Australia Jacqueline Zwambila recalled after allegedly
stripping in front of male colleagues she accused of leaking information.
December: Star Africa announces plans to take RedStar private.
Legislators attempt to block the budget and demand pay increment.
Jonathan Moyo is appointed to Zanu PF’s politburo at the party’s annual
October: Tsvangirai boycotts cabinet.
October: Tsvangirai says ‘no’ to Monday morning tea with Bob.
Sunday Times in its South African edition reports central bank boss Gideon
Gono and first lady Grace Mugabe are having an affair.
WikiLeaks makes public cables claiming the US and the MDC-T are working in
cahoots to remove President Robert Mugabe from power.
Jonathan Moyo and former MDC national executive member Gabriel Chaibva call
for treason charges against Tsvangirai for trying to topple Mugabe from
office after WikiLeaks claimed former US envoy to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell
had been working with the opposition to remove the aged leader from power.
December: Mugabe says no to British investment. The president threatens to
take over British companies if sanctions are not removed
December: Deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara calls it quits as leader of
the smaller MDC.
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:05
POLITICAL squabbles between the inclusive government partners reduced a
promising 2010 legislative year to just another year with no new meaningful
laws to democratise the country.
Parliament could not move with its legislative agenda as the principals’
differences over outstanding Global Political Agreement (GPA) issues
strained their relations. Differences between President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai became so intense that the latter snubbed
cabinet and the weekly principals’ meetings.
The House of Assembly only sat for 33 days this year when normally it is
supposed to sit for at least 71.
Matters boiled over in October when Mugabe unilaterally “reappointed” 10
provincial governors without consulting the premier as required by law.
MDC-T senators in line with their party position refused to recognise the
governors in November when senate resumed. They sang and danced, resulting
in a two-day disruption that forced an early adjournment of Senate till
February next year. But the senators were recalled in December to consider
the Finance Bill and Appropriation Bill.
Presenting a joint end-of-year State of the Nation Address last week, the
three political principals in the inclusive government, Mugabe, Tsvangirai
and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, agreed that more could have been
achieved under the inclusive government in 2010.
Mutambara frankly castigated the continued political bickering among the
principals as the major cause for slowing down progress.
“We should have concentrated on the 23 agreed issues than continued debates
on the four areas of disagreement. We should learn to work on the areas of
agreement that … can help the majority of Zimbabweans,” Mutambara said.
Parliament’s truncated sitting was blamed for lack of progress in passing
legislation. The House adjourned for three months in June to allow
legislators to attend to the constitutional outreach programme.
While conceding that the constitutional outreach slowed parliamentary
business, Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) co-chairperson Douglas
Mwonzora blamed it on the executive, which he said did not bring legislation
“The outreach took MPs out for three months but take into consideration that
ministers brought a limited number of Bills for debate. MPs could only work
on what was presented to them. Remember most laws originate from the
cabinet,” Mwonzora said.
Tsvangirai in March 2010 delivered a promising statement on the legislative
democratisation agenda to the House but very little was delivered by
In the Government Work Plan 2010, Tsvangirai highlighted that the
administration had five priorities: promoting economic growth and ensuring
food security, providing basic services and infrastructural development,
strengthening and ensuring the rule of law and respect for property rights,
advancement and safeguarding basic freedoms through legislative reform and
the constitutional process and normalisation of international relations.
To achieve the agenda, the premier said the government proposed 17
legislative reforms to be completed in the year. Of all the proposed Bills
only four were passed by the National Assembly before year-end.
However, Mugabe, when he officially opened the third session in July, said
24 pieces of legislation would be amended.
Among the proposed laws that did not materialise were a Freedom of
Information Bill and the Media Practitioners Bill that were meant to replace
the contentious Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
The fight for human rights, justice and electoral reforms did not move an
inch. Parliament neither debated nor passed the Human Rights Commission
Bill, the National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration Bill and
Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
However, in a rare moment of bipartisanship in a usually polarised House,
the Public Order and Security Act Amendment Bill was passed. Mutare Central
legislator Innocent Gonese had moved the amendments as a Private Member’s
The lower House passed seven other Bills besides the customary financial
Bills brought by Finance minister Tendai Biti to operationalise the national
These were the Energy Regulatory Amendment Bill, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Amendment Bill, National Security Council Amendment Bill, Audit Bill, Public
Finance Management Bill, Criminal Laws Amendment (Protection of Power,
Communication and Water Infrastructure) Bill and Posa amendment.
The House is still considering the Attorney-General (AG)’s Bill and Sedco
Amendment Bill. These Bills seek to professionalise the AG’s office and make
it independent from executive interference while the Sedco amendment will
improve the way the state company operates and helps fund small businesses.
Parliament also ratified the US$45 million loan extended by the Chinese Bank
and the Zambezi Shared Water Course Management Treaty during the year.
The passage of the 2011 National Budget brought to the fore the need for
proper separation of powers among the three arms of state.
Despite spirited and fiery speeches by MPs that they would block the budget
if vote allocations to agriculture and their conditions of service and those
of civil servants are not improved, they were whipped into line. The budget
passed without debate or amendments before it was taken to senate.
The 2011 budget had its own lighter moments in the Senate when senators
accused Biti of trying to amend laws through the back door to accommodate
his friend, Charles Kuwaza, on state enterprises boards. Senator Josiah
Hungwe recommended that the amendments should be forgone and the laws remain
in their current form. The law currently says no person can sit on more than
two boards. Biti had proposed to amend the clause to read three boards.
Cabinet debated the matter and Biti was forced to withdraw the amendments he
had proposed in the Finance Bill. The Bill later sailed through without
debate or amendments after MPs were whipped into line by the executive.
Parliamentary Monitoring Trust of Zimbabwe Programmes manager Sibanengi
Ncube said the passing of the 2011 budget left a lot to be desired.
“It is also important to mention that the passing of Bills if the way it was
done with the Finance Bill is anything to go by, then there should be
changes to how the executive deals with the legislature as there was a lot
of arm twisting and promises done,” Ncube said. “The passing of the Bill
under such circumstances could be out of fear and not on the merits, thus
defeating the purpose of debating Bills.”
It remains to be seen whether parliament will deliver on the outstanding
Bills that have the capacity to change the political environment. Whether
the executive will not ride roughshod over the House and whether parliament
will stand up to the executive’s bullying tactics, all shall be clear Come
Thursday, 30 December 2010 17:48
ONCE regarded as the breadbasket of southern Africa during the first two
decades after Independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has for the past 10 years
become a perennial importer of food and relying more on food handouts from
aid agencies after “farm invasions” which started in February 2000.
Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector is, however, emerging from the intensive care
unit after a decade which was characterised by political unrest, drought,
shortage of inputs and fuel, declining economy, unreliable electricity for
winter farming and absence of collateral to access loans.
It was against agricultural growth that Finance minister Tendai Biti revised
upwards economic growth projection figures.
The new projected economic growth rate for 2010 is now 8,1%, up 2,7
percentage points from 5,4%.
Biti and the International Monetary Fund had initially projected an economic
growth rate of 7,7% which they later revised downwards to 5,4% in July
citing slow performance of the economy.
Analysts, however, say the sector’s full recovery remains fragile and will
depend on political and economic stability, reliable electricity,
availability of inputs, cheap loans for farmers and favourable rains.
Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union president Silas Hungwe told businessdigest that
agriculture production had improved a lot in Zimbabwe.
He said: “It was important for farmers to build on this year’s encouraging
output as all major sectors of the economy’s revival largely depend on
“Compared to previous years the figures are encouraging. However, there is
no support for the small grains, but government is making subsidised
fertiliser available to farmers,” he said.
Hungwe said agriculture was the centre of gravity for the economy
contributing 19% of the gross domestic product (GDP) last year.
GDP is the most important measure of economic activity in the country as it
is the crossing point of expenditure, output and income.
This year’s growth was mainly driven by tobacco which doubled to 120kgs on
the 2009 figure. More than US$320 million was realised from the sale of the
In a statement this month, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB),
said planting for the 2011 crop had started while indications from seed
sales showed that a minimum of 90 million kgs would be produced.
About 72% of the crop that was sold this year came from contract farmers.
“We are very happy to see this recovery and I think it is sustainable and it
means the whole economy will recover as well,” said Wilson Nyabonda, the
immediate past president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union.
However, in an earlier interview with businessdigest Commercial farmers’
president Deon Theron said the country will need about US$264 million to
import about 800 000 tonnes of maize and 339 000 tonnes of wheat to meet the
annual national requirement.
“About 800 000 tonnes of maize is needed for consumption. Maize is being
imported at between US$160 and US$180 per tonne,” Theron said.
The national maize consumption requirement stands at two million tonnes per
annum but Theron sees maize output this year at 1,35 million tonnes, a
deficit of about 800 000 tonnes.
Wheat is Zimbabwe’s second staple grain after maize but the farmers have
failed to meet its annual consumption requirements of around 350 000 tonnes.
This year’s national wheat target was set at 60 000 hectares but farmers
planted only 11 000 hectares. Theron said Zimbabwe needed to import wheat
worth over US$128,8 million to meet an expected shortfall of 339 000 tonnes,
which could cripple operations.
Farmers, hamstrung by lack of capital, high costs of inputs and land tenure
issues and ownership wrangles, expect to produce 11 000 tonnes of winter
wheat planted on 3 100 hectares this year.
This is against a national annual demand of 350 000 tonnes, said Theron.
Treasury allocated US$122 million to agriculture which was said to be
grossly inadequate for a sector that is expected to spur economic growth.
Of that amount there was no specific funding for A2 commercial farmers.
A total of US$41 million was set aside for
the ministry’s capital expenditure, with US$11,8 million earmarked for
rehabilitation and expansion of 63 irrigation schemes nationwide.
Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) chairman Basil Nyabadza said the
budget sent a clear signal that commercial farmers were on their own now and
have to look for alternative funding if the sector is to be restored to its
“A2 have been cut loose from the treasury’s umbilical cord. This marks the
birth of the new farmer who took over Mr Jones’ farm. We have now to look at
in-house solutions to farmers’ financing needs,” Nyabadza said.
“As AMA, we have started looking at comprehensive ways of funding
agriculture on a permanent basis. Agriculture should look at alternative
ways than continued reliance on Treasury. We need a revolving fund outside
Treasury to spur agricultural production once more.”
In the 2011 financial year, the government has sourced loans from financial
institutions for A2 farmers amounting to over US$350 million.
The funding, among other things, will cater for tobacco production (US$158,9
million), cotton, soya and horticulture will receive a combined US$49,7
million and lending to individual farmers totals US$71,9 million.
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:04
STRANGE isn’t it? Just two weeks ago the state media was telling us how
revealing the WikiLeaks cables were, particularly regarding what the
Americans thought of Morgan Tsvangirai. Now that we have former Ambassador
James McGee’s view of President Mugabe and Mugabe’s view of President Zuma,
things are less convenient for Zanu PF’s propagandists.
The Zimbabwe Independent and NewsDay last week carried details of a cable
from McGee sent to Washington on June 2 2009, which provided an interesting
insight into Zimbabwe’s 86-year-old ruler who McGee describes as “stuck in
the past” and “desperate to reengage with the world and to be treated as an
McGee was reporting a meeting between Mugabe and US Congressman Donald
Payne. At the time of that meeting on May 30 2009, the state media told us
that Payne had described Mugabe as a hero.
We criticised Payne for that. But it now transpires that he “flattered in
order to deceive”.
Having referred to Mugabe’s earlier career in glowing terms, Payne said
there was a “stark dichotomy between the compassionate statesman who fought
for freedom and the current government that allows police to beat black
women who dare protest,” an obvious reference to Woza whose leaders have
been honoured by the US administration.
The Nathaniel Manheru column last week expressed the author’s difficulty
with McGee’s version of events. That is not surprising. The author is almost
certainly the leak who told the state press after the meeting that Payne had
characterised Mugabe as a hero. Things look a little different now we have
the full text. And Zanu PF have the added embarrassment of Mugabe revealing
that the ANC had not treated Thabo Mbeki well.
Mugabe regards Mbeki as “a great man” and Jacob Zuma as a “man of the people
who likes to make promises without necessarily knowing how to fulfil them”.
And that coming from Mugabe!
The cable gives details of what McGee called a “surreal” three-hour meeting
in which an “alert, articulate” and “defiant” Mugabe expressed his views to
the US diplomats. It is headed “Tea with Mugabe”.
Questioned by McGee about Jacob Zuma’s government, Mugabe “sighed that he
didn’t think (the ANC) treated Mbeki well, particularly as he was in the
midst of helping Zimbabwe”. While describing Mbeki as “judgmental and
calculating and cautious with policies”, he said “to us (Mbeki) is a great
“While Zuma has made promises, it remains to be seen if they will come
Welcoming his guests to State House Mugabe commented that “Zimbabwe hadn’t
had many visitors lately”.
Then he launched into an “hour-long monologue” in which he painted himself
“as the victim of international abuse and broken promises” and embarked on a
“long-winded rehashing of Zimbabwe’s history”.
Growing “increasingly adamant and agitated”, Mugabe asked: “In the context
of all the countries in the world — are we really the worst?”
Payne then “gently and masterfully praised Mugabe for his liberation
credentials before confronting him about human rights abuses”.
Describing himself as having been a fan of Mugabe as a young man, Payne said
he had followed the Zimbabwean president’s “distinguished” career since its
beginnings “but noted that he is now concerned about the things he reads”.
Payne said there was a “stark ‘dichotomy’ between the compassionate
statesman who fought for freedom … and the current government that allows
police to beat black women who dare protest”.
According to the cable, “Mugabe sank into the couch and appeared
expressionless and somewhat stunned.
“At the mention of police beating women, he responded with a puzzled look.
‘Which women? Where did they get them from?’”
Mugabe “neither confirmed nor denied the abuses” but “responded well to
Payne’s gentle confrontation”. Then he piped up: “Well, I think we deserve
The Americans, we understand, were somewhat amused by the tea ceremony that
followed with waiters in white gloves.
This is significant. Only a couple of weeks ago Alexander Kanengoni was
telling us how Tsvangirai was a British stooge, an appendage of empire. But
ask any American visitor who has met Mugabe and they will tell you they
thought they were dealing with an English gentleman.
They recognised the traits. The Savile Row suit, the handkerchief tucked
into the breast pocket and the dapper demeanour. Only the walking stick is
missing! And it must amuse fellow African heads of state to watch Zimbabwe’s
leader lecturing them on the wicked British while so obviously wanting to be
accepted as one of them.
Reflecting the souring of tone over WikiLeaks, the government will soon set
up a commission of enquiry to investigate any constitutional violations
arising from the WikiLeaks reports, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana
announced last weekend. A team of five law experts would soon establish
whether there had been any constitutional infringement.
This comes after the Zanu PF conference resolutions and Tomana’s addition to
the sanctions list.
Tomana claims his listing is an attack on the AG’s office and not on his
It rather depends how you look at it. The Americans would probably argue
that it was a condemnation of the AG’s behaviour that persuaded them to list
him. Zidera, the US sanctions law, quite explicitly bars individuals who are
seen as thwarting democratic progress and undermining the rule of law.
Numerous people have been arrested and incarcerated during Tomana’s tenure
at the AG’s office. He is seen as partisan. And the recent move against
magistrates will have confirmed that impression.
It will be interesting to see who the five law “experts” are. Taking their
marching orders from the Zanu PF conference will do little for their
Regular readers of the Guardian, formerly the Manchester Guardian, will know
of the paper’s reputation for typographical errors. It was often said that
one day we would wake up to find the paper had even got its heading wrong.
It would appear as the Grauniad! Indeed it is even today affectionately
known as the Grauniad.
Which is why we were amused to read that one edition published in May 1821
required the following correction.
“The proprietors regret that their compositors’ inexperience produced an
unfortunate (and inexcusable) infelicity in last Saturday’s edition of this
organ — that edition which of course began what we remain confident will
mature into an illustrious career. We hasten to assure our readers that in
future their daily newspaper’s masthead will proclaim this to be not the
Bumchester Gordion but the Manchster (sic) Guardian, and we earnestly
promise that no terminological inexactitude ever again will sully our
Our question of course: Did that misspelling of the Guardian’s name above
(“Manchster”) find its way into the paper in 1821 or 2010?
In this context, we liked the picture a reader sent to the editor of the
Guardian of a horse grazing in a field with a sign saying “Don’t feed the
Is that an error or American English?
We enjoyed e-tv’s Chris Maroleng’s interview with Ian Khama, reprised last
weekend. Asked about President Mugabe, the Botswana leader said: “We have
rulers on the continent who think they are God’s gift to their people.
“It is wrong for them to think they have a monopoly of wisdom,” he said; “or
that they are indispensable.”
During his session with Donald Payne, Mugabe wondered whether white South
Africans would be prepared to share their wealth with their black
compatriots. Zimbabwe only had a handful of whites, he noted, whereas South
Africa had four million. Then there are the Indians.
But what Mugabe missed here is that South Africa has an
extensive social security scheme for the elderly. Taxpayers (mostly whites)
pay for that scheme although they don’t benefit from it. And it is not a
pittance. Whole families survive on their granny’s weekly payment.
Is Mugabe genuinely ignorant of this or did he hope Payne was!
Finally, we enjoyed the article by Caesar Zvayi on Wednesday. It was headed
“Let’s vote to save Christmas” and carried a picture of empty supermarket
“Let’s hope those who cost innocent families Christmas over the past decade
through sell-out politics or ruinous economic sanctions will see the error
of their ways…” the article read.
That’s really funny Caesar. Who do the public associate empty supermarket
shelves with? And don’t we all know who stole Christmas? The same criminal
gang who stole the country’s wealth.
Please, no more diversionary tactics.
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:02
MIDNIGHT tonight ushers in New Year’s Day — the start of 2011. For
centuries, in much of the world, it has been (and still is) the practice of
hundreds of millions to reflect on the positives and the negatives of the
year just ended, and to make resolutions on how to develop and enhance the
positives, and how to counter and eliminate the negatives. This prompts the
hope that that practice is one which will be pursued by all Zimbabweans with
a view to better everyone’s life, and to ensure that Zimbabwe can once again
develop its vast potential. This potential, if realised, could progressively
eliminate the widespread poverty and suffering that beleaguers the majority
of the populace.
New Year resolutions are not generally made public, but in case some of
those who most influence Zimbabwean circumstances are at a loss as to the
resolutions they should make (and thereafter keep!), here are some
Government (and especially Zanu PF in general, and its hierarchy in
particular): Resolve that from 2011 onwards the people of Zimbabwe will be
placed first and foremost in policies, considerations and public statements,
far ahead of party and self-interest. Reinforce that resolve by discarding
the misinterpreted biblical philosophy of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a
tooth”, but instead adopt those of “turn the other cheek”, and “ungrudging
forgiveness”. In line with such resolution, resolve that Zimbabwe’s lands
of proven productivity, when properly used and not abused, be available to
all irrespective of race, tribe, gender, faith or political affiliation, the
sole criteria for entitlement to use the land being the meritorious and
productive usage thereof. Concurrently, resolve to replace abuse and
contempt of many of the international community with reconciliation,
harmony, collaboration and respect (reciprocally required) for the views of
War veterans: Resolve that henceforth there will be unequivocal respect for
law and order, and that power and authority vests wholly and exclusively in
the lawfully and democratically elected, and the electorate, and not in
those who may have rendered past service.
Saviour Kasukuwere (Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment): Resolve that indigenisation and economic empowerment
can only be effectively and substantively achieved by:
* Facilitation and motivation of new enterprise establishment;
* Removal of barriers to formal sector economic activity, and enablement
of transition from informal to formal sector;
* Giving incentives to existing enterprise indigenisation, instead of
* Targeting indigenisation at levels, and by methods, which do not
alienate potential investment and deter and alienate foreign investment.
Tendai Biti (Minister of Finance): Recognition that, irrespective of fiscal
needs, excessive taxation is economically destructive and diminishes fiscal
inflows, whereas low taxes are economically stimulatory, in turn enhancing
revenues for the fiscus. (A lessening of taxes on individuals, especially
those suffering below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL), increases spending
power, with concomitantly greater governmental receipts of Value Added Tax,
customs duties, and taxes on profits of businesses enjoying resultant
increased sales volumes and profits).
MPs: Resolution that, notwithstanding that justice dictates fair
remuneration for their parliamentary services, their first and primary
obligation is to protect and further the interests of their constituents,
and Zimbabwe as a whole.
Trade unions: The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union and Zimbabwe Federation
of Trade Unions, their underlying trade unions and the myriad of Zimbabwe
trade union activists should resolve to recognise the need for
non-confrontational, constructive interaction with employers. That
resolution must be founded upon appreciation that whilst their first and
foremost duty and obligation is to further the well-being and interests of
the nation’s workers, they do not do so by demands for wages and employee
benefits beyond employer means, and by destructive industrial labour actions
against employers. Doing so only culminates in the downsizing and eventual
collapse of enterprises, with increased unemployment and hardships for the
employees the unions claim to represent and protect. As harsh as inadequate
remuneration circumstances are, those created by unemployment are even
Employers should determine upon a reciprocal resolution to effect
remuneration increments, insofar as employer means permit, progressively to
levels which at the least equate to 60% of the PDL (on the assumption that
in each family of five, to which the PDL relates, there will be a second
income earner, generating a possible 40% of PDL), and that in any event
remuneration increments will not be less than the inflation rate since the
Media: The media in general, and state-controlled media in particular, can
and should resolve that henceforth they will report news factually, instead
of political bias and, all too often, with gross misrepresentation against
those that the media is politically opposed to. News should be fact, not
fiction, devised for ulterior political or other motives.
International community: Those of the international community applying
sanctions against Zimbabwe, especially USA, the European Union and various
Commonwealth countries should resolve to withdraw all sanctions other than
those specific to targeted individuals who are politically and
humanitarianly unacceptable to them. Whilst government’s contentions that
such sanctions are “illegal” are wholly specious and spurious, nevertheless
they should be discontinued for they do not afflict those that the
international community is opposed to. Sanctions have grievous
repercussions upon the innocent Zimbabwean populace. Instead, those
sanctions enable the politicians to attribute Zimbabwe’s economic ills to
the sanctions, thereby diverting recognition that the ills are, in fact,
occasioned by those politicians, with their diabolically destructive
policies. Removal of the sanctions would deprive the politicians of their
false attribution to national suffering.
This columnist resolves to try to use shorter sentences and less obtuse
verbiage in his column in 2011, whilst concurrently wishing all Zimbabweans
a peaceful, happy, healthy, successful and prosperous 2011.
Thursday, 30 December 2010 17:58
NOW that we know, thanks to WikiLeaks, what our South African government
really thinks of President Robert Mugabe, the question begging for an answer
is why it hasn’t acted accordingly.
It is not just that our International Relations minister Maite
Nkoane-Mashabane shared her impression of Mugabe as “a crazy old man” with
US diplomats, but that she also expressed the view that support should be
given to Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Why, then, has the South African government, the regional superpower and by
far the most influential player in this drawn-out saga, not done exactly
that? Why, instead, has it insisted on protecting and indeed assisting the
“crazy old man” and his supporters, who are responsible for the continuing
human tragedy that is Zimbabwe?
To some degree one recognised, even while not condoning, former president
Thabo Mbeki’s compulsive need to spring to the defence of incumbents when
they were challenged in African political contests. His stance violated
every ethical value of our long struggle for democratic liberation, but it
happened to be a personal obsession of our curiously insecure second
democratically elected president.
But what about President Jacob Zuma? Why has he inherited the same timidity
in dealing with Mugabe? He owes him nothing, and certainly his alliance
partner, the Congress of South African Trade Unions doesn’t — given the
abusive treatment Mugabe’s thugs dished out to its leaders when they tried
to visit their fellow trade unionists in Zimbabwe a few years ago.
According to some press reports, Nkoane-Mashabane intended making noises of
protest about the embarrassing WikiLeaks cables when she met US Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton in Washington the other day.
Short of a fresh flood of these diplomatic leaks, I guess we’ll never know
how that exchange went — if it went at all. But I can imagine at least one
possible riposte from the sharp-tongued Clinton: “Well now, Madam Minister,
perhaps you can tell me why your government doesn’t put its money where your
Diplomatic niceties aside, what makes this issue topical is the contrasting
manner in which the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) is
confronting the issue of President Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to step down
after losing Ivory Coast’s presidential election last week to Alassane
Ouattara by what the United Nations has called an “unchallengeable margin”.
In a strongly worded statement, Ecowas has called on Gbagbo to step aside,
and has formally recognised Ouattara as the legitimate president of the
Compare that with the limp-wristed approach of our own Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) when Mugabe so blatantly refused to step down
after clearly suffering a first-round defeat at the hands of the MDC’s
Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe’s 2008 election. The word in diplomatic
circles is that Mugabe was ready to go on national television and concede
defeat publicly, but his security chiefs stepped in and ordered him not to,
undertaking to rig the figures to deny a first-round result and then use
their own violent methods to ensure Mugabe won the runoff.
The not-so-crazy old man bought the idea.
Aware of this, Tsvangirai pulled out of the contest, leaving Mugabe to run,
in effect, unchallenged.
Sadc didn’t recognise the result, but instead of taking the tough stand
Ecowas is now taking, Mbeki pussy- footed around the issue and brokered a
so-called unity government with elaborate requirements for joint decision-
making, which Mugabe has never honoured — and which Sadc, as guarantor of
the deal, has never sought seriously to enforce.
Now Mugabe says the unity deal is a failure and wants to end it by calling
an election at about the middle of next year, which he no doubt plans to rig
again in the confident expectation that Sadc will let him get away with it
as it has done before.
I often hear it said that there is little
South Africa can do about the Zimbabwe crisis. That a military solution is
obviously out of the question, and South Africa can’t close its borders or
impose other sanctions without doing grievous damage to other neighbouring
countries, and indeed to the innocent citizens of Zimbabwe.
For years I have disagreed with this contention — and now Ecowas has shown
the way in the Ivory Coast case that I have long advocated Sadc should take
on Zimbabwe. Which is to tell Mugabe that unless he runs a free and fair
election, following all the Sadc’s clearly spelt-out requirements for that,
which includes free campaigning and media coverage well before polling day,
the regional organisation would not recognise the outcome.
If he retains power in violation of the outcome, or breaks any of the rules
for fair electioneering, Sadc and the African Union of which it is part,
will not recognise his government. It will be classified as an illegitimate
regime. No member of that regime will then hold diplomatic status if they
enter any Sadc state, which will mean any of them coming to SA for medical
treatment, for example, will run the risk of arrest on international
criminal charges as Chile’s Augusto Pinochet was when he checked into a UK
hospital in 1998.
This effectively is the shot Ecowas has fired across the bows of Gbagbo. And
because it is such a potent action by the regional organisation, it has
encouraged a barrage of additional threats from the international community
far stronger than anything that has been directed at Mugabe.
It remains to be seen whether it will bring Gbagbo down. He is a ruthlessly
determined character with a force of about 9 000 well-equipped troops loyal
to him, and it looks as though his tactic may be to threaten a resumption of
the civil war he ignited after coming to power after messy elections in
But the West Africans seem to be a more resolute bunch than we southerners:
they have already dispatched the Liberian monster, Charles Taylor, to The
Hague for trial at a Special Court set up there for crimes committed in
Sierra Leone, and some of the Ecowas people are using tough language about
Gbagbo. Such as Mohammed Ibn Chambas, a senior Ghanaian diplomat and former
Ecowas president, who said it was time African politicians proved they were
in tune with the times.
“It’s a test case for West Africa, indeed for all of Africa,” Chambas said.
“We need to say that we mean it when we say we have turned the page.”
Take note, President Zuma! And while you are doing so take note, too, that
nothing could boost SA’s economic growth rate and reduce our unemployment
more speedily than a swift end to the Zimbabwe crisis.
Zimbabwe has been a cosmic black hole in the midst of a potentially vibrant
economic universe in this well-endowed part of the continent for years — all
because of the craziness of that one “old man” and his band of greedy but
Summon the political will to fix it, Mr President, and you will see SA’s
economy take off as the engine of a revitalising region far faster than any
of your ministers’ various growth plans can ever hope to achieve.
It is time to turn the page, for our own sake as well as theirs.
* Sparks is a veteran journalist and political analyst contactable at
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:15
ATTORNEY-GENERAL Johannes Tomana has embarked on a witchhunt by appointing a
“team of practising lawyers” to investigate the alleged “treasonous
collusion” between former opposition leaders, specifically Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and Western governments.
The basis for the appointment of the team is the leaking of United States
diplomatic cables by the whistleblower website, WikiLeaks, whose contents
have been deemed treasonous by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF acolytes.
What is evident from the move to appoint the team, to comprise five lawyers,
is that Tomana, who has been a willing tool in past frivolous cases, has
seen a chance to frustrate a possible campaign by Tsvangirai and other MDC
members if elections are held next year.
It is the selective nature of the probe which is worrying. The cables raise
serious allegations of diamonds plunder by the elite in government, but
Tomana, one could be forgiven for concluding, is not interested in
instituting an enquiry into that matter. Plunder of diamonds has serious
ramifications for our economy and is a matter Tomana should have prioritised
rather than a cable based on an ambassador’s personal opinion after meeting
Tsvangirai. Is it not Tsvangirai’s constitutional right to express his views
privately on the state of affairs in the country?
The appointment of the team of inquiry could also be aimed at creating an
opportunity to end the Government of National Unity (GNU).
Zanu PF has in the past two months been working hard to destroy the
political arrangement and the release of the cables has presented them with
a pretext and an instrument with which to make mischief.
“From a legal perspective it would be folly,” lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has
said. “When it comes to witnesses, are they going to call back the former US
ambassadors? The cables are based on opinion, not fact. There are a host of
“But I’m not going to say it’s unlikely because the Attorney-General has
been known to chase rainbows before. He was put in the position for that
Tomana’s record as the AG is punctuated by a failure to separate politics
from the law and he has been taking cases which a first year law student
would decline as it would be obvious there was no chance of success.
One case that comes to mind is that of Peter Hitschmann and Roy Bennett,
another treason trial, where one of the witnesses called was said to be a
computer expert but turned out to be a complete ignoramus in that field.
There could be a repeat of the same farce as it is very clear that there won’t
be witnesses to testify unless it is possible to call the former US
ambassadors to court. Modern international law gives protection for
diplomats and chances of successfully summoning any of the ambassadors
mentioned in the cables are zero.
Apart from presenting legal problems, the appointment of the team would be
an open exploitation of a situation with the intention of not doing anyone
any justice but merely seeking an advantage over a political adversary.
It is clear that the commission to be appointed after only 10 out of 2 998
cables on Zimbabwe have been released would be done on the basis of what is
there. It is difficult to see how a commission could proceed when no one
knows what the contents of the remaining leaks are.
Until the appointment of the commission, we can only speculate what the
terms of reference would be and how it would proceed. It would also be
interesting to see how the appointment of the team would be done, especially
against the background of other more pressing commissions which have been
made redundant. The Human Rights Commission is only there on paper, the
National Healing and Integration commissioners have complained that they are
not even aware of what is expected of them, and in broadcasting the only
voice heard across the land is President Mugabe’s.
The commissioners could very soon find their mandate challenged on
elementary legal grounds which will reflect very poorly on them. It would be
interesting to hear from Tomana when another commission will be set up to
investigate allegations of diamonds plunder raised by the same cables.
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:14
SADC leaders should have turned green with envy as they watched the Economic
Community of West African States (Ecowas) swiftly and firmly intervening in
the Ivory Coast political crisis. It was sparked by illegitimate President
Laurent Gbagbo’s insatiable appetite for power despite being rejected by the
people at the polls.
Ecowas is doing what Sadc should have done in Zimbabwe in 2008 when
President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF stole the elections in March and June
through a combination of manipulation and violence. Our regional block has
neither teeth nor bark. It has not only failed Zimbabweans, but has also
failed to act decisively in Madagascar and Swaziland where authoritarian
rule and dictatorship have been institutionalised.
Gbagbo’s subversion of the will of the people has justifiably resulted in
Ecowas, the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), the European Union
and super-powers declining to recognise his presidency and isolating him and
his government. Ecowas, through regional powerhouse Nigeria, has gone
further by threatening military intervention to remove Gbagbo from power to
pave way for Alassane Ouattara who polled 54% of the presidential votes in
Ouattara’s victory was confirmed by the country’s electoral commission and
the UN observer mission, but rank madness set in when the country’s
Constitutional Council headed by a Gbagbo ally annulled results in seven
regions and declared the incumbent the winner with 51% of the votes. Since
then the country has not known peace.
Both Gbagbo and Ouattara have been sworn in as presidents with the former
operating from state house while the latter is holed up in a luxury hotel
guarded by UN forces. This is a case of a state within a state!
The Ivory Coast crisis brought to the fore our own experiences under the
leadership of President Mugabe and how Sadc as a regional grouping has
failed to decisively and firmly deal with our situation, which remains a keg
of gunpowder if institutional and democratic reforms are not undertaken.
Since 2000 the will of the people has been subverted by hook or crook by the
former ruling Zanu PF party through the use of state machinery to coerce
Elections since then have been disputed, especially by the MDC formations,
and described as rigged through various means, among them constituency
gerrymandering, use of a shambolic voters roll, political violence, and
intimidation by state security agents and youth militia.
In the March 2008 presidential election, Mugabe lost the poll to MDC-T
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, but could not assume power after the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission said he had not won the legally required 50% plus one
vote to become president. Strangely, the results of that poll were announced
a month after the election, giving credence to MDC’s allegations that the
results were cooked.
The subsequent run-off was a charade. Zanu PF unleashed an orgy of violence
resulting in Tsvangirai pulling out of the race. Nevertheless, the poll went
ahead and Mugabe won with over 90% of the votes and this time around it took
less than 48 hours to announce the results and swear in the octogenarian
Amidst all this cacophony, Sadc was conspicuous by its deafening silence.
The great disappointment was then South African President Thabo Mbeki’s
declaration that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe when the electoral
commission was holding on to the March results. The late Zambian President
Levy Mwanawasa and Botswana President Ian Khama were the only vocal Sadc
leaders against Mugabe.
Instead of Sadc, through Mbeki and the AU, pushing for an inclusive
government after Mugabe’s hollow victory, the regional bloc should have
stood up to the 86-year-old leader and told him to his face to stand down.
Even with the formation of the inclusive government, Mugabe has refused to
play ball in fully consummating the Global Political Agreement and Sadc is
again aloof. Several summits have been held since January 2009 with very
little having been achieved in resolving outstanding issues of the GPA,
instead fresh problems continue to pop up.
South Africa, the regional power house, much like Ecowas’ Nigeria should
have used its leverage to ensure that Harare plays ball.
The failure by Sadc to be decisive with Mugabe will ensure that Zimbabwe
will drag the region into the doldrums — precisely the prospect Sadc sought
to avoid in the first place.
The situation is not completely untenable. Sadc should pluck a leaf from
Ecowas’s book and be more forceful in ensuring members do not deviate from
the democratic path. But that may be asking too much.
Thursday, 30 December 2010 18:11
ZANU PF has once again shown organisational ineptitude by skirting around a
desperately pertinent issue of renewal within its ranks at its recent indaba
in Mutare. The level of indifference to the issue of renewal has gotten to
the level where any talk of such matters is deemed blasphemous.
It is as if pushing for renewal is tantamount to questioning someone’s
divinely ordained right.
Joice Mujuru, for all her perceived inadequacies, has earned her dues within
Zanu PF and cannot be regarded as an upstart. The fact that she is now
reportedly in trouble for trying to put the issue on the agenda speaks
volumes about where Zanu PF is and where it is going. If people like her
cannot put this issue on the agenda then who can? What chance is there for
Zanu PF to become relevant in this era when political dinosaurs continue to
roam the land?
Zanu PF can no longer claim to be a revolutionary party with sincerity. This
is because instead of being a movement, it is now more of a monument to
failed nationalism. It is clear that in these talk shops which they
mendaciously call “people’s conferences”, there is no regard to the views of
the grassroots and only one voice holds sway. The interception and quashing
of the lobby for renewal illustrates the determination of the powers that be
to retain the status quo at all costs.
Under normal circumstances a party led by an 86-year-old would encourage and
foster the renewal process but then this is no ordinary party. This is a
party that continues to trudge on, seemingly oblivious of the scalps of
other liberation movement leaders that litter the political landscape across
Africa. It is a party that is attempting to defy the laws of nature by
refusing to evolve.
There is a glaring naïveté about their approach. They have the assumption
that their antiquated methods of persuasion in creating a personality cult
will somehow continue to captivate the electorate. That by some freak of
nature the people who have clearly expressed, in a succession of elections
since 2000 that they no longer want President Robert Mugabe, can be cajoled
to change their minds.
This will come to naught as long as Zanu PF continues to be fronted by old
and tired people with old and tired ideas. In the marketplace of ideas,
where there is no coercion, their argument can never have any credible
takers because Zimbabwe can never rely on one person. The fear of fomenting
factionalism cannot be an excuse for stifling renewal nor is the threat from
outside forces. Even in reclusive and repressive North Korea there is some
form of renewal with Kim Jong-il priming his son Kim Jong-Un to eventually
Ultimately Zanu PF leaves voters — however sympathetic to their cause — with
little choice but to pursue alternative routes in the next election. The
fact that voters in some constituencies opted to vote for Zanu PF candidates
for MPs and not its presidential candidate should reinforce this argument.
Instead of seeing this clear clarion call for renewal for what it was,
Mugabe opted to blame Zanu PF members for laxity in not campaigning for him.
He really believes that voters let him down in 2008.
As Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo stated in June 2008:
“The mind of the electorate is now so fixed against Mugabe that if he were
to contest against a donkey in the run-off, the donkey would win by a
landslide not because anyone would vote for it but simply because people
would vote against Mugabe and thus benefit the donkey.”
Our sentiments exactly, professor!